Eden Upton

Eden Upton

Eden Upton writes articles and press releases for mortgages, auction finance, repossession and bridging loans. His publications have received starred reviews in Real Business, Business Matters, The Good Men Project and Global Finance. Before he started writing finance, Eden wrote for big brands such as djkit.com, NHS, Nando's and Boots. His passion for writing finance grew when he started researching the bridging and mortgage industry for UK Property Finance and sourcing the best rates, finding the best deals online for homeowners.

New EPC Requirements Prompt Landlords to Consider Selling BTL Properties

Around 52% of UK landlords are seriously considering selling up as new regulations for Energy Performance Certificates are proposed.

All new rental tenancies will be required by the government to have at least a rating of C by April 2025, while existing tenancies’ ratings are expected to reach the same target by 2028 in order to meet updated energy efficiency requirements.

A survey of 600 landlords, conducted by TWM (The Mortgage Works), revealed that many felt they would not be able to meet the requirements in the timescale set out due to issues such as finances and the time needed to complete the work.

The current regulations set out stipulate that rental properties must have an EPC rating of E or above.

Landlords most likely to sell were those with larger property portfolios, with 58% of those with six to ten properties stating that they would be inclined to sell some, if not all, of their rentals. For landlords with twenty or more properties, the figure rises to 63% of those who would opt to sell. Those who took part in the survey who had only one rental property were significantly less likely to sell, with only 35% considering this option.

Head of lending at The Mortgage Works, Daniel Clinton, said: “With currently less than four years before all new tenancies need to be in properties rated EPC C or above, there are still landlords who need to undertake remedial work on at least one of their properties.”

“They are therefore understandably concerned about how they will both fund the work, find someone to do it, and have it completed in time.”

Daniel added: “The side effect of these concerns is that a significant number of landlords admit they are ready to give up and are already considering selling properties.”

“An unintended consequence of this sentiment could result in a backwards step in meeting the government’s target around climate change, for example, if these properties are taken up by the owner-occupier market, where there are currently no minimum energy efficiency requirements.”

The more properties, the more impact

Landlords with the largest portfolios will be the most impacted by the proposed changes, due to the increased number of homes that will need to be renovated and the associated costs.

Statistics revealed by the survey show that those with 4–5 properties were likely to need to renovate around 2 of those properties. This increased to 4 for those with 6 to 10 and 12 for landlords with 20+ rentals. 52% of landlords with a single property claimed to have already met the requirements, while 35% said their property currently sits between D and G ratings.

Do landlords know exactly what is required?

Respondents to the survey showed that 66% were aware that their properties would require upgrading to meet the targets; however, 33% of these admitted that they did not know exactly what renovations would need to be done.

Of those more familiar with the changes needed, 37% thought that insulation would be needed, 25% thought boiler upgrades were necessary, and 24% said refurbishing existing utilities would be the key change.

The figure for properties needing essential insulation rose to 59%, and those needing new boilers increased to 37% among those with a larger portfolio (twenty plus properties).

Renovation costs

According to research, the average amount that landlords keep aside for maintenance and upkeep costs for their rentals is £15,597. According to the survey, however, only 49% had these funds available, with the other 51% falling short and having around £10,000 on average.

Large portfolio landlords tended to have more funds available, with an average of £35,202.

Clinton said: “Financing is also key, and while our research suggests landlords have money set aside to deal with unexpected costs arising from their properties, it may not be enough to also cover energy efficiency improvements.”

UK Property Prices Still Hovering At All-Time Highs

Record-high house prices show no signs of abating, with the latest figures from Rightmove indicating a continuation of ferocious competition for desirable properties.

Available inventory across the UK remains at an all-time low, pushing average house prices up another 0.3% in September. This took the average UK property price to £338,462 last month, £15 higher than the previous record set in July.

This suggests that the expiration of the stamp duty holiday did not have the major impact on the sector many analysts had expected. However, it also suggests that the sector may be slowly stabilising as record monthly gains give way to more modest growth.

