22
Aug 19

If we had the choice, what would our dream home really look like and what are the features we are obsessed with having in our homes?

Arlo & Jacob asked Brits what their dream home would look like both from the outside and in.

When it comes to the type of home Brits desire the most, the results are surprisingly modest with the majority of people wanting a 3-bedroom semi-detached house. Just 1.4% of Brits wanted a house with 6+ bedrooms and less than a third wanted a detached home.

Looking at the interior of the dream home the results show that Brits are keen to master a balance between modern and luxury, with the most desired features emerging as a fireplace and patio doors onto the garden, as well as smart appliances and a smart TV in almost every room.

The Kitchen

The survey reveals that the key feature Brits want in their dream kitchen is a kitchen island to socialise around, with 42.1% of people wanting this.

Over a third (37.5.%) want patio doors leading to the garden and an open-plan kitchen diner, which again allows for the kitchen to become a social hub of the home.

Technology is another key feature Brits want in their dream kitchen - over a third (32.3%) of people want smart appliances such as a smart fridge, dishwasher and washing machine in their kitchens.

The Lounge

Entertainment comes out as a top priority when it comes to Britain’s dream lounge, with just over half of Brits wanting a smart TV. These results come as no surprise with the living space being an area for us to relax after a long day at work. With the average Brit spending almost 10 years of their life watching TV, it comes as no surprise that a smart TV is a top feature for the kitchen, lounge and bedroom.

With relaxation being a key activity in the living space, Brits desire an open fire or fireplace (41.4%) and corner sofa (38.1%). Over a quarter of Brits also want big windows/doors looking out onto the garden, allowing plenty of sunlight to fill and lift the room.

The Bedroom

Privacy and space come out as two important qualities in Britain’s dream bedroom, with the most popular feature being an ensuite with over half (55.2%) wanting this, closely followed by a walking wardrobe and dressing room.

Brits’ dream bedroom results demonstrate the epitome of luxury, with 34.4% of people also wanting a balcony and nearly a quarter wanting a four-poster bed.

The Garden

Having a back garden is crucial for the British dream home according to our survey results, with over 40% of Brits wanting one. The most popular garden feature is a BBQ and outdoor cooking area for homeowners to enjoy entertaining guests, at 37.2%. A hot tub and swimming pool also came out in the top five features Brits want in their garden.

Interestingly, Brits are also aware of the cost of maintenance of gardens, which is shown by over a quarter of people wanting to have a simple and easy-to-maintain garden.

Interestingly, as lavish and dreamy as the chosen features are for Britain’s dream home, the majority of people are only willing to pay a maximum of £400,000 for it. Whilst this may be achievable in some areas of the UK, for cities such as London where the average house price is £460,000, and other locations, this figure is unrealistic and shows that Brits want an impressive home, but don’t want to pay the price.

Timothy Newsome, marketing director at Arlo & Jacob, commented: “Homes are a big part of raising families and socialising with friends - we spend, on average, around 45% of our lives at home. But the way we live is constantly evolving and our homes are always adapting to reflect this. At Arlo & Jacob, we conducted this research to find out what is really important to people when it comes to their ideal home. How are our priorities changing and how is this influencing the housing market? How are our homes adapting to accommodate and reflect changes in the way we live our lives?

"Our findings suggest that people are now seeking social spaces that serve multiple functions within the home, with a big focus on bringing people together and having the space to entertain and accommodate friends and family. Kitchens continue to be the heart of the home, with people wanting kitchen islands and open plan kitchen-diners to create space to come together as a family or with friends.

"While the classic semi-luxury elements, like ensuites and walk in wardrobes, are still popular there is a definite reminder here that one of the main things that make a house desirable is its ability to appeal to buyers’ self image. We’ve found that small elements like home-tech and on-trend interiors have a huge impact when it comes to the age-old question, ‘Can you see yourself living here?’

"While a smart washing machine and luxury rug may not seem like big selling points - especially when we consider these are things that are unlikely to remain in the property after the sale - it’s clear that these things help to build an image of living everyday life in the property, for potential buyers, adding personal appeal and a sense of aspiration.”

