International property investors remain undeterred in the face of Brexit [Photo: Alija via iStock]

Britain has long been a fantastic place for overseas investors - particularly institutional buyers - to put their money into property. Strong returns and long-term health mean the UK property market is seen as one of the strongest in the world, and despite the current political uncertainty, it would appear that this attitude is not going to change any time soon. 

KPMG surveyed 60 of the biggest institutional investors from across the world who put their money into the UK from overseas. It found that as many as 46 per cent intend to continue with their investments in the UK on the same level to which they have become accustomed, in spite of the fact the government triggered Article 50 earlier this year, officially starting the Brexit process. 

In addition to this, 44 per cent said they will continue to invest, but perhaps on a slower basis than they have done in the past, while the UK negotiates the Brexit path. And only ten per cent believe their companies will stop buying property in the UK entirely. 

This is good news for the property market, and shows the reputation that it continues to enjoy on an international scale, as well as indicating that the market should have the backing to power through the uncertainty that Brexit will bring with it. 

Andy Pyle, UK head of real estate at KPMG, said that in the coming years, the UK’s departure from the EU will undoubtedly have an effect on the UK property sector, but added that precisely how this will unfold is largely unknown at present. 

"Uncertainty naturally has an impact on the industry’s attitude towards investing in the UK, but these attitudes also vary by investor, the origins of capital, investment strategy and the stance on Brexit," he added. 
 

 


Sales of development land in London soared in Q2 of 2017 [Photo: Branislav via iStock]

The UK's property market is experiencing  something of a mixed year in 2017, with the political uncertainty fostered by both Brexit and a snap election which gave no definitive result meaning that people have had a more tentative approach. 

Sales figures have stalled somewhat, and the number of landlords expanding their portfolios, particularly in London, has fallen. However, while there are some areas of the market that have suffered amid the uncertainty, there are others where this has not been the case. 

According to a new study carried out by real estate advisors CBRE, investment in land for development, especially in the capital, has experienced a spike in the last few months. This will be good news for the government, which has placed housing, and the building of new homes, near the top of its priority list. 

CBRE said that in the second quarter of 2017, investors spent an impressive £722 million on development land in London. Not only did this mark the best three-month period since the vote to leave the European Union (EU) a year ago, it was also a massive rise on the quarter that came before. 

When compared to the January to March quarter, the April to June period marked a 48 per cent rise in development land by investors, which signals the intent to bring more properties to market over the next few years. 

The report states that the trend for growth is expected to continue throughout 2017, adding that overseas investors are increasingly seeing the capital as valuable once again. 

"Looking forward, we expect land sales across London to remain above average for the remainder of 2017. Overseas investors will continue to take advantage of current market conditions whilst also capitalising on the current exchange rate," it said. 

In terms of what is expected to be developed, CBRE expects to see a continuation of trends seen in the last few years, where mixed use residential and office spaces are becoming more common. 

 


Five questions to ask yourself before you choose to rent a property [Photo: iStock/monkeybusinessimages]

Renting a home is more popular than ever before, with nearly five million homes now in the private rented sector across the UK. The ease of being able to rent a home and move at the drop of a hat has encouraged an increasing number of young people chasing their dream career to wait before they buy their own property, and instead rent their home. 

However, before renting, whether it's for the first time or you're just moving home, it's a good idea to make sure you know exactly what you want, and what you need, from your experience. Here, we take a look at a few key questions you should be asking yourself before you choose your new rental home to make sure you find the ideal place to live. 

What's my budget?

Before you start to look for a new rented property, you need to know what you can afford to spend month-to-month. It's easy to see a listing and fall in love with the house or flat, but if you rent somewhere that costs a little too much, you could end up struggling to make ends meet. Take a look at what you spend on accommodation now, and ask yourself what you can afford to spend so you don't end up out of your depth. 

What's important to me?

When you go to a viewing, you will have the opportunity to not only see the property and analyse if it's somewhere you could see yourself living, but also to dig down and ask the letting agent some probing questions. Take this opportunity so you can really tell if the home is right for you, but also make sure you ask yourself what is going to be important to you as a tenant. Are you looking for fast internet speeds, for example, or does the nightlife nearby really mean a lot to you?

Is it practical?

That area you've just found your dream flat in may well be the hip, trendy part of the city you've always dreamed of living in, but you need to always be asking yourself how practical it is to live in any given place you view. Examples of things to consider is how close it is to amenities (especially for those who don't drive) and how well connected it is in terms of transport to make sure you can get to work easily on a daily basis. 

How long do I want to live there?

Before you move in somewhere, you might also want to ask yourself how long you intend to live in the property before moving somewhere else. If it's a long-term thing, where you intend to stay for a few years, then you may consider looking at somewhere you are allowed to decorate, and where you can bring your own furniture. On the other hand, if you're only looking for something for the next six months to a year, then you can afford to be less picky and go for something that comes fully furnished and ready to go. 

Who am I renting from?

Finally, it can also be a good idea to ask yourself who you will be renting from. For many people, the best option is to rent from a letting agency or property management company, because they want the easiest possible tenancy. While those with a private landlord may have the chance to interact more and conduct their own maintenance, decorating and repairs more freely, tenants who want an easier lifestyle should opt for the efficiency that comes with working with a letting agent or property manager.

 


UK property listings suffer a fall for the second month in a row [Photo: iStock]

The number of properties listed for sale in the UK has fallen for the second month in a row in July, the latest market data shows. It means that the expected rebound post-election, which we normally see when the country's political sector starts to stabilise, has not yet materialised. 

Perhaps a result of the fact there was no clear winner in the snap election held in June is to blame, but according to the latest data from HouseSimple, the market has yet to react in this familiar way. As a result, in July, it reported that the number of properties for sale in the UK housing market fell by 1.6 per cent in July. 

This follows an even bigger fall in June, when new listings were down by 0.9 per cent compared to May, although this figure would have been more expected, thanks to the election falling at the start of the month. 

London saw some of the biggest drop offs in new supply of homes in July, with the capital experiencing a fall of some four per cent month on month when compared to June. 

Alex Gosling, HouseSimple chief executive officer, said the fall in new homes coming to market is a result of people having decided to wait and see what happened at the election. When the result delivered no clear winner, those who had decided to sit on what they had then saw no real vision of how to move forward. As such, they have yet to react. 

"Right now it feels like sellers aren’t really sure what to do. There is so much negative press around Brexit and very little confidence in the government after such a calamitous election campaign; and fear and uncertainty is weighing heavily on house price growth," he said. 

"We were expecting to see a late spring boost in new properties being listed in June and a stronger than usual early summer, but neither has materialised. Sellers are in limbo."

 


Home ownership trumps happiness for many new UK property buyers [Photo: iStock/cnythzl]

There are many things that young people need to compromise on when it comes to getting onto the UK property ladder for the first time. Be it the location they want to live in, how many bedrooms they are looking for or the size of the garden, there has to be a bit of give when it comes to demands for first-time buyers. 

However, new data has shown that many people in the UK who are looking to buy their first house are not only happy to compromise on the home, but also their happiness. For a growing number of people, owning property appears more important than being content. 

A survey by L&C Mortgages found that 1.8 million people around the UK have stayed in a relationship they might not otherwise have stayed in because they wanted to own a house. Meanwhile, 11 per cent of those who are not on the ladder at present said they would stay with their current partner regardless of feelings if it meant being able to buy property. 

It was also discovered that 44 per cent of those who said they had stayed in a relationship to buy a house remained with their partner for more than a year longer than they would have done if getting onto the property ladder had not been a consideration. 

In addition to this, 40 per cent are still in the relationship they stayed a part of to get a house, while 15 per cent said they had stayed for two years more than they would otherwise have wanted to. 

"The fact that so many people view staying in a relationship they perhaps don’t want to be in as one of their only options for getting onto the housing ladder is indicative of the struggle people face when buying their first home," said David Hollingworth from L&C Mortgages.

Some of the problems new buyers find when the time comes to get onto the ladder for the first time include high deposits for a mortgage, which can be anywhere between ten and 25 per cent of the property's value, and solicitors' fees, which can creep into the thousands.

 


First-time buyers happy to compromise on their needs when buying UK property [Photo: oneinchpunch via iStock]

First-time buyers in the UK property market are typically having to compromise on what they want their first home to be when it comes to getting themselves onto the property ladder, a new survey has revealed. 

According to Post Office money, things like the number of bedrooms in the home, as well as the overall size, type and location are all things that new buyers will have to consider changing when they are looking to get themselves a property. 

Among those surveyed who had bought a home in the last two years, it was discovered that the most common compromise comes in location, with as many as 70 per cent saying they had bought a home a minimum of 26 minutes away from where they had originally planned to. 

Other things that first timers said they had compromised on included the property having a suitable garden, which five per cent said they had been happy to change, and the availability of parking, which three per cent had changed their mind on. 

Overall, as few as 16 per cent of people who had got onto the ladder in the past two years said they had managed to do so without having to compromise at all on their expectations or desires. This shows that compromise is a big factor when buying for the first time. 

And despite it being a challenging prospect to get onto the property ladder, the largest proportion of those surveyed said they felt like the experience of becoming a homeowner had been a good one. The Post Office Money data shows that as many as 44 per cent said they had found it a joyful or exciting experience. 

This was compared to just 24 per cent who said it had been an overly stressful experience, 12 per cent who said it was frustrating, nine per cent who found it daunting and four per cent who were left exhausted once they had finished buying. 

Owen Woodley, managing director, Post Office Money, said of the survey results: "We’re seeing that first-time buyers approach the market with enthusiasm and flexibility. Our data also shows that 62 per cent of home sales are still in areas across the country that remain within reach for those looking to take their first steps on the property ladder."

 


Are property 'speculators' returning to the British property market? [Photo: iStock/andresr]

For some time now, property investors in the UK, be they domestic or overseas, have been putting their focus on the private rented sector. Thanks to the increased demand from tenants and the growing yields it has to offer, the rental market has become one of the most mainstream assets around. 

However, over the past few months, an older trend in UK property has apparently been emerging once again, as an increasing number of short-term owners start to surface in the sector, gaining prominence once more. 

