Buy-to-let news Confidence grows
Signs of increased confidence in the buy- to-let market with the increasing maximum loan-to-values of Aldermore and Leeds Building Society. Aldermore now lends to a maximum of 80% loan-to- value on selected fixed rates for 2, 3 and 5 years, whilst Leeds Building Society has two new 2 year fixed rates also to 80%. Aldermore also increased its maximum property portfolio to five properties (excluding residential) to an overall maximum of £2 million. Woolwich from Barclays no longer lends more than 60% loan-to-value and although its variable term tracker was reduced by 0.50% to 3.99%, the product fee increased by £2,000 to £3,999, as did the fee on the lender’s sole fixed rate.
Marsden Building Society now offers a £250 rebate to all remortgage applicants in addition to the existing free valuation for both purchase and remortgage. Paragon Mortgages launched a new expanded buy-to-let range with 44 products including LIBOR linked variable trackers and 2 and 3 year fixed rates, while the Mortgage Trust’s range of products reduced from 18 to 6.
HSBC New Year sale ending
Start-ups, switchers and existing SME customers could all make savings with the discounts and enhanced borrowing rates offered in HSBC’s eighth annual sale, which ends on 31 January.
The January sale includes the following offers: • 2% off the interest rate on a Small Business Loan, potentially saving existing customers and start-ups over £500
• Loan matching, plus 1% off a current overdraft rate (and no arrangement/ security fee), for those switching to HSBC.
• 50% off an overdraft arrangement fee for limits up to £5,000, a potential saving of £50 for start-ups and switchers.
• Six months free terminal rental for start-up and switchers (for up to 3 terminals), usually costing £120 per terminal, plus no set-up fee for switchers, usually costing £150, enabling a total saving of £120 to £510.
• No monthly fee for three months for new International Bank Accounts for all SMEs.
Steve Price, Head of Business Banking, HSBC UK, said: “There are some great deals in our annual sale, whether a business is looking to switch their current account without increasing their borrowing costs, they are starting a new business, or an existing customer looking for important funding at a great rate to make their investment even more affordable. Despite challenging economic conditions, many SMEs are optimistic of growth over the next 12 months, and these deals help them achieve some of their goals.”
A new comparison website was launched in December on which sellers and landlords can list their property for free and agents bid against the clock for the opportunity to sell or let it. Co-founder of ipostcode.com
Domenic Versace commented: “We want to lift the lid on estate agency fees and make the process more competitive, encouraging them to pitch upfront for the business.” He went on to say: “It’s not always about the lowest fees, it’s also important to know how long you are tied into any sole agency period and where your property is being advertised.”
According to December’s LSL Property Services plc Buy-to-let Index, rents dipped for the first time in ten months by 0.4% to £717 per month, a drop from £720 pcm in October. Despite this decline, rents rose in all regions over the last 12 months, with the largest rises seen in London and the South East, which both saw a 4.2% increase.
See buy-to-let details on pages 20 to 34.
Regulatory concerns A new report by the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) shows that the government’s new regulatory architecture is inconsistent and lacks transparency. Through analysis of Impact Assessments (IAs) by government department, and the feedback on these by the Regulatory Policy Committee, the BCC was able to examine the progress made by the government to improve regulatory policy and reduce the effects of red tape on business.
The “Red Tape Challenged?” report found that only substantive reductions in regulatory burdens will make a genuine difference to British businesses. During 2011, the government has made a serious commitment to reduce red tape for firms, but the report finds that the systems and processes put in place to achieve this are still inconsistent and must be strengthened.
Commenting on the report, John Longworth, Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce, said: “The scrutiny of regulation often falls down as there is no single Ministerial ‘guardian’ to make sure it is being delivered. ‘One-in, One-out’ has potential to have a big effect, but the current exemptions and lack of transparency with Impact Assessments make it difficult to police. Businesses the length and breadth of the country are yet to feel the concrete or positive changes promised by the government’s deregulatory drive. Only substantive and real reductions in the regulatory burden will give companies confidence and enable them to plan for future growth with certainty and clarity.”
Business Protection Free supplement in this issue
Given the present parlous state of the economy, there are more than enough potential threats to the future success and survival of many UK businesses. Whilst it is difficult to expect businesses to plan against the impact of a recession, there are other contingencies for which they should be making adequate preparations.
One of the priorities for most SMEs should be to ensure that they protect themselves from the fallout created by the unexpected loss of a business owner or key member of staff, whether this arises as a result of death or serious illness. In our latest supplement, free with this month’s issue, we consider the opportunities presented by business protection and the need to address the shortfalls that exist amongst some of your business-owner clients.
February 2012 F
READERS ARE REMINDED THAT BUSINESS MONEYFACTS IS COPYRIGHT
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