Spring is in the air, everywhere I look around! The sun is shining, the Easter break is upon us, the evenings are drawing out and we are fast approaching the time of year when the lettings market goes full steam ahead.
I sit writing this small piece for our monthly e-zine and simply cannot decide what it is that you, the readers would be most interested in. April is a month with lots to discuss; Easter and some time off for a lot of us. What should we do, where should we go, what are we going to do with the kids for two weeks, are the in laws going to come for dinner and decide staying over would be nice just because it's a bank holiday tomorrow??? The amount you could ponder just thinking about Easter is enough to make most of us dizzy.
There are of course other events in April we could discuss, St George's day for one, and is it some form of racism to celebrate ones patron saint in our current nanny state society? April is also a good month for sport, and especially for those rainy day sports fans who are not fond of commitment; we have the grand national for everyone to have a small flutter on, the Oxford & Cambridge boat race is a great day out for the family, and the much loved London Marathon, not always the most exciting spectacle but it certainly goes a long way in terms of raising millions in sponsorship money for some great causes.
The 1st of April or April fool's day seems as though it's worth a mention, and there is certainly some sort of George Osborne 2012 budget joke to be had, but I'm afraid that's just too obvious. The budget as always has been a topic of much debate, and the impact it's policy changes could have in the letting sector this year actually make for some interesting ready. The obvious question asked by most is, "Am I better off or not?" From a landlords' point of view I'm afraid the answer is a slightly mixed bag.
Very briefly, Landlords who are currently paying tax on all rents are likely to be winners, as they will benefit from the increased personal allowances for income tax nearer the £10,000 target. The top end of the market I am afraid does not offer the same good news, the headline grabber for landlords buying and selling the most expensive properties is the increase in stamp duty. With immediate effect, stamp duty on properties worth over £2 million and owned by a company went up to 15%, while the general rate of stamp duty on homes worth over £2 million increased to 7%.
What effect the changes will have on the lettings market are unclear as of yet, but one thing is for sure, purchasers of the most expensive properties in the market will be thinking long and hard before making that investment.
In terms of the future, if investors are reluctant to purchase the larger more expensive properties, with a view to convert them in to smaller units for re-sale or rental purposes we could see one of two market reactions.
A dwindling selection of rental properties is a very real concern or a reduction in properties suitable for first time buyers, meaning even more tenants entering the already stretched lettings market. The next few years will shape this country's housing market for a very long time, and could certainly see us moving more towards the European long-term letting option.
So, I'm still sitting her, unsure whether the fluffy stuff about Easter and everything you can do in April is really what you'd like to hear about. Or whether the impact of this year's budget and how it will affect the long term future of this country and home ownership in general is what you'd prefer. Hopefully the bases are covered, and there's something for everyone.
This monthly piece is very similar to Thorgills as a business; we try to offer something for everyone. In terms of service options, be you a landlord with one property or 100, whether you need your properties completely managed by professional property managers, or need us to market your property and introduce the perfect tenants. If you're a tenant looking for a studio near a tube station, or a family after a detached four bedroom house on a quiet tree lined street, we like to think we cater for everyone.
Our service levels are the strongest part to our business, as a lettings agent it is our belief that if you offer the right service levels and professionalism then the rest will follow. The best example of this being the extraordinary level of recommendations and referrals we receive. But this is just me informing you of our strengths, to find out more about how we can help you please do not hesitate to get in touch.
If you are a landlord or tenant and require any advice whatsoever please contact your local Thorgills Branch. Remember we are voluntary members of both the National Landlords Association and the Property Ombudsman, so our work is always carried out to the highest standards. Thorgills advice and valuations are free so please do not hesitate to get in touch.