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The deposit-free deal from Skipton Building Society is available for potential homebuyers across Britain.

A new zero-deposit mortgage aimed at helping renters and first-time homebuyers get on the property ladder has been launched by Skipton Building Society. The new ‘track record’ mortgage could enable people with a strong history of paying their rent in full and on time, but who have been only able to save a little or nothing for a deposit, to buy their first home.

The deal is available for first-time buyers across Britain. Tenants aged 21 and over may be able to take out mortgages at between 95% to 100% of the value of the property they want to buy. In return, they will need to demonstrate a strong track record of paying their rent, with evidence of a minimum of 12 months of rental history.

This evidence could be provided through bank statements or a letter from a suitably registered letting agent.

Experts said the new deal could help some aspiring homeowners to “get off the rental treadmill”, although some said that affordable housing remains in short supply.

Rachel Springall, a finance expert at financial information website Moneyfacts, said: “It is great to see more support for first-time buyers who are struggling to afford a deposit for a mortgage.

“There are very few 100% LTV mortgages in the market, but even if we were to see more innovative deals surface, affordable housing is very much in short supply, and there need to be significant changes to the market to turn this around.

“There are a few deals that will help first-time buyers get on to the property ladder with family assistance, such as the Barclays’ ‘springboard’ mortgage – however, its vital applicants and family members ensure they understand the arrangement before they commit.”

She warned: “It is imperative that borrowers compare the overall true cost of a deal and attempt to save on the upfront cost if they have used up most of their savings on a deposit, legal fees, or moving costs.”

Charlotte Harrison, chief executive of home financing at Skipton, said: “We need to tackle the UK’s housing affordability crisis to enable more people, especially renters who are trapped in renting cycles, to buy their first home.

“People trapped in renting is one of the UK’s biggest housing challenges, having a massive impact on the fabric of our society. With escalating rents and the cost-of-living squeeze further impacting people’s ability to save for a house deposit, it’s making it almost impossible for people get on to the property ladder.”

She added: “It is time for a rethink on these massive barriers to home ownership.”

Ms Harrison said the mortgage “has been carefully created with the challenges generation rent is facing in mind, together with the potential risks and challenges they may encounter in the future too”.


Source: www.dailyrecord.co.uk

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First-time buyers could easily be forgiven for feeling daunted by the property market today. Property prices remain high while the fallout following last year’s mini budget saw inflation soar and ended years of rock bottom interest rates.

The total value of residential homes in the UK reached a record £8.68 trillion last year, representing a £425 billion increase in property values in 2022, according to Savills.
However, Charles Morley, director of mortgage distribution at Metro Bank, said these concerns need not be set in stone, and pointed to the return of stability providing a light at the end of the tunnel.

Positivity for first-time buyers

Morley said the average house price now stood at £285,476, which, alongside the cost-of-living crisis, did represent a potential challenge to first-time buyers. He added that sourcing systems suggested that last year’s turbulence had led to an increase in brokers searching for criteria such as age at the end of term, interest only and late or missed payments.
“However, we have seen greater stability over the last two months, accompanied by a welcome element of calm, and even dare I say it, some green shoots,” said Morley.
Lenders had worked hard to improve criteria and adjust loan-to-income (LTI), which had helped to stimulate a greater level of positivity across the market.
Morley believed opportunity still existed within the first-time buyer community, and pointed to the return of 95% loan-to-value (LTV) products, as well as Deposit Unlock having 50 builders signed up, including the likes of Persimmon, Taylor Wimpey and Crest Nicholson.
He added that products such as Joint Borrower Sole Proprietor also continued to be an extremely popular option for those looking to take that initial first step onto the housing ladder.
“This area of the market should not be underestimated, nor should its opportunity; activity may currently be constrained but several solutions are already available and the government will want to be seen to support first-time buyers, so I would not write off any further changes in an effort to stimulate this important sector,” Morley said.
The market was tough for first-time buyers, but the industry could help to spread an air of positivity, he countered, as it plotted a path to safer and more secure waters.

