Author's Posts

UK Cities House Price Index

◼ UK city house price inflation +2.8% – all cities recording positive house price growth.
◼ London growth rate edges higher to 0.4% – there has been a decline in the number of London postcodes registering price falls since October 2018.
◼ Regional cities continue to post above average price growth but there are signs that the rate of price inflation will slow further in the months ahead.
◼ Housing transactions and mortgage approvals holding up despite Brexit uncertainty.

Cities Index report

All cities record price rises for first time in 3.5 years
The latest UK cities house price index reveals that average prices increased +2.8% over the last year. Annual price inflation ranges between +6.8% in Leicester to +0.2% in Cambridge  This is the first time annual price growth has been positive across all 20 cities for 3.5 years (August 2015), primarily a result of growth finally turning positive in Aberdeen.

Annual growth rate edges higher in London

The annual rate of growth in London has increased slightly to +0.4%. While market conditions remain weak, there are signs of a pick-up in demand following a 3-year repricing of London homes.
This repricing process has come in two forms –1) absolute price falls which have been concentrated in higher value markets, and 2) a widening in the discount between asking and achieved prices, with the largest discounts in inner London.

Market decline in London postcodes with price falls

Our granular house price indices for London reveal that the proportion of postcodes registering price falls is starting to reduce. The latest data reveals that prices are falling across 55% of London postcodes, down from almost 70% last October.
The rate at which prices are falling in these markets is relatively low – 0% to -5%. Prices continue to increase in 45% of London City postcodes, typically lower value, more affordable areas in outer London.

No rebound in prices but a positive for market activity

Buyers who have delayed purchases and stood on the side-lines since 2015, are starting to see greater value for money, perhaps seeking out buying opportunities while Brexit uncertainty impacts market sentiment.
This is supported by a willingness of sellers to be more realistic on pricing and accept offers from buyers. While we do not believe London prices will rebound, the closer alignment of buyer and seller expectations is a positive for market activity and sales volumes, which are still 25% lower than in 2016. We talk specifically on the ‘Brexit impact’ later in this report.

Prices up 17% in two regional cities since Brexit vote

While London has registered weak growth, regional cities outside southern England have recorded above average price inflation over the last 3 years. This is a result of better affordability and rising employment which has boosted demand.
Leicester and Manchester have recorded price growth of 17% since the Brexit vote in June 2016, followed by a 16% increase in Birmingham. The latest index finds prices rising by 5% or more in seven cities led by Leicester, Manchester and Glasgow.

Slower growth in regional cities over 2019

These trends are all part and parcel of the unfolding housing cycle. However, house prices cannot keep rising ahead of earnings indefinitely. The rate of price inflation in regional cities has started to moderate. We believe this will continue over the remainder of 2019.

Birmingham and Manchester start to lose momentum

For example, our granular price indices for Birmingham and Manchester, reveal a significant increase in the proportion of postcodes registering growth of 0% to 5% and fewer areas recording growth over 5% per annum. This is a result of growing affordability pressures as well as increased uncertainty.
We expect prices to keep rising in these cities but at a slower rate, closer to earnings growth. This follows the pattern recorded in cities such as Bristol and Bournemouth in southern England.
Brexit impact on the housing market?
Brexit uncertainty is often cited as the cause of weaker house price growth over the last 12-18 months. We believe it is more complex than that and see Brexit uncertainty as a compounding factor in markets where fundamentals have weakened.
Price growth is just one measure of relative market strength. Levels of housing transactions are another important measure for businesses operating in the market. The willingness and ability of households to move home underpins revenues and business plans.
Data on transactions remains resilient with no obvious Brexit impact at a national level. Transaction volumes over 2018 remained in line with the 5-year average. The same is true for mortgage approvals for home purchase. There has been no material drop in activity over 2018H2 as the Brexit debate has heated up. The very latest data from HMRC shows that housing transactions have increased slightly in the first 2 months of 2019.

 

Source: Zoopla Research

Read more

The Home (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act 2018 finished its parliamentary journey in December 2018. From 20th of March all social and private landlords, including letting agents, in England will be required to comply.

Homes Act comes into force on 20 March 2019

Originally introduced by Karen Buck MP, ARLA Propertymark supported the legislation during its passage through Parliament.

Known as the Homes Act, landlords and letting agents acting on their behalf will be required by law to ensure that a home is fit for human habitation from the beginning and throughout the duration of a tenancy.

If a home is found to be hazardous, and the issue is not resolved, tenants will have the right to take direct legal action in the courts for breach of contract. Certain exemptions apply where the landlord or letting agent will not be held responsible.

We are using the 29 hazards of the Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS) as a basis to check against hazards in the home. Earlier this month the Government released Guidance on the legislation.

