Daniel Yeo is Managing Director of the Specialist Finance Center
You could almost hear any surviving Christmas spirit collectively seeping out from the people of the UK as the calendar clicked fourth and homeworkers everywhere struggled to tell what day it was, staring at the undecorated rooms , inadvertently picking up pine needles on the way to assess the situation of the refrigerator every hour, every hour, fighting with their loved ones for the last of the Christmas cookies and being forced to eat the leftover caramels that no one likes.
It’s an age-old tale that Dickens would have been proud of, but I think everyone who sat at their desks – whether makeshift or permanent – that fateful morning was either lamenting the cleaning of inboxes or still being unwell general.
SFC Solo launches recruitment campaign
Even for someone who loves their job as much as I do, it hasn’t been easy getting back to the 100mph working life that everyone in the middle market has become accustomed to lately.
The holiday season is also a time to reflect on what has – or hasn’t – happened during the year and make some kind of resolution/plans for the year ahead.
Increasingly, many of these plans relate to our homes. Rightmove says visits over the Christmas period were its busiest time with “shopper demand” up 23% from the same time last year.
The number of new sellers entering the market is said to have increased by 21% on Boxing Day just past, compared to December 26, 2020, which is the highest number of new sellers on Boxing Day that Rightmove has ever checked in.
He says potential sellers swung into action on Dec. 30, his busiest day since May 2021 for people asking agents to appraise their homes, making it the top 10 busiest day for these appraisal requests on the real estate portal.
As an industry, we have experienced heightened and changing ownership aspirations due to people spending far more time in our homes than we ever imagined.
A factor that continues to illuminate possible dysfunctions and the age-old debate of evolution or improvement. Current activity levels suggest it’s a bit of both, but with the stamp duty incentive no longer driving the buying market as it once was, it may well be that home renovations win this battle in 2022.
With so many real estate transactions completed in the last 18 months, we are also seeing more recent owners embarking on projects to adapt their new properties after living there and assess how they are working or not from a practical perspective.
This is evident from recent data from GetAgent.co.uk, which indicates that 69% of homebuyers who have purchased a property in the past six months plan to improve their property, with 52% planning minor cosmetic improvements while 17 % go all the way. pork with major changes like an extension.
When it comes to the areas of the house that we are looking to improve the most, the kitchen takes first place, with the garden and bedrooms also being an important area of focus.
Some of these improvements could be achieved with the money saved from any stamp duty exemption. However, with the sharp rise in property prices across the UK during this period, it still feels like many buyers have stretched and are now weighing ways to raise extra cash to do everything additional work. Which brings me to the volume of inquiries we have already received from brokers whose clients are looking to do just that.
Since the cost of materials is currently very high and craftsmen may charge a premium, major home upgrades don’t come cheap.
Fortunately, we still operate in a highly competitive lending environment and second charge loans can often provide a cost effective solution when it comes to raising capital.
Especially for new homeowners, the majority of whom are tied to low-rate, long-term mortgages where it makes little sense to remortgage.
And it’s an area that will continue to drive second charge requests in the early weeks of the year to kick off 2022 with a bang and keep the January blues at bay.