Options for first-time buyers

Charlotte Grimshaw, head of mortgages at Suffolk Building Society, said any dip in house prices was a good thing for first-time buyers, though this could also mean increased demand from potential buyers across the spectrum, which could ultimately push prices up again.
“There have been calls, notably from the Building Society Association, for the government to review the Help to Buy ISA and LISA schemes,” Grimshaw said.
She was in agreement with this, and believed it should have been looked at in the Spring Budget as these could provide important support for first-time buyers.
“First-time buyers who are struggling to get on the property ladder due to rising house prices could also consider Shared Ownership, this route helps people get around the need for a large deposit,” Grimshaw added.
Ross Williams, head of mortgage product and pricing at Hodge, said it is believed house prices would fall this year, but added that it was not necessarily going to fix the issue for first-time buyers looking to purchase.
Williams added that rising interest rates alone could see them fail on affordability, even for a starter home.
“Of course, we should not forget it is not just younger buyers who are affected, we have seen increases in the number of first-time buyers over 50, which is telling,” he said.
Williams said specialist lending was becoming increasingly common, and added that those who did not fit the stereotype had far too long been penalised in the mortgage market.
“Options such as interest only and longer mortgage terms can really help with affordability and keeping monthly costs down,” he added.
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A more stable picture of the housing market may be emerging, the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) has suggested.

It comes as the February 2023 RICS UK Residential Market Survey showed while sentiment among surveyors remains negative, declines in demand and sales may be slowing.

The headline reading for new buyer enquiries rebounded to a net balance of -29% – suggesting a drop – improving from -45% in January.

While this metric is still signalling a decline in demand and represents the tenth consecutive negative monthly reading for new buyer enquiries, it is also the least negative result since July 2022, the RICS said.

The new sales indicator was also less negative in February, improving from a net balance of -36% to -26%.

However, the average time taken to complete sales continues to rise and is now approaching 19 weeks, according to the report.

Respondents highlighted a less adverse trend in the volume of fresh listings coming onto the sales market, with the net balance highlighting a fall rather than a rise and improving to -4% compared with -12% in January and -22% in December.

Even so, the number of market appraisals conducted in February was still negative but below the equivalent period a year ago according to a net balance of -33% of respondents.

This compares with a reading of -42% in the previous month and a recent low of -55% in December.

Looking ahead, sales are anticipated to continue to slip over the coming three months, demonstrated by the near-term sales expectations net balance coming in at -47%.

But at the twelve-month time horizon, the sales outlook looks to be more stable, the RICS said, with a net balance of -8%.

This stands against -20% in January and a recent low of -45% back in August.

Surveyors were also asked about the difference between the asking price and sales price in the current climate.

In the mainstream market, covering prices up to £500,000, around 60% of respondents suggested that prices were being agreed at below the asking price.

For properties priced between £500,000 and £1m, the share jumped to just over 70%.

Tarrant Parsons, RICS senior economist, said: “The housing market continues to adjust to the tighter lending climate, with stretched mortgage affordability still weighing heavily on activity.

“Given the ongoing weakness in demand, house prices remain on a downward trajectory, and are expected to see further falls through the first half of the year at least.

“Going forward, near-term expectations suggest market activity will remain generally subdued over the coming months, although the latest survey feedback shows tentative signs that the ongoing decline in buyer enquiries is now moderating.”

Source: www.estateagenttoday.co.uk

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The level of property sales in the UK is declining, HMRC has suggested, after it revealed that transactions dipped for the second consecutive month in January.

The latest property transactions data from the taxman has recorded 77,390 sales in January 2023 on a non-seasonally adjusted basis, down 7% annually and 27% lower than December 2022.

On a seasonally-adjusted basis, there were 96,650 sales, down 11% annually and a 3% decline on the previous month.

HMRC said: “UK residential transactions have generally been stable in recent months but we are now starting to see a decline in numbers.

“Residential transactions are similar to pre-coronavirus levels, for example the provisional seasonally adjusted estimate in January 2023 is 96,650 compared to 97,310 in January 2020.”

It comes after HMRC recorded a non-seasonally adjusted figure of 108,960 sales in December, down 1% annually and 3% on a monthly basis.

