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Mortgage Lenders Worried Help-To-Buy Will Distort UK Property Market

Mortgage Lenders Worried Help-To-Buy Will Distort UK Property Market

Help-To-Buy Controversy Continues

The latest figures released by the popular property finding portal, Rightmove.co.uk coincide with the news that UK based mortgage lenders are worried that the second phase of the Government’s Help-To-Buy scheme risks distorting the true health of the UK property market.

The British Bankers Association (BBA) is a governing body that represents all the banks that are currently participating in the scheme including those who are planning to participate in it in the future, has called for Government clarification on the proposed exit strategy from the Help-To-Buy scheme, according to a report in the Daily Telegraph.The news comes just 2 weeks before the Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne’s Autumn Statement on 5th December.

In a submission to HM Treasury, the BBA said, “Some members of the BBA are participating in the Government’s Help-To-Buy scheme, but further clarification is needed on exit strategies.”

Mortgage applications worth £365 Million (GBP) have been received since the second phase of the Help-To-Buy scheme was launched on 1st October 2013, to help aspiring home buyers get a foot on the property ladder.

The Royal Bank of Scotland, NatWest, Halifax and Bank of Scotland started offering residential mortgages under the umbrella of the Help-To-Buy scheme last month and mortgage lenders representing most of the UK mortgage market have confirmed they will eventually come on board, in order to capture a share of the market.

The Government initiative makes it easier for mainstream mortgage lenders to offer higher value mortgages with deposits as low as 5% by removing some of the risk they would face if the borrower defaults on repayments, because the mortgage products are underwritten by the Government as Spotlight has previously reported.

The Government are very happy to be underwriting Help-To-Buy mortgages because they are listed as a second charge on the mortgage, increasing the Governments property assets, allowing them to borrow money against their portion of the residential properties purchased under the Help-To-Buy scheme.

At least property investors enter the property market with an exit strategy in mind, but the Government have yet to reveal how they intend to exit from the property market when the scheme ends. No wonder mortgage companies are worried!

 

Property repossessions In the North of England are higher than national average

Property repossessions In the North of England are higher than national average. Property
May Be Cheaper But It Is More Likely To Be Repossessed

4 Of Top 10 Property Repossession Areas
Are In North West of England

A new study by e.surv chartered surveyors has revealed the top 10 hotspots for property repossessions in the UK, and the results show that property owners in the North are less able to keep up with mortgage repayments than property owners in the South.

e.surv’s researchers analysed Ministry of Justice figures for court-ordered repossessions for the 12 months up to 30th June 2013, plus the company’s own data, and found the largest North-South divide since the onset of the financial crisis, with 3.2 repossessions per 1,000 households in the North of England, compared with 2.4 per 1,000 in the South of England.

Four of the UK’s top five “repossession hotspots” are in North-West of England according to the data with Chester, Blackpool, Oldham and Wigan among top five property repossession hotspots.

These areas are among those with the highest proportion of property owners who are struggling to keep up with mortgage repayments.

The data revealed that even despite all the media coverage about surging property prices in and around the capital, two areas within Greater London – Romford (3rd highest number of property repossessions per thousand households) and Croydon came in joint 7th on the repossession hotspot top ten.

Chester is the top UK city for property repossessions by a substantial margin, THREE times the national average!

The rest of the North-West of England does not fair much better with 8 out of 10 towns having above the national UK average number of property repossessions per thousand households.

This news presents an excellent opportunity for new, amateur and seasoned property investors to grab some property bargains as mortgage lenders and banks will be looking to offload these repossessed properties quickly so that they can get their money back, they are not looking to profit!

Lancaster, Liverpool and Carlisle in the North of England showed a lower than the average number of property repossessions, according to the data. However, despite being below the national average, Carlisle had seen a 37% increase in the rate of property repossessions in the 12 months to June 2013.

