Home Front logoHappy New Year everyone and welcome to 2016. Notorious for fresh starts and renewed vivacity to start new projects and life changes I love the feeling of anticipation of greater things to come. For sure many will be turning their attention to perhaps buying for the first time, or maybe investing in their first buy to let property. Predictions are that Bank Rates being at 0.5% for more than six years look set to remain fixed until well into 2017, and it could be far longer. Even after the first rise market experts predict only very slow increases, far slower than seen in previous cycles of rising rates, with a return to 3% not expected until 2025. This has to be good news for anyone deciding to flex their courage muscle and dabble in the property market for the first time as unpredictable mortgage rates can throw a mighty spanner in the works especially if you are stretching yourself financially to step onto the ladder.  At the Conservative Party conference last year, David Cameron pledged to build more affordable homes across the UK. Under the “starter homes” programme, originally announced a year ago, 200,000 first-time buyers will be able to purchase new houses or flats at a 20% discount. Once the first bricks are laid, the government’s starter homes initiative will offer first-time buyers a much better deal than they currently get on the Help to Buy programme. Buyers will need to be under 40, and cannot have owned their own home previously. They will get at least a 20% discount on the purchase price, but they will not be allowed to sell or rent the properties for their full market value for five years. According to the plans published so far, the discounts will apply to properties worth up to £250,000 outside London, or £450,000 in the capital. Certainly with the introduction of 3% stamp duty on buy to lets from April, 2016 definitely looks set to be the year of the owner occupier as investors pledge to pull their funds from further rental acquisitions given the incentives are becoming less and less attractive. So if you’ve been procrastinating about buying for a while why not make it a New Year’s resolution to buy this year while the rates are still low and the market is geared towards owner occupies and first time buyers.