“It’s to be expected that the astronomic rates of house price growth seen since the introduction of the stamp duty holiday will now start to subside as we approach the final deadline,” commented James Forrester, managing director of Barrows and Forrester.

“But don’t be fooled into thinking the market will now deflate like a cheap birthday balloon. Buyer demand is extremely high, and property prices will remain robust, largely driven by second- and third-rung buyers upgrading to larger, higher-value homes.”

“Competition among potential buyers to secure their next home is now more than double what it was this time in 2019,” said Tim Bannister, Rightmove’s director of property data.

Mr. Forrester went on to discuss how buying power continues to play into the hands of wealthier movers and buyers, but also how there is more to beating rival buyers to the punch in today’s competitive market.

“To be in pole position in the race for the best property, you need to have greater buying power than the rest of the field,” he said.

“That traditionally would mean deeper pockets to outbid other buyers, but in the most competitive market ever, today’s power buyers also need to have already found a buyer for their own property, or to have no need to sell at all.”

“Proof that you are mortgage-ready or can splash the cash without needing a mortgage will also help you get the pick of the housing crop.”

A property boom for London?

Annual house price growth across much of the UK has been astronomical, with five areas having achieved year-on-year growth in excess of 8%: the South West, Wales, the East Midlands, the East of England and the South East.

Annual house price growth in Greater London came out at just 0.8%, attributed to the new trend of working from home and buyers subsequently seeking more spacious properties outside the capital.

However, sluggish property price growth in London could prove to be a catalyst for its performance over the coming months.

As life slowly returns to some form of normality, there are those who believe London could be on the brink of a major increase in real estate market activity.

“The London market is poised for a strong finish with an abundance of stock now available and a sharp uplift in domestic and foreign demand being driven by pandemic restrictions lifting both where the workplace and travel are concerned,” commented Marc von Grundherr, director of Benham and Reeves.

Should I Overpay My Mortgage or Increase My Pension Savings?

Everyone has their own unique approach to safeguarding their financial future. There is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all strategy, as it depends entirely on the current financial circumstances and long-term goals of the individual in question.

One of the most contentious points on the subject of future planning is whether it makes more sense to repay your mortgage early or put more money into your retirement pot. Both of these could technically put you in a much stronger financial position in years to come, but which of the two is more advantageous?

Should you pursue the tax benefits of more pension savings at your disposal or enjoy the freedom of a life with no outstanding mortgage payments?

Overpaying your mortgage

For most people, their mortgage is the single biggest debt they will take on during their lives. Where possible, it can be tempting to overpay your mortgage in order to pay off the full balance earlier. Whether you overpay regularly or on occasion is up to you, but the overall benefit is the same: mortgage freedom much sooner.

Overpaying your mortgage can be beneficial in numerous ways. You quickly build equity in your home, enabling you to access much better deals if you decide to remortgage or borrow more. In addition, repaying early can lead to significant savings in long-term interest payments and overall borrowing costs.

Early repayment of a mortgage also means taking full ownership of your home at an earlier date. After which, you will no longer face the potential risk of your home being repossessed in the event that you fall behind on your repayments.

With average monthly mortgage payments in the UK now exceeding £750, this amounts to a lot of extra money in your pocket each month after repaying your mortgage early.

Paying towards your pension

The alternative option is to continue repaying your mortgage as normal while investing your extra money in your pension pot. One of the biggest benefits of doing so is the tax relief associated with pension funds, as by adding to your pension pot, you are effectively reducing your taxable income.

For example, each time you pay £100 into your pension pot, HMRC tops it up with a further £25. This increases to £50 for higher-rate taxpayers, who stand to benefit even more from the tax incentive.

Each year, you can pay anything up to £40,000 into your pension pot, which, over the course of several years, could add up to significant pension savings.

What works for you?