Other UK regions that also showed huge increases in the volume of property repossessions over 12 months, but remained below the national average are:

  • Taunton in Somerset – 34% increase in property repossessions up to 30th June 2013
  • Brighton – 30% increase in property repossessions up to 30th June 2013
  • Reading – 27% increase in property repossessions up to 30th June 2013

e.surv Director, Richard Sexton, said: “Residential property prices may be high in the capital, and employment prospects may be stronger, but in such densely populated areas, there remain property owners who are struggling with mortgage payments. Many borrowers have seen their finances slowly eroded by high inflation and increasing living costs. This has been particularly potent in London, where less affluent borrowers, by that I mean those who could only just afford to buy, have been badly affected. On a national level repossession numbers are falling as mortgages become cheaper, wages are slowly picking up and the employment market has more vitality. For the UK as a whole, repossessions fell 17% during the 12 month period, with 66,544 repossession orders granted in 2012-13, as opposed to 77,856 in 2011-12. As a region, the north has traditionally depended on public sector jobs, but a squeeze in public sector funding has led to loss of jobs for many, and very slow pay increases for others. Pay increases that are consistently below the rate of inflation have further tightened household budgets, and caused many to fall behind on mortgage repayments. There is still a long way to go before the northern property market returns to its pre-recession health, and all the while the north is still playing catch-up, and falling further and further behind the south.”

Top 10 Property Repossession Areas

 

UK Town / Region

Property Repossessions Per Thousand Households

Total Number Of Property Repossessions In 12 Months To 30th June 2013

1

Chester – North West

8.4

961

2

Blackpool – North West

4.5

570

3

Romford – Greater London

4.4

936

4

Oldham – North West

4.3

829

5

Wigan – North West

4.2

541

=5

Luton – Bedfordshire

4.2

565

7

Bradford – Yorkshire

4.1

1002

=7

Doncaster – Yorkshire

4.1

1356

=7

Croydon – Greater London

4.1

644

10

Northampton – Northamptonshire

3.8

966

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Source: e.surv 

So what are you waiting for?

There will never be a better time to purchase repossessed properties, there are a great number of deals to be had from the areas listed in the table above.

Think of the table as a treasure map, with 10 UK locations offering repossession property deals direct from the banks and mortgage lenders.

Tenants Charter Proposals For Longer Tenancies Breach Mortgage Lenders Current Buy-To-Let Mortgage Terms

Tenants Charter Proposals For Longer Tenancies Breach Mortgage Lenders Current Buy-To-Let Mortgage Terms

Industry welcome to weak tenants’ charter that could see UK PRS landlords at odds with

Buy-To-Let Mortgage Lenders

The new tenants’ charter was announced by the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (CLG), Eric Pickles, last Wednesday, allowing tenants to ask for longer tenancies and better transparency of letting agents’ fees.

The new tenants’ charter will also aim to force all lettings and property managing agents controlling PRS rental properties to join a compulsory redress scheme.

The Tenants’ Charter, published for consultation, outlines what tenants should be looking out for at every stage when renting a property in the UK’s private rented sector, including lettings agents having to inform customers what all their fees are upfront, before they have committed to anything, including visiting a property.

However, the introduction of these terms under the banner of the tenants’ charter could threaten the business future of large numbers of landlords who would technically be in breach of the strict buy-to-let mortgage terms imposed by many mortgage lenders, which generally stipulate that tenancy agreements are to be for a period of no more than one year.

Secretary Of State For Communities & Local Government, Eric Pickles

Secretary Of State For Communities & Local Government, Eric Pickles

Mr Pickles stated that the Government intend to publish a code of practice setting standards for the management of property in the private rental sector (PRS) along with guidance setting out the role of public bodies in protecting tenants from illegal eviction.

