5
Jun 19

The latest research by independent London estate and letting agent, Benham and Reeves, takes a look at where across the UK and London offers the best buy-to-let investments when it comes to rental return and the speed at which annual rent will repay the original average house price.

The estate agent looked at average house price plus the cost of buy-to-let stamp duty and annual rent and ranked each area on the number of years it would take for this annual rent to recoup the cost of buying in each area and paying stamp duty.

Across the UK, Scotland offers the quickest return on investment with the annual rent returning the original asking price in 17.7 years. Northern Ireland was the second quickest at 18.9 years, followed by England (25 years) and finally Wales at 26.4 years.

In the capital, Tower Hamlets is the best buy-to-let investment for the fastest return, with annual rental income taking 21.4 years to return the average house price and stamp duty costs of £452,821.

Barking and Dagenham (22 years), Newham (23 years), Greenwich (23.5 years) and Enfield (25.7 years were also amongst some of the best options in the capital.

With Scotland and Northern Ireland home to the quickest return on a top level, it’s no surprise that they account for the top three quickest areas in the UK, with Glasgow the quickest of them all at 13.3 years followed by Belfast at 15.8 years and Aberdeen at 17.8 years.

Nottingham was the quickest area in England to see rental income recoup the cost of buying a property at 18.4 years, followed by Newcastle at 18.5 years.

Marc von Grundherr, Director of Benham and Reeves, commented: “Buy-to-let investment is a complicated business, even more so given the changes to the sector of late, however, the primary indicator of a good investment is always going to be the rental yield available.

While a buy-to-let investment includes all sorts of additional concerns such as contingency budgets, capital growth and so on, we wanted to highlight on a more digestible level where offers a good investment option when it comes to recouping the cost of that investment via your rental income.

What this research demonstrates is that while buy-to-let remains a lucrative business despite the Government’s attempts, it should be viewed as a long-term one and not a method for making a quick buck. For those serious about the sector whether it be as a professional or amateur landlord, it’s important to understand the commitment before diving in if you wish to see a profit.”

3
Jun 19

Homebuilder, David Wilson Homes North West, is encouraging people to make their garden a haven for our fuzzy friends, by planting flowers to attract them and making small changes to their garden to give bees somewhere to shelter.

There are over 250 bee species in the UK, and most face threats such as loss of habitat, climate change and disease. They are vital to the food chain, with one in every three mouthfuls of food consumed by humans dependent on pollination, including apples, pears, onions, potatoes, cherries, chilies, carrots, margarine and herbs.

Lynton Dudgeon, Sales Director at David Wilson Homes North West, said: “We want to raise awareness of the threat faced by bees and by all doing our bit to plant nectar rich plants to benefit them we can help combat some of the issues faced by bees.”

The homebuilder's top bee-friendly tips are:

1: Sow the seeds for bees

Certain types of plants are more attractive for bees than others. Bee-friendly plants produce high levels of nectar and pollen, and include poppies, lavender, heathers, geraniums, foxgloves and fruit trees. David Wilson Homes North West plants a range of nectar and pollen rich plants at its developments across the county to help boost the population of bees around its new homes.

2: Water is the bees knees

Like all creatures, bees need to drink too. Adding a pond, water feature or bird bath to your garden will give them a hydrating boost in the warm summer months, as well as benefitting other wildlife in your garden too.

3: Build a bee B&B

Many of the UK's bee species are solitary which mean they do not create a bee-hive and opt to nest either in the ground or in small holes found in wood. Provide nesting sites for solitary bees in a specially made bee hotel. These can be purchased ready-made or constructed from bamboo cane make a collection of small wooden tunnels for bees to nest in. All you need to do is put your shelter in a warm sheltered spot, close to nectar rich flowers.

4: Keep an eye out for tired bees

Bees can struggle in both hot and cold weather, and if you see a bee on the ground finding it difficult to fly it could be suffering from exhaustion. When out and about in your garden this summer look out for tired bees which may need reviving.

Never give a bee honey to revive it, as they can catch viruses if the honey is from a neighbouring hive. Instead make a solution of two tablespoons of white granulated sugar with one tablespoon of water and place near the bees head on a plate or spoon. Once it has had a drink it should regain its energy and fly back to its hive.