21
Aug 19

The north-south property divide is still favouring the south despite market uncertainty hitting the more expensive, southern regions the hardest, according to research by Springbok Properties.

Springbok looked at the number of property transactions and the average house price across the north and south over the last year, multiplying the average house price in each region by the number of transactions to find the average amount of property sold.

The research shows that when it comes to transactions the South has been struggling, with total transactions down 7.3% year-on-year, compared to just 3.3% in the North and 3.3% again in the Midlands and Wales.

When it comes to growth in the total value of sales, the South again is bottom of the pile with a annual drop of 7% in the total value, compared to a drop of just 1% in the North. The Midlands and Wales are the only team to see the total value increase annually with a change of 1%.

However, when it comes to the actual value of the property sold, the South remains firmly in front despite the year-on-year drop with a huge £138.37bn worth of property sold in the last year.

The Midlands and Wales rank next with just £37.79bn worth of property sold and the North ranks last with just £36.18bn worth of property sold in the last year.

A previous survey found that the majority of the UK think the Midlands is part of the North but even with the additional firepower of these two regions and Wales, the total value of property sold comes to just £73.97bn, having dropped marginally year on year and coming in at around half that of the South.

Founder and CEO of Springbok Properties, Shepherd Ncube, commented: “We’ve seen some much stronger market performances across the Midlands and the North since the EU referendum where transactions are concerned, and when it comes to the individual value of property, homeowners in London and the South East have suffered far worse at the hands of market uncertainty.

"However, as a proud citizen from the outstanding city of Manchester, it pains me to say that the South is still miles ahead when it comes to the actual value of property being transacted and only marginally behind on transactional volume when compared to the North, Midlands and Wales as a whole.”

14
Aug 19

The latest data and analysis from UK HPI has revealed that average house prices across the UK increased by 0.9% in the twelve months to June, unchanged from May's figure.

On a non-seasonally adjusted basis, average house prices increased by 0.7% between May and June, the same as in May and June 2018. However on a seasonally adjusted basis, prices increased by just 0.1%.

The East Midlands was the English region with the highest annual house price growth, with prices increasing by 3.2% in the year to June. This was followed by the West Midlands, with prices increasing by 2.6%.

The lowest annual growth was in London, where prices fell by 2.7% over the year. Average house prices in London have now been falling over the year each month since March 2018, a period of 16 months. This compares to 15 months of prices falling over the year in London during 2008 and 2009, the period of the economic downturn.

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

Tomer Aboody, director of property lender MT Finance, says: "Would-be buyers and sellers are still waiting for Brexit to be resolved. Whether it is hard, soft, or no Brexit, the important thing is that a decision is made so people can get on with things. Sales volumes are relatively similar to last year and the couple of years before that because Brexit indecision has been going on for so long. This will improve once a decision is made, and pent-up demand will be released.

Prices have fallen slightly in London but not dramatically so. This average figure masks significant falls at the top end, where prices have come off by 10 or 15 per cent. If we have a hard Brexit and the pound is badly affected, foreign buyers will come back into the market as they will be buying 20 or 30 per cent off market value with a much stronger Euro, Dollar or Yen against the pound. This is likely to push volumes and values up."

Marc von Grundherr, Director of Benham and Reeves, commented: “The lowest rate of annual house price growth since the Brexit vote demonstrates the detrimental impact that our current political position continues to have over the sentiment of UK buyers and sellers, particularly those in London.

However, while other reports based on asking prices and mortgage approvals may provide a more sensationalist view, figures on sales completions suggest a market that is ticking over in neutral rather than careering off a cliff.

Transaction levels remain muted but steady and while prices aren’t accelerating, they are stable, and we are world’s away from seeing a market crash. A seasonal uplift in buyer activity over the coming months should see property price growth climb through the gears and depending on which EU exit we take; the market should return to full speed with ease before the year is out.”