Property speculating is a term that is also known as flipping, where people buy homes and then sell them again in a short period of time to maximise profits and make the most of quickly rising house prices. And according to a report in the Financial Times, it's a practice that is once again becoming more common across the UK. 

According to Countrywide data, it said, more than 30,000 flats and homes across the UK, with a value of more than £5.5 billion, were sold more than once in the past year to the end of April. It said that when this happens, it's a sign that someone has flipped the property. Countrywide believes that in the past 12 months, the practice of speculating on properties has hit its highest levels for more than a decade in the UK. 

Although it still has a long way to go to hit the highs of 2007, when just under £10 billion worth of homes were flipped across the country, the UK has seen a return to a practice that seemed to have been on its way out over the past few years. 

However, activity in this sector has also started to shift away from London, with the data showing that in the past few years, it has been those in the north who have flipped homes more often. Only two of the top ten regions in the country for the practice are in the capital, with the north-west and Yorkshire having become the best place, it would appear, to indulge instead. 

“There has been a big shift away from London and towards places where prices are growing a bit more. It is a story about where people think prices will grow,” said Johnny Morris, research director at Countrywide. 

“It’s about the recovery in the housing market outside the south of England — the market in the Midlands and north has picked up in the last 18 months or so, making this more attractive and more financially viable for people to do.”

Leeds and Manchester have both passed London in the past few months when it comes to flipping activity, while Barnsley and a few places in the south, such as Reading, have also become more popular places to flip properties in the last few years.

 


Stamp Duty payments increased by 17% in 2016 [Photo: designer491 via iStock]

The amount of Stamp Duty paid by those buying homes in England and Wales increased markedly in 2016, reversing the trend of decline that was recorded between 2014 and 2015. 

According to the findings of a study by Lloyds Bank, the total spent on Stamp Duty for the whole of 2016 was £8.3 billion. This was compared to the £7.1 billion that was spent on the tax in 2015, meaning there was a rise of some 17 per cent in the space of just one year. 

The reasons for this rise include the fact that more homes were sold for higher than the Stamp Duty threshold in 2016, as well as the fact that the government changed the rules on housing tax for buy-to-let homes, which saw landlords pay a three per cent levy whenever they were buying property. 

The research from Lloyds Bank also shows that there has been a rise in the number of young people who pay Stamp Duty when they are buying their first home. Traditionally, these properties cost too little to be charged Stamp Duty, but in the last few years this has not been the case. As a result, Lloyds said as many as 78 per cent of newcomers to the market paid Stamp Duty last year. 

It marked a real rise when compared to the start of the century, when only as many as 47 per cent were paying the property tax. 

This rate rises even further when it comes to London, however, where 100 per cent of buyers getting onto the ladder for the first time will be forced to pay Stamp Duty thanks to the price of the property. 

"Rising house prices have caused Stamp Duty payments to continue to increase despite the reforms that came into effect from December 2014. As a result, the £8.3 billion raised in Stamp Duty in 2016 was more than £2 billion higher than at the peak of the last housing boom in 2007," said Andrew Mason, Lloyds Bank mortgage products director.

 


5 things you should always check with your landlord [Photo: iStock/Alex459]

With more than 4.5 million homes now in the rented sector across the UK, there are more tenants than there have ever been. In fact, less than two-thirds of people now own the house they live in as renting has become an ever more popular way to live. However, one thing to remember when you become a private rented sector tenant is that there are far more rules that need to be followed when you are living there. 

And when it comes to making any changes to the property or your living situation, there are things you need to check with the landlord or letting agent first. In many cases, failure to do so could lead to your lease being void, and the landlord could ask you to leave, so it's always better to ask, and be safe rather than sorry. 

Here, we take a look at a few things it's always better to check with your landlord. 

Internet installation

Fast internet speeds are one of the most important things anyone wants out of their home these days, so more than ever before, the UK is turning towards fibre connections. The problems can come when it's time to have these installed. Fibre normally requires new connections to be installed and this can take some drilling to happen. Always check with the landlord that you are allowed to make such large changes or you risk serious trouble in their eyes.

Pets

Again, a much more common query these days as more people see rented accommodation as home, as opposed to just somewhere to live. It makes sense that anyone who has a pet would want to move it in with them at some point. But remember, many landlords don't like the risk that comes with a pet living in their property, so always double check before you make the move. 

Moving in

It's not just pets that tenants want to move into their new place from time to time. It may well be the case that you've met someone, started a relationship and want to live together. In most cases, landlords will be fine with this, but you always need to check so they can update the tenancy for insurance purposes. So never just chance it and always make sure you've made the call before you choose to move anyone in. 

Maintenance

When something goes wrong in a property, tenants are often worried that it'll take the landlord a long time to rectify the problem. However, before you give in to the temptation of just doing it yourself and getting someone in to repair the issue, remember to clear this with the letting agent or landlord. In many cases, they will be happy to let you do so, but it's always worth getting clearance first. 

Decorating

Finally, because rented properties are like home to many people, a growing number of tenants now want the chance to be able to decorate when they move in somewhere. This is not always possible, but most landlords will allow it if you ask them first. Simply put together a little plan of what you intend to do to make it a bit of an easier one for them to approve without the worry of you doing something garish and over the top. 

 


How to ensure you get your asking price when selling your home [Photo: iStock/oneinchpunch]

Hitting asking price when you're selling a home can be a bit of a difficult ask when it comes to the current market in the UK. With fewer buyers around and uncertainty in the market, asking prices are staying relatively flat across the country, according to the latest data from Rightmove, and more people are having to drop their asking prices than in recent years because they want to make the sale. 

However, when you are selling your beloved home, you want to make sure you get as much possible for the property so you're not losing out and feeling like you've been short changed. This is particularly true when it comes to a home that you've lived in and loved for years. So here, we take a look at just a few tactics you can employ to give yourself a better chance of finding a buyer and getting the full asking price for your home. 

Choose the right time of year

You can't always choose when you move home, and you really can't choose when someone comes along who will fall in love with your house and want to make it their own. But what you can do is try to bring it to market at the right time of year. The biggest reason people reduce their asking price is because they want to make sure they make a sale after months of frustration. However, if you put the house on the market at busier times of year, such as summer, then you will have more eyes on the property, and a much better chance of making a sale as a result. Try to avoid winter and late autumn, and look towards the better weather, when more people are happy to be out and about looking for somewhere to live.

Maximise the kerb appeal 

If you are looking for the highest possible price for your home, what you need is for someone to fall in love with it and immediately envisage themselves living there. In order to make this happen, you need to make sure the home makes the right first impression with potential buyers and makes them want to move in no matter the price. The first time they see the property will shape what they think of it, even if only subconsciously, so you need to make sure the property is working on the outside as well as the inside. Paint the fence and the front door, make sure to sweep up and cut the grass, and ensure that all clutter is removed from the garden to give the home that fresh look that will bring the buyers flooding in. 

Make the most of space

Space is a huge deal for the majority of buyers in the UK, and people want to know that they are getting as much for their money as possible. Somewhere that is lovely to look at but very small may just turn away the right buyer, while somewhere bigger gives them exactly what they were looking for, and they won't ask you to drop the price. To make the most of space, always take some time before listing your home to remove as much clutter as possible, clear out any furniture that doesn't necessarily need to be there and let in light where you can to create the illusion of a much bigger space. Chances are, if this impresses the buyer, you're far more likely to get your asking price. 

 


Five crucial pieces of information to include when you're selling your home [Photo: iStock/andresr]

When you're selling a home in the modern world, one of the most difficult things to do is to stand out from the crowd and make yourself the best option for anyone to buy from. Among the plethora of homes for sale on property portals, being the one that people choose can be a hard thing to achieve. 

However, if you include all of the most important information that people are looking for from sellers, you actually give yourself a far better chance of being the house that they might just come to view. Here, we take a look at a few crucial things you should always include when listing a property to improve your chance of selling. 

Internet speeds

It's a surprising entrant in any list of things that house buyers are looking for, but various surveys released in the last couple of years have shown that the age of streaming TV and music has increased the need for a faster internet connection. And buyers want to know before they make a move that their potential new home is going to be able to support their lifestyle. So always look to include details of what average speeds in the area are like, as well fibre availability. 

Transport links

Fewer people now live and work in London than ever before. Now, it's more common for people to choose to live in a suburban area - where buying or renting a home is cheaper - and commute in. For this reason, it's an absolute essential to mention as many transport links as possible in your property listing. Talk about road networks, buses and train stations to give your potential buyer as much information as you can. 

Council tax and bills

As well as the money that will be spent monthly on mortgage payments, people generally want to know what their outgoings will look like when they move in. For this reason, it's a good idea to make sure you mention, at the very least, what the council tax bill for the property is like. Those who want to go one step further can even include details of the average gas, electricity and water bills to give buyers more of an insight into what they might need to pay overall each month, should they move in. 

Schools

An essential if you are selling in an area that attracts families, one of the most common things people want to know before they commit to a home is that their kids will have access to good schools nearby. As a seller, it's therefore very important that you include these details in the listing for your property. You don't need to give every detail, but let people know what schools are nearby at least, so they can do their research during the decision making process. 

Boiler health

New boilers can be one of the most costly things to buy, and if it breaks, it's hardly a problem that you can just ignore. Buyers face charges into the thousands of pounds if a boiler needs fixing, and the last thing anyone wants is to face that in the weeks after they've moved in. You can give your buyer peace of mind, however, if you include details of the last time the boiler was replaced, repaired or service, so they know they can trust it to last a while. 

 


Buyers paying a premium for a home with a park view in towns and cities [Photo: iStock/monkeybusinessimages]

Park views are becoming more popular with those purchasing homes in large towns and cities across the UK, with the average buyer having to pay a high premium for a home that overlooks a park. 

According to a recent study conducted by HouseSimple, the fact that there is a shortage of premium space around parks in these areas has created competition between buyers, and that means prices being hiked for those looking to secure those properties. 

It said that the average property around a park goes for a third more than other homes in the area. This means that buyers are having to spend an extra £78,400 on average when they are looking to secure a park view from their home. 

