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Crediton Property Market to Crash in 2022?

Helmores property market crash

According to some newspapers and pundits, the property market boom could soon be over with the increasing interest rates and inflation.

In this article, I share:


The 3 fundamental economic reasons why things are different to the last property market crash
The insider’s way to find out if there will be a property crash
and 4 reasons why buy-to-let landlords are coming back into the Crediton rental market to protect their wealth and hedge against inflation.

With inflation and the cost-of-living crisis, some say this could cause property values to drop, by between 10% and 20% in the next 12 to 18 months.

There can be no doubt that the current Crediton property market is very interesting. 

At the time of writing, there are only 26 properties for sale in Crediton (the long-term 15-year average is between 75 and 85), meaning house prices have gone up considerably.

According to the Land Registry…

Crediton property prices have increased by 16.6% (or £43,300) in the last 12 months

So, as Robert Kiyosaki says, ‘the best way to predict the future is to look to the past’. I need to look at what caused the last property crash in 2008 and how that compares to today.

1. Increase in Interest Rates

One reason mentioned as a possible cause of a crash is the rise in the Bank of England interest rates affecting homeowners’ mortgages.

Higher mortgage rates mean homeowners will have to pay a lot more on their mortgage payments, leaving less for other household essentials. In 2007 (and the 1989 property crash), many Crediton people put their houses up for sale to downsize to try and reduce their mortgage payments.

Yet the newspapers fail to mention that 79% of British people with a mortgage have it on a fixed interest rate (at an average mortgage rate of 2.03%)

Also, just under 19 out of 20 (93.2%) of all UK house purchases in 2021 fixed their mortgage rate.

So, in the short to medium-term (two to five years), most homeowners won’t see a rise in mortgage payments for many years. Also, 27.8% of all UK house purchases were 100% cash (i.e. no mortgage).

Of the 932,577 house purchases registered since February 2021 in the UK, 259,205 were bought without a mortgage.

Yet some people say this will be a problem when all these homeowners come off their fixed rate. The mortgage lending rules changed in 2014, and every person taking out a mortgage would have been assessed at application as to whether they could afford their mortgage payments at mortgage rates of 5% to 6% rates, not the 2% to 3% they may well be paying now.

No pundit says the Bank of England interest rates will go above 2% with a worst-case scenario of 3%. If the Bank of England did raise interest rates to 3%, homeowners would only be paying 4.5% to 5.5% on their mortgages and thus well within the stress test range made at the time of their mortgage application.

This means the probability of a mass sell-off of Crediton properties or repossessions because of interest rate rises (both of which cause house prices to drop) is much lower.

2. House Price / Salary Ratio

Another reason being bandied about by some people for another house price crash is the ratio of average house prices compared to average wages.

The higher the ratio, the less affordable property is. In 2000, the UK average house price to average salary ratio was 5.30 (i.e. the average UK house was 5.3 times more than the average UK salary). At its peak just before the last property crash in 2008, the ratio reached 8.64.

The ratio now is 8.85, so some commentators are beginning to think we’re in line for another house price crash. However, I must disagree with them because mortgage rates are much lower today than in 2007. For example…

The average 5-year fixed-rate mortgage in 2007 was 6.19% (just before the property crash), yet today it’s only 1.79%.

So, whilst the house price/salary ratio is the same as the last property crash in 2008, mortgages today are proportionally 71.1% cheaper.

3. Banks Reckless Lending

Another reason for a property crash in 2008 was the reckless lending practices in the run-up to that crash.

The first example of reckless lending was self-certified mortgages. A self-certified mortgage is when the lender doesn’t require proof of income.

In 2007, 24.6% of new mortgages were self-certified mortgages

So, when the economy got a little sticky in 2008, the people that didn’t have the income they said they had to pay for their mortgages (because they were self-certified) promptly put their properties on the market.

The banks’ second aspect of reckless lending was how much they lent buyers to buy their homes. Today, banks want first-time buyers to have at least a 10% deposit and ideally more. There are 95% mortgages available now (meaning the first-time buyer only requires a 5% deposit), yet they are pretty challenging to obtain.

Back in 2005/6/7, Northern Rock was allowing first-time buyers to borrow 125% of the value of their home. Yes, first-time buyers got 25% cashback on their mortgage!

In 2007, 9.5% of all mortgages were 95%, and 6.1% of mortgages were 100% to 125%.

Meaning that nearly 1 in 6 mortgages (15.6%) taken out in 2007 had a 95% to 125% mortgage

When the value of a property goes below what is owed on the mortgage, this is called negative equity. A lot of Crediton homeowners with negative equity (or who were getting close to negative equity) in 2008 panicked because of the Credit Crunch and put their houses up for sale.

To give you an idea of what happened last year (2021) regarding mortgage lending, only 2.4% of mortgages were 95%, and 0.2% of mortgages were 100%. This is because the mortgage lending rules were tightened in 2014.

So why did Crediton house prices drop in 2008?

Well, in a nutshell, a lot more Crediton properties came onto the market at the same time in 2008, flooding the Crediton property market with properties to sell.

Meanwhile, mortgages became a lot harder to obtain (because it was the Credit Crunch), so we had reduced demand for Crediton property.

Prices will drop when we have an oversupply and reduced demand for something. Crediton property prices fell by between 16% and 19% (depending on the property type) between January 2008 and May 2008.

So, what were the numbers of properties for sale in Crediton during the last housing market crash?

There were 69 properties for sale on the market in Crediton in the summer of 2007 (just before the crash), whilst a year later, when the Credit Crunch hit, that had jumped to 212.

This vast jump in supply and the reduction in demand caused Crediton house prices to drop in 2008.

Compared with today, there are only 26 properties for sale in Crediton, whilst the long term 15-year average is between 75 and 85 properties for sale.

So, what is going to happen to the property market?

The Crediton house price explosion since we came out of Lockdown 1 has been caused by a shortage of Crediton homes for sale (as mentioned above) and increased demand from buyers (the opposite of 2008).

However, there are early signs the discrepancy of supply and demand for Crediton properties is starting to ease, yet this takes a while before it has any effect on the property market, so it will be some time before it takes effect.

This will mean buyer demand will ease off whilst the number of properties to buy (i.e. supply) increases. This should gradually bring the Crediton property market back in line with long-term levels, rather than the housing market crash.

