1
Aug 19

The latest data and analysis from ARLA Propertymark has revealed that the number of tenants experiencing rent rises increased to the highest figure on record in June, with around 55% of agents witnessing landlords increasing them.

According to the figures, this is a 22% increase from May which was also a previous record high. Year-on-year, the number of tenants facing rent increases is up from 31% in June 2017, and 35% in June 2018

Supply of rental stock and demand from tenants

Letting agents had an average of 199 properties under management per member branch in June, a decrease from 201 in May. Demand from prospective tenants also increased marginally in June, with the number of house hunters registered per branch rising to 70 on average, compared to 69 in May. Year on year, demand has fallen, from 71 house hunters registered per branch in June 2018.

Landlords selling their buy-to-let

In June, the number of landlords exiting the market remained at four per branch. This stood at the same figure in June 2018.

David Cox, ARLA Propertymark Chief Executive, said: “Unsurprisingly, rent costs hit a record high in June as tenants suffered the impact of the tenant fee ban. Ever since the Government proposed the ban, we warned that tenants would continue to pay the same amount, but the cost would be passed onto tenants through increased rents, rather than upfront costs.

In addition to the repercussions of the Tenant Fees Act, the proposed abolition of Section 21, coupled with the Mayor of London’s recent call for rent controls, will only cause the sector to shrink further. In turn this will increase pressure on the sector because it will discourage new landlords from investing in the market, causing rents to rise for tenants as less rental accommodation is available.”

30
Jul 19

The latest data and analysis from Zoopla has revealed that southern cities recorded average annual price growth of 0.7% in June 2019 – the lowest level since January 2012.

According to the figures, house prices grew by just 0.7% in these markets in the 12 months to June 2019. This is the result of weaker demand for housing in this part of the country, with the growing imbalance between the supply of, and demand for, homes here hitting its highest rate so far this year.

Overall, house price growth in UK Cities slowed to 1.7% over the 12 months to June 2019. Price increases ranged from a high of 5.1% in Edinburgh to a low of -3.2% in Aberdeen. Cities in the north of England, Scotland and midlands continue to post above average growth while the slowdown in London continues to spread into cities across southern England and looks to be feeding into parts of the midlands.

Southern cities

The majority of the seven cities registering less than 1% in house price growth this month are located within southern England. This is with the exception of Aberdeen which is still suffering the effects of the oil price collapse in 2015 where prices in the Granite city have been falling for the last four years. This is the highest number of cities recording annual price growth of less than 1% in six years (since June 2013).

House price growth in southern cities ranged between +2% in Bristol to -0.3% in Cambridge. Despite house prices continuing to register annual price falls in Cambridge for 10 out of the last 12 months, average property prices in this university city are currently the second most expensive of all 20 cities analysed, sitting at £425,800. This is £1,245 less than the average price recorded in June 2018. London continues to be the most expensive city, with prices averaging £484,200.

Richard Donnell, Research and Insight Director at Zoopla, comments: “There is a clear imbalance between supply and demand for housing across southern cities and this explains why house price growth in these cities is at its lowest level since 2012.”

Northern cities

Underlying market conditions remain stronger in northern cities where supply and demand are more in balance, this is supporting annual average price growth of 3.6% across this region.

The strongest market conditions are in Liverpool, where the amount of new supply coming to the market is in line with the number of sales being agreed. This is a clear indication that demand is meeting supply in the city and is reflective of the strong price growth the city is currently seeing, with prices rising by 4.9% over the 12 months to June 2019.

Signs of weaker growth ahead in Birmingham

Birmingham has been one of the strongest performing cities since the Brexit vote, but market conditions appear to be shifting with weaker sales growth and rising supply. This indicates that Birmingham may see stunted price growth in the coming months, with the rate of growth already slowing from 7% in June 2017 to 4% today.

Richard added: “Robust demand from buyers continues to support house price growth in northern cities and Edinburgh. Average prices in northern cities are registering annual growth of 3.6%. This is a stark comparison to the 0.7% growth in southern cities. We expect regional cities outside the south of England to continue to out-perform, although there are early signs of weaker growth ahead in parts of the midlands as successive years of house prices rising faster than earnings is beginning to weaken demand.”

London focus

The London market is coming to the end of a three-year repricing process. There has been a modest improvement in balance of supply and demand over the last six months thanks to a small, but important, increase in sales agreed and less new supply coming to the market for sale.