As touched upon previously, making the right decision means deciding what works for you. It depends entirely on whether you want to have more money in your savings when you retire or benefit from mortgage freedom. Both of which could make a huge difference to your financial security following retirement, though in somewhat different ways.

If in doubt, consult with an independent broker or financial adviser in order to gain a better understanding of the pros and cons of both options.

Property Sales Drop by Over a Half as Stamp Duty Returns

Between September and October this year, housing transactions fell by a whopping 52%, according to HMRC. With the stamp duty holiday saving buyers in total over £6.4 billion, it’s not surprising that property purchases have fallen so dramatically. At the same time, the average home price has risen by £28,000, making it more difficult for many to get a foot on the property ladder.

Last month, the UK saw 77,000 property transactions, indicating a 52% fall from the previous month and a 28% drop from last October. HMRC said the decrease was primarily due to purchases being pushed through in time for the September 30th deadline.

The stamp duty holiday was initially brought about to boost the property market following the 8-week shutdown during the initial lockdown. Buyers were no longer required to pay stamp duty for property prices up to £500,000 between the months of July 2020 and June 2021, tapering off and eventually being fully withdrawn at the end of September 2020. This initially led to savings of up to £15,000 for home buyers and up to £2,500 during the tapering period.

Although there has been a recent home sale plummet, during this financial year there have been 842,250 property transactions, the highest recorded in a decade. In 2021, transactions peaked in March, June, and September.

With the stamp duty holiday creating a boosted property market, it’s not surprising that experts are calling for the tax to be scrapped permanently.

Director of property lender MT Finance, Joshua Elash, commented: “The monthly decrease in the volume of residential transactions is dramatic.”

‘The argument for either reworking or scrapping stamp duty together has never been louder or clearer.

‘Stamp duty is the tax holding back a property market that would benefit now more than ever from greater levels of fluidity.’

Although in total buyers saved £6.4 billion, data shows that due to factors driving up property prices, house prices were significantly higher.

Figures from the Office of National Statistics show that the average price of a home rose by £28,000 in the year up to September, signifying an 11.8% year-on-year increase.

CEO of The Guild of Property Professionals, Iain McKenzie, said: ‘A sharp drop in property transactions in October suggests that forestalling since September has caught up with the property market.’

He also stated that even though property sales were down, house prices were likely to keep increasing in the short term.

‘While transaction numbers may be lower now that the stamp duty holiday has ended, the fact that the demand for properties currently far outstrips supply means that prices are likely to keep rising,’ McKenzie added.

‘At a time when there is often a rush to get moved in before the festivities commence, we should expect that sales will continue to be steady in the run-up to Christmas.’

Others have, however, predicted that property prices are destined to fall as a result of the expected rise in the Bank of England’s interest rate, which will result in more expensive mortgages.

19 New Million-Pound Property Locations Revealed by Knight Frank

As the UK continues its slow but steady crawl back to normality, new names are emerging as investment property hotspots; a full 19 new locations across England and Wales have officially joined the ‘million-pound property locations’ of Knight Frank.

In order to qualify for this prestigious list, a location must have achieved at least 20% of all property sales beyond the £1 million threshold by March 2020.

The COVID-19 crisis had a profound effect on the UK’s real estate sector, massively boosting property prices in some areas while decimating the market elsewhere. Among those that have performed particularly strongly over the past year, the following have been recognised as million-pound property locations for the first time:



with over 20% £1m sale

Average Price
(Sept ’20 to March ’21)














Kingston upon Thames








Mill Hill












West Ealing








Vauxhall, Nine Elms




Tunbridge Wells




North and West Oxford




Upper Holloway























The impressive figures from Knight Frank paint a picture of a property market that has seen a significant shift over the course of the past 18 months.  Specifically, demand has been driven by movers and buyers setting their sights on greener corners of the country with more space to enjoy time spent at home.

