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Budget Sparks Property Price Increase Fear

Budget Sparks Property Price Increase Fear

UK property prices set to soar by 30%
Says Office for Budget Responsibility

UK residential property prices could increase sharply over the next five years, fuelled by a rise in the number of savers choosing to invest in property rather than taking annuity.

The forecast comes from the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR), following the changes announced in George Osborne’s latest Budget which means that people will not be forced to take an annuity when they retire and instead they can choose to invest their money as they wish.

Many people are expected to use their pension pot to invest in property, rather than in currently poorly performing pensions, driving up UK property prices in the process.

The OBR has revised its forecast for UK residential property price growth in the next five years from 27% up to 30.8%.

According to the Office for Budget Responsibility forecast, anticipated UK residential property price growth is expected to be:

  • 8.6% in 2014/2015
  • 7.4% in 2015/2016
  • 4.3% in 2016/2017
  • 3.7% in 2017/2018
  • 3.7% in 2018/2019.

The predictions are the OBR’s best guess, they are not accurate in any way shape or form and should be used as a guide only. These are not fact, just speculation.

The OBR are supposed to be an independent fiscal body, however, they estimate that by the end of their forecast period, UK property prices should be just 0.5% below their pre-crisis peak, and the property price to income ratio is estimated to reach 2.3% below its pre-crisis peak.

The OBR also expects transaction volumes will increase at a faster pace than originally forecast over the coming five years. Estimating 1.28 Million housing transactions in 2014/2015, some 6% higher than the previous OBR forecast in December 2013.

The OBR also predict that Stamp Duty receipts will rise 90% over the next four years from £9.5 Billion (GBP) in 2013-14 to £18.1 Billion (GBP) in 2018-19.

The OBR report said: “House prices have continued to accelerate since our December forecast with annual growth reaching 5.5 % in December 2013. We expect house prices to peak earlier than in our December forecast at 9.2% in the 3rd quarter of 2014, with prices rising by around 30% by 2018-19.”

Property price growth is currently being led by London where even large estate agency groups like Savills forecast property values to surge by almost a quarter over the next five years.

According to a five-year outlook recently published by Savills, a number of risks to the prime property markets, such as Eurozone default, have receded over the past two years and Inner London boroughs could see a growth of 23.1%, and property prices in other areas of the capital could also rise by 22.7%.

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!

More PRS tenants are struggling with rent arrears

The latest UK Court Statistics released by the Government continue to indicate a steady rise in the number of claims for possession by landlords that have resulted in orders for tenant eviction being made.

Tenant Evictions Still Increasing

Tenant Evictions Still Increasing

The continued rise in severe rent arrears have lead to more than 25,000 landlords making successful claims for possession of rental property from tenants in the second quarter of 2012, and it is thought the third quarterly report due out imminently will show similar, if not higher results.

The number of tenants experiencing severe rental arrears is at its highest level since 2008, with over 100,000 tenants behind with their rent payments.

Sim Sekhon, spokesman for Legal 4 Landlords, the UK’s leading eviction specialists, said “Unfortunately it is unlikely that the problem is going to improve in the near future, and as a result an increasing number of landlords are now opting for rent guarantee insurance products in addition to their normal forms of insurance. Legal4landlords have seen a sharp increase in demand for rent guarantee insurance as landlords and their appointed managing agents look to find ways to protect rental income. The problem of tenants getting into financial difficulties is not going to go away and with the Government’s welfare reforms and additional austerity measures still to come, we expect tenant arrears and tenant eviction cases to continue to rise well into 2013 and beyond.”

2012 Buy-To-Let Mortgage Numbers Increase By A Third

2012 Buy-To-Let Mortgage Numbers Increase By A Third

There are fresh fears that First-Time Buyers (FTBs) and next time buyers are being forced out of the UK residential property market by Buy-To-Let landlords.

The Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) said that 32,300 Buy-To-Let mortgage loans were made over the first quarter of 2012, a 32% increase on the first three months of 2011.

Meanwhile, according to chartered surveyors E.serv, the number of residential property mortgages lent to first-time buyers in April 2012 fell to their lowest level for 9 months. The company said that loans made to first-time buyers in April numbered just 11,307, a drop of 5% from March 2012 and the lowest since July 2011.

