May 19

Room share platform, ideal flatmate, has looked at the eye-watering cost of attending this year’s Champions League final and how long this money could keep a roof over your head in each teams’ respective rental markets.

It was recently reported that some tickets for the final are going for as much as £40,000 online, while hotel and flight costs have soared, as both sets of fans scramble to make the all England affair.

Ideal flatmate researched the cost of attending and found that a category 2 ticket was going for £24,304, while the cheapest flights were £613 for a return from Liverpool between the Friday and the Sunday, and £786 for the same trip from London.

Just two nights in a Madrid hotel would also set you back £996 meaning the total cost of the trip (before factoring in spending money), is a ridiculous £25,913 if you’re a Liverpool fan and £26,086 if you’re a Spurs fan.

With the average annual rent in Liverpool costing £5,988, you could secure a rental property in the city and pay your rent for 4.3 years for the cost of a weekend at the Champions League final!

Of course, Haringey home of Tottenham will set you back a bit more, but even with the annual rent costing an average of £18,240, you could still rent for 1.4 years in the London borough for the price of the weekend trip to Madrid.

Don’t fancy London or Liverpool? The annual cost of renting in Madrid is £9,348 and so you could live in the city for nearly three years (2.8), rather than seeing the sites for just three days. Even if you were to swap your ticket for a category 3, the cheapest on offer, you would still have to buy a pair, and this would still equate to a cost of over £9,000 once you’ve included the cheapest flights and hotel on offer.

This amount of money, although considerably less than the category 1 ticket trip, is still enough to rent in Liverpool for 1.6 years, Haringey for half a year and Madrid for a whole year.

Co-founder of ideal flatmate, Tom Gatzen, commented:

“If there’s one thing that could make the cost of renting in the UK look like a comparable bargain, it’s the cost involved in this year’s Champions League final.

"Much like the rental market itself, those with the required amenities are taking advantage in a huge surge in demand to cash in, while those everyday fans who deserve to be there are forced to pay up or shut up.

"There’s no doubting that it will be a once in a lifetime experience, but for me personally, a year or three in sunny Madrid once the dust has settled sounds like much better value for money.”

May 19

Rightmove found that the price of newly-marketed property increased by an average of 0.9% (+£2,841) during May, buoyed by the spring market and remains consistent with the previous two-year average of 1.0%

What is surprising against the backdrop of Brexit uncertainty is that four out of eleven regions are showing few signs of any Brexit blues and have set new record highs for average asking prices.

Miles Shipside, Rightmove director and housing market analyst comments: “Price increases are the norm at this time of year, with only one fall in the last ten years, as new-to-the-market sellers’ price aspirations are under-pinned by the higher buyer demand that is a feature of the spring market. Indeed the 0.9% monthly rise is consistent with the previous two years’ average rise of 1.0% over the same period. What will seem inconsistent to some, given the ongoing uncertainty of the Brexit outcome, is that four out of eleven regions have hit record highs for new seller asking prices.”

Prospective buyers in Wales, the West and East Midlands, and the North West are being confronted with average prices of property coming to market at all-time highs. While the national rate of increase is virtually flat at +0.1% compared to a year ago, these regions have considerably higher prices than at this time last year, with Wales breaking through the £200,000 barrier for the first time. By contrast, London and its commuter belt (the South East and East of England regions) have seen year-on-year falls.

Shipside adds: “Buyers looking in Wales are faced with newly-marketed property prices that are 4.1% higher than 12 months ago, with the West Midlands at 3.0%, the East Midlands at 2.5%, and the North West at 2.1%. These increases are the result of a combination of strong demand, buyers’ affordability headroom, and a continuing shortage of suitable properties. Agents in these areas say that Brexit concerns are not really on the agenda of home-movers; they are more concerned with satisfying their housing needs.”

Compared to the rest of the UK, property owners in the regions which have reached new record prices seem to be overcoming hesitancy to come to market. Their average number of new sellers so far in 2019 is holding steady compared with last year, at just 0.3% down. In contrast the remaining seven regions are seeing new listing numbers for the year to date down by an average of 6.5% compared with the same period in 2018.

Shipside concludes:”Activity breeds activity and a greater choice of fresh properties in these record-setting regions helps to spur buyers into action, especially if they have a property to sell. This in turn adds another new listing that might then tempt another buyer, in a virtuous circle. And in much of the rest of the country, despite the ongoing political uncertainty, agents are reporting that the lure of the right property at the right price still attracts good interest. In spite of some of the challenges in the market, interest in property remains very high.

People’s ongoing desire to satisfy their pent-up housing needs means that on average someone contacts an agent on Rightmove every second.”

As ever, the property industry was quick to react. Here's what they're saying:

Jeremy Leaf, north London estate agent and a former RICS residential chairman, says: "Asking prices are not selling prices, which explains why some of these figures do not match results from other recent housing surveys. Overall, although there has been little change, that masks some considerable regional differences. For instance, London is acting as a drag on the rest of the UK housing market and prices don’t include inflation so have risen or fallen further in real terms.

