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UK PRS Rents Highest In EuropePRS Rents Still Increasing

Rent paid by tenants in the UK’s private rental sector, (PRS), increased by 2.1% in the 12 months up to and including March 2015, according to the latest published figures released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), drawing claims from the National Housing Federation (NHF), that the UK is the most expensive country to rent property in within the European union.

In the 12 months to March 2015 UK PRS rents increased by:

  • 2.1% in England
  • 2.1% in Scotland
  • 0.8% in Wales

UK PRS rents are the highest in Europe, taking up 40% of tenant income despite having the shortest length of secure tenancies. In comparison our European counterparts only pay an average of 28% of their income on rent.

The NHF analysed the ONS data and found that on average UK PRS rents of approximately £750 per month for properties were almost double the rental costs of dwellings in countries like Germany and Holland, where average earnings are similar. However, it is worse for tenants in shared UK properties, who typically spent around 55% of their income on rent.

Across Europe, 43% of tenants had moved property in the last five years while in the UK this figure was more like 77%.

When the figures are analysed more closely it works out that approximately 23 minutes of every hour worked by UK PRS tenants is spent on rent; elsewhere in Europe, it is more like only 17 minutes.

The NHF also showed that the UK has repeatedly failed to invest in its own housing stock when compared to European standards, between 1996 and 2011 only 3% of the national Gross Domestic Product (GDP) was invested in UK housing, compared to 6% in Germany and 5% in France.

Other findings from the analysis include the fact that 72% of tenants renting in the UK private rental sector are employed compared to 62% of residential owner-occupiers.

NHF chief executive David Orr commented on the findings, stating: “UK tenants get a raw deal in comparison to their continental counterparts. High rents are just one symptom of the UK’s housing crisis, as a nation, we are simply not building enough houses due to under investment and problems with the land market.”

Property Optimism Falls To Lowest Level For 18 Months

Property Optimism Falls To Lowest Level For 18 Months

Property Optimism Falls To Lowest Level For 18 Months

UK property price optimism among private rental sector landlords and residential property owners has dropped to the lowest recorded level for 18 months after buy to let mortgage lending in January was reported to be decidedly sluggish.

Traditionally, the UK property market generally experiences a slow start that incrementally builds to a summer buying frenzy before reaching another plateau and then a further period of increase followed by a gradual easing at the end of the year.

The latest Halifax House Price Index (HPI) found that UK property prices increased by just 2% in January 2015, reaching a new UK average property price of £193,130 (GBP).

Combined with figures released by the Department of Communities and Local Government, showing a slowdown in the number of new homes being built, and it is clear why landlord and residential property owners optimism has fallen.

60% of landlords and property owners, surveyed for the lender’s latest housing market confidence tracker report, expected the average property price to be significantly higher in 12 month’s time.

This means that house price optimism has fallen by 10 points from 62 to +52, the lowest level of consumer confidence since June 2013, when 52% of private rental sector landlords and residential property owners expected a large rise in property prices.

So what’s different?

  • In June 2013 UK inflation was at 2.9% compared to the current 0.3%
  • Employment was just over 30 Million compared to today’s figure of 30.9 Million
  • Mortgage lending levels were at £15 Billion (GBP) compared to the current £17 Billion (GBP).

Despite the fact that the UK’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for 2014 increased by 2.6% and all members of the Bank of England’s (BoE) Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) voted to hold interest rates at 0.5%, the dip in confidence levels over UK property prices reflects public concern over the UK economy in general.

Craig McKinlay, mortgages director at the Halifax said that “More than half of consumers still believe UK property prices will be higher than they are now in a year’s time; however optimism has continued to weaken. Despite this we’re now seeing a return to the seasonal trend for house price activity”.

But he pointed out that of more concern are the figures from the Department of Communities and Local Government showing a slowdown in the number of new homes being built. ‘It’s widely acknowledged that the UK needs an increase in the amount of new housing being built,’ said McKinlay.

‘The Lloyds Banking Group Commission on Housing targeted 2 to 2.5 million new homes built by 2025 new homes to be built before 2025. If we are to address demand the increase in new homes coming onto the market needs to be sustainable,’ he explained.

Increase In Mortgage Lending Reported By CML

Increase In Mortgage Lending Reported By CML

Property Market Remains Healthy As Gross Mortgage Lending Rise Reported By UK Council Of Mortgage Lenders

There are plenty of media reports suggesting that the UK property market may have stalled and some economists have even gone so far as to predict another property price crash may be on the cards.

