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How is coronavirus impacting buying a property?

If you’re looking to buy a property, you’re likely to have questions on how coronavirus is going to impact your plans – from getting a mortgage and paying Stamp Duty to being able to view properties. 

Are mortgages still available?

Yes, mortgages are still available. 

Keep in mind – decisions on mortgage applications may take a little longer than usual. 

Safety is a continuing priority. For customers applying for a mortgage with HSBC, all surveyors are trained and issued with PPE should a physical mortgage valuation on the property be needed.  

Explore: Applying for a mortgage

Has the affordability assessment changed?

Given the unique situations that many people are in, there have been some changes to how affordability is being assessed by lenders. It’s important that if your income has recently changed, or you think it’s likely to change in the future, you include this in your application.

Will your Decision in Principle be impacted?

If you have a Decision in Principle, this will only be affected if your income has since changed. If you have completed a Decision in Principle online with HSBC and have had some changes to your income, you can get an updated decision.

What is the Stamp Duty holiday?

England and Northern Ireland

If you’re buying your first home or moving house, the government will temporarily not charge Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) on the first £250,000 if moving home or £300,000 if buying your first home, of the price of a residential property purchased in England and Northern Ireland.

This reduction applies from 1 July 2021 until 30 September 2021. If you complete after 30 September 2021, you may find that you have to pay Stamp Duty, even if you’re in the process of buying a property. An extra 3% SDLT will still apply if buying a property means you’ll own more than 1 property.    

So, during this time, if you buy your first or only main home in England or Northern Ireland for £250,000 or less, you will not have to pay SDLT. If you buy a property for more than £250,000, or an additional property, you will pay significantly less in SDLT if buying during this temporary period.

Scotland

There is currently no Land and Buildings Transactions Tax holiday in Scotland. 

The starting threshold for Land and Buildings Transaction tax (LBTT) is set at £145,000.

A relief for first-time buyers is available, which increases the residential nil rate band of LBTT to £175,000.

Wales

There is currently no Land Transaction Tax holiday in Wales.

When you buy a residential property in Wales (freehold or leasehold) a Land Transaction Tax (LTT) will apply. 

As of the 1 July 2021 the starting threshold for LTT main residential rates will be set at £180,000.

Can you view a property in person?

Government advice is continually changing so it’s important to check the rules in your area and the area you’re looking to buy in. If it’s possible to visit a property, you’ll need to arrange an appointment with the estate agent first. There are also strict rules in place to make sure that you and others remain safe and social distancing remains the norm.

To make it easier for people to view properties many estate agents now offer virtual tours so you can view properties from the comfort of your own home.

Can you make an offer on a property?

You are able to make an offer and negotiate with a seller.

However, there may be delays in the buying process. Things like viewing and assessing properties may be slower due to local restrictions. It’s a good idea to check in with your conveyancer to find out how they’re currently working.

Explore: Steps to buying your first home

Can you move home?

It’s still okay to move home in many areas of the country. But as local restrictions change it’s important to check the rules that apply in your area and the area you want to move to. You can use the government postcode checker to help you do this.

Can you remortgage or switch mortgages?

It's still possible to remortgage to a new lender or switch mortgage rates. Again, if you’re in the process of remortgaging or switching mortgage rates and your circumstances change, such as your income, you’ll need to let your lender know.

Think carefully before securing other debts against your home. 

Your home may be repossessed if you do not keep up repayments on your mortgage.
 

Explore: Remortgaging

Explore: Borrowing more on an HSBC mortgage

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