Nobody could have predicted the surge in homebuyer activity we saw in the second half of 2020, when against the backdrop of a global pandemic, with huge uncertainty over jobs and the economy, over 750,000 of us rushed out to buy a home!
Yesterday’s Budget delivered more good news for the housing market to support transaction levels over the next six months, as the Government rightly recognises the huge role it has to play in keeping the economy moving – and maintaining consumer confidence. As a nation we’re obsessed with property and house prices – and as long as the value of our home remains stable or grows, we’re more confident to spend!
The existing stamp duty holiday on the first £500,000 of a property purchase has been extended to the end of June, after which it will be tapered for a further three months. This means buyers will pay no tax on the first £250,000 of a transaction until the end of September – a much smaller saving of up to £2,500.
To help first time buyers and those with a smaller deposit, a new mortgage guarantee scheme will be launched enabling people to access 95% loans, guaranteed by the Government to reduce the lender’s risk. Several big names have already signed up, including HSBC, Natwest, Santander and Lloyds, with loans expected to be available from next month.
We’ve already seen huge demand for our services since the start of the year, with a 35% annual increase in web traffic in January and February compared to the same period in 2020 - and an enormous 55% increase in enquiries. A rise in home buying and selling means more knotweed is discovered – and treated – which has to be a good thing for the environment as well as homeowners up and down the country!
Awareness of Japanese knotweed and the risks it poses is lowest among younger age groups, according to our research with YouGov, which showed that in 2020, only 39% of people aged 18-24 were aware of knotweed, rising to 66% of 25-34 year-olds and 79% of 35-44 year-olds. With the mortgage guarantee scheme encouraging more first time buyers into the market, it’s vital that they know what to look out for.
Knotweed will start growing again in the next few weeks, so if you’ve seen a suspicious plant and you’re not sure what it is, watch our new identification video or send a picture to firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll identify it for free.