However new figures published by the CML show that these statements are far from true as there has been a considerable rise in the value of gross mortgage lending recorded in the UK over the last month.

Figures published by the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) highlight a significant rise in mortgage lending volume during October 2014, with gross mortgage borrowing increasing by 5% from September this year to £19 Billion (GBP) making the total gross lending value 8% higher than during October 2013.

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Red Ed Calls For Rent Controls As Part Of Election Campaign

Red Ed Calls For Rent Controls As Part Of Election Campaign

Red Ed Calls For Rent Controls As Part Of Election Campaign

Labour leader Ed Milliband has called for a European style rent indexation to be introduced as part of the political party’s election rhetoric.

The re-introduction of rent controls under the new guise of a newly titled Rental Price Index, designed to stem excessive rent increases, is intended to be one of Labour’s biggest vote magnets

The current coalition Government decided late last year that they wanted private rental sector landlords to act as unpaid members of the UK Border Agency, controlling and reporting on the immigration status of tenants, in order to avoid excessive financial penalties. This legislation is due to come into effect later this year after passing through Parliament and the House of Lords without too much fuss from MP’s, despite lobbying from landlord associations and heated debates with lettings industry professionals. 

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Governor of the Bank of England thinks Northern Ireland's House Prices Are Not Keeping Pace With Rest Of UK

Governor of the Bank of England thinks Northern Ireland’s House Prices Are Not Keeping Pace With Rest Of UK

Northern Ireland House Prices Not Keeping Pace With Rest Of UK

Mr Carney told the Andrew Marr programme that “if you look at the UK as a whole, everywhere bar Northern Ireland – we are now seeing house prices begin to recover”

On Sunday 16th February, the Governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney said in a BBC interview with Andrew Marr said that Northern Ireland is the only part of the UK where house prices are not recovering, stating: “If you look at the UK as a whole, everywhere bar Northern Ireland – we are now seeing house prices begin to recover, so it is a more generalised phenomenon”.

However, Mr Carney’s comments provoked a backlash from Northern Ireland’s finance minister Simon Hamilton who reckons that Mr Carney’s remarks were at odds with analysis carried out by Stormont’s Department of Finance and Personnel (DFP).

Mr Hamilton posted on his Twitter account, “Doesn’t tally with DFP analysis. Never thought I’d have to correct a governor of BoE!”

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House Prices Officially Rising Across The UK

House Prices Officially Rising Across The UK

UK House Prices Rising Faster Than Inflation

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has recorded year-on-year house price increases across the UK with property values increasing by:

  • 5.6% in England
  • 5.4% in Wales
  • 2.5% in Scotland
  • 3.3% in Northern Ireland

The increase in house prices and activity in the UK property market has been credited to an increase in first-time buyers (FTB) purchasing residential property using the Government’s Help-To-Buy scheme.

The ONS have revealed that annual house price growth outpaced the cost of living in November 2013, even after removing property market activity in London and the South East of England from the calculations, property prices were up by an average of 3.1%, compared with a 2.1% rate of inflation.

Property price increases in the UK are generally driven by market activity and price increases in London and its surrounding areas, although other regions have started to show accelerating property price increases.

Property prices in London were up by 11.6% in November 2013, compared with a year earlier, and property prices have also increased strongly across the whole of the UK according to official figures

Regional Property Price Increases

  • London: up 11.6%
  • South East: up 4.5%
  • West Midlands: up 4.4%
  • North East: up 4.2%
  • East: up 4.1%
  • Yorkshire and the Humber: up 3.2%
  • South West: up 3.1%
  • East Midlands: up 2%
  • North West: up 0.6%                           Source: ONS annual change, Nov 2013

UK regions are becoming far more buoyant and less reliant on activity in the London property market and the majority of buyers are having to look further afield than central locations to find affordable properties, creating a halo effect on property prices.

The annual increase in UK property prices in November follows on from the 5.5% rise observed in October 2013 and although the annual comparison did not show any acceleration, property prices were higher than the previous month increasing by 0.5% in November compared with October, with an average residential property valued at £248,000 (GBP).

The ONS house price index is based on mortgage completions, and is considered to be more comprehensive than House Price Indices (HPI) produced by mortgage lenders such as the Halifax and Nationwide whose figures are based on their own mortgage data.

