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Category Archives: Property News

Take it to the max

Just days after Halifax increased its upper age limit for mortgage borrowers by five years to 80, Nationwide has followed suit and raised the maximum age for mortgage borrowers by 10 years to 85. The building society will grant loans of up to £150,000 to existing, older customers with terms that run up to their 85th birthday, as long as they have a minimum …

Home ownership- A very British tradition?

Many of our cousins on the continent view our obsession with home owning with a degree of bemusement at least, and horror at most, as renting for them is considered the norm. But what’s at the heart of that great divide? Many suggest that its simply because across the water, people are more risk adverse and debt, in terms of a huge mortgage, is …

Rent rises on the up

Following April’s tax rises for buy-to-let landlords, rents have continued to rise steadily across Britain, new figures have revealed, but not as substantially as previous forecasts predicted. According to insurer HomeLet, rents on new tenancies signed on rental property outside London during the three months to April were on average 5.1 per cent higher than a year ago, up from 4.9 per cent in …

100% Mortgage is back- with a catch

If you’re a first time buyer, but don’t have a deposit, you could now be able to take out a 100 per cent mortgage with one of the leading High Street banks. Sound too good to be true? Well, there is a catch. Your parents will need to pay a 10 per cent deposit into a related savings account (the Helpful Start Account) and …

Size doesn’t matter

Move over America, there’s a new champion in the fight for the biggest houses in the world. Australia actually takes the cake, with average houses nearing 2,500 square feet, according to a recent survey of 10 countries and….a survey which also revealed that UK homes are the smallest in Europe! The survey looked at average house sizes around the world and determined that Australian …

House prices ride 47,000 % !!!

In case you missed it (!), the Queen turned 90 this week, which provided a great opportunity to look at how much house prices had risen during her lifetime…and new research has revealed that house prices have risen by the incredible amount of 47,000 per cent during her lifetime – a 471-fold increase. When the Queen was born in Mayfair in 1926, the average …

Getting to grips with Buy-To-Let Stamp Duty

Richard James – Managing Director, Richard James Estate Agents “As the leading independent letting agents in Swindon and the villages, the buy-to-let market is obviously a big and important part of our business at Richard James and we take pride in the great relationships with all of our established landlords. So we want to make sure all our existing and potential clients understand what …

The £64,000 question

Runaway house growth (although the market is cooling a little at the moment) and stagnant wages mean that ever fewer of us will be able to afford a home. By 2020, first time buyers in the UK will need a salary of £64,000 to be able to afford a home, a fifth more than what is needed today, at £52,000. The price of such …

England beats the rest of the UK with house price rise...

England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland may be geographical neighbours but they could be thousands of miles apart in terms of house prices. House prices have risen by 8.6% in England in the year to the end of January in contrast to the rest of the UK, according to research from the Office for National Statistics. Property prices went up by 0.1% in Scotland …

The Waitrose effect

We all know that properties near good schools can command higher than average prices – but if you’re lucky enough to live within walking distance of a Waitrose, your home is likely to benefit from an uplift to your house price, according to new research. It’s not clear what is the cause and what is the effect – after all the premium supermarket is, …

To compromise or not to compromise?

What is your deal breaker when it comes to buying a house? It seems the fixation on ‘location, location, location’ no longer holds true, with buyers citing it as only eighth most important thing to stand their ground on. Almost one in four people were willing to compromise on their preferred location, while just one in 10 would compromise over local crime levels, new …

The new stamp duty in brief

Stamp Duty Land Tax is a tax levied when you buy property worth more than £125,000 (residential properties) or £150,000 (non-residential land and properties). It’s charged as a lump sum, using a tiered system based on property value. Different percentages are charged on different sections of a property’s price. For instance, for a £500,000 house, there would be no tax applied to the first …

Budget building blocks

In case you were visiting another planet this week and missed it, the 2016 Spring Budget popped out of George Osborne’s little red briefcase like a bouncy Easter bunny. Sadly, not bringing chocolate with it…but some good news for the property sector. 1. First-time buyers saving for a deposit given a boost The Chancellor announced a new Lifetime ISA, which will be available from …

The Brexit wobble-ometer

The ebb and flow of the property market is difficult to predict at the best of times but with the possibility of Brexit and the April stamp duty change impacting landlords, it’s bordering on the impossible. However, while buyer activity has been boosted by the stamp duty change, price growth has remained fairly steady and the big question is what will happen from April …

Slow but steady house price rises

Residential property prices in the UK increased by 0.3% in February and there was a slight growth, taking the annual increase to 4.8%, the latest house price index shows. This took average prices to £196,930 and overall the annual rate of growth has remained between 3% and 5% since the summer of 2015, according to figures from Nationwide. The index report also says that …