My advice is to keep an eye on the number of properties for sale in Crediton at any one time and only start to worry if it goes beyond the long-term average mentioned above.

But before I go, I need to chat about what inflation and the cost of living will do to the Crediton property market.

How will inflation and cost of living affect the Crediton property market?

There is no doubt that cost-of-living increases will have a dampening effect on buyer demand. If people have less money, they won’t be able to afford such high mortgages. This will slow Crediton house price growth, especially with Crediton first-time buyers.

Yet, the reduction in first-time buyers is being balanced out by an increase in landlord’s buying, especially at the lower end of the market.

This, in turn, will stabilise the middle to upper Crediton property market. This means the values of such properties (mainly owner-occupiers) will see greater stability and a buyer for their home, should they wish to take the next step on the property ladder.

So why are more Crediton landlords looking to extend their buy-to-let portfolios, even in these economic circumstances?

I see new and existing buy-to-let Crediton landlords come back into the market to add rental properties to their portfolios. As the competition with first-time buyers is not so great, they’re not being outbid as much.

Yet, more importantly, residential property is a good hedge against inflation.

Firstly, in the medium term, property values tend to keep up with inflation.

Secondly, inflation benefits both landlords and existing homeowners, with the effect of inflation on mortgage debt. As Crediton house prices rise over time, it reduces the loan to value percentage of your mortgage debt and increases your equity. When the landlord/homeowner comes to re-mortgage in the future, they will receive a lower interest rate.

Thirdly, as the equity in your Crediton property increases, your fixed-rate mortgage payments stay the same.

Finally, inflation also helps Crediton buy-to-let landlords. This is because rents tend to increase with inflation. So as rents go up, your fixed-rate buy-to-let mortgage payments stay the same, creating the prospect of more significant profit from your buy-to-let investment.

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Mid Devon Homeowners Pocketed £198k Each in the Last 20 Years

crediton house prices
  • The average house price in Crediton and mid Devon has increased by 170% to £314,700 in the last 20 years, a profit of £198,150
  • That means, when adjusted for inflation in those two decades, house prices have risen in real terms by 97.9%
  • What does this mean for existing Crediton and mid Devon homeowners and first-time buyers trying to get on the property ladder?

Since 2001, UK average house prices have risen by an astonishing 187.2% across the UK, while in London the figure is 247.6%.  

Looking back at the people that bought in those first few years of the new Millennium, few of those buying or selling property in 2001 could have forecast the massive financial impact that their decision then would have on the rest of their lives.

In those years, there have been winners and losers, where some buyers have made hundreds of thousands of pounds and renters have paid out tens of thousands of pounds and yet been unable to buy their first home – but life is often not as simple as that, so in this article I wanted to discuss the matter further.

The average house price in mid Devon has increased by 170% to £314,700 in the last 20 years, a profit of £198,150.

Now of course these are average prices and don’t take inflation into consideration.

Yet even when adjusted for inflation, house prices have still risen by 97.9% in the last 20 years.

Characteristically, the longer a homeowner has owned their property, the larger the gain when they sell. Yet most of these profits are never seen by homeowners. It has never been money in the bank unless you sell up and downsize or move somewhere cheaper. Instead, these gains are re-invested back into the housing market when they buy their next home.

So, whether the gains are banked or tied up in their bricks and mortar, it looks like all mid Devon homeowners are in the driving seat. 

What about all the first-time buyers, priced out of the market and unable to get on to the property ladder?

Are the young losing out again?

Reading the newspapers you would think so, yet nothing could be further from the truth. In fact…

It’s 26.8% cheaper today to buy a house in Crediton compared to 2007

That isn’t a typo!

In 2002, 28.3% of a first-time buyer’s household income went on the mortgage payments. Today, that figure stands at 37.3%, yet in 2007, it was 51% … hence why it’s cheaper today!

Of course, for most young potential first-time buyers, the other largest barrier to home ownership is the matter of raising an adequate deposit.

Rising rents (and future energy prices) won’t help and will in fact make this problem worse, giving ambitious first-time buyers not much left at the end of the month to save a deposit for their first home. 

With soaring house prices, this means the amount renters need to save for their deposit is growing year on year.

For these annoyed renters, there is the unpleasant irony that if they could only get on the housing ladder, they would find themselves better off. They would spend a lower proportion of their monthly take home pay on keeping a roof over their heads. 

Some people in the press have suggested the older generation, with all the equity tied up in their homes over the last 20 years, should release some of the money and give it to their children or grandchildren to help them on the ladder maybe?

Reports in the press have also described many homeowners in their 60’s (and older) changing their plans to move home. Many were planning to downsize to release the tied-up equity in their home. That equity would either be used to invest in the bank to produce an income for them and/or to help their children (sometimes even grandchildren) on to the property ladder.

Yet with the interest paid by banks and building societies on any lump sum being very low, to many mature homeowners it hardly seems worthwhile making the move to downsize. This means many younger would-be first-time buyers are missing out on help from the Bank of Mum and Dad (or the Bank of Grandad and Grandma) with their deposit.

However, the problems caused by low interest rates could also be their saviour.

Many older homeowners have turned to Equity Release, thus allowing them to get hold of a share of the equity amassed in their property, in exchange for a tax-free lump sum of cash.

Cash that could be used to help with deposits for their children/grandchildren?

The mature homeowner then stays in their larger family home and helps their family buy a property.

Whilst I am not a mortgage adviser (and you must take proper advice from a qualified mortgage broker), equity release mortgages don’t have end dates and the interest payments are rolled up (until you pass away). This means that there aren’t any monthly payments.

The interest rate you pay is normally fixed for the mortgage and because interest rates are so low, that means the debt shouldn’t balloon up. And should you decide to sell in a few years’ time, you just pay back the capital, redemption fee and the small amount of interest accrued.

Now of course, that does mean there will be less for your offspring to inherit when you pass away.

Equity release mortgages though have had some bad press recently. In the past they were unregulated and pricey. Yet today, there is more protection for borrowers.

One answer to the growing interest debt is to pay part or all of the monthly mortgage interest charged, yet you must have the income for that.

You also need to take advice on how the equity release will affect your liability for nursing home fees and inheritance tax. Also, if only one person in your home is the owner of the property, if that homeowner dies, the partner who is not on the mortgage (because only owners can go on a mortgage) won’t have any rights to stay in the family home.

