14
Oct 19

At one point or another, we've all been victim to unwanted noise in our homes whether it's from traffic, animals or neighbours.

In fact, one of the most searched for topics across the Landlord Library is noise pollution and how to deal with it and with this in mind, lettings platform, Howsy, has revealed what noises cause the biggest impact and how to protect against them.

Neighbours playing loud music or socialising late at night is the number one most hated cause of noise pollution amongst UK tenants, closely followed by road traffic, noise from animals such as dogs, cats or foxes and neighbours arguing – according to a survey of 1,000 UK tenants.

What can you do about it?

You don’t have to suffer in silence and there are plenty of cost-effective tips that both you and your landlord can carry out to ensure maximum peace and quite within your home.

Perhaps obviously, start structurally. Use filler to address any holes or cracks in your walls with a particular focus around things like window frames or other breaks in the wall such as sockets.

It may look nice, but wooden flooring can be one of the main issues when it comes to noise pollution, particularly if you rent out a flat with neighbours below. While a new floor might not be necessary, sorting out any creaky floorboards can make more of a difference than you might think when it comes to cutting out noise pollution.

Now check out your doors. All too often, cheap doors aren’t soundproof and can be replaced by something a bit more substantial where materials are concerned. Once you’ve fixed your new door in place, one handy tip is to bolster your soundproofing with weathering strips which will also make your home more energy-efficient.

Now your doors are sorted, what about your windows? Not the most cost-effective method but replacing old or damaged windows with double or triple paned PVC can work wonders for noise pollution – even a good quality wooden frame will reduce noise dramatically.

From fibreglass to insulation foam or ceiling panels and everything in between, insulating your home doesn’t just help keep you warm in the winter, it cuts out a lot of noise.

It’s within your best interests as a landlord to make sure your property is not only fit for purpose but is appealing as possible for tenants while also doing your bit for the planet and your pocket.

However, there are additional things you can recommend to your tenants that can also make a difference and these range from simple touches such as heavy-duty curtains to help down out the outsides world or a similarly robust rug to cover wood flooring and protect from the noises below.

Rearranging the furniture is also a smart way of minimising noise pollution and putting larger items such as a big book case or cabinet against the sharing wall will help add another layer. Another smart trick is to always position your tv on or by a shared wall as this will at least drown out any noisy neighbours while it’s on. Even a large picture or mirror will play its part and so considering layout is a small but smart step to help reduce noise pollution.

Calum Brannan, Founder and CEO of Howsy, has this advice: “When it comes to the tenant-landlord relationship, it’s often the small things that can go a long way and helping to soundproof your property, even with the smallest of touches, can really improve your tenant’s quality of life.

Of course, there is always work that can be done to improve a property, but you certainly don’t have to break the bank and there is a whole host of innovative tips that you can suggest and that will cost nothing to do.

Not only will you have a happier tenant for doing so, but you’ll have increased your property’s rental appeal which will make it more attractive if or when does return to the market.”

11
Oct 19

We could be leaving the EU at the end of the month. I say 'could' because let's face it, anything is possible on the Brexit merry-go-round. However, one thing is certain and that is that there has been a negative effect on the property market.

Estate agent comparison site, GetAgent.co.uk, has looked at where UK home sellers have been forced to take the biggest property price reality check when it comes to the asking and selling price of their home.

Pulling data from all of the major portals then cross-referencing with the Land Registry, the firm used proprietary algorithms to create a comprehensive record of what is selling, where, for how much and how long it’s taking.

When it comes to the asking price sought by UK home sellers, the market has remained firm as a whole, up 7% across the UK since the Brexit vote, with actual sold prices up 7.6%.

However, while the resilience and diversity of the UK market means many areas have remained impervious to the Brexit blues, there has been a notable chill in both asking prices and sold prices in a lot of areas.

Here are the worst when it comes to both.

Asking Prices

The biggest asking price drop since the vote has been in Bradford with home sellers having to re-evaluate their price expectations by a huge -35.9% to drum up buyer interest. Waveney in Suffolk has also seen a notable decline, down -22.4%, while the London borough of Islington takes the third spot with asking prices down -21.3%.

Chichester, Wigtownshire, Vale of White Horse, Aberdeen, East Hampshire, Horsham and Bolsover are also amongst the largest declines.

Sold Prices

While home sellers will list at a higher asking price to chance their arm in any market conditions, often resulting in a decline, sold prices have also come tumbling down in a number of areas since the Brexit vote.

It’s bad news for those in Bradford as the area not only tops the largest asking price declines but also the largest sold price declines, down -30.6%. Another Suffolk district ranks for the second largest decline in sold prices, but this time it’s Babergh with a decline of -24.8%, while Hertsmere places third, down -20.3%.

Wellingborough, Harlow, Chesterfield, Blackburn with Darwen, Oxford, Ripon and North West Leicestershire join the rest as the worst areas for sold price decline since the Brexit vote.

Colby Short, Founder and CEO of GetAgent.co.uk, commented: “There’s no doubt that Brexit uncertainty has produced perhaps the most erratic property landscape we’ve seen in some years and while there is light at the end of the tunnel, it’s hard to say just how long the tunnel is and if there is indeed an end in sight or not.

