According to the website GOV.UK there is a relatively low rate of home ownership in the armed forces. To help and encourage service men and women to get on the property ladder, move home due to reposting or change their home as family needs demand, the Ministry of Defence have introduced the Forces Help to Buy (FHTB) Scheme.
The new scheme allows members of the armed forces to borrow up to 50% of their annual salary (maximum of £25,000), interest free, as a deposit for their purchase or remortgage.
The pilot scheme, which will run for the next three years, starting today, is not designed to reduce the amount of personnel in service accommodation, this is still an option if you wish, but to aid members of the armed forces in making that leap on to the property market.
Chief of Defense Personnel, Lieutenant General Andrew Gregory, said:
“Through our work on the new employment model and the armed forces covenant we are continually striving to make improvements to those aspects of life outside of service which we know can be adversely affected by life in service.
“In particular we are keen to address the demand for greater stability, including access to home ownership, and an improved ability to exercise choice in the way our people live their lives.
“And so it is a hugely positive step forward that we are able to introduce the Forces Help To Buy scheme today, a year ahead of our original plan.”
So who is eligible?
You must have completed a pre-requisite length of service.
You must have more than six months remaining to serve
Meet the right medical categories, however, extenuating medical and personal circumstances will be considered.
There are a number of different lenders that will already stated that they will accept the Forces Help To Buy Scheme as a form of deposit without being punitive. However,as always it is important to find a lender and product that suits your overall needs. At DALES we will search the market to find the right deal for you. Why not contact us today on 01636 870 069 to discuss how we can help or why not look at our best buy tables Mortgage Best Buys.
Philip Dales Dip PFS Certs CII (MP & ER)
Philip Dales is principal at DALES Independent Financial Advisers, based in Newark and Nottingham. He has been an adviser for over 17 years helping many clients, including those in the forces with all aspects of financial planning, and retirement. For more information on this or any other aspect of financial advice contact t: 01636 870 069.
If you would like more information on this scheme and/or obtaining a mortgage, please contact us by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone on 01636 870 069 for more information or have a look at our web site www.pndales.co.uk Please note that this article does not represent advice, and the Forces Help To Buy Scheme, may not be suitable for you. P N DALES Ltd is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.
Eat more, Drink more and Smoke: My advice for those looking to maximise their pension….
If you’re Overweight, Smoke, have high blood pressure or other health issues, for once it’s a good thing, you might qualify for extra income from your pension in retirement potentially up to 40% more!
According to the Association of British Insurers 1 in every 2 people who retire could qualify for an enhanced annuity. Which means they could be losing out on extra income in their retirement by selecting a pension from their existing supplier when they retire.
The Technical Bit
WHAT IS AN ANNUITY?
Usually* when we retire we have to buy a product called an annuity, in simple terms this is where you give your pension savings to a company and they promise to pay you an income for the remainder of your life.
We don’t like to talk about it, but this income is based on statistics for life expectancy, and the healthier that you are the less money you’ll get. The one time in your life that someone will say “Smoking is good for you” is when you come to take your pension, the same is true of being overweight.
There are additional options that you can add such as an income for your spouse if you die, or if you want your income to increase with inflation each year. The starting income is based on the simple idea of a guaranteed level income for the rest of your life and each option you choose reduces the amount they will pay.
OPEN MARKET OPTION – YOUR RIGHT TO SHOP AROUND
Clearly you can suppose that different companies might want to compete against each other to get your pension pot, by offering higher incomes. In 1978 the government introduced the right to shop around for your annuity, but unfortunately the statistics show that about 60% of people still don’t shop around, a process referred to as using “Open Market Option” By shopping around most people can typically get around 10 to 20% more income, which rises to around 40% more if they qualify for enhancement.
Open Market Option is very simple, all you need do is contact an Independent Financial Adviser, and they can check which options you want and find out who will give you the most income. An independent financial adviser can also see if you would qualify for enhanced annuities, statistically almost 70% of retirees would have qualified. That’s a huge amount of money lost each year, simply because of a lack of knowledge.
DALES Independent Financial Advisers, are independent financial advisers in Newark and Nottingham and can offer Independent retirement advice on taking your pension. Why not call DALES today to see how much more pension income you could get, through Open Market Option?