Finally, if you are planning to move, don’t just compare the interest rate, but the redemption charge for early repayment – some of them can be very high.

My advice – take professional advice and speak to your family and involve them. Yes, we have all built up some amazing equity in our Devon homes, and yes, there is potential to help the younger generations with that wealth. Just go in with eyes open and know all the facts, all the pros and all the cons – then decide what is best for you with all that information to hand.

What are your thoughts, as a mature homeowner or a first-time buyer, on this?
It would be good to hear from you.

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The 7 Things Mid Devon Home Sellers Should (and Shouldn’t) Do in 2022

Did you know 462 Crediton area homeowners are considering selling their home between now and the summer of 2023?

Reports in the press suggest 1 in 5 homeowners are considering moving home in the next 18 months.

This will change the dynamics of selling your home, meaning there are certain matters that you, as a homeowner, should do before placing your property on the market to ensure you get the best price, reduce the hassle and even more importantly, when you do sell, ensure the move actually takes place. Why is this important?

1 in 3 Crediton area house sales fall through between sale agreed and the keys being handed over

Also, nationally, the average length of time a property is taking from sale agreed to key hand over is 19 weeks … and the longer the sale takes, the greater the propensity for the sale to fall through.

So, if you are thinking of selling your home, here are 7 things you should consider (plus some tips for those homeowners currently on the market) …

1.   Get your ducks in a row

Although it may seem apparent, having everything in place for the time you come onto the housing market can really take weeks off the time between sale agreed and key handover and even avert the house sale collapsing. 

For example, if you have had any building works done on your house, ensure you have the relevant paperwork now. That could be ensuring you have the Completion Certificate from the local authority for that extension you had a few years ago. Yes, you had planning permission, but are you aware you need a Completion Certificate from Mid Devon District Council as well?

If you haven’t got the required building regulations or planning consent for any work (including changing your windows), that can really harm the price you achieve for your home, or it could even finish the deal altogether.

Also, if your home is old (say 150 years plus) or even listed, you should think about spending a few hundred pounds and get a survey done on your own house, especially if you have been in the house for more than 10 years.

This will highlight any issues that need to be rectified (and be shown to potential buyers) in case they start to nit-pick. If you need recommendation of a good Crediton chartered surveyor – drop me a line.

2.   Carpet ‘photo’ bombing

First impressions are everything, and you only get to make a first impression twice.

Yes, I said twice, once with the photographs and the second time when the potential buyers view your home.

They say a picture speaks a thousand words, so ensure your agent photographs the best rooms from the best angles. The most important photograph is the front shot of your home, so always ask to see the photographs before your property goes live on to the market to make sure they show your property in the best light possible.

The second ‘first impression’ is when viewers view your home. Often the thing that lets the side down here is your carpets. If your carpets are more than 10 years old, then seriously consider replacing them with something inexpensive with some decent underlay or give them a good professional clean.

In this Facebook world, your home needs to look as good as it can to appeal to as many Crediton buyers as possible.

3.   Make it a potential home for your buyer, not a shrine to you

There was a house in the East Midlands called “Disaldu” (as in “This will Do”) that had been on the market for four years with six estate agents. As soon as it changed its name, it sold in a week. Be careful about over personalising your property as that could be off-putting to possible home buyers. 

Try not to be too daring with styles and colour schemes in your bathroom and kitchens, as your buyer won’t want to spend another £25,000 changing your neon pink kitchen units to something a bit more mainstream.

Homebuyers often hate to change something which has just been finished but is not to their personal taste. Now I am not talking about magnolia everywhere as there is room for some flare, yet be aware it’s a fine balance between your personal tastes and making your home attractive and selling it in the largest mainstream market possible.

Finally in this section, is your home cluttered or untidy? Many people won’t be able to see past the jumbled house and overflowing bookcases. If you are unsure, drop me a message and I can pop round your home when I am passing for 5 minutes if you want an impartial opinion.

4.   Highlight the potential of your home – but not too much

If you were considering extending your home with a garden room, loft conversion or extension, then getting a local architect technician to draw you up some outline plans to demonstrate the development potential of your property could be worth spending a few hundred pounds on.

Yet at the same time, be careful not to extend to make your house more sellable. I have seen a handful of Crediton homes be over-developed (i.e. almost over extended), making the house too big for its plot. It’s all about balancing the house with the size of the plot. Again, if you are uncertain in any way, drop me a line and I can give you some impartial advice (even if you aren’t moving for another 12 / 18 months).

5.   Don’t let your garden grow on you

Since the lockdown began in spring 2020, our gardens have become one of our most cherished features. Homes with decent sized gardens have attracted a premium. However, over-fussy and poorly planned gardens can also be detrimental to the value of your home, rather than add value to it.

6.   Offices, offices, offices

Working from home could be here to stay for a few years. With this new age of homeworking, even if you don’t work from home, maybe set up a study area. It might even be worth investing in one of those office pods for your garden.

7.   Make sure the price is right

The bottom line is, if a property isn’t selling it probably means the asking price is too high. Yes, even in a market such as this …

30.0% of Crediton area properties have been on the market more than 3 months

Putting your home up for sale at too high an asking price is one of the most harmful things you can do as a seller. This approach regularly costs homeowners between 3% and 5% of their potential price agreed.

If you decrease your asking price at a later date in order to achieve a sale on your house, you probably won’t get what you might have done if it had been realistically priced from the beginning.

I am aware of a 3-bed semi-detached property in Crediton which, in the summer just gone, began with an asking price of £310,000 yet ended up selling for only £255,500. It should have achieved £269,950 with a £275,950 initial asking price (even worse, they missed out on the property of their dreams because that one, being realistically priced, sold before they dropped their own price).

The sturdiest and most important property market response is always in the first couple of weeks of exposure. Many homeowners waste this optimum sales time by being too hopeful on their asking price.

If you are on the market and believe you should reduce your asking price, be courageous with your reduction. Make one substantial change of at least 5%, not a series of salami price changes of a 1% here or 2% there.

So, if you are currently on the market and feel you aren’t getting anywhere, and think it could be your asking price, then again, drop me a line.

