Market View March 2012

By James Hopkins

Executive Chairman of Hopkins Homes

With Spring shortly upon us green shoots are appearing all over the East of England as the birds and other wildlife build their nests and new homes with fervour – will the launch of the NewBuy scheme have the same effect on the property market?
NewBuy is a key part of the Government Housing Strategy and is designed to encourage development and deliver much needed new homes to help address the acute housing shortage that continues to exist. It is anticipated that up to 100,000 prospective buyers will be enabled to gain access to 95% mortgages; supported by a government backed indemnity fund thereby increasing protection for lenders to encourage and support new lending.
At Hopkins Homes we were particularly excited to note that new build apartments, conversions and refurbishments will also qualify which is great news and may encourage other developers to be more adventurous with the schemes they design and thereby offer a greater variety of property types to meet the needs of more people. They may even be bolder with restoration projects, bringing beautiful old buildings back to life as we have done with the restoration of the old St Michael’s hospital in Alysham that was originally designed by William Donthorn in the 1840’s and now boasts a stunning collection of apartments, houses and bungalows with many original features such as castellated parapets, ogee plain-tiled domes and large stone mullion and transom windows that provide a touch of bygone opulence in a unique new home. The NewBuy scheme will be available across all of our developments.
We have also been very encouraged with the FirstBuy Scheme which was introduced in the last budget and have been delighted to help first time buyers take their first steps on the property ladder. According to the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML), December saw a 7% rise in the volume of new purchasers from November although this could be due to buyers responding to the last months of the stamp duty concession which ends at the end of this month. First time buyers who can proceed immediately would be exempt from paying stamp duty on properties to the value of £250,000 and now need to act very quickly!
It is still the case that nationally it is cheaper to buy a home than to rent one, recent research put the figure at an average of £1,400 per year and, according to a recent Savills survey, the 5 year property value forecast of the East of England is a rise of 14% - the third highest in the country after London and the South East.
Of course where you live can make a huge difference to the way you live and we are very fortunate in that we have on our doorstep historic cities, thriving market towns, idyllic rural villages, tranquil waterways and heritage coast beauty – locations where people want to live, to work, to raise families, to retire and for all to enjoy.
This is also the home of Hopkins Homes where we craft beautifully designed homes of character, style and substance that blend seamlessly with their surroundings to create sustainable developments that benefit both residents and the local community.
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