Mr Pickles said: “This government is on the side of hardworking people and the last thing we want to do is hurt tenants and kill (property) investment by increasing costs and strangling the sector with red tape. But tenants deserve better value for money, and dodgy landlords should be under no illusion they can provide a shoddy service with impunity. These proposals will raise the quality and choice of rental accommodation, root out the cowboys and rogue operators in the sector, and give tenants the confidence to request longer fixed-term, family-friendly tenancies that meet their needs”

Mr Pickles also said that the Government will develop a model tenancy agreement which will clearly set out the rights and responsibilities of tenants and landlords, and ensure families can benefit from longer tenancies, without changing the existing legal framework for the rental market. He said “Longer tenancies will give families greater certainty and security, especially for those with children at school, and reduce costs for both tenants and landlords who will not have to pay letting agents to arrange frequent contract renewals.”

Clive Betts MP, Chair of the Communities and Local Government Committee said: “I am pleased that the Government has embraced many of the recommendations in our private rented sector report. The proposals for a tenants’ charter and model tenancy agreements reflect our calls for greater awareness of rights and responsibilities. Far too often the security needed by families is not being provided by the private rented sector. I am pleased, therefore, that the Government has listened to what the Committee said about the need for more family friendly tenancies. It is also welcome that the Government is taking forward our proposal to allow rent and housing benefit to be clawed back when landlords have been convicted of letting out dangerous property. The Committee will be watching closely to ensure that they are translated into action. We will also press to ensure that the Government’s gathering of information on selective licensing leads to action to raise standards. Much remains to be done if renting is to become an attractive alternative to owner occupation. It is disappointing; therefore, that the Government does not see fit to crack down on cowboy letting agents and their rip off fees and charges. It is also regrettable that the Government has declined to give local authorities the powers and freedom they need to improve housing in their areas.”

Tenants Charter Proposals For Longer Tenancies Breach Mortgage Lenders Current
Buy-To-Let Mortgage Terms

Property professionals generally agree with the introduction of the new tenants’ charter but many think that the Government have sidestepped the opportunity to enforce much tighter regulation of landlords in the private rental sector and lettings and property managing agents in particular and many feel that the new measures fall short of what is really needed.

It will be interesting to see if the Government put pressure on the banks and mainstream mortgage lenders to abolish or ignore such limiting clauses, allowing them to deliver on the real aim of the tenants’ charter.

Caroline Kenny, an executive of the UK Association of Letting Agents (UKALA) wants the Government to build on the experience and expertise of those industry bodies which already require higher standards of their members. Commenting “Responsible agents who choose to belong to professional bodies which require client money protection insurance, impartial redress and an adherence to a strict Code of Practice are forced to compete with those who show little regard to professional standards or the needs of their clients. UKLA believe that this package of proposals represents a missed opportunity for the Government to make mandatory the kind of comprehensive protection offered by the UK Association of Letting Agents and other industry regulatory bodies, which are called UKALA & NLAfor by those working in the property industry and needed by hardworking consumers who are unable to differentiate between good and bad letting agents.”

Richard Lambert, Chief Executive of the National Landlords Association (NLA), said: “The NLA has long argued that private renting can be far more flexible than commonly perceived, and we need to tap into this potential to meet the changing needs and expectations of those who rent. We look forward to working with government to make a success of these proposals. However, we believe that the Government has missed an opportunity to require greater professionalism of letting agents. While the requirement to belong to an approved redress scheme is a step in the right direction, it does little to protect the financial interest of landlords and tenants working with unregulated agents.”

Residential Landlords Association

Join The Residential Landlords Association

Alan Ward, Chairman of the Residential Landlords Association (RLA) welcomed the Government action to improve tenants’ understanding of their rights and responsibilities saying: “Tenants take more trouble buying a second-hand car than renting a house” Ensuring that tenants and landlords each understand clearly their rights and obligations to one another ensures a balanced relationship and enables them to hold each other to account based on the large number of laws already in existence. It will also play a vital role in rooting out those willfully criminal landlords who reap misery on tenants. We look forward to working with Ministers on the Charter as well as on how to best get this information to tenants.”

