UK Government COVID-19 updates

See the source imageHere are some recent announcements from the government:

  • The number of confirmed deaths from Covid-19 rose above 30,000, putting the UK at the highest official death toll in Europe.
  • The 4,000-bed London NHS Nightingale hospital is to stop admitting new patients. It will be kept “in hibernation” in case there is a second wave of coronavirus patients.
  • The four other Nightingales – located in Manchester, Birmingham, Bristol and Harrogate – will also be wound down.
  • The UK’s test, track and trace plans will begin with the trial of the NHS contact tracing app on the Isle of Wight.
  • Cybercriminals, aided by hostile states, are seeking to exploit the coronavirus crisis, according to Dominic Raab, the foreign secretary and first secretary of state.
  • The UK is now “past the peak” of the coronavirus spread and the government will publish a plan for easing lockdown measures this week, prime minister Boris Johnson said.
  • The NHS has started restoring other services, such as cancer care and mental health support, and will also restart fertility services.
  • Business interruption loans for small firms have been extended from 80% to 100%.
  • A support package is available for the transport industry, designed to keep the flow of goods and services running smoothly in and out of the UK – and around the country.
  • A vaccine is needed before social distancing can end entirely, with Professor Chris Whitty, chief medical officer for England, suggesting some restrictions would be necessary for a “long period of time”.
  • Human trials of a potential vaccine for coronavirus created by an Oxford research team have begun.
  • Loans totalling £250m have been made available to unlisted, high-growth companies and £750m of grants and loans are available for SMEs in research and development.
  • The government is to pay 80% of most people’s salaries, up to £2,500 per month, in addition to a bailout package worth £350bn for businesses struggling due to the coronavirus. Self-employed people will be able to apply for a grant of up to £2,500 per month.

UK House Price Index indicate falling house price

In England the February data shows, on average, house prices have fallen by 0.6% since January 2020. The annual price rise of 0.8% takes the average property value to £246,341.

The regional data for England indicates that:

  • the South West experienced the greatest monthly price rise, up by 0.5%
  • the East Midlands saw the most significant monthly price fall, down by 1%
  • London experienced the greatest annual price rise, up by 2.3%
  • the East of England saw the lowest annual price growth, down by 1%

UK house prices

UK house prices increased by 1.1% in the year to February 2020, down from 1.5% in January 2020. On a non-seasonally adjusted basis, average house prices in the UK decreased by 0.6% between January 2020 and February 2020, compared with a fall of 0.3% during the same period a year earlier (January 2019 and February 2019).

See the source image

The UK Property Transactions Statistics for February 2020 showed that on a seasonally adjusted basis, the estimated number of transactions of residential properties with a value of £40,000 or greater was 103,870. This is 6% higher than a year ago. Between January 2020 and February 2020, transactions increased by 4.5%.

House price growth was strongest in Wales where prices increased by 3.4% over the year to February 2020, up from 2.5% in January 2020. The highest annual growth within the English regions was in London, where average house prices grew by 2.3%, this was due to a decrease in average house price between January 2019 and February 2019. The lowest, and only negative, annual growth was in the East of England, where prices decreased by 1% over the year to February 2020.

Source: GOV.UK

Pls Comment, like and share

Thinking of buying a property?

Need help with residential and commercial property purchase/finance in the UK from start to finish, Please Contact me

Selling or renting your property in Greater Manchester? Get same day EPC for £45 only

Dennis Bebo – MSC, BSC, DEA, CeMAP

UK property market: Questions asked by buyers and seller

The coronavirus crisis is affecting buyers and sellers alike. An estate agent talks through the hurdles faced by both parties

Spring and summer are often cited as the best time to buy a property, with the warmer weather encouraging more people to put their homes up for sale. But with the Government having all but shut down the UK’s housing market, buying and selling is challenging during the lockdown – although not entirely impossible.

See the source image

Here are the questions being asked by buyers and sellers:

Can I still complete?

The Government advises buyers and sellers to “where possible, delay moving to a new house while measures are in place to fight coronavirus”.

However, solicitors are not banned from continuing completions and the Government has accepted some may still have to take place. For those who need to move for reasons such as death, divorce or debt, and for those who want to move perhaps to be in a better school catchment area for their children, there are still some possibilities.

What if I’m looking to buy?

If you are looking to buy, things look great on the face of it. The Bank of England has slashed interest rates to a record low of 0.1 per cent in response to the crisis, meaning mortgages are more affordable than ever as repayments will, in theory, be lower.

