FirstBuy allocations confirmed

Over 100 house builders and housing associations are set to offer extra help for first time buyers as the Homes and Communities Agency confirmed allocations for the Government’s FirstBuy scheme today.

A total of £180m has been allocated to provide nearly 10,500 new homes for sale with the help of an equity loan across England over the next two years. The successful bidders are a mix of housing associations, major housebuilders and smaller local building firms.

FirstBuy was announced in March’s Budget as a new equity loan scheme specifically designed to help first time buyers struggling with the need for a large deposit, while simultaneously supporting economic growth by giving house builders the confidence to progress developments. Under the scheme an equity loan of up to 20% of a home’s value is jointly funded by the HCA and the house builder, meaning the taxpayer’s contribution is matched by the private sector.

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‘Average price of a new home hits 31-month high’

The average price of a new home rose by 3.8% in May to £228,041, the highest level since October 2008, according to new homes website SmartNewHomes.

Strong positive growth was also recorded on a three month and annual basis, up 4% and 3.4% respectively.

Commenting on the data, Steve Lees, Director of SmartNewHomes, said: “The significant rise in the average price of a new home is indicative of growing consumer demand during the peak buying season. There are significant numbers of potential buyers who are looking for new homes and who are keen to buy while they can still find excellent value for money.

“The affordability of homes for first-time buyers remains a problem, though the industry is hopeful that the new ‘FirstBuy’ scheme will boost the new homes market when funding starts to be released this Summer.”

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Countrywide join forces with Mortgage Advice Bureau

Countrywide announce they have teamed up with Mortgage Advice Bureau to launch a new financial service brand to the UK market, called Capital Private Finance.

The joint venture will offer a high net worth property based financial service and will concentrate on providing Countrywide’s premium brands, such as Hamptons International, John D Wood & Co and Faron Sutaria with a dedicated broker service to meet all mortgage financing protection and insurance needs.

Capital Private Finance will employ dedicated advisors who will provide specialist advice for high net worth clients on all financial matters including new property purchases, remortgages, buy-to-let, commercial, international, agricultural, new build, renovation and development.

Nigel Stockton, financial service director at Countrywide, said: “We feel the private finance market has been under capitalised and we will be looking to attract the best private finance consultants in the industry to this exciting venture, which will be supported by our current partners and the world’s leading private banks.”

Source: The Negotiator

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Mortgage applications up by over 20%

The number of house purchase applications bounced up 20.1% in May compared with April.

But the rebound did little more than counter the 20.9% drop in mortgage applications in April, compared with March.

According to the latest joint mortgage index compiled by Mortgage Advice Bureau and independent London brokers Coreco Group, mortgage applications last month were 20.8% higher than May 2010.

The data only relates to applications, not to approvals.

The average loan size on mortgage applications was £131,426 compared to £124,328 in April, and the average loan to value being sought was 70.4%.

Applications for remortgages rose by 25.5% in May.

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Ex FSA chair McCarthy plans new mortgage business

Sir Callum McCarthy, the former chairman of the FSA, is preparing to launch a new type of mortgage business he claims could kickstart the UK housing market.

The scheme, backed by US private equity firm JC Flowers, would see savers frustrated by low interest rates bankroll first-time buyers struggling to get on the housing ladder, the Sunday Times reports.

New venture Castle Trust would offer homebuyers a 20% deposit to buy a house in exchange for 40% of any profits made on the eventual sale. It would also share in any losses if house prices fall.

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