In fact, in some towns and cities where there is a serious shortage of homes with a park view, houses can be sold for as much as double. This includes cities such as Sheffield, Liverpool, Cardiff, Glasgow and Middlesbrough.

Homes overlooking Endcliffe Park in Sheffield command the highest premium on average, according to the report, which showed that buyers would have to spend 121 per cent more to secure a home there. 

Other parks that can see buyers pay similar premiums include Liverpool's Sefton Park, and Heath Park in Cardiff, both of which see prices 110 per cent or more higher than the average for their areas. 

"In large urban areas where many properties don’t have a garden or access to a communal garden, living near public parks or green spaces is often one of the top wishes amongst buyers," said Alex Gosling, chief executive officer of HouseSimple.

"That high demand inevitably impacts on the price people will pay, but many buyers may not realise just how much of a premium they could be paying."
  

 


Million-pound property sales spread out of London as house prices rise [Photo: Highwaystarz-Photography via iStock]

For years, the vast majority of homes that were sold for a million pounds or more were located in London. The capital's ability to sustain its own housing market that almost operates as a separate entity from the rest of the country, and the rises that have happened therein over the years, meant that nearly all of the most expensive properties in the UK were located in London. 

According to the latest report published by the mortgage firm Private Finance based on Land Registry data, the ripple effect from London means that house sales for more than a million pounds are spreading into nearby counties. This trend has seen Hertfordshire, Surrey and Essex welcome a swell in the number of more expensive homes in recent years. 

So common are house sales of this value, that Private Finance believes that 2017 will be the first time ever that more than half of the UK's million-pound property sales in one year are outside of London. 

Shaun Church, director at Private Finance, said that one of the reasons for the spread of sales away from London is the rise in house prices. People who would have previously been able to buy a million-pound home in London can no longer afford to buy the same properties, as they have become much more expensive. 

"Sustained house price growth in London means that even for many highly paid professionals, a large family home in the capital is now out of reach," he said.

"With buyers looking further afield as a result, this has contributed to significant growth in the number of million pound plus transactions in areas like Kent, Essex and the Home Counties, which are all within easy commuting distance of London," he added. 

The data also indicates how the million-pound plus market has grown over the last five years across the UK. Private Finance said that between 2011 and 2016, the volume of sales at above this threshold increased by 195 per cent.

 


Brexit uncertainty is having an impact on property market, experts claim [Photo: iStock/jmiks]

When the UK voted to leave the European Union last June, it was predicted that it would affect a number of sectors, with British property being one of the hardest hit. Experts forecast price drops, buyer numbers plummeting, and rising numbers of tenants. 

However, the doom and gloom that was predicted never quite materialised, with the market showing that it has a resilience and underlying strength that can carry it through. In spite of this, experts say the market has suffered slightly, with growth far slower this year than it has been in the past. 

According to the economic outlook report from PwC, the price of properties in the UK has still been rising so far in 2017. And it said that this is likely to continue for the rest of the year, although it will do so at a slower rate than in recent years. The forecast says that the average property could sell for £220,000 as of the end of this year, which would be £8,000 higher than in 2016. 

However, it's the rate at which house prices are growing that shows where the Brexit effect has come into play. In 2016, the average house rose in value by as much as seven per cent year on year. In 2017, this is expected to be markedly lower, with increases of just 3.7 per cent on average. 

The good news moving forward is that after the Brexit uncertainty comes to an end, the market should return to stronger growth. PwC predicts that in the next eight years, we should see the average price of a home hit £300,000 nationwide. 

"There are still downside risks relating to Brexit, but there are also upside possibilities if negotiations go smoothly and the recent eurozone economic recovery continues. We expect the UK to suffer a moderate slowdown, not a recession, but businesses should be monitoring this and making contingency plans," added John Hawksworth, chief economist at PwC.

 


Nearly half of UK property owners have carried out major work in the last 5 years [Photo: iStock]

People in the UK property market are increasingly turning to renovations in their home, as they look to improve the value of their stock, as well as giving themselves a higher quality of life in general when they live there. 

This is according to a new report, which shows that nearly half of all UK property owners have carried out major renovation works on their residence within the past half decade. According to the GoCompare Home Insurance study, some 43 per cent of owners said they had carried out such work in the last five years. 

Two old favourites lead the way when it comes to the most popular jobs to have done in the home. According to the data, bathrooms and kitchens, both of which are the most important rooms when it comes to selling a property to a buyer, come in top of the table, with some 39 per cent and 38 per cent of respondents respectively having had work carried out in these rooms in the last five years. 

And it seems as though Brits are getting more on board with what they think a buyer might want down the line, with energy efficiency and comfort also performing well. The data shows that some 34 per cent had central heating installed or upgraded, while another 26 per cent said they had double glazing fitted in the last five years. 

Other popular works for Brits to have carried out included adding an extension to their home (17 per cent), having solar panels fitted (12 per cent) and converting the attic into a new room (ten per cent). 

GoCompare, however, warned people that as renovations on this scale become more popular, it's important that owners remember to inform their insurance company whenever they are carrying out work, with only 41 per cent saying they had done so on their last job. 

"While you don’t need to inform your insurer about routine decorating or maintenance, you should inform your provider if you’re planning on carrying out any major building or renovation work, otherwise you could risk invalidating your policy," said Matt Sanders, home insurance spokesperson for GoCompare.

 


UK property price growth remains flat in June, but rises annually [Photo: iStock/roberthyrons]

The price paid for properties in the UK has remained largely static in June in terms of monthly price growth. However, data shows that year-on-year, prices are still climbing at a more impressive rate. 

According to the latest property market index released by Home.co.uk, the average price of property across the UK has climbed by 0.2 per cent in June. It shows a continued period of relatively flat growth in the 2017, as the UK continues to feel the pinch in relation to worries around Brexit negotiations and what they will mean for the property market. 

However, when compared to the same time last year, the average price of houses in the UK has grown by a much more impressive 3.3 per cent. It shows the underlying health in the market and the fact that even when the sector enjoys a relatively slow period, the long-term prospects remain far stronger. 

It's a different story in London, however, where flat price growth is a much longer term reality. According to the report, the capital experienced rises of just 0.1 per cent in June this year, while on an annual basis, prices have remained much the same since July last year. 

One of the issues is that there are fewer buyers looking to get onto the ladder at a time when they are uncertain about the political position of the UK in times to come. This comes at the same time as there has been a five per cent leap in available homes, pushing price growth down. 

Doug Shephard, director of Home.co.uk, said: "The UK property market has clearly entered a period of stagflation. Our data suggests that home price growth has been lower than inflation for six consecutive months," adding that it's the regions that continue to push the market forward, as opposed to London.

 


UK property landlords call for govt to overturn tax changes [Photo: designer491 via iStock]

The majority of buy-to-let owners in the UK property market are knowledgeable about changes to taxation imposed by the government on the rental sector over the last year, but most want to see the extra charges reversed by ministers. 

Last year, the government brought in a new fee that made it more expensive for landlords to buy property in the UK market, when they added a three per cent levy on top of Stamp Duty for any home bought for the purposes of letting. On top of that, Westminster then brought in new rules this April that sees those who invest in property unable to deduct mortgage interest from their taxable income. 

And now, a new report published by Paragon Mortgages has found that nine out of every ten landlords in the UK property market are fully aware of the implications of these changes, and what it means for their own investments. However, in spite of this, they still want to see the government reverse the charges and make it more affordable for them to operate in the market. 

The fear is that as new tax laws come into force for landlords, the extra costs of buying and owning rental properties will be passed down to tenants, who are forced to pay more in a market where affordability is already being stretched. 

"Higher tax charges for landlords have combined with a general increase in uncertainty to drive confidence levels down," said John Heron, managing director of Paragon Mortgages. 

But, he did say there are positives, however, in the market in spite of these problems. "Whilst there are signs of lower demand it would appear that property yields are being maintained and that void periods are close to historic lows," he said. 

As well as looking for the government to overturn tax changes, the landlords surveyed by Paragon also said they would like to see an exemption from capital gains tax and stamp duty for landlords who register themselves as limited companies; a practice that many are now starting to favour.

 


Govt schemes to boost buyer numbers still failing to assist the most in need [Photo: iStock/apomares]

Over the past few years, the government has put in place a number of schemes such as Rent to Buy and Help to Buy, designed to increase the number of people in the UK who own their own home. It was thought that bringing in such schemes would mean those who would otherwise not be able to afford to become homeowners would be able to do so. 
 
However, a few years on, and it seems that these schemes are still only helping better off buyers get onto the ladder, and those who desperately need help if they are to ever become owners, are still unable to afford to climb onto the property ladder. 
 
In a new report published by the Social Mobility Council and carried out by researchers at the London School of Economics, it was discovered that the average Help to Buy buyer is earning far more than the average person. It said that they are typically bringing in more than one and a half times the working age median income. 
 
This means that those who are able to buy through schemes such as Help to Buy are still among the better off in the country, with those who earn an average wage, or lower, still being missed out by schemes designed to improve ownership levels. 
 
What is perhaps most surprising about the data is that many of the people who managed to buy through the Help to Buy scheme would have been able to do so even without its assistance. According to the report, three in five of those surveyed said they would still have purchased a home even without help. 
 
"While it is welcome that the Government is acting to help young people get on the housing ladder, current schemes are doing far too little to help those on low incomes to become homeowners," said Alan Milburn, chair of the Social Mobility Commission.
 
He went on to say that while it is extremely positive that the government has put in place plans to help young people find their way onto the property ladder, at the moment, the execution of the schemes is poor and needs to be reassessed.

 

 


Mid-market thrives as fewer low and high-deposit buyers get mortgages [Photo: PRImageFactory via iStock]

The mid-market has taken a new position of prominence in the UK's mortgage sector, a new report shows, as the numbers of people getting onto the property ladder with small and large deposits show significant declines. 

Data published by e.surv chartered surveyors into the UK's property market shows that both the markets for those with deposits of more than 60 per cent and those with below 20 per cent fell in May this year. However, the latter does still continue to sit at levels far ahead of those seen in 2016. 
 