Lockdown restrictions have forced the vast majority of households to reconsider their priorities while highlighting the necessity and value of private outdoor living spaces. As larger homes with private gardens have traditionally been prohibitively expensive in busy urban centres, those seeking sanctuary have been doing so away from the usual city-centre hotspots.

As a result, there has been a major surge in the popularity of certain types of properties in specific areas of the country; larger detached houses with private gardens, either in the countryside or by the coast have become the properties of the moment for those able to afford them.

All of which has triggered explosive property price growth in some of the quieter corners of the country, including the following standout examples highlighted by Knight Frank:

  • Newquay, Cornwall (+22%).
  • Ryde, Isle of Wight (+19%).
  • Chapeltown, Leeds (+19%).
  • Lymington, the New Forest (+18%).
  • St Austell, Cornwall (+17%).

There are those who remain adamant that the new norm of working from home will indeed prove to be a temporary trend, ultimately paving the way for a return to town and city living.

Beating Stamp Duty Deadlines with Bridging Finance

It remains to be seen whether the government decides to extend the stamp duty suspension deadline beyond March 31 next year. In the meantime, short-term loans like bridging finance could help movers and buyers make the most of the temporary stamp duty holiday.

COVID-19 has had a major impact on all aspects of the housing market. On the High Street, major banks and lenders are processing applications and authorising mortgages much more slowly. Elsewhere, the property chain as a whole is moving at a sluggish pace, often compounded by disruptive bottlenecks.

All of which would be inconvenient at the best of times, though the main concern is with the stamp duty suspension deadline fast approaching. There’s still technically time to organise a home loan, but considering much faster and more accessible funding like bridging finance is nonetheless advisable.

The speed and simplicity of bridging finance

Bridging finance outpaces all traditional property loans and mortgages by a clear margin. Depending on your requirements and personal circumstances, the money you need to purchase a property could be yours within a matter of days.

Specialist lenders issue bridging loans almost exclusively on the basis of security, i.e., the value of your current home or any other qualifying assets you choose to use. If your security is considered viable and comfortably covers the costs of the loan, there’s every chance you’ll qualify and gain access to the money in no time.

By contrast, a conventional home loan or mortgage in the current climate could see you sitting around for days or even weeks, simply waiting for a final decision to be made.

As the government’s stamp duty suspension applies to properties with a market value below £500,000, it applies to approximately 90% of all residential property purchases. This in turn means that nine out of 10 buyers planning purchases between now and March could capitalise on the offer, saving an average of £4,500.

How bridging finance works

A bridging loan differs from a conventional mortgage in that repayment is required within a much shorter period of time. Whereas a mortgage may be repaid over the course of five to 35 years, bridging loans are almost always repaid within six to 18 months.

Interest on a bridging loan therefore applies on a monthly basis, often less than 0.5% with a competitive deal. The funds are made available within a matter of days, the property is purchased, and the loan is repaid in full at a later date when the borrower’s existing home sells.

Where used to leverage the government’s stamp duty suspension, bridging finance could prove particularly profitable. Sourced from a leading lender and repaid as quickly as possible, the subsequent £4,500 average stamp duty saving could cover several of the loan’s major borrowing costs.

For more information on the potential benefits of bridging loans or to discuss the mechanics of the temporary stamp duty holiday in more detail, consult with a member of the team at Bridgingloans.co.uk today.

Bridging Loan Activity Up 40% Year on Year, Despite Lockdown Restrictions

2021 is projected to be a potentially prosperous year for the bridging sector, with activity having already reached record highs despite lockdown restrictions.

That is according to Shawbrook Bank’s newly published Bridging Market Bulletin, which indicates the highest volume of bridging applications ever recorded for the third quarter of 2020. In addition, the market’s return to strength after the initial national lockdown brought a huge 40% increase in bridging loan completions for the same period.

The figures from Shawbrook reflect the predictions of many analysts and economists, who expected to see a major uptick in activity due to the easing of lockdown restrictions and the impending deadline of the government’s temporary stamp duty holiday.