However, many lenders have withdrawn tracker mortgages offering the best rates. Savings the banks are making are not being passed onto consumers. Larger deposits are also now required. Nationwide Building Society, one of the UK’s biggest lenders, recently withdrew mortgages with a loan-to-value (LTV) ratio above 75 per cent from sale.

Paul Broadhead, head of mortgage policy at the Building Societies Association, says: “Lenders and borrowers are facing unprecedented conditions. The temporary move away from higher LTV products across the whole market reflects prevailing uncertainty and the fact that physical valuations are on hold. Lenders are focusing on supporting their existing borrowers that have been affected by Covid-19, often with fewer staff available to work.”

What if I need a mortgage?

A downside for buyers is that you have to have 100 per cent of the property’s value in cash to now be in with a chance of securing a property. Assuming you have seen a house you liked before the restrictions came into effect, estate agents are unlikely to put any offers forward where a mortgage is required.

Mortgage valuation surveys are unable to take place during the lockdown because mortgage companies cannot send a surveyor out in person to ensure a property has not been overvalued by an estate agent. This is good news if you are a cash buyer and puts you in an even stronger position with less competition from other buyers.

However, sellers should be aware that cash-rich investors often expect a price reduction, with some offering as much as 30 per cent below the asking price.

What if I’m selling?

If you are looking to sell, it may still be possible. Some agents are making the most of technology and offering virtual viewings and video valuations, with vendors taking their own photos to market their properties.

This sounds great, but it isn’t. Unless you are a professional photographer with a wide-angle lens camera, it’s unlikely you will be marketing your property to its full potential.

It is also doubtful the valuation will be as accurate without the agent having visited. Every property is unique. And while virtual viewings are great for the casual viewer at home who doesn’t have to leave the sofa, they are not so helpful for vendors deciding how keen and motivated a buyer really is.

If an acceptable offer is made, there is even less certainty than usual when it comes to trusting that someone will see the process through to conclusion from sale agreed (subject to contract) to exchange/completion, as they have yet to set foot inside the property.

Some estate agents, such as Purplebricks, charge a fixed fee whether the property sells or not. It is worth noting that according to research firm TwentyCi, Purplebricks received an estimated £18m from 21,380 vendors whose properties were withdrawn having failed to sell in 2019. With actual viewings currently impossible, who knows what their figure for 2020 will be.

Property prices: Where next?

House prices were flat in March, the first time they did not rise in five months, according to the latest data on the UK property market.

Halifax, who compiled the figures, said the housing market began March in recovery mode as political uncertainty about Brexit had passed. Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s election victory had also boosted confidence in the market.

But by the end of the month, the UK was in different territory as coronavirus swept across the country and the property market ground to a halt as the UK was put into lockdown.

Halifax said it was too early to accurately assess the long-term impact of the virus on the UK housing market.

When will the market recover?

Problems with physical viewings and mortgages will make moving house difficult in the short term.

But once the coronavirus crisis has blown over, and the barriers on movement have been lifted, the market should bounce back fairly quickly. After the lockdown is finished, the artificial restrictions on the free market will be released, causing a flood of supply and demand from sellers and buyers.

If furloughed employees are able to return to their place of work on their full salary, consumer confidence will likely be restored. Pent-up demand will hopefully encourage lenders to increase supply of affordable mortgages.

The property market may return to normal sooner than many currently envisage.

 

By Rupert Gray – an estate agent working in the Greater London area

Source: inews

Pls Comment, like and share

Thinking of buying a property?

Need help with residential and commercial property purchase/finance in the UK from start to finish, Please Contact me

Selling or renting your property in Greater Manchester? Get same day EPC for £45 only

Dennis Bebo – MSC, BSC, DEA, CeMAP

5G can never cause coronavirus

As a biochemist graduate I can confidently say there is no relationship between coronavirus and 5G.
 
Coronavirus is a biological virus that causes respiratory diseases that can affect the lungs and airways with Symptoms including cough, a high temperature and shortness of breath.
See the source image
 
5G acute radiation can result in radiation Sickness caused by exposure to high dose of ionising radiation with Symptoms including nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, and drop in the blood cell counts.
 
Coronavirus is transmitted via molecular droplets (microbiology) while radiation from 5G is transmitted via radiowave (radiophysics).
 
5G radiowave radiation can never transmit molecular virus and as such can never cause coronavirus.
 