The survey shows that the proportion of people getting onto the property ladder with a high deposit represented some 33.9 per cent of all mortgage loans. This is a significant fall from the 34.6 per cent recorded in January, and markedly down on the start of the year, where these buyers accounted for 35.4 per cent of the sector. 
 
At the same time, the proportion of the market held by small-deposit buyers has fallen. According to e.surv, these buyers accounted for only 21.3 per cent of overall mortgage lending, compared to the 21.5 per cent recorded in April. 
 
This means, e.surv said, that the market in May was being dominated by the mid-market, with buyers more commonly coming to buy homes with a deposit of between 25 per cent and 50 per cent typically. e.surv said this suggests increasing movement up the ladder by those who have previously owned their home.
 
"This can also be viewed as a positive for young buyers. As mid-market borrowers move up the ladder and into bigger properties, this frees up stock for buyers looking to get onto the ladder for the first time," said Richard Sexton, director of e.surv.
 
Further good news for new buyers - typically those coming to market with a smaller deposit - is that even though May represented a falling proportion of mortgage lending for their demographic, it is still up markedly compared to last year. The 21.3 per cent of the market commanded in May remains well ahead of the 16 per cent recorded in December 2016, showing that young buyers have been able to borrow more in 2017 than they have in the recent past.

 


Private rented sector continues to see rising prices, say letting agents [Photo: mj0007 via iStock]

The rental market has been going from strength to strength for some years now, thanks to the rising demand from tenants. And this appears to still be the case in 2017, with new data showing that the price of renting a home is rising at its strongest rate since the middle of last summer. 
 
According to the latest data released by the Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA), in May, the average rental price paid by tenants in the private sector was up by 1.8 months when compared to the same time a year ago. The annual rise has now remained at the same level for the past two months.

It also said that 27 per cent of letting agents surveyed nationwide said they had seen their tenants paying more in May than they had the month before. This reading is the highest recorded at any time in the rental market since July last year, showing just how strong the sector continues to be in 2017. 
 
Such rental increases come at the same time as the rental stock in the UK has climbed markedly, which shows that tenant demand is continuing to grow, and that agents have little concern when it comes to finding tenants. In the past 12 months, stock levels in the rental market are up by 11 per cent. 
 
David Cox, ARLA chief executive, said that tenants should be aware, however, that they could face even higher rental charges moving forward, with letting agent fees set to be banned in the UK in the coming months. Many are expecting letting agents and landlords to simply increase rental prices to combat these changes. 
 
"This is on top of any natural organic rent growth as well. The only thing which could offset this would be to significantly increase rental stock, but until this happens and supply and demand meet in the middle, rents will only become more and more unaffordable," he added.

 


Property prices climb by more than 1%, in spite of political uncertainty [Photo: Rawpixel Ltd via iStock]

Property prices in the UK are often dictated by the current political climate, with elections and the uncertainty they bring to the future of the sector often leaving buyers feeling like they should wait before making their move. Throw Brexit into the mix, and this summer seems like a perfect storm for falling house prices and a stalling market. 

However, according to new reports, this has not been the case. In fact, property prices actually climbed, even if only slightly, in June. Following three months of falling prices, Nationwide has reported a rather positive start to the summer, with a 1.1 per cent monthly increase across the country, which wipes out the previous declines experienced.

The average home now costs a little over £211,000, according to the lender, which means that over the course of the last 12 months, they have climbed by some 3.1 per cent in price. 

Data from Nationwide also shows that the gap between the best and worst performing areas in the UK, in terms of house price, is the smallest it has been for some time. This suggests widespread health across the entire sector, even at a time when we would usually expect to see stalling figures.

Robert Gardner, Nationwide’s chief economist, said moderate price growth in the south and better growth in the north meant the gap between the lowest and highest increases was just one per cent compared to five per cent. 

"At this point, it is unclear whether the increase in house price growth in June reflects strengthening demand conditions on the back of healthy gains in employment and continued low mortgage rates, or whether the lack of homes on the market is the more important factor," he said. 

He said moving forward, Brexit could still have an impact on house spending, which may slow down price rises in the next few months, but it is unlikely to be a long-term trend that affects the market. 

 


Demand from buyers falls as sellers have to drop asking prices [Photo: iStock]

The number of people who were looking to buy homes in the UK fell to a six-month low in May this year, according to new data, which also shows there has been a fall in the volume of homes that manage to achieve their asking price when sold. 

The National Association of Estate Agents' (NAEA) data shows that there was a drop in the number of buyers per branch in May. During the month, the average branch registered some 350 buyers apiece. However, this was far lower than the 381 per branch experienced in April, representing a drop of eight per cent month on month. 

According to the NAEA, a decline in buyer numbers like this was not unexpected, given that prime minister Theresa May had only just announced that she would be pushing for a snap election some weeks later. 

"Periods of political uncertainty impact the way buyers and sellers interact with the housing market. In May, it looks like new buyers were stalling their house search until after the election," said Mark Hayward, NAEA chief executive.

It was also discovered that in May, the number of homes that sold at asking price or above fell to 23 per cent, which represented the lowest volume recorded since October 2016. It was also a five per cent decrease when compared to the month before, showing a drastic fall month on month. 

The good news is that even though May saw a smaller number of buyers in the market, the prospects for the future look good, with more prospective buyers around at the moment, who will be looking to get onto the ladder at some point in the future. 

Results from the survey show that there are 15 per cent more prospective buyers around than there were at the same time last year, showing that the market still has the underlying potential for growth. 

 


Key UK property cities show fastest quarterly price rises for three years [Photo: merron via iStock]

Prices in key cities across the UK property market are continuing to head in the right direction, and are now showing some of the best results for a number of years, according to newly released data. 
 
In a study from Hometrack, it was revealed that in the 20 key UK cities, property prices have climbed by as much as 3.5 per cent in the last three months on average. It means that the average price of property across these 20 cities now sits at some £250,200. The 3.5 per cent increase is also the fastest quarterly rise enjoyed by the market at any time since 2014. 
 
Year-on-year, prices are also markedly higher, with prices to June 5.1 per cent higher than they were at the same point last year. However, this is still ever so slightly down on the 5.2 per cent annual growth that was reported at the end of last month. 
 
The best price increases in the past three months have been enjoyed by the larger regional cities around the UK. While London may have faltered, Birmingham and Nottingham have both seen their prices climb by 3.8 per cent in just three months. Similarly, prices in Newcastle have gone up by some 3.5 per cent, while Manchester saw increases averaging out at the 3.3 per cent. 
 
It was also discovered that price rises are largely a common trend across the key cities. Although there were regional differences, and some areas such as London and Cambridge saw slower rises, there were increases on a quarterly basis in all of the key cities aside from Aberdeen and Oxford. 
 
In London, price growth has fallen from 13 per cent a year ago to just two per cent now, and although there is still a chance it will drop into negative growth territory, Hometrack said it expects the capital to perform better than that in the months ahead, keeping above three per cent growth year-on-year. 

 

 


Govt schemes have helped more than 250,000 onto the housing ladder [Photo: iStock]

Governmental schemes designed to bring property affordability to the masses and make more people homeowners have assisted nearly a quarter of a million in getting onto the property ladder, new data has shown. 
 
According to the findings published by the Department of Communities and Local Government (DCLG), more than 285,000 homeowners have been able to get onto the ladder as a direct result of the government's Help to Buy schemes. This has been particularly positive for those who are becoming owners for the first time, with this total including 240,000 first-time buyers who would otherwise still be renting or living with parents. 
 
The data also shows that the Help to Buy Isa has been hugely helpful when it comes to creating more homeowners, with the government able to boast as many as 960,000 people having had help to save towards their home purchase through this scheme. 
 
With regards this Isa, the north-west, south-west and Yorkshire and the Humber have seen the highest number of completions, with more than 62,000 homes being sold through this scheme since it was launched at the end of 2015. 
 
The majority of the completions that have taken place thanks to these schemes are also in regional areas, with the data showing that at an average of around £193,000, 90 per cent of purchases have taken place outside of London. 
 
And housing minister, Alok Sharma, said that the government's data also shows how it has helped to boost building to meet demand. The Help to Buy Equity Loan scheme is one way that many people have used to get onto the ladder, with the scheme loaning them 20 per cent of the cost of a new build, meaning they need only come to the market with a five per cent deposit. 
 
Mr Sharma said as many as 120,000 households have bought through this scheme alone, showing the huge value of new builds in promoting a supply and demand rebalancing nationwide. 

 

 


UK asking prices fall for the first time in 8 years nationwide [Photo: merron via iStock]

Asking prices have fallen on a monthly basis for the first time in eight years, according to a new study, which suggests a drop in confidence is currently taking place nationwide. 
 
Data published by property portal Rightmove this week found that, over the past month between May and June, there was an average drop in asking price for properties of around 0.4 per cent. It was the first time that there had been a decline in asking prices in monthly terms since the same time of year in 2009. 
 
On an annual basis, there was also a slight fall in June, but asking prices still remain higher than they did a year ago in spite of this. However, the 1.8 per cent growth in asking prices experienced over the last 12 months represents a fall from the three per cent annual growth that was recorded just a month before. 
 
Rightmove's director and housing market analyst Miles Shipside believes that the fact this is the first time for eight years there has been a decline in asking prices shows that there is a certain degree of confidence dropping because of what people are seeing in the news. 
 
"The price of property coming to the market had increased in June in every year since 2009, so buyer confidence has clearly been affected by inflation outstripping their pay packets and current political events."  
 
"It now seems certain that we will have continuing political uncertainty, which the housing market traditionally dislikes, and with the first fall in June prices for eight years there is no doubt that the lack of stability is a factor," Mr Shipside said. 
 
The good news is that even though seller confidence may be down at the moment, demand in the housing market is not particularly so. According to the Rightmove data for June, there were seven per cent more completed sales in June than at the same point in 2016. In the north, this trend was even more prominent, with 11 per cent growth over the same time a year ago.

 

 


UK property listings on the rise in May, but some regions still falter [Photo: gustavofrazao via iStock]

The number of homes for sale grew in May across the UK, new data has shown, allowing the market to bounce back somewhat from a poor April in which new stock levels fell markedly. 
 
