Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - BUCKS PROPERTY -

HE fact that house prices will con­tinue to rise is no se­cret.There is sim­ply no good rea­son why they wouldn’t – de­mand from buy­ers is stronger than ever, there isn’t enough sup­ply to sat­isfy the de­mand, and there are nowhere near enough new builds. But how much will they rise?

“I be­lieve house prices will rise by 5–10% in most of the towns we cover and the in­creases will pre­dom­i­nantly be seen in the first half of the year,” com­mented Ro­mans’ group man­ag­ing di­rec­tor Peter Coles.

Bea­cons­field, with its good school catch­ments and pri­vate ed­u­ca­tion choices, re­mains pop­u­lar with fam­i­lies mov­ing out of Lon­don.A lack of new builds has also re­sulted in a sup­ply and de­mand im­bal­ance in and around the town. Fol­low­ing a growth of 9% in house prices last year, Ro­mans is pre­dict­ing prices in Bea­cons­field to rise a fur­ther 5% in 2016. In Ger­rards Cross, also pop­u­lar with fam­i­lies look­ing for good schools and a re­lax­ing life­style, house prices are ex­pected to rise 5% this year, fol­low­ing a sim­i­lar rise in 2015.

Prices in Burn­ham are pre­dicted to rise 7% this year, says Ro­mans, up on the 5% in­crease in 2015, thanks to the im­pend­ing ar­rival of Cross­rail. Chan­cel­lor Ge­orge Os­borne’s 3% sur­charge on each stamp duty band where a property is be­ing pur­chased as a buy-to-let in­vest­ment or sec­ond home could re­sult in even more com­pe­ti­tion be­tween first-time buy­ers and in­vestors.

“We’re ex­pect­ing to see a surge of in­ter­est from in­vestors look­ing to pur­chase in­vest­ment prop­er­ties be­fore April 2016, in or­der to avoid the ex­tra charge,” said man­ag­ing di­rec­tor of res­i­den­tial sales,Vin­cent Court­ney.

“I understand the frus­tra­tion of first-time buy­ers who are of­ten com­pet­ing with in­vestors. Con­cen­trate on or­gan­is­ing your fi­nances be­fore you even start look­ing; this will put you in just as good a po­si­tion as land­lords, and demon­strate that you’re a se­ri­ous buyer.”

At the up­per end of the scale, de­tached prop­er­ties are sell­ing more than any other property type in most of the ar­eas Ro­mans cov­ers.This is partly down to Lon­don home movers leav­ing the cap­i­tal for sur­round­ing re­gions in search of more cost-ef­fec­tive property.The Thames Val­ley and sur­round­ing ar­eas are hot spots that at­tract many peo­ple from Lon­don.

The 2015 Stamp Duty Land Tax changes were great news for 98% of home buy­ers. How­ever, those buy­ing prop­er­ties worth more than £937,500 now have more stamp duty to pay; which has af­fected the Lon­don mar­ket in par­tic­u­lar.Al­though there’s lit­tle ev­i­dence to sug­gest this has made a dif­fer­ence in the South East, this is a trend to watch out for dur­ing 2016. “To­day’s mar­ket­place is very much in the favour of sell­ers, how­ever, I ex­pect in­ter­est rates will be­gin to rise in 2016, reach­ing 1% by the end of the year,” said Peter Coles.“We know it will have to hap­pen soon and once the rates be­gin to rise I be­lieve a lot of peo­ple who were sit­ting on the fence will de­cide to make their move.”

In­ter­est rates aside, com­pe­ti­tion be­tween mort­gage lenders is cur­rently ex­tremely fierce and peo­ple are get­ting some out­stand­ing deals; whether they’re first time buy­ers, re­mort­gag­ing, or pur­chas­ing buy-to-let prod­ucts. Av­er­age rental val­ues across the ar­eas Ro­mans cov­ers are all higher than the na­tional av­er­age, and with ten­ant de­mand in­creas­ing it’s in­evitable that rents will rise.

“I pre­dict we will be see­ing at least a 5% in­crease in rental yields by the end of 2016, with higher in­creases in the sec­ond half of the year fol­low­ing any rise in in­ter­est rates as land­lords will start to ex­pect to re­cover in­creases in mort­gage costs,” com­mented man­ag­ing di­rec­tor of let­tings, Peter Fuller.

Now that mort­gage in­ter­est tax re­lief is to be re­stricted to 20% for buy-to-let land­lords, they may – de­pend­ing on tax sta­tus – face sig­nif­i­cantly higher tax bills.The stamp duty sur­charge will also af­fect buy-to-let in­vestors as well as those buy­ing a sec­ond home. Peter Fuller added:“This may not be pos­i­tive news for land­lords, but it’s im­por­tant to note that buy-to-let is a long-term in­vest­ment and in that sense it can still be very lu­cra­tive; with house prices pre­dicted to rise by around 25% in the next five years, on­go­ing de­mand from ten­ants, and the low buy-to-let mort­gage rates cur­rently avail­able.

To read the full version of this ar­ti­cle, see ro­mans.co.uk/pre­dic­tions.Think­ing of sell­ing in 2016? To speak to a Ro­mans property ex­pert, call 01344 985 666.

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