Whilst prices are still registering small price falls across many parts of London on an annual basis, the annual price change has improved to 0.0% in June 2019 in comparison to -0.5% in June 2018.

Richard concluded: “London has led the slowdown over the last three years, but here there are signs of greater realism on pricing from sellers and this has resulted in a small but important increase in sales. Affordability and weak market sentiment remain the main constraints on the London market.”

29
Jul 19

Caridon Landlord Solutions is calling on Boris Johnson to review the Benefit Assessment Period (BAP) of Universal Credit which is catching landlords and tenants.

It says landlords and tenants who do not understand the implications of coordinating the BAP of Universal Credit with the dates of their tenancy agreement are, in some cases, missing out on nearly a whole month's rent. CLS is calling on new Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, to review the process and make necessary changes.

Universal Credit consists of several elements which make up a claimant’s entitlement. If a tenant receives financial aid to help pay their rent, then the Housing Cost Element (HCE) of Universal Credit will cover this. Tenants are expected to pay landlords directly, however, this is where the problem lies because the UC payment is made monthly, whereas their previous legacy benefits might have been weekly which, for some, has led to issues with budgeting.

Sherrelle Collman, managing director of Caridon Landlord Solutions, said: “With the old Local Housing Allowance system, Housing Benefit was administered in line with a claimant’s date of application, however, this is not the case with Universal Credit. There are occasions when landlords will not receive their tenant’s Housing Cost Element, even though they believe that they are entitled to do so, and the Alternative Payment Arrangement will cease. This is because of their tenant’s Benefit Assessment Period. We have helped more than 25 landlords with this issue in the last 2 months.

“So, let’s say a tenant’s BAP runs from 8th to 7th of each successive month, with payment made up to 7 days later (14th).

"If a change of address is reported during the course of the BAP, even on the last day (7th), it is deemed to have happened on the first day of the assessment period. In some cases, this can be favourable as the new landlord will gain a whole month’s rent. However, in other cases this can be an issue as the old landlord will lose out and lose a whole month’s rent."

Using the above example, if a tenant moved out of a landlord’s property on 30th May 2019, at the end of his/her BAP (7th June 2019) they are no longer that landlord’s tenant and will not receive any rent for that month. Unlike Housing Benefit, which is pro-rated between old and new landlord, in this instance, only the new landlord gains from the whole months’ rent if an APA is in play. This means, in many cases, the outgoing landlord can easily lose a whole month's rent.

Caridon Landlord Solutions argues that Universal Credit is a complex benefit and the Benefit Assessment Period is catching people out resulting in many tenants incurring arrears and losing their home.

Sherrelle concluded: “Establishing a tenant’s BAP is very important. If you're aware of the rule and the dates of your tenant’s BAP you can make arrangements to ensure neither you, nor your tenant, are disadvantaged. For example, by ensuring the Tenancy Agreement dates fall in line with those of the BAP."

26
Jul 19

The latest data and analysis from Zoopla has revealed that British homes have increased in value by an average of £11 per day since the beginning of the year.

According to the data, while price changes across the country have differed greatly, analysis has revealed that overall £2,046 has been added to the value of the average home in the first six months of 2019.

Regional splits

On a regional level, the West Midlands leads the way as Britain’s best-performing region, with the average value of homes increasing by £36.58 per day, or £6,695 in total, since the start of the year. The South East is close behind, where homeowners have seen their properties gain on average £35.32 each day (£6,463 in total) over the past six months, whilst the North West is in third place (+£20.39 per day or £3,731 in total).

The worst-performing region in Britain by far was London, where the average value of all housing has fallen by -£71.23 per day (-£13,035 in total). This was followed by Scotland (-£20.59 per day or -£3,768 in total) and the South West that saw a small increase (+£4.55 per day or £832 in total).

Best and worst performing towns

On a more local level, homeowners in Berkhamsted in Hertfordshire have seen the most value added to their properties so far in 2019, with the average home here gaining £185.11 each day in value or £33,875 in total. Close behind is Reigate in Surrey, which experienced daily growth of £184.28 followed by Epping in Essex (+£178.45 per day).

Meanwhile, Leatherhead in Surrey was the worst-performing town in Britain for house prices in the first half of 2019, with the average property value falling by -£89.12 in value each day (-£16,309 in total). The second and third largest reductions in housing values were seen in Weybridge, also in Surrey, and Amersham in Buckinghamshire, where the average properties reduced in value by -£88.89 and -£86.31 per day since January 1st respectively.