Agents and commentators remained upbeat despite the declining figures.

Source: www.estateagenttoday.co.uk

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The average seller in England and Wales who sold in 2022 having bought within the last 20 years made a record gross profit of £108,000, up from £96,220 in 2021, new figures show.

There are now 173 local authorities in England & Wales where the average homeowner made a six-figure gain when selling their home – 87% of which are in the South of England.

Slower house price growth in London over the last few years has meant that in percentage terms, Welsh sellers are now making bigger gains than Londoners (59% versus 57% in 2022), according to the figures provided by Hamptons, based on Land Registry data.

The uplift in seller profit has been driven by more households selling larger homes.  Typically, these have been owned for longer.

Chart 1 – Average seller gross profit across England & Wales

Source: Land Registry & Hamptons

Double-digit house price growth in 2022 has meant that homeowners cashing in have made record gains.  The average seller in England and Wales who bought a property within the last 20 years and sold in 2022 made a gross profit of £108,000, up from £96,220 in 2021 (chart 1, table 1).

A record 94% of sellers sold their property in 2022 for more than they paid for it, having owned for an average of 8.9 years.  In percentage terms, the average seller in England & Wales sold their home for 52% more than they bought it for (table 1).

Chart 2 – % difference between purchase and sale price by region

Source: Land Registry & Hamptons    

There are now 173 (or 52%) local authorities across England & Wales where the average homeowner made a six-figure gain when selling their home.  This figure has risen from 116 in 2021.  87% of these local authorities were located in the South of England, down from 94% in 2021.

London is the only region where the average household gain exceeded £100k in every Local Authority during 2022.  In fact, there were 17 Boroughs where seller gains exceeded £200k.  Across the capital, the average seller sold their home in 2022 for £219,110 or 57% more than they bought it for, having owned it for an average of 9.3 years (chart 2, table 1).

In financial terms, sellers in Kensington & Chelsea saw the biggest gains, with the average household selling their home for £684,510 more than they paid for it 10.4 years ago (table 2).  Elmbridge is the only non-London local authority that sits within the top 10.  Here, the average seller sold their home for £298,500 more than they paid for it, putting it in fifth place (table 2).

At the other end of the scale, the North East with an average gain of £37,890, had no local authorities with average gains above £100k.  Sluggish house price growth in the region since the last financial crash has meant that 14% of sellers made a loss on their home in 2022.  However, this figure has fallen from 31% recorded in 2019.  Middlesbrough came bottom of the local authority list with an average seller gain of £23,640 in 2022.

Slower house price growth in London over the last few years has meant that, for the first time in at least five years, Welsh sellers are now making bigger gains than Londoners in percentage terms (chart 2, table 1).  In 2022, the average home in Wales sold for 59% more than its purchase price, surpassing the London average of 57%.  This also reflects the housing market cycle, with Wales having seen stronger price growth in recent years, partly due to its slow recovery from the 2008 financial crash.

Chart 3 – Seller gross profit across England & Wales by property type

Source: Land Registry & Hamptons

The uplift in the average amount of money people have made on their property has been driven by more larger homes being sold in 2022.  While detached homes made up 19% of sales in 2022, they accounted for 35% of properties selling for six figure gains in 2022.  The average detached home was sold for £186,940 (or 61%) more than its original purchase price, 3.3 times the average gain made on a flat (£57,080) in 2022 (chart 3).

While the percentage gain made by house sellers increased between 2021 and 2022, weaker house price growth meant that it stayed the same for flat sellers.  The average house seller in 2022 made a 57% gain on their home up from 51% in 2021, compared to 29% for flat owners in both 2022 and 2021.

Typically, these larger homes have also been owned for longer and have therefore benefited from additional house price inflation, boosting the average gain.  Nearly a quarter (24%) of homes sold in 2022 had been bought 15-20 years ago, up from one in five (20%) in 2019.

Historically, flat owners have sold up sooner than house owners.  However, the weaker flat market has meant that more flat owners have had to stay put for longer.  Those who have owned a flat for longer and have built up more equity have been most able to afford to trade up.  Of all the flats sold in 2022, just 34% had been bought within the last five years, down from 41% in 2020.  As such, the average flat owner who sold in 2022 bought their home 8.7yrs ago, up from 8.3yrs in 2021, 2020 and 2019.