5: Hold off on pesticides

While it can be tempting to reach for chemicals to keep pests such as aphids at bay, these can be harmful to all species of bees. Avoid spraying open flowers with pesticides and instead combat pests by planting certain plants such as marigold or garlic to repel them.

Lynton continued: “These small steps can create a welcoming environment for bees. As bee numbers decline in the UK it is more important than ever that we take action to help the critters out wherever we can.”

Paul Stephen, Biodiversity Advisor for the RSPB, said: “We are asking everyone to help give nature a home as even a few small touches can make a big difference for wildlife. Gardens can be a fantastic space for families to relax or play and we would like to see people feel inspired to do something for nature.

Sadly, the UK's bee populations are in decline, but planting the right mix of flowers, shrubs and bushes will help reverse this. And plants rich in nectar and pollen will not just be welcoming to bees, but will look great for anyone looking to enjoy a garden full of life and colour.”

29
May 19

New data released by Zoopla has revealed that cautious buyers are negotiating harder on price resulting in a 3.9% widening in the difference between asking and selling prices.

According to the report from Zoopla, the gap between average asking prices to average achieved prices has increased in Q1 2019 across nearly all (16) cities, compared to 2018.

With the exclusion of Leicester, these discounts are increasing off a relatively low base and indicate that buyers are not prepared to keep pace with asking price growth. Different market dynamics in Edinburgh and Glasgow mean property sells for more than the asking price but the scale of the premium has declined in 2019Q1 compared to 2018.

Regional breakdown

The current UK average for the gap between asking price to selling price is 3.9%, up from 3.3% in 2018. Six cities registered average discounts above the current national average, with Aberdeen registering the highest discounts at over 8%. This is consistent with the decrease in demand for housing in the city due to the collapse in the oil price since 2015. Newcastle and Liverpool also registered higher gaps than the national average although the level of discounts has narrowed over the last 3 years as underlying market conditions improve.

Only two cities, Glasgow and Edinburgh, registered average sale prices as higher than average asking prices. Typically, properties in Edinburgh sell for 6.3% more than their listing price, while stock in Glasgow shifts for 5.2% above asking price.

Discounts increase in London

In London, which has led the slowdown in house prices, the average differential between asking price and selling price has increased from 4.8% in 2018 to 5.7% today. Price falls have been concentrated in inner London areas where average discounts are highest at 7.6%. In some central areas, such as Kensington & Chelsea, buyers continue to achieve double digit discounts. In outer London and the commuter locations, the gap is lower, averaging 5.1%.

House price growth softens

The level of house price growth across UK cities continues to slow, following the national trend. UK Cities registered the smallest spread in annual growth since 1996 according to the latest Zoopla UK Cities House Price Index. Price growth ranged from +5.1% in Glasgow, which is the lowest growth rate of the best performing city since 2012, to -0.5% in London. Overall, house prices increased by 1.7% over the 12 months to April 2019.

The latest index results reveal a softening in the annual rate of growth across most cities, with this slowdown now extending beyond southern England. Manchester, Nottingham and Leicester are among the regional cities registering a slowdown in price growth. The deceleration in house prices is still most marked in southern England with Bristol, Portsmouth, Bournemouth and Southampton all registering price inflation at or below 2.5%.

Richard Donnell, Research and Insight Director at Zoopla, comments: “This latest index report reveals a continued moderation in the rate of UK city house price growth as the slowdown extends beyond south eastern England. It has been twelve years since the fastest growing city was recording price inflation of 5.1%.

Sellers are having to accept slightly higher discounts to the asking price in order to achieve a sale. This is a natural response to weaker market conditions and buyers are starting to negotiate harder on price. The increase between asking and selling price is off a low base. Correctly priced homes continue to sell within a reasonable period and setting the asking price at the right level remains a key decision to agree with your agent.

Market conditions remain weak in London and the level of discounting continues to increase. We expect the price adjustment in London to continue although we do expect sales volumes to start to tick upwards. The slowdown in the rate of price growth is set to extend further across the south of England while we expect continued above average house price growth in regional cities where employment levels continues to grow, and affordability is attractive.”