RICSPeter Bolton King, RICS global residential director, said “The long overdue announcement was definitely a step in the right direction. The lettings sector has for far too long been the Wild West of the property industry, with many tenants having absolutely nowhere to go should they wish to complain about shoddy service. The introduction of a code of practice specifically covering those managing rented property should certainly improve standards.”

Chief Executive of the Housing & Homelessness charity Shelter, Campbell Robb said “This announcement is recognition that current private renting arrangements are not fit for families with children, who need greater long-term stability. This is a welcome step in the right direction, and ministers now need to consider how to make longer tenancies a real choice for the families desperate for a more stable place to live.”

The announcement of the new Tenants’ Charter was good news for consumer champions, Which? Who have been campaigning since 2007 when they first called for an amendment to the Consumers, Estate Agents and Redress Act 2007 requiring letting agents to join an approved complaints scheme, just as property sales agents are. The consumer groups investigations also discovered earlier this year that major letting agents are acting unlawfully by not being upfront about the fees charged to clients.

The Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013, looks set to be implemented in Spring 2014, giving all landlords and tenants access to a complaints scheme. This will mean that 40% of agents who currently aren’t signed up to a redress scheme will have to become members

Which? Executive Director, Richard Lloyd, said: “Renting is now the only housing option for millions so we’re pleased to see the Government taking steps to address problems in the lettings market. Making charges clear upfront will enable people to shop around more easily, and longer tenancies could mark the end of unnecessary renewal fees. The new legislation giving landlords and tenants access to a complaints scheme now needs to be brought in as soon as possible and there must be strong action taken against any agent in breach of the scheme.”

  • Do you think the proposals go far enough?

Take our Poll on the Tenants Charter or leave a comment below!

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Mortgage Loan Approvals Increase

Mortgage Loan Approvals Increase

More “Help To Buy” Mortgage Lenders Announced

The number of mortgages given to first-time buyers increased by a third in the 12 months to August 2013 according to the latest data from the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML), with new entrants to the property market accounting for 44% of all residential property purchases during the month.

The CML figures were published as Barclays became the latest high street lender to confirm it was signing up to the second part of the government’s Help to Buy scheme, which is designed to make more 95% mortgages available to first-time buyers, second steppers and home movers.

Barclays join Santander, RBS, Halifax and HSBC in confirming it will use the taxpayer-backed guarantee to make high Loan-To-Value (LTV) mortgages available for property purchasers, meaning that more than half of UK mainstream mortgage lenders are now signed up to provide more mortgages at higher loan to value ratios.

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Demand May Outstrip Supply As Lenders Brace For Help-To-Buy Stampede

Demand May Outstrip Supply As Lenders Brace For Help-To-Buy Stampede

Demand May Outstrip Supply As Mortgage Lenders Brace For Help-To-Buy Stampede

Over 600,000 residential properties are eligible for the £12 Billion (GBP) scheme, while Zoopla says buyers will still need average £10,000 (GBP) deposit

More than 600,000 residential properties on the market are eligible for inclusion in the £12 Billion (GBP) second phase of the Help-To-Buy scheme, according to the latest in a series of surveys leading to predictions that UK mortgage lenders will be inundated due to the expected demand for the government-backed mortgages.

Details of the 95% mortgages, which are available to existing property owners as well as first-time buyers, are to be unveiled by Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, with some banks expected to invite loan applications within hours of the announcement expected next week.

The second phase of the Government’s flagship scheme to allow more first-time buyers and second steppers, wider access to the UK’s residential property market has already been brought forward by three months, with high street bank Santander claiming that up to 1.7 million people want to use the scheme.

The Help-To-Buy scheme will cover existing residential properties as well as new-build properties, but as yet there are no plans to allow Buy-To-Let property investors use the scheme.

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Autumn Surge In UK Property Prices Predicted

Autumn Surge In UK Property Prices Predicted

Various residential property indices published by banks and mortgage lenders have shown that UK house prices have been increasing for some months, however the latest survey from Rightmove shows that property asking prices have actually declined over the summer although it is predicting an autumn surge in uk property prices.