Aneisha Beveridge, head of research at Hamptons, said: “Soaring house price growth has boosted the money homeowners have made when they sell.  House price gains are primarily driven by two factors – the length of time people have owned and the point at which they bought and sold in the house price cycle.  2022’s record breaking gains were boosted by Covid-induced changes, with a rising share of sales coming from larger family homes that were typically bought before the financial crisis.  However, most of these profits are never seen by sellers as they are reinvested back into the housing market when they make their next purchase which has also increased in value.

“But house price growth hasn’t been distributed equally.  Flat owners, in particular, have seen weaker price growth and are nearly four times as likely to sell at a loss compared to someone selling a house.  Typically, these are first-time buyers and second steppers who have bought in the last five years and have accrued less equity in their homes.  This, combined with higher mortgage rates, has limited their ability to cash in and trade up in 2022.

“While there are a number of uncertainties weighing on the market, even if prices do fall this year, it’s likely that over 90% of sellers will still sell at a profit.  The other 10% will mostly be flat owners who bought in the last five or so years.  The shift away from recent mortgaged homeowners selling cheaper homes towards older, more affluent homeowners selling more expensive homes also looks set to push up gains among sellers again this year.”

Table 1 – 2022 seller gains by region

Region £ difference between sale & purchase price % difference between sale & purchase price Average years of ownership
London £                   219,110 57% 9.3
South East  £                   141,760 52% 8.9
East of England £                   123,200 55% 8.6
South West  £                   112,610 51% 8.3
East Midlands £                      81,510 54% 8.7
West Midlands £                      80,570 49% 8.6
Wales £                      74,660 59% 8.9
North West  £                      67,500 51% 8.9
Yorkshire & the Humber £                      63,380 46% 9.0
North East £                      37,890 32% 8.2
England & Wales £                   108,000 52% 8.9

Source: Land Registry & Hamptons

Table 2 – Top 3 local authorities in each region with the biggest 2022 seller £ gains

Region Local Authority Average seller gain £ Average seller gain % Average length of ownership
London KENSINGTON AND CHELSEA £                  684,510 60% 10.4
CITY OF WESTMINSTER £                  473,180 55% 10.2
RICHMOND UPON THAMES £                  319,350 55% 9.2
South East ELMBRIDGE £                  298,500 56% 9.3
WAVERLEY £                  214,940 53% 9.1
EPSOM AND EWELL £                  205,750 56% 9.6
East THREE RIVERS £                  243,510 67% 10.3
ST ALBANS £                  237,550 60% 9.1
HERTSMERE £                  208,330 58% 9.3
South West COTSWOLD £                  167,960 56% 8.6
SOUTH HAMS £                  162,840 54% 8.3
BATH & NORTH EAST SOMERSET £                  158,010 52% 8.4
Wales MONMOUTHSHIRE £                  117,560 61% 9.1
THE VALE OF GLAMORGAN £                  112,100 61% 8.9
ISLE OF ANGLESEY £                  100,690 69% 9.1
West Midlands SOLIHULL £                  122,410 49% 8.9
BROMSGROVE £                  119,840 51% 8.4
STRATFORD-ON-AVON £                  115,950 42% 8.2
East Midlands RUSHCLIFFE £                  120,750 53% 8.1
RUTLAND £                  113,470 56% 8.9
DERBYSHIRE DALES £                  113,280 52% 9.0
Yorkshire & The Humber HARROGATE £                  121,260 44% 8.3
RYEDALE £                  108,100 50% 8.4
YORK £                  102,780 50% 8.5
North East NORTH TYNESIDE £                    58,190 41% 9.1
NORTHUMBERLAND £                    56,530 37% 8.9
NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE £                    51,600 32% 9.0
North West TRAFFORD £                  169,680 73% 8.8
STOCKPORT £                  113,800 67% 8.6
SOUTH LAKELAND £                  104,340 50% 9.3

Source: www.propertyindustryeye.com

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Jeremy Hunt announced in his Autumn Statement that Stamp Duty would rise in April 2025, higher CGT bills for landlords and other measures that will affect agents.