In April, HouseSimple previously said, the number of homes that were for sale fell by four per cent nationwide. However, the market has recovered extraordinarily well in May, with a seven per cent rise in available stock helping to wipe out this drop experienced in April. 
 
Overall, it reports, 80 per cent of the towns and cities across the UK experienced a rise in stock levels in May, with Barnsley being the best performer throughout the month, wherein there was a growth of 74.6 per cent in stock. Wolverhampton and Canterbury were also strong throughout the month, with each seeing stock rises of more than 50 per cent. 
 
Alex Gosling, HouseSimple's chief executive, said this latest data shows that there is not the sort of political uncertainty evident in the market that people might expect at the time of a General Election. Given that we are also currently waiting on Brexit outcomes, this is particularly pleasing in 2017.
 
"Political and economic uncertainty surrounding a general election can often see sellers hold off marketing until after the result is known. However, the seven per cent rise in May suggests many sellers aren’t waiting and marketed their properties last month," he said. 
 
However, while the vast majority of areas across the UK have seen rising stock levels in the last few weeks, there are still those that are experiencing sub-standard performance. According to the data from HouseSimple, places like Oldham, Blackburn and Northampton have all seen stock levels fall by around 20 to 25 per cent in May. 

 

 


What will the election mean for the British property market? [Photo: mrtom-uk]

On June 8th, the British public will once again be asked to vote to see who will lead the country for the next five years, after the prime minister Theresa May announced earlier this year that she wants the country to vote on who will lead Britain into its post-Brexit era. 
 
But with only a week to go until the polling stations open, what is each of the main parties promising for the property market? Here, we take a look at just a few of the main points in each of the big parties' manifestos. 
 
Conservatives
 
Should the Conservative party retain its majority in Westminster on June 8th, it will face a number of challenges in the UK property market. While it has previously committed to doing a lot for the sector, there have been critics who claim that the government has not done enough to make its house building targets a reality. Meanwhile, the Conservatives' continued taxation of landlords has seen it criticised time and again. 
 
Despite these criticisms, the Conservative party has made property one of the key points of its manifesto for the upcoming election, with housebuilding in particular at the top of its list. Despite not having yet hit its targets for 2020, the government has promised that it will now increase its efforts and build as many as 1.5 million homes by the end of 2022. At the same time, it has reaffirmed its commitment to carrying out many of the recommendations that came out of the housing whitepaper released earlier this year. 
 
Labour
 

The main opposition to the Conservatives, it's no surprise that Jeremy Corbyn's Labour party is ready to take a different angle to the government when it comes to the property market in the UK. One of its main commitments is to stop the flow of social housing into the private sector, after it said that it will be looking to suspend the government's Right-To-Buy scheme for the duration of its time in parliament. 

On top of this, the Labour party wants to increase housebuilding, claiming that it would do so at a far higher pace than the government has so far managed to. Mr Corbyn's party wants to see one million properties, plus 100,000 council and housing association homes, built each year between 2017 and 2022. The Labour party also said it would be looking to introduce rent controls to stop tenants from facing annual rises. 
 
Liberal Democrats
 

While the main two parties have committed in a big way to the housing market with their manifestos, the Liberal Democrats have a more scaled down approach to the sector. But nonetheless, the party has made some promises ahead of the election on June 8th. 
 
It said that it will be looking to build as many as 300,000 new homes per year across the coming years, with 30,000 of these due to be rent to own properties. Meanwhile, the party is also committed to providing the UK with at least ten new garden cities across the nation, as well as increasing the pressure on landlords to only let properties that are of a high standard. 

 


How do supermarkets affect the prices of local UK property? [Photo: iStock/merron]

The list of amenities that people want to have near to their home is a long one. Good transport links, the chance for a bit of retail therapy, a strong nightlife, restaurants and high-performing schools are just a few that have topped the list of popular nearby features in recent years. 
 
But how does having access to basic necessities within an easy distance affect the price of UK property? According to a new report published recently, one of the most popular amenities to have near home is a supermarket, with many Brits now looking for the chance to be able to do their weekly shop without having to travel all that far. 
 
As a result of this appetite for groceries near home, the study from Lloyds Bank shows, average property prices near supermarkets have climbed markedly in recent times. It said that the average house near a supermarket is worth £21,512 more than a similar property that does not have such facilities close by. 
 
It would appear that the type of supermarket also makes a difference to the price of the home as well, however, with the data showing that it is those homes near to Waitrose, Marks & Spencer, Sainsbury’s or Iceland that have managed to command the largest premiums in recent times. 
 
Those properties that are within reachable distance of a Waitrose command the highest price differences, with homes in these areas able to sell for almost £37,000 more than the wider town averages. This is followed by Marks & Spencer, with homes near these stores going for £29,992 more than local averages. 
 
However, although these supermarkets manage to inflate property prices more than any other, the research also discovered that it is those that are closest to budget supermarkets that have climbed faster than any others over the past few years. 
 
Lloyds Bank said that homes near to budget supermarkets such as Aldi, Lidl and Asda have seen their prices climb by an average of 11 per cent over the course of the past three years. This is faster than the average price growth for the UK as a whole over the same period, the data shows. 
 
"With homes in areas close to major supermarkets commanding a premium of £22,000, the convenience of doing weekly shopping within easy reach may well be a pull for many homebuyers looking for good access to local amenities," said Andy Mason, Lloyds Bank mortgages director.
 
He went on to add that while the 'Waitrose effect' has always been something that is evident in the UK property market, it is interesting to see that even the budget supermarkets being close by is having an impact on property prices nationwide.

 

 


Do you know the costs of getting a mortgage? [Photo: roberthyrons via iStock]

First-time buyers are becoming a more prominent fixture of the property market, with more people now able to get themselves a footing on the ladder for the first time. According to new reports, newcomers are accounting for as many as 22 per cent of new mortgages as of the end of April 2017. However, despite the fact more are coming to market, there are still issues around affordability.
 
According to a report published by conveyancing services provider My Home Move, many people do not actually know what they would have to pay to be able to get themselves onto the property ladder. So if you are a first-time buyer coming to market now, do you know what it would cost you to get a mortgage? 
 
The study shows that the majority of people remain reasonably confident about what they would be able to afford in the current climate, and what they think they would be able to borrow to make their dreams of becoming a homeowner a reality. The majority of newcomers, it shows, would spend between £100,000 (21 per cent) and £150,000 (34 per cent) on a home, and believe they would be able to secure finance for a purchase of this size. 
 
However, it also indicates that despite a rising confidence from potential new buyers, many people are actually unaware of what it would cost them in terms of their mortgage repayments. My Home Move's spokesman Doug Crawford said part of the problem is that the vast majority of potential new buyers live in rented accommodation before they buy, and many use their rental payments as an indicator of what a mortgage would cost them. 
 
"According to industry figures the average rent outside of London and the South East hovers around £600 a month, suggesting that most aspiring first time buyers want a like for like swap in monthly outgoings, or even a saving," he added. 
 
On average, people who are buying a home that would cost them around £100,000 say they want to be able to spend around £350 per month on their mortgage repayments. However, the study found that the average spend for a house costing this much would be around £450 per month. It's a similar story for those who want to spend a little more, with the average buyer estimated to be wrong by around 28 per cent on their monthly repayments. 
 
The problem is even exacerbated when it comes to more expensive properties again. My Home Move said the average expected payment for a home costing £150,000 to £200,000 was still £550 per month. However, in reality, this type of property would cost buyers far more, with likely mortgage repayments sitting at between £676 and £900.
 
If you are planning on becoming a homeowner and getting yourself a mortgage, it can pay to speak to a financial advisor before you decide to apply for a mortgage. This will allow you to see what you would be expected to pay back, allowing you to judge whether or not you could afford your monthly repayments before you commit. 

 

 


Number of potential UK property buyers falls by 250,000 in just one year [Photo: Rawpixel Ltd via iStock]

As many as 250,000 potential new homeowners in the UK may have given up on the idea of getting themselves onto the housing ladder in the space of just one year, a new study has revealed. 
 
According to the findings published by HomeOwners Alliance and BLP Insurance, the number of non-homeowners who want to get themselves onto the property ladder fell for the first time in five years. It suggests that the decline in ownership that's been evident in the UK for a number of years could continue for some time to come. 
 
When the survey was first published in 2013, almost two-thirds (65 per cent) of people who did not own a home said they aspired to. This grew year after year until 2016, when it peaked at 73 per cent. However, in the 12 months since, this number has dropped to 71 per cent. 
 
Of those who do not think they will be able to buy, some 86 per cent said their concerns centre around the fact house prices are too high. Other concerns about the market include deposits for mortgages (85 per cent) and the supply of homes (80 per cent). 
 
Paula Higgins, chief executive of the HomeOwners Alliance, said that this was an indicator that people are no longer simply having to wait until they are 40 to buy a home, but are instead potentially being priced out of the market altogether. 
 
"While aspiring home owners’ concerns about house prices, saving for a deposit and housing supply grow, the change in political rhetoric around home ownership and a lack of new homes being built in the last year, plus the removal of flagship government schemes like the Help to Buy mortgage guarantee, appear to have had a negative impact on consumer attitudes," she said. 
 
Ms Higgins also added that with the upcoming election in June, it's vital that results like these show the new government the importance of getting it right with improving the housing market. 

 

 


Flat prices rise quicker than any other UK property type since 2010 [Photo: iStock/JohnDWilliams]

The price that people in the UK have had to pay for properties has been increasing for a number of years now. However, there are some types of homes that have been rising far faster than others, a new report suggests. 

According to data from the latest Halifax index, the growth in popularity of flats over houses has meant that since 2010, the prices paid for these properties has climbed far faster than any other type of home. 

It said that in the past seven years, the average property price in the UK has climbed by 39 per cent. However, in the same period, the cost of getting a flat has increased by a far higher amount, with buyers having to shell out 53 per cent more than they would have done in 2010 on average. 

Overall, the price of a flat has increased by more than £84,000 in the space of just seven years. This means that the average flat price in the UK now stands at £243,936, up from a little over £153,000 in 2010.

