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).

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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

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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.

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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

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Real service

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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
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Dennis Bebo – MSC, BSC, DEA, CeMAP

Property Ombudsman conference postponed due to COVID 19

The Property Ombudsman has announced that it will postpone its annual conference, which was to have been on June 18, until next year.

In its place, TPO will be holding a Rightmove Webinar on the same morning.

Katrine Sporle, who retires as TPO later this year, says: “Given the circumstances affecting us all, we have decided to convert the conference in Solihull to a Rightmove Webinar to take place on the morning of June 18. We will provide updates, advice and interactive sessions to respond to agents’ questions and concerns.”

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TPO’s office says tickets already purchased will be credited towards the 2021 conference “when normal business resumes.”

Meanwhile a statement from the organisation says it’s business as normal at The Property Ombudsman, with many of its staff managing to work remotely to provide a normal service.

However, TPO says that the priority for agents is of course to ensure the welfare of their employees and advises: “Therefore, if services have to change and complaints cannot be dealt with in the usual way, agents should ensure this is communicated to complainants in writing.”

Should a complaint then be subsequently escalated to TPO, this will be taken into account.

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Dennis Bebo – MSC, BSC, DEA, CeMAP

TA DenEco Consultancy – www.deneco.co.uk

UK Budget 2020: Low interest rate & spending on housing may boost property market

The Government unveiled its first Budget since the General Election, amid increasing coronavirus pressures.

The Budget came hours after the Bank of England’s announcement of an emergency cut in the base interest rate to shore up the economy following the outbreak.

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The cut, from 0.75 per cent to 0.25 per cent, takes borrowing costs back down to the lowest level in history, and may help the housing market.

Just 27 days after taking over the Treasury, the new Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, announced a dramatic increase in infrastructure spending, including new housing.

Stamp Duty

A Stamp Duty surcharge of 2% will be introduced for overseas non-residents who buy residential property in England and Northern Ireland. This will start from April 1 2021.

The Government said the measure “will help to control house price inflation and to support UK residents to get on to and move up the housing ladder”.

There were no other changes to Stamp Duty charges; a disappointment to many potential buyers.

Interest Rate

The reduction in the bank rate will benefit homeowners on variable rate mortgages; however, these represent a minority with over 90% of new mortgages now fixed rate.

For those on variable rates, it normally takes up to two months for the change in bank rate to filter down, but the Government will put pressure on financial institutions to implement it faster.

It’s important to remember that it is up to the banks’ discretion as to how much of the cut they pass on to consumers, which could stymie potential benefits.

Spending on housing

The Affordable Homes Programme, intended to ‘help more people into homeownership and help those most at risk of homelessness’, will be extended with a new multi-year settlement of £12 billion.

This marks a £3bn increase on the current five-year Affordable Homes Programme, which is worth £9 billion and is due to end in 2021.

The Chancellor also announced £1.1 billion worth of allocations from the Housing Infrastructure Fund to develop almost 70,000 homes in nine different areas, including Manchester, South Sunderland and South Lancaster. This was announced in addition to a new £400m for new housing on brownfield sites.

Source: Zoopla Property News

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TA DenEco Consultancy – www.deneco.co.uk

UK Property Key Players

Buying or selling a property in the UK required various process and professions. key players in a property transaction, including buyers, sellers and paid property professionals such as real estate agents, financial specialists, surveyors and legal practitioners.