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt has promised to keep Stamp Duty cuts in place until the end of March 2025, but the tax will rise after that date.

“This will create incentives to support the housing market by boosting transactions,” he said.

The Chancellor said he would then “sunset” the cuts so that they are abolished but will be kept under review. He had previously said he would keep the Stamp Duty cuts but had not set a deadline for them.

Stamp Duty would rise in April 2025, higher CGT bills for landlords and other measures that will affect agents.

Former Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng’s mini-budget announced cuts to Stamp Duty with nothing to be paid for the first £250,000 of a property’s value – double the previous amount allowed. The threshold for first-time buyers was also increased from £300,000 to £425,000.

Hunt also told MPs as he announced his Autumn Statement that he planned to keep mortgage rates down and ensure they are “significant lower”. He said that rates were higher in the United States, Canada and New Zealand.

Top rate taxpayers will face higher bills after the threshold for the 45p rate was lowered  from £150,000 to £125,140. Capital gains tax exemption amounts will be reduced from £12,300 to £3,000 by April 2024.

Other announcements include changing the threshold for the top rate of income tax from £150,000 to £125,000 and freezing allowances and thresholds for income tax, national insurance and inheritance tax until April 2028.

Source: The Negotiator

Pic: BBC News

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Demand is rising in the rental market as some would-be buyers pause to see what happens with mortgage rates in the new year, the latest data from a property portal reveals.

Property demand shifts from buying to renting amid high mortgage rates

The number of people enquiring to letting agents to move in the rental market is up by 23% compared to last year, which leaves the total number of people looking to move in either the sales or rental market just 1% below last year’s levels.

There are signs that mortgage rates and availability are beginning to settle following a turbulent two months, with indications they could drop further next year. The data suggests that this is leading to some aspiring buyers looking at the rental market as a short-term alternative while they wait to see where mortgage rates will go.

First-time buyers have been hardest hit by the jump in mortgage rates, especially those who were already stretching themselves financially.

However, this group of future first-time buyers are likely to find competition for a suitable rental home much fiercer than in the sales market, and choice more limited.

The number of smaller available rental homes (studios, one and two bed properties) is down by 4% compared with last year, while in the sales market it is up 13%.

A property portal survey found that four in ten (42%) aspiring first-time buyers with plans to get onto the ladder in the next few years already had their total deposit saved, while a further 43% are in the process of saving.

This indicates there is a group of future first-time buyers waiting in the wings to enter the market once they feel like they have more financial certainty. Following the Autumn budget which guaranteed stamp duty savings until 2025, and mortgage rates settling down, there could be the impetus for these ready-to-go first-time buyers to join the market in the new year, especially if mortgage rates do drop.

A survey among letting agents found that on average they are managing 36 enquiries per property and spending nearly six hours managing viewings per property, in what the property portal has reported as the most competitive rental market on record, with quadruple the number of tenants as rental properties available.

The property commentator from the property portal, said: “It’s completely understandable why some buyers, particularly some first-time buyers, are waiting for some more financial certainty. Now that there are signs that mortgage rates are settling down, the indicators are that they will stabilise at a higher level than previous buyers had been used to. If someone has their deposit saved and is ready to move, they may find that right now presents a better opportunity than a few weeks ago, particularly with more choice coming onto the market and some sellers pricing more competitively in the lead up to Christmas.”

The property’s portal rental spokesperson, added: “It’s extremely frustrating for so many people in the rental market right now, with demand so high. Tenants are trying to secure viewings for properties as soon as they hit the property portals, and the stock shortage means that agents are dealing with an unmanageable number of enquiries.

“The number of aspiring first-time buyers who have now had to turn to the rental market is exacerbating the situation further. We’re seeing some more properties coming to market, but nowhere enough to meet demand.

“We’re hearing from agents that finding out more information about a tenant earlier is one way they are trying to cope with demand, so we’d recommend to anyone looking right now to give as much info as possible about their position, how quickly they can move, and to get their references ready so they have a better chance of getting the place they want.”

