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Number of UK rental homes has doubled since 1990s

Published: 18/07/2017   Last Updated: 18/07/2017 10:23:17   Tags:

The number of people owning UK property has been falling for some time now, dropping from more than three-quarters in the 1980s to less than two-thirds as of the middle of this decade, Eurostat data shows.

And according to new figures published this week by the Department of Communities and Local Government (DCLG), the number of people instead choosing to rent homes has now hit its highest level ever.

It said that as of mid-2016, the number of homes that are privately rented amounted to 20 per cent of households nationwide. It means that when compared to the average throughout the 1990s, the proportion of homes available in the private rented market has doubled.

The DCLG report also shows that the main demographics for rented homes are strengthening their positions within this market. It said that both young professionals and families remain among the most common tenants in the private rented sector, with both having grown in prominence over the last few years.

In the year 2015/2016, the DCLG said, the number of households in the private rented sector reached as many as 4.5 million. This means there are nearly two million more properties occupied by private tenants than there were in 2000.

Perhaps the most surprising aspect, however, of the report, is just how much the number of young people renting has risen. According to the data, the proportion of young people aged 25 to 34 who lived in the rented sector increased from 24 per cent in 2005/2006, to 46 per cent in 2015/2016.
 
 While many will have had to become tenants because of the increasing difficulty in being able to afford a home, for many others, there are real positives behind their reasons for becoming private tenants.

For example, many choose to rent rather than buy because they are still upwardly mobile in their career, and embrace the freedom to move at short notice that comes with not owning the property they live in.

Tenants 'fear eviction' when pushing for rental property repairs

Published: 18/07/2017   Last Updated: 18/07/2017 10:13:08   Tags:

Letting agents across the UK's private rented sector need to be doing more to allay the fears of tenants who suffer in silence rather than asking for crucial repair works to be carried out.

A new survey, conducted by Citizens Advice, found that even if they have nothing to be worried about in terms of the relationship they have with their letting agent or landlord, as many as 41 per cent of those living in rented UK properties had waited longer than usual for repairs to be done.

In many cases, this is because they are worried that they could be evicted if they request maintenance work or push their agent or landlord to get something done more quickly. It underlines the importance for agents in letting tenants know where they are in terms of progress on jobs getting done, so they don't just think they've been forgotten about.

The most common problems that people are waiting to have fixed, the organisation said, include broken windows, hot water outages, leaks, and dangerous electricals. However, many people do not want to press landlords on problems, with some 57 per cent saying they fear being evicted from their home if they complain too much, and 51 per cent admitting they are worried the price of their rent will go up.

"Issues such as broken fittings, faulty electricals or leaks can make life hard for renters and can even lead to ill health. But renters aren’t pursuing their rights to repair because they are worried their landlord will put up their rent or evict them," said Gillian Guy, chief executive of Citizens Advice.

This is where effective letting agents should be stepping in. If it's a case where a landlord is taking too long to get the job done, agents can push them on making progress, or take over. And if it's simply just that something is taking longer than originally expected, then all it can take from the agent is a quick call or email to the tenant to keep them in the loop.

Buy To Let: investors buying smaller homes with larger yields

Published: 15/07/2017   Last Updated: 15/07/2017 10:45:37   Tags:

Landlords continue to look for cheaper, higher-performing properties according to the results of an index produced by Mortgages for Business.

An analysis of mortgages arranged by the company in the second quarter of this year shows that all types of buy to let properties purchased during the quarter had much lower values than the overall long-term average.

These lower-value properties provide better return on the landlord’s investment, with both HMO and multi-unit purchases achieving average yields of over 10 per cent.

By comparison, these properties achieved yields of just 8.7 per cent and 7.9 per cent respectively when remortgage transactions - applying to already-purchased units - were included.
 
“Landlords have been selective with their purchases this quarter, choosing properties that maximise income with minimal investment. This strategy is likely to remain common as it allows landlords to maintain profitability while HMRC phases in restrictions on income tax relief for landlords” says Steve Olejnik, Mortgages for Business chief operating officer.

One consequence of this selectivity is that landlords have had to scale back their rate of expansion from last quarter.

The past three months saw a drop in the proportion of buy to let purchase transactions compared to Q1, returning to the preponderance of remortgages that has become common in recent years.

Loan to values remained stable across the quarter, except for a modest four per cent drop among multi-unit properties.

First-time buyers considerably fewer than 20 years ago

Published: 15/07/2017   Last Updated: 15/07/2017 10:17:06   Tags:

The profile of the average first-time buyer in the UK property market is considerably different than it was ten or 20 years ago, according to new data, which also shows that there has been a considerable drop in the number of buyers over the last two decades.

This is largely due to the number of people who now see renting a home as a fantastic alternative to buying, thanks to the flexibility it gives them, and the freedom to move as and when they need to. Over the last few decades, homeowner numbers have dropped from three-quarters to as little as two-thirds.

According to a survey conducted by the Department of Communities and Local Government (DCLG), in the year covering 2015/2016 there were 654,000 first time buyer households in England. This was largely unchanged compared to the 2005/2006 figures, when there were 675,000.

And while the number of first-time buyer homes still accounts for four per cent of all households across the nation, it does represent a considerable fall when compared to the 1990s. According to the DCLG data, in the 1995/1996 survey, there were more than 922,000 households owned by first-time buyers in the market.

It also said that the profile of the average new buyer has changed a lot over the course of the last 20 years. Survey data shows that the average new homeowner is now much older, more likely to buy a home as a couple and more likely to have kids. This is representative of the fact many young professionals now see renting as the best option.

The proportion of people who are buying a home with a partner rather than going it alone when getting onto the housing ladder is now 74 per cent, up markedly from the 66 per cent who did the same a decade ago. Meanwhile, the number of people with kids who are now getting onto the ladder is up as well, now accounting for 37 per cent of the market, compared to 23 per cent last year.

UK landlords now seeking out more affordable properties with higher yields

Published: 14/07/2017   Last Updated: 14/07/2017 09:58:12   Tags:

The average landlord in the UK property market is now spending less on their property, seeking out the better returns that often come from investing in places where prices are low, but rents are relatively high.

For many years, landlords' portfolios were focused on London and the incredibly high income levels that they could achieve on a monthly basis. However, with the high investment price that also comes with the majority of the capital's property, this leaves returns relatively low.

According to Mortgages for Business, there are now far more landlords doing the maths and buying low value stock that has a higher rental potential. It said that in 2017, and particularly the second quarter of the year, the average buy-to-let mortgage purchase was far lower than the general house price.

The organisation said the reason for this is that the lower value homes prefer far better yields, with landlords who look for student properties and houses in multiple occupancy (HMOs) often able to bring in yields of upwards of ten per cent.

"Landlords have been selective with their purchases this quarter, choosing properties that maximise their income with minimal investment. This strategy is likely to remain common as it allows landlords to maintain profitability while HMRC phases in restrictions on income tax relief for landlords," said Steve Olejnik, chief operating officer of Mortgages for Business.

Quarter two also showed a change in how landlords are looking to expand their portfolios. As well as buying cheaper rental stock, Mortgages for Business found that the average UK property landlord has slowed their investment intentions in the past three months, buying fewer homes than they were in the quarter before.

UK rents continue their downward slide

Published: 13/07/2017   Last Updated: 13/07/2017 10:45:37   Tags:


What’s the latest?

Rents across the nation fell by 0.3% in June, compared to the same month a year ago, according to new data from tenant referencing service HomeLet.

It's the second month in a row in which rental prices have dropped, and puts the average monthly rent paid in the UK at £908, edging down from £910 in June 2016.

In London, rents have fallen on an annual basis for three consecutive months. Tenants in the capital now pay an average £1,524 a month, down from £1,564 a year ago.

June’s decline mirrors the 0.3% decrease seen in May which, as previously reported on Zoopla, was the first annual fall in rents recorded since December 2009.

Why is this happening?

HomeLet points primarily to the 'current uncertain economic climate' to explain the emerging pattern of falling rents.

Its report said: “While demand for private rental property remains high relative to supply, landlords continue to be conscious of affordability issues for tenants and are reluctant to charge higher rents.”

Tables are turning in tenants' favour in other ways too.

For example, the Government recently announced a complete ban on fees charged to renters by letting agents, which is set to take effect from 2018.

A proposed tenant deposit cap of four weeks' rent was also mentioned in the Queen's speech last month.

Who does it affect?

What happens in the capital tends to 'act as a driver' of rental movements elsewhere, according to HomeLet.

And, as London showed a 2.6% decline in the average rent agreed on a new tenancies last month, many renters around the country will be in line for better deals.

In fact, HomeLet reported that rents fell in five out of 12 regions in June.

These include the East of England (-0.1% year-on-year), southeast (-0.2%), Yorkshire and Humberside (-0.9%), Greater London (-2.6%) and the northeast (-3.1%).

Across the UK however, it was still a mixed bag. Northern Ireland for example saw monthly rents increase to £610, up 3.5% from £589 in June 2016.

Monthly rents in the East Midlands also increased to an average £614, up 2.8% from last year's £597, while in Wales they climbed by 2.5% to a current £608

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While HomeLet's data has shed light on falling rents, analysis by other organisations, also published this week, reveals tenants are still lumbered with affordability issues – especially in the capital.

And some private renters are forking out up to 50% of their entire monthly pay for somewhere to live.

Rental affordability

Property analysts at Hometrack, part of the Zoopla family, say that rental housing in London is at its least affordable level in a decade. 

Hometrack attributes this to increased demand due to strong employment growth, inward migration as well as mortgage constraints on would-be first-time buyers.

However, it predicts that rents in London will fall by between 1 and 2% during 2017. Spokeperson Richard Donnell said: “Ultimately, rental levels need to reflect affordability and the buying power of tenants.”

A separate report, from the Local Government Association (LGA), found that one-in-seven private renters (14%) are spending more than half of their total income on rent. Also, 43% are spending more than 30% of their income.

The LGA warned that a shortage of affordable housing is leaving a generation stuck in a ‘rental logjam’ and is lobbying politicians to pave the way for the building of a, "new wave of rented homes that families can actually afford, [costing] no more than a third of household incomes".

UK rents now growing at a far slower rate, data shows

Published: 10/05/2017   Last Updated: 10/05/2017 11:23:44   Tags:

The average price of renting a property in the UK has fallen in the past month, and rents are growing at a slower pace than they have at any time in the last few years, a new report released this week by HomeLet has suggested.

According to the data from the company's latest rental index, the average price of renting a property in the UK now stands at £904 per calendar month, as of the end of April this year.

This means that in the past month, the average rental price has fallen by 0.1 per cent. While in the last 12 month, renters have been asked to pay just 0.4 per cent more than they were. This represents the slowest rate of rental growth since 2009, showing that perhaps the changes to the rules for landlords has had something of an effect on the market in recent times.

London is still the area of the UK where rental prices are at their highest, with landlords in the capital able to command over £1,500 per month for their properties. However, on an annual basis, the average rental price has fallen in London. The 1.2 per cent fall seen when compared to April of last year represents the first year-on-year drop in rental prices experienced since December 2009.

However, experts seem to suggest that rental prices either remaining broadly static or falling is merely an indicator that those operating in the market are aware that they cannot raise their prices too much, or they risk pricing tenants out of the market.