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The Busiest December for the Crediton Housing Market Since 2006

Over the last six months, the Crediton Property Market has been flourishing. As soon as an estate agent’s ‘For Sale’ flag went up, neighbours would be checking out Rightmove to see the internal pictures and compare the asking price to their own home (go on … admit you do that too – every Crediton homeowner does). Flabbergasted by optimistic asking price tags, those same Crediton homeowners stand open-mouthed to see a sold slip added to the board a few weeks later.

Property values in Crediton are 4.3 per cent higher than a year ago.

The newspapers are full of stories of this mini property market boom, which has been fuelled by the Stamp Duty Tax cut, which ends on the 31st March 2021. Not only has it pushed up values in Crediton, but it has also theoretically brought forward house moves from 2021 into 2020.

The most up-to-date transaction figures (i.e., the number of people moving home) endorse it too. In the UK, 137,200 property sales/transactions took place in December, the highest number of sales/transactions in December since 2006 (when it topped 149,200 transactions, only for it to fall to 32,700 transactions in December 2008 at the height of the Credit Crunch).

The exact figures from the Land Registry for Crediton won’t be available for another six weeks or so, yet in December 2019, 49 properties changed hands in Crediton. Looking at anecdotal evidence of for sale board changes, my database and the portals, I believe we will end up around 66 to 76 Crediton property sales/transactions for December 2020.

So, how does all this compare to other years?

The number of UK transactions continued to be relatively stable between November 2019 and March 2020. That decreased by around half in April/May 2020 compared to April/May 2019, triggered by economic impacts relating to the public health restrictions introduced. Since the first lockdown was lifted in the late spring, sales/transactions have increased steadily upwards each month, mirroring the relaxing public health restrictions for the property market during the summer and autumn of 2020 and introducing Stamp Duty Tax holidays.

Before we all get the Champagne corks flowing, what the December national figures (and the corresponding provisional Crediton stats) don’t tell us, is that April to December 2020 transactions ended the year 13.7 per cent down compared to April to December 2019 transactions – the lowest since 2012. Don’t get me wrong, 13.7 per cent is impressive given that we are in the middle of a recession and even more remarkable considering there was a 48.7 per cent fall in transactions in 2008 (compared to 2007) when the Credit Crunch hit.

The biggest question though is, how much of the urgency since the summer to buy property can be credited to the following:

  • Existing pent-up demand that built up in 2018/9 and was starting to be released in the ‘Boris Bounce’ in January/February 2020
  • New demand from home workers looking for bigger properties.
  • People moving out of the big city centres.
  • The Stamp Duty Tax cut…

or a mixture of all four?

Nobody can categorically know whether the UK property market would have ricocheted as quickly without the Stamp Duty Tax cut.

Talking to many buyers, sellers, agents and solicitors in the Crediton property market over the last three or four months, the anecdotal evidence I have collated from those people seems to imply that the outbreak of activity in the Crediton property market has mainly been put down to the lifestyle factors (bigger house with office space etc) and pent-up demand, meaning the Stamp Duty Tax holiday is seen as the icing on the cake for most people. Yet, there will be some buyers, whose motivation has been purely to save money on the tax duty. Overall though, in the vast majority of house purchases, this allows us to be reasonably hopeful about what will happen once the Stamp Duty Tax holiday is withdrawn on the 31st March.

However, some newspapers are preaching a story the property market will collapse without a Stamp Duty Tax holiday extension. Nobody can argue that a phased withdrawal from the Stamp Duty Tax holiday would be better than some homebuyer’s sales falling through when the tax holiday finishes in late March. Even if your motivation isn’t to save money on the tax holiday, it could be the motivation of a buyer in your chain – meaning it becomes your issue. Nobody knew in July, when the tax holiday was announced, that we would get another two national lockdowns with the inevitable delays from remote working by solicitors, mortgage providers and local authority search departments. My advice to all people currently sold subject to contract is to ask the question, “What if we don’t complete the sale by the end of March?”. Better to sort it now than have a nasty surprise in the last week of March.

All property taxation is long overdue for reform, from Stamp Duty to Council Tax. When Margaret Thatcher tried to change local Rates to Poll Tax in the late 1980s, those who are old enough can remember the Poll Tax riots, hence the nervousness of any party since to make any changes. There is no way the Government will abolish Stamp Duty when it raises between £11bn to £13bn a year, yet with all the upheaval we have experienced in the last year, there could be an appetite to change the way property is taxed.

The Government has already spent £271bn on interventions due to the pandemic and needs every penny so that it can start to repay those debts over the coming decades.

I have a feeling most Crediton property buyers and sellers would compromise on the price they pay for their next home to cover the cost of the Stamp Duty Tax after April, rather than lose the chance of owning the forever home they longed for during the first lockdown.

Therefore, don’t be alarmed when we see property values ease slightly in Q3 2021 when the price paid for property reflects the lower price to account for the Stamp Duty that will need to be paid from the 1st April.

If you are a Crediton/Mid Devon homeowner or landlord and you would like a chat about where you and your property stands in the current property market, don’t hesitate to give me a call or drop me a line, or comment below – I’d love to hear from you.

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How Will the Brexit Deal Affect Crediton House Prices and Your Mortgage Payments?

Christmas Eve brought the news that Boris Johnson had conclusively agreed on a Brexit deal for the UK with the European Union. This gave optimism that the economic turmoil of leaving the EU would be radically reduced, yet what will this ‘trade deal’ do to the value of your Crediton home and the mortgage payments you will have to make?

Since the summer, the Crediton property market has been booming, yet many commentators have cautioned that the momentum cannot last. With unemployment and the end of the Stamp Duty Holiday on 31st March, the Halifax reported last week that they believed UK house prices would drop by at least 2% (and in some areas 5%) in 2021.

I find it fascinating the Crediton property market has defied the doom and gloom swamping the wider British economy in the last seven months. The property market has profited from the large swell in demand from better-off existing Crediton households trying to buy larger houses (as they are required to work from home) together with the added benefit of saving money from the Stamp Duty Holiday.

Crediton house prices are 1.6% higher than a year ago, making our local authority area the 328th best performing (of the 396 local authorities) in the UK.

With the Brexit deal being voted through in the Commons on the 30th December, many say this will boost the property market just as the Government-backed measures supporting the property market come to an end. Yet, in the face of rising unemployment due to the pandemic, the Brexit deal may do little more than avoid uncertainty for the Crediton housing market.