It’s certainly not accurate to say the UK market is down and out and for the vast majority, property prices continue to creep up, albeit at a slower rate than previous years. However, there are certainly a notable number of areas in which Brexit has delivered a bit of a knock-out punch for property prices and a real lack of buyer demand is seeing sellers list for a lower sum and sell for even less.

The proof of UK property is most definitely in the pudding though and once Brexit is behind us, we should see a reversal in fortunes for those feeling the brunt of our current European limbo.”

9
Oct 19

Newly released data from estate agency, Springbok Properties, has found that first-time buyers in and around London have seen some of the biggest jumps in average house prices since the Help to Buy schemes were introduced.

Help to Buy is characterised by three schemes.

The Help to Buy Equity Loan was launched in 2013 and has buyers contribute a 5% deposit towards a new build, with the government providing a 20% equity loan on the property, or 40% within London, which is interest-free for the first five years.

This is available on new builds under £600,000 in England and £300,000 in Wales. The scheme is running until 2023, though after 2021 it will only be available for first-time buyers and there will be caps on the value of homes people can buy.

This is the most well-known of the Help to Buy schemes.

The second scheme is the Help to Buy Mortgage Guarantee, which also launched in 2013. This had the government act as guarantors against loans, while it wasn’t restricted to new build. It was discontinued at the end of 2016.

The Help to Buy ISA was launched in 2015, which saw savers pay money into an ISA and then get a cash bonus form the government. The scheme closed for new entrants in November 2019, while the bonus must be claimed by 2030.

Springbok Properties looked at the average cost of a first-time buyer property across the UK and where has seen the largest uplift in price growth since Help to Buy was introduced. While Help to Buy has given many a leg up when it comes to climbing the property ladder, the influx of additional demand has also, perhaps ironically, pushed the cost of Help to Buy homes up considerably.

Across Great Britain, the average cost of a first-time buyer property has increased by 32.8% since 2013, almost on par with the regular market. The typical price first-time buyers paid for a property in Barking and Dagenham was £281,396 in 2019, an alarming 70.8% increase from 2013.

This isn’t the only East London region to see huge increases the average first-time buyer price, as they rose by 60.7% in Newham to £349,874 and 60.1% in Havering to £307,874.

Other areas to see a strong uplift are Waltham Forest in North East London, rising by 68.7% to £408,233; Thurrock in Essex, increasing by 59.2% to £237,635; and Stevenage in Hertfordshire, rising by 58.7% to £250,086.

Scotland and the North East more subdued

The City of Aberdeen, which has been hit hard by falling oil prices in the past few years, is the only area of the UK where first-time buyers are paying less than in 2013. The price they paid has fallen by -10.9% to £126,794 in 2019.

Some other areas of Scotland have only seen modest rises, as Inverclyde prices have risen by just 6.55% to £83,995, while South Ayrshire prices have seen a 6.9% uplift to £102,992.

In England, the worst climber is County Durham in the North East, where prices rose by 3.5% to £88,790. This is followed by Redcar and Cleveland, where prices climbed by 4.5% to £105,156; while behind that is Middlesbrough with an increase of 5.0% to £110,304.

It seems Help to Buy hasn’t been enough to kick-start some of these markets into action.

Shepherd Ncube, Founder and CEO of Springbok Properties, commented: “Help to Buy was introduced by the previous government with good intentions – to assist would-be home-buyers in their first step onto the property ladder.

However, it seems that whilst around 200,000 buyers have indeed been supported, the unintended consequence in most areas has seen an above average hike in prices driven by the demand that Help to Buy has created.

First rung homes are supposed to be more affordable, but we’ve seen the average price paid by a first-time buyer accelerate to similar levels as the wider market. Not only has this made it more difficult for today’s aspirational homeowner, but perhaps some tax-payers might question the wisdom of using their money to fuel house prices even further?”

13
Sep 19

The latest data released by Home.co.uk has shown a little light at the end of the tunnel for London landlords as soaring rents tempt investors back into the capital's lettings market.

According to the figures, rock-bottom sales and rental stock levels are initiating a revitalisation of the London sales market, led by several key boroughs. Wandsworth, Hackney, Haringey, Hammersmith and Fulham, Southwark and Islington are all showing double-digit rent inflation, yields are soaring and, consequently, home prices are about to surge.

Overall, Greater London's price correction is complete. Both supply and residual sales stock levels have shrunk and this portends a return to price growth. Such is the rate at which yields are improving, we predict a wave of investment, commencing in the central boroughs and moving outwards, which will trigger breathtaking growth in home values over the next twelve months and beyond.

Nationwide, home prices are holding steady despite all manner of Brexit hysteria. However, at the regional level, the property market presents a very mixed picture. At one extreme, northern and western regions (especially Wales) are in the final throes of their growth phase while the East of England is firmly in the grip of the inevitable price correction, following a long period of unsustainable growth. Such is the cyclical complexity of the British property market.

The South East property market, like that of London, is showing some renewed strength.

Meanwhile, both the East and West Midlands property markets are destined for a painful period of price correction after many years of excessive growth (36.4% and 35.9% respectively since September 2012).

Steady home price rises continue in the northern regions and the risk of price falls looks very low. However, only Wales continues to show real growth (year-on-year home price increases above the official rate of inflation).

Annualised price growth across England and Wales remains in the red by the smallest margin of -0.1%, making this the eighth consecutive month registering negative growth; in September 2018, the annualised rate of increase of home prices was 0.9%