The Rightmove report says that there was a summer  slowdown in residential property prices as discretionary sellers were distracted by the heat-wave and have been waiting to market their properties.

Those property vendors who were unwilling to wait had priced properties more aggressively and asked an average of £3,704 (GBP) equivalent to 1.5% less for their property in August compared with the previous month’s asking prices.

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Buy-To-Let Mortgage Lending Increases By 31%

Buy-To-Let Mortgage Lending Increases By 31%

UK Buy-To-Let Mortgage Lending Hits £5 Billion (GBP)

The resurgence of property investment in the UK means that landlords are extending their rental property portfolios and cashing in on the strong demand for rental property from “generation rent”.

The buy-to-let boom has seen mortgage lending reach another milestone as latest figures released by the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) show that mortgage borrowing has hit a five-year high, and the Bank of England’s (BoE) historically low interest rates are predicted to fuel even more growth in the sector.

Buy-to-let mortgage lending has continued to excel expectations as the latest CML data shows £5.1 Billion (GBP) was advanced to landlords in the second quarter of 2013, that’s 21% up on the first quarter of the year and up 31% on 2012 figures.

The new governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney, has indicated that interest rates are expected to remain low until at least 2016, encouraging further growth in the UK private rental sector (PRS).

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Buy-To-Let Remortgaging Eclipses Property Purchase Borrowing

Buy-To-Let Remortgaging Eclipses Property Purchase Borrowing

Buy-To-Let Remortgage Surge

Buy-to-let remortgages have witnessed a huge surge in demand during the second quarter of 2013, as existing landlords refinance to raise capital for further rental property purchases.

Remortgaging activity has eclipsed all other types of mortgage transactions covering multiple property types, other than granting new mortgages for buy-to-let property purchases.

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Good news for landlords

Good news for landlords

There is a lot of Good News For Landlords Around As PRS rents Increase, Tenancies Last Longer And Demand Remains Strong

Good news for landlords as monthly PRS rents have increased by 1.1% year on year to average £845 (GBP) per calendar month (pcm). Scotland has witnessed the greatest rental price increase at 6.7% compared with the first quarter of 2013.

There has also been an increase in the number of older private rented sector tenants according to the latest quarterly index published by Countrywide lettings agency, who noted a 6% annual growth in the number of tenants over the age of 50 renting property in the UK private rented sector (PRS). The lettings agency also report that there has been a 7% annual decline in the number of tenants aged under 25 in the second quarter of 2013.

Buy-To-Let yields are strengthening across the UK, with the average yields being recorded in 3 regions:

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Dutch Property Market Avoided By Property Buyers

Dutch Property Market Avoided By Property Buyers

Property investors are avoiding buying property in the Netherlands because they fear the property market is yet to hit rock bottom

The Netherlands are the only country in Europe that is still creating its own new land, however, property prices in the Netherlands are continuing to fall alarmingly, putting off purchasers and investors alike.

Property prices of residential properties in Holland are at the same level as they were 10 years earlier, and are still falling, reflecting the stagnant housing market in the country.

According to a joint publication by Statistics Netherlands and the Land Registry Office, prices of existing owner-occupied residential properties in The Netherlands were on average 7.6% lower in April 2013 than they were in April 2012 and 19.5% down from the peak of the global property market of August 2008.

Residential property prices are falling as a consequence of ultra low demand from property buyers.

Official figures reveal that only a total of 29,644 residential property sales were registered in the country during the first four months of 2013, compared to the same period last year.

The Financieele Dagblad reported recently that Dutch banks’ housing market specialists would no longer be making predictions over the decline in residential property prices.

Last year, the banks predicted a further fall in Dutch property prices in 2013 between 7% and 10%.

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There Will Never Be A Better Time To Invest In Property

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