Tenancies

All new or renewed domestic tenancies on or after 20 March 2019 will apply to the new rules. This includes any tenancies that are significantly changed, such as a Change of Sharer.

Existing Fixed-Term Tenancies will fall under the requirements of the Act when they are renewed or become Periodic.

Existing Periodic Tenancies have 12 months until they will need to comply on 20 March 2020.

Commenting on the legislation coming into force, David Cox, ARLA Propertymark Chief Executive: “We’re pleased the Homes Act is coming into force tomorrow and congratulate Karen Buck MP on her work to provide a better private rented sector for all. This new legislation will give renters greater protection against criminal operators and means they will now be able to take direct legal action if their agent or landlord does not comply.”

Further help and information

Homes Fitness for Human Habitation Act – news article

Government Releases Homes Act Guidance – news article

Source: www.arla.co.uk

Read more

The Tenant Fees Act sets out the government’s approach to banning letting fees paid by tenants in the private rented sector and capping tenancy deposits in England.

The aim of the Act is to reduce the costs that tenants can face at the outset, and throughout, a tenancy, and is part of a wider package of measures aimed at rebalancing the relationship between tenants and landlords to deliver a fairer, good quality and more affordable private rented sector.

Tenants will be able to see, at a glance, what a given property will cost them in the advertised rent with no hidden costs. The party that contracts the service – the landlord – will be responsible for paying for the service, which will help to ensure that the fees charged reflect the real economic value of the services provided and sharpen letting agents’ incentive to compete for landlords’ business.

The ban on tenant fees will come into force on 1 June 2019.

The government will shortly be publishing guidance for tenants, landlords and letting agents to help explain how the legislation affects them. Keep an eye on our Blog for further updates.

Source: https://services.parliament.uk/Bills/2017-19/tenantfees.html

Read more

The mortgage market is in continuous move and it can affect you as well.

If you’re one of those shopping for a house soon and you are considering a mortgage, you should carefully analyse a couple of factors before making a decision. The location, the time you are going to spend in your new home (if it is temporary or, hopefully, for the rest of your life), the purpose of the investment (for your own living or if it is a buy to let), and other life circumstances should be considered when choosing a type of mortgage.

However, even with all these cleared up, there is still one more factor that might influence your decision. The mortgage market is in continuous move and it can affect you as well.

The analysis after the first quarter of 2017 proves that some types of mortgages are increasing, while other products for loans are remaining unchanged. For example, the number of contracted mortgages rose in the first three months. These are bank products offered for self-employed people, people with complex incomes or other underserved segments of the buyers’ market. Looking closely upon the offer of bank products, you may see that banks will speculate this moment and will come with new and improved offers. You will just have to pick the most advantageous for you.

The mortgage market also seems to be improving since the number of completed applications  for first time buyers is rising. 67% of first time mortgage applications were completed in the first quarter of 2017, up substantially from 48% in the same period of 2016. Intermediaries have eased up the applications because of the struggle to obtain a mortgage that was intensely publicised last year.

And one of the most important news that the mortgage market received at the beginning of this month is that the lending rates reached their lowest point. The figures from the Bank of England showed that this year’s borrowers received the lowest mortgage rates ever.

These effects are sometimes connected and influence one another, but paying enough attention to the movements of the market might pay off eventually.

Sources:

http://www.propertywire.com/news/uk/brokers-see-demand-specialist-mortgages-less-buy-let-forecast/

http://www.propertywire.com/news/uk/uk-mortgage-applications-intermediaries-successful-year-ago/

http://www.propertywire.com/news/uk/mortgage-lending-rates-uk-reaching-lowest-rates-ever/

 

Read more

Buying a home for the first time is one of the biggest decisions you will make.

You will need to choose what mortgage company is best for you and what kind of deposit you will need to have. There are quite a few choices out there now though that can help you.

Here is a list of things you should look into:

  • How much can you borrow?

Before you jump in and start looking for your home, check your credit and speak to a mortgage adviser to find out how much you may be able to borrow and if you can afford the monthly payments. Don’t forget to put some money aside for legal fees to. Always ask your lender if they cover mortgages above a commercial property as some lender may not.

  • Decide what you’re looking for and where

Once you have either got a mortgage agreement in place or you know what you are able to borrow then you can start looking into what type of property you are looking for, how many bedrooms, is a garden important to you and how far is the transport. When looking at a area check what

  • Start house hunting

When looking for a property the first step is to look on your local estate agent’s website. You may look at quite a few places before you find the right property for you. When you see a property that you want to view, look around for any signs of dump, is the building structure sound, how old is the roof, how much storage space.

Read more

A study described as the biggest of its type seeks to explain why vendors choose – or avoid – online agents.

