Property prices continue to rise despite the higher cost of living
It’s no secret that the cost of living is increasing. With energy prices soaring and hikes in interest rates, this has put a strain on pockets across the country.
Now, experts are predicting a sharp rise in property prices due to there not being enough properties to meet the current buyer demand. This shortage is expected to drive property prices up by over 5% by the end of May, meaning that house prices will reach an all-time high of £352,984.
The research shows a small dip in prices in March and April, and then a 6.7% increase in May, possibly due to buyers trying to close deals quickly before rates increase again.
This obviously has a negative impact on first-time buyers trying to save for a deposit. However, with mortgage costs continuing to rise, some potential buyers are deciding it’s now or never while they can still lock in a low fixed rate deal.
This is also challenging for existing property owners who are looking to take the next step up the property ladder. With such a competitive market, even those who have sold their previous property may find that the number of houses they can afford is diminishing.
Spring statement: Updates for landlords
In the Spring Statement, Chancellor Sunak announced the Government’s plan to bring forward an exemption that will make green technology exempt from business rates.
The exemption for green technology, such as solar panels and heat pumps, came into effect on April 1st 2022. This was brought forward one year from the original date of April 1st 2023.
Making these technologies exempt from business rates will save businesses an extra £35 million in the 2022-2023 tax year and support the decarbonisation of buildings.
In addition to the green technology exemption, the Chancellor also announced a 100% relief for eligible low-carbon heat networks which have their own rates bill.
Lastly, a 5-year VAT reduction on energy savings materials (ESM) from 5% to 0% also took effect from April 1st 2022. Between April 2022 to March 2027, the 0% rate will be in effect to cover the installation of ESMs, including insulation and controls for central heating, in residential accommodation.
Homes for Ukraine: What you need to know
The government-funded “Homes for Ukraine” scheme connects Ukrainian refugees to UK residents who can offer accommodation.
Any UK resident (regardless of nationality) who has a spare room or house can become a sponsor as long as they are allowed to remain in the UK for at least 6 months and can offer suitable accommodation for at least 6 months. Organisations can also become a sponsor. You can easily register your interest on gov.uk.
Should you have a specific Ukrainian family member, friend or acquaintance that you would like to sponsor, this can be requested. If you do not have a specific person in mind, you can state your preferences, based on how much space you can offer and if the accommodation is suitable for young children.
As a sponsor, you cannot charge rent. However, the government will pay you £350 per month in arrears, per residential address.
All Ukrainians applying for a visa to enter the country will have met standard security checks against police and antiterrorism databases as part of their application process. They will also be eligible to work and apply for benefits once settled in the UK.
The Home Office will also conduct a security check on all potential sponsors and any other adults living at the address.
Increase property value and reduce costs with eco-friendly solutions
Making small eco-friendly improvements to your property can not only reduce running costs but also add value to your property. Here are a few ways you can boost your property value and help the environment.
Upgrade your insulation
Upgrading your insulation, particularly solid wall insulation, can make for one of the most profitable upgrades. Although it can be costly to upgrade, it can boost your property value by 3%.
Upgrade your boiler
Boilers are often costly, but they also provide increased efficiency and longevity and can boost your property value by up to 1.9%.
Install a charging port for electric cars
Although electric cars are increasing in popularity, it’s uncommon to find a home that has a charging port. Installing one is fairly cheap (less than £1,000) and can boost your home’s value by 1.5%.
Get double-glazed windows
Although fitting double-glazed windows throughout your home can be very expensive, it is important to homebuyers and can increase your property value by 3%.