Real Estate

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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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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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.

Russia

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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Turmoil in the UK’s mortgage market is hammering buyer demand, which has slumped in recent weeks.

In the aftermath of the government’s disastrous ‘mini-Budget’ in September, demand among prospective property buyers has fallen sharply, owed largely to the sudden recent increase in mortgage rates.

A hefty spike in mortgage rates, which have gone over 6% for both two- and five-year fixes, has made the prospect of getting on or moving up the property ladder a distant dream for growing numbers of people across the UK.

But for those who are in a position to buy property, the next 12-18 months should represent a good time to get a foot in the housing ladder, according to Paul Dales, chief UK economist of the independent global research consultancy Capital Economics.

Penning a piece for the Evening Standard on Friday, he wrote: “House prices may soon leap above the weather as the number one topic of conversation, but for all the wrong reasons.

“The housing market has been on a great run since the pandemic caused people to seek, and place more value, on more living space. In the two years since July 2020, house prices rose by 24%. That’s almost double the 13% increase in the prices households paid for items in the shops over the same period.

“But data released by Nationwide Building Society on Tuesday showed that things were changing.”

The 0.9% fall in house prices in the month of October recorded by Nationwide was the first decline since a fleeting drop in July 2021. It meant that the average house price declined by £4,000 in October, from £272,000 to £268,000.

“This [decline in house prices] is just the beginning,” he said. “My colleagues at Capital Economics who spend all day analysing the housing market think that prices across the country will decline by around 12% over the next 18 months. They are forecasting a slightly bigger fall of 15% in London.”

Dales points out that such a decline at the national level would be smaller than the 20% drops endured during the housing crash of 1989-92 and after the Global Financial Crisis in 2007-09. But after stripping out the change in prices in other goods and services in the economy, the decline in “real terms” this time round will be similar to those previous slumps.

He continued: “Admittedly, there has been very little change in the supply of homes or the number of people needing to be housed. And the imbalance between the low supply of housing and the high demand has contributed to the astounding 65% rise in house prices in the UK over the past decade.

“But what has changed is the willingness and the ability of people to buy a house, with the ability now being constrained by the recent surge in mortgage rates.”

Dales added: “The next 18 months aren’t going to be nice to homeowners, particularly those who have recently purchased a property that is now falling in price [although as long as they had a 20% deposit they should avoid negative equity] and those whose fixed rate mortgage will expire in the next year or so.

“But falling house prices are good news for those who have yet to take their first step onto the housing ladder. Lower prices will bring buying within reach for some. That said, some potential buyers may need to wait for mortgage rates to fall back further. And in the meantime, would-be-buyers may have to endure further rises in their rents as the housing downturn will boost demand for rented properties.

“Overall, falling house prices will add to the present woes caused by high inflation and higher interest rates and the future woes of austerity. At least we can always talk about the weather.”

Source: Property Industry Eye

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Despite the increasing cost of borrowing currently hitting homebuyers across the property market, it evidently remains less expensive to buy when compared to the cost of renting.

This information has been researched and disclosed by mortgage experts, Revolution Brokers, who examined the cost of buying in today’s market, both with respect to a full mortgage repayment and an interest-only repayment plan, as well as how this cost compares to those still residing within the private rental sector.

PRS vs homeowners

The study shows that the average tenant across the UK is currently paying £1,143 per month to rent within the private rental sector.

The average homebuyer, on the other hand, with a variable rate mortgage at a 75% loan to value, as well as an average rate of 4.45%, has the cost of a full mortgage repayment coming in at £1,223 per month, marginally more than the cost of renting.

However, those who are only making interest-only payments on their mortgage each month are currently paying an average of £829 per month – 27.5% less than the present cost of renting.

The same homebuyer opting for a three- and two-year fixed rate product would be faced with a full monthly repayment of £1,075 and £1,098 respectively, which means that even when repaying a mortgage in its entirety, it still comes in as a more affordable option versus renting at £1,143 per month.

For those repaying their mortgage on an interest-only basis, a three-year fixed rate would see them paying £604 per month, while a two-year fixed rate climbs to £641 per month. Again, this is 47.1% and 43.9% lower than the cost of renting within the private rental market.

PRS still a viable option too

The average mortgage rate is predicted to hit 6% – so does that mean renting could soon become the better choice?

Well, the same 75% loan-to-value mortgage at an average mortgage rate of 6% would see you making a £1,412 full monthly repayment.

Yet, the monthly cost of repaying this mortgage on an interest-only basis would still only reach £1,095 per month – 4.2% less than the average cost of renting.

Founding director of Revolution Brokers, Almas Uddin, commented: “The fact that it still works out cheaper to repay a mortgage on an interest-only basis versus the cost of renting, probably says more about the inflated state of the private rental market than it does current mortgage affordability.”

“Even if mortgage rates do climb to a lofty six percent, the interest-only payments when borrowing to buy would still be less than the cost of renting and while you won’t be chipping away at your outstanding mortgage balance, you will own your own home rather than lining the pockets of a landlord.”

