Interest rates have been cut to 0.25% in a bid to shore up the economy amid the ongoing coronavirus outbreak. This is the first time since the financial crisis that the Bank of England has announced an emergency move.
Low interest rates may well help cushion the housing market in the months ahead. Over 70% of homes are purchased with a mortgage.
According to data from the Bank of England, activity in the mortgage market is currently at a four-year high and mortgage rates are increasingly competitive on the high street.
In 2008, interest rates were cut for six consecutive months, falling from 5% in September 2008 to 0.5% in March 2009. Low interest rates helped the property market rebound throughout 2009.
Nearly half a million (464,700) first-time buyers have benefitted from over £1.1 billion of tax duty relief since the First Time Buyers’ Relief was introduced in November 2017, each saving on average £2,387.
Zero tax is charged to first-time buyers on purchases between £125,000 and £300,000, which account for 77% of benefitting purchases. The standard 5% SDLT (stamp duty land tax) is charged between £300,000 and £500,000. All sales under £125,000 are exempt from taxation.
62,800 first-time buyers benefitted from the scheme in the final quarter of 2019, the highest quarterly number since its inception, as first-time buyer numbers hit record levels in 2019.
Across Wales all purchasers purchasing a property with a value of less than £180,000 are eligible for Land Transaction Tax Relief. This will undoubtedly include the vast majority of first-time buyers, as the average price of a first-time buyer property across the country is £149,000.
The government have recently announced plans for a First Home Scheme, whereby local buyers would benefit from a 30% market price reduction on the price of their first home.
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Recent data released by Zoopla has shown that 2020 has started in supreme fashion for the property market; with buyer demand up 26% when compared to the same period in 2018 and 2019. With such an influx of buyers, those thinking of selling their property have timed it well.
Rightmove has reported property price increases from December 19 to January 20 of 2.3%; representing the largest-ever increase in prices over a 4-week period since it began its asking price index almost two decades ago. With the property market starting the year in such good health, 2020 is poised to be a strong year all round for housing.
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