Next on the list of the fastest increases in house prices are terraced homes, which have risen in the space of the past few years by some 43 per cent, according to the Halifax data. 

Martin Ellis, Halifax housing economist, said that the reason for house prices rising so quickly in terms of terraced homes, detached properties and flats is the fact that they are so popular with buyers. In particular, London has helped boost flat prices as buyer numbers climb time and again. 

"There has been an increasing trend for first time buyers to choose semi-detached homes over the past seven years, whilst terraced homes have shown a decline in popularity,” said Mr EllisThe rise in the age of a typical first time buyer may partly account for this change in preference towards the family friendly semi," he added, suggesting that other home types could rise faster in the next few years.

 


Relationships between UK landlords and tenants increasingly positive [Photo: iStock/Kenishirotie]

Traditionally, the working relationship that is shared by landlords and tenants is painted as being somewhat strained, with both parties wrestling for power and trying to get the most out of their agreement. However, a new study has shown that this portrayal is something of a myth, with the vast majority of landlords actually very happy with their sitting tenant at present. 

According to the Direct Line for Business survey, some 69 per cent of landlords in the UK believe they have a good working relationship with their current tenant, with some 33 per cent even going as far as to say they are good friends with the tenants who live in their properties. 

Surprisingly, only two per cent of those who were surveyed said they have a bad relationship with their tenants at present, while another 15 per cent added that they do not have any sort of dealings with tenants because they let letting agents handle all of their communications. 

Christina Dimitrov, business manager at Direct Line for Business, said: "The idea that landlords and tenants can’t get on is a fallacy, as many of these relationships are very positive and are often long lasting. Having a good relationship with your tenants is beneficial as they will be more likely to flag problems with the property quickly, enabling the landlord to arrange for a swift repair and therefore minimising inconvenience and expense for both parties."

The Direct Line survey also looked at what landlords and tenants are looking for from their working relationships. It said that the most important factors for property owners are having a tenant who pays their rent on time and someone who respects the property and its contents. 

And for tenants, the most important things they are looking for from their landlords are someone who responds quickly to any problems and issues they have, and reasonable rent prices that are not constantly being increased every year.

 


Mortgage lenders urged to go digital to streamline borrowing process [Photo: Courtney Keating via iStock]

Mortgage lenders have been urged to bring their practices into the 21st century in order to make it easier for people to get a house purchase loan in a less time-consuming manner. 

At the moment, when buyers have to provide details of their income and outgoings, as well as identity, most lenders still insist that they come armed with paper copies of things like bank statements and bills. However, in an age where many people are completely paperless, this method has been heavily criticised.

According to data intelligence specialists GBG, the process as it is at the moment is completely outdated, especially when the majority of people who are coming to banks and lenders looking for a mortgage will be younger borrowers, who are far more likely to have paperless documentation.

Its survey showed that at the moment, as many as 69 per cent of people receive paperless bank statements, while 46 per cent never receive a physical paper copy of their credit card bills, which means it's inconveniencing them to have to print these out. 

These figures are even higher when it comes to younger people, with 75 per cent of those aged between 18 and 24 likely to get their bank statements via paperless methods. 

And it's a similar story when it comes to utility bills. Some 42 per cent of people said they do not have any paper copies of their gas and electricity bills, with more than a third receiving these documents through email rather than through the post. 

"These paper first procedures had to be put in place to sort the good from the bad. However, it’s clear these old-fashioned measures haven’t caught up with what’s actually happening in the real world," said Nick Brown, group managing director at GBG .

"And as more customers opt to receive paperless statements and access their documents online, these traditional processes could hinder a legitimate individual’s chance of getting on the property ladder," he added. 

 


Property prices in England and Wales show only marginal growth in April [Photo: merron via iStock]

The average price of buying a home in England and Wales has remained largely static for the second month in a row, according to a new report, which suggests that April saw only small gains in the price of homes nationwide. 

The data, released as part of the Your Move index for April, shows that the average property price in England and Wales now sits at £301,606. This was only up by 0.1 per cent when compared to March, suggesting another month where there has been little in the way of new forward momentum. 

However, the good news is that even if gains are only minimal, prices are still headed in the right direction in general, and when they are examined on an annual basis, it's clear that growth is still very evident in England and Wales. 

When compared to April last year, the Your Move index shows a climb of some 3.5 per cent in house prices across the country, with the East of England and the West Midlands currently the two areas that are experiencing the fastest growth. 

At present, one of the biggest factors that would be expected to be playing into house prices would be the announcement of the snap election in June. However, so far this has actually had little impact on the market. But Oliver Blake, managing director of Your Move and Reeds Rains estate agents, said the main parties need to ensure they put housing at the forefront of their campaigns moving forward. 

"Real transformation is needed to address the housing supply shortage. Recent reports from House of Commons committees have made a strong case for the government to do more," he said. 

"As manifestos are published ahead of the upcoming election, we hope there is commitment to bridging the gap between supply and demand, which will stimulate more market activity, stability and enable more people to secure their dream home."

 


Demand for UK property falls in first few months of 2017 [Photo: vimvertigo via iStock]

More people across the UK may now be looking to rent homes rather than buy them, as a new report shows that the level of demand for buying houses has fallen somewhat in the first three months of the year. 

According to the eMoov National Hotspot Index Q1 2017, demand is lowest in Wales at present, but even London and surrounding commuter towns are seeing fewer buyers coming to market, which could suggest that more people are now renting. 

The eMoov report looks at the balance between the supply and demand for houses in each area of the UK and attributes a percentage score based on the balance between available stock and the number of properties sold, and it found that for the first quarter of the year, nationwide, demand is at 33.8 per cent. 

This represents a substantial fall in the space of just the first three months of the year. At the end of 2016, the level of demand nationwide stood at 17.56 per cent higher than it does now, showing a real change in attitude from buyers. 

In England, demand for properties remains highest, with a score of 39.4 per cent, while it sits a little over 36 per cent in Scotland. Wales is the worst performing British nation, however, with demand falling as low as 27.35 per cent as of the end of March.

The highest levels of demand at the moment are found in some of the most affordable towns and cities nationwide. In areas where more than 90 per cent of homes are classed as affordable, it seems that there are more buyers around. At present, eMoov said, Rugby, Portsmouth and Bristol are among the highest demand areas, while Aberdeen, Hartlepool and Middlesbrough see the lowest demand. 

eMoov chief executive officer Russell Quirk believes that one of the reasons for low demand in many areas could be the fact that it has become too expensive to live in cities for many people.

"With many of the UK’s major cities becoming too expensive for homeowners in the region and travel infrastructure improvements allowing us to live further away from work, it is no surprise that places such as Rugby and Portsmouth have grown in prominence amongst UK buyers. It isn’t just those in London that are looking outside of the larger city boundaries and opting for more affordable towns in the surrounding area," he said. 

 


Rents in England and Wales rise to reach £800 per month on average [Photo: mj0007 via iStock]

There have been reported worries about the future of the rental market in the UK thanks to increased tax commitments and political uncertainty over the last few months. However, even as some landlords remain slightly worried about the coming months, the private rented sector is once again showing that it has the strength to continue growing.

According to the latest Your Move data for March this year, there was a slowing of rental increases month on month, with the average tenant paying just 0.2 per cent more than they had in February for their rental properties. 

However, while this was only a slight growth in the market for March, it did continue an upward trend in rental prices in the longer term nationwide. According to the data, the average price paid for rental property in the UK now stands at some £800 per calendar month, which is 4.6 per cent higher than it was at the end of March 2016.

The best place for rental growth across the sector has been the East of England, where rental prices have climbed by some 7.3 per cent in the past 12 months to hit an average of £883, making it the most expensive place outside of London. 

Wales was the next most lucrative place for landlords in March, with prices having climbed by some 4.8 per cent month on month and by more than seven per cent when compared to March 2016.

In the capital, prices are now sitting at a little over £1,200 per calendar month on average. And while this still makes it the most expensive place in the UK to be a tenant, the fact that more people have been looking to find places outside the capital means that there has been a seven per cent reduction in the space of a year.

 


First-time buyers missing out on home purchase by not having enough for a deposit [Photo: Courtney Keating via iStock]

Over a third of potential first-time buyers are still missing out on getting themselves a foot on the property ladder because they are coming to the market with a deposit that is too small for the home they want to purchase. 

According to findings published by Nottingham Building Society, as many as 35 per cent of would-be owners have been told that the money they have stored away to buy a home is not enough to get themselves on the ladder, despite the fact nearly half of these had saved more than ten per cent of the property's value.

The research states that of those who were trying to buy a home for the first time, some 18 per cent had managed to save but still had less than ten per cent of the value of the home for their deposit, while a further 17 per cent had managed to save between ten and 20 per cent. 

It was also found that while deposits are now commonplace when it comes to buying a home, there are still those in the market who would be happy to get themselves a place without having had to save first. 

According to the data, as many as ten per cent said they would be comfortable with borrowing 100 per cent of the value of a home they were buying if it meant managing to get themselves onto the property ladder for the first time. 

Ian Gibbons, senior mortgage broking manager at Nottingham Mortgage Services, said current trends have to be viewed as somewhat worrying for anyone looking to get themselves onto the property ladder for the first time. 

"Borrowers with small deposits have a wide choice of loans to pick from but clearly many are struggling to buy the houses they want with so many potential deals falling through. It is particularly worrying that borrowers with a ten per cent deposit or more are struggling. They should be able to secure a mortgage and not have to miss out on house purchases simply because their deposit is too small," he said.

 


The average UK property sells for £25,000 below asking price [Photo: iStock/roberthyrons]

The average property in the UK is not getting owners as much as they expect when it comes time to make the sale, according to a new survey carried out this week by property portal Zoopla. 

In its survey, Zoopla compared what owners are expecting to be able to sell their home for when they first bring it to market, and what it actually goes for, and it was discovered that as many as a third of homes are being discounted. 

The number of homes being discounted from their original asking price sits at 31.6 per cent, and while this is down from 33.43 at the end of last year, it still indicates that owners are not getting what they want when they come to market. 