Pls Comment, like and share

Thinking of buying a property?

Need help with residential and commercial property purchase/finance in the UK from start to finish, Please Contact me

Selling or renting your property in Greater Manchester? Get same day EPC for £45 only

Dennis Bebo – MSC, BSC, DEA, CeMAP

Covid19 financial difficulty & what UK banks are offering

Many banks are offering help to customers in financial difficulty due to coronavirus, by offering mortgage, loans and credit card payment holidays, increasing limits for overdrafts, credit cards and cash withdrawals, waiving overdraft charges and offering other financial difficulty solutions.

See the source image

It is recommended to contact your financial provider or lender, first visit their website to explore the various ways you can get help or support if you are impacted financially by coronavirus and can’t afford to keep up with repayments or manage your finance.

Coronavirus help and support UK major banks are offering:

  • Barclays Bank – See the source imageMortgages; Payment holiday of up to three months. Personal Loan; 3 months repayment holiday. Credit card;  No late payment or cash advance fees for the next 90 days starting from 19 March, and you might be able to increase your credit limit to help you in an emergency. Overdraft; No interest between 27 March and 30 April 2020. You don’t need to do anything – it’ll happen automatically. Savings; No penalty charges for withdrawing your money early. Visit Barclays website here for more information and updates.
  • Natwest Bank – See the source imageMortgages; Payment holidays for up to 3 months. Personal Loans; Payment deferrals of up to 3 months. Credit card; Refunds on request for cash advance fees to access cash in an emergency, and you can apply to increase your credit card limit. No late payment fee from 1st April until 30th June 2020, you don’t need to get in touch, it will be done automatically. Overdraft; From Monday 30th March, for 3 months, if you are a personal Banking customer using your overdraft, you will pay less as overdraft interest will be at current rates (Representative 19.89% APR (variable) for most customers) and you won’t pay any fees or charges. Savings; Close and access cash with no early closure charge from your fixed term savings account. Visit Natwest website here for more information and updates.
  • Lloyds Bank – See the source imageMortgages; 3 month payment holiday. Personal Loans; Repayment holiday of up to 3 months. Credit card; Payment holiday for 3 months. If agreed, you won’t need to make the usual payments to your personal credit card. Apply to increase your existing Credit Card limit using internet banking. Overdraft; Automatic £300 overdraft buffer if you have an existing arranged overdraft on your current account. This buffer will be interest-free from 6th April to 6th July 2020. Apply online for new overdraft and existing overdraft limit increase. Savings; Access your savings held in a fixed term account, charge will be waived. Visit Lloyds website here for more information and updates.
  • HSBC Bank – See the source imageMortgages; Payment holiday of up to 3 months. Personal Loans; 

    You can request to defer your next 3 repayments. This gives you the chance to pause repayments for 3 months. Credit Card; You can request a 3-month payment holiday. Overdraft; From 26 March 2020 until further notice, no interest charges on the first £300 of overdraft borrowing. Savings; Access restrictions and early closure fees waived for the Fixed Rate Saver product if you need to access your money.  Customers can still close their Regular Saver account and withdraw the funds if they need to, as normal. Visit HSBC website here for more information and updates.

  • Santander Bank – See the source imageMortgages; Get up to 3 months holiday from your mortgage payments. Personal Loans; Online application forms for repayment holiday will be available soon. Credit card; From 31 March until 6 July, late payments fees and cash advances will be automatically removed. Online application forms for repayment holiday will be available soon. Overdraft; Automatically waive interest on the first £350 from 6 April until 6 July. If you need to add an overdraft to your account further information on this is being prepared and will be shared next week. Savings; Access your money held in Santander fixed rate bonds and fixed rate ISAs before the end of the fixed term, free of charge. Visit Santander website here for more information and updates.

Pls Comment, like and share

Thinking of buying a property?

Need help with residential and commercial property purchase/finance in the UK from start to finish, Please Contact me

Selling or renting your property in Greater Manchester? Get same day EPC for £45 only

Dennis Bebo – MSC, BSC, DEA, CeMAP

TA DenEco Consultancy – www.deneco.co.uk

 

Covid19: EPC still a requirement for UK property sales and lettings

The UK government will not be relaxing requirements on Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) despite movement restrictions put in place as a result of the coronavirus. In guidance published by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) it was made clear that properties put on the market will still be required to obtain an EPC before being sold, let or built.

AssetRating-EPC-Bristol

It added that assessments should only be conducted where the work is essential.