*Until 6th April 2011 everyone was forced to buy an annuity by the age of 75, now there is an alternative, but it involves risk and is not suitable for most people, for most people buying a “pension” when they retire is still going to be in effectively mandatory as the alternatives are unsuitable. Interestingly this is something that is in the news today, as the Pension minister Steve Webb speaking at the party conference, admitted that there are concerns that annuities may not be the right product for people in retirement and said the government needed to tackle the issue.
Philip Dales Dip PFS Certs CII (MP & ER)
Philip Dales is principal at DALES Independent Financial Advisers, based in Newark and Nottingham. He has been an adviser for over 16 years helping many clients with all aspects of financial planning, and retirement. For more information on this or any other aspect of financial advice contact t: 0333 772 9607.
Good News for the Property Market – the 95% LTV Mortgage Deal Rides Again!
Leeds Building Society has launched an exclusive 95% LTV (loan to value) product. The core product is a 3 year fixed rate with free valuation* for all purchase and remortgages and free legal service for remortgages, and is only available through mortgage brokers.
– 4.89% Fixed until 30/11/2016
– £199 Booking fee (non refundable)
– No Arrangement fee
– Free Valuation (Purchase & Remortgage)
– Free Legal Service – Remortgages only
– Available to First time buyers, Home Movers and Remortgages
– 10% capital overpayments allowed each year
This comes as very welcome news to all First time buyers. Luckily there are no postcode restrictions on who can apply so for those looking to get on the property ladder in Newark, Nottingham or Lincoln can access this product though Dales Mortgage Advisers t: 01636 870069 or 0115 832 0265 e: email@example.com w: www.pndales.co.uk
All you need is 5% deposit, and where this differs from the complex Home Buy scheme, which also facilitates buying with 5% deposit, this is not restricted to New Homes, and clearly does not involve the equity loan of the HomeBuy scheme.
Available to Remortgage and Home Purchase customers, whilst its fabulous news for first time buyers the good news is not just restricted to them, this product is available for all types of mortgages, not just first timers. For remortgage clients there’s also the additional feature of a free legal service for the conveyancing.
Add this to the existing “Welcome’ range of 0% interest rate mortgages for 3 to 6 months from Leeds Intermediaries, and you have a very strong range of products, that really lend a hand to people trying to get on the housing ladder.
“Higher LTV products fulfil a need for those that can afford the repayments, but have found it difficult to save for a larger deposit during the economic downturn” – Phil Coombes Leeds Building Society.
This is just the sort of product that the market needs to help it get moving, first time buyers are the very start of the mortgage chain and more and more argue that they simply can not afford to get on the housing ladder, one of the main reasons for this is not lack of affordability, as often the rents they are paying are as high as their mortgage would be, the biggest single reason they can not get on the ladder is the deposit, this scheme offers them a real & affordable opportunity.
Philip Dales Dip PFS Certs CII (MP & ER)
For more information on this or any other mortgage product or to see whether this mortgage product may be suitable for your circumstances advice please contact e: firstname.lastname@example.org or call t:01636 870069.
The mortgage highlighted here may not be suitable for your circumstances and as such the above is not advice, and should not be treated as such. Terms and conditions apply and more information can be obtained via email@example.com
PNDALES Ltd is Authorised and Regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. A typical fee for mortgage advice is £300.
Why do we use cash so much for our investments? I think the main reasons centre on the fact that it’s a safe investment.
But that’s not entirely the full picture….
Inflation is eating away at your savings or cash investments every single day, inflation can wipe out its value just because its sitting in a bank account.
Why: The Technical bit
The Consumer Prices Index (CPI) is 2.9% the very best Fixed rate Cash ISA is 2.75% (Virgin Money 2.75% for five years fixed). Even with the best Cash ISA you’re losing 0.15% each year. It gets worse if your money isn’t in ISA’s as you’ll pay tax on the interest. The best non ISA savings bond is 3.5% (Skipton 3.5% fixed 7 years) take off tax (20%) you’re down to 2.8%, then inflation and you are down to a loss of 0.1%.
All the above assumes you are using CPI index not the more well known RPI which is higher at 3.3%, use this and the figures look somewhat worse, add in that you could be a higher rate tax payer and the loss per year is quite startling.
From 2002 to 2012 the total rate of inflation has been 37.80%, between 1992 & 2002 its been 27.22% and between 1982 and 1992, 70.74%.
