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  • Stephen Johnson

The challenges in the property market are continuing according to the latest data from HMRC, with May 2019 delivering the lowest number of sales for the month since 2012.


Property transaction figures from the taxman show there were 89,830 sales on a non-seasonally adjusted basis last month. This is the lowest figure for May since 75,350 transactions were recorded in 2012.


Regionally as usual there were big variations.

  • The biggest drop was in Wales, where sales fell 24.5% over the month to 3,040 and 30% down compared with 12 months ago.

  • Transactions in England rose 2.3% on a monthly basis to 75,640, but were down 4.7% annually.

  • In Scotland, sales fell 0.7% over the month to 7,920 and were down 4.5% annually, while volumes rose 9.4% in Northern Ireland on a monthly basis to 2,230 but fell 0.8% annually.

This data supports the anecdotal evidence we are seeing daily with our clients, who are increasingly seeing their capital tied up in finished stock awaiting sale, and development finance lenders applying some pressure on repayment. Whilst the market remains subdued for sales, and the continuing political crisis appears not to offer any immediate respite, there are other financing options that clients can consider.



Capital tied up in finished stock awaiting sale

Subject to the rental income and yield profile of any finished schemes, there are a lot of options for raising a BTL or portfolio mortgage to repay the development finance and potentially release some of your capital. This also means the interest will be meet from the rental income rather than continue to roll up into the facility on a development loan. equity as well as replacing the debt on more favourable terms.


Alternatively, for those committed to selling the stock and not converting to short/medium term rentals, there are several short-term loans on the market that are designed to provide “Sales Period” funding. These products are sometimes referred to as “Developer Exits” as it replaces the development finance loan with a new facility, can free up locked in capital and provide the time you need to sell into this market. Typically, the lender will take 100% of the sales proceeds every time you sell a unit, but in cases where the overall loan is low relative to the value of the property you may be able to receive a percentage of the proceeds as well.


There are a range of potential tax and VAT implications that need to be considered in conjunction with your professional accountancy advisor, and you will clearly lose any new build premium. However, it is an alternative to waiting for existing stock to sell, considering deep discounts or missing out on new opportunities where you might be able to buy into new projects at attractive prices given market sentiment.




  • Stephen Johnson

The government has lent £11bn to 211,000 home buyers in five years and it is clear this has concentrated building, lending and buying activity into the sub £600k market segment. The National Audit Office (NAO) has said today that Help to Buy is exposing taxpayers to “significant market risk” should property values fall.


Providing 40% of the property value in Greater London and 20% in the rest of the UK has fuelled demand and correspondingly supply creation as house

builders and developers focus in this segment. Has it been positive or negative for the market?



Help to Buy - a positive or negative?


Pro’s

  • Helped 170,000 first time buyers onto the market (housing minister)

  • Increased home building by 15%

  • 40% of new build sales have been supported by the scheme

  • New build annual sales increased from 61,357 to 104,245 since introduction in 2013

Con’s

  • NAO claim two thirds of purchasers using the scheme could have bought without the scheme. Is this driving higher levels of homeowner debt that is necessary?

  • Has the current £11bn – forecast to be £29bn by scheme maturity in march 2023 – just inflated prices and exposed buyers to the risk of overpaying?

  • Given the lag between land acquisition, new build start and completion of the units will the supply tail work through as the demand stimulus falls away? Could this expose those developers and house builders to material risk on their sales forecasts?

What we do know is that debt availability stimulates house prices.


We have the combination of this government stimulus at the same time as all time low interest rates, you can’t help but think these two combined are an explosive combination. Time will tell but developers and house builders should think twice before thinking the Help to Buy market is a one way bet for future schemes.


I applaud the Government being proactive in trying to support the housing market. We need to remain focused on how to achieve higher levels of housing provision that is affordable to society. However this scheme feels like a stimulus that risks driving short term pricing volatility rather than address the fundamental challenge to the sector which continues to be the inefficiency of the planning system and the availability of finance and capital to SME house builders and developers.

Updated: May 23, 2019

FinanceWell's Stephen, Nick and Andy accompanied with Shawbrook's Dave Morris were the winning team at recent golf charity match held in aid of Lee Albino who is fighting cancer. Marc Champ and Gavin Seaholme organised the event on the 17th May at Stapleford Abbotts golf course raising over £1,800 for Lee in order to help him buy a prosthetic leg.


FinanceWell would like to thank both Marc and Gavin for the event and also our support goes out to Lee who we wish well in his battle.

If you would like to donate there is a just giving page that has been set up for Lee, please click on the link https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/beanosbionicleg

Winning team from Left to Right, Andy, Dave, Nick, Stephen and Gavin