Sector Focus

Mortgage holiday scheme warning

A Midlands property lawyer has welcomed a Government scheme which has enabled homeowners and landlords able to apply for a three- month mortgage holiday to get them through the coronavirus crisis – but warned it will take longer to pay off their loan. Javed Ahmed (pictured), an

associate at law firm Mfg Solicitors, said the far-reaching provisions set out by the Government will help those whose livelihoods have been affected by the shutdown of various businesses. However, he has warned

people against thinking the mortgage holiday won’t affect them in the long-term, as mortgage terms would simply be extended. Mr Ahmed said: “Effectively,

the payment holiday introduced by the Government in recent weeks means mortgage payments are put on pause for a set period, currently three months. “The offer is

available to homeowners

who had been up to date with payments

before the crisis. Landlords can also claim, but are expected to pass savings onto their tenants who are struggling to make rental payments. “The mortgage holiday is

one of many measures by the Government to help people through the crisis and quite rightly it is a welcome move. However, there are many people not reading or aware of the small print. “The main downside of

taking a mortgage holiday is that interest is still payable and it will build up over those three months, meaning you will owe more on the mortgage and it will take longer to pay it off. “It is an option many people

are taking and is clearly better to take a little longer to pay off the mortgage than risk losing your home altogether. I just want people to be aware of the full picture.” Mr Ahmed added that

homeowners and landlords do not need to have contracted coronavirus to apply for the holiday period. It is available to those concerned about their ability to make payments, such as people who had lost work and salary as a result of the lockdown, he said.



Pandemic effect hopefully just ‘a bump in the road’

A Birmingham property expert is hoping that the coronavirus will prove to be a ‘bump’ in the road for the city’s residential market, rather than a significant problem. James Forrester, managing director of estate and

lettings agency Barrows & Forrester, and founder of website, said that while he expected the number of house transactions this year to drop ‘significantly’, he added that the market was at a low ebb anyway, even before Covid-19 came along. He said: “I foresee the number of people moving

home in Birmingham will significantly drop in 2020. “This will only really affect the pockets of estate

agents and the people associated with house moving. “Remarkably, it must be stated the number of

property transactions over the last 12 months in Birmingham are only at 42.7 per cent of the 10-year Birmingham average – and this was before Covid-19 “In the last 12 months, there have been 249 property

transactions in Birmingham City centre, compared to a 10-year average of 583 per year. “These predictions are from the 10-year long term

average, and as it can quite clearly be seen, transaction levels are already at a low, even without Covid-19 and nobody was complaining about that apart from estate agents and removal vans.” Mr Forrester said he believed the drop in activity

would lead a build-up of suppressed demand, which would build on that which was already there as a result of the long-winded Brexit situation. He added that this could lead to a housing boom

later this year or early next, and prices could then rise as demand might outstrip supply. Despite the current lack of transactions, Mr Bower

said he did not believe property values would be affected, although anyone who wanted to sell up at all costs would have to accept that buyers would be able to drive a hard bargain.

Housing market will bounce back: James Forrester He added: “These reductions will artificially amplify

the property value indexes in a downward direction in the autumn, because they will be based on the very low levels of property transactions that will take place in the summer. “Interestingly we have seen this many times over the

years, because just about every spring for the last 20 years, we have often seen negative or very subdued figures in the house price indexes in the months of January/February.”

Timber Yard scheme put on hold

Developers of a major new residential scheme in Southside, Birmingham, have paused construction at the site. The Timber Yard scheme, which

comprises 379 studio, one, two and three bedroom apartments, plus ground floor commercial space, construction site is now closed, with the exception of important safety works. This decision has been taken by

scheme partners Galliard Homes and Apsley House Capital, to ensure the health and safety of the company’s on site staff, and will also remove construction workers from Birmingham’s transport network, helping to free up public transport for NHS staff and other key workers. Both companies said that the

Galliard Apsley Partnership remained “open for business”. Galliard’s Birmingham sales function remains operational, with staff working from home, and the business will continue to market Timber Yard on Pershore Street.

On hold: The proposed Timber Yard development

The partnership will also

continue to take registrations of interest for the company’s pipeline developments at Soho Loop, where planning permission has been granted for more than 750 new homes, and 10,000 sq ft of commercial space, and St Paul’s Quarter, which has consent for 305 apartments and 100,000 sq ft of commercial space. Gerard Nock, chairman of Apsley

House Capital, said: “Birmingham is at the core of our business and we are committed to the UK’s second city, but during these unprecedented times the safety of our construction staff is paramount and we believe that by taking our staff out of daily commuting we will help to free up Birmingham’s transport network for the NHS and key workers who are protecting sick and vulnerable people across the region.”

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