Mortgage support changes benefiting more people

The Government's package of help for homeowners announced in the Pre-Budget Report came into effect this week.

From 5 January 2009 waiting time for Support Mortgage Interest shortened from 39 weeks to 13 weeks and the capital limit increased to £200,000.

In a recent change, this new rule also applies to people who are waiting now.

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York estate agent wins at property awards

As the property industry feels the pinch, a York estate agent is celebrating success and industry recognition for its forward-looking approach.

Blenkin & Co scooped two of the 12 prizes at the recent Yorkshire’s Finest Property Awards. The firm was awarded Best Estate Agency Website for an independent agent and was also given the award for Best Single Property Marketing Campaign by an Estate Agent for property between £250,000 and £750,000.

Hilary Pegrum, head of PR and marketing at Blenkin & Co said: “At a time when many people in our industry are cutting back on marketing, it’s great to be recognised for taking the longer term view.

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‘Drop in mortgage approvals shows policies not working’

George Osborne, the Conservative Shadow Chancellor, has stressed Gordon Brown's recession policies are not working as new figures show mortgage approvals at a nine-year low.

The latest statistics from the Bank of England revealed that in November 2008 mortgage approvals dropped to 27,000, the lowest figure since January 1999.

Osborne said we must face the facts about the failure of Labour's economic policies.

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Record 15.9% house price fall in 2008

House prices fell by 2.5% in December - bringing the average fall for 2008 to a record 15.9%, according to figures from Nationwide.
It is the largest annual drop since Nationwide began publishing its index in 1991 - and further proof of the huge decline in property values across the UK.

Fionnuala Earley, Nationwide's Chief Economist, said: “The price of a typical house fell by 2.5% in December, a stark contrast with the modest fall of 0.4% in November.

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Empty property relief – where are we now?

The recent spate of retailers, commercial property companies, funds and portfolios in or on the brink of administration, has already left the Government’s Pre-Budget Report (PBR) announcement on Empty Property Relief in tatters, according to leading property agency Cluttons.
With market conditions likely to worsen and lenders appearing to act with undue haste when foreclosing on property companies, the Government needs to do more to help struggling commercial property owners than just the piecemeal offering served up in the recent PBR.

Certainly commercial property owners could have done with some of Gordon Brown’s festive cheer of their own when he announced the surprise emergency rescue for mortgage defaulters in the Queen’s speech.

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Landlords face huge fines over EPCs

NLA Scotland has warned that Scottish landlords face massive fines if they do not provide Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) for prospective tenants.
Since 4 January 2009, all landlords starting new tenancies in Scotland must provide tenants with an EPC or risk being hit with a fine of £5000 for each rental property they own which does not have a certificate.

The EPC, which details the energy efficiency and environmental impact of a rental property, must be made available to prospective tenants at the earliest opportunity. When a tenant moves in, it needs to be fixed in an accessible, visible location inside the property.

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NHBC invites members of public onto Council

With the housing market at an all time low, NHBC, the leading warranty provider and standard setting body for new homes in the UK, is taking the unprecedented step of inviting members of the public to join its governing Council.
Eight out of ten new homes built are covered by NHBC's 10-year Buildmark warranty, and homeowners whose properties are covered by Buildmark are being approached so that they can offer their views and experiences of living in a new home.

Imtiaz Farookhi, NHBC Chief Executive said: "For more than 70 years NHBC has helped to raise the standard of new homes and provided consumer protection for homeowners.

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Sector’s financial health remains ‘robust’ says NHF

The National Housing Federation has said the financial health of the social housing sector remains robust and believes it will weather the current economic downturn.
Recent press reports have claimed the sector is experiencing financial problems, stating that six associations are being closely watched by the sector's regulator, the Tenant Services Authority, because of the challenges thrown up by the current downturn.

However, although the sector is facing a number of financial challenges, Federation Chief Executive David Orr said that housing associations were actually better placed than most in the economy to meet the current financial challenges.

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Isle of Man bright spot in gloomy UK market

The Isle of Man housing market is performing well in the current economic turmoil according to estate agent Chrystals.
It said that the buoyant Island economy was not immune to UK trends but did continue to observe stability in prices achieved in the residential market with the Chrystals Island Average House Price increasing marginally from £281,000 to £292,000 - a rise of approximately 4% on 2007.

If the apartment market is included in the statistics the Chrystals "all property" average for the year would run at £281,000 - no change year on year.

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Halifax Estate Agents reveals the UK’s Top 50 street names

With the UK's roads ranging from Acorn Street to Zulu Road and stretching from John O'Groats to Lands End, Ardnamurchan Point to Lowestoft, High Street remains the UK's most popular street name, according to Halifax Estate Agents's survey of the UK's top 50 street names.


High Street reflects an older use of the word "high", meaning chief or principal and "street" implies a wide and paved highway, rather than a lane or an alley.

As the UK's leading street name, High Street is still considered to be the most important thoroughfare in the majority of towns.

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