HomeLet’s chief executive Officer, Martin Totty said: “Rents have been rising at a more modest pace across the whole of the UK in recent months, with lower levels of rental price inflation and even falling rents in areas of the country where prices were previously rising most quickly. We continue to see landlords’ and letting agents weighing tenant affordability considerations very seriously.”

UK house prices suffer first quarterly decline since 2012

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Published: 09/05/2017   Last Updated: 09/05/2017 11:09:16   Tags:

UK house prices registered their first quarterly decline in more than four years in the three months to April, according to a survey by Halifax, in a further sign of slowdown in the country’s housing sector.


 

   Prices in the three months to April were 3.8 per cent higher than the same period last year, slightly better than economists had forecast, but they slipped 0.1 per cent in April and were 0.2 per cent lower than in the preceding quarter.The average house price in the UK is now £219,649, according to Halifax.

 

Halifax’s data tally with other recent signs of a slowdown in the housing market, with data last month showing a decline in new mortgage approvals and the Royal Institute for Chartered Surveyors describing the market as “stagnant”.

 

Martin Ellis, Halifax housing economist, said:Housing demand appears to have been curbed in recent months due to the deterioration in housing affordability caused by a sustained period of rapid house price growth during 2014-16. Signs of a decline in the pace of job creation, and the beginnings of a squeeze on households’ finances as a result of increasing inflation, may also be constraining the demand for homes.

 

Continuing very low mortgage rates, together with an ongoing acute shortage of properties for sale, should nonetheless underpin house prices over the coming months.

Brits underestimate the costs related to moving home

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Published: 06/05/2017   Last Updated: 06/05/2017 11:39:23   Tags:

The majority of people in the UK underestimate the cost of moving home, which could potentially leave them significantly out of pocket when they are making the move between two properties, it has been revealed.

According to a new study released by Post Office Money, two-thirds of people (65 per cent) do not correctly calculate what it will cost for them to move home, with most of these forgetting to factor in things like estate agent costs. This is particularly problematic given that fees have risen by 25 per cent over the last decade.

Post Office Money said that the average person in the UK budgets a little over £7,000 for the costs associated with moving home. However, the actual cost is much higher, with the average Brit spending £9,472 on extras when they are moving.

Owen Woodley, managing director at Post Office Money, said it's important that people consider things like Stamp Duty, taxes and estate agent fees when it comes to moving, especially when the cost of doing so is only likely to climb further in the months and years ahead.

"Forecasts indicate the cost of buying and moving will only continue to rise over the next five years, even with the impact of revised stamp duty rules introduced to reduce the impact on prospective buyers’ wallets," he said.

By the end of the year 2020, it is expected that the cost associated with moving home will have climbed as high as £12,000.

Worryingly, the report also said that London remains not only the most expensive place in the UK in terms of the cost of moving, but also the area where most people are likely to underestimate. It said that at present in the capital, the average spend for moving home equates to around £26,600, but buyers generally only budget for around £8,000.

Number of UK first-time buyers continues to grow in early 2017

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Published: 06/05/2017   Last Updated: 06/05/2017 11:38:19   Tags:

The number of first-time buyers coming to market and getting their hands on a home has been rising in each of the first three months of the year, according to a new report that looks at the mortgage lending trends nationwide.

Data published by residential chartered surveyors e.surv shows that in March, there was a rise in the number of buyers getting themselves a mortgage with smaller deposits, which is usually an indicator that they are a first timer. It's the third month in a row that such a change has taken place.

As of March, this means that first-time buyers now make up as much as 21.4 per cent of the mortgage market, which has seen a steady rise in newcomers since the end of last year, when the proportion of first timers was a little over 16 per cent.

Richard Sexton, director of e.surv chartered surveyors, said it's promising that newcomers to the property ladder have found it seemingly easier to get onto the property ladder at a time when the overall mortgage market has shrunk somewhat.

The 64,695 loans that were approved in March represents a fall of 7.7 per cent when compared to a year ago, but while this is an indicator that perhaps housing sales as a whole are starting to drop, the fact that there's a higher proportion of newcomers among those who are buying is a positive.

"Small deposit buyers, who are often first time buyers, have seen their share of the market grow despite the overall market shrinking between February and March. This is a trend which started at the end of last year and has continued into 2017, likely buoyed by the number of government schemes and low mortgage rates," said Mr Sexton.

"A more first time buyer oriented market is good news for all as new buyers help start chains and allow others to move up the housing ladder which is vital for a properly functioning property market," he added.

Buying intentions among landlords falls as most adopt a wait and see attitude

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Published: 03/05/2017   Last Updated: 03/05/2017 12:20:45   Tags:

The majority of landlords in the UK are now waiting to see how the market changes in the next few months before committing to adding to their portfolio, a new report has suggested.

Over the last few years, tax changes and political uncertainty have made landlords wary, and in the first quarter of this year, it has resulted in fewer buying stock, with the majority no doubt waiting until they can get a clearer picture of how the market is likely to perform for them moving forward.

BM Solutions, part of the Lloyds Banking Group, said that the number of landlords who added to their portfolio of rental property in the first three months of this year amounted to just 13 per cent. This was the lowest reading for the time of year at any point since 2006, the report states.

"Despite signs of landlord confidence stabilising this quarter, fewer landlords are feeling optimistic about the prospects for their own businesses. This has driven down the number of those looking to expand their portfolio further to a new all-time low despite the average portfolio creeping up slightly," said Phil Rickards, head of BM Solutions.

He added that tax changes, such as those seen in April in both 2016 and 2017, have a natural link to landlord confidence, and are one of the main reasons for lower sales numbers.

However, while intentions to buy might be low at present, the good news for landlords is that rental prices are still rising across the UK as a whole. According to the report, over the first three months of the year, 48 per cent saw rents rising, while 42 per cent added that they themselves had asked for higher rental prices in quarter one.

The good, the bad and the ugly of mortgage brokers

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Published: 03/05/2017   Last Updated: 03/05/2017 16:44:30   Tags:

One of the biggest stories post-Brexit is how the housing market has proven to be more resilient than anyone could have imagined.

Even setting aside the doom and gloom reports of falls in house values and a struggling economy - neither of which came to fruition - house prices have continued to surprise many.

Nationwide has released figures that show house prices are still on the up. February saw an increase of 0.6% over the month before. This was three times the 0.2% prediction calculated by analysts prior to the release of the figures. Following a 0.8% increase in December and a further 0.2% increase in January, house prices are clearly still on the up.

It looks like low interest rates are continuing to drive the rise in house prices. With more people looking to secure mortgages to get onto the housing ladder or to move home, demand is steady.

This gives estate agents a great opportunity to generate incremental income, if they can offer home buyers a quality mortgage service.

However, the bad news is that some estate agents are missing out on mortgage revenue because they are working with unprofessional brokers, who are lazy and only use lenders that they are familiar with, rather than searching for the best deal for the client. 

In the worst case scenario, bad brokers can be outright fraudulent – lying about income, or other aspects relating to the applicant.

Bad mortgage brokers are also prone to setting up buy-to-let mortgages, when it should be a residential mortgage. They do this to either bypass income requirements, bypass lenders tougher residential lending criteria, or to get a mortgage more affordable. Buy-to-let mortgages allow interest-only, whereas the majority of residential mortgages do not allow this.

We have also seen evidence of mortgage brokers securing mortgages for investment properties which are then inhabited by family members, or arranging a mortgage for an investment property that is either a multi-let, Airbnb or student accommodation, without informing the lender.

In order to maximise income and maintain solid business practice, estate agents need to ensure they are partnered with professional mortgage brokers that offer a high level of service.

ARLA calls for extension on fees ban consultation

Published: 27/04/2017   Last Updated: 27/04/2017 14:33:38   Tags:

The Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA) Propertymark, the UK’s largest professional body for the lettings industry with over 9,000 members, has called on the government to either extend or scrap its proposed consultation period on banning letting agents' fees.

Twenty agency groups have also backed this call, including high-profile names such as haart, Knight Frank and Your Move. The consultation period on this fees ban is currently set to last until June 2nd, but in light of the General Election announcement ARLA has asked that this be extended. Alternatively, the body would like the consultation to be postponed until after the election.

In a letter, ARLA Propertymark chief executive David Cox told communities secretary Sajid Javid that "as it is likely the fee ban will become a manifesto pledge in the coming weeks and therefore a political issue, this work cannot properly take place" during the pre-election period.

Mr Cox also pointed out that General Election guidance is that any statement referring to the future intentions of a government should not be handled by a department of that government, as this issue currently is by the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG).

In addition, the ARLA Propertymark chief executive asked Mr Javid to reinstate a series of workshops for letting agents on the proposed fees ban. These had recently been cancelled, but the DCLG had committed to holding them as part of the consultation. Mr Cox asked that the consultation not close until they have taken place.

In the letter, Mr Cox said that the DCLG's decision to hold these workshops "was most welcome as it would have allowed agents to gain clarity from officials on some of the points raised in the document and share their views on the proposals".
 The full list of agencies backing ARLA Propertymark on this issue is Belvoir, Chestertons, Connells Group, Countrywide, Dexters, Felicity J Lord, Foxtons, haart, Hamptons, Hunters, JLL, Knight Frank, Leaders, Martin & Co, Romans, Savills, Sequence and Your Move.

Build to rent investors sign pledge for longer tenancies

Published: 27/04/2017   Last Updated: 27/04/2017 14:37:30   Tags:

Key players in the build-to-rent sector have agreed to offer renters the option of three-year leases for their properties in a bid to encourage long-term tenancies. The British Property Federation put together a pledge that has been signed by a number of companies currently working on new developments.

According to the group, it is doing all it can to encourage longer-term tenancies, including having 20 of the most active investors in the sector sign the pledge it put together. Offering tenancies that run for three years or more will provide renters with greater stability and family-friendly properties.

The pledge was put together in response to the Housing White Paper that was released in February, which called on the build-to-rent sector to look at offering longer leases as this is what renters want.

Those investors in the build to rent sector that have signed the pledge are helping to showcase the British Property Federation's commitment to work alongside the government in an effort to improve the experience of renters.

In its pledge, it said: “One of the benefits of the UK’s new build-to-rent sector is its ability to offer longer tenancies to its customers. We, the undersigned, therefore pledge to offer our customers the option of a three-year tenancy in any of our new build-to-rent buildings.

“Our customers will not be under any compulsion to take up this three-year tenancy option, and can still opt for shorter terms."

The pledge also states that rents will not be reviewed more than once a year or at the end of the original tenancy period. Tenants will also have the option to give a short notice period of their intention to leave the property.

Gavin Barwell, housing minister, has welcomed this news saying that the Housing White Paper was designed to improve the private rented sector for all those involved and so this is a step in the right direction.

Housing asking prices reach record high

Published: 26/04/2017   Last Updated: 26/04/2017 14:56:38   Tags:

Asking prices for houses reached a record high of £313,655 this month, on average. According to the latest figures from Rightmove, April saw a 1.1 per cent increase in asking prices compared to the previous month, showing positive growth.

Month-on-month, asking prices rose by £3,547 on average, take them well above the previous high point of £310,471 that was seen in June 2016. Over the year, house prices have increased by 2.2 per cent, which is the slowest annual increase rate seen since April 2013 but is still moving in the right direction.

