This Week in Property: The Latest News (20th May 2022)

Take a look at what our CEO Gill Fielding has to say about this week’s property news…

The early bird… saves 3.5%!

I love tax and the whole topic of it but even I’m not mad enough to do my tax return on the first day of the next tax year. Apparently 66,500 people filed their tax return for the year 21-22 on the 6th April this year – which was the first day of the next tax year, 22-23. Now that’s keen! But of course it makes sense, particularly if you’re due a rebate as that money should come back quicker. But for those out there who leave filing their tax return to the last minute – or worse – are late filing the paperwork, then the HMRC have just announced an increase in their penalty interest rate – up to 3.5%. This is interesting because that’s what they charge you if you’re late paying your tax but if they’re late paying you back a rebate then they only pay 0.5% on the money. Their excuse for that is that they don’t want to pay a higher rate than a normal bank deposit in case people deliberately overpay just to get a better savings rate. Sounds a bit bonkers to me and I’d rather not get involved in arguing the toss with the revenue so maybe those 66,500 people who have already done their tax return aren’t so mad after all.

Overdraft pain

Apparently the average interest rate on an overdraft is now a staggering 34.07% which is over 60% increase on what it was before the pandemic and the increase in rate has come about due to government intervention. The government told banks that they couldn’t charge more for an unauthorised overdraft than an authorised one and traditionally an authorised overdraft was much cheaper. And of course the banks then just increased the authorised overdraft limit UP to the unauthorised level rather than bringing the unauthorised rate down as the government intended. I sometimes wonder if anyone in the government ever thinks things through properly because it was obvious to everyone that’s what the banks would do. So in trying to protect people the government have just made sure that we all suffer – even those who they were trying to help. Bizarre!

Knotweed Numbers

Now I’m quite a fan of Japanese Knotweed. You’ve got to admit it’s persistent! It can cause substantial damage to a property and its foundations, but it can be cleared, at a cost of course, and you can get a Knotweed free certificate which is very useful when trying to sell a property. Anyway, figures just out show that Bolton in Manchester is now the Knotweed capital of the UK where they have found 684 infestations in a 4 kilometre radius since 2019 (research by Environet UK). Second place was Bristol with 475 infestations and St Helens in Merseyside with 441. Now that someone has started to evaluate and publish these figures I’ve no doubt that at same stage it will be a legal requirement to put them on selling documentation but in the meantime if you want to avoid Knotweed, avoid Bolton!

Financial Logic?

I don’t know if you’re aware but the average cost of a car is somewhere between £15k – £25k. I just mention it because some people are paying ridiculous prices for storing those cars – in a garage. A garage in Cornwall has just been put on the market for £80k  following a garage in St Ives being sold for £100k. Now the average lifespan of a car in the UK is 13.5 years and if we take £20k as an average price it’s going to somewhere between 55 and 70 years to match the price of the car itself. Nowadays cars are built to sustain heat, cold, rain and extreme weather conditions so a garage isn’t as important as it was and it seems ludicrous to pay more for the storage of a vehicle than it does to buy the vehicle itself. It’s simple financial logic and you wouldn’t pay more for the bag than you did your shopping, so why do it for a car?

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