What will happen to Crediton house prices?

The property market in 2019 was held back because of the uncertainty of the Brexit deal. In January 2020, we saw the demand released in the fabled ‘Boris Bounce’, only for buyer and seller activity to fall off a cliff in March during the first lockdown. It then took off like a rocket once lockdown was lifted. UK house prices are 4.19% higher today, year on year (although some areas are breaking the mould, like Aberdeen whose house prices have dropped by 5.1% and at the other end of the scale, Worcester’s house prices have increased by 11.9% year on year). A lot of that growth in UK property prices has been fuelled by buyers spending their stamp duty savings on the purchase price of their new home. Yet, it cannot be ignored.

Of the 36,300 workers in Mid Devon, 1,900 are still on furlough (although roughly 40% of those people are still only on part-time furlough).

When the furlough scheme ends in April 2021, unemployment is likely to rise to in excess of 11%, whilst the protection for the homeowners utilising mortgage holidays will finish. 

Piloting the rocky shoreline of the recession is more important than any Brexit deal for Crediton homeowners, buy-to-let landlords, buyers and sellers.

In April, the market will also be dealing with the end of the Stamp Duty Holiday, which is due to come to an abrupt halt on the 1st April 2021. Consequently, we will continue to see the house price index’s show growth in the first half of 2021. They will then recede as the prices of Crediton homes purchased after the 1st April 2021 reflect the lower price paid (because buyers would have had to pay for their stamp duty again). Therefore, probably by the end of 2021, the Halifax may be correct, and Crediton house prices will be 2% to 5% lower than they are today, simply because of the stamp duty.

What will happen to mortgage rates?

The real benefit from the Brexit deal is that there will be no tariffs on most goods coming into the UK. 52% of all goods imported into the UK are from the EU (totalling £374bn per annum). The UK Government were planning to add between 2% and 10% tariffs under World Trade Organisation rules on the vast majority of those goods. Price increases because of those tariffs would have fuelled inflation, meaning the Bank of England would have to increase interest rates. Although 77.2% of British mortgages are on fixed rates (paying an average of 2.16%), eventually those increased Bank of England rates would have fed through into higher mortgage payments. To show you how vital low interest rates are …

The average Crediton homeowners’ mortgage is £469.34 pm,

owing an average of £191,350.

Yet if interest rates rose only 1.5%, Crediton homeowners’ monthly mortgage payments would rise to £708.53 pm, and if interest rates were at their 50-year average, then the mortgages payments would be an eye-watering £1,379.85 pm (note all mortgage payment figures mentioned above are only for the interest element of the mortgage- the capital repayment element would be additional and variable depending on the length of mortgage).

As I have mentioned many times in the articles I have written about the Crediton property market, low interest rates are vital to ensure we don’t have a property market crash. That’s not to say just because they are at an all-time low of 0.1% to aid the economy that there won’t be some form of realignment of property prices later in the year (as mentioned above). Yet low interest rates mean people can still pay their mortgages, so there won’t be panic selling. That would mean there won’t be a flood of property come to the market (like there was in the 1988 and 2008 property crashes when interest rates were much higher), suggesting property prices should remain a lot more stable.

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No Deal Brexit – The prediction for Crediton house prices

Roll the clock back to April 2020, and major financial economists and property market commenters were sounding the alarm. The very best-case scenario was a 5% drop in property values by the end of the year, and most were in the 10% to 15% range. They forewarned the Covid-19 stimulated recession would trim tens of thousands of pounds off the value of homes.

Yet the Crediton property market seemed not to get the memo on that, and now as we find ourselves at the end of 2020 and the worst of lockdown restrictions appear to be passed, vaccinations on the way and economy starting to grow, Crediton property prices seem to be doing quite well.

What happened to the Crediton house price crash that wasn’t?

Before I answer that, it reminded me of what the Treasury said in 2016 about a leave vote on the Brexit referendum. The considered opinion of the Treasury was house prices would drop by 18% if the country voted to leave the EU, so let us see what that would have done to Crediton house prices if that had taken place and then what exactly has happened in the last four and half years …

 Average Value
2016
Predicted Drop by
The Treasury because
of Brexit
Average Value
Today
Uplift in Value
in last 4.5 years
% Increase since
Brexit Vote
Crediton
Detached
£350,300£287,200£413,600£63,30019.1%
Crediton
Semi-detached
£217,000£177,900£257,300£40,30017.6%
Crediton
Terraced / Town House
£177,400£145,500£206,400£29,00017.4%
Crediton
Apartments
£114,500£93,900£129,300£14,80011.9%

So why has the Crediton property market not matched the property pundits twice in the last five or so years?

Well for most of us, owning a property is about having somewhere to live rather than an investment (an Englishman’s home is his castle??). Nevertheless, once a homeowner is on the proverbial ‘property ladder’, it cannot be denied that it is eternally beneficial to know, as a homeowner, that you have made a healthy investment in your home and that the value will rise to alleviate the ache of trading up market – or down market when you retire.

Those Crediton homeowners who own detached homes would have made an average of £63,300 profit, a rise of 19.1% or a weekly profit of £243.46 – calculated between the price they would have paid in the summer of 2016 and the price they would sell for today. Looking at the weekly profit for all property types in Crediton since the Brexit vote…

  • Crediton detached homes weekly profit of £243.46 per week
  • Crediton semi-detached homes weekly profit of £155.00 per week
  • Crediton terraced homes/town homes weekly profit of £111.54 per week
  • Crediton apartments weekly profit of £56.92 per week

Whilst it is no surprise the property market boom was inspired by the Chancellor’s Stamp Duty holiday, this is not exclusively the Chancellor’s achievement. The three ‘D’s have been with us throughout 2020, Covid or no Covid (Debt, Divorce and Death), together with a huge shift in the way Crediton homeowners see their homes.  With us cooped up during the lockdown and working from our dining room tables, the want and need of people to have a home with an extra bedroom to work from, together with a garden, has been one of the most challenging this year… hence the rise in demand.

So, what of 2021? It’s true that the country will have high unemployment, yet at the same time, we have ultra-low interest rates and for the last 20 years, on average we have only built 150,000 households per year as a nation, but needed 300,000 per year to keep up with immigration, people living longer and changes in the way households are made up (compared to the Millennium).

