Equity Release is the next big thing reveals Trigold survey

Equity release is expected to shake up the mortgage market with 95% of brokers claiming that the sector will be either "very important" or "important" in the future.
The survey to establish attitudes about the future of the equity release market was conducted by software provider Trigold from its users which represent 7 out of 10 brokers.

The survey aimed to establish how important advisors saw the Equity Release market for themselves and their clients both now and in the future and Trigold said that the results were very revealing.

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71% of landlords expecting increase in rental arrears

The National Landlords Association (NLA), which provides landlords with a tenant referencing service through NLA Tenant Check, has published research showing that 71% of landlords expect rent arrears to increase during 2009.
Of those questioned, just 1% felt that rent arrears would decrease next year, while 28% thought there would be no overall change.

The research also revealed that 67% of landlords have experienced problems with rent arrears in the past, while 37% are having payment difficulties with current tenants.

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£400m deal agreed to provide affordable housing

A deal worth more than £400million to help first-time buyers aspiring to buy their own home has been approved by Housing Minister Margaret Beckett, as part of the Government's programme of action to tackle current difficulties in the economy.
More than 130 developers have agreed to offer the HomeBuy Direct scheme which will help up to 18,000 first-time buyers to purchase a home at sites across England aided by an equity loan, part funded by the Government and the developer.

The equity loan, which will be free of charge for five years, can be used as a deposit and can cover up to 30% of the purchase price.

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TV soap close Brookside to be auctioned

Having played host to some of television’s most momentous moments such as the pre watershed lesbian kiss and the infamous patio burial of Trevor Jordache, Brookside Close, the set from the Channel 4 television soap is to be offered at auction at Allsop’s residential sale on 17 December.
Lot No307 - the cul-de-sac of 13 properties - was purchased by Mersey Television in 1982 as part of a scheme by Phil Redmond to cover the costs of the show and provide a more realistic set to some of their rival soaps.

Six of the houses were seen on-screen as sets and the remaining seven were used to house the administration, post-production, canteen, make-up and technical facilities for cast and crew.

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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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