23
May 19

According to the latest research from regulated property buyer, Good Move, people would rather buy a house where a murder has taken place than one that has signs of damp or cracks in the walls.

The firm's analysis revealed that nearly three in five (58%) would be put off if there had previously been a murder at a property, and more than two in five (44%) would reject a house if there had been reports of paranormal activity. However, Brits are far more concerned by more trivial faults, with a shared garden (73%), signs of damp (75%) or cracks (73%) and having a short leasehold remaining (76%) all featuring higher on the list of unwanted features.

The biggest red flag for those looking to buy is noisy neighbours, with a huge 85% of people saying this would put them off purchasing a property.

The top 10 things that would put house buyers off are:

1. Noisy neighbours (85%)
2. Short leasehold remaining (76%)
3. Signs of damp (75%)
4. A shared garden (73%)
= Signs of cracks on the walls (73%)
6. Front Door opening onto a main road (70%)
7. No parking (69%)
8. No garden (66%)
9. Smelly (63%)
10. Busy or high-speed roads nearby (62%)

Although over 40% of UK housebuyers say they would not be put off by the fact that a murder had taken place onsite, the survey also found that, if this were the case, they would expect the property to be reduced by almost a third (32%) of its market value.

Similarly, buyers would also expect a 30% reduction if there had been reports of paranormal activity.

The top five features that buyers would expect the biggest discounts for are:

1. Existing tenants (34%)
2. Murder (32%)
3. Paranormal Activity (30%)
4. Pets left behind in the property (26%)
5. Being next door to a cemetery (25%)

Ross Counsell, director at Good Move, said: “Although everyone has a different idea of the perfect home, it’s clear from our survey that certain things will put off most people. On the bright side, some of these put-offs are easy to address, so if you are looking to sell your house, make sure you sort out small things like cracks and damp.

These little actions can make a huge difference and help you to make your house more attractive to buyers.”

6
May 19

Evolution Properties are so excited about this superb 4 bedroom detached family home that is positioned in the sought after Sandyhurst Lane area of Ashford. There are field views to the front, plenty of parking and so much space throughout. We will be adding full details to our website soon but dont wait, if you think this could be for you, contact us today!

 

 

25
Apr 19

With the UK property market now entering its busiest period of the year, leading property finance specialists, One77 Mortgages, has chalked down some top tips for homebuyers when it comes to securing the best deal on a mortgage.

While the affordability of mortgage products remains at almost record lows, there are still plenty of ways to make your mortgage even more cost-effective, although your broker might not always disclose these methods.

While some tips will save you money from the get-go, it really is a case of spending money to make money with some of the others. When combined they should place you in the best position when buying in the current market.

Deposit thresholds
More often than not, increasing your deposit by just a small amount can boost you into the next Loan to Value band, meaning a better rate and even potentially less onerous credit scores with lenders. Always work on 5% increments as these are where the best deals are for your price band so based on the current average house price, rather than borrowing 9% (£20,533), stretching the additional few thousand more to a 10% deposit of £22,815 will be far more beneficial in the long run.

Seek a no-fee mortgage broker
Pretty simple but many of us fail to do it. All brokers are paid commission on the product they sell you, but around 80% will also charge an additional fee - typically £500. May seem minute in the grand scheme of buying a house, but it all adds up.

Don’t restrict your options
It’s common knowledge that your bank isn’t the best place to start as they only offer their rates and products. But you would be surprised as to how many brokers and advisers can only offer products from a restricted panel of lenders. As a customer, this means you are missing out on potentially the best deal for you so make sure your broker has access to the entire marketplace.

Get your personal details in order
Such a simple one, but if you’ve failed to update documents to your married name, or you aren’t registered to your current home address, the lender’s computer will literally say no as it won’t be able to find you. This is a shortcut route to having your application declined.

Electoral roll
Once your details are correctly registered, register for the electoral roll. You might not know it, but this has a huge bearing on the scoring system of lenders credit. If you aren’t registered it’s another minor little detail that can see you fall at the first hurdle of a mortgage application.

