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Archive for July, 2014

Lower Deposits Produce Rise in First Time Buyers

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1st Time BuyersMore first time buyers have been planning removals across the UK during the first half of 2014 thanks to lenders making it easier for people to obtain mortgages with smaller deposits. According to research conducted by LSL Property Services, approximately 146,000 buyers who purchased homes during the first half of the year were buying property for the first time. This figure was not only 27% higher than the number of first time buyers making purchases during the first half of 2013, but also the highest figure for first time buyers since before the financial crisis, in 2007.

The rise in people planning their first property purchases and removals is thought to be due to the lower deposits now being accepted by many mortgage lenders. Raising a deposit can be one of the main barriers to making it onto the property ladder, so lowering this barrier can have a significant effect on first time buyers. The average deposit made by a first time buyer in June had dropped 18% compared to the same month last year, reaching £24,530. The average deposit has been below £25,000 for the last five months.

The Help to Buy scheme has played a part in enabling these first time buyers to access lending without needing to save up large deposits, but lenders have also been more willing to consider lending at higher loan to value ratios outside of the scheme.

However, the Money Advice Service recommends that first time buyers still need to think carefully about whether they can afford to buy a home. Careful budgeting is the key to making the switch from tenant to homeowner, so potential first time buyers need to ensure that they will be able to cover their monthly repayments and afford the additional costs associated with moving, including mortgage and solicitor’s fees, stamp duty, removals, furnishing and decorating costs, and home insurance. Buyers will also need to save up a deposit of at least 5% of the property price, and go through the mortgage application process, providing details about their income, debts and living expenses. Gathering all of this information on income and outgoings together to work out whether homeownership is affordable is still the first step to getting a mortgage and moving in to your own home.


A Helping Hand with Your New Home

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Helping HandMany of us rely on friends and family for a little help with removals, but families can also be a useful source of financial support during what can be a very expensive process. A thoughtful housewarming gift or some unwanted second-hand items can cut the costs of settling into a new home, while more substantial gifts from family members are often a vital part of putting together a deposit. However, some of us could soon be relying on our relatives for even more help if we decide to take up the new family mortgage from the Family Building Society.

The new mortgage will help young people to obtain financing for their new home by allowing other family members to combine their resources and provide security for the loan. Parents and grandparents will be able to place their own savings together in an account with the building society, where it will earn interest while acting as security to enable the buyer to access a better rate of mortgage, with deposits of just 5%. Families can also back relative’s mortgages by using their own properties as security or use their savings to offset interest on part of the mortgage.

Even if this kind of financial arrangement is not right for you, it can still be a good idea to think about the other ways in which your friends and family might be able to help, particularly when you are organizing removals. Can you ask someone to help you out with childcare or pet sitting on removals day so that you can focus on getting everything to where it needs to be? Is there someone who will be happy to help with packing or unpacking? Do you know someone with a good eye who will enjoy helping you to decorate your new home? Anything that can make moving a little less stressful for you can be a great help, so make sure you use all of the resources that are available to you, from professional removals services to mothers in law who will send over a good dinner for you to reheat when you are ready to eat at the end of a long day.


How Do You Feel About Waste Services in Hertfordshire?

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tipWaste services in Hertfordshire could be changing soon as the county council seeks ways to cut about £6 million in costs during the next eight years, but residents can have their own say on rubbish removals and recycling plants before any decisions are made.

The decisions are expected to affect the operations of 17 different waste disposal sites across the county, so if you ever handle your own rubbish removals, or you have an opinion on what happens to waste in your area, you can head over to the county council’s website to complete the consultation questionnaire. Responses are being accepted until August 3rd. You can also request a paper copy of the questionnaire from the council. The highways and waste management council will receive the results of the survey on September 19th, before discussing them with the cabinet. Any changes to rubbish disposal services will not be implemented until early next year.

Among the proposals that are being considered for cutting the costs of rubbish removals and disposals in the area are some significant changes to the current opening hours. Disposal sites could be switched to opening between 8am and 4pm, year round, with the Buntingford disposal site remaining on its current three hour a day schedule. Disposal sites could also be cutting back on the number of days that they are open each week, dropping from seven to five, with closures on weekdays to keep the sites available for use on weekends. Two local recycling centres, at Elstree and Hoddesdon could also be closed completely in order to cut down on costs.

The changes could enable the council to make the significant savings that are required due to national changes in the funding that is available, while keeping as many as possible of the sites open. If all of the proposed changes are made, we will lose two of our waste disposal sites in Hertfordshire, and getting our rubbish to the tip or recycling plant will become more difficult for anyone with a busy schedule. However, professional rubbish removals services will still offer an easy way around these difficulties, making it easy for you to get rid of your rubbish quickly, without any of the hassle of delivering it to your local tip or worrying about their opening hours.


Letchworth Students Create Masterpieces from Rubbish

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Woolgrove School

Pupils at the Woolgrove School Special Needs Academy in Letchworth have been using their creative talents to turn discarded waste into works of art. Their efforts show what can be achieved when we look at the items that we would usually hand over to rubbish removals teams in a new way.

The project was created by the school in partnership with the waste and rubbish removals department of the local council. The focus was on the damage done by waste left behind at the seaside, so it was a particularly good lesson for those students who are planning to visit the beach with their families this summer. Treating all of our waste properly, whether we are at home or away on holiday, is vital if we are to protect our environment and the wildlife that live in it.

In order to emphasise this message, the children took various items of rubbish and created a series of artworks including collages, paintings and mosaics, all reflecting the seaside theme. The results show just how much we can damage coastal environments when we don’t clear up after ourselves.

