Another month, another news round-up – and we’ve been keeping a very close eye on the key developments as they emerge.
Here are some headlines that caught our attention throughout June…
New-build buyers are driving the sustainability agenda
Emerging research has shown that climate change and the cost of living are creating new priorities for prospective buyers – not least those on the hunt for a new-build property, for whom energy efficiency is becoming a key part of their decision-making process.
And with new-build owners saving an average of £629 a year on energy bills – thanks to a lower carbon output in comparison to older homes – thinking green when it comes to property purchasing decisions can bring significant cost-savings benefits too.
Mortgage affordability rules relaxed
The Bank of England’s latest move to relax mortgage rules should be welcome news for first-time buyers – with borrowers no longer required to show they can afford repayments on their lender’s higher variable rate if interest rates rose by 3%.
The change comes as a result of inflation rising at a 40-year high of 9%, causing the Bank of England to raise interest rates five consecutive times to 1.25%. Essentially, this means that if interest rates rose by another 1.5%, those seeking a mortgage would need to prove that they could still afford their mortgage if the interest rate was 9.5% instead – in turn, excluding a huge proportion of borrowers from taking out a home loan.
Help to Build equity loan applications opened
Backed by £150m government funding, Help to Build will enable individuals with a 5% deposit to self, custom construct, or commission their own property – bridging the gap between small deposits and the money required to build, as well as helping people to overcome prohibitive mortgage costs and get onto the property ladder quicker.
Darlington Building Society is the first lender to offer support through this scheme, although there are encouraging signs that other nationwide companies will soon play a role in supporting people into homeownership too.
Leaseholder support scheme launched
Earlier this month, a new scheme for those facing significant financial hardship as a result of fire safety issues launched in Wales – providing tailored, independent advice to leaseholders in affected homes.
This initiative will support those who need it in making the right decision, should fire safety defects in their property become apparent and, if the sale of their property is the right route, the Welsh Government will enable them to sell their property at a fair market value.