House prices outstrip earnings growth

UK house prices increased for the fourth consecutive month in the year to November 2015, and are now at three times the pace of earnings growth. House prices increased by 7.7pc in the year to November 2015, up from 7pc in the year to October. By contrast, average annual salary growth is currently around 2.4pc. After the beginning of the year in which house …

Fast (and hopefully not furious)

It is the one of the biggest investments you’ll ever make and typically results in parting with hundreds of thousands of pounds. Yet buyers take just 53 minutes to make their decision to buy a property, new research has revealed. With the average value of a home in Britain today costing £197,044, it means buyers spend more than £3,700 a minute at a property …

The current downside to downsizing

Recent research by YouGov, in conjunction with McCarthy & Stone the retirement housebuilders, suggests that around 33% of home owners aged 55 and over are considering or expect to consider downsizing, but a lack of suitable options is preventing them from moving. The report, Generation Stuck: Exploring the Reality of Downsizing in Later Life, found 29% who have already downsized or are considering or …

Moving home

Almost half of Britons live in or near their childhood home, a new report reveals – contradicting the assumption that many adults move away from their childhood home to pursue work and education opportunities. Financial concerns and the need for family support means 47 per cent of people have stayed or returned to the area they were brought up in, according to a recent survey …

£1.9 billion savings for homebuyers

While the stamp duty hikes may have added to the bill for high-end homes, there have been huge savings for most people, who have bought homes costing less than £1million. A survey of estate agents showed that 87 per cent said the changes have had a “positive impact on the market” with each buyer saving an average of £1,500. The old system was ready …

Your forever home at 44

New research suggests that house buyers across the UK expect to be living in their ‘forever’ home by the time they are 44. Other findings from the survey conducted with just over 2000 people nationally, revealed, when considering who to buy a property with, homeowners’ decisions varied by region, according to the findings. Those from Wales are the most likely to buy alone (35 …

Has stamp duty change hit both ends of the market?

Recent reports suggest that an unintended consequence of the new stamp duty thresholds is that fewer affordable homes are being built. Profit generated on new-builds priced at £1.5m or more funds the affordable housing that is also built as a result of a development. But since last December’s higher stamp duty for most homes costing £937,000 or more, demand for high-end apartments has dropped – …

Building society announces record lending

Nationwide Building Society, Headquartered in Swindon, has reported a record amount of mortgage lending for a six-month period and said in its outlook that healthy employment growth and “robust demand from investors” – including buy to let – had driven up prices, especially in London. But it warned that such out performance is unlikely to be sustained over the long term, given that key …

High demand for homes

A shortage of houses coming onto the market is one of the key factors in the expected rise of house prices over the next five years, with the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) predicting a 4.5 per cent rise for each of the next five years – a cumulative increase of around 25 per cent. RICS has said that the supply of new …

House prices to surge in the south

Better job prospects, rising wages and a more stable economy will drive a five year wave of activity in home sales and a surge in house price growth, especially in the South East of England with the cost of the average home in the South East increasing by 26.4pc by 2020, the fastest rate of growth of any region of the UK. The value …

Rate rise dissent in the bank’s ranks?

This week, the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC), voted 8-1 to keep interest rates unchanged at 0.5%, where they have been for six and a half years. Bank of England deputy governor Dame Nemat (Minouche) Shafik said “Just last month, we looked at this again and we said that actually we do have room to lower interest rates if we had to and we could …

Buy to let tax under attack

The Chancellor’s controversial new tax on buy-to-let tax as has been attacked as “unfair and unreasonable” by the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW). The new tax, included within the Finance Bill is currently progressing through Parliament but the ICAEW condemns the legislation as “unthought-through” and predicts it will cause “extreme confusion”, as well as forcing some landlords out of business, …

Property values on the up again

The Centre for Economics and Business Research has said a lack of properties for sale was pushing up prices, with property values across England and Wales rising by 5.3% in the year to the end of September. The Land Registry is now valuing the average home at £186,553, with the average price of a home in London rising to £499,997. If prices continue to …

First time buyers’ average house price rises

As it becomes more difficult for first time buyers to get onto the property ladder, experts now say that creating an emotional connection to vendors, ‘winning hearts and minds’ could be a way forward. With most owners having worked hard to create their home, a space which they are proud of and are emotionally attached to, there is a big part of them which …

Lending trending upwards

While mortgage lending dipped in in the usual summer holiday lull, lending in August still hit £19.7bn, down 9pc compared with July but up 10.7pc on August 2014. First-time buyers made up £4.2bn of that, up 5pc year-on-year, while home-movers borrowed £7.1bn, an increase of 8pc compared with the year before. Owner-occupiers also borrowed £4.2bn by remortgaging, up 20pc, as they scrambled to lock …