Many people can predict what will happen – yet none of us really know what will actually happen to the Crediton property market in 2021.

Covid was a black swan event and the fallout from that, I believe, has changed Crediton peoples’ lives and their lifestyles, especially how they see their home. Instead of making predictions, nothing can get away from property market fundamentals, which have driven price booms on the back of high demand for homes and low supply (i.e. properties coming onto the market) and price crashes on the back of over-supply and low demand. Only time will tell if, in 2021, the Crediton property market will see a flood of properties coming to the market because of debt or the demand for larger homes continues to rise unabated.

Please do let me know your thoughts on the matter.

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As First-time Buyers are Being Locked Out of the Crediton Property Market – Rents Have Risen by 6.2%

With the banks reducing the number of low deposit mortgages (i.e. deposit of 10% and below) since Covid-19 hit in the spring, this has meant that the number of Crediton first-time buyers has been decreasing quickly, meaning many of those would-be buyers wanting to make the first step on the property ladder are having to stay in the rental sector.

This has caused demand to grow amongst Crediton renters for larger homes to ride out Covid, as they hunker down for the long haul to wait for normality to return to the property market. This has caused…

Crediton rents to rise from £572 to the current £607 per month over the last 12 months, an increase of 6.2%.

Interestingly, the opposite is happening in Central London, where the rents tenants are having to pay has dropped by 3.8% in the last 12 months, as demand has dropped like a stone. It appears Central London tenants are looking to move out to the suburbs, in search of bigger homes, gardens and green open spaces. For example, the average rent for a 1-bed apartment in St. John’s Wood currently stands at a very reasonable £1,817 per month whilst a 2-bed apartment in Kensington and Chelsea is currently at an average bargain rent of £3,715 per month (yes, they might be low compared to last year, yet for us in Crediton, that still seems like a lot of money!). Also, there has been further downward pressure on Central London rents, as many Airbnb landlords have dumped their short-term holiday let properties onto the long-term rental market as the tourism in the capital has dwindled because of the pandemic.

This has been the sharpest drop in Central London rents since the summer of 2009, when the property market was still stumbling from the Credit Crunch.

This means there is a reverse of the trend of the 2010’s (2010 to 2018 to be exact), when initially the London property market was shooting up whilst the rest of the country was in the doldrums. Then, when the rest of the UK did start to rise slowly in 2013, London kicked on even further like a rocket … yet now it appears the opposite is happening.

Getting back to Crediton, according to the Land Registry property values currently stand 6.0% higher than a year ago, this is split down as follows:

  • Detached Crediton homes 6.0% higher
  • Semi-detached Crediton homes 7.0% higher
  • Townhouse / Terraced Crediton homes 5.8% higher
  • Crediton Apartments / Flats 2.2% higher

Yet, do remember, these figures do NOT take into account the prices paid by desperate buyers this summer, often paying top dollar to secure the property. This will only filter through in the figures released in the spring.

So, why are the banks curtailing the number of low deposit mortgages, meaning that first-time buyers must find a much larger down payment before they are able to buy their first Crediton property?

The reason is the banks are fearful of a house price crash in 2021 (although if you recall I wrote about that a few weeks ago and the reasons why that is less likely to happen). They too are afraid of the frothy nature of the property market since the end of the first lockdown in late spring. The bank is lending its own money to buyers and no mortgage lender wants to be holding an enormous amount of these types of high percentage mortgages if house prices fall in 2021, because the bank would be saddled with negative equity and repossession on their hands (and we all know what that did to the housing market in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s as repossessions rocketed).

This can quite clearly be seen in the pricing and availability of low deposit mortgages. As the Bank of England has reduced its base rate to 0.1%, in the last 12 months 10% deposit mortgages rates have actually increased from 2% to 2.8%. Also, when lenders have been offering 10% mortgages throughout the summer, borrowers have had only a 24-hour window to commit before the lender withdraws the mortgage product from the market because of over subscription. As with all economics, if demand is greater than supply, the price goes up. That extra 0.8% doesn’t sound a lot until you realise a first-time buyer would have to pay an additional £167 per month in interest payments on a 10% deposit mortgage, assuming they borrowed £250,000.

However, it’s not all doom and gloom for first-time buyers as there are embryonic signs that the 10% deposit mortgage market could gradually be returning to normal, as I have recently heard some lenders are taking up to a week for their 10% deposit mortgage offers to run out. Fingers crossed!

So, what does this all mean for Crediton landlords? Those Crediton landlords with properties with gardens and larger rooms will be seeing increased demand. The ability to have pets in the rental property is also an advantage, and depending on the property, can add a decent premium to the rent that can be charged.

One final thought though for all homebuyers in Crediton, be aware it’s going to be very challenging to get your house purchase through in time to meet the 31st March 2021 stamp duty holiday cut off if you are starting the process in November. Make sure your lender and solicitor have the capacity to meet that deadline and when you are asked for information, you drop everything to provide it. The odd day delay here and there will mean the difference between you getting the keys for your new Crediton home before the end of March 2021 and saving thousands of pounds in Stamp Duty Tax … or feeling a fool from the 1st of April 2021 and having to pay the tax!

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Crediton House Prices 2021: What will happen to the value of your Crediton home next year?

What will a no deal Brexit on the horizon, the end of the stamp duty holiday in March, mortgage payment holidays coming to an end, unemployment set to rise after furlough and ongoing on/off coronavirus restrictions do to the Crediton property market and the value of your home?

In the late spring of 2020, every man and his dog were forecasting impending doom on the British property market. Drops of 10% were considered optimistic as we all held our breath after lockdown was relaxed. Yet, the property market didn’t listen to the forecasters. UK property values today are 2.5% higher than they were a year ago, and more locally,

Crediton house prices are 6.0% higher than a year ago.

So, what exactly is going to happen to the Crediton property market in 2021?

Well, with the end of furlough and 1.7m people still on the furlough scheme at the start of October, a number of economists are saying that unfortunately many of those furloughed will become unemployed. Unemployment currently stands at 4.5% in Q3 2020 (compared to 3.8% in Q3 2019). The Government’s independent Office for Budget Responsibility believes the unemployment rate will peak at 9.7% in early 2021, and then return to pre-coronavirus  levels in 2022. In the past recessions of the early 1980’s, early 1990’s and Credit Crunch of 2009, when unemployment went up, the property market went down.