“Of course, while the scenario of an interest-only mortgage payment versus paying rent is a similar one, the cost of securing a rental property via a rental deposit is a far easier task financially when compared to the cost of a mortgage deposit.”

“However, for those that can manage to overcome this initial hurdle, it remains far more worthwhile to buy versus renting, even in current market conditions,” Uddin concluded.

Source: www.houseladder.co.uk

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Here at Victor Michael, we pride ourselves in the service we provide to our landlords, we are at the front end of staying up to date with the latest legislation to ensure that our landlords continue to stay compliant.

 

As of the 1st October 2022 there are some important changes to the Smoke and Carbon Monoxide safety regulation that all landlords should be aware of.

As a landlord, you will be required to ensure the following –

  1. Ensure at least one smoke alarm is equipped on each story of their homes where there is a room used as living accommodation. This has been a legal requirement in the private rented sector since 2015.
  2. Ensure a carbon monoxide alarm is equipped in any room used as living accommodation that contains a fixed combustion appliance (excluding gas cookers).
  3. Ensure smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms are repaired or replaced once informed and found that they are faulty.

The requirements are enforced by local authorities who can impose a fine of up to £5,000 if a landlord fails to comply with a remedial notice.

Landlords will be responsible for repairing or replacing any faulty alarms.

If tenants find that their alarms are not in working order during the tenancy, they are advised to arrange for the replacement of the batteries.

If the alarm still does not work after replacing the batteries, or if tenants are unable to replace the batteries themselves, this would then fall under the landlord’s responsibility.

If you are currently self managing your property and finding it hard to stay up to date with all new legislations then Victor Michael can offer you a competitive rate to ensure you never have the need to worry again.

Please give us a call on 0208 522 5909 to discuss further.

www.victormichael.com

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The predicament of the Romford 20 to 30-year-olds who rent and their inability to get onto the housing ladder is often discussed in the press.

There are 4.43m properties in the UK that are still in the private rented sector (compared to 2.13m in 2002).

This group of people in their 20s and 30’s, who rent from a private landlord, are often called ‘Generation Rent’.

Yet would it surprise you that since 2017, the number of UK households in the private rented sector has reduced by 260,000 whilst the number of homeowners has increased by 1.1m?

This article is about another set of people, not ‘Generation Rent’, but ‘Generation Stuck’.

 Generation Stuck are our middle-aged and mature homeowners of Romford. They are the generation that could be described as late ‘Baby Boomers’ (born in late 1950s and early 1960s) and the early ‘Gen X’ (born in the mid 1960s to early 1970s).

These 50 to 64 year old people feel stuck in their Romford homes, and therefore I have nicknamed them ‘Generation Stuck’. Their inability to move could be holding back those younger Romford ‘Generation Renters’.

In Romford, there are 11,490 households, whose owners are aged between 50 and 64 years old and about to pay their mortgage off on property that is worth £4.885bn.

There are an additional 9,896 mortgage free Romford households, owned by 50 to 64 year olds, worth £4.207bn, meaning …

Romford ‘Baby Boomers’ and Romford ‘Gen X’ are sitting on £9.093bn worth of Romford property

According to the Census, 47.8% of homes occupied by 50 to 64 year olds have two or more spare bedrooms.

This is backed up by the annual English Housing Survey that states nationally, 49% of properties occupied by these ‘Generation Stuck’ are ‘under-occupied’.

Under-occupied is categorised as having at least two spare bedrooms.

Looking at the statistics closer to home

41.7% of Havering 50 to 64 year olds have two or more spare bedrooms, making it the 275th highest local authority in the country(out of 348 local authorities).

The rising number of older Romford homeowners who want to downsize their Romford home are often held back by the lack of suitable housing options for older people and the difficulties of moving.

Lots of over 50 year old Romford people cannot move home in the way that they would like, due to a lack of suitable housing options and so can find themselves ‘stuck’ in homes which are no longer suitable for them as they age.

Only 1 in 29 people over the age of 50 move home each year, compared to 1 in 15 for the rest of the population.

Helping mature Romford homeowners (Generation Stuck) to downsize their homes at the right time will also allow younger Romford people (Generation Rent) to find the Romford family homes they need – meaning every generation wins, both young and old.

However, to ensure downsizing works, we need more choices for these “last-time-buyers”.

That means building more bungalows or more ground floor apartments suitable for the middle to older generation.

One way this could be done is by changing the planning rules to force builders to build these types of properties, whilst the other could be the changing of the stamp duty tax breaks for downsizers.

 In this way, older Romford people will be more able to move into homes which suit their specific needs, improve their quality of life whilst meeting their goals in life, all without them becoming detached from their friends and family locally in the Romford area.

If you are a Romford Homeowner and looking to sell, please give us a call for a FREE no obligation property valuation of your home.

Source: www.gbpestates.co.uk

Credit photo: www.gbpestates.co.uk

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