Shepherd Ncube, Founder and CEO of Springbok Properties, commented: “The property market is certainly stuttering, and this won’t be welcomed by the nation’s homeowners but, of course, those looking to get a foot on the ladder won’t complain about a momentary respite in the escalating cost of doing so.

It’s important to note that we aren’t seeing a market freefall, far from it, but after such a prolonged period of notable house price growth, the market is now adjusting at a natural rate to align itself with the current climate.

As a result, the rate of growth in London and the South East continues to see negative movement while the traditionally more affordable regions of the UK remain defiant, registering healthy levels of growth across the board.”

Kevin Roberts, Director, Legal & General Mortgage Club, comments: “While house price growth in recent years has helped many existing homeowners build equity, for those looking to take their first steps onto the ladder, current prices have stretched affordability. Fortunately, help is available. The Government’s Help to Buy scheme has supported thousands of first timers onto the ladder and innovation from mortgage lenders has offered new and existing homeowners a lot of different ways to find a mortgage.

Lenders are increasingly finding new ways to help consumers meet affordability requirements and the low interest environment has helped many reduce their monthly repayments. Whether looking to remortgage or secure finance on a new property, speaking to an independent mortgage adviser is where the journey should start. These professionals have access to thousands of mortgage products and can offer bespoke advice, making them well-placed to find the solution most suited to the needs of the consumer.”

Josef Wasinski, co-founder of Unmortgage, said: “These figures won’t ease the struggle for the millions of reluctant renters who are crying out for a realistic route to get onto the property ladder. The sad reality is that the stability of homeownership is a distant dream for millions of hardworking, credit-worthy people.

When Brexit-related uncertainty’s added to the mix, the future looks bleak for would-be homeowners without either bank or mum and dad or hundreds of thousands of pounds in savings.

Without real and meaningful change to the UK’s housing market, too many would-be homeowners will remain locked out, effectively blocked from ever owning their own home.”

Sam Mitchell, CEO of online estate agent Housesimple, adds: “A summer slowdown isn’t surprising – we seldom see big spikes during the warmer weather. But, with the threat of a no-deal Brexit looming we could see considerable changes in usual seasonal property patterns in the months ahead.

The Halloween deadline is fast approaching and with that comes the fear and urgency of home movers to complete deals before we leave the EU. While the longer-term outlook remains uncertain, this is likely to stimulate a lot of buyers and sellers throughout the housing chain in the next three months – from first-time buyers all the way up to downsizers.

At a regional level, the Midlands has the highest annual house price growth. Favourable economic fundamentals has resulted in continued house price growth year on year, again showing the resilience of the property market in this particular region. Meanwhile, London’s ongoing price fall was toned-down in June after a dramatic drop the month prior, but the capital’s decline continues to weigh down on the overall UK average.”

Dilpreet Bhagrath, from online mortgage broker Trussle, says: “With house prices unchanged from May 2019, the property market still remains stagnant. And with a no-deal Brexit looming, this suggests that would be house-buyers are wary of committing to make the move.

However, for those that can afford to get onto the housing ladder, more borrowers are thinking strategically of how best to protect themselves against the ongoing Brexit chaos by locking into decade-long fixed rate mortgages1. And with some lenders offering longer term security products, this approach is possible.

As ever, it’s always important to consider any personal and future circumstances when securing a mortgage, and seek advice to ensure you’re aware of the available options.”

Mark Harris, chief executive of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients, comments: ‘It is steady as she goes for the housing market, which is no mean feat given that it is the summer months when things traditionally get quieter and the backdrop of Brexit uncertainty. London is still creating a drag on average house price growth, with prices falling 2.7 per cent over the year to June. However, this was an improvement on the May fall of 3.1 per cent, suggesting price falls could be slowing and the market stabilising.

Mortgage approvals rose slightly in June. Lenders remain keen to lend with a number cutting rates or easing criteria in order to encourage business. Remortgaging is likely to be particularly busy this autumn with many borrowers coming to the end of deals and lenders ready to pick up that business with long-term fixes in particular.'