Yet, in this recession, the link between unemployment and property values may not be so direct.

So why is the link between unemployment and house prices potentially broken? It comes down to interest rates.

The reason Crediton house prices have gone up by 306.76% since the middle of the 1990’s isn’t because the labour market has got so much sturdier, nor that the economy has outperformed every G8 country, or that the UK has had less boom and bust economic cycles than the previous decades. Instead, it’s because of the fundamental and underlying decline in the Bank of England (BoE) interest rates.

High BoE interest rates equal high mortgage payments which holds everything back regarding the property market. In the 1980’s, the average BoE interest rate was just over 11%, making mortgage payments very expensive and keeping property prices dampened. In the 1990’s, the average BoE interest rate was a little over 6%, in the 2000’s just over 4%. However, in the 2010’s, it had been a really low 0.5%. Now with interest rates down to 0.1% because of coronavirus and the BoE threatening negative interest rates, there appears little threat of an eruption in mortgage repayment costs.

With mortgage payments at an all-time low of just under 30% homeowners’ disposable income (compared to 48% in 2007), those middle-aged people lucky enough to still be in a job (who are mainly made up of workers whom are spending a lot more time working from home), they could be more inclined to dedicate more of their monthly income to mortgage payments than they did pre-coronavirus for a bigger garden or a move out of the big cities?

So, if unemployment isn’t going to make a huge difference to the Crediton property market, what is?

Most commentators believe a no deal Brexit will have hardly any short-term effect on the property market (apart from certain upmarket parts of central London).

The stamp duty holiday ends at the end of March 2021 and that certainly will reduce the number of Crediton people moving (as many moved their plans forward to beat the deadline) meaning there will be less Crediton people moving in 2021, yet that will curtail the supply of property for sale and hence keep Crediton property prices higher.

Next, the Help to Buy scheme (started in 2013 and where the Government underwrites part of the mortgage for the first time buyer, meaning they can obtain a 95% mortgage) ends in April next year, yet the Tories indicated at their conference last month they would probably create ‘Help to Buy – Part 2’.

The bottom line is in the early 1980’s and 1990’s recessions, when interest rates were over 15%, obviously homeowners couldn’t afford to keep up the mortgage payments when made redundant or on lower wages, so many handed in their keys to the banks and got their homes repossessed, thus exacerbating the issue with falling property values.

However, with interest rates so low, this will not be the case. I envisage that UK property prices will be between 4% to 5% higher by December and Crediton values just behind that at 2% to 3% higher, before levelling out in 2021 (although we might see a modest dip in certain sectors and types of Crediton homes depending on location and condition).

I suspect those Crediton first time buyers, eager (and able) to break free the rental-rat-race will want to take up the anticipated ‘Help to Buy – Part 2’ scheme, particularly if the BoE base rate stays low. The other winners in 2021 will be low mortgage/equity rich households upsizing to the countryside or leafy suburbs to test out their boss’s promise of ‘flexible-working’.

Yet the losers will be the 18yo to 29yo renters … most likely to be made redundant and least likely to buy a home.

My advice to the Government for this cohort is to not ignore them once the country is out of this coronavirus situation. It’s all very good keeping the Home Counties Tory voting Baby Boomers happy with green belt policies and other policies to keep their property values higher, yet as the Generation X and Millennials get older and take over as the largest demographic to keep happy (for the polls), the hitherto inconceivable action of the Government levying Capital Gains Tax on your main home may come to fruition.

I mean, we have £400bn to pay back because of coronavirus … it has to be repaid and it has to come from somewhere. Those denied real access to buying their own home in the last 10 years, because of massive house price gains over the last 25 years, could vent their anger via the ballot box — if not at the 2024 General Election, maybe in 2029, when they realise that the futile housing policies of both Labour and Tories of the last 23 years have left them with enduring financial diffidence.

Maybe we should all look to the grocer’s daughter from Lincolnshire who in 1979 set out a bold vision of home ownership for everybody. Whichever political party truly picks up the batten and reframes it for the current 2020’s generation and comes up with the goods, will be the ultimate winner in this game.

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The Crediton and Mid Devon Property Market Post Lockdown – The First 100 Days

So, wind the clock back to 2008 we had the once in a lifetime event of the credit crunch, we then had another once in a lifetime event with the Brexit vote in 2016 and now the mother of all ‘once in a lifetime’ events, Coronavirus in 2020 – three once in a lifetime events in the space of 3 Olympic Games!

The doom-mongers forecast that the British property market would drop like a lead balloon  on the scale of the 1989 housing crash (where property values dropped by 30.87% in a couple of years) but would be nothing compared to the tsunami that was Covid. Yet in the first 100 days of the property market coming out of lockdown, behavioural and economic changes mean that many Crediton homebuyers are now even more dedicated to moving home and the Crediton property market is doing quite well.

Going into lockdown, the effect on activity in the Crediton property market during those two months was expectable and predictable as it was placed in suspended animation during April and May. When the Crediton property market re-opened in mid-May, nobody predicted what happened next. Of course, many of us in the property industry estimated some release of pent-up demand from the Boris Bounce, yet nobody anticipated such a ricochet in activity.

This is particularly interesting when one considers GDP dropped by 20.4% in Q2 2020 (fascinating when compared to notable historic times when it dropped by 13.8% in WW2 and 16.7% in WW1), yet amidst the largest contraction in the UK economy ever in a single quarter, what wasn’t expected was an increase of potential property buyers and sellers wanting to move post-lockdown.

Some have cited this boost to the property market on a number of factors. Firstly, we have had the Stamp Duty Holiday, others have pointed at the never seen before 0.1% Bank of England base rates making mortgages cheap, then we had the furlough scheme which protected so many jobs and finally, the pent-up demand from the Boris Bounce.

Yet, when one actually talks with buyers and sellers, whilst all of them cite one or two of the above reasons, all of them mention and talk about how the lockdown has made them re-evaluate and reconsider how they want to live, their work-life balance and where they want to live. This is also reflected with tenants changing their requirements when looking for a property to rent (so Crediton landlords – be aware of this).

Demand for apartments in the centre of Crediton has eased off, whilst demand for property with a good-sized garden or other outside space has increased. One question we get asked all the time is also the broadband speeds, although they are quite decent in Crediton (the average broadband in our local Council area being 21.0 Mbps download and 5.2 Mbps upload).