No survey housebuyers can pay a much higher price

Forgoing a Home Condition Report, HomeBuyers Report, or Building Survey cost new home owners a total of £3.56billion collectively last year, as four in five homebuyers choose not to bother with a survey when buying a new property, despite the risk of hidden faults such as damp, subsidence and rot, research suggests.  This can be an expensive mistake, landing the average buyer with an …

Market Comment – October 2015

As autumn approaches, we can look back on a strong year in terms of the housing market. Prices have increased steadily, whilst interest rates have remained at an all-time low. Martin Ellis, housing economist at Halifax, said: “Housing demand has been strengthening recently, underpinned by economic growth, rising real earnings and very low mortgage rates. Increasing demand is combining with very low supply to …

Coming in from the cold

As the cold starts to nibble a bit around the fingers and toes, more and more people are turning to open fires to keep themselves warm and cut down on skyrocketing fuel bills. But it isn’t only about saving money; there’s something satisfying and primal about building your own fire – perhaps because it dates back to the dawn of our species. Looking into the …

Prices Snapshot

What’s happened to average Wiltshire house prices over the last 2 years? July 2013 £255,085 July 2015 £282,471   +10.4% Image: Main image

200,000 new homes for 2020

In the Prime Minister’s speech at the Conservative Party conference this week, he announced plans to change the requirements to build affordable rented homes in new developments so developers can build “starter homes” instead of homes to be leased at affordable or social rents.  The policy is geared toward ensuring that his party meets its campaign pledge of building 200,000 new homes by the …

£1million + mortgages up by 20%

In the last year, the number of £1million + mortgages granted by the major mortgage lenders has jumped by nearly a fifth, while one in 14 borrowers now have mortgages of more than £500,000. The £1million – £2m bracket is still very lucrative in terms of mortgages, according to NatWest, who said it granted 233 mortgages of more than £1 million in 2014, and …

Property price check

Latest reports show that prices have risen 7.3 per cent annually and 0.9 per cent in the past month, with the typical home now costing £219,315 although the biggest growth in the market is in the first time buyer’s typical property – this has risen in price by 9.9 per cent annually to an average of £169,259. First time buyer deposits have soared 7.0 …

Do you live near an empty house?

Figures from a recent survey suggest that one in three streets in the UK has at least one property that has been empty for six months or more, leading to calls for the next government to bring empty houses back into use. So many properties remain empty and decaying, at the same time as a housing supply crisis, with many people unable to find …

Buy to let contributing to boom and bust?

This week the Bank of England’s Financial Stability Committee said that the growing buy-to-let property market in the UK could post a threat to wider financial stability and had the potential to “amplify” a housing boom and bust. Lending in this sector has risen by 40% since 2008 and as the market continues to grow, particularly if driven by loosening of underwriting standards, the …

Low supply means sellers can cash in

With the number of properties available to buy per estate agent branch falling to an 11 year low (supply fell by a third in the last month, with 38 houses available per branch in August, compared to 55 in July), on average 11 house hunters are battling for every available house. The lowest level of supply seen since January 2004, when the average was …

Mortgage lending highest since 2008

According to the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML), the body that represents banks, building societies and other lenders who carry out around 95% of all residential mortgage lending in the UK, mortgage lending in the first eight months of the year has exceeded annual lending as a whole during the credit crunch. A total of £138.6bn has been borrowed so far this year, including …

Mortgage approvals moving up

With banks supporting those borrowers that need finance, and many record low rates remaining, it’s a good time for many potential new buyers to get a mortgage and think about taking a first step on the ladder. According to the latest data from chartered surveyors, the number of mortgage approvals for house purchases in the UK has risen to an 18 month high with …

Biggest house price jump for 15 months

House prices in August showed their biggest monthly increase since May last year, according to two surveys published last week. Prices jumped by 2.7 percent from July, taking the year-on-year increase to 9 percent in the three months to August, faster than the annual rate a month earlier but a touch below the pace reached in June. The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) …

Mortgage rate rise moved back again?