Jeremy Leaf, north London estate agent and a former RICS residential chairman, says: "We are finding that the mood among many homebuyers and sellers is matching that in Westminster. Decision-making has been put on hold until more clarity emerges which is reflected in very little movement for property prices this month.

What is more concerning is the reduction in number and pace of transactions which are lower than this time last year with once again London acting as a drag on the rest of the market. Nevertheless, some are taking advantage of greater realism among sellers and on the plus side we have seen no evidence of widespread reductions on previously-agreed prices, or withdrawals."

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.”

15
Jul 19

Unfortunately, no matter how much landlords and property owners try to avoid them, void periods are a part of property cycle, and most landlords at some point will experience them, face losses of financial revenue.

While it’s somewhat inevitable that void periods will occur at some point, landlords must still try to reduce their duration and frequency as much as is possible.

Below are a set of easy and efficient tips to help keep properties occupied for the longest period possible.

Before a new tenancy starts

Set your priorities

Prior to the start of a tenancy, it is important to get the right tenants in to reduce the chances of void periods. A good choice of tenant can reduce void periods, and long- term tenants generally bring more security than short-term lets. If you are able to establish good communication with your tenants, you can strike up a long-term relationship with them. This not only brings you greater financial security, but also peace of mind that your property is being well-looked after, and can mean you can reduce the number of periodic inspections.

Offer the best deal

For many people, the amount of rent can often be the most important factor when deciding on whether to go with a particular property. In order to minimise void periods, make sure the rent you charge is fair and matches up with the average rate in your area. Research rent rates of letting agencies and the average rent in your area and adjust your rent accordingly. Setting your rent lower than the average will likely attract more applicants, as tenants are always looking for good value, whereas higher rent can make your deal less attractive and result in longer void periods. As a landlord, its about striking a balance between long-term and short-term gains, and sometimes holding out for more money may bring you higher returns, but that may be offset by the void periods.

Carry out an inspection after a tenant moves out

It is very important to make an impression during viewings, check the condition of your property after your previous tenants have moved out. Arrange a property inspection before they leave so you can make sure the property is in an acceptable state before giving back their deposit, and if there is damage, make any necessary repairs. You can do these yourself, but it highly recommended to hire a professional company to do an inventory check.

Once the tenant moves in

As previously mentioned, if you have secured a long-term tenancy it’s important to establish a good relationship with them. Communication is key to building and maintaining a good relationship. Your tenants should feel free to ask you questions and expect to get a reply. Communication should be positive, polite and respectful. You must also deal with their issues if they are reasonable, if something is broken, or there is a defect with the property, you should deal with the matters promptly.

Once the relationship has been established you might want to arrange a visit your tenants to show extra support, however, make sure that your tenants are okay with this and give them plenty of notice.

In case of a void period

Planning & budgeting

The best time to start planning for a void period is not at the end of a tenancy, but rather at the beginning. You should ensure that you make provisions for void periods, so you are in the best possible situation to be covered for the loss of income. On average, properties are rented for 11 out of 12 months, therefore as a landlord you need to make sure to budget for at least 1 month of potential void period.

By keeping your finances on track, you will be able to forecast when your finances will be tight and when you will have extra money. These steps will enable you to face void periods reducing financial risks involved.

When tenants announce that they will be moving out, here are some tips on how you should proceed:

1: If your tenants give you enough notice, start conducting viewings immediately. However, it’s vital to make sure your tenants are on board with this, and don’t forget to give your current tenants plenty of notice beforehand.

2: If you are not able to conduct viewings until the end of the tenancy, start marketing your property as soon as your previous tenants move out. Make sure you have professional property pictures ready to upload to your online marketing portals such as Zoopla and Rightmove.

3: Prepare all the necessary documents (e.g. energy performance certificates) and make sure that if there is damage to your outgoing tenants pay for any needed repairing.

