Further to last week’s ‘word of the week’ that was in vogue with the popular press, we have been amused to read that the stampeding continues (everyone must be exhausted). At the forefront, was a company called Oldbury Residential, who, it is reported, have completed the purchase of four properties in Manchester and succeeded in doing so before the stamp duty deadline. In the process they saved themselves more than £10,000 in tax. Well done Oldbury Residential, or more specifically, Ms Cherie Booth QC and her son, Euan. I was delighted to see that they took the advice of Cheshire & Co and bought them all through a limited company. Quite how this sits with the Labour MP who complained about the “Tory scum landlords” I’m not sure; possibly in the same echoing ‘no comment’ chasm that dealt with the revelation that Margaret Hodge-that fierce critic of tax avoidance and the former head of Britain’s parliamentary public accounts committee -had been the beneficiary of shares in a family company from a foundation based in a tax haven. What odds that Jeremy won’t be standing up at the next PMQ’s and saying, “I have a letter here from Margaret in Islington…”?
It would appear the Gideon’s apparent intention to ‘”cool” the buy to let market has been somewhat underwhelming. The rush to buy before 1 April has led to-yes, you are ahead of me on this one-an increase in the number of buy to let landlords. Mmmm, well played there G-man. Seguing in rather tidily with the ‘stampede’ is the move of the major high street banks to “slash” (this week’s ‘word of the week’) interest rates on their buy to let products. This was allegedly prompted by a concern that the market would cool (as No 11 claims was the Chancellor’s intent), and the major banks will lose their market share and more importantly profits and senior management’s bonuses will take a clobbering. Yes, cynical is my middle name.
Cynicism has not been misplaced this week as yet another miracle of selling proved. Having been to list a property whose owners had given their current agent notice within the correct time frame, I was less than surprised to be told that the soon to be agent without portfolio now had a prospective purchaser who was ‘desperate’ to find a house that was coming to view the said property on the very last day of the notice period; which happened to be on a Sunday, at 4pm, unaccompanied by the agent. Well I never. Cue Surprise Number 2 when on the Monday, the vendors were told that the full asking price had been offered and that the purchasers were immediately proceedable. All hail those ace agents (who hadn’t even conjured up their granny to look at the property in the preceding 6 months). Alas, in a subsequent exchange with the agent, they were told that the purchasing process of the immediately proceedable, ‘desperate’ purchasers would take at least 12 weeks. Right. Really. The vendor agreed that we would keep in touch on a weekly basis to see how things are progressing. In the meantime, I have nipped round to William Hil to see what price they will give me on the sale falling through. If it does, not only will I have enough to pay for the Cheshire & Co Christmas Party (they have a 2 for 1 deal going at the local’ Spoons if I book now), but I might give Cherie a call to see if she wants to add the property to the Oldbury Residential/El Tone’s Retirement Fund portfolio.