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Other Finance News

Have Banks Recovered from the Recession?

More than a decade has passed since the financial crisis that crippled the UK. In the meantime, banks and lenders across the country have been working tirelessly to regain their strength and positioning. Lloyds Bank recovery and Bank of Scotland debt recovery initiatives have been well publicised, but where exactly do we stand right now?

Have post-recession recovery efforts reached their objectives? Or are the scars of recession still visible across the UK economy?

The UK’s Recovery from Recession

Truth is, the answer lies somewhere down the middle. In terms of recession recovery, the UK has experienced an impressive eight years of solid growth since the height of the crisis. In addition, employment levels have repeatedly hit record-highs along the way.

Nevertheless, this doesn’t mean the UK’s recovery from recession is complete. Some of the facts and figures still make for less than reassuring reading, despite evidence that things are at least heading in the right direction.

Wages

For example, average wages are no higher today (in inflation-adjusted terms) than they were 14 years ago. Promises have been made by the Bank of England to continue improving wages for UK workers, but annual increases of around 2.5% pale in comparison to the 4% annual average prior to the financial crisis. So while progress has been made, there’s still a long way to go.

Productivity

The stagnation of productivity in the UK has proved particularly problematic and stubborn over the past decade. In fact, productivity growth since 2008 has trudged along at its slowest pace in almost two centuries. Economists point the finger of blame the way of low interest rates, poor management and a lack of investment. Problems that continue to hang over the British economy today.

Housing Market

Steady growth in housing market activity has helped many banks and lenders repair at least some of the damage brought about by the recession. Once again, however, things are still performing at an exponentially lower level than prior to the crisis. For example, mortgage approval volumes are still down around 40% compared to a decade ago, with minimal inventory contributing to average property price increases of 17%.

Government Debt

Extensive efforts have been made to bring government debt under control, which exploded wildly in the months and years following the crisis. A decade of frugality and budget cuts have made a dent, but there’s still a glaring gap between government spending and tax revenues.

EU Withdrawal

Last but not least, nobody has any real clue as to the possible implications of the UK’s exit from the European Union. An issue which is currently affecting every aspect of the British economy. From house prices to interest rates to personal and business borrowing, people are more cautious about their financial decisions than they’ve been in some time. Some of which is playing into the hands of banks and major lenders – some prolonging the recovery process and prompting fears of another economic crisis.

For more information on the current state of the UK banking sector or to discuss our services in more detail, contact UK Property Finance for an obligation-free consultation.

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Other Finance News

How Much Property Does the Royal Family Own?

You wouldn’t expect the British Royal Family to be anything but fabulously wealthy. You’d also expect the Queen to own more than her fair share of prime real estate across the UK.

But what you might not know is how many Royal properties there are in Britain, or the total Royal Family properties value. You’d expect it to be a lot, but how much exactly?

How Many Properties Do the Royal Family Own?

Aside from the most obvious properties owned by the Royal Family, there are a handful of other estates you might not have realised were regal. Buckingham Palace in all its 775-room glory being perhaps the most famous of all Royal properties in the UK. Nevertheless, the official residence of the Queen represents just one entry to her £13 billion property portfolio.

That’s right…£13 billion – enough to put many of the world’s biggest property tycoons to shame!

In terms of specific property, detailed below you’ll find a handful of Royal properties you may not have realised were under the watch of the world’s most powerful landlady:

The Savoy Estate, London

Next time you take a stroll down one of the most iconic strips in London’s West End, spare a thought for its lucky owner. Yes, the Queen is the official owner of this part of the Strand, which is also home to the world-famous Savoy Hotel and the Savoy Theatre.

Regent Street

Believe it or not, the Queen is the official owner of Regent Street…as in the entire street. One of the most famous streets in London, the UK and the entire world, Regent Street is renowned for its glamourous stores and for making an appearance in the game of Monopoly. This one street alone employs more than 20,000 people and attracts a whopping 7.5 million tourists each year. It was also the first street in the world designed specifically with shopping in mind.

Balmoral Castle

No surprises here, what with Balmoral being the most treasured place of all by Her Majesty to relax and unwind. It’s been a Royal residence since 1852, occupying a massive 20,000-hectare plot in a beautiful open area of Aberdeenshire.

Sandringham House

Measuring in at a comparatively compact 8,000 hectares, the Queen’s Sandringham Estate was purchased back in 1862 by Queen Victoria. Since then, it’s been a favourite among Royals of all ages for relaxing and unwinding in an idyllic countryside setting.

Windsor Castle

Boasting more than 1,000 years of rich history and heritage, Windsor Castle is considered by many to be the most important Royal residence. It’s certainly the oldest and most imposing – not to mention the place the Queen herself heads most weekends to relax. If the Royal Standard is flying, you know she’s home.

Other Properties….

In addition to the regal residences above, the Queen is also the owner of 263,000 acres of farmland, 11 hectares of forests and 30 offshore windfarms. Oh, and let’s not forget Royal Ascot – also her rightful property!