London focus

Whilst across the capital the average home decreased in value, there were still pockets of London where the average value increased. For example, homeowners in Notting Hill and Holland Park (both W11) saw the biggest increase of postcodes in London to the value of their properties, with an average of £141.46 being added each day (£25,888 in total) since the beginning of the year. Meanwhile, homes in another prime London location, Hampstead, Belsize Park & Swiss Cottage (NW3), declined the most in value; falling on average by -£179.28 each day or -£32,808 in total since January.

Zoopla also analysed who in the UK at a local authority/borough level uses its house price tools to research the value changes in their local property market the most. Reflecting how the West Midlands property values have grown the most, the research found that those in Birmingham are the most frequent users of the house price pages, whilst three London boroughs also made up the top ten most viewed locations, with those living in Wandsworth, Bromley and Croydon featuring in the list.

Laura Howard, spokesperson for Zoopla, comments: “The UK housing market gained £60bn in value during the first six months of the year. An increase in the total value of housing was recorded across nine of the 11 regions analysed, with average property values in the West Midlands making the most money for homeowners.

Perhaps then, it is no coincidence that in the last six months residents in the West Midlands, more specifically those in Birmingham, have been the most regular visitors to Zoopla’s house prices tool, which gives a price estimate for the value of homes, down to a single address.

At the other end of the spectrum, residential values in London have continued on the downward trajectory of the last three years. However, a patchwork of micro-markets in the capital means there are a number of neighbourhoods - from Notting Hill to Forest Hill - that are bucking the trend of price falls and registering price rises.

The difference in London’s house price activity is perhaps reflected by the fact that three of its boroughs (Wandsworth, Bromley and Croydon) feature in our top 10 locations where residents most-used our house prices tool. Homeowners in those areas are eagerly looking to see whether their home is increasing or decreasing in value in a mixed performance market.

Whilst our house price tool is a helpful starting point for consumers, we always recommend vendors, buyers, landlords and tenants alike speak to one of our local agents who will be able to provide a wealth of industry knowledge and on the ground insights on local markets.”

25
Jul 19

The UK is a nation of animal lovers. We also love hot weather, and with today widely tipped to break the all time UK temperature record, it's essential that we take care of ourselves and our fury friends.

An estimated 51 million pets share our home in Britiain. But, do we know the optimum temperature our four-legged friends should be living in to ensure they are happy and healthy?

As well as feeding pets a well-balanced diet and providing lots of fresh water and exercise, it’s just as important that we keep the temperature of homes to an ideal setting to make sure our beloved pets are healthy.

Boiler Plan, one of the UK’s leading providers and installers of boilers, has conducted in-depth research into living temperature for the UK’s most popular pets, including the best temperature to keep their habitats during both the summer and winter.

Dogs

A third of UK households (29%)(2) own a dog. Dog’s temperatures normally run a little higher than adult humans (around 38-39°C), however, in the summer, it’s important to keep them cool. To preserve the natural moulting process your dog will go through during the year, the recommended temperature to keep your thermostat at is around 25.5°C in the summer and 20.5°C in the winter.

Cats

Felines are the second most popular pet in the UK, with an estimated population of 11.1 million domesticated moggies(3). Cats definitely show how happy (or unhappy!) they are so to keep your cat happy and healthy, it’s important to keep their living space the correct temperature at all times.

To keep your cat happy, healthy and safe in the summer, try your best to maintain a temperature of around 30°C where your moggy sleeps and in the winter, a slightly lower temperature of between 25.5°C and 26.6°C to ensure they are able to grow their natural winter coat.

Fish

The humble goldfish is one of the most common and popular types of pet fish in the UK, but more and more households are keeping different varieties of coldwater and tropical fish.

It’s important to research the specific species of fish you intend to buy before you make a purchase, as the temperature to keep your aquarium varies significantly depending on the species.

Coldwater fish, such as goldfish and bloodfin tetra, prefer a tank temperature of 21°C or below, to keep them healthy. Tropical fish, on the other hand, prefer a warmer climate of between 24°C and 27°C so a heated aquarium is essential.

Rabbits

The UK is home to around one million pet rabbits(3), but as most homeowners keep their rabbits outside in hutches, it can be more difficult to control their living temperature in the outdoors.

