Saturday 20th April 2024

Must-know money: first-time home buying, council tax and a new state pension age

Amidst the uncertain economic environment and as the new tax year closes in, it is time to sort out your finances.

Here are some of our favourite stories this week to help you get your head around money.

First-time buyer schemes

Levi Winchester, writes for the Mirror on simplifying the process of buying your first home.

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Firstly, it’s best to check your affordability for monthly repayments and whether you can reasonably save for a deposit now. Here are some first-time buyer schemes that will help you:

  • Lifetime ISA: A lifetimes ISA allows you to get 25% cash boost from the Government if you’re saving for your first house or retirement. However, you will pay a penalty and lose your bonus if you spend your LISA on anything other than your first home or retirement.
  • Shared ownership: Shared ownership is when you buy a certain part of the property value and pay rent on the rest. This is usually between 25-75% but can be as low as 10%. You can also slowly increase the amount of the property you own every year, in what’s called ‘staircasing.’
  • Mortgage guarantee scheme: After mortgage deals started pulling out in 2021, the Government offered this scheme, until December 2023. It allows first-time buyers with 5% deposit to use the Government as their guarantor.
  • First Homes scheme: This scheme allows first-time buyers to get between a 30% to 50% discount on the value of a new-build property.

Increasing state pension age will condemn millions to ‘misery and poverty’

The current stage pension age, 66 years, is due to rise to 67 in 2028, and 68 by 2039- but the Government is considering moving this to the mid-2030s. Lauren Almeida, writes for The Telegraph, informing readers of the impact on the UK population.

Increasing the age would help alleviate Government spending, but put 1.5 million at risk who have no cash savings at all.

Age UK suggests that the pension credit should be made available at a younger age, or a more generous universal credit system should be in place to help people.

Any decision by the Government to make today’s fifty-somethings wait longer for their pension could be setting up hundreds of thousands of men and women for a miserable and impoverished years in their run-up to retirement.

Council tax increases 2023 – how much more will you pay?

Households across the UK are set to face a rise in their annual council tax bills. Nicola Garcia Merida writes for MoneyWeek, and tells us what the new council tax brackets will look like.

The Autumn Budget allowed councils to increase rates by up to 5%, previously only allowed by 2%. According to London mayor Sadiq Khan, some London councils could hike rates to as much as 10% from 1 April, 2023.

The amount households pay to GLA is going to rise up to £434; excluding the amount due to their borough’s council. This has been deemed necessary to help support the rising transport, police and fire brigade services.

With soaring living costs and high borrowing rates, this council tax rise is another hole burning in people’s pockets – check out the story to see your new Council Tax bracket for 2023.

Photo by Tierra Mallorca on Unsplash

Richa Ved

Richa is a young Indian graduate from Warwick Business School, aspiring to find her niche in the media industry. She has a passion for writing and a keen interest in financial affairs. If you don’t find her working, she’s probably having a pizza (her favourite!) and a pint of beer somewhere.

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