According to the results of the survey, the average home is reduced in price by £24,989, giving buyers a sizeable discount when they do eventually seal a deal. 

Discounts are most prominent in the north of England, with the data showing that seven of the top ten areas in terms of the number of homes discounted are in the north. In addition to this, all of the top ten highest average discounts are recorded in the north, showing the divide that exists nationwide. 

Lawrence Hall, spokesperson for Zoopla said that it's encouraging that the number of homes being reduced in price has fallen over the past few months, but added that the average reduction in price has actually climbed in the same period, but this is not a negative for everyone. 

"This is still good news for those looking to get onto the property ladder. With some thorough research first time buyers could be in with a better chance of spotting a bargain by filtering their property searches by most reduced and set up email alerts to help them be the first to know about homes that have been discounted," he said.

 


Mortgage market in the UK expected to have strongest post-recession year [Photo: PRImageFactory via iStock]

The UK's mortgage market is expected to experience its strongest post-recession year in 2017, according to the latest data, which suggests there has been a real rise in affordability of loans in the last few years. 

In a new report released this week by the Intermediary Mortgage Lenders Association (IMLA), it was revealed that by the end of this year, gross mortgage lending should hit some £260 billion. When compared to 2016, this represents a very sizeable increase, with mortgage lending totals up by 5.9 per cent from the £245 billion recorded 12 months ago. 

This change is being led by a surge in the number of people nationwide who are choosing to remortgage their home. At the same time, there is forecast to be a slight fall in the volume and value of buy-to-let mortgages witnessed across the UK, before this rises again in 2018. 

The IMLA said that in the coming months, net mortgage lending should also come in at some £45 billion. This is, surprisingly, the highest net mortgage lending recorded since 2007, when the market was at its highest point, as well as being the strongest year since the recession damaged the market in 2008, marking significant progress since then. 

In total, this means that the amount of mortgage debt for the UK as a whole has risen by 3.4 per cent in the past year. This is only slightly faster than the Office for Budget Responsibility says disposable income has climbed in the same timeframe. 

"The mortgage market shook off uncertainty and turbulence to register another solid year in 2016, and the IMLA predicts that the market is set to do the same again in 2017. There are many factors that have contributed to the continued strength of the mortgage market and are likely to support its growth over the rest the year," said Peter Williams, IMLA’s executive director.

The main strength of the market in 2017 remains the fact that there is an increasingly diverse group of buyers around at present. The IMLA expects that in the next few months, buy-to-let will continue to struggle to keep pace with what it has done in the past, which is likely to mean it seeing a six per cent contraction, but this is being accounted for by a rise in the number of people looking for remortgaging and house purchasing options. 

"The market has been supported by high levels of public demand for housing from a variety of different customer profiles. Furthermore, low mortgage rates and relatively modest levels of inflation have instilled borrowers with confidence, and made them willing to take out loans for purchase," said Mr Williams. 

"Different segments of the mortgage market had contrasting years in 2016. The remortage market performed very well, with existing borrowers eager to take advantage of rising house prices and low rates by securing a new deal. However, with lenders increasingly encouraging product transfers, it will be interesting to see if the remortgage market maintains this momentum in the long term," he added. 

 


How will the UK's snap general election affect the property market? [Photo: fazon1 via iStock]

In a surprise move earlier this week, prime minister Theresa May announced that the UK will be heading to the polls in early June, with the electorate facing a snap general election less than a year after Mrs May came to power. 

The announcement came as a shock to many sectors in the UK, with experts now scrambling to work out what the uncertainty and confusion will mean for them in the months ahead. The property market is no stranger to this sort of political upheaval, but is nonetheless still one of the sectors most likely to need to keep an eye on proceedings in Westminster. 

So, with just a few weeks to go until Brits head out to cast their votes, we ask: what will be the biggest factors to take into account, and what does the snap election mean for the UK's property market? 

Short timescale

One of the most beneficial elements of this election announcement for the UK is the fact that it comes in such a short timescale.

Previously, uncertainty has been hailed as the reason for price stalls and drops, but with only a few weeks’ notice, the market will barely have time to brace itself, and there shouldn't really be the time for worry and uncertainty to settle in and have any effect on the market as a whole.

Probable outcomes

One of the biggest factors in this projected lack of uncertainty is that the outcome of the election seems to be in little doubt. While previously it has been hard to predict with any certainty who would win the public vote, this time around it seems a little more obvious. 

The vast majority of experts are forecasting a Conservative landslide in the election, with the party expected to even eat into the number of seats Labour has in the current parliament. 

This certainty can only be good news for the market, particularly with the likelihood that it will bring about the opportunity for the Conservatives to continue the work they have already started on the housing market with the white paper released earlier this year. 

Market intentions

The good news is that the election announcement this week seems to have had little, if any, negative impact on the sentiment of those operating in the UK's property market. 

According to a survey released by eMoov, some 56.7 per cent of sellers in the market said they will have no qualms about continuing with their plans to bring their home to market and buy another property. This was compared to just 18 per cent who said they would put the process on hold until they see what happens.

 


Asking prices for rents climb by just 1.1% in year to March [Photo: iStock/G0d4ather]

The rental market in the UK is performing well at present, with both landlords and tenants having reasons to smile, according to the latest market report from HomeLet. 

It said that over the course of the last year, landlords have been able to see their investments climbing in value as a result of growing rental prices. However, at the same time, tenants have been enjoying the fact that rents have not been increasing as fast as they have in recent years. 

The HomeLet index shows that the average national rental price in the private sector now stands at some £906 per calendar month. This means that the average asking price for new tenancies over the course of the last year has climbed by just 1.1 per cent. 

While this is still positive growth for the market in terms of investors' income, it represents a far slower rate of growth than landlords have been welcoming over the past few years, perhaps showing a maturing market is now in place nationwide. 

It was also shown in the report that average rental rates differ greatly across the UK, as do the pace at which they are climbing. 

HomeLet said that in Wales, the average rental cost is now £616 per calendar month, compared to the £906 national average and the £614 and £610 recorded in Scotland and Northern Ireland respectively. London still leads the way in terms of national rent, with the price per month in the capital now climbing as high as £1,546. 

Surprisingly, it's Wales that has seen the fastest growth in the past year. In the 12 months to March, Welsh rental prices climbed by 3.1 per cent, followed by Scotland with 2.1 per cent. In England, London saw rental rates climb by just 1.2 per cent, while the East Midlands welcomed growth of 1.1 per cent, and prices in the south-west were up just 0.9 per cent

 


40% of landlords in the UK are women, report reveals [Photo: kzenon via iStock]

The profession of landlord has long been seen as somewhat dominated by men. However, a new study has shown that the tide is changing in this regard, with recent years having seen a climb in the number of women who are buy-to-let property owners. 

According to the findings of the survey published by Simple Landlords Insurance, female landlords are now even more prevalent than small business owners. It said that at present, as many as 40 per cent of all landlords are female, compared to just 17 per cent of small business owners who are female. 

The study also showed that there was a marked difference between men and women in terms of what they are looking to get out of their investments in the rented market. It said that some 63 per cent of women are looking to use rental income as their main long-term market plan. 

In comparison, only some 53 per cent of men said they were looking to rental income as the main source of investment return. As many as 47 per cent of men were instead focussed on bringing in money in the long term through capital gains, which interested only 37 per cent of women. 

Alexandra Huntley, Simple Landlords Insurance head of operations, said that these statistics are a clear indicator of differing attitudes towards women as investors. 

"As recently as 1970 women could be refused a mortgage without a male guarantor. But buying, selling, renovating, and renting property is no longer just for the boys," she said. 

"Those stereotypes are firmly consigned to history. Women have been steadily gaining ground over the last 50 years and are increasingly gaining financial independence through property investment."

 


Quarter of tenants would not tell their landlord about property damage [Photo: sturti via iStock]

Damage can happen in any rental property. Over the course of a tenancy, people living in a property will bump into things, knock something over or have other minor mishaps that cause some sort of damage; it's only natural. 

However, a new study has shown that while many people admit they have caused damage to a property, more than a quarter would not tell their landlord, even if they were responsible for things being broken. 

According to TheHouseShop, as many as 27 per cent of tenants in the private rented sector said they would keep quiet if they felt they were at fault for something going majorly wrong in their home. And while many would opt to have it fixed at their own expense, they would not tell the landlord or letting agent what had happened. 

Of those who wouldn't tell the landlord about problems they had caused, 15 per cent said they would simply hire a professional to put things right. However, more worryingly, some 11 per cent sad they would attempt to do the repairs themselves, and one per cent instead said they would try to hide any damage from the landlord, without fixing it. 

"While the vast majority of tenants will not actively try to do damage to a property, accidents do happen, and even well-meaning and reliable tenants can end up inflicting significant damage during their tenancy," said Nick Marr, TheHouseShop's co-founder.

He said that landlords should make sure they foster a relationship with their tenants where the tenant feels like they can be open and honest with the owner. Most often, people won't come forward to admit to damage because they feel like they might incur a cost or be blamed for something going wrong. 

The good news is that the majority still feel like they can go to their landlord. Of the respondents, 58 per cent said they would own up to having caused any damage to the property during their tenancy, with 24 per cent even offering to pay the entirety of the repair bill up front. 

 


Young professionals paying £71,000 premium to live in popular areas [Photo: apomares via iStock]

Young professionals looking for a place to buy are having to spend far above the national average if they happen to be seeking out a home in one of the UK's most popular areas, a new study has discovered. 

The research that was published this week by Lloyds Bank shows that the average price young professionals are spending in the 20 most popular postcodes across the UK is £71,000 higher than the average elsewhere. 

It said that the average price paid in these areas is some £735,874, which compares to the £664,716 paid in the surrounding areas to these postcodes on average. It means that in order to live in one of the UK's most popular and trendy areas, young people are facing a 13 per cent premium. 

Lloyds Bank mortgage products director Andrew Mason said that prices are so high because these houses are in high demand, and because the young people who want to live there are not put off by the high prices they are asked to pay. 