Despite these strong rises in asking prices, more houses are being sold compared to any point prior to the financial crisis, according to Rightmove. More first-time buyers are joining the market, with activity in this sector driving asking prices up by around 6.5 per cent, the figures show.

Director and housing market analyst at Rightmove Miles Shipside said that the recent figures show signs of a "strong spring market". However, it is unclear what effect the snap election in June will have on the housing market.

In terms of regions, the East of England has seen the most positive growth in terms of housing prices, with the past year seeing increases of 5.3 per cent, meaning they now stand at £331,780, on average.

Just two areas of the UK have seen asking prices fall, with the North East recording a 0.7 per cent decline to £151,459. The other area where prices fell was London, which saw them drop by 1.5 per cent to land at an average of £646,200.

Mr Shipside said: “Strong buyer activity this month has led to ten per cent higher numbers of sales agreed than in the same period in 2016. This large year-on-year disparity should be viewed cautiously as the comparable timespan in 2016 saw a drop in buy-to-let activity with the additional second home stamp duty. However, they are also up by 3.8 per cent when compared to 2015."

Fees ban: 'policy may be lost thanks to election' warns trade body

Published: 25/04/2017   Last Updated: 25/04/2017 15:58:53   Tags:

A trade body has suggested that the General Election on June 8 may lead to a government with new priorities, meaning the ban on letting agents’ fees on tenants in England could be abandoned.

Last week we reported that the Department of Communities and Local Government had abandoned the workshops with letting agents and other industry players, which were at the heart of the formal consultation period for the measure.

Although the consultation itself is still ongoing, the scrapping of the workshops has raised questions. Now the policy director of the Residential Landlords’ Association, David Smith, has written on his organisation’s website that “There is now a possibility that the entire policy will be lost if a new Housing Minister has other things which capture his attention more strongly.”

Smith’s warning comes in an article highlighting other issues which may be delayed or scrapped depending on the result of the election and the inclinations of the new government and housing minister.
 
One is the Homelessness Reduction Bill which, despite being passed by Parliament, has not received the Royal Assent required for it to become law. “If it is not done before May 3 then a date will not be set until after the election” says Smith.

In addition there are regulations that need to be agreed for the setting up of the Rogue Landlord database and Banning Orders which were heavily publicised by the May government in recent weeks. “Regulations were expected shortly to start the process of making this happen and the IT project that underpins the database was also in progress. Again these are now trapped without a Minister to push them forward for the next month...The October deadline must now be in doubt” suggests Smith.

Finally the Housing and Planning Act also included provisions about Client Money Protection being made mandatory for letting agents. Smith warns: “There were no further consultations expected in these areas but there were working group reports which needed approving and regulations were again to be drafted to implement the reforms. Yet again this will be at risk of delay.”

March shows slow growth in rental prices

Published: 25/04/2017   Last Updated: 25/04/2017 11:08:51   Tags:

The UK's rental price growth hasn't seen much movement so far this year, according to the latest HomeLet Rental Index. Figures in March saw a small increase, which was the second month in a row to show rises, but prices are still increasing at a rate slower than general inflation.

Latest figures show that the annual rate of rental price inflation in March reached 1.1 per cent. This is a lot lower than the UK consumer price index, which stood at 2.3 per cent last month.

The average price of rent for new tenancies starting in March across the UK was £904 per month, which shows an increase in year-on-year figures, with March 2016 having an average rent cost of £894. It is also a £9 rise when compared to February's average, which was £895 per month, according to HomeLet's findings.

Figures have also shown a large drop in annual rental price growth since June 2016, which was a high point with figures standing at 4.7 per cent. This has been largely caused by the pace of rental inflation falling in areas of the UK that had previously seen fast increases in prices.

Despite the slow increase in rental price inflation, all but two areas of the UK saw rents increase throughout March compared to February, which is a positive sign. The only two areas that saw rents actually fall were the North West of England and Yorkshire and Humberside.

Rents were also higher in March when compared to the same period last year in 11 of the 12 areas covered by HomeLet's data. Just the South East of England saw a small decline in rental prices, which was expected.

Martin Totty, chief executive of HomeLet's parent company, Barbon Insurance Group, said: “In the current housing market, where demand for homes continues to outstrip supply and house prices are out of reach for many buyers, the long-term trend in the private rental sector is likely to be for rental price inflation to continue; however, the HomeLet Rental Index continues to reflect landlords’ focus on offering tenants affordable rents, with rents now increasing at a rate significantly below the general rate of inflation in the UK economy.”

Over third of adults now living in rental sector

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Published: 25/04/2017   Last Updated: 25/04/2017 15:57:39   Tags:

Over a third of adults are now living in some sort of social or private rental accommodation.

New research from an insurance firm reveals that 38 per cent of adults are now living in private or social rented property – that’s 10 per cent more than just a year ago, and comes despite average rent rises in the private sector of around five per cent, claims the firm.


The firm also says 18 per cent of all tenants report their last rent increase was within the past six months with just over a third of those saying the rise was up to five per cent.

A smaller six per cent of those seeing a rise saw rent increase by between six and 10 per cent and two per cent claimed their rent rose by between 11 and 20 per cent.

The research also revealed that there were many more women living in rental accommodation to men, and that one in five adults who still lived at home with their parents paid no rent.

South-east most positive about house price growth

Published: 25/04/2017   Last Updated: 25/04/2017 11:16:43   Tags:

Knight Frank and IHS Market have released their latest House Price Sentiment Index (HPSI), showing how the UK public feel about the value of their homes over the last month. This is a vital early sign of how the market will change, and the latest results show that British homeowners perceive the price of their properties to have risen recently.

Overall, the two firms surveyed around 1,500 households across the country. The results show that 20.6 per cent of respondents believe the value of their home has risen in the last month, while 5.8 per cent said the value had decreased. This works out as a HPSI reading of 57.4, with anything above 50 indicating growth.

This ties in with the previous two HPSI results, both of which stood at 57.5. Knight Frank said that this indicated steady growth in UK house prices, which is positive even if it is not as impressive as the index's high point of 63.2, which was reached in May 2014.

However, the future HPSI - a similar index that shows what UK homeowners expect to happen to the value of their properties over the next 12 months - displayed a more spectacular result of 67.1. This is a rise compared to last month's result of 66.8, although it is still not at the level it was before the UK voted to leave the EU.

Tim Moore, senior economist at IHS Market, said: "April’s survey reveals that UK households’ confidence regarding the outlook for their property value remains close to its highest since the EU referendum, despite a recent loss of momentum in mainstream house price indices."

These figures are not the same across the UK, however, with regions feeling differently about the value of their homes. The most confident was the south-east, where the HPSI stood at 63.1 and the future HPSI at 77.1.
 The least confident region was the north-east. It was the only area of the UK where households on average believed their property value had fallen in the last month, with a HPSI result of 49.9. It was more positive about the future, with a future HPSI reading of 57.7; still the lowest in the UK.

Housing market grinds to a halt as number of homes on market hits record low

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Published: 22/04/2017   Last Updated: 22/04/2017 11:11:46   Tags:

The housing market has slowed further as the number of homes on the market hit a fresh low, according to the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (Rics). 

Estate agent branches each have on average just 43 unsold properties on their books, and 13 per cent of respondents reported seeing a fall in new listings of properties rather than a rise in March.

Rics' market survey found that activity in the market was subdued, with new buyer inquiries and agreed sales remaining low as well.

Across the country, surveyors were less positive than in previous polls about the prospect of house price rises over the next 12 months: a net balance of 24 per cent more respondents predicted a rise than a fall, which was lower than the 37 per cent in February. But there is a consensus that any rise in house prices will be lower than previously thought.

Rics' survey provides a helpful snapshot of the market and is a useful of bellwether for future price changes.

What could the General Election mean for the housing market?

Published: 22/04/2017   Last Updated: 22/04/2017 11:08:09   Tags:


What’s the latest?

Prime Minister, Theresa May has surprised the country with her decision to go to the polls on Thursday 8 June. But what impact will the snap General Election have on the UK's housing market?

Early property commentators have claimed that, while the move would create additional uncertainty in the short-term, it's unlikely to have a significant negative impact – and could even give the longer-term property market a boost.

A survey by online estate agent, eMoov.co.uk also revealed that the majority of buyers and sellers would NOT change their plans due to the General Election.

Why is it happening?

The Prime Minister’s decision to call a General Election was driven by a need to summon a strong parliamentary mandate for Brexit negotiations as opposition parties and the House of Lords had indicated they may oppose the Government.

The election contributes to the existing uncertainty surrounding the UK’s withdrawal from the EU. But if the Government gains a bigger majority, it should to lead to greater economic and policy stability going forward.

At the same time, the Prime Minister is likely to have to set out a clear vision for Brexit as part of her election campaign, which could help to reduce some of the current uncertainty surrounding Britain’s future outside of the EU.

Who does it affect?

According to the eMoov survey, 57% of sellers said they would go ahead with their decision despite the election, with only 18% saying they would now wait.

Potential buyers were equally committed, with 59% still wanting to make a purchase, and just 18% saying they would put their plans on hold.

But, despite the determination of both buyers and sellers to go ahead, markets hate uncertainty and the General Election is likely to cause a dip in transaction volumes in the run up to the vote. However, it may lead to a pick up in activity once the result is known.

The property market is already suffering from a record low number of homes for sale, and this factor is unlikely to improve in the short-term.

Sounds interesting. What’s the background?

The General Election comes at a time when the housing market was already showing signs of slowing down.

But property market commentators remained upbeat that activity should bounce back once it's known which way the nation has voted.

Jeremy Leaf, former residential chairman of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) said: “...if the result is decisive either way, that will give the Government a greater mandate for its existing policies and is likely to result in a surge in activity in the housing market at least for the honeymoon period afterwards.”

Russell Quirk, chief executive of eMoov agreed: “The eradication of questions around the legitimacy of the EU vote, a second referendum and any other opposition will only serve to buoy the housing market further and should result in a large degree of stability going forwards.”

Avg UK home owners now earned enough to pay annual mortgage costs

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Published: 21/04/2017   Last Updated: 21/04/2017 13:29:40   Tags:

British homeowners have now earned enough to cover mortgage payments for the remainder of the year, a new study has indicated.

Research from Halifax shows the annual mortgage repayment cost is £7,968 and the average net annual income stands at £26,810, meaning salaries are now enough to cover the annual price of a mortgage.

There is a wide variety in mortgage freedom days throughout the UK. Scotland (March 14th), Northern Ireland (March 15th), the North of England and Yorkshire and Humber (March 25th) and London (June 27th).

Chris Gowland, Halifax mortgages director, said: “Our research is a simple way of comparing mortgage and rent payments, quite often the largest financial commitment people make, across the UK using average regional earnings.

“Whilst it excludes other living costs, the research highlights a divide between the North and the south, with those in the south having to wait longer to reach mortgage freedom than their counterparts in the north.”

Mr Gowland went on to say that homeownership is still cheaper than renting, even despite the existing barriers to property ownership.

New borrowers in West Dunbartonshire, Scotland, reached mortgage freedom first on February 26th, with seven of the ten earliest mortgage freedom days happening in Scotland.

These include North Lanarkshire (February 26th), East Ayrshire (February 28th) and Renfrewshire (March 2nd). 