Victor Michael sold propertiesThe Home Moving Trends survey undertaken by Property Academy surveyed 14,530 vendors.

Those sellers who chose to use a traditional agent were asked whether they had considered an online alternative. Precisely 30 per cent considered using an onliner but eventually decided against; the other 70 per cent said they didn’t even consider using an onliner.

When asked for the primary reason why they went on to choose a traditional agent, 38 per cent said because the local knowledge was important; 35 per cent because they could have face-to-face meetings; 17 per cent because of the importance of a local presence in the shape of a High Street office; and 10 per cent because it was simply more convenient.

Of those who went on to use an online operator, 74 per cent were persuaded primarily by cheaper fees; 11 per cent had a personal recommendation; nine per cent went online because those agents were “more innovative” and six per cent chose the option because online agencies were easier to deal with.

Around one third of sellers did not visit their selling agent’s office at any point in the process.

In other aspects of the survey, 85 per cent of respondents said Brexit “has not impacted my decision to move” although two per cent decided not to move because of the decision and seven per cent felt property prices had decreased in their area as a result of the referendum vote.

Movers are also showing increasing confidence in new technologies such as Virtual Reality – 60 per cent said they would consider viewing online prior to a physical viewing in the future.

KeyAGENT has produced an infographic of the results below.

Victor Michael sold properties

Victor Michael sold properties

Victor Michael sold properties

Source: www.estateagenttoday.co.uk

Read more

The latest report from Halifax has shown that more first-time buyers climbed on to the property ladder in 2016 than in any year since 2007.

However, it comes at a cost as the lender revealed would-be home owners now need to raise more than £32,000 for a deposit.

Deposit sizes have more than doubled over the last decade. In 2006, the average first-time buyer deposit across the UK was £15,168. Now it is £32,321 – around 16% of the price of a typical first home.

According to the report, those buying their first property can expect to pay more than £200,000 across the UK generally and an “eye-watering” £400,000 in London. On average, in the capital, a first-time buyer’s deposit is more than £100,000, assuming they can also cover moving costs and stamp duty.

First-time buyers in London put down a 25% deposit on average in 2016, amounting to £100,445.

Halifax also revealed that during 2016, the average house price paid by first-time buyers was £205,170 – the highest on record. This average has grown by 7% over the last year, pushing it over the £200,000 mark.

In London, first-time buyers can expect to pay £402,692.

The number of first-time buyers is estimated to have reached 335,750 in 2016. This is the highest figure since 359,900 in 2007, and marks the third year in a row that the number has topped 300,000.

Halifax said the number of first-time buyers in 2016 was 75% higher than a low point in 2009, but 17% below a pre-crisis peak of 402,800 in 2006.

As the cost of housing has increased, first-time buyers have been taking out longer mortgages. In 2006, just over a third (36%) had mortgages lasting beyond the traditional 25-year period. In 2016, 60% of mortgages were for 25 years or more.

More aspiring first-time buyers are also having to factor stamp duty into their costs. Less than a third (29%) of first-time purchases in 2016 were below the £125,000 stamp duty threshold. This share was 45% in 2013.

The average age of a first-time buyer is 30, ranging from 27 in Carlisle in Cumbria and Torfaen in South Wales to 34 in places such as Slough in Berkshire and the London boroughs of Barnet and Ealing.

   Martin Ellis, a housing economist at Halifax, said record low mortgage rates, high employment levels and Government schemes such as Help to Buy have helped first-time buyers. The UK-wide Help to Buy mortgage guarantee scheme ended in 2016, but other schemes are still available.

   He added: “Across the regions there is a contrasting picture. In London – which has one of the youngest populations in the UK – the average house price for a typical first-time buyer is now more than an eye-watering £400,000 with an average deposit of over £100,000 – more than twice that in the South East, the next most expensive region.”

   Jeremy Leaf, north London estate agent and a former RICS residential chairman, says: ’The Halifax’s findings are good news in terms of the increase in number of first-time buyers but are also indicative as to what parents and grandparents put themselves through so that they can afford those deposits – with more than £100,000 required in London.

If the housing market is going to function properly, as the government has told us so many times it should, then we need to protect first-time buyers. First-time buyers are the life blood of the market as they tend to buy at the bottom and trade up whereas investors buy at one level and stay there.

Although lenders are supposed to be providing support via Help to Buy now that the mortgage guarantee element has been withdrawn, on the ground we are finding it is not happening in all cases and more flexibility on lending criteria at higher loan-to-values is required.’

Source: http://www.propertyreporter.co.uk/property/ftbs-at-10-year-high.html?utm_source=Email+Campaign&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=21136-188156-Campaign+-+13%2F01%2F2017+MC
Read more