The ideal temperature for your bunny is between 15.5°C and 29°C. In the wild, rabbits will spend their days underground in burrows if the temperature above ground is too hot or cold, as the temperature underground is more consistent.

During particularly hot or cold days, that are above or below the recommended temperatures, the best solution to keep your rabbit at the optimum temperature is to bring them inside or move the hutch to a temperature controlled area such as a garage or shed.

Guinea pigs

There are half a million domesticated guinea pigs(4) in the UK, but do you know what temperature your guineas thrive in? As guinea pigs can’t sweat, it’s important to keep their housing away from any direct heat source, as well as away from any areas of your home that can be cold at times. The optimum temperature for your guinea is between 18°C and 23.8°C.

20
Jul 19

According to the latest research from LV= General Insurance, UK landlords are spending nearly £4.7bn a year on their rental properties - equating to an average of £3,134 each.

Due to the spiraling costs and perceived attack on the sector by the government, for many, the cost and time involved in managing their properties has become so great that over 600,000 are actively considering selling up.

Cost of being a landlord

With fewer tax perks and a raft of new regulatory changes due to come into force, it’s unsurprising many landlords are questioning whether the time and money involved is worth it. Add to that an uncertain political and economic outlook and it is little wonder over 600,000 (41%) landlords are considering selling their rental properties.

General maintenance is a huge part of the job, but over the course of a year LV= General Insurance findings revealed the average landlord spends over £3,000 on their rental properties. Costs include: renovations and refurbishments (£370), replacing or repairing the boiler (£370), fixing structural damage (£313), decorating (£265) and garden maintenance (£203).

Two-thirds of landlords say the carpets in their property are most likely to be damaged by tenants (66%), with walls (45%), white goods (27%) and doors (24%) also high on the list. Due to the actions of their tenants, landlords spend the most money on replacing or repairing flooring (£322), white goods (£298), or other items (£256), cleaning at the end of a tenancy (£178) and removing items that have been left behind by previous tenants (£149).

These accidental damage costs may be covered by landlord insurance, however our research found that one in eight (13%) currently don’t have the right insurance in place, which puts them at risk of losing out on up to £3,000 a year.

Regional costs

Across the UK, the costs of being a landlord vary between regions. The area which has spent the most money on repairing damage made by tenants is the South West, spending an average of £3,461 on repairs. Whereas landlords in the North West on average spend the least on repairing damage, almost £1,000 less (£2,738).

Tenant disputes

Damage to a property and subsequent repairs can impact on the relationship between landlord and tenant and a third (34%) of landlords admit that bad tenants are the most challenging aspect of the job. Although nearly half (46%) have never experienced a tenant dispute, almost a quarter (23%) have disputes at least once a year, with 6% having them at least once a month. The most common causes for tenant disputes are delayed rent (43%), damage to property (41%), cleanliness (33%), disputes over bills or deposits) (10%), pets (9%) and sub-letting (7%).

Heather Smith, Managing Director of the LV= GI Direct business, says: “Being a landlord is not without its challenges and it’s clear that many are feeling the strain due to tax and regulatory changes facing the industry.

Finding the right tenant is crucial. Although the majority rarely experience tenant disputes, it’s clear that, when they do, the disputes are challenging and potentially costly. Our research found that 13% currently don’t have landlord insurance, meaning they are missing out on things such as cover for accidental damage by tenants, loss of rent if the property becomes uninhabitable, and contents cover. Having insurance not only protects landlords from being left out of pocket, but it also provides peace of mind and helps eliminate some of the stress that can come from managing a property.”

Meera Chindooroy, Policy and Public Affairs Manager at the National Landlords Association (NLA), says: “Over recent years, landlords have faced a raft of haphazardly introduced new regulations which, compounded by tax changes, have increased the cost of letting. We have not seen any signs yet that the Government intends to pursue a more strategic approach to help landlord’s future-proof themselves.

The Government’s proposal to abolish Section 21 will intensify the impact that rent arrears and damage to property has on landlords’ ability to run their businesses successfully. On top of the costs which can be covered by specialist insurance, landlords will need to spend more time and money to regain possession of their properties. Seeking information, support and advice, for example through landlords’ associations, can be invaluable in reducing your risks.”

19
Jul 19

The latest statistics have shown that leasehold house sales are on the decline following the scandal that emerged in 2016.