"Aspiring young professionals are typically well qualified, in well paid jobs and tend to live in areas not far from the city centre where they work. These are also places where they can enjoy easy access to green space and a range of places to socialise. These buyers also don’t appear to be put off by the significant premium in price to live in areas popular with young professionals," he said. 

According to the report, the most popular area of the UK remains Hove, on the south coast, with Brighton, its near neighbour, coming in at seventh place on the list. Of the remaining 18, 16 are located in London, with Wimbledon and Wandsworth among the most popular in the capital. 

The only other two areas outside of London on the list are Didsbury and Reading, with the former, a part of Greater Manchester, being the only northern town to make the list.

 


Mortgage and Stamp Duty issues affect more than 1 in 10 buyers

Home movers are an important part of the property chain, and play a role in making sure that house prices remain headed in the right direction, as well as ensuring that there are always homes available for newcomers as everyone climbs the ladder. 

However, over the past few years, the number of movers in the market has reportedly not been as high as it might have been, with reports indicating that many people have been stopped in their tracks by financial issues. 

According to research from the Nottingham Building Society, as many as 11 per cent of homeowners, amounting to as many as 1.2 million households, said they have considered moving home in the course of the last three years, but had to put their plans on hold because of mortgage issues and Stamp Duty charges. 

Mortgage issues plagued as many as three per cent of movers, according to the study, with 327,000 people having been turned down for a mortgage when they were trying to move home, the research shows.

However, Stamp Duty, which has long been cited as one of the costliest parts of buying a home for those looking to get on, and move up, the property ladder, continues to be the biggest barrier. Of those surveyed, eight per cent said the cost of Stamp Duty was too high, and that they decided against moving for that reason. 

On top of financial problems, there are also a range of other hurdles that are preventing people from moving home at present. Some 25 per cent of those who were surveyed said a major issue the market has is that there are not enough suitable homes around. 

"Home movers clearly are also struggling to find suitable homes to move to which turns the spotlight on improving their existing homes rather than moving," said Ian Gibbons, senior mortgage broking manager at Nottingham Mortgage Services.

 


House prices 'unchanged' in March, new reports show [Photo: iStock/Pogonici]

House prices in 2017 remain up year-on-year, but only grew slightly in the first quarter of the year, with March rounding off what was largely a flat Q1 for the sector in terms of house price increases. 

When compared to last year, according to the latest report published this week by the Halifax, house prices are still up by 3.8 per cent as of the end of March, but the nationwide average of some £219,755 is only slightly higher than at the end of 2016. 

Halifax data shows that as of the end of March, prices were unchanged when compared to February, which meant that over the course of the first three months of the year, they have climbed by just 0.1 per cent. 

This is no doubt something to do with the looming Brexit process, with buyers and sellers alike unsure of what the market would bring nationwide in the build up to Theresa May's triggering of Article 50 at the end of March. 

It means that this is the lowest quarterly rise seen in the UK since October of last year, and while there are still increases when compared to 12 months ago, this data still indicates that annual rate of growth remains at its lowest since May of 2013. This is particularly out of character at this time of the year, when house prices normally start to accelerate. 

Martin Ellis, Halifax housing economist, said of the latest data: "The annual rate of house price growth has more than halved over the past 12 months. A lengthy period of rapid house price growth has made it increasingly difficult for many to purchase a home as income growth has failed to keep up, which appears to have curbed housing demand."

However, he did also say that the low levels of supply in terms of both new and existing homes means that the market will probably be able to sustain prices for months to come, and not see any significant backwards momentum. 

 


Luxury apartments have grown in popularity, with London leading the way [Photo: elenaleonova via iStock]

Over the past decade, the number of luxury apartments sold across the UK has soared, according to new reports, which show that London is leading the way when it comes to long-term growth in this regard. 

According to findings published by Lloyds Private Banking, in the space of just ten years, the number of sales of apartments costing more than a million pounds has climbed by a staggering 196 per cent. 

This makes apartments the fastest growing asset in the luxury market, far outpacing the rate of increase for million pound-plus terraced homes (165 per cent), semi-detached properties (154 per cent) and detached houses (88 per cent). 

The report also showed that the proportion of the property market that is made up of luxury apartments has climbed markedly in the space of just ten years. Lloyds' figures show that in 2006, these types of property accounted for 17 per cent of the sector. However, by the end of 2016, this had climbed to 22 per cent, with luxury apartments accounting for 26 per cent of the overall increase in sales above a million pounds in the last decade. 

And what is not surprising is that the luxury apartment market is still seeing London as its leader, with the capital experiencing higher numbers of sales than any other city in the last few months. 

Of all the million pound-plus sales of apartments across the country, 96 per cent take place in London, the data shows, and over the last ten years, there has been an increase of 193 per cent in the number of sales of these properties. 

Overall, apartments now account for 33 per cent of all sales costing more than a million pounds in London, showing just how popular such assets have become. 

"The past decade has seen substantial increases in the number of million pound apartments sold, outpacing all other property types, dominated by London. A finite supply of land in prime central London combined with a growing population has meant the only way is up with more and more developers focusing on apartments," said Louise Santaana, head of lending at Lloyds Private Banking.

 


Brexit ‘putting people off buying property’ [Image: fazon1 via iStock]

Brexit has been named as a major reason for people not wanting to move home, according to a new survey.

The news comes as the UK prime minister, Theresa May, triggered Article 50, which officially began the process of leaving the EU. Since the decision was made by the public, there has been some anxiety around the property market. However, this has not been at the level expected by many, which has highlighted the market’s resilience.

According to the annual homeowner survey, conducted by YouGov for the HomeOwners Alliance (HOA) and BLP Insurance, more than one million people in the UK have put on hold their plans to purchase a new property because of the Brexit vote. A total of 15 per cent of respondents said this was the main reason they were not moving this year.

The HOA said that the referendum result is “just one of a number of factors” contributing to rising numbers of British homeowners to stay where they are rather than move property. The survey revealed that over 7.5 million people have put off plans to move this year.

However, Brexit was not the only reason that homeowners were resistant to the idea of moving, with 26 per cent blaming rising house prices, 25 per cent claiming the increasing cost of living was responsible and 25 per cent saying they had difficulty securing a mortgage or remortgaging.

It was found that those in the north east of England (27 per cent) and Northern Ireland (21 per cent) were the most likely to have cancelled plans to move.

On average, UK adults say they have become less likely to buy or move in the past 12 months, with nine per cent of UK adults saying they are more likely to buy or move and 15 per cent saying they are less likely to do so.

The HOA said that the proportion is similar among current homeowners, with eight per cent of them saying that within the past 12 months they have become more likely to buy or move and 15 per cent saying they have become less likely to do so.

Paula Higgins, chief executive of the HOA said: “Our research demonstrates that both first-time buyers and those who already own a home are choosing to play it safe in these uncertain times.”

She added: “People putting off plans to buy or sell chokes housing supply and generates pent-up demand. The housing market needs certainty in order to be able to function most efficiently.”

Ms Higgins went on to add that the government could help to make things easier for homeowners by “looking again at Stamp Duty,” saying that it remains “stubbornly high and acts as a drag on the market”. She said that reducing the amount “genuine owner-occupiers” are required to pay could help to boost the market in these uncertain times.

 


First-time buyers in London face price rises of 67% [Image: Drimafilm via iStock]

First-time buyers in London are facing price rises of 67 per cent since 2012, according to new research.

Lloyds Bank has found that house prices have risen most rapidly in Waltham Forest, increasing by 93 per cent from an average of £212,629 in 2012 to £409,491 in 2017.

The boroughs recording the next biggest gains are Newham, which rose by 92 per cent to reach an average property price of £359,212, and Greenwich, where prices rose by 91 per cent increase to hit £382,945.

Westminster saw the smallest rise in prices since 2012, Lloyds Bank said, with an increase of 28 per cent, leaving prices standing at an average of £595,568. This is less than half the gain across London as a whole (67 per cent) and significantly below the UK average of 50 per cent.

The research found that Westminster was the most expensive borough for first-time buyers in 2012, with an average price of £466,4821, which was 92 per cent above the London average of £242,931.

Despite its comparatively small price gain over the past five years (47 per cent), Camden has become the most expensive borough for first-time buyers, with an average house price of £602,080.

Andrew Mason, Lloyds Bank mortgage director, said: “Over the past five years, the price of a first-time buyer purchase in London has risen by an average 67 per cent, with some parts of the capital recording even more substantial rises.

“This means monthly mortgage payments and deposits have increased substantially, making it increasingly difficult for many young people to buy their own home, and as a result we saw a five per cent drop in first time purchases last year.”

Lloyds’ research also revealed that the average mortgage taken out by a first-time buyer in London has increased by 71 per cent, rising from £185,538 in 2012 to £317,253 this year.

 


House price sentiment in UK remains positive [Image: AndreaAstes via iStock]

New research has revealed that households across the UK perceive that the value of their home has risen over the last month.

According to the latest House Price Sentiment Index (HPSI) from Knight Frank and IHS Markit, it was the eighth consecutive month that the index has been in positive territory.

Some 20.8 per cent of the 1,500 households surveyed across the UK said that the value of their home had risen over the last month, while 5.9 per cent said that prices had fallen. This resulted in a HPSI reading of 57.5, which was unchanged from February.

However, it was also revealed that there are still fairly large regional variations, which reflects the wider housing market. According to the index, households in nine of the 11 regions covered by the index thought that the value of their property rose in February.

Those in the south east reported the biggest rise over the course of the month, posting an index figure of 64.4, which is above the positive level of 50. This was closely followed by those in London, where the index sat at 64.

Homeowners in the north east and Wales were the exceptions, according to the index, with households reporting a slight fall in prices over the month.

Oliver Knight, an associate in Knight Frank’s residential research team, said: “The latest survey data suggests that house price sentiment across the UK is becoming steadier. Households still report that values are increasing, but at a more modest pace than before the EU Referendum, which is consistent with wider housing market trends.”

He went on to add that future price expectations are still positive, particularly in the south of England and the Midlands, but he said there are “a number of headwinds which could weigh on the market”. He pointed to rising inflation and continued effects from Brexit as examples.