Construction products industry barometer falls to new low

The sale of construction products has reached a new low according to the latest Ernst and Young/ Construction Products Association Activity Barometer.
Overall the survey records a score for the final quarter of the year of just 13, compared to a 50 mark, which represents "no change". This is the lowest result since the barometer started 16 quarters ago and a dramatic fall from the score of 80 recorded in the second quarter of 2007 when the barometer peaked.

Looking forward, manufacturers are even more pessimistic with a figure of just 7 representing expected sales in the first quarter of 2009.

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2009: “The year of the property deal” says Rightmove

In spite of initiatives to keep more owners in their homes, Rightmove predicts 2009 will be the “Year of the property deal” as those in financial distress become the unwilling providers of a wider range of more affordable desirable homes.
Releasing December's Rightmove House Price Index, Rightmove said that this month’s 2.3% fall now meant prospective buyers had seen sellers’ initial asking prices tumble by 5.3% in the space of just two months.

The need to sell quickly will not only be the driving force for those coming to market just before Christmas, but also the predominant factor driving many sales next year.

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Hamptons International UK market predictions for 2009

Hamptons International figures indicate that UK residential property prices will have fallen by around 25% by the end of 2008 - since the peak of the market last year (July 07). Transaction levels reveal that exchanges will be down by 44% and completion levels in 2008 are likely to be the lowest for a decade.
Properties in prime areas and at the top end of the market (£2m+) were initially more resilient. However, they have now fallen back in line and experienced similar drops in price to the mainstream market.

With the sales market slowing, the rental market experienced a distinct lift in 2008, with many potential buyers turning to the rental sector. The first two quarters of 2008 were certainly a landlord’s market, with more people wanting to rent than properties available.

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Top 6 Tips for Students Viewing a Property

Our friends at LiveOut came up with a quite a comprehensive list of things to look out for when your making that all important decision of where you and maybe your future housemates will be living next year.

If your at a loss for what to look out for, take this list below with you on your next viewing and make sure you don't end up in house that will make living there a nightmare.

  1. Gas and Electricity
    • Is the heating in the house adequate?
    • Do all the radiators/heaters work?
    • Do all the kitchen appliances work?
    • Are there any loose wires?
    • If there are gas iappliances in the accommodation, does the landlord have a current Landlord's Gas Safety Record? (By law all the gas appliances must be checked once a year by a CORGI registered installer). All the landlords with properties with gas applances who advertise through our office provide a Landlord's Gas Safety Record.
  2. Furniture
    • Is it in a good state of repair? If it isn't, is it going to be replaced or repaired?
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Top 10 Renting Tips for Students

Our friends at LiveOut came up with some survival tips to help you find a great student house with the least amount of trouble.

If your looking for accommodation now or will be next year, you definately need to read these crucial tips to prevent the major pit falls of renting student accommodation.

  1. Don't leave it too late.

    It is unlikely that however late you leave it you will not find something - but the best properties will go early. Use LiveOut to find your favourite properties first, and then show your friends. This helps to solve the problem that your friends will not all be free at the same time to look round properties.

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Match made in heaven?

The Church of Scotland has joined the National Landlords Association (NLA), the leading representative body for private-residential landlords in the UK, becoming its first ecclesiastical member.

ImageThe General Trustees of the Church of Scotland, currently housing 25 tenants, are responsible for all property-related matters for the Kirk including those properties within the private-rented sector.

Tim Parker, Deputy Secretary, General Trustees of the Church of Scotland, said: "The Church of Scotland prides itself on providing a high standard of rental accommodation to its tenants. By joining the NLA, this commitment is demonstrated more fully.

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Westminster offers central London flats for just £85k

First-time property buyers will soon be able to snap up a new flat in the heart of London for less than £85,000.

ImageJust under 80-one bedroom flats will be available to those looking to get a foot on the property ladder in Pimlico, according to Westminster Council.

They will be able to own a 25% share of a flat in the New Woods development at Grosvenor Waterside, just a stone's throw from Victoria Station.

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Capital values set to fall further than 1970s and early 1990s

Over the next two years commercial property capital values could fall by a further 25% taking the peak to trough declines to at least 50%, according to the RICS commercial property forecast.

ImageRICS expects the commercial property market to see at least 16% declines in capital values in 2009 and a further drop of up to 10% in 2010. Since the onset of the credit crunch in June 2007, capital values have already fallen 25% and with more falls to come, the cumulative downturn in prices will exceed the downturns experienced in both the 1970s and 1990s. Rising defaults and credit spreads will constrain a near-term recovery in financing, preventing any recovery in the investment market over the next couple of years. Low interest rates, recovering global growth and improving valuations relative to other asset classes should see the downturn gradually begin to reverse on 2011.

The biggest declines are likely in the office sector with capital values expected to drop a further 30–35% bringing peak to trough declines in excess of 60%. Employment in banking, finance and insurance has accounted for the lion’s share of job creation since the millennium although has moved into decline over the past year.

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CML seeks greater clarity as lending slump continues

There were 39,900 house purchase loans in October, worth £5.5billion, according to new data from the Council of Mortgage Lenders. This was an increase of 14% in volume and 10% in value from September, but an annual decline of 52% in volume and 57% in value.

ImageThe rise in house purchase lending was evenly spread across first-time buyers and home movers. There were 15,400 loans to first-time buyers and 24,500 home mover loans in October, up 15% and 14% respectively from September. A modest rise would typically be expected between September and October, but uncertainty in the summer about a stamp duty holiday may also have inflated October completions compared with September.

There were 70,000 remortgage loans worth £9.4 billion, an increase of 12% in volume and 11% in value from September and a decline of 31% in volume and 28% in value from October 2007.

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ARLA Survey: Rental market patchy – could do better

Nine out of ten investment landlords are marking time, neither selling nor buying residential rental property, even though asset values and rental yields have fallen, according to the fourth quarter ARLA Members Survey of the Private Rented Sector. This is the largest independent survey of the rental market.

ImageHowever, capital values of rental properties appear to be showing signs of stability. Away from prime Central London, where falls of 4.3% for houses and 12.8% for flats have reversed the increases seen in August, the South East saw falls of 4.9% for houses and 5.9% for flats.

By contrast, outside London and the South East, values for rental houses actually rose by 1.5%. For flats, the capital values fell by 3.8% over the three-month period.

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