New data from One 77 Mortgages, has revealed where across the UK is home to the biggest freehold hotspots to give home buyers peace of mind when looking to buy a house.

While the majority of flats in the UK are sold on a leasehold basis and have been for decades, changes to the way houses were sold over the last few years has meant that some houses are sold on a leasehold basis which can see increasing ground rents that in some cases double every 5-10 years, meaning some homeowners will be paying some eye-watering amounts further down the line.

The leasehold purchase of a house can also cause issues during a sale with them being less desirable which impacts on its market value. A leasehold house can also cause issues on the mortgage front, with some lenders refusing to lend against them if the terms of the ground rent is deemed excessive.

With this in mind, One 77 analysed data from the ONS to find where in England and Wales was home to the highest number of freehold sales in the last year, for those looking to buy without the addition of a leasehold nightmare.

Top 10

The data shows that last year, the most freehold properties were sold in Leeds, with 9,841 freehold transactions. Birmingham was the second-best option for a freehold sale with 8,752 properties sold as such, with Cornwall ranking third with 8,726.

County Durham is the fourth largest and number one hotspots in the North East with 7,255 freehold sales last year. Wiltshire, Bradford, East Riding of Yorkshire, Cheshire East, Wakefield and Cheshire West and Chester complete the top 10 in England and Wales.

Most by other region

At 4,462, Central Bedfordshire is home to the highest number of freehold sales in the East of England, with Cardiff topping the table in Wales with 4,072. Medway (3,400) saw the most in the South East, while Derby has the highest number in the East Midlands (3,257) and Bromley ranking as the London borough home to the most at 2,919.

Alastair McKee, Managing Director of One 77 Mortgages, commented: “Leasehold houses can be a tricky business and it pays to know your stuff when it comes to leasehold properties. For example, a lender won’t usually touch a leasehold house if the lease is for around 70 years or less. Typically, any mortgage lender will be looking to run terms for as much as 30 years beyond the end of your mortgage as a safeguard and so a 25-year mortgage will require a minimum of 50 to 60 years left on a lease.

While you might scrape by on a 70-year lease, the reality is that your property will be extremely hard to sell and that’s where the complications can arise from a lender’s perspective.

Of course, these issues only really apply to houses and when buying a flat you have little to worry about regardless of the lease, however, for those getting cold feet on a house purchase, there’s are plenty of freehold options as this research shows.

While you might have to search a little harder and pay that little bit more, it will more than benefit you on a long-term basis.”

18
Jul 19

Due to ongoing Brexit worries and a turbulent political and financial climate, a reported 15% of UK homeowners are opting to improve their property as opposed to upping sticks.

The benefits of this are twofold: as well as creating nicer surroundings, refurbishing different areas of a home can add significant value. But what is the true return on investment?

Self storage experts Safestore have taken a look at the landscape of homeownership to find the most popular areas of the home people improve, and the number of homes in the UK that offer these amenities.

Areas of the Home

The study to find a return-on-investment compares the estimated value increase a renovation can provide with the typical cost someone is expected to pay for the type of improvement.

With an average cost of £1300, new boilers/heating systems can boost your home’s value by almost 2%, and have the biggest return on investment in the study. Refurbished kitchens and lofts can bolster a home’s value by over 8% but their respective level of investment places them slightly lower. A renovated garage or storage area can set you back up to £7,000, but offer less than 1% of a home value increase in return, which ranks only above solar panels in terms of ROI (0.5%).

Popular Renovations by City

The study goes into more depth to find how popular these different home features are in different parts of the UK based on property listing sites.

Open Plan & Refurbished - These renovations often give homeowners the feeling of more space in their home, so it makes sense to see that 44% of listed London properties are open plan, and 16% are described as refurbished.

Loft - In terms of renovating, lofts are often on the pricier side, but 37% of Bristol homes see their value, as well as just under a third of homes in both Birmingham and Cardiff.

Extension - Of all the cities in our research, Edinburgh (17%) and Leeds (14%) boast the highest proportion of extensions listed, with a UK average of 11%.

Smart Tech and Solar - Making more environmental domestic decisions is extremely on trend for homeowners. Smart tech is found as being most popular in Leeds (3%), while the previous government led initiatives have meant that solar panels are most rife in Glasgow (5%).

Wet Room - A surprising discovery from the research is the popularity of Wet Rooms, which are advertised in around 5% of homes in Leeds and Cardiff.

Room for One More?

