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National Empty Homes Loan FundNational Empty Homes Loan Fund To Bring
Empty Properties Back In To Use

A new scheme has been launched to bring almost ¾ Million empty residential properties back into full time use in a bid to tackle the UK’s current housing shortage.

Over 710,000 residential properties are currently lying derelict and empty across the UK, because the owners have not been able to afford to renovate or refurbish them back to a habitable standard.

In a joint venture initiative between Government, 39 participating local authorities, the Empty Homes charity and the Ecology Building Society, the scheme aims to provide loans of up to £15,000 (GBP) to owners of empty residential properties to help bring them affordably back into use.

The fund was one of the demands of last year’s Great British Property Scandal campaign led by architect and broadcaster George Clarke.

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Residential property prices across the UK slumped in April, according to the latest Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) housing market survey.

Across the UK, 19% more chartered surveyors reported property valuation falls rather than rises in house prices.

Expectations for future residential property prices also reached their lowest point with a net balance of 17% more respondents predicting further drops.

Demand from potential buyers was relatively flat during April 2012 as 5% more surveyors reported increases rather than decreases in new buyer enquiries (from +10% in March).

Meanwhile new instructions were stable as 1% more respondents reported falls rather than rises in new residential properties coming up for sale. Whilst the trend may appear flat, the level of supply has not seen any significant drops since July 2011.

April’s property transaction levels entered negative territory for the first time since September 2011, as 6% more RICS surveyors across the UK reported decreases rather than increases in transaction levels.

London was the only part of the UK to observe a residential property prices rise, while the West Midlands and Wales saw the most significant declines.

Whilst the RICS predictions for future property prices saw a notable dip, expectations for transaction levels once again remained positive with a net balance of +15% more respondents expecting sales to rise over the coming three months.

Global Director for Residential Property at RICS, Peter Bolton King, says: “With the recent surge in activity brought on by March’s stamp duty holiday coming to an end, it is unsurprising to see that prices across much of the country are continuing to fall. Renewed concerns over the economy and talk of a double dip recession dominating the headlines in recent weeks may well have served to undermine consumer confidence. What’s more, the continuing lack of affordable mortgage finance is still hindering many first time buyers who cannot afford to get a foot on the property ladder.”

275,000 new tenants flooded the UK Private Rental Sector in 2011 – a 24% increase on the previous year.

275,000 new tenants flooded the UK Private Rented Sector in 2011

Latest Government Figures Confirm What savvy UK Property Investors & Landlords already knew

Latest Government figures confirm the steady decline of UK Home ownership and the social rented sector, (Council Houses), together with the indisputable rise of the Private Rented Sector (PRS) following the credit crunch.

The figures confirm what property investors who have been expanding their rental property portfolios already know, Buy-To-Let in the UK is BOOMING!

The new 2010-2011 English Housing Survey shows that in that period;

  • 66% of households (14.5 Million) were owner occupiers, down 1% from the previous year, continuing the downward trend observed since 2007.
  • The social rented sector last year accounted for 17.5% (3.8 Million households)
  • The private rented sector accounted for 16.5% (3.6 Million households).
  • Thirty years ago, there were over 3 Million more tenants in the social housing sector than in the private rented sector.

Now the gap is just 200,000.

Last year, a total of 394,000 new households were formed in England

  • 68% were private tenants forming 268,000 of the new households
  • 14% were owner occupiers (55,000 households)
  • 18% were social renters (71,000 households).

One key difference is that couples with no dependent children were the most common type of household in 2010-11 with 35% in the owner occupied and 43% in the private rental sector.

However, the most common type of household in the social rented sector was a single person aged 60 or over (24%).

17% of tenants in the social sector, were lone parents with dependent children, compared to 12% of tenants in the private rented sector with the same status. The figures compared to just 3% of owner occupiers.

In 2011, private sector rent was around twice that of social rents (an average weekly £160 compared to £79).
In the same period, 63% of social renters and 25% or private tenants received Local Housing Allowance (LHA) or Housing Benefit.

Another key difference is in length of tenure: 54% of private tenants had been in their home for under two years, whilst 59% of owner occupiers and 43% of social tenants had been in their home for ten years or longer.

Chief Executive of Countrywide, Grenville Turner, said of the survey: “Successive governments have widely encouraged home ownership but the impact of the recession has led to a structural change in the property market. The impact of this has caused an additional 275,000 new tenants to flood the private rental sector in 2011 – a 24% increase on the previous year. Current demand levels indicate that there will soon be more people in the private rental sector than social housing, which will only add to the already saturated demand and supply imbalance in the market.”

BTL landlords can cash in on the current rental property boom by utilising the wide range of landlord and letting agent services offered by Legal4Landlords.com to ensure thorough tenant vetting and cashflow, including Tenant Referencing, Landlord Insurance, Rent Guarantee Insurance as well as Debt / Rent Recovery and Eviction services.The full report contains information about overcrowding, occupancy patterns, energy use and decent homes and can be found at the link below.

http://www.communities.gov.uk/publications/corporate/statistics/ehs201011headlinereport

Private residential renting on the decline?

UK PRS faces mounting rent arrears

The demand for Private Rental Sector (PRS) residential property and the rise in the number of tenants struggling to meet their rental payments on a regular monthly basis is expected to see the decline of the UK residential property rental market.

According to the latest lettings survey from the Association of Residential Letting Agents, (ARLA) 55% of its members reported more tenants than available properties in the last quarter of 2011, down on 74% reported in the previous quarter.

39.2% of ARLA members reported an increase in tenants struggling to pay their rent, over the same period, a figure up from 36.7% the previous quarter.

President of ARLA, Tim Hyatt, said: “With household income decreasing and job uncertainty prevailing, it could be that increasing rental arrears is a sign that the wider economic malaise is having a tangible impact on personal finance – some consumers may have reached the limit of their access to finance, while others may be cutting back as many commentators have predicted. We are reassured by the fact that the number of new tenancies is stable, but we will be watching the market closely in the coming months to determine how significant these latest figures will prove to be”.

The number of First‐Time Buyers (FTB) able to secure finance isn’t expected to significantly increase during 2012 so the demand for the limited supply of private sector rental accommodation will only continue to rise. It won’t be long before rents will resume an upward trend.

With the mortgage market still facing more financial fallout from the Eurozone crisis and the wider economy remaining sluggish, UK credit conditions are unlikely to ease significantly in 2012. As household income become even more stretched during the course of the year, it is expected that the current rental boom will begin to decrease outside of prime areas in the latter half of this year.

With the numbers of tenants having trouble paying their rent being on the rise, UK Landlords are encouraged to use Rent Guarantee products from reputable suppliers such as Legal 4 Landlords as a means to keep their rental income flowing in.
If you are a Landlord who lets a property then you run the risk of rent default by your tenant. Even the best checks and references cannot predict a tenant falling on hard times and not being able to pay their rent. Could you cover your expenditure if this happened?

In the current economic climate, many landlords are finding their default rates soar as tenants struggle with rising unemployment and increased bills. Recovering arrears can be difficult and costly for landlords, without any guarantee of success.
At Legal 4 Landlords, our Rent Guarantee Insurance will cover you against your tenant defaulting or failing to pay the rent

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