Homeowners in London will wait the longest and areas have different dates, including Brent (30th August), Camden (26th August) and Haringey (6th September).

There is also rental freedom day, representing the date that people have earned the total cost of their tenancy for the year. People in the north attained rental freedom first this year on April 6th, while Yorkshire and the Humber (April 7th) and Scotland (April 13th) followed.

Once again, London is much later, with its rental freedom day falling on July 29th, highlighting the expensive prices of the property.

Lettings market activity on the rise according to board company

Published: 21/04/2017   Last Updated: 21/04/2017 13:57:12   Tags:

The latest data from Agency Express suggests nationwide increases in both new listings and properties let during March.

National figures for properties ‘Let’ saw a robust increase of 16.4 per cent, with new listings ‘To Let’ up 12.2 per cent

 

All 12 regions recorded by the firm reported increases in both categories, with March hotspots including Central England where property ‘To Let’ were up 28.4 per cent, with London up even more at 28.0 per cent.

For properties ‘Let By’ there were rises in both the East Midlands and East Anglia of over 30 per cent, and Central England and London both just under 20.0 per cent.


 

 
 





















 



 



 



 


  
All 12 regions recorded by the firm reported increases in both categories, with March hotspots including Central England where property ‘To Let’ were up 28.4 per cent, with London up even more at 28.0 per cent.

For properties ‘Let By’ there were rises in both the East Midlands and East Anglia of over 30 per cent, and Central England and London both just under 20.0 per cent.

The rise of the first-time buyer - is this the return of generation buy?

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Published: 21/04/2017   Last Updated: 21/04/2017 13:58:22   Tags:

There are more first-time buyers (FTBs) finding a way on to the property ladder than at any time since the Financial Crisis in 2008.

Since 2011, the number of loans to this group has risen by over 75% and, in the last year, over 339,000 loans were issued to FTBs, according to the Council of Mortgage Lenders.

In 2016, 42% of all mortgage loans issued for house purchases (i.e. not including re-mortgaging), were to FTBs, up from 34% in 2011 and 30% in 2007 - before the Global Financial Crisis put the squeeze on borrowing across the board.

Government policies aimed at helping first-time buyers have no doubt helped to boost numbers, as have persistently low interest rates and rising employment.

Despite government support, however, these young (and not so young) buyers are still having to find less-traditional ways to raise their share of the equity. The latest English Housing Survey estimates that 29% of first-time buyers had help towards their deposits from family and friends - the so called ‘Bank of Mum and Dad’ has grown in recent years.

Another way to spread the burden is by extending the period of the loan and 40% of first-time buyers secured their property with an initial mortgage term of over 30 years. With the average age of first-time buyers at 32, many of these home owners will be paying off mortgage debt well into their 60s – which could impede their ability to help their own children at some date in the future, if they are still paying off debt of their own.

England and Wales average prices up 0.5%

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Published: 18/04/2017   Last Updated: 18/04/2017 13:21:18   Tags:

Average house prices in England and Wales rose 0.5 per cent in March, a new study has shown.

The findings showed that average house prices also jumped 3.3 per cent year-on-year to £301,278 in March.

Eight out of ten regions recorded new peak price averages with the West Midlands seeing the highest rate of annual house price growth at 4.8 per cent, though the south east has seen slowed price growth.

It marks the first time the West Midlands has taken the number one spot in regional annual price growth since the first Your Move Index in January 1996. What’s more, Birmingham has seen new peak prices, recording annual increases of 7.8 per cent.

On the other hand, Greater London has dropped into ninth position when it comes to regional price change, putting it one place ahead of the last-placed north east. In Wales, average prices jumped by 0.8 per cent month-on-month and by 1.6 per cent year-on-year to the average of £175,864.

In Greater London, the average price is now £606,783, with the lowest-price boroughs such as Bexley, Havering and Croydon are recording the most significant growth in prices.

Across February, the top 11 boroughs by value saw prices drop by an average of 0.5 per cent, while the bottom 11 boroughs saw prices rise by 0.4 per cent. This compares to the annual growth of 0.8 per cent and 5.5 per cent respectively.

Oliver Blake, managing director of Your Move and Reeds Rains estate agents, said: “In England and Wales, house price inflation continues but at a relatively low, though still positive, level.

“From May 2016 onward, there has been a relatively gentle and almost straight line increase in house prices, despite the Brexit referendum in June 2016.”

Mr Blake went on to say that house price inflation is continuing at a relatively low level that remains positive.

Number of company landlords hits record high as Government's buy-to-let assault hits home

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Published: 18/04/2017   Last Updated: 18/04/2017 15:35:20   Tags:

UK housing sales “stagnant”

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Published: 15/04/2017   Last Updated: 15/04/2017 13:46:11   Tags:

The Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) has found that the UK housing market has hit a period of stagnation, with data from March showing that the number of properties available for sale are falling. However, it seems this might be good news for letting agents, as tenant demand appears to be rising.

RICS' findings suggest that fewer people across the UK are interested in buying houses, with new buyer inquiries remaining flat overall for the last three months. While some areas - such as Northern Ireland, and to a lesser extent London - saw an increase in inquiries, this was balanced out by a fall across much of the UK.

This stagnation of demand has been matched by a drop in supply. The number of unsold properties available in each estate agent has reached an average of 43, which is the lowest figure on record. Furthermore, 13 per cent more of the surveyors polled by RICS reported a drop in the number of new listings on the market.

As might be expected, all this is backed up by a drop in property sales. Over the last four months, RICS has seen no overall rise in the number of transaction volumes. In March, around three per cent more respondents saw a fall in sales than those who saw any kind of increase.

However, the upside to all this comes for letting agents, as demand for rental properties is rising. Around 11 per cent more of those RICS surveyed said they'd seen an increase in tenant demand, compared to those who'd seen it fall. Meanwhile, rents across the UK increased and are expected to do so for the near year, with the exception of London where they are predicted to decline slightly.

"The key theme that really runs through the whole of this survey is the lack of supply on the market," said Simon Rubinsohn, RICS' chief economist. "The wider residential market continues to be underpinned by a lack of stock. This includes rents, which away from the capital are generally moving higher as demand outstrips supply."

Buy to let returns at record high, despite tax changes

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Published: 13/04/2017   Last Updated: 13/04/2017 16:12:52   Tags:

Private landlords’ net income has risen 39 per cent in the last five years, jumping from £10.8 billion to £15 billion calculates a letting agency.

The agency also says private landlords’ income has risen six per cent in the last year alone from £14.2 billion.

The firm says that as an investment class over a long term comparison, residential property continues to outperform other asset classes, including government bonds, cash ISAs, and shares. With gilt yields still close to record lows, and the Bank of England base rate currently at a historic 0.25 per cent, the agency adds that buy to let remains highly attractive as a mainstream investment.

This will remain the case notwithstanding the government’s planned tax relief changes take effect.

Mortgage options increasing for first-time landlords

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Published: 13/04/2017   Last Updated: 13/04/2017 15:17:04   Tags:


Plenty of people are taking the plunge into buy-to-let and becoming first-time landlords, and the mortgage industry appears to be responding accordingly. The number of products available to these landlords has increased yearly yet again. However, first-time mortgages are actually becoming a smaller part of the buy-to-let market.

This data comes courtesy of Moneyfacts.co.uk, which found that there are 1,047 different first-time landlord products available as of April 11th. Last April there were 956 different products available, whereas in 2015 there were only 650 options for first-time landlords. This means the number of mortgages available has increased by an impressive 61 per cent over the last two years.

This means that landlords looking to buy to let are better served now than they have been in previous years. However, the data shows that this is potentially changing, as the market share of products for first-timers is actually decreasing as the overall number of buy-to-let products grows.

In total, there are now 1,530 buy-to-let products available for landlords. The 1,047 of these that are specifically for first-time landlords make up around 68 per cent of the total. This might seem like a lot, but in 2016 they made up 73 per cent of all buy-to-let products. Furthermore, even though there were only 650 options in 2015, first-time products made up 81 per cent of the market.

Charlotte Nelson, finance expert at Moneyfacts.co.uk, said that the drop in market share could be due to increased levels of uncertainty at the moment. Buying to let for the first time is being seen as more of a risk than it was previously, due to landlords' lack of renting experience.

There has also been an increase in regulation. Ms Nelson said: "The extra regulation means borrowers will face added checks and questions about their finances, so any would-be landlords will need to do their homework and prepare in advance to ensure they can pass with flying colours."

UK house prices rise by 5.8%

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Published: 13/04/2017   Last Updated: 13/04/2017 15:48:56   Tags:

The Office of National Statistics (ONS) has released its latest UK House Price Index for February 2017. The data - which includes all residential properties purchased for market value in the UK - shows that prices rose in the year leading up to February, but are not increasing as quickly as they did in 2017.

Overall, house prices rose by 5.8 per cent throughout this 12-month period. This is an increase when compared to the previous few months, as prices grew by 5.3 per cent in January and just 5.2 per cent in December, which was the slowest pace since August 2015.

However, house prices are still not increasing at the rate they were in 2016. The average rate of growth last year was 7.3 per cent, buoyed by a spike in June that saw house prices rise by a huge 9.4 per cent.

All this means that the average price of a house in the UK is now £217,502. This is an increase of £12,000 over the last year, and a rise of £2,000 since January. However, these figures change significantly when separated by country.

While the price of a house in England rose from £233,000 to 234,000 in the last month, Scotland and Wales both saw house prices fall. Welsh prices dropped by £2,000 - to £145,000 - and in Scotland they fell by £1,000, to £139,000. The cost of a house in Northern Ireland remained the same, at £125,000.

Unsurprisingly, London is still the most expensive place in which to buy a house, with the average dwelling costing £475,000; more than double the average for the UK. However, it was not the fastest growing region in February. That accolade belongs to the east of England, where house prices grew by 10.3 per cent.

Stamp Duty changes have caused slowing of the rental market

Published: 11/04/2017   Last Updated: 11/04/2017 14:20:34   Tags:

Calls for the Stamp Duty levy brought into play last year to be ended seem to have some real reason behind them, as new data once again shows that since the change came into effect, there has been a weakening of sorts in the rental market.

In 2016, the government changed the rules for landlords, making it the case that anyone investing their money in rental property would have to pay a three per cent levy on top of the normal Stamp Duty charge in order to make the purchase.

This was criticised as potentially making investment in the market too expensive for many, and some even claimed that they would leave the market, or put on hold their plans to buy more stock until the future became clearer.

And now, it has been revealed in a new study by Landbay that the rental sector has suffered since the levy came into play last year. Although the market has continued to grow, the pace at which it is increasing has slowed somewhat since the change in rules.

Landbay said that in March this year, rental market growth was recorded at some 0.9 per cent. This was less than half than the 2.27 per cent rate of growth that was recorded at the same time a year ago, showing the impact that new rules have had in the past 12 months.

"The last 12 months have been tough for the private rented sector, a period marked by the stamp duty surcharge last April, followed by changes to mortgage interest tax relief, tighter underwriting criteria and the pending ban on letting agent fees," said Paul Brett, managing director of intermediaries at Landbay.

He went on to say that the government, in refusing to budge on its regulations, has failed to realise the importance of the PRS to the property market in general, which has only served to foster a blame game atmosphere in the market, and damaged its prospects.