The spring bounce is taking place but not reaching to the heights we would have expected and certainly not in the capital.

Looking forward, we are not expecting significant changes one way or the other, at least until Brexit is clarified."

Shepherd Ncube, Founder and CEO of Springbok Properties, commented: “Positive signs for the UK property market and it would seem that the previous tide of low buyer demand levels spurred by Brexit uncertainty is starting to turn.

An uplift in buyer sentiment was always likely to materialise as we enter the busiest selling period of the year and this growing demand is pushing asking prices up, driven by the more affordable front runners such as Wales and the Midlands.

It is likely that this positive movement in asking price trends should filter down to the rest of the market as the year goes on, but sellers should remain aware that these are still tough market conditions, and pricing based on current market data is essential when looking to secure a smooth sale.”

Marc von Grundherr, Director of Benham and Reeves, commented: "While we tend to view London as a separate market to much of the UK already, the current landscape in the capital is clearly fragmented and there are three or four more granular levels at play.

What we are currently seeing across the London property market is a 'three-speed' dynamic with outer, more affordable areas doing one thing, the prime market another and the ‘regular’ market doing something different again.

The top end of the market may take solace from a recent bump in the value of their homes, adding on average £74,700 to their notional bank balance, however, it is important to note that there is still a decent sized gap between asking prices and selling prices.

That said, the signs are, here at the coal-face, that at last we are seeing increased activity from potential buyers with applicant registrations up quite significantly year on year and as a result, we are now seeing the bottom of the London market."

May 19

According to PayProp, the revenue raised by landlord licensing schemes could be used to help improve standards in the lettings market if reinvested into enforcing rental sector legislation.

The lettings payment provider says that if councils use this money to police an increasingly diverse private rental sector this could benefit tenants, landlords and letting agencies in the long-term. It is estimated that around 16% of English local authorities have a selective licensing scheme in place, covering almost half a million rental properties.

On top of this, since October 2018 it has been mandatory for all landlords of Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO) to obtain a licence for their property. However, there are currently no obligations for local authorities to invest licensing revenue back into housing.

Average landlord licence costs an estimated £600

A recent study carried out by Direct Line revealed that the typical cost for a landlord licence across the country is £591. The research also found that the average local authority with a licensing scheme raises £144,629 each year, with Liverpool City Council earning a high of around £4 million from its scheme which covers 42,000 properties.

Moreover, despite rules which can see landlords handed civil penalties of up to £30,000 for non-compliance with a licensing scheme, the average fine for a licensing offence in 2017 was £926.

Licensing revenue can help to raise industry standards

Neil Cobbold, Chief Operating Officer of PayProp, says: “Effective enforcement of rental sector standards is one of the biggest problems facing the lettings industry. Landlords might be happier to pay for these licences if they know the money is going to be used to raise PRS standards and identify rogue operators.”

Licensing schemes are sometimes criticised for being ‘revenue raisers’ for local councils.

However, if authorities are more open about where the money is going and more focused on reinvesting it into housing, licensing schemes could be more effective with higher rates of compliance.”

A uniform licensing system could prove more effective

The research by Direct Line shows that the costs, terms and exceptions of licensing schemes vary depending on which local authority is running the scheme. For example, the cost of some licences is based on the property type, while others are charged based on the number of occupants or number of rooms in a property.

Cobbold adds: “A standard approach to licensing could make projects easier to enforce, while making things less confusing and creating a level playing field for landlords."

Last summer the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government announced a review of the selective licensing scheme system, the results of which are expected to be made public soon.

Cobbold concludes: “We await the results of the government’s review of selective licensing with interest. Effective enforcement and details on what licensing revenue is used for are two of the key topics that could be addressed.

Thirteen years after selective licensing schemes were first introduced, it’s encouraging that the system is still being reviewed to determine whether it is fit for purpose in its current form."

May 19

A new survey commissioned by the Residential Landlord Association has broken records after more than 6,000 landlords responded.

The survey went live just days after the government announced plans to axe Section 21 repossessions – so-called ‘no fault’ evictions – last month.

The RLA is inviting landlords to share their experiences of regaining possession of properties – and asking what assurances they need to continue to stay in the sector and provide the homes to rent that are so desperately needed.

The responses will be used by the RLA as the basis for its response to the government’s formal consultation when it is launched.

The RLA argues that it is vital landlords are confident that they can swiftly and easily repossess a property for legitimate reasons such as rent arrears, anti-social behaviour and needing to sell the property.

The number of people responding to the survey, which closes next week, has already broken the association’s previous record.

David Smith, Policy Director for the RLA, said: “The scale of responses to this important survey shows the strength of feeling in the sector. The survey closes next Monday, and we would encourage all those who want the opportunity to have their say and shape the future of the sector to take the time to respond.”