Conclusion

Void periods happen to almost every landlord and, if not properly planned for, can cause setbacks in your financial forecasts. It is very important to have a plan of action before, during and after the tenancy. Keep your property in good shape and pleasant to live in before, during and after the tenancy, whilst also setting a reasonable and competitive rent. Provide high quality customer service to build strong relationships with your tenants, and you likely reap the benefits of long-term rentals.

Don’t forget to always have a plan and a budget that will prepare you for any unexpected events.

6
Jul 19

New research from MT Finance has revealed that an overwhelming 97% of property investors do not think the Government is doing enough to support the UK property market.

When asked what changes the government could introduce to better support the UK property market, 50% of the 135 property investors surveyed said scrapping the 3% stamp duty surcharge would improve conditions in UK real estate.

Meanwhile, 33% of property investors called for a reversal on the changes to tax relief on buy-to-let mortgages. While 17% believed introducing a tiered tax system on buy-to-let property would better support the UK property market.

When asked who they would vote for if a general election were called today, half revealed they would back the Conservative Party. 18% said the Liberal Democrats, followed by the Brexit Party at 16%.

Only 3% of property investors revealed they would back the Labour Party in a general election.

Gareth Lewis, commercial director at MT Finance, said: “It is interesting that the Stamp Duty surcharge and removing it is more important to property investors than mortgage interest tax relief - it suggests this group of investors are the ones who are most likely to expand their portfolios.

The government has introduced a series of changes to slow down an overheated property market and reduce the number of buy-to-let investors over the years. Property investors have been dealt some serious setbacks, impacted by changes to stamp duty and changes to tax relief but despite the changes, many remain resilient and still see property investment as a key tool for retirement planning, and a good home for their monies while interest rates are low.”

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."

4
Jul 19

The latest research by Zoopla analyses the average turnover of properties at local authority level across the UK to find the average number of years British people live in their homes before moving.

In addition to calculating the national frequency, Zoopla also reveals that when it comes to the least frequent movers, the capital dominates, with nine out of top 10 places being represented by London boroughs. In top spot is Kensington and Chelsea, home to some of the UK’s most expensive property, where homeowners stay on average 35.5 years in their properties - just under 15 years more than the national average. The only area outside of London in the top ten is Oxford, where people stay on average 31.2 years in their homes.

When it comes to those who are the most frequent movers, people in Dartford and South Derbyshire take the top spots, where homeowners in these areas stay on average 15 years - five years less than the national average. These two areas are followed closely by residents in Salford, Greater Manchester, who move on average once every 15.2 years.

Regionally, those in the East Midlands are the most frequent movers, changing properties on average once every 17.9 years, followed by homeowners north of the border in Scotland who tend to move once every 18.7 years. Meanwhile, those living in London tend to move the least on average (every 26.2 years). Londoners are followed by homeowners in the South East who tend to stay just under a year less (25.4 years).

According to the figures, British homeowners stay in their properties for just under 21 years (20.8) on average.

Laura Howard, spokesperson for Zoopla, comments: “These results contradict a common assumption that UK neighbourhoods are becoming more transient. They show that, once you’ve managed to buy a property to call home and set down roots in an area, there can be little motivation to move again.

However, this is not necessarily down to complacency or a sense of inertia. While we might love our city, town or village, most of us still want to ‘improve our lot’ with a move, which usually means climbing the property ladder. But house prices have risen exponentially in the last two decades and many people are unwilling or unable to take on the cost of the ‘next rung up’.

For agents the often-lengthy spells between homeowners moving underlines the importance of building a strong and enduring reputation in the community – for example, having excellent knowledge of the local property market and being reliable and transparent.

A solid local reputation coupled with consistent and relevant communication will put agents at front of mind when homeowners eventually do make that life-changing decision to sell up and move on.

Forward-looking agents will also ensure they provide current renters – often prospective first-time buyers – with an excellent customer experience, including offering information and guidance, with a view to securing their custom and loyalty further down the line.”

3
Jul 19

The Intermediary Mortgage Lenders Association, has announced that the Government action on leasehold, including action to ban Help to Buy being used to purchase leasehold properties, has been welcomed.