Mainstream mortgage lenders are increasingly reluctant to accept applications from First-Time Buyers due to low Loan-To-Value (LTV) rates and the size of deposit required. Instead there is a preference to lend to Buy-To-Let landlords, who are less likely to default on mortgage payments because they are able to utilise specialist Rent Guarantee insurance products to keep cashflow constant.

Richard Sexton, business development director at E.serv, said “Mortgage companies have begun to scale back lending to first-time buyers. Buy-to-let landlords are taking the places of first-time buyers as there is an absence of them in the market place because they can’t get loans. The UK housing market would be in a far worst place than it is now if it were not for the return of buy-to-let landlords”.

Chief Executive of Dragonfly Property Finance, Jonathan Samuels, said “There has been a seriously sharp spike in mortgage loan applications for buy-to-let properties in the first four months of 2012. A shortage of rental stock and strong demand from the growing number of tenants forced to rent will keep driving the sector forward. There’s a lot of portfolio building, as investors continue to add properties to give them increased exposure. People are seeing Buy-To-Let as a pretty stable place to be because residential property prices are falling and mortgage lenders still see lending to owner-occupiers as risky. Investors feel that there’s a lot left in the buy-to-let market and are putting their money where their mouth is”.

However there are warnings that buy-to-let landlords will need to know what they’re doing when it comes to best rental practices and should take appropriate measures to protect their rental income, such as thoroughly referencing tenants and ensuring Rent Guarantee insurance is in place. Landlords should also be prepared for Bank of England interest rates to rise anytime within the next 12 months as the UK struggles to escape the grip of recession.

The CML said that although lending to buy-to-let landlords has grown sharply in the last year, it is still at only 30% of 2007 levels.

With average loan-to-values on buy-to-let mortgages at 75% and average minimal rental cover at 125% it is unlikely that Buy-To-Let mortgage lending will recover to the same levels seen in 2007, as 25% deposits will prevent many amateur landlords from buying rental property.

UK Government Housing Minister, Grant Shapps, said: “We do not have to make a choice between first time buyers and buy to let. We need both. And while a third of all mortgages went to first time buyers last year, only 12% went to buy-to-let landlords. But I’m determined to pull out all the stops for those who want to get on the property ladder, which is why in March the Prime Minister and I launched the NewBuy Guarantee scheme which is expected to enable up to 100,000 aspiring homeowners to buy newly built properties with just a fraction of the deposit they would normally need.”

Eviction numbers increase as tenants struggle with finances

Evictions for Rent Arrears Increase by 10.2% This Year

County court closures are being blamed for prolonging tenant rent arrears eviction hearings

The number of tenants in severe financial difficulty has climbed by 10.2% in the first quarter of this year according to the latest tenant arrears tracker by Templeton LPA, part of the LSL Property Services plc Group.

Almost 8,800 more tenants were over 8 weeks in arrears and facing the threat of eviction than there were in the last quarter of 2011.

In the first quarter of 2012, an average of 94,400 tenants in England and Wales were in severe arrears, an increase of 20% compared to the same period in 2011.

The figures were affirmed by specialist landlord service provider, Legal 4 Landlords, who handle an average of 20 tenant evictions per day across the UK.

Legal 4 Landlords spokesman Sim Sekhon said: “At the current rate of growth, the number of PRS tenants facing arrears greater than 8 weeks will climb above 100,000 in the next quarter. Tenants have been facing increasing financial pressures due to the state of the economy and the rising cost of living and unfortunately landlords without rent guarantee insurance have been suffering the most”.

Although severe rent arrears cases have continued to increase, PRS tenancies in severe arrears only represented 2.4% of all properties in the private rental sector (PRS) in England and Wales in the first quarter of 2012.

Overall tenant arrears have improved, with 9.3% of all rent either late or unpaid by February 28th, a decrease from 10.7% at the end of 2011.

Paul Jardine, director and receiver at Templeton LPA, said: “While the general tenant population has absorbed the rising cost of renting in the last two years, a minority of tenants are facing severe financial difficulties, a minority that is growing. These tenants have been pushed into deeper and deeper arrears by a combination of rising living costs, high rents and a weak labour market, and are now months behind with the rent cheque. In turn, these severe rental arrears figures have been inflated by the ongoing impact of county court closures. The closures have prolonged arrears cases, with landlords less able to gain court dates to quickly remove non-paying tenants. This is creating a backlog of tenants in extreme arrears, increasing the amount of rental income lost for landlords or their appointed receivers of rent. Despite the recent surge in severe arrears cases, overall tenant arrears have performed remarkably well given the challenging economic environment. In fact, as we often see at this point in the year, more financially robust households are now paying down post-Christmas debt and putting their finances in order, which is helping to reduce the overall level of tenant arrears.”