March sees strong growth in property market

Published: 09/04/2017   Last Updated: 08/04/2017 10:56:00   Tags:

Property Market grew rapidly in East Anglia by 31.7% in March!

With the start of the year starting of at a slow, the market soon seemed to pick itself up in March 2017. Many new properties came to the market and within weeks of them being advertised they were soon SOLD!

The market is very busy at the moment, if you are looking to buy or sell a property, this is the time!

Call City Homes and see what we have to offer!

Rents may rise up to 30% after tax change

Published: 09/04/2017   Last Updated: 08/04/2017 11:00:57   Tags:

Tenants in Britain’s private rental sector could soon be up against potential rent rises of up to 30 per cent due to recent tax changes.

According to Imperial College London, updates including the three per cent extra stamp duty on additional properties could mean people will soon be paying more for their rented home.

David Miles, professor of financial economics at Imperial College London, believes the new changes should be abandoned, explaining that they do not represent the move towards neutrality that they intended.

Mr Milnes noted that the changes would have a “rationale” if they were a move towards more neutral taxation, but does not believe this to be the case.

“But rather than being a move towards neutrality, as was claimed, they in fact represent a further penalty against private provision of rented properties by potential suppliers who cannot, or chose not to, invest via a corporate entity,” he explained.

Mr Milnes is unsure of the reasons for the tax changes and does not understand why the government would change the current situation for smaller landlords.

He believes that the tax changes could mean property owners need to generate a required initial yield of up to 5.83 per cent and tax would have to rise by around 20 per cent to offset these charges.

However, Mr Milnes maintained that not all rents would rise by 20 to 30 per cent, as some buy-to-let properties owned by basic rate tax payers would be mainly affected by the stamp duty change and may not need to increase as much.

He went on to say that first time buyers are hindered by the reduction in rental property supply, which is creating a situation where people feel pressured into buying a mortgage at a young age due to the poor rental options available.

Predictions suggest triggering of Article 50 'will not be negative' for housing market

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Published: 08/04/2017   Last Updated: 11/04/2017 17:25:49   Tags:

Article 50 has now been triggered, beginning the next two years' worth of processes that will result in Britain leaving the EU. Despite the event being historic for the country, leading experts are not expecting it to have much of an impact on the property market.

While previously predictions suggested that Brexit would cause the housing market to crash, it seems that those in the industry are a little bit more hopeful, especially considering how it has performed since the results of the vote were announced in June.

David Westgate, chief executive of Andrews Property Group, believes that Brexit will not have much of an effect on the UK's housing market. He explained: “My fundamental belief is that Brexit is irrelevant to the domestic housing market. Quite simply, there is no direct reason why it should have any impact on either property prices or where people chose to live.”

He continued to say that although the triggering of Article 50 does mean the start of a time of uncertainty that may affect confidence in the market, at the end of the day it is demand that drives it. As current demand is high, it is unlikely to result in decline in the housing sector.

James Evans, chief executive of Douglas and Gordon, also has a positive prediction for Britain's housing market. He said that the number of sales agreed actually increased by around 11 per cent a week after June's referendum and this trend has continued.

“When we look back at the relatively low number of transactions in 2016, the likelihood is that many sellers simply weren’t confident in the true value of their home. But for buyers, this created the strongest buyers’ market since 2009, with more choice and less competition," he said.

“As every new landmark is ticked off the Brexit timeline - and the triggering of Article 50 is a big one - the property market gets another little boost of stability, encouraging people to get on with their lives."

Mr Evans continued to explain that years that have seen low numbers of transactions in the sector are usually followed by increased activity. As confidence is returning to the market, sellers are already raising their asking prices, which is likely to continue.

However, not all predictions about the future of the UK's housing sector were positive. Jeremy Leaf, north London estate agent and former Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) residential chairman, highlighted the fact that transactions are falling.

“The housing market has held up much better than everyone feared but the undercurrents of uncertainty are still there with the number of transactions falling steadily since the vote," he said.

“Inevitably this is having an impact on the market with prices softening, particularly in London, which has also been affected by the increases in Stamp Duty and unsustainably high prices for a long time."

Mr Leaf went on to explain that there is an expectation that prices will "continue to be underpinned" by the lack of housing stock and that the falling number of transactions is bad for the UK's economy as a whole and not just the housing market.

Rent rises expected due to high demand

Published: 08/04/2017   Last Updated: 08/04/2017 10:57:55   Tags:

The numbers of people searching for a home to rent in Britain is significantly higher than the rental supply available, a new study shows.

Research shows that there were 34 prospective tenants signed up per member branch, rising by 31 per cent from December 2016 and 10 per cent year-on-year.

The number of rental properties letting agents managed rose in January from 188 in December to 193 per branch, indicating a rise of three per cent. In January 2016, there were 12 per cent less and 173 properties were managed per branch.

David Cox, ARLA Propertymark chief executive, said: “As expected, the New Year brought with it a flurry of activity in the rental market. While supply of rental stock rose slightly, the number of prospective tenants increased by a much bigger margin.”

Mr Cox went on to say that, in times when supply and demand are off-balance, the market is not fair for tenants and rent prices increase.

He added that an outright ban on letting agent fees will cause the situation to worsen for renters, as the money will need to be picked up through other means such increased prices.

The new landlords’ tax will also have a negative impact, while expected changes to mortgage interest release will have a massive effect on costs, Mr Cox stressed.

He surmised that the “rental market is far from reaching equilibrium”.

The figures could suggest more properties being built across the UK in order to try to satisfy the ever-increasing demand, while the expensive nature of renting could mean more people consider saving for a mortgage earlier. This approach could potentially save more money in the long run.

However, not everyone is ready to commit to a mortgage and it is vital for young families in particular to find value in their property. Three or four-bedroom homes for rent are often expensive, particularly in cities. Exploring the market will be vital to find the best possible value.

Tax changes likely to affect far more landlords than expected

Published: 07/04/2017   Last Updated: 07/04/2017 17:36:56   Tags:

More landlords are expected to be affected by this month's changes to taxation laws than had previously been predicted, according to a new study released this week.

From April 1st, the government's new rules on landlords means that they can no longer deduct mortgage interest from their taxable income. This was a move first announced in 2015, and although there has been much debate and demands for a change from PRS groups, there has been no movement on the matter from officials.

And now, a survey from AXA has suggested that many people will be affected. The government had previously stated that as many as 82 per cent of landlords will not see any negatives from the changes. However, AXA surveyed landlords and found that as many as 40 per cent believe that this month's changes will leave them worse off.

It also estimates that these latest changes, on top of the fact that landlords have faced higher charges for Stamp Duty and other legislative alterations in recent years means that as many as half may well even leave the market altogether by the end of 2020.

As many as 21 per cent said in the survey that they plan to sell all their rental stock in the next few years, while some seven per cent are looking to move into other areas of the rental market, and another ten per cent are considering reducing their interests in the sector.

Gordon Rutherford, head of marketing at AXA Insurance, said: "Landlords have been subject to one piece of new legislation after another in recent years, much of it very complex indeed. We see a real confusion as to what the new tax changes will mean, with government and landlords giving very different estimates of the impact."

ARLA calls for letting agent fees to be spread out rather than banned

Published: 06/04/2017   Last Updated: 06/04/2017 17:29:08   Tags:

Late in 2016, the government made a move that it said would save tenants across the UK thousands of pounds when it decided to ban letting agent fees for thing such as credit checks, applications and tenancy renewals. checks, applications and tenancy renewals.

However, the idea was met with much trepidation from the industry, and there were fears that it would mean a more costly operation for landlords and agents alike, and that this would mean passing down of costs to tenants, and prices for renting increasing as a result.

Now, the Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA) has stepped in to say that the government needs to adopt something of a halfway house, rather than banning fees outright. It said that by spreading the cost of fees across a number of months, it could save tenants on the initial large cost of renting, while also not punishing agents.

Its call comes as a new ARLA survey found that many agents are concerned about what the banning of fees would mean for the future of their industry. As many as 42 per cent of those surveyed by ARLA said that they felt the banning of fees would mean they wouldn't be able to afford as many staff.

And there were also concerns when it comes to the general quality of rental homes in the UK if fees are banned. ARLA's members said that the maintenance work and repairs that could be carried out on properties would potentially be compromised were fees to be banned, with 62 per cent of members agreeing with this notion.

"When the Chancellor announced a full ban on letting agent fees in the Autumn Statement, we called the measure draconian and a crowd pleaser. We stand by that," said David Cox, ARLA managing director.

"Nonetheless, we believe that ARLA’s proposal to spread the cost of the fees across the first six months of the tenancy will guard against the numerous unintended consequences of a full ban while also finding a solution that works best for the consumer," he added.

How to provide tenants with the best move in process.

Published: 06/04/2017   Last Updated: 06/04/2017 16:51:30   Tags:

Not all letting agents and tenants will see eye to eye all the time, but a good relationship between the two parties can make the entire rental process somewhat easier for everyone to deal with. Of course, there are times when this becomes difficult to do, but if you look to get it right from the very start, it can make things a whole lot easier.

Move in day can be a stressful and trying day for any tenant, but it's also the perfect time to get it right for letting agents and make sure you are giving your new tenant a happy start in their new property. Here, we take a look at a few ways to make the move in process a great experience that will put a smile on the resident's face.

Be present at move in!

In many cases, those who are moving into a rental property will find that they are more or less on their own when it comes to the big day. Many agents just ask for the tenant to come to their offices to pick up their keys and then leave them to it. But it can add a little personal touch if you are there as a letting agent to walk them through moving in.

Setting aside some time to head down and meet the new tenant at the property with the keys for their convenience will let them see that you care, and it shouldn't take too much time out of your day just to be there in case they have any questions about the property or the area they are going to be living in.

Walk round with the tenant!

If you are indeed present throughout the move in process, it can also be a good idea to help the tenant with their walk around and look through the inventory. This is something that the tenant is required to do within a set time of moving in so they can highlight any errors in the inventory, so it can be good for them to do it while the agent is there.

Doing the walk through with the tenant will let them highlight any problems or discrepancies with you, which is more convenient for them and gives them the peace of mind that you will be looking into any problems from the word go on their behalf.

Bring a little something!

It may seem like a trait more in line with the way American realtors work, but what better way is there to invite someone to their new home than with a little gift ' It doesn't need to be expensive or lavish, but just a little token can put a smile on the tenant's face and ensure you get off on the right foot from the first day.

All it can take is to bring along a little bunch of flowers or a pint of milk or something else that they may not have on their first day in the new property to make your new tenant feel welcome and to show that you care about them and their life in the new property.

What do tenants look for when viewing a property?

Published: 06/04/2017   Last Updated: 06/04/2017 16:32:59   Tags:

Beyond the number of bedrooms, location and garden access, there are some specific things that potential tenants look for when viewing properties. A house or apartment could be otherwise perfect, but just a couple of things could put someone off applying for it.

The way that a property looks when a viewing is taking place can be enough to put a tenant off or have them wanting to take it there and then. While many things will be up to the previous tenants to ensure, it is important that these are thoroughly checked before you start showing a property. This will help to make it look its best and be more in-line with what a prospective tenant is looking for.

Here are five things that people look for when viewing a property and what can put them off renting it:

Clean carpets and floors
It's fairly easy to dust down most areas of a house and give the kitchen and bathrooms a good clean, but often the floors are forgotten about. Stains, marks and even smells coming from the carpet can be incredibly off-putting and are sure to make tenants question what else hasn't been cleaned.