Just in case you were visiting a different plant last week, you may have missed the financial market chaos last week, resulting in a ‘crash’ and the chatter that the mortgage rate rise, which just a few weeks ago was deemed as ‘imminent’, has been revised back to September 2016. This was a shift from the position of August 2016 two weeks ago and …

Average house prices set to boom

Houses in the South West, West Midlands and South East are expected to rise most over the next few years, with a price increase of between 32 per cent and 40 per cent, pushing the average house price to £360,000 by the end of 2019. Many of England’s regions will see a stronger pace of growth over the next four years as the benefits …

First time buyers still feeling the pinch

According to the latest figures from a National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA) report, the number of first-time buyers entering the market fell from 29% of all sales being made in May to just 23% in July. This means that home sales to first-time buyers in the UK continue to decline, in spite of an increase in the housing supply in July and the …

House price growth set for double figures

House prices across the country’s major cities lifted 4.3pc in the three months to July, the highest quarterly growth since 2004, as demand for housing continued to outstrip supply and London continues to set new highs for prices and affordability. Overall city level house price inflation remains on track for 10pc growth this year, from its July rate of 8.5pc and a combination of …

Majority of house more affordable than in 1997

For the average householder their ability to buy a home has improved over the last 18 years, meaning that more people are finding it easier to purchase their first home or move up the ladder, and have more money left over after their mortgage payments. Homes in the majority of places in England and Wales are now more affordable than they were in 1997 …

Housing affordability gap grows

According to The Office of National Statistics (ONS), the gap between the most affordable and least affordable homes in England and Wales has widened. The average home in Westminster, London cost 24 times more than a typical gross annual salary in England and Wales. At the other end of the scale, the average property price in Blaenau Gwent in Wales was only four times …

When your home is too smart for its own good

Do you have a smart home, with a system that enables you to remotely control the lighting, window shades, entertainment and even the temperature of the swimming pool ( if you are lucky enough to have one, of course?) Well, people who do live in smart homes are beginning to think their smart homes are more trouble than they’re worth. According to one very …

So is the mortgage rate going up or not?

The Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) has voted this week by 8-1 to keep UK rates at the record low of 0.5% again. MPC members voted 8-1 to keep rates on hold – the first time for months the decision has not been unanimous. In its latest Inflation Report, the Bank said the outlook for inflation was “muted”, leading some economists to …

Do new houses impact prices?

A report by the London School of Economics and Political Science has shown that new house building in the UK has little discernible and consistent impact on local house price patterns. The report examined whether a new development will always reduce prices or reduce the rate of increase in prices in the immediately surrounding area. Examining the impacts of eight recent residential developments on …

Equity release to the over 55s reaches all time high

The latest data from the Equity Release Council show that in the second quarter of 2015, equity release from the over 55s totalled £384.3 million, eclipsing the previous high of £375.4 million reached in the third quarter of 2014. This uplift comes despite savers gaining greater access to their pension pots and with house prices rising again, it shows the growing appeal of using …

House hunter numbers hit 11 year high

Good news. The number of people hunting for a new home has hit an 11-year high, according to new figures released on Monday. An average of 439 prospective buyers were signed up to each estate agent in the UK last month, the highest amount since August 2004, when the figure stood at 582. June’s figure was also up sharply from the 383 recorded by …

Housing prices reverse trend with rise in North-East a...

House prices are rising rapidly in the north east of England and falling fast in Kensington and Chelsea, in a remarkable reversal of the trend over the past decade. In the London borough of Kensington and Chelsea, the average asking price for a property fell by more than £178,000 to £2.29m during July, a decline of 7.2%. But in the north-east, prices rose by …

£65,000 deposit needed to get on the housing ladder

If house prices rise at an average of 5% a year, the price of a home will be £360,000 by 2020, with first-time buyers typically needing to find a deposit of 18% to secure a mortgage, which equates to £64,800. These figures suggest that more than half of the under 40s will be renting homes in the UK as they will be unable to …

Hotting up in the housing market

According to the British Bankers’ Association (BBA), the body that represents the high street banks, mortgage approvals have risen by 8% in a year. The number of home loans approved for house purchases hit a 15-month high in June, rising to 44,488. This was 5,000 more approvals than the average of the previous six months. The lift in mortgage activity, partly fuelled by record-low …

Home ownership on the decline

As a nation we have an enduring love affair with the idea of home-ownership; but sadly, it is getting less and less common, with a decline in people owning, or being able to own, their own homes. The share of households owning their home peaked in 2003 at 71% and has been in decline since. The rates of home-ownership among young people in Britain …

Waking up the housing market

The UK housing market appears to be ‘waking up’ after a quiet period in spring, the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) has said. It said homeowners took out 49,000 loans in May, the highest number since December last year, compared with 48,300 loans taken out in April. Separate figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed annual UK house price inflation rose to …

Downsizing to suit

Recent research has indicated that the perfect age to downsize is 64 – the time when we are generally mentally agile enough to be able to deal with the buying and selling of property. According to the study of 1,000 people aged over 60, this is the age when downsizing, decluttering or leaving difficult to manage gardens, pays off best. 7 out of 10 …