The changes were recently announced by the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, The Rt Hon James Brokenshire MP and include immediate action to prevent Help to Buy being used to purchase leasehold properties.

IMLA believes that the changes will help new buyers avoid becoming victims of unfair leasehold practices, such as high ground rent fees, and give them much more certainty around the home buying process.

Kate Davies, Executive Director of the Intermediary Mortgage Lenders Association, also expressed hope that estate charges would be brought within the scope of the new proposals.

She had this to say: “IMLA supports a housing market that is fair for all buyers. These proposals from the Government, including immediate action to remove leasehold properties from Help to Buy, will protect consumers from some of the unjust practices we have seen in recent years regarding leasehold properties, such as high ground rent fees.

However, for the Government’s plans to truly be successful, it’s important that estate charges are also included within the scope of these changes. These fees are often levied on freehold property owners and include unfair and disproportionate charges for simple maintenance jobs. The addition of these only serve to increase the costs of owning a new build property, and ultimately stand against the work being done by the Government and the industry to help more potential buyers onto the housing ladder.”

1
Jul 19

The latest statistics from the Bank of England have revealed that, during May, house purchase mortgage approvals fell back to 65,400 after April's strong numbers.

According to the figures, the number of approvals for remortgaging also dipped in May, to 46,700. Net mortgage borrowing by households fell to £3.1 billion in May, the smallest increase since April 2017.

However the annual growth rate for mortgage lending remained stable at 3.2%, and has now been around 3% since late 2016.

Mark Harris, chief executive of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients, says: "The number of mortgage approvals for house purchase, which indicate at what level future lending will be, fell back slightly in May but remain broadly in line with the narrow range seen in previous years.

It shows that the mortgage market is trundling along quite steadily with no great shocks either way. This is reassuring as there is plenty of political and economic uncertainty, which is preying on people’s minds and creating a delay when it comes to making big decisions.

Lenders remain keen to lend and several have cut rates in recent weeks so mortgage rates are likely to remain low for a while yet, further supporting the market."

John Phillips, operations director at Just Mortgages and Spicerhaart said: “There is not a huge change here; net mortgage borrowing fell slightly, but the annual growth rate for mortgages has remained stable at 3.2%, which means it has now been steady at around 3% for almost three years. Approvals, however, were down for both house purchase and remortgaging, which could suggest that lending will fall over the next few months and growth may slow too.

There is no doubt that it has been a funny old few years for the mortgage market. Brexit has obviously had – and is still having – an impact, but I don’t think it is the only factor at play.

For many years now, borrowing costs have been very low, but wages have not been keeping pace with house prices, so while mortgages are affordable, deposits and stamp duty are not. Those who may have upsized in the past are now either remortgaging to borrow more and then extending, or just saving the money they would’ve used on stamp duty and investing it into their existing homes.

If the Government wants to get things moving again, they need to do something about the cost f moving. People are simply not prepared to throw thousands of pounds that could be sued to invest in a bigger home on stamp duty. Back in April, the House of Lords Committee on Intergenerational Fairness and Provision recommended changes to stamp duty because, they said it is ‘seriously distorting the market’ and I think they’re right. Until something is done about the crippling cost of stamp duty, the market will continue to struggle.”

Kevin Roberts, Director, Legal & General Mortgage Club, comments: “The government’s Help to Buy scheme has improved affordability for first-time buyers, and with mortgage lenders increasingly offering 95% loan-to-value products, they have unparalleled access to the finance they need. The low interest rate environment has also encouraged existing homeowners to remortgage onto longer fixed-term products – giving them certainty over their future repayment costs.

However, a mortgage is usually the biggest financial commitment an individual has in their lifetime – and this process shouldn’t be rushed. Seeking professional advice is a practical first step and can help individuals choose whether it is the right decision for them. Independent mortgage advisers will not only help find the protection needed, but with access to almost six times more products than available direct from lenders, they can source a product that meets your financial needs, too.”