This follows government-issued guidelines last week that urged people to delay or not begin the process of buying or selling a home unless it was absolutely critical.

A valid EPC is legally required when a property is sold, let or constructed and must be completed by an accredited assessor unless an exemption can be applied.

Landlords and sellers have seven days to obtain a valid EPC from the day the property is marketed, with a further 21 days grace period allowed if all reasonable efforts have been made to obtain one, but it has not been possible.

Restriction of movement laws and social distancing practices which have resulted in almost all valuers and surveyors stopping in-person property surveys are likely to have severely hampered EPC assessors as well.

Pls Comment, like and share

Thinking of buying a property?

Need help with residential and commercial property purchase/finance in the UK from start to finish, Please Contact me

Selling or renting your property in Greater Manchester? Get same day EPC for £45 only

Dennis Bebo – MSC, BSC, DEA, CeMAP

TA DenEco Consultancy – www.deneco.co.uk

Barclays Bank set a net zero carbon target

Barclays said it planned to set a net zero by 2050 carbon target, to be voted on by shareholders at its forthcoming annual general meeting in May.

The bank said it would also commit to align its financing activities with the goals and timelines of the Paris Agreement.
See the source image
‘The alignment of Barclays’ portfolio will start with the energy and power sectors, and will cover all sectors over time,’ the company said.

‘Barclays will provide the transparent targets required to judge its progress and will report on them regularly, starting from 2021.

Pls Comment, like and share

Thinking of buying a property?

Need help with residential and commercial property purchase/finance in the UK from start to finish, Please Contact me

Selling or renting your property in Greater Manchester? Get same day EPC for £45 only

Dennis Bebo – MSC, BSC, DEA, CeMAP

TA DenEco Consultancy – www.deneco.co.uk

Covid19: Air pollution falls sharply across the world

With global economic activity ramping down as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, it is hardly surprising that emissions of a variety of gases related to energy and transport would be reduced.

Scientists say that by May, when CO2 emissions are at their peak thanks to the decomposition of leaves, the levels recorded might be the lowest since the financial crisis over a decade ago.

See the source image

Researchers in New York told the BBC their early results showed carbon monoxide mainly from cars had been reduced by nearly 50% compared with last year.

Emissions of the planet-heating gas CO2 have also fallen sharply.

But there are warnings levels could rise rapidly after the pandemic.

An analysis carried out for the climate website Carbon Brief suggested there had been a 25% drop in energy use and emissions in China over a two week period. This is likely to lead to an overall fall of about 1% in China’s carbon emissions this year, experts believe.

Both China and Northern Italy have also recorded significant falls in nitrogen dioxide, which is related to reduced car journeys and industrial activity. The gas is a serious air pollutant and also indirectly contributes to the warming of the planet.

With aviation grinding to a halt and millions of people working from home, a range of emissions across many countries are likely following the same downward path.

While people working from home will likely increase the use of home heating and electricity, the curbing of commuting and the general slowdown in economies will likely have an impact on overall emissions.

Source: BBC News

Pls Comment, like and share

Thinking of buying a property?

Need help with residential and commercial property purchase/finance in the UK from start to finish, Please Contact me

Selling or renting your property in Greater Manchester? Get same day EPC for £45 only

Dennis Bebo – MSC, BSC, DEA, CeMAP

TA DenEco Consultancy – www.deneco.co.uk

COVID19: UK Government suspends property market till further notice

The housing market was halted on Thursday night by the Government after financial institutions said they could no longer operate properly.

Ministers are discouraging buyers from going ahead with house sales and purchases unless they have ­already exchanged contracts as part of wider efforts to slow the spread of the coronavirus, saying no one should move unless absolutely necessary. ­

As a result of the pandemic, homeowners trying to sell their properties face a year of misery as the number of buyers dwindles, estate agents close their doors, banks withdraw deals and house prices falling.

See the source image

Banks and building societies have agreed to extend mortgage offers where completions have to be delayed as a safety precaution.

Grainne Gilmore, head of research at Zoopla, commented: “The clarity provided by the government announcement is welcome for buyers, sellers and agents who are in the middle of the sales process.

“Agents continue to support their buyers and vendors remotely. But, now that there is some leeway on mortgage offers – with a three month extension from lenders – this will enable some buyers to press pause, and to re-start their purchase once the current social distancing rules are relaxed.”

What does it mean if you’re buying?