Particularly due to the limited time available to secure funds before the March 31 deadline, more movers and buy-to-let investors than ever before are considering fast-access funding like bridging loans.

Bridging finance activity acceleration

Speaking on behalf of Shawbrook Bank, sales director Emma Cox expressed optimism about the way the bridging sector is headed going into 2021.

“It’s been a difficult time for the property market, and of course the current landscape has left many facing challenges, especially within the bridging space, where some lenders had to halt business in this area for a period of time during the height of the pandemic,” she said.

“It is positive to see many of these lenders recently return to the market, and as our report shows, to see that the housing market is moving again.”

Miss Cox also stated with confidence that the up tick in bridging finance activity is not attributed exclusively to the temporary stamp duty holiday or the release of pent-up demand on the sector. She instead believes that interest among investors in general will continue to fuel the market’s performance even beyond the March 31 deadline.

“Whilst some of this activity in the bridging market will no doubt be down to the release of pent-up demand—something that Rishi Sunak’s stamp-duty holiday will further support—we are also seeing an uptick in investors looking at alternative strategies to sure up investments,” she said.

“The use of bridging to carry out refurbishments and conversions, as well as to aid chain breaks due to elongated sales processes, is an essential funding option that can support lucrative investment opportunities”.

“We recently announced revised pricing across our bridging range, with rates now starting at 0.5% for both regulated and unregulated products, in order to show our continued appetite to aid brokers in making the most of these opportunities.”

“The bridging market has demonstrated remarkable resilience throughout this year, and as much as we may face more challenges towards the end of 2020 and into the early parts of 2021, we believe this adversity may create opportunities for investors and brokers, which Shawbrook plans to continue to support as much as possible”.

Bridging Finance Plugs the Growing Gaps in High Street Lending

Increasingly, the UK’s biggest banks are becoming more reluctant to do business with a growing number of applicants. Mortgage underwriting processes are becoming more complex, and self-employed applicants are facing excessive scrutiny, meaning those unable to access large deposits need not apply.

Little wonder, therefore, that so many are taking their business elsewhere and seeking the support of specialist lenders away from the High Street.

Bridging finance is a booming sub-sector of the industry. While high-street lenders continue to tighten the screws, bridging loan specialists are relaxing their lending criteria, increasing maximum loan-to-value ratios, and even welcoming applicants with poor credit.

The fact that bridging loans can take days to arrange (as opposed to months with a conventional mortgage) is another major point of appeal for many applicants, and many mortgage lenders are now taking much longer to process applications than pre-pandemic.

Flexibility, affordability, and accessibility

Bridging finance has the capacity to effectively reverse almost every complication associated with sourcing traditional high-street loans. Typically secured against the applicant’s property, bridging loans can be offered at a monthly rate of interest of less than 0.5%.

When repaid over the course of months rather than years, bridging finance can potentially be more cost-effective than a traditional mortgage or secured loan.

The speed and simplicity of bridging finance are likely to appeal to those looking to beat the looming stamp duty suspension deadline, potentially fuelling another major spike in activity.

It is highly likely that we will start to see even more people using bridging loans to buy the properties they want quickly and take advantage of the stamp duty holiday. This demand will increase while mainstream lenders are unable to meet the needs of borrowers in the timeframes they require, particularly for higher-value properties where the savings could be up to £15,000.

Other industry watchers have noted a significant increase in the number of applicants using bridging finance to secure properties, subsequently switching to longer-term mortgages to repay the balance more gradually.

However, emphasis was placed once again on the importance of factoring all borrowing costs into the equation when arranging bridging finance.

Often, bridging loans come with an arrangement fee of up to 2%, which on a £500,000 loan would be £10,000 of the £15,000 stamp duty savings.

There would also be survey and legal costs to arrange the bridge, which are in addition to the costs that would be needed for the loan term.