Source: Property Industry Eye

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Looking for a fun walking holiday to get back in shape? Here’s a challenge. Stretching 14,000 miles (22,387km) from Cape Town in South Africa to Magadan in Russia, this route might be the world’s longest walk, and it certainly sounds gruelling.

Credit for this lengthy route goes to Reddit user cbz3000, who drew it up on Google Maps in 2019. Claiming it to be the longest walking distance possible on the site, they found a route that required no flights, ferries or other boat-crossings: just open roads and bridges. The route takes the brave traveller up through Africa, past the Suez Canal, through Turkey, Central Asia and across Siberia to Magadan.

According to brilliant maps, the journey would take 4,492 hours to walk, meaning 187 days. However, this is assuming you were walking non-stop. If we assumed a walking pace of 8 hours per day (no rest days!), the journey would actually take 562 days.

If this still sounds like something you might fancy doing and have an available 2-years to get on the road, then let’s take a closer look into some of the sights you’d have the pleasure of passing on your 16-country tour:

South Africa: Table Mountain

Start your walk fresh and energised with a warm-up stroll to Cape Town’s famous Table Mountain. Nestled within Table Mountain National Park, the mountain is instantly recognisable for its distinct table shape and its “table-cloth” cloud formations that hug the peak. The ascent to the top takes around 2-3 hours to hike and pays off with spectacular views of Cape Town and the southern coastline. Because of its flat shape, you can even follow one of several hiking routes that take walkers just across the top, some taking several hours to complete. If you’ve got time, you can drive South Africa’s iconic Garden Route.

Botswana – Safari Tour

Whilst in Botswana why not go on a Safari Tour to get a glimpse at some of the incredible wildlife of Africa? Chobe National Park and Okavango Delta are two of the best Botswanan National Parks, full of elephants, lions, giraffes, buffalo and zebra. From Luxury wooden lodges to spa resorts, there is plenty of opportunity to relax and unwind after your first 6 weeks of walking!

Zambia – Victoria Falls

This waterfall located on the Zambezi River at the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe is the world’s largest waterfall, with a width of 1,708m. Visitors can swim in the natural pools at the top, though due to their proximity to the edge, it is not for the faint-hearted! From Gaborone in Botswana to Victoria Falls, this is a nice and easy stretch of 22 days.

Egypt – Great Pyramid of Giza

How embarrassing would it be if you did a 14,000-mile walk and forgot to check out the ultimate wonder of the world? As the last remaining classic wonder of the world, the pyramids are a must-see for everyone at some point in their lives. What can be said about them? Whether it was aliens or simply an unspeakable amount of slave labour, the sheer mathematical genius of the pyramids and the many mysteries surrounding their inner passages are the stuff of legend. I hope you picked up enough snacks for the road since this stretch will take you a whopping 181 days (6 months).

Jordan – Petra

Just an easy stretch now after that journey. From one wonder to another, you must take a trip to Petra when passing through Jordan. Located in the south of the country, this archaeological site is remarkably well preserved and contains the world-famous Al-Khazneh (The Treasury) Temple, an ornate building cut directly into the sandstone rock. Believed to have been the mausoleum of the Nabatean King Aretas IV, it is the most popular tourist attraction in Jordan and recognisable from such works as Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade and the Adventures of Tintin. From the Pyramids to Petra, you’ll be on the road for a mere 2 weeks.

Turkey – Lake Van

Next stop, why not take a look at the off-the-beaten-track natural beauty of Lake Van in Turkey? With picturesque walking routes around the lake and plenty of remote hotels to stay in, this is a perfect place to relax and soak up some fascinating history. From Armenian Kingdoms to Mongol conquest, the Lake is at the heart of some of the world’s biggest empires. It even has its own equivalent of the Loch Ness Monster: the Lake Van Monster, with reports of its sighting stretching all the way back to the 1800s, so keep your eyes peeled. This stretch will take you 5 weeks.