While you may clean carpets prior to viewings taking place, you should also be sure to check them between viewings as people can walk mud and dirt into the house. Having a quick run through with a hoover between viewings and thoroughly cleaning carpets and floors after tenants have moved out could help get another person into the property much quicker.

No awful smells
Whether the previous owner had a pet or just didn't open the windows very often, musty and off-putting smells are enough to make prospective tenants think twice. Even if a smell would be reasonably easy to get rid off, it is something that can be more of a deal breaker than badly decorated rooms.

Airing out a property fully before viewings and ensuring there are no areas suffering from lingering odours could help make it seem more appealing to potential tenants.


Lots of light
The amount of light that fills a property is an important part of making it look as good as it possibly can. While you can't move windows to try and ensure as much natural sunlight as possible, you can do simple things like making sure the windows are clean.

Getting rid of grime on windows can make sure more light gets in, while cutting back any plants that might also be having an impact is also a good move. This will help make the property look as attractive as possible.

Extra touches
More often than not, potential tenants may not have thought about the need for things like curtains, blinds or lampshades and they can be put off when viewing a house that doesn't include any of these things as it will mean more up-front cost to them.

Even a couple of these extras can be beneficial to attracting potential tenants, so it can be a good idea to discuss with landlords adding blinds and lampshades to a property. So long as they are listed in the lease and clients are aware they need to replace or pay for them in the event of damage, they could be welcome additions.

Well-maintained garden
If a property does come with a garden, it is important that this looks well-maintained and welcoming. Showing a house with a scruffy and overgrown garden makes a bad impression before someone has stepped through the front door and makes it look like the property needs a lot of work done to it when someone does move in.

A garden doesn't need to be professionally landscaped, but getting rid of rubbish and ensuring the grass is cut can go a long way to making it look better and showing potential tenants that it is easy to maintain.

Average UK house price to rise to over £300,000 in a decade

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Published: 03/03/2017   Last Updated: 03/03/2017 12:56:03   Tags:

Over the course of the last ten years, house prices have been climbing substantially after an initial fall in the wake of the financial crisis, and if this pace is retained over the decade ahead, house prices will be as much as £300,000 or more.

According to the study from eMoov, the pace of increase of the last decade would also see the average home in London climb in value to as much as £800,000 by the end of 2027. Even in the regions where growth would be slower, such as the north-east and West Midlands, prices would rise to around £150,000 and £183,000 respectively.

This level of price growth sustained over 20 years would yield even higher readings, with the findings from the company showing that in that time, the average buyer in the UK would be expected to spend £1 million to get themselves a footing on the property ladder.

"The property boom in several regions of England has made it increasingly more expensive to get on the ladder and the figures anticipating the next two decades only further attest to the importance of investing in a home as soon as possible if the trend in increasing property values is to persist," he said.

"It is stomach churning to think that should prices continue the way they are, there will be just one real area of property affordability left across England in 20 years’ time, with the average house price in England approaching the £1 million mark and three regions tipping beyond this," he added.

Should prices continue to rise at such a substantial pace over the coming couple of decades, the reality is that it will be likely to push even more people towards rental homes, where they are able to get themselves a home at an affordable level and without having to shell out for things like deposits.

Building society calls for the government to reform Stamp Duty

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Published: 03/03/2017   Last Updated: 03/03/2017 12:48:26   Tags:

Stamp Duty has been criticised for a number of reasons over the past few years. Whether it's the fact that it was increased to try to stop the flow of property into the hands of landlords, or because it made buying more expensive homes an even more costly venture, the tax has rarely been without its critics.

And now, the Yorkshire Building Society is calling on the government to make changes to the tax in its Budget for 2017, after it said that Stamp Duty remains the single biggest barrier to people being able to get themselves a footing on the property ladder for the first time.

It said one of the main problems is that the rising cost of homes means that first-time buyers are rarely, if ever, able to get themselves a property that is valued at below the minimum Stamp Duty threshold.

In 2006, nearly half of all newcomers to the market moved into homes that cost below the threshold of £125,000. However, property continued to increase in value for the ten years after the change was made to the cut-off point, and it means that in 2016, only 26 per cent of those who purchased for the first time spent less than the threshold.

This means that in 2016, as many as 74 per cent of all first-time buyers were paying Stamp Duty when buying. This tax is one of the main reasons that many simply cannot afford to get themselves a place on the ladder, the building society said.

"In its present form, stamp duty does not suit today’s housing market as it pushes up costs for those looking to buy, exacerbating affordability issues in a market where prices have vastly outpaced wage growth," said Andrew McPhillips, chief economist of the Yorkshire Building Society.

He went on to say that one way to make the market fairer and encourage more people to get onto the property ladder for the first time is to change the focus of Stamp Duty, levying the charge on sellers rather than buyers.

He said such a tactic "will help to reduce costs for first-time buyers, helping more people to get on the property ladder. It would also help those moving up the property ladder, enabling them to move to a more suitable property and potentially freeing up smaller homes for first time buyers to purchase".

Rent rises expected due to high demand

Published: 03/03/2017   Last Updated: 03/03/2017 12:50:12   Tags:

The numbers of people searching for a home to rent in Britain is significantly higher than the rental supply available, a new study shows.

Research from Propertymark shows that there were 34 prospective tenants signed up per member branch, rising by 31 per cent from December 2016 and 10 per cent year-on-year.

The number of rental properties letting agents managed rose in January from 188 in December to 193 per branch, indicating a rise of three per cent. In January 2016, there were 12 per cent less and 173 properties were managed per branch.

David Cox, ARLA Propertymark chief executive, said: “As expected, the New Year brought with it a flurry of activity in the rental market. While supply of rental stock rose slightly, the number of prospective tenants increased by a much bigger margin.”

Mr Cox went on to say that, in times when supply and demand are off-balance, the market is not fair for tenants and rent prices increase.

He added that an outright ban on letting agent fees will cause the situation to worsen for renters, as the money will need to be picked up through other means such increased prices.

The new landlords’ tax will also have a negative impact, while expected changes to mortgage interest release will have a massive effect on costs, Mr Cox stressed.

He surmised that the “rental market is far from reaching equilibrium”.

The figures could suggest more properties being built across the UK in order to try to satisfy the ever-increasing demand, while the expensive nature of renting could mean more people consider saving for a mortgage earlier. This approach could potentially save more money in the long run.

However, not everyone is ready to commit to a mortgage and it is vital for young families in particular to find value in their property. Three or four-bedroom homes for rent are often expensive, particularly in cities. Exploring the market will be vital to find the best possible value.

WE ARE HIRING!!

Published: 03/03/2017   Last Updated: 03/03/2017 13:00:21   Author: Konner Woods    Tags:

City Homes Estate Agents are excited to announce we are looking to fill a position for a sales valuer/lister due to rapid expansion. This exciting opportunity is a great career move for any experienced valuer/lister with a proven track record in estate agency. The successful candidate will be based in our busy city centre office and our soon to come second office in a very prominent location meaning double the commission to be earned!

£16,000 - £18,000 basic salary (depending on experience) + competitive commission structure and use of company pool car.
 On target earnings between £40,000-£50,000 this is not capped the sky really is the limit.

The right candidate for the job needs to have the following:

• MUST have proven track record for negotiating and listing in estate agency
• Hard working, self-motivated, highly driven to succeed and not willing to settle for average results
• Possess the ability to generate new leads and convert these to new business
• Build upon existing relationships with vendors to acquire further business
• Must be outgoing, friendly and in general a real people person
• Passionate about providing great customer service, about properties and most importantly of all passionate about becoming a successful individual

In return for all this City Homes Estate Agents will provide the successful candidate with highly rewarding career opportunities enabling them to climb the ladder to a long and successful career within the company. We have many exciting things planned for this year and are keen to bring on board a highly-motivated individual who is looking to achieve huge things in their life, City Homes will provide them with the tools to do the rest!

Candidates who wish to apply need to email a copy of their C.V with a brief cover letter to adam.cooper@cityhomesltd.co.uk

Shortage of rent supply leads to higher prices

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Published: 03/03/2017   Last Updated: 03/03/2017 12:52:51   Tags:

Shortage of rental properties in the lettings and sales segments present a massive challenge for the housing industry, according to the Royal Institute of Chartered Suppliers (Rics).

Research found that, in the three months to January, tenant demand for rental properties carried on to increase at the national level with the imbalance between supply and demand set to put further pressure on rental prices.

Exceptions to the pattern across the UK are to be found in London and Scotland where tenant demand is falling further. Rent expectations remain flat in Scotland, though they are more downbeat in London.

New landlord instructions in the lettings market failed to improve for the fourth quarter in a row. The Rics study suggests the issue could worsen over the medium term and indicated they believe landlords will decrease the size of their portfolios in the next three years.

Alterations to Stamp Duty in April, alongside scheduled cuts to mortgage interest tax relief, were viewed as important factors damaging the appeal of buy-to-let as an investment, with 28 per cent more respondents claiming landlords were likely to decrease the size of their portfolio over the next year.

What’s more, across the next three years, 26 per cent more contributors believed landlords will scale-back their portfolios.

On the other hand, house sales were flat for the second month in a row in January, while five per cent of surveyors recorded an increase in demand over the same period, marking the lowest reading since August 2016.

Sales are expected to improve in the coming months, however, with 15 per cent more respondents anticipating a rise in the next three months nationally.

Simon Rubinsohn, Rics chief economist, said: “The medium term view of RICS professionals working up and down the country is that both house prices and rents will over the medium term continue to grow at a faster pace than wages putting even greater pressure on affordability.”

UK property prices continued to rise in February

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Published: 03/03/2017   Last Updated: 03/03/2017 10:27:38   Tags:

Heading into this year, there would have been little surprise to anyone if the property market had experienced something of a more difficult time than it has endured over the past few years, as the impending Brexit and political uncertainty looked certain to put the brakes on the sector.

However, this has yet to be the case in 2017, and the market has once again proved its resilience, with February backing up the strong performance in January, and property prices across the country rising once again.

According to the latest report released this week by Nationwide, house prices edged forward by as much as 0.6 per cent in February when compared to the month before, a reality which took the price of the average British home as high as £205,846.

February's growth also means that prices are now as much as six per cent higher than they were in the same month last year, showing just how well 2017 is doing at backing up the strength that was in evidence market wide throughout 2016.

Robert Gardner, Nationwide’s chief economist, said the housing market had been pushed forward by the overall strength seen in the economy so far.

"Recent data suggests that the UK economy has continued to perform relatively strongly. The economy accelerated slightly in the fourth quarter by 0.7 per cent and the unemployment rate remained stable at an 11-year low of 4.8 per cent."

Looking forward, Nationwide does predict that the UK property market will be adversely affected by the change in political sectors this year, but it said the effect will be minimal, and that the market will still experience a rise, even if it is smaller than seen in recent years.

"In our view a small rise in house prices of around 2% is more likely than a decline over the course of 2017, since low borrowing costs and the dearth of homes on the market will continue to support prices," Mr Gardner said.