If you invested £50,000 in tax-free cash savings in 2002 and spent the interest (a common situation for older people who need to top up their pensions) in 2012 you would have a sum worth £34,011 in real terms. Interestingly the average interest rates over the same period (source-Association of Building Society’s) is 3.91% so taking into account inflation & interest you would have a miserable £650 extra in real terms, if you hadn’t spent the interest.
Therefore Are Cash Investments & Cash ISA’s. SAFE?
Not against inflation that’s for sure, this demonstrates that we should not use CASH for long-term investments. Short-term cash is ok; foregoing growth or income because we intend to spend the money. But, for longer-term, losing money each year against the costs of those items that you intend to buy seems a little foolhardy to me.
What about for those topping up pension income? There are two major problems facing people at present, inflation we have already discussed, ignore inflation the interest rates themselves are insufficient to maintain the income requirement for most and their lump sum is being eaten away in real and actual terms. The current rates of return on cash investments are simply insufficient.
Is there a solution?
Yes: The facts are longer term investments, such as fixed interests, bonds, gilts and equities and there are more such as property, art, fine wine, cars and antiques, which usually outperform cash. What’s the price of a better return? RISK. I have always felt that it is a simple truism of life: That the more risk one takes, the higher the potential for rewards, but like Newton’s 3rd Law. With the higher potential for reward comes the higher potential for loss. So like many other things in life, Investment Risk is a balance.
Look at these examples:
A house purchased at £50,000 in 2002 would have been valued at £85,000 in 2012 – above inflation growth and it appears a fairly low risk investment. Bricks and Mortar investments & Buy to lets are increasingly common, but there are more risks associated with property than many realise – we can offer buy to let advance and help in setting up your investment portfolio, letting you understand the risks. (Source Nationwide house price index)
A Medium/ cautious risk fund such as the Invesco Perpetual Monthly Income Plus – £50,000 invested in 2002 would now be worth around £120,990. This is the gross amount, but there are many straightforward ways to minimise the affect of tax on your investments, ISA’s for example are not limited to just over £5000 per year currently in equity ISA’s you can invest £12,520. Add this to a capital gains tax allowance each year and there is every chance that the impact of tax would be significantly less than a straightforward savings account. This fund mainly invests in Gilts, fixed interests and bonds with currently 20% invested in equities, the fund is available in a number of formats such as ISA’s and through many platforms. (Source – Morningstar Fund Data)
A Higher risk fund (keeping with the same brand) is the Invesco Perpetual High Income fund managed by the very highly regarded Neil Woodford. If you had invested £50,000 in this fund 10 years ago, this would now be worth – £168,475. With regard to tax and availability the same is true about this fund as above. (Source – Morningstar Fund Data)
I have not taken inflation into account with the above examples of the house, and the two funds for the simple reason that there is no need its fairly clear that the effects of inflation will have some impact, but all three examples out perform either the CPI or the RPI, and therefore you would have kept your money or increased it.
Conclusions – Moderation in all things.
Is cash “A bit rubbish really” well yes it is if your investing for the long term, don’t have any specific goals in mind or just need an income, but cash investments do have a role to play within any portfolio of investments. They give us a safety buffer, they are a safe place for money that’s going to be needed, but for anything else investments of a different type are necessary, investment advice is really worth seeking out to see how you can reduce the impact of inflation on your savings and investments.
Philip Dales Dip PFS Certs CII (MP&ER)
For more information or advice on Investments contact Philip Dales at DALES Independent Financial Advisers: firstname.lastname@example.org or go to our web site www.pndales.co.uk or call our West Bridgford office: 0115 832 0265 or Newark Office: 01636 870 069
The investment returns and any income can fluctuate, and investors may not get back the full amount invested. Past performance is not a guide to future returns. Where Philip Dales has expressed views and opinions these may change and do not constitute a recommendation. For individually tailored advice please contact either our West Bridgford (Nottingham) office 0115 832 0265 or our Newark office on 01636 870 069
Sources: All CPI and RPI data – Office of National Statistics, Fund information – Morningstar, Savings & ISA rates– Moneyfacts. Historical Average Savings rates – Association of Building Societies. House price growth – Nationwide Building Society’s House price Index.
P N DALES LTD are regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority: 496107.
Would you like someone to pay your stamp duty, perhaps you’ve saved up just enough for that nice shiny new house, but now have to set aside even more than you’d bargained for, to pay the tax man.