All in all, a pretty spectacular property portfolio with a combined value in excess of £13 billion.

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Bridging Loans

FAKE NEWS: Bridging Loans Are Just for Property Investors

It’s common to assume that bridging loans are aimed exclusively at property investors. Since the dawn of bridging finance, these specialist loans have served as an invaluable lifeline for developers and investors at all levels. But to assume bridging finance is available only for property investment purposes is to do these flexible funding solutions a huge disservice.

When Are Bridging Loans Used?

In practice, a bridging loan can be used in any instance where a significant sum is required as quickly as possible for a comparatively short period of time. As the loan is typically paid back within a matter of months, bridging loan rates and overall borrowing costs can be exponentially lower than those of more traditional mortgages and lending products.

You need only check out a bridging loan calculator to see just how affordable bridging finance can be.

What Are Bridging Loans Used For?

Designed to cover moderate to major expenses on a strictly short-term basis, bridging loans can be the cheapest available option. But in what instances is a bridging loan considered useful? Aside from major property investments for business purposes, when else may a borrower find bridging finance the ideal funding solution?

Purchasing properties at auction

It’s worth remembering that it isn’t only investors and developers that take an interest in properties at auction. If the home of your dreams goes under the hammer at a bargain price, a bridging loan could cover the costs until you sell your current property.

Avoiding repossession

Struggling homeowners facing the threat of repossession have very few viable avenues to explore. However, a more amicable alternative to repossession could be to pay off the outstanding balance in full with a bridging loan, sell the property, repay the loan and retain any additional equity. Far better than simply relinquishing ownership of the property in its entirety.

Funding home improvements

Borrowing against the equity tied up in your property by way of a bridging loan can also be useful for funding home improvements and alterations. From simple renovations to challenging extension works, a bridging loan can provide the funds required in a matter of days.

Covering business costs

For business owners in general, bridging finance represents an open and accessible financial solution for covering urgent and unexpected costs. One example of which being meeting unexpected tax liabilities, which simply cannot be put off until a later date. If a substantial amount of money is needed and needed fast for business purposes of any kind, bridging loans are worth considering.

All-purpose private borrowing

If the required collateral can be provided to cover the cost of the loan, bridging finance can be secured for almost any purpose. Just as long as the balance of the loan and all borrowing costs can be repaid as agreed, private borrowers have complete freedom of choice with how they allocate the funds. Vehicle purchases, new business establishment, even an extravagant holiday to pay for at a later date. Limitless scope and absolutely zero limitations from a uniquely flexible and accessible funding solution.

For more information on any aspect of bridging finance or to discuss your requirements in more detail, contact a member of the team today.

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Mortgages

Couple purchase their first home against the odds.

Last year the number of first-time buyers reached a 12-year high. Undeterred by Brexit, a mass movement of hopeful first-time buyers looked to take advantage of the stamp duty relief introduced in the winter budget 2017. The Bank of England under growing pressure to increase interest rates helped circumstances by an only slight increase in rates to 0.75% in the summer.

Like many eager young purchasers, our clients from Leicester were no different. Ben and Jess had been living with parents for 18 months in a desperate bid to save for their first home. The couple had very specific requirements on location and property type. The Location was important because they wanted to be situated in an affluent area in between both sets of parents. Ben and Jess were very much in agreement, they both loved the traditional double bay fronted semi-detached houses. Unfortunately within the search area they had dramatically limited themselves to the choices available.

After 6 months of searching, Ben found the golden ticket on Rightmove during his lunch break at work. A double bay fronted house within a mile each side of their parents. Ben phoned Jess to tell her the good news and later that day booked a viewing for the following weekend.

Fast forward to the post viewing discussion driving home, Ben and Jess had fallen in love with the house. They had scoped the place fully and even discussed where their furniture would go. The property was slightly more expensive than they had hoped, and the sellers weren’t offering any negotiation in the asking price. The couple had to pull on the bank of mum and dad to increase the deposit so they could begin their mortgage application. Work out the costs of a mortgage using our Mortgage calculator UK

‘In steps UK Property Finance…’

During the mortgage application, it came to light that Jess had some adverse credit. This was due to an incorrect postal address and not being aware of a commitment to repay. Panicked and confused Jess had to find an alternative broker.UK Property Finance stepped in to keep the couples dream of owning their own home alive. UKPF were called upon to find them a lender that would not only consider the gifted deposit but also the adverse credit history. UKPF had to relay the circumstances to the lender to put context to the situation. In 48 hours the team had managed to find a lender who offered low costs and a competitive rate. Once the application was submitted the couple could get back on track with the typical sales process.

8 weeks later they have now completed on the transaction and are slowly moving their belongings from mum and dads to their new home. Ben had to contend with changing jobs during the transaction but because of the constant update from UKPF he was able to inform the lender with employment references and what could be quite a stressful situation was resolved swiftly.

If you’re a first-time buyer and have concerns over adverse credit, please get in touch to see if UK Property Finance can get you moving.

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