Buying a house can be a pretty daunting prospect. It’s a process that is expensive, stressful, tricky to get right and long-winded. Yet, despite all of that it’s still something many of us want to do. The safety and security of a permanent roof over our heads makes buying a house an attractive prospect – and the prospect of investing in something tangible makes the hassle financially worthwhile. So, with many people wanting to make that step into home ownership, what makes 2015 the year that they should take the plunge? What about people looking to move up the ladder too?
One of the changes all buyers can benefit from in 2015 is those made to Stamp Duty. Brought in in December, these rules make a difference to the up-front cost that you’ll need to bear. Previously you had to fork out 1% of the purchase price in Stamp Duty on properties between £125,000 and £250,000 and 3% up to £500,000. Under the new system you still pay nothing below £125,000 and then above that you pay 2% of the cost over and above that figure, i.e. if your house is £130,000 you now pay 2% of £5,000, instead of 1% of the full cost, or £100 instead of £1,300. In Scotland the duty was rebranded as the Land and Buildings Transaction Tax and although it operates in a similar way it carries no charge for the first £145,000 of the cost.
As with any decision there are push and pull factors when it comes to buying a house. One thing that may well ‘push’ you into buying a house this year is the increased cost of renting. The price of renting is rising to a point where the cost far outstrips the amount you could be paying towards your own bricks and mortar – with more than a quarter of landlords plotting above-inflation rent increases during this calendar year.
If you’re renting then chances are you can afford the mortgage payments, but it could be the deposit that you’re struggling with. The good news is that there are a whole host of schemes on offer during 2015 that can help you to overcome that hurdle. Check out the latest home buying schemes information to see how Help To Buy, Right To Buy and NewBuy all work. Essentially, Help To Buy sees the government stepping in to provide a loan – refundable on sale of the property – so that you’ll only need a 5% deposit. Right To Buy aims to help social housing tenants and NewBuy looks, as you’d expect, at freshly constructed properties.
Forget the squabbling of the political parties; for house-hunters, the economy is in a relatively good shape to take the plunge in 2015. Low interest rates mean there are some excellent sub-2% deals out there and a host of options on fixed and flexible rates. It’s a competitive mortgage market and that’s a good sign for the buyer. Price increases have slowed – at least outside London – too, making this a steady year to invest.
Rising rents, falling Stamp Duty, a relatively stable economy and support schemes all mean 2015 could well be the ideal year to dip into the housing market.