If you own a property that has the potential to hold an additional bedroom, then it might be of financial interest to renovate. We looked at the average value of 1-4 bedroom homes in 9 major UK cities to find the true value in upgrading:

Northern Renovation - While their property values average a lot lower than many other UK cities, homes Newcastle and Leeds add 50% to the value of their home with every bedroom added, according to the prices shown on Zoopla.

Wales & Scotland - Outside of the top two, Cardiff and Glasgow offer the highest increase in property value per added bedroom, adding over £65,000 to the average listing.

London Calling - In the nation's capital, the value of a one-bed is higher than 2 beds in any other part of the country, so it’s not surprising to learn that the price of a home increased by over £200,000 for an additional room.

You can find the full study here to see the breakdown of how each city and different areas of the home fare, as well as some trending home features in 2019.

17
Jul 19

This morning's figures from UK Finance have revealed that confidence among prospective homeowners remains strong as first-time buyer and remortgage lending saw a rise during May, with buy-to-let lending holding steady.

According to the data, there were 30,720 new first-time buyer mortgages completed in May, 0.5% more than in the same month in 2018. Remortgages with additional borrowing saw annual growth of 19.8% and the average additional amount borrowed in May was £52,000.

Additionally, pound-for-pound remortgaging was 19.7% higher than in May 2018. Homemover mortgages dipped by 1.2% compared to May 2018 and buy-to-let purchase mortgages totalled 5,500, the same number as this time last year.

There were 29,430 homemover mortgages completed in May 2019, 1.2% less than in the same month a year earlier.

Stuart Wilson, corporate marketing dDirector at more 2 life, added: “Today’s statistics from UK Finance show that confidence amongst first-time buyers remains high despite some other areas of the market being more subdued. Help-to-Buy, along with other government initiatives, have gone a long way to help this pool of homeowners fulfil their borrowing needs – but some need to look further afield for financial support to afford their first home. While prices have dipped slightly, the average UK house price (£308,692) remains high in comparison to average salaries and finding enough to put down a 25% deposit (£77,173) without help is out of reach for most people.

Consequently, the Bank of Mum and Dad remains strong as parents and grandparents continue to support these borrowers’ by stepping in with a ‘gift’ to assisting them onto the property ladder by sharing their property wealth. According to last Autumn’s report from the Equity Release Council, 1.1 million properties in England were purchased with the support of a gift or a loan from family or friends between 2017 and 2018. As more older homeowners realise the full potential of equity release and the benefits it can bring not only to their lives, but also to their families, advisers will have a crucial role to play in helping to guide these individuals to the right solution for them.”

Shaun Church, Director at Private Finance comments: “Improving not moving seems to be the current mentality across the UK’s property market, as remortgages with additional borrowing have soared by 20% in the space of a year. Homeowners are turning away from upsizing, taking out additional loans against their existing property to fund improvements that will make their home suitable for the years to come, saving thousands of pounds in stamp duty in the process.

Stamp duty is paralysing the UK property market, meaning UK housing stock continues to be in short supply. In order to galvanise the property market, we call on the UK government to give serious consideration to the current property tax system. Minimising stamp duty liabilities will incentivise more people to move, freeing up housing stock and sparking a chain reaction of property transactions. Reigniting the market could in turn lead to a resurgence in stamp duty receipts for the government, making this a win win solution for homeowners and the treasury.”

Louisa Sedgwick, director of mortgage sales at Vida Homeloans, commented: “First-time buyers remain an important part of the mortgage market, they made up the biggest part of the property market in 2018 for the first time in 23 years. It is no surprise that they are a sector of the industry that mortgage lenders are keen to attract, with the amount of completed first time buyer mortgages rising year on year.

With the average age of a first time buyer now 32, the industry must continue to support those facing an uphill climb when it comes to buying a home. By providing affordable and sustainable rates, offering innovative, out the box thinking and diversifying product choices, lenders will continue to do their part in driving the UK FTB mortgage market forward.”

Tomer Aboody, director of property lender MT Finance, says: "It is always a positive to see more first-time buyers in the market, in spite of the difficulties in borrowing from the banks, with lending at only 2.78 times income. This is likely to be based on a few factors, but most of all improved sentiment regarding a possible market upturn. There is a growing feeling among buyers that the time is right to make a move, either because property prices and volumes will increase once a new prime minister is installed with positive plans regarding stamp duty reform, but also the fear that at some point in the next year the Bank of England may feel the need to hike Base Rate.