Councillor Peter Burt, who is involved with the council’s waste management and recycling department, thanked the children for participating so wholeheartedly, and told the Advertiser that the council was always looking for ways to get children thinking about the importance of recycling and caring for the environment. The project was a great success, according to the school’s art coordinator, Mandy Hewitt, who told the paper that she was proud of what the children had achieved, despite their different abilities, and that she hoped many other people from the community would get the chance to see what had been created.

The teams that deal with recycling and rubbish removals for North Hertfordshire Council visited the school to see what the children had been up to, and they will be sharing the artwork with anyone who comes to visit them at the council offices on Gernon Road in Letchworth. The exhibition will be open to anyone who wants to see what the children achieved when they thought about waste in a different way.


Buyers in Bedfordshire Struggle to Get On the Property Ladder

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Property CostA report recently released by Shelter, the homelessness charity, has revealed just how difficult it can be for people to afford their first home in Central Bedfordshire. According to the charity’s data, fewer than 8% of the properties that are currently on sale in the area are actually affordable for the average family, suggesting that first time buyers are unlikely to be arranging removals within the area.

The figure was calculated by comparing property prices with the mortgages that would be available to families who were earning the average income and who had already managed to put together the usual deposit of 18%. The results showed that these families would only be able to afford the repayments on 90 of the 1150 family homes being sold in the area.

However, the council for Central Bedfordshire suggested that there was much more affordable property in the area than this data might suggest. The council estimates that a substantially higher 31% of properties in the area were affordable during the last four years. This would make central Bedfordshire one of the most affordable places in which to buy a home in the East of England.

Despite this apparent affordability, many people in the area have struggled to afford their own homes, and property prices have been just as much a concern as they are in other neighbouring counties. Affording to buy a first home, and cover all of the associated removals, insurance and utilities costs appears to be increasingly difficult for many people.

Efforts such as the Help to Buy scheme and including affordable properties in local development plans have already been put in place, but it is clear that more needs to be done in order to ensure that removals are being made from rentals to owned properties, and not just between the same property types. Unless we want to live in an area where tenants can only ever afford to rent, and only homeowners can keep paying more to stay on the property ladder, we need to ensure that more affordable properties are being made available to first time buyers.


Rates Rise on Fixed Rate Mortgages

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mortgages rateIn a move that many financial commentators have been predicting for some time, following several months of historically low interest, the rates being charged on some of the cheapest fixed rate mortgages are now increasing. This increase is an important reminder to buyers that they must consider the long-term costs involved with purchasing a property as well as the immediate costs such as hiring removals vans.

The mortgages being affected are those offering two-year deals fixing interest at the cheapest rates. The rates have been increasing for people who are borrowing between 60 and 90 percent of the property value, according to a study conducted by Moneyfacts. Borrowers are experiencing fairly significant rises, with those having enjoyed two year fixed rates of 1.89% on mortgages obtained with a 25% deposit now likely to be facing increased rates of about 1.98%. Those who have had their interest rated fixed for five years rather than two are also likely to see a rise when their rates change.

Moneyfacts attributes the current increase in interest rates to a change in the Swap rates, which are used to determine how much interest should be charged on mortgages. Swap rates have been increasing, in response to concerns about when the Bank of England will raise its own rates, and mortgage rates are now following them up. Mortgage rates are therefore pre-emptively reacting to the expected Bank of England rate rise, which is expected to happen before the end of the year.

The rises are affecting borrowers whose mortgages were previously fixed at the lowest rates, while those who are seeking the cheapest rates for new mortgages are also likely to be offered slightly higher rates. The effect is strongest for those with low loan to value ratios. Buyers who are planning removals and seeking new mortgages with large deposits are actually being offered slightly more expensive rates than those first time buyers with small deposits who are still receiving offers of competitive rates. As mortgage rates rise for new buyers, it may be important for borrowers to seek savings elsewhere, by shopping around for the best prices for removals services, utilities and other costs associated with moving into a new home.


Glastonbury Cleanup Shows How Messy a Good Time Can Be

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Glastonbury The images of music stars like Dolly Parton that came out of this year’s Glastonbury festival were matched soon after by pictures of the rubbish removals team facing the mounds of waste left behind. This year’s festival attracted 175,000 people to the Worthy Farm site in Somerset over the five days of the festival, and together they manage to create about 2000 tonnes of waste, a huge job for the rubbish removals teams. The cleanup crew, which includes 800 people, will take up to six weeks to get the site looking like normal farmland again. The waste is sorted by volunteers working at the on site recycling centre. The organizers aimed to recycle more than 50% of the rubbish that was created this year, while other efforts, such as handing out reusable water bottles, were also being made to try to reduce the amount of waste that needed to be cleared up.

Most of us will never have to face quite such a large cleanup after our own parties, but it can still take plenty of work. Getting people to keep the place as tidy as possible during the party is a good start. You can help them to do this by placing plenty of waste bins or rubbish bags around the house, at least one in each of the rooms that will be used. When you are ready to clear up after the party, make a circuit of each room, picking out different kinds of waste in turn so that you sort as you pick up: paper plates, cans, and other rubbish or recyclables. If you have a team of helpers, you can send each one after a different kind of waste. Leave the glasses and dishes that you need to wash until last. Empty any leftovers into the bin or down the sink, then stack the dishwasher or get ready to give them a good wash. If you are expecting a lot of waste, it can also be a good idea to arrange for a professional rubbish removals service to come and collect it all once you have gathered it all together. You don’t want bags of rubbish hanging round your house for days waiting for your usual rubbish collection to take place. Once the rubbish is gone, you can tackle the remaining mess by giving your home a good clean.

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