So, with record numbers of Crediton properties coming on to the market – is it boom time for Crediton homeowners?

Yes, the Crediton property market is good, yet the number of people who have placed their property on the market has also gone up. Us estate agents have never been so busy putting property on the market and I feel sorry for Ken who puts up our for-sale boards – his poor wife hasn’t seen him in daylight for weeks!

But that does mean you are in competition with so many other properties on the market (the number of properties coming on to the market typically at this time of the year is about a third to half less). The Stamp Duty boost ends in March 2021, so that means you need to have found a buyer by November at the very latest. By overegging your asking price, to test the market, might mean you will lose out on this hiatus and could end up missing the boat!

The prices being achieved for the Crediton properties that have been selling have been fair and realistic and have stood up much better than many were originally predicting.

Yet as the country looks forward, given the ambiguous nature of the outlook for the British economy and the possibility that Covid-19 may be with us for a little while yet, I must implore Crediton property sellers to be realistic with their asking price so a greater number of you who want to make the move, are able to do so.

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Is This a Good Time to Buy Your First Home in Crediton?

Young couple kissing and taking selfie in new house.

Should you wait to buy your first home in Crediton or buy now? What sort of mortgages are available? What sort of deposit is required?

These are questions all Crediton buyers are asking at the moment, yet this week I would like to focus on Crediton first time buyers and what it means directly and indirectly to homeowners looking to move up the property ladder and buy to let landlords.

Well quite frankly, to answer that question it’s contingent on what Crediton property you are looking to move into and even more significantly, how long you are hoping to live in that property.

We have many armchair economists and even professional economists predicting Armageddon when it comes to the property market, yet the Crediton (and UK) property market is essentially very sound. Don’t forget the Chancellor himself, George Osborne warned that if we voted to leave the EU two things would happen. Firstly, the UK property market would crash and property values would drop by 18% in the two years after the vote. Secondly, there would be an ‘economic shock’ to the country’s economy that would increase the cost of mortgages (through increased interest rates as there would be a run on the Pound). UK GDP rose by £132bn in the two years after the referendum and interest rates actually dropped and locally with regard to property values…

Crediton house prices rose by 8.2% in the 2 years following the Brexit vote

Lloyds have predicted an enormous 30% fall in property prices over the next 36 months whilst Savills have suggested a short dip of 5% during the summer, based on very low transaction numbers, with property prices bouncing back to be just over 15% higher in 5 years’ time. This assumes that the UK plc economic downturn is short & sharp, and that no substantial gap opens up between supply and demand in the property market (i.e. everyone doesn’t dump their property market all at the same time).

Crediton Property Values after the 2008 Credit Crunch crisis plummeted 12.1% between 2008 and the end of 2009

Yet, the circumstances of the 2008/9 property crash were fundamentally different to today. Many ‘armchair economists’ assume there will be a re-run of the 2008/9 and 1988 property crashes in the coming 12 months in terms of house value falls. Yet, dissimilar to the last recession, this dip has not been led by previous years of strong property price growth like the other two crashes. House prices in many parts of the UK have been down in the last 12 months.

You would think Crediton first time buyers who have already saved their deposit could grab a bargain in the coming months, you would believe they would have less competition in the market because of landlords holding back buying additional rental properties. This is because of the press speculation that rent arrears are sky high from tenants who are unable to pay their rent. Yet evidence from many professional bodies in the private rental sector state rent arrears across the whole of the Country are appearing to be very low indeed, despite Covid-19. 

Interestingly, the firm Yomdel who handles ‘web live chat’ and ‘phone support’ for thousands of estate and letting agents have reported national activity is higher than the two months of the Boris Bounce (in January and February 2020). The number of new buyer enquiries for the last two weeks is double (108.9% higher to be precise) than the 2019 yearly rolling average. New landlord enquiries are 32.1% higher than the 2019 average and tenants are 150.1% higher than the 2019 average  .. these are all great signs and go against the doom monger economists.

My best advice to all Crediton property buyers is, be they second time buyers, first time buyers, landlords.. whatever number buyers, they should buy with a medium-term view of future Crediton property values, instead of an expectation of always looking to make a quick few pounds flipping a property (i.e. selling it quickly).

Let’s not forget that mortgage interest rates are another important factor: they are at a 325-year low, so borrowing money has never been so inexpensive. If you know you are going to be living in your first (or second) Crediton home for five years and you want the peace of mind of knowing precisely what your mortgage payments will be, then it’s very attractive. At the time of writing, Barclays are offering any first-time buyer a 95% mortgage on a 5-year fixed rate of 2.95%. The average value of an average terraced house in Crediton is £185,500 and so with the 5% deposit of £9,000 on a 35-year term the…

Mortgage payments on a typical Crediton terraced house would only be £674 per month (i.e. much cheaper than renting)

Many lenders are lending money even if you are on furlough, yet you may find you won’t be able to borrow as much pre Covid-19. Interestingly, some mortgage companies will even take into account total income, where your employer is topping up the Government’s furloughed amount, whilst other lenders will consider mortgage applications on a case-by-case basis. The best advice I can give is, don’t assume what you can or can’t borrow. Speak to a whole of market mortgage broker, to see what is possible – not what your friend on Facebook tells you what you can or can’t borrow.

You only need to put down a 5% deposit for the property you would like to buy

If you think about it, it’s inconsequential if Crediton property values drop or not, or if they do drop whether they bounce back quickly (or not as the case maybe) because it’s impossible to know the bottom of the property market. I would say if you find the right Crediton property for you, at the price that feels right, that will be your home together and you are going live in that Crediton property for the next five to ten years, it’s not a bad time to be buying.  It’s like waiting for the next piece of tech – there will always be a better model or an assumed better time. We are talking about your home here – a home for you and your partner and family, be that your kids, dog, cat, pet or favourite pot plant because…

Spending money on rent is all wasted money – at least when you buy your own home, you start to pay your mortgage off from day 1

So many first-time buyers use the Bank of Mum and Dad to help with their deposit, yet I have spoken to many parents who wouldn’t want to interfere in their mature children’s life and subsidise day to day expenditure, yet are embarrassed to offer help with the deposit. If you don’t ask …you don’t get!