We aren’t seeing a flood of buy-to-let investors selling up as a consequence of the extra taxes that have hit them. Investors are absorbing the extra costs and refinancing, hoping that in the long term values will go up. This once again proves that higher stamp duty and extra taxes haven’t helped create more movement in the housing market, but have done the complete opposite and created stagnation instead."

Kevin Roberts, Director, Legal & General Mortgage Club, comments: “A competitive mortgage market and slower house price growth are helping more first-time buyers make homeownership a reality. However according to HSBC, with people now expecting to be on average 39 years old before they buy their first home, there are clearly still challenges facing people trying to take their first step, particularly if they don’t have the support of a Bank of Mum and Dad.

Saving a deposit remains a big barrier for younger buyers, but there are options. Speaking to a mortgage adviser could be a great starting point for these individuals. Through their extensive knowledge and view across the market, these professionals will be able to show borrowers some of the great routes to get onto the housing ladder, such as guarantor mortgages and Government schemes like Shared Ownership, which could make the difference when it comes to getting the keys to their first home.”

5
Jul 19

Halifax have released their latest figures this morning and revealed that, despite a less than certain political and financial climate, the UK housing market remains steady.
According to the lender, on a monthly basis, house prices fell by just 0.3%, 5.7% higher than in the same three months a year earlier. Halifax says the average price for a home in the UK now stands at £237,110.
June’s annual change figure of 5.7% comes against the backdrop of a particularly low growth rate in the corresponding period in 2018, which has had an impact on year-on-year comparisons.
Russell Galley, Managing Director, Halifax, said: “Average house prices dipped marginally in June, falling by 0.3%, to stand at £237,110. This extends the largely flat trend we’ve seen over recent months.
More generally the housing market is displaying a reasonable degree of resilience in the face of political and economic uncertainty. Recent industry figures show demand looking slightly more stable, with mortgage approvals ticking along just above the long-term average.
One of the major restraining factors on the volume of transactions in the market continues to be the very low level of stock for sale. With the ongoing lack of clarity around Brexit, people will be looking for more certainty in the coming months, both to encourage them to list their property and to create the confidence needed to encourage buyers.
Of course, the likelihood of continued historically low mortgage rates will underpin prices in the near term.”
As ever, the property market was quick to react. Here's what they're saying:

Mark Harris, chief executive of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients, says: "A steady mortgage market, despite the economic and political turbulence, is the best we could have hoped for. The ongoing uncertainty with regard to Brexit continues, resulting in many people putting decisions on hold and a lack of property coming to market. However, lenders remain keen to lend and subsequently mortgage rates are low, which is supporting property prices to an extent.'
Jeremy Leaf, north London estate agent and a former RICS residential chairman, said: "The latest Halifax house price numbers, showing a monthly dip in values, are not going to encourage buyers to make a commitment while prices continue to soften. It paints a confusing picture with the annual house price increase actually greater than it was last month while comparative figures from 12 months ago are also unreliable.
In order to get a better feel for the market, it is always preferable to look at what is happening on the ground. We are finding that some buyers, including some investors, are looking beyond Brexit and political uncertainty and are prepared to go ahead if they can perceive value. Sellers please note."
Marc von Grundherr, Director of Benham and Reeves, commented: “While it may seem as if the UK property market is treading water on a month to month basis, this short-term metric can be erratic at best and the broader picture shows that we are in a considerably better position than this time last year, with a third consecutive month registering notable levels of annual price growth above 5%.
Much like the recent weather, we’re seeing a seasonally inspired heatwave returning to the market with many wider indicators suggesting a more stable outlook for the year ahead. While the political forecast remains uncertain it's unlikely to dampen this growing market momentum, as homeowners bask in the warmth of a robust property market that is yet to see any meaningful decline despite all that's been thrown at it."
Gareth Lewis, commercial director of property lender MT Finance, had this to say: "Unfortunately, the property market is stuck in a holding pattern, with prices not growing in real terms. Buyers and sellers are hedging their bets and demonstrating caution while they wait to see what happens on the political front.
One should be cautious as the Halifax figures only give part of the picture because they measure values but not the volume of transactions. Are we seeing a decrease in values because there are fewer transactions? It flatters to deceive as we don’t have all the facts.
In the buy-to-let space we are finding that investors are looking for bargains and will only buy at the right price."