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Housing market confidence at 3 year high

The proportion of homeowners who think that house prices will increase this year is also at the highest level for almost three years with three quarters (74%) of those surveyed predicting prices in their area will increase, the most since the second quarter of 2010.

Confidence has grown notably over just the past few months as only 65% of owners predicted an increase back in December. And only 13% of owners now expect prices to fall over the course of the next six months, down from 19% at the end of last year.

Owners in Yorkshire and the Humber are the least bullish Continue reading

Spring bounce in March as number of prospective tenants rise 21%

The number of agreed new tenancies rose 13% in March and are up 19% on a year ago as ‘Generation Rent’ takes hold – London tenancies are up 12% on the month and 20% over the last year.

London rents remained flat at £1,375 but still almost twice the national average. Londoners seeking to rent undertake an average of 11.3 viewings per let property, 33% more than the country as a whole (8.5)

Stephen Nation, Head of Lettings at Sequence, owners of Barnard Marcus, William H Brown and Fox & Sons and other leading brands, comments:

“We have seen a strong seasonal uplift in Continue reading

Prices rise by £383 per day in prime Central London

Values rose by 2.3% during the first quarter, taking the annualised increase to 6.8%, just ahead of the long run average of 6.7% per annum.

Consequently, the average price of a flat in prime Central London breached the £1 million mark for the first time, while the average price for prime residential property as a whole reached a new historic high of £1.53 million in Q1, leaving prices 6.1% above the previous market peak of Q3 2007. This translates to an average increase of £383 per day.

The best performing London region was Central North West, incorporating St John’s Wood, Hampstead, Maida Vale, Continue reading

The changing face of UK housing stock

But properties have been getting larger. Since 2001, the mean floor area has increased from 86.9m2 to 91.6m2. The table below shows the increases across different property types. The largest increase has been in detached houses, where the average floor area is 7% higher than in 2001.

Whilst larger new build houses may have helped boost average floor areas, extensions and loft conversions are also likely to have contributed. 26% of properties have been extended since their construction, whilst 5% have had a loft conversion. 16% of properties benefit from additional space through having a conservatory.

85% of owner-occupied properties in England have Continue reading

Simple solutions for landlords: five common worries – solved!

Simple solution 1:

Empty properties and extensive periods of void are among the biggest worries listed by new landlords. However, in the currently buoyant rental climate, a well-presented property that is marketed correctly (and at the right price) shouldn’t be empty for very long…

“At Belvoir we ensure that each property is marketed correctly on many property portals, with detailed descriptions and internal photos,” says proprietor of Belvoir Bedford Zoe Bywater. “We also advise landlords to give themselves adequate time to find a tenant by advertising the property 4-6 weeks before they want it let as tenants normally look about a month before Continue reading

OFT probes quick house sale market

While providers may offer a valuable service, the OFT is concerned that some practices might lead to homeowners receiving much less for their property than it is worth. Any losses could be very high.

The OFT is particularly concerned about the risks to people in financial difficulty – including those who have worked up large amounts of debt or are facing repossession. Consumers at risk may also include those who need to sell their property quickly following a relationship breakdown or the elderly, who might need money to pay for their care.

Practices that would give rise to concern include:

* Unclear fee structures, Continue reading

UK buy to let hotspots identified

The relatively inexpensive  property prices in Blackpool, Hull, Manchester and Nottingham mean that these four Northern areas make up the rest of the top 5, offering strong returns for BTL investors with yields of 7.81%, 7.77%, 7.60% and 7.55% respectively. In sixth place, Coventry is the only other city offering returns above seven per cent with a yield of 7.13%.

Despite the high proportion of private rentals in the capital, London does not score highly in terms of rental yields due to the comparably high property prices.

The top performing borough in the capital, Southwark, is 13th overall while the affluent London boroughs Continue reading

House prices grow nearly twice as fast as UK retirees’ income since 1997

In contrast, the average retirees’ income has risen by just 46%, equivalent to an extra £6343 in their annual budgets.

This has taken their average gross income from £13,786 to £20,129.

With the Government capping individual contributions towards the cost of long-term care at £72,000, it would take 11.4 years of putting this extra income to one side before reaching the amount retirees need to spend before they can access state support.

The instability of the property market in recent times has at least allowed retirees’ incomes to regain some ground on house prices in terms of their rate of increase. Property values have Continue reading

Gross mortgage lending up 9% in March

Gross lending for the first quarter of 2013 was therefore an estimated £33.8 billion. This represents a 9% drop from the last three months of 2012 but matches the gross mortgage lending total for the first quarter of 2012.

CML chief economist Bob Pannell said: "Conditions in the housing and mortgage markets continue to show signs of improving. The improvement in funding markets over the past year, reinforced by the incremental benefits of the Funding for Lending Scheme, has been the key catalyst behind stronger housing activity.

"The Help to Buy mortgage guarantee scheme – while still embryonic as yet – holds significant Continue reading

UK homeowners could save £5.9bn a year with better insulation

The book is subtitled How To Cut Energy Bills and Make Your Home Warm and Comfortable – a subject that the recent cold weather brings into focus.

Rock, who is accredited by the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors, says insulating all currently un-insulated walls and lofts in Britain’s existing housing stock would yield substantial savings.

He said: "Energy prices have rocketed by up to 50% since September 2010, and look set to continue rising for the foreseeable future. But rather than passively relying on ‘top down’ schemes, such as the Green Deal, enormous numbers of UK households have DIY capabilities – and with Continue reading