Georgia – Tbilisi

Your final stop before Russia is Georgia, so enjoy a bit of urban respite in the beautiful capital city of Tbilisi (a popular digital nomad spot). With its cobblestoned old town and red-roofed houses, the city is wonderfully picturesque and nestles below the towering presence of Narikala, a 4th-century fortress. Wander around the city, taking in its historic churches, art nouveau buildings and brutalist Soviet blocks. With such a mishmash of styles, the complex history of this under-visited country is laced into the city’s architecture. From Van, the journey is 16 days.


Well, you’ve made it into Russia, but unfortunately, the journey is far from over. As you move further North-East, the temperatures drop, the landscape gets more and more barren and the welcoming villages to stop and rest get more and more remote. With 253 days of your journey (8 months) in Russia, you’re bound to get an excellent flavour of the customs, quirks and diversity of this enormous nation. Stock up on vodka for the road (you may need it as payment when finding yourself lost in the Siberian steppe), and good luck to you.


Source: hasanjasim.online

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House prices ground to a halt in October after more than two years of growth, with fresh signs that they could fall in the coming months, the latest surveyors report shows.

Across the UK, a net balance of 2% of property professionals reported house prices falling rather than rising, as increasing mortgage costs fuel greater caution among buyers, according to the latest RICS Residential Survey for October 2022.

Property professionals based in Scotland and Northern Ireland continue to report a relatively positive rise in property prices even but the pace has softened compared with a year ago.

By contrast, those in areas such as East Anglia and the South East of England were seeing prices fall – a trend that is likely to ripple out to other parts of the country.

Professionals across all parts of the UK are now, on balance, of the opinion that house prices will fall over the next 12 months.

New buyer inquiries dropped for the sixth consecutive month in October – and survey feedback on buyer demand was negative across the UK, the RICS report found.

It now takes 18 weeks on average to sell a residential property, up from 16 weeks typically a year ago.

But while the property sales market slows, rents are expected to continue rising, amid a widening supply-demand imbalance in the private rented sector.

Tenant demand continues to increase at a solid pace, with a net balance of 46% of survey participants noting a hike last month.

At the same time, landlord instructions fell. The mismatch is expected to place upward pressure on rents.

Surveyors predict that rents are likely to be around 4% higher in a year’s time, which is significantly below the existing inflation rate of 10.1%.

Simon Rubinsohn, RICS’ chief economist, said: “The latest feedback to the RICS survey provides further evidence of buyer caution in the face of the sharp rise in mortgage costs.

“As a result, the volume of activity is likely to slip back over the coming months and realistic pricing is now much more important to complete a sale.

“The settling down in financial markets could provide some relief although it may be premature to assume this will be reflected in a reduction in lending rates any time soon.

“However, the employment picture remains critical to the medium-term outlook and for the time being, that remains solid.

“As far as the lettings market is concerned, the imbalance between demand and supply still appears unusually extended, leading to rent expectations in the survey remaining at elevated levels and it is difficult to see this changing any time soon in the current environment.”

Responding to the report, Tom Bill, head of UK residential research at Knight Frank, described October as a bad month for the UK property market. However, he added that it has not necessarily set the tempo for what comes next.

He commented: “As the impact of the mini-Budget fades, mortgage rates will calm down before stabilising. The downwards pressure on prices will reduce to some degree as the economic and political backdrop becomes less disorientating.

“However, after growth of 25% during the pandemic, we believe it’s a reasonable assumption that house prices have now peaked. We don’t expect the sort of cliff-edge moment seen during the financial crisis, but we expect prices to fall back to the level they were at in summer 2021 as rates normalise after 13 years.”

Jeremy Leaf, north London estate agent, added: “Never was the saying – confidence takes a long time to build but can disappear almost immediately – so true for the property market.

“The mini-Budget frightened the life out of nearly all our buyers who are dependent on mortgages. Many have slowly emerged from hiding as rates stabilised and slowly began to fall.

“New buyer numbers have certainly dropped but we’re seeing no signs of a price collapse. On the other hand, some tough negotiations are underway between more realistic buyers and sellers with most existing sales hanging together – but some by a thread.”

Source: Property Industry Eye

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