The annual growth in tenant arrears has been matched by a yearly rise in the number of tenants being evicted by court orders.
In the last quarter of 2011 some 24,702 tenants faced eviction notices, an increase of 9% on the 22,634 in the last quarter of 2010, although the figures reported are 4% lower than they were in the third quarter of 2011.

Rent arrears fall again in 2012

More UK Landlords Using Rent Guarantee Products

Private Rented Sector (PRS) rent arrears dropped in February with 9.3% of all rent late or unpaid at the end of the month, down from 10.7% in January.

With household bills increasing, UK unemployment still rising and the whole country still struggling to avoid a double dip recession as a result of the Eurozone crisis, together with the government’s welfare reforms and public sector belt tightening, there hasn’t been a great deal of optimism around, especially from landlords.

However, figures released by LSL property services show that UK landlords have a little less to worry about, with the amount of rent arrears and late payments falling again.

Either private sector landlords are having an excellent run of good fortune, having tenants who are able, paying the rent in full and on time, or they have become smarter and are now utilising the range of Rent Guarantee products that are currently on the market, to ensure they get paid and their monthly cashflow doesn’t suffer.

Being a landlord and letting a property in the UK means there will always the risk of the tenant not paying the rent, (rent default).

Even the best tenant referencing service cannot predict if a tenant will lose their job and fall on hard times and not be able to pay their rent.

How do landlords cover their expenditure if this happens?

In today’s struggling economic climate, many UK landlords are finding their tenants struggling with rising unemployment and increased bills. Often leading to the rent not being paid and the tenant facing eviction when the amount of rent arrears exceeds 8 weeks.

Recovering arrears can be difficult and costly for landlords, without any guarantee of success.

At Legal 4 Landlords, our Rent Guarantee Insurance will cover landlords against their tenant defaulting or failing to pay the rent.

The British Property Federation (BPF) handed a bit of good news to UK landlords who may have been struggling to make ends meet, after it was revealed that the UK coalition government may review imposing powers forcing landlords to share information on changes of tenancy with water companies, as well as making them liable for a defaulting tenant’s debts.

The failure of tenants to pay water bills for the property they are renting costs landlords and other home owning customers around £15 extra per year.

The new Flood and Water Management Act would mean that the government could make landlords and property owners pay water and sewerage bills if specified details of tenant occupiers are not forwarded to the relevant utility company departments.

Ian Fletcher, director of policy at the British Property Federation, explained: “Government policy in other areas is pushing for personal responsibility and the same should apply here that landlords should not be held liable for their tenants’ debts, which is simply unfair. We therefore welcome this review and agree that water companies could do more to limit bad debts. Landlords already provide a lot of information voluntarily, though this could be much easier and transparent with the right systems in place”.

Legal 4 Landlords advise all UK landlords to inform all utility companies (Gas, Electricity and Water) at the start and end of every tenancy as normal practice for all tenancies.

Specialist provider of Buy-to-Let cover, Total Landlord Insurance, has launched Total Rent Guarantee Insurance.

In these troubling financial times it is impossible for landlords to predict whether their tenant’s circumstances will change in the future and whether they will always be able to pay the rent, even though they have a successful reference. With the number of rental arrears on the increase across the nation, it is important that landlords don’t let their investment suffer.

Steve Barnes, Broking Manager, said: “Drawn out legal wrangles, legal expenses and missed rental payments can be a nightmare and play havoc with the landlord’s investment and financial planning. In the current financial climate our customers wanted a policy that would be cost effective and provide legal assistance and rent guarantee in the event of a tenant falling into rental arrears.  That is why we have launched Total Rent Guarantee Insurance.”

 The policies are available both online and by phone, although there are significant discounts if purchased online.  Online, landlords can purchase legal expenses for just £45 saving £31.85 and combined legal expenses & rent guarantee insurance for just £94.50 saving £31.80 over the call centre price.

 For more information on Total Rent Guarantee Insurance, go to www.totallandlordinsurance.co.uk.

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