Forward your post!
The £60 it costs to have your mail forwarded for a year will be the best money you’ve ever spent without even realising it. This doesn’t necessarily apply to your mortgage but it will save you money. All too often a client moves house and ended up with a default notice on their phone bill or credit card as they’ve not received the reminder and forgot to pay it.

With the cost required to get on the ladder, many of us can be forgiven for skipping the add ons a broker may suggest. If there’s one cost you don’t want to skip on, it’s life cover. Understandably, many of us today can only get on the ladder with the help of our partners as a joint income is required. However, if the worst were to happen and illness or even death strikes, the lack of any form of protection cover can result in the whole deck of cards coming crashing down immediately. This is the last thing you need in this situation, so make sure your life cover is in place and up to date.

Overpayments
Again, sounds obvious right? But many of us plod along without even considering it. If your mortgage product allows overpayments - make them! You would be surprised at how much even a small overpayment can make on a monthly basis when it comes to the total interest over the lifetime term of your mortgage.

Lock it in
We’re currently in the middle of an artificially low, interest rate cycle and mortgage product affordability is close to record lows. Great news but make sure you lock in on a fixed rate mortgage to make the best of the current climate. A longer term of a fixed five-year rate is probably the best option however a three year fixed might be a happy middle ground for many between a two and five-year product. However, be aware of any 10 year plus fixed rate products. The fee might be great but over the years we’ve seen best-laid plans fall by the wayside and clients are then hit with huge early exit fees if they need to move or pay their mortgage early.

Working overtime
Any overtime worked can be beneficial towards mortgage eligibility but try and ensure that this overtime is consistent as possible. If there are drastic swings in the hours worked, lenders will often work from the lowest figure when deciding your position in the market.

Knock them down
It’s a buyers market at the moment and if you have the confidence, income and deposit, now is the time to get a great deal on a property by negotiating as hard as you can. As many buyers remain sitting on the fence, sellers are having to adjust their price expectations and the best way to reduce your mortgage costs are to get the property you want for a lower price in the first place! The average reduction is about 10% of the asking price, so use this as a benchmark and push for 15% or more.

Credit score
If you’re looking to buy right now and your credit score is no good, then you’ve probably already had a few lenders slam the door in your face. Your credit score is everything to a lender in this day and age and poor payment history or a low score will put you at a severe disadvantage from the offset. Do all you can to cultivate a healthy score starting now and as most lenders base their judgement on Experian, it’s worth the small investment to make sure your reading from the same hymn sheet rather than one of the free credit score providers.

Also, know the implications of your deposit/credit score mix. A much smaller deposit will require an almost impeccable credit score. While a poor score doesn’t necessarily mean you won’t get a mortgage, you will struggle to achieve ‘high street’ rates but a good broker, like One77, should be able to help you find a product.

Managing Director of One77 Mortgages, Alastair McKee, commented:

“The mortgage market can be a minefield of jargon, small print clauses and confusing figures, and so it’s no surprise that for many homebuyers and first-time buyers, in particular, the mortgage product they opt for isn’t always the best suited for their situation.

"But with a little bit of research, there are plenty of things you can do to secure a much better deal and make your mortgage work for you, not the other way around.

"Even the smallest things such as the electoral roll or having your documents correctly registered can influence a lenders decision and while we’re currently enjoying a period of great mortgage affordability, this doesn’t automatically mean you will be accepted.”

12
Apr 19

On Monday 12th November, BBCs latest Panorama investigation focused on the impact of the controversial Universal Credit, and most crucially the housing element.

The programme revealed the extent of the rent arrears problem as a result of changes to the benefits system. Paul Shamplina, founder of Landlord Action, together with Mick Roberts, one of the UK’s largest Housing Benefit landlords, join other industry experts in calling on the government to act now and scrap direct payments to tenants of the housing element of Universal Credit, before the situation worsens.

Under the old system, housing allowance was paid direct to councils or private landlords. Now, in order to mirror the world of work and encourage people to be more independent, Universal Credit (UC) payments are made direct to claimants. However, when combined with the cuts in benefits, tenants are under increasing financial pressure, evidenced by the 55% rise in evictions of council tenants compared to the same time last year. Panorama revealed the average rent arrears for UC claimants across the UK stands at £663 versus £263 on the old system, nearly two and half times more.