Rents may rise up to 30% after tax change

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Published: 24/02/2017   Last Updated: 24/02/2017 15:25:05   Author: Qazafi Sadiq, City Homes    Tags:

Rents may rise up to 30% after tax change
by Qazafi Sadiq

Tenants in Britain’s private rental sector could soon be up against potential rent rises of up to 30 per cent due to recent tax changes.

According to Imperial College London, updates including the three per cent extra stamp duty on additional properties could mean people will soon be paying more for their rented home.

David Miles, professor of financial economics at Imperial College London, believes the new changes should be abandoned, explaining that they do not represent the move towards neutrality that they intended.

Mr Milnes noted that the changes would have a “rationale” if they were a move towards more neutral taxation, but does not believe this to be the case.

“But rather than being a move towards neutrality, as was claimed, they in fact represent a further penalty against private provision of rented properties by potential suppliers who cannot, or chose not to, invest via a corporate entity,” he explained.

Mr Milnes is unsure of the reasons for the tax changes and does not understand why the government would change the current situation for smaller landlords.

He believes that the tax changes could mean property owners need to generate a required initial yield of up to 5.83 per cent and tax would have to rise by around 20 per cent to offset these charges.

However, Mr Milnes maintained that not all rents would rise by 20 to 30 per cent, as some buy-to-let properties owned by basic rate tax payers would be mainly affected by the stamp duty change and may not need to increase as much.

He went on to say that first time buyers are hindered by the reduction in rental property supply, which is creating a situation where people feel pressured into buying a mortgage at a young age due to the poor rental options available.

Property sales continued to rise across Scotland in 2016

Published: 06/02/2017   Last Updated: 06/02/2017 16:49:59   Tags:

The number of property sales taking place in Scotland rose markedly towards the end of 2016, according to the latest data, which also shows that this rising activity has helped to push prices higher nationwide.

Information released by the Registers of Scotland shows that to the end of September, property sales activity rose 8.5 per cent when compared to August, and 10.4 per cent when held up against the same month a year before, which indicates that there was no real negative impact on the housing market after the UK voted to leave the European Union.

Glasgow, Fife and Edinburgh were the top performing regions of Scotland in terms of growth in activity, the report indicates.

Scotland has also bucked the national trend across the UK, where activity has dropped somewhat since the vote to leave the EU. According to data, England has seen activity fall off by around 22 per cent, while Wales experienced a decline of some 10.4 per cent year-on-year.

This rise in sales also helped prices rise towards the end of the year, and the report shows that as of November, the average property price in Scotland was a little over £143,000. This remains far below the national average of over £217,000, but prices in Scotland are rising.

In November, property prices were 1.5 per cent higher than they had been in October across Scotland, while there was a 3.3 per cent increase in terms of year-on-year growth.

Simon Brown, partner and head of residential sales at CKD Galbraith, said: "Scotland is continuing to experience strong levels of demand across all aspects of the residential market despite confidence and sales volumes dipping in other regions of the UK over the same period."

Buy-to-let lending improved towards the end of 2016

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Published: 25/01/2017   Last Updated: 24/02/2017 15:26:35   Author: Konner Woods, City Homes    Tags:

The start of 2016 saw a stalling in the levels of investment in rental properties in the UK, largely thanks to the fact there were changes to property tax rules coming, and investors became worried about the potential impacts of Brexit.

However, while this would have been something of a negative for the PRS, the tides appeared to turn at the end of the year, with new reports showing that there was a rebounding in mortgage lending for the buy-to-let sector towards the end of the year, when investors were once again feeling more confident.

In the latest buy-to-let index from Mortgages for Business, it was shown that in the fourth quarter of 2016, the remortgage activity that had made up the majority of the market for the two prior quarters was still the largest part of mortgage activity in the PRS, but there was still a rise in buying activity on top of this.

The proportion of the market that is made up of buy-to-let investment purchases rose from 28 per cent in the third quarter to 38 per cent in the final three months of the year.

"It is encouraging to see that the share of lending for purchase in the buy-to-let mortgage market returned to normal in the fourth quarter of 2016," said David Whittaker, chief executive officer of broker Mortgages for Business.

"Following a notable shift towards lending for remortgage in the third quarter, landlords showed they were once again willing to commit to new purchases. The outcome of the European Union referendum, and the subsequent macro-economic uncertainty dampened purchase lending in the third quarter with many landlords initially opting for a cautious approach," he added.

The main reason for the return to people investing in the last three months of the year is most likely to come down to the fact that the economy has yet to react negatively to the Brexit vote in June last year, which means that there is a chance that the sector will continue to perform well for some time to come.

Smoke and CO alarms new requirement

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Published: 13/03/2015   Last Updated: 03/03/2017 13:00:57   Tags:

The Housing Minister, Brandon Lewis announced yesterday that landlords will be required to have both smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms installed in all rental properties.

The changes are scheduled to come into effect soon after their Parliamentary approval, on 10 October 2015.

Fire and rescue authorities will be directed to support with the implementation - providing local private landlords with free alarms.

Brandon Lewis commented:

"In 1988 just 8% of homes had a smoke alarm installed – now it’s over 90%.

The vast majority of landlords offer a good service and have installed smoke alarms in their homes, but I’m changing the law to ensure every tenant can be given this important protection.

But with working smoke alarms providing the vital seconds needed to escape a fire, I urge all tenants to make sure they regularly test their alarms to ensure they work when it counts. Testing regularly remains the tenant’s responsibility."

The move will help prevent up to 36 deaths and 1,375 injuries a year.

Expectations of a landlord  -
•Smoke alarms installed on every floor of the rental property, and test them at the start of every tenancy.
•Carbon monoxide alarms in all high risk rooms – such as those where a solid fuel heating system is installed.

Landlord failing to meet the new regulations could face a maximum £5,000 civil penalty.

Energy Requirements Landlords Need to be Aware Off

Published: 28/02/2015   Last Updated: 16/11/2016 13:30:34   Tags:

The Landlord’s Energy Saving Allowance was launched in 2004 and allows property professionals to reduce their tax bill by up to £1,500 a year to cover the cost of purchasing and installing products that make a home warmer and more efficient.

However, the scheme is due to end on 6th April 2015 and it appears that many property professionals remain unaware of its existence.

Earlier this month, it was confirmed that landlords will be prevented from letting homes that do not have at least an E-rated energy performance certificate after 1st April 2018, so the allowance is likely to be particularly useful for those that own old and draughty dwellings.

A Reminder of Energy Performance Certificates?

Commonly abbreviated to EPC, an Energy Performance Certificate is needed whenever a property is sold or rented. They contain information on the home’s energy use and likely costs as well as recommendations on measures that can be taken to save money.

They are valid for ten years and carry ratings ranging from A (the most efficient) to G. They apply to all residential properties that are lived in for more than four months in a single year.

The certificates are not applicable to temporary buildings, places of worship, buildings with a floor space of less than 50 square feet, industrial sites and listed buildings.

The New Regulations

Due to come into force in April 2018, the new regulations were presented to parliament by energy secretary Ed Davey earlier this month and will effectively prevent lettings with ratings of F – G.

It is estimated that 10% (420,000) of England and Wales’s current housing stock falls below that grade, with official European Commission figures showing that the UK has one of the continent’s worst efficiency rates. At present, the average household spends 11.2% of its income on gas and electricity (compared to just 3.4% in the Netherlands), 34.7% live in homes in poor repair, and 19.2% are in fuel poverty.

As well as blocking landlords with cold homes, the new regulations stipulate that tenants letting a property below a rating of E can request works, such as fitting insulation, to be carried out from 1st April 2016. Those that fail to meet these requests will be hit with financial penalties.

Options for Landlords

As mentioned, landlords have a few weeks to take advantage of an incentive that permits them to deduct up to £1,500 from their tax bill, providing they have carried out works that will help their tenants save money on their energy bills.

The allowance is available for each property the landlord owns (including individual flats) and can be used for installing solid wall, loft, and cavity wall insulation and draught proofing, as well as insulation for floors and hot water systems.

It can also be claimed on properties let overseas providing that UK tax is paid on the letting’s yields.

Landlords are also able to cover the cost of work using the government’s Green Deal. At present, up to £5,600 can be borrowed to pay for improvements, with the money being paid back through the property’s energy bills.

The government has worked hard to increase awareness of the Green Deal since its launch in January 2013, but figures for installations remain low, with just 10,500 works being completed prior to February 2015. That said, figures from the Green Deal Finance Company (GDFC) show that the number of households requesting plans has grown to around 500 per week.

Landlords may also be able to raise funds by applying for a grant through the Energy Companies Obligation (ECO), but they’ll have to hurry as the scheme is set to end on 31st March.

Booming property price making more returns

Published: 14/06/2014   Last Updated: 16/11/2016 13:26:59   Tags:

Countrywides latest quarterly letting index report that landlords are seeing an increasing return on their investment when factoring in property values.

The average total return for landlords is now 12.2%, when both the rental yield and capital appreciation are added together, compared to a figure of 6.8% a year ago.

This surge in fortune has largely been driven by the boom in property prices during the early part of this year, though recent RICS data points to a slowing market.

There continues to be regional variations, London's rental yields are low, but  prices rises are continuing to out perform all other areas. The average London landlord had seen three quarters of their total return produced by capital growth, with just a quarter coming from rent payments.

Countrywide's rental data show the average UK monthly rent has increased 4.6% over the past year, largely again driven by booming London, whereas much of Northern England, particularly the North East is seeing falls in average rent. Some larger city centres are fairing better,Birmingham (+3.9%), Manchester (+3.7%) and Leeds (+3.6%).

Nick Dunning, Group Commercial Director, Countrywide plc, said:

“Yield and prospects for capital growth are both important components of a rental property investment. When weighing up an opportunity would-be landlords need to balance both the achievable yield and the prospects for capital appreciation before striking a balance between the two. For landlords looking to invest over the medium to longer term the prospects for capital appreciation becomes increasingly important.

“Since 2013, capital growth has formed a growing part of the return for landlords across London and the South East of the UK. Although rents, alongside wages have grown strongly, they have lagged behind rising house prices. While inevitably this has led to a degree of yield erosion, when looking at yield and capital appreciation together, the total returns have increased by 45% over the past 12 months. Conversely, parts of Northern England and Wales have seen yields grow as house prices have recovered much more slowly. In 2013, rising rents outstripped house price growth across most of the North.

“While total return forms the bottom line for landlords, landlords also need to take into account other practical considerations to ensure this return is realised. For instance, many landlords with smaller portfolios choose to purchase near to their own home in order to be able to manage or keep an eye on their property investment. Equally, for landlords looking to invest over a relatively short period of time, the ability to sell quickly is important to minimise void periods during the sale process and to realise value growth.

Eight buyers chasing every home!

Published: 23/04/2014   Last Updated: 23/04/2014 13:07:27   Tags:

It's housing hysteria! Eight buyers chasing every home, prices up £50,000 a month... how the property market is reaching new levels of insanity
High demand for houses has meant bizarre tactics by agents
Tactics include 'open-houses' where 60 potential buyers view at a time
Housing prices have rocketed up to £50,000 a month
Buyers willing to overlook faults in order to buy a home successfully.

Stumbling around the room, the dim glow from a mobile phone barely illuminating his way, Chris Knott could hardly see his hand in front of his face let alone appreciate the finer points of the £250,000 flat.