You should only consider going ahead with your move in the immediate term if you have already exchanged contracts.

If you have not yet exchanged contracts, the government are advising you to delay doing so.

See the source imageBanks and building societies have agreed to extend mortgage offers for up to an additional three months to enable customers to move at a later date without losing the deal they had lined up.

If your circumstances change during this period or the terms of the house purchase alter significantly, meaning that continuing with the mortgage would put you into financial hardship, lenders have pledged to work with you to manage your finances as a matter of urgency.

What it means if you are selling?

Putting your property on the market will be more challenging than usual, as you are not allowed to have visitors to your home.

As a result, you will not be able to have estate agents come to take photos or carry out a physical market appraisal, while Energy Performance Certificate assessors are also not allowed to visit you.

If your home is already on the market, you can continue to advertise it for sale, but people cannot come to physically view your property.

Importantly, you are still allowed to accept offers on your property during the current period.

In fact, the number of sales agreed between March 16 and March 22 were only 4% lower than a year earlier.

Source: Zoopla Property News

Pls Comment, like and share

Thinking of buying a property?

Need help with residential and commercial property purchase/finance in the UK from start to finish, Please Contact me

Selling or renting your property in Greater Manchester? Get same day EPC for £45 only

Dennis Bebo – MSC, BSC, DEA, CeMAP

TA DenEco Consultancy – www.deneco.co.uk

Covid-19: UK property market to be suspended as sales drop significantly

UK house buyer interest has slumped as people stay at home to try to limit the spread of the coronavirus, according to property listings websites.

Zoopla predicts housing transactions will drop by up to 60% over the next three months.

Meanwhile, an increasing number of sales that had been agreed before the lockdown are falling through.

See the source image

The government has advised homebuyers and renters to delay moving as much as they can.

“Would-be homebuyers paused major decisions and took stock of the unfolding events in the UK and around the world, even before [restrictions] announced by Prime Minister Boris Johnson,” Zoopla said.

Demand in the week to 22 March slumped 40% on a week earlier, its figures suggest.

The property listings site said the UK housing market had a strong start to the year before the coronavirus outbreak crushed demand.

The pandemic has since led to a “rapidly increasing” proportion of sales falling through, as would-be buyers “reassess whether to make a big financial decision in these shifting times”.

Sales were still being agreed, it found, but at a 4% slower rate than at the same time a year earlier.

The Financial Times has reported that bankers have been urging government ministers to suspend the housing market.

They are concerned about the impact of the pandemic on valuations but they are also worried about issuing loans due to uncertainty about the effect the virus will have on the economy, the paper reported.

In response to the crisis, UK Finance, which was formerly known as the British Bankers Association, said lenders would extend mortgage offers for people who were due to move house during the lockdown.

“Current social distancing measures mean many house moves will need to be delayed,” Stephen Jones, who runs the group, said in a statement.

“Where people have already exchanged contracts for house purchases and set dates for completion this is likely to be particularly stressful,” he said.

“To support these customers at this time, all mortgage lenders are working to find ways to enable customers who have exchanged contracts to extend their mortgage offer for up to three months to enable them to move at a later date.”

The government has told people “there is no need to pull out of transactions”, instead encouraging them to “amicably agree alternative dates to move”.

The sentiments identified by Zoopla echo a previous announcement from rival Rightmove, which said the slowdown in the UK housing market had been “significant”.

“The number of property transactions failing to complete in recent days and likely changes in tenant behaviour following the announcement of the renters’ protections by the government may put further pressure on estate and lettings agents,” it said, referring to the recent ban on evictions.

The government said on Wednesday that home buyers and renters should delay moving if possible while emergency measures are in place to fight coronavirus.

“If moving is unavoidable for contractual reasons and the parties are unable to reach an agreement to delay, people must follow advice on social distancing to minimise the spread of the virus,” a housing ministry spokesperson said.

“Anyone with symptoms, self-isolating or shielding from the virus, should follow medical advice and not move house for the time being.”

Meanwhile, there were reports on Thursday that mortgage lenders had started to temporarily restrict some products for certain customers.

Source: BBC News

Pls Comment, like and share

Thinking of buying a property?

Need help with residential and commercial property purchase/finance in the UK from start to finish, Please Contact me

Selling or renting your property in Greater Manchester? Get same day EPC for £45 only

Dennis Bebo – MSC, BSC, DEA, CeMAP

TA DenEco Consultancy – www.deneco.co.uk