According to Paul Shamplina, founder of Landlord Action, the changes are exacerbating the housing shortage by forcing private landlords to move away from letting to tenants in receipt of Universal Credit. In the last year, 61% of private landlords with tenants on UC have seen them go into arrears.

Paul says: “It’s a deal breaker for landlords and yet the councils don’t have enough houses to house homeless people. We saw on Panorama that, in the last year, Flintshire Council alone has seen an 85% reduction in the number of private landlords on their books willing to rent to UC tenants. When you roll that out across the rest of the country you can see why we have such a desperate housing shortage. The system used to benefit tenants, by providing more accommodation, as well as landlords, who were guaranteed timely rent with no void periods. Now it benefits no-one. The most vulnerable tenants are being left behind, forced to use an online system which many can’t access, and landlords are having to start eviction proceedings as a last resort.”

Mick Roberts, 40, has been a private landlord for more than 20 years. He has always let his properties to Housing Benefit tenants but is now having to consider only letting to private tenants.

He comments: “I have loved letting to housing benefit tenants over the years and formed great relationships with many of my tenants, but I’m sad to say I can no longer do it as a direct result of Universal Credit. As an example, I have four tenants in Nottingham in receipt of housing benefit who have rented from me for over 16 years. They have NEVER had arrears. They have all been moved to Universal Credit, and now they are all in arrears! That’s 100% failure rate. I believe sorting the housing element would solve a large proportion of problems.”

Panorama’s investigation appeared to echo what many industry experts has been saying for some time - the majority of tenants do not want direct payments because they openly admit they struggle to budget.

Alok Sharma MP, Minister of State for Employment, argued that UC is working well, that there have been lessons learnt in the process but that “we have is a simpler system which people understand and ultimately makes sure they get into work fast, stay in work longer and earn more.”

Mick Roberts vehemently disagrees with this: “UC has to be applied for online. I have a tenant who doesn’t even know how to go online or have access. They are not coming out to see the people at ground level. If they spoke to the tenants that are affected by this, as I have, they would realise.”

Paul Shamplina adds: “I’ve raised my concerns over the increasing complexity of the scheme which, in many cases, means even staff assessing Universal Credit claims are making mistakes on an all too regular basis to the detriment of tenants and landlords. Over the next few years, thousands more families will move across to UC as the Full Service rollout expands, bringing with it even more complicated cases and further challenges for DWP staff.

Unless changes are made now, housing stock will decrease further, and homelessness will increase. At present, direct payments to landlords are only considered in certain crisis situations. This needs to change and tenants and landlords need the option to have the housing element paid direct to the landlord.”

Full story below

https://www.propertyreporter.co.uk/features/rent-arrears-double-for-universal-credit-claimants.html

31
Mar 19

We are always looking at ways of improving our service and support to clients and following the transition to digital tenancies, we looked at faster and easier ways to reference the tenants which helps to cut down on fall through's. We chose Van Mildert who are market leaders in this field and one of the other reasons was for their "Rent On Time" product. This is an amazing product that effectively ensures that you receive your rent on time, irrelevant of whether the tenant has paid, provides full legal cover for possession of your property and wait for it, also has contents cover built in.

We love this new product so much and it has already been welcomed by everyone we have spoken to. So, if you are concerned about your investment and want complete peace of mind then contact me today and I will be more than happy to discuss your options!

28
Mar 19

❤️❤️❤️ We are SO excited about this gorgeous family home 👪 that has come to the market as not only has it been remodelled to offer more than enough space for any family but also, it is located in what is believed to be one of the best and most sought after cul-de-sacs in Park Farm.🏠
This amazing family home is positioned in a private driveway with only one other home and has a superb front garden with gorgeous oak tree 🌳 and plenty of area for the children to play as well as parking. The current owners have carried out extensive works in the property which include a garage conversion, newly fitted contemporary kitchen, new heating system, low maintenance astro lawn at the rear and full redecoration.

Do not miss this, contact us today!!! ☎️ 📲

27
Mar 19

Located on one of the most sought after developments in Ashford is this stunning 2 bedroom semi-detached home. The property has a modern open living space with a good size garden, parking and handy utility room. Call or email us today!