But with ten other prospective buyers queuing for the evening viewing, the estate agent was insistent that the 30-year-old project manager should not be put off by the fact that there was no electricity in the property.

‘It was so dark I had no idea what colour the walls were or what the kitchen was like,’ said Mr Knott.

‘There could have been a big hole in the wall and I wouldn’t have been able to see.’

Despite this, as he went to leave, he overheard another house-hunter telling the agent he wanted to buy the property in East London.

‘It was incredible,’ said Mr Knott. ‘Even though he couldn’t see what he was buying, he said he was willing to offer the asking price there and then.’

In many ways it was a merciful release for Mr Knott. In the past few months, he and his wife Isabelle, 27, have twice made offers on properties — only to have the rug pulled out from under their feet.

 In the first instance they were ‘gazumped’ at the last minute.

 Having had an offer on a £235,000 flat formally accepted and having paid £500 for a valuation, they were rung up by their estate agent to be told the sale was off because someone else had trumped their offer by £10,000.

On the second occasion a similar thing happened — although Mr Knott believes there wasn’t another buyer and that the vendor was, in fact, simply just trying to lever up the price he would pay.

The tactic has been nicknamed ‘ghost gazumping’ — and is one of the most unpleasant features to have emerged from the property boom currently sweeping parts of Britain.

Stamp Duty 2014

Published: 02/04/2014   Last Updated: 02/04/2014 12:53:45   Tags:

George Osborne is considering a potential stamp duty tax credits scheme in a bid to unblock the "current log jam" in the supply of new housing.

Osborne is also believed to be about to double the stamp duty threshold from £125,000 to £250,000 in order to further help the housing market.

House-building continues to fall far short of ever-growing demand, with the government's National Housing and Planning Advice Unit warning that the UK needs 290,500 new homes a year until 2031 to keep pace.

The number of new homes registered with the National House Building Council (NHBC) hit 133,670, a 28% increase on the year before and the most since 2007.

George Osborne has signalled that he would "build for Britain" in this year's Budget and unveiled plans to build a garden city in Ebbsfleet on the Thames Estuary, which would bring 15,000 homes.

The chancellor is expected to unveil a raft of other measures to boost the housing market, including the extension of the Help to Buy equity loan scheme to 2020.

Guaranteed Rent

Published: 30/01/2014   Last Updated: 30/01/2014 10:02:42   Tags:

With our Guaranteed Rent Landlords don't need luck

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 7.8% of rent is currently
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 It gets better...

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House price jump biggest since 2010

Published: 30/01/2014   Last Updated: 30/01/2014 10:02:08   Tags:

House prices surged by 8.4% over 2013 across the UK as the market revival became increasingly broad-based, Nationwide has reported.

 Prices rose by 1.4% month-on-month in December to reach £175,826 on average, although they remain around 5% below all-time highs recorded in late 2007, the building society said.

 The annual increase in prices across the country is the biggest jump seen since June 2010. Every region across the UK saw prices increase year-on-year, ranging from a 14.9% annual increase in London to a 1.9% uplift in the North.

 Among the major towns and cities, Manchester was named by the study as the best-performing area for house price rises in 2013, with prices there up by 21% typically over the last year to reach £209,627 typically.

 Carlisle was named as the worst performer, with a 1% annual increase in prices taking the average value of a home there to £136,128.

 Prices in London are now 14% above their annual peak, with the price of the typical home in the English capital having reached £345,186.

 House prices in Northern Ireland are still around half their 2007 levels, although they have climbed by 7.0% year-on-year to reach £111,612 on average. London has the most expensive house prices in the UK while Northern Ireland has the cheapest, according to Nationwide's figures.

 Scotland recorded a 3.7% annual increase in house prices, pushing them to £136,729 typically, while Wales saw prices pick up by 6.1% over the same period, taking the average price there to £139,722.

 In England, prices have increased by 8.6% year-on-year to £205,084 typically.

 Yesterday, Prime Minister David Cameron dismissed fears that the Government is pumping up a housing bubble as he hailed the success of its flagship Help to Buy scheme. A new phase of Help to Buy was launched in October to offer state-backed mortgages to credit-worthy people struggling to get onto the property ladder or move up it because they only have a small deposit saved up.

 The Prime Minister branded sceptics of the mortgage guarantees - such as Liberal Democrat business secretary Vince Cable - "London-centric".

 In many parts of the country prices were "barely moving at all", he insisted.

 More than 6,000 people have put offers in on homes and applied for mortgages using Help to Buy since it was launched about three months ago.

 Nearly 750 homeowners have completed their purchases and hundreds were able to spend Christmas in their new homes, according to the Government.

 Robert Gardner, Nationwide's chief economist, said the upturn in prices has become "increasingly broad-based over the course of 2013".

 He said: "For the second successive quarter, all 13 UK regions saw positive annual house price growth in quarter four...

 "Part of the reason for the acceleration in house price growth is that the supply side of the market has not kept pace with the upturn in demand, even though buyer numbers remain subdued by historic standards.

 "For example, in quarter three 2013 the number of housing transactions in England was around 25% below pre-crisis levels, while the number of new homes built was around 45% lower."

 Mr Gardner said that current ultra-low interest rates are currently helping to keep home loans relatively affordable, with the typical mortgage payment for a first-time buyer equating to around 29% of their take-home pay.

 But he added: "However, the risk is that if demand continues to run ahead of supply in the quarters ahead, affordability may become stretched.

 "House price growth has been outstripping average earnings growth since the start of the year."

Rightmove

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Published: 30/01/2014   Last Updated: 28/02/2015 14:27:45   Tags:

City Homes are now an official member of Rightmove.


Rightmove is the UK's number one property website and you can see all our properties go live on Rightmove.

 

Would you like 12 Months of Financial Peace?

Published: 30/01/2014   Last Updated: 30/01/2014 10:02:22   Tags:

We now offer 12 months RENT GUARANTEE! Our services will cover a pre agreed Monthly Rental payment, even if the tenant doesn't pay.

 We have EVEN included any unexpected costs such as Eviction Costs that may occur as a FREE service to our Landlords who look to rent a property through Us.

 So why not call us Today to take us up on this limited time offer!

 City Homes Team
 01733 34867

Rightmove : Act now if a New Year move is on the cards

Last Updated: 10/12/2015 15:23:32   Tags:

The key to selling property early in the new year is by marketing it now.

Homeowners are advised to get everything in place now to ensure they take advantage of a seasonal surge in visits to leading property websites between Christmas and New Year, when prospective buyers make plans for 2016.

Last year, popular websites Rightmove and Zoopla both experienced a considerable spike in activity over the festive period. Rightmove has reported more than one million visits to its website on Christmas Day, and Zoopla recorded 6.4 million visits to its website in the window between Christmas and New Year. The team at Connells is urging homeowners to instruct an agent now to ensure their property is in prime position to receive maximum exposure during another expected busy Christmas time.

Julie Southall, branch partner for Connells said: "If you really want to move in early 2016 then now is the time to be proactive. "Homeowners need to make sure their properties are on the market and listed online - particularly on the major websites like Zoopla and Rightmove - in time for this seasonal rush.

"The internet is normally the first port of call for many prospective home buyers, so choosing an agent who can help to market your property to its full potential and ensure maximum exposure is extremely important."

Julie continued: "Homeowners could also consider using a premium listing to highlight their home on property websites - with the property market so buoyant around Christmas time, making sure your property stands out is vital.

"If one of your goals for next year is moving home, don't delay in getting in touch with us to see how we can help get your property seen at one of the busiest times of the year."

City Homes Estate Agent. contact us on 01733 348 677 or email us on enquires@cityhomesltd.co.uk

Boris Johnson announces release of more land for homes to rent and buy

Last Updated: 14/12/2015 14:59:22   Tags:

Boris Johnson has announced that a raft of new land will be made available for the development of new homes in London, as he continues to work towards plans to address the supply and demand issue across the city.

The Mayor of London has previously announced plans for specific new projects, such as the construction of more than 200,000 new homes in East London, and it is hoped that his latest announcement over new available land will help improve the volume of homes available both for renting and buying in the capital.

He has pledged to release all City Hall-owned land for development by the end of his Mayoral term in 2016, with nearly all of these sites being available for immediate development, it was revealed.

Land that will become available will include sites at four former hospital sites and industrial land at Greenwich Peninsula and Barking Riverside. It is hoped that in the long-term, City Hall released land will be able to provide an additional 50,000 homes in London for the ownership and PRS markets.

In one of the first projects announced, Mr Johnson said new homes, a school and a park will transform a disused Parcelforce depot in the East London borough of Newham, an example of the work that can come about on this newly available land.

"This huge chunk of disused land will be put to the best possible use, creating a whole new neighbourhood including 3,500 much needed new homes, a new school and a park. This ambitious development will help to further the continuing transformation of east London as part of our Olympic legacy," he said.

Mr Johnson will make more than 1,200 of the 3,500 homes available as affordable homes to buy, but there will also be a number of PRS properties located on this new development

Estate Agents Lingo…

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Last Updated: 24/01/2017 15:29:03   Tags:

Are you ever confused or overwhelmed by the extensive lexicon of agents? Estate agents use many different terms when selling or letting a house which can be very confusing, so here we have explained a few terms to give you the low down on all this jargon.

1) Property Chain – - A number of linked property transactions where exchange of contracts must take place simultaneously. Basically, it’s a line of people buying and selling properties: a chain could start with a first time buyer purchasing a small flat; the owners of the small flat are then looking for a new house; the owners of that new house are then looking to buy a bigger house and so the chain goes on …
However, if one person in the chain drops out, then all the sellers are unable to continue with their moves as the chain collapses!

2) Commission – The fee that you pay your estate agent, this can be an upfront payment or more traditionally due at the point of completion.
With netanagent.com you can save money on your agent fees, check out our fee calculator to see how much you could save through netanagent.com! http://www.netanagent.com/home

3) Conveyancing – The legal work involved in buying and selling properties. This is the written contract between the seller and the buyer, stating the agreed-upon purchase price and the date of actual transfer, as well as the obligations and responsibilities of both parties.
Conveyancing should ensure that the buyer moves into their property with no nasty surprises.

4) Gazumping – Gazumping is the term used to describe a situation in which the seller of an asset (let’s say a house) accepts a purchase offer from someone, having previously accepted a lower offer from another potential buyer. The original buyer is then left in a bad situation, and either has to offer a higher price or lose out on the purchase altogether.

5) Instruction – This is when you give an estate agent ‘instructions’ or the right to sell your property; basically the seller is agreeing that the estate agent can sell their house. Estate agents will compete to receive instructions from sellers.

6) Cash Buyer – This is probably one of the most overused and misleading terms. It is not someone with a large suitcase stuffed with bank notes. Correctly used ‘cash buyer’ refers to someone who can release funds to purchase a property without borrowing, within a reasonable time frame. The term is often used incorrectly to describe someone who has no property to sell but does require a mortgage.

So there you have it, a few keywords to get you going when selling or letting your house with an agent.

Last Updated: 23/11/2016 18:45:01   Tags:

Need a Mortgage?

Last Updated: 02/04/2014 12:54:41   Tags:

Need a mortgage? Got bad credit? Not sure if you qualify for a mortgage? Give us a call now and we'll turn that frown upside down!

 

Stamp Duty 2016

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Last Updated: 18/02/2016 10:34:57   Tags:

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