ELPG in innovative drive to kick-start market

by Scott Douglas

Friday, June 20th, 2008

An innovative scheme to help first time buyers secure their dream home – and help revitalise the housing market – is being pioneered by the ELPG group of influential property solicitors.

The KICKstart scheme offers an opportunity for house hunters to buy a home which comes with a unique 3% cashback.

On a purchase of typical £120,000 property, this would amount to £3,600; with a sale at £150,000, it represents a massive £4,500 – all of which can go straight into the pocket of the buyer.

It means buyers  – who have been struggling to purchase because of the credit crunch – will receive a lump sum cheque on completion of the sale which can be used to help ease cash worries over a range issues such as securing  a deposit or paying for stamp duty.

It also means sellers, frustrated at a lack of movement in the market, will likely see greater interest in their properties – and likely leading to successful sales.

But, more importantly, the ELPG believes that by helping first time buyers to overcome crippling financial constraints, it will ‘kickstart’ the entire housing market by creating a chain reaction where sellers move up the property ladder.

The ELPG is made up of five of the most experienced solicitor firms operating in the Edinburgh and Lothians property market – Drummond Miller, Leslie Deans & Co, The Lints Partnership, Neilsons and Warners. Together they account for 26% of all properties sold in the ESPC.

The ELPG has a reputation for introducing innovative schemes to help buyers and sellers and it believes its bold initiative to help people at the entry level of the market will be another winner.

A joint statement from the ELPG said: “For properties at the mid to high end of the market there is no evidence that the credit crunch is having an impact on prices. Prices are not falling in Edinburgh and property valuations remain strong. 

“There is, however, considerably more caution amongst our clients. What we are finding is that sellers are instructing us to put their property on the market and then waiting until an offer is received.   We are not seeing so many people as usual wanting to buy first, then sell.

“The weakness in the market currently is with sales of entry level properties. Property in Edinburgh is expensive and even before the credit crunch it was difficult for first time buyers to get their first foot on the property ladder. It is difficult for potential purchasers to save up the necessary deposit whilst paying the high rents that Edinburgh’s rental properties command. The withdrawal of 100% mortgages has meant that sales activity at the entry level of the market has slowed considerably. 

“That’s why we believe the KICKstart scheme is vital. It has been conceived purely with the first time buyer in mind. The cashback can be used in some cases to assist with a deposit; or used to carry out improvements on the property; pay fees, outlays and stamp duty, reduce the mortgage requirement or whatever the purchasers wishes. It’s also important to stress that those properties featured under KICKstart do not provide an indication that prices are going down in this sector of the market as these properties are still valued at the full fixed price.

“The KICKstart initiative, together with the recent announcement by the ESPC of a new 100% mortgage to the market, will give a considerable boost to the entry level sector. It will allow first time buyers access to funding to make their first purchase less of a financial burden and it will release owners of entry level properties to move up the property ladder.

“If properties in this sector start moving again it will help to get things moving again up all levels of the property ladder.

“This is would be great news for all sectors of the property market in Edinburgh and the Lothians. Any seller or potential seller wishing to take advantage of the KICKstart scheme should simply contact the ELPG member of their choice.”

The ELPG believes that buyers and sellers in Edinburgh and Lothians should feel reassured that the local property market is remaining resilient with prices remaining positive and activity still apparent, confirming its belief that the recent spate of confidence-sapping negative reports largely only apply in England.

The various mortgage rate cuts, the recent Lloyds TSB report showing prices in Edinburgh rising and the fact that the local economy remains strong is further reason for optimism.

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