More Auction Action For Property InvestorsEasier Access To Finance Increases The Number
Of Property Auction Purchases

There has been a sharp rise in the number of property investors snapping up property at auction and the reason has been credited to easier access to finance, as lenders report significant growth in lending, surpassing pre-property crash levels.

The number of properties sold at auction is booming as property investors seek to build rental property portfolios below market value (BMV), without breaking the bank.

There has been a huge increase in the number of loans that have been financed by specialist lenders over the past 12 months, with average loans increasing by more than 22% according to property finance lender, Auction Finance Limited.

The news comes as the latest Essential Information Group (EIG) figures show a seven year high for UK’s auction houses, with lots sold in October 2013 up by 30% compared to October 2012. These record figures have now surpassed pre-recession auction house transactions.

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Property Asking Prices Collapse In NovemberProperty Prices Rise At Fastest Rate For 6 Years…Or do they?

The asking price of property is supposed to be rising at the fastest rate for over 6 years, according to Rightmove, however, asking prices actually dropped by 2.4% during October, all but wiping out September’s 2.8% gain. This is the third dip in property prices in 2013.

UK property owners have raised the asking price for their properties by 4% compared to this time last year, marking the biggest annual rise in residential property prices since the financial crisis and property crash hit in 2007.

The average asking price that UK vendors want for residential property now averages around £246,237 (GBP), according to Rightmove, compared to £252,418 (GBP) in October.

It is worth pointing out that residential property asking prices usually fall by approximately 3% in November ahead of the festive season traditional slowdown.

So with residential property asking prices falling by just 2.4% in November suggests that the recent upturn in housing market activity will cushion the predictable seasonal drop.

Rightmove say that buyers still have a wide choice of property types to choose from as the UK property market is holding up relatively well for first-time buyers, as the number of flats and terraced properties on the market has declined more slowly than the number of detached and semi-detached properties this month.

Property prices in the East Midlands were 7.4% higher than they were in 2012, averaging £168,873 (GBP), outpacing property price rises in London.

The average asking price for a residential property in London is over three times greater than property values currently are in the East Midlands and asking prices in London have risen by 6.9% year-on-year, to reach a typical average value of £517,276 (GBP).

In fact residential property asking prices have increased across most UK regions apart from in the North, where residential property prices have dipped by 0.5% annually to average just £141,426 (GBP).

Property prices in Wales dropped by the smallest amount, down by 0.4% to reach a typical average of £165,110 (GBP), while desperate property vendors in London have dropped residential property asking prices by as much as 5% since October.

Rightmove said that traffic to its website has increased 30% in the last 12 months, a sure sign of growing demand from would-be property buyers. The property portal also said that the stock of unsold residential properties has fallen from an average of 71 per estate agency branch one year ago to 67.

Rightmove Director, Miles Shipside, said: “Estate agents expect a more buoyant 2014 as they pick up early signs of an increase in buyer interest and demand, so this side of Christmas could be the time for eager property buyers to hunt out keen property vendors and strike a deal. However, agents’ challenges differ wildly depending on local market conditions. While some are really concerned about future sales because of a lack of fresh vendors, others report vendors getting too brave too early on their asking price aspirations in less active parts of the country, potentially stifling a property market recovery before it has got going.”

The infographic below shows the increase and decreases in residential property asking prices in November 2013 compared to October.

Property Asking Prices Collapse In November

Property Asking Prices Collapse In November

Source: Rightmove.co.uk

UK Property Prices Up £7,000 In Four WeeksUK Property Prices Hit 2008 Peak Values

UK property prices have jumped up £7,000 (GBP) in a month as UK property market activity picks up.

The huge increase in property values over the last four weeks is confirmation that the UK is enjoying another property boom.

The £1,750 weekly uplift puts the price of a typical residential three-bedroom semi detached property at £252,418 (GBP), according to popular property portal, Rightmove.

The biggest increase in property prices was recorded in London where new vendors have added an extra £50,484 (GBP) to average residential property asking prices this month, however property prices in the nation’s capital are over inflated compared to the rest of the UK.

The rise in UK property prices is being driven by first-time buyers and second step buyers following the introduction of the Government’s Help-To-Buy mortgage scheme.

Fears of a housing bubble have also been eased as the number of new property vendors entering the property market has also increased by 8%, however property shortages have driven up property prices in some UK regions.

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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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