Currently the rate for Stamp Duty is 1% on Properties valued at £125,001 through to £250,000, it doesn’t end there if the purchase price is higher the percentage increases, but for now lets assume that your buying between £125,001 and £250,000 as a first time buyer.
So need a hand with your Stamp Duty, well Halifax’s new products may just be for you!
On Tuesday the 30th April Halifax will launch an innovative product range, of Stamp Duty paid mortgages for First time Buyers. Halifax will pay 100% of the Stamp Duty Land Tax due on selected products for first time buyers that fall into the 1% bracket (Purchase price between £125,001 and £250,000).
There is a choice of products available, across the core range, Affordable housing, Help to Buy/ First Buy, NewBuy and MI New Home products.
In essence the Stamp Duty Land Tax will be paid via a cash back arrangement, where the cash back is equal to the stamp duty, this will be paid to the conveyancer on completion.
Halifax have a wide range of products to suit most client types, and generally their rates are well placed within the market, criteria is consistent with their main competitors, so this offers a real opportunity to first time buyers, particularly when you consider that this is available on their Affordable housing, Home Buy/ First Buy, New Buy and MI New Homes scheme and their core range.
Full details of the new products are not available until tomorrow, but in the mean time this looks like a very positive step forward for First time borrowers, maybe now is the time to start looking at buying your first house!
Philip Dales Dip PFS Certs CII (MP & ER) Director
For more information or advice on First Time Buyer Mortgages, Standard Purchases & Remortgages and other types of mortgages contact Philip Dales at DALES Independent Financial Advisers: Advice@pndales.co.uk, or go to our web site www.pndales.co.uk. Nottingham office: 0115 832 0265 or Newark Office: 01636 87 00 69.
The information above is for information purposes only, it does not constitute advice, for advice suitable to your personal circumstances please contact us directly and we will be happy to help.
For mortgages, P N DALES Ltd do charge fees, a typical fee for mortgage advice and processing is £350.
DALES Independent Financial Advisers, Nottingham (West Bridgford) & Newark. Authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority: 496107.
MORTGAGE MARKET REVIEW – REGULATION OR MARKET CREATION & CONTROL
How will this affect you, the consumer?
As consumers you may or may not be aware of the Financial Services Authority’s mortgage market review. This was a review conducted by the FSA over the last few years, of how the mortgage market conducts itself. This review was heavily influenced by the financial crash in 2008. The FSA issued the policy statement (PS12/16) and the final rules which will come into effect on 26 April 2014. However, in the majority of cases, most lenders have anticipated these rule changes within their criteria or have already put into force those items raised by these new regulations. These new regulations fundamentally alter the mortgage market for you as consumers. So, I would advise all consumers to make themselves familiar with some of these new regulations. The following is an example of the type of changes and how it will affect you, but I would suggest that the regulator is not regulating but defining the market.
INTEREST ONLY MORTGAGES
An example of how these regulations will affect you is a very lose term called responsible lending. These terms are deliberately lose so that each lender may interpret, and therefore be hung by, the regulations themselves. So, how does it affect interest only? The majority of lenders will now not accept interest only in its strictest sense unless the loan to value is extremely small and is backed up by investment products such as endowments. Given the fiasco in the past over endowments and miss-selling of endowments, in effect this kills the concept of an endowment-linked interest only mortgage. Also these interpretations go further; in the past if you wanted an interest only mortgage you would set up a repayment vehicle such as an endowment or modern day an ISA at point of application. However, these new changes preclude this as the endowment or ISA needs to be existing prior to application. This wasn’t even a requirement before the endowment miss-selling scandal. Therefore again, killing new interest only, asset backed mortgage applications. Only those clients who have been on interest only with asset baked provisions can obtain a new interest only mortgage. How about if you wanted an interest only mortgage on the basis of selling your property to downsize? There are a handful of lenders that will consider this but, of those, the majority will only accept the application if you can prove that you either have 50% loan to value and/or sufficient equity and capital resources to have over £150,000 at the end of the mortgage term. So, again, this kills the interest only mortgage market.