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The main property key prayers are:

  • The middleman – The estate agent may be paid by the vendor, but they need to work with you too to make sure their client’s interests are protected and a good agreement can be reached. The agent should be your first stop when it comes to negotiating on price and striking a deal.
  • The money – In theses days of stricter lending criteria and great deals, it is important to research the best mortgage deals for your circumstances. You’ll need to provide your lender with all the information needed to make sure the process goes smoothly, and be ready to chase if getting your formal offer takes longer than expected.
  • The groundwork – The minimum requirement for mortgage lenders is generally a valuation – this basic report merely confirms the property price is right and that the property security for the mortgage loan. This is not a survey and if you need to carryout a survey, you will have to employ the service of a surveyor. The surveyor’s main role is to assess the physical state of the property. The depth of details you receive will depend on the level of service you choose.
  • The brains – The solicitor or conveyancer commissions detailed searches to make sure there are no dark secrets lurking in the property past, legally speaking. This may relate to restrictive clauses in the lease of a leasehold property, rights of way or contamination due to previous use of the land the property is built upon, or any number of other problems with a property’s title.

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Dennis Bebo – MSC, BSC, DEA, CeMAP

TA DenEco Consultancy – www.deneco.co.uk

 

Home Improvement: Is size everything?

Whatever your home improvement project is; whether you’re extending up, down, side or within, size and the use of space is vital to achieving the best design and improvement.

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To get the best home improvement, why not take a drive around your local area to see how other people have done it? Keep an eye out for properties similar in structure to your own and make a note of what to do and don’t want to achieve. Look at houses from your local estate agent, online and property catalogues. Also use your dog walks, jogging and evening walks as research trips.

Most homes are extended at the back, but you can consider extending upward,  downward or sideways depending on planning permission and building regulation. The exterior appearance and size of your property will have an impact on its value and appeal.

Extensions, conservatories, porches, driveway, garages come in all shapes and sizes, from standard to premium design and space. Just make sure it is in keeping with the aesthetic of your home and that you consider the orientation – taking into account its proximity to surrounding trees, outbuildings and neighbouring properties and how much sunlight it will get during the day. For example a north-facing conservatory can suffer from lack of sunlight and bump up your heating bills.

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Dennis Bebo – MSC, BSC, DEA, CeMAP

TA DenEco Consultancy – www.deneco.co.uk

Struggling UK estate agency Countrywide in talks with LSL over a possible merger

Countrywide and LSL Property Services have said they are in talks over a possible merger which could create the UK’s largest estate agency.

The news comes after several years of losses at Countrywide and a difficult time for the sector.

Countrywide owns the Hamptons and Gascoigne-Pees brands while LSL owns Your Move and Reed Rains.

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The firms said that talks were ongoing, but there could be no certainty that an offer would ultimately be made.

If the merger talks – which were first reported by Sky News – lead to a deal, it will create a combined group worth about £470m with 14,000 employees.

Countrywide reported losses of £218m for 2018, compared with a £207m loss a year earlier, and it said last year that the uncertainty surrounding Brexit had been hitting business.

Recent surveys have suggested that the UK’s housing market is starting to pick up after a long period of sluggish activity.

Last month, a survey of property professionals reported an “uplift” in sentiment in the housing market following the general election.

Sales expectations had “risen sharply”, the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors said, with the number of house sales rising in December for the first time in seven months.

The most recent survey from the Halifax found the market continued “to show signs of improvement”.

The lender said it had seen “a pick-up in transactions with more buyer and seller activity consistent with a reduction in uncertainty in the UK”, although it added it was “too early to say if a corner has been turned”.

Source BBC News

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Dennis Bebo – MSC, BSC, DEA, CeMAP

TA DenEco Consultancy – www.deneco.co.uk

Using salvaged materials for your building project

Whatever type of building project you are preparing to undertake, it is always worth taking time to consider if there are any materials that can be salvaged for re-use, recycled or up-cycled.

As there are many types of building projects, there will also be many uses for material that you may initially believe would not be of any use to you. This is where you need to consider the building project as a whole and see what you have to buy in for the various stages and what you can salvage for re-use, recycle or up-cycled elsewhere.

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These projects could potentially involve using salvaged material:

  • Building an extension
  • Loft conversion
  • Refurbishment
  • Renovation
  • External works
  • Demolition
  • Building a new house

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Dennis Bebo – MSC, BSC, DEA, CeMAP

TA DenEco Consultancy – www.deneco.co.uk