But why is this a problem? When comparing the financial benefits of a repayment verses an asset backed interest only mortgage, or indeed resale of property interest only mortgage, one should consider investment returns long term versus interest rates and also house price increase on the basis of later sale. Right now, the Bank of England base rate is ½% so I think most people would agree with me that we are in a low interest period. I think most people would also agree that house prices are at an all-time low. Also, one has to consider that if you were to put £10,000 in a cash- based ISA you can achieve a return of 3 or 3½%. One wold also suggest that if you were to put your money in an equity based ISA whilst very volatile, again it would be fair and reasonable to suggest that you would achieve 5% return in the medium to long term. So if these are compared, clearly from a financial point of view it would be fair to suggest that an asset based mortgage would be financially more astute than a repayment mortgage. Classically, in a high interest rate period, a repayment mortgage is better than as asset backed product on the basis that one would have to achieve such high levels of growth to outperform the high interest rate. With this in mind I would actually argue that, right now, interest only should not be being killed by the regulator as it is a fully justifiable and potentially financially astute repayment method, but if the only people that can have it are those detailed above, ie those that have already had it, then the regulator is controlling the market not regulating the market because, clearly, one should be allowed to consider this type of arrangement.
If you would like more information on how the mortgage market review may affect you or require financial or mortgage advice please contact 01636 870 069 for your free consultation.
Philip Dales Dip PFS Certs CII (MP & ER)
DALES Independent Financial Advisors, are a whole of market mortgage broker and Independent Financial Advisors. Authorised and Regulated by the Financial Services Authority.
The Buy to let market can be a little intimidating, not many people know all that much about it, but in the currently depressed housing market a buy to let can be picked up quite cheaply.
With first time buyers finding it difficult to get on the mortgage ladder and buy their first home there is an ever increasing need for rented housing.
Locally in Newark and Nottingham there is very strong demand for rental properties in and around employment centres, with strong rents from incoming migrant workers unable to get on the mortgage ladder, with little or no deposit.
Buy to Let mortgages come in two basic flavours:
The first is the more difficult to get hold of, where the lender basis the loan not on the property but on the person borrowing. These are not the mainstream of buy to lets, but are often the best deals.
The much more common is the standard buy to let mortgage, where the mortgage is based on the properties ability to wash its own face, or rather that the rental is sufficient to pay the mortgage plus a small amount. Usually the calculation used by the lenders is 125%, in other words the rental assed by the valuer must be at least 125% of the mortgage payment based on a an interest only loan.
After this basic criteria there really is not much more to it, there are nuances for each lender, for example, some lenders will not accept any applications from first time landlords, whereas others have special deals for such. The Maximum number of properties available under one particular lender can vary widely with some lenders only allowing 3 properties to some allowing any number up to a total value of £3,000,000 or more.
There are a few other things to consider, usually buy to lets are not regulated buy the Financial Services Authority unless special conditions apply, such as the property will be let to a relative, and therefore some lenders will not consider this type of buy to let. However, in most circumstances this should not affect the manor of the advice you receive.
Currently the Market leading 2 year buy to let mortgage is 3.39% fixed until 31.08.2014 with a maximum Loan to Value of 60%. Which has been launched today, by one of the mainstream buy to let lenders.
Usually the maximum loan to value is 75%, meaning that the lenders usually expect you to be able to deposit at least 25%. However, there are executions to most rules and this is no different, some lenders do offer some schemes with an 80% Loan to value maximum.
Beware of the fees: Buy to lets tend to be slightly more expensive than standard mortgages, recently the interest rates for buy to lets have been running at what appear to be quite low interest rates but beware the fees on buy to lets can be high with some lenders charging percentage based fees.
Most lenders do not expect you to instruct an agent to run the property, just an Assured Short-hold Tenancy agreement with the tenant, which can be downloaded from the net or picked up from your local WHSmiths. This is a very standard landlord and tenant agreement protecting both of you.
There is also the possibility of Let to Buy, this is where you let out your existing property to enable you to purchase a new home as your main residence. Most buy to let lenders have special criteria and deals available for this type of buy to let. The big benefit of this type of arrangement is the ability to brake the chain and not have to sell off your property, given the current market this is a very viable option for most people to consider.
If you would like more information on Buy to Lets, Let to Buy’s, the 2 year deal mentioned above or other financial or mortgage advice, please contact us on 01636 870 069 for your free consultation.
Philip Dales Cert PFS Certs CII (MP & ER) www.pndales.co.uk
DALES Independent Financial Advisors, are a whole of market mortgage broker and independent financial advisors. Authorised and Regulated by the Financial Services Authority. The Financial Services authority do not usually regulate Buy to Let mortgages.