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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.

Bank Of Scotland Accused Of Mortgage Fraud

Bank Of Scotland Accused Of Mortgage Fraud

Northern Ireland Attorney General Accuses Bank Of Scotland Of Committing Mortgage Fraud

John Larkin QC, Northern Ireland’s Attorney General, has accused the Bank of Scotland of committing mortgage fraud in relation to the way that the bank has treated customers who fell behind on their residential property mortgages.

An earlier court hearing had previously ruled that the Bank of Scotland had unfairly re-billed some of their own customers who had fallen into arrears with their mortgage payments.

The Bank of Scotland had decided to appeal the verdict of the earlier court hearing but decided to drop that appeal on Monday morning. The Bank of Scotland then rejected Mr Larkin’s claims, saying it strongly takes issue with the allegations.

A barrister for the bank, Stephen Shaw QC, said Mr Larkin’s view of mortgage fraud was “based on a misapprehension”.

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Does House Price Index Data Provide A Clearer Picture Than The Newspaper Headlines Suggest?

Does House Price Index Data Provide A Clearer Picture Than The Newspaper Headlines Suggest?

Does House Price Index Data Provide A Clearer Picture Than The Newspaper Headlines Suggest?

There can be a great deal of contradiction with the rising number of published House Price Indices, (HPI), that attempt to show the general public what is happening in the UK residential property sales market.

Many Spotlight subscribers are already aware that some of the published House Price Index data provided by mortgage lenders only relate to residential property sales, whilst others relate only to property asking prices.

However, property purchasers are often told to use the official published Land Registry data as a true guide to property prices rather than rely on any house price index data, but Land Registry data is a few months out of date because the Land Registry only record actual completed residential property sales.

Consumers need to know if all the HPI data is anywhere near accurate before they decide to part with cash to purchase a property, and with some degree of disparity between different indices the information provided can be confusing.

However, one thing is becoming very clear – UK property price growth is slowing!

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Are Property Price Rises Slowing?

Are Property Price Rises Slowing?

Is The UK Property Market Just Experiencing
A Seasonal Slowdown Or Is It Something Worse?

There are a lot of reports in the media attempting to suggest that the UK property market is doomed to failure, with the latest House Price Indices (HPI) published by mortgage lenders suggesting that the UK property market is slowing, however there are fears that it might be in more serious trouble.

Halifax latest figures show that property prices in the three months prior to September 2014 were 2.7% higher than in the preceding quarter but there was an average 0.6% property price rise across the UK during September, resulting in an average property price of £187,188 (GBP).

Halifax say that this is the second successive decline in the quarterly rate and predict that the annual house price growth rate has already peaked at 10% and future growth will be at a considerably slower pace. 

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2014 UK Property Prices To Increase Further

2014 UK Property Prices To Increase Further

UK Property Prices Continue To Increase

There could be more good news for UK property investors over the coming months as projections for the rest of 2014 indicate that property prices are set to rise even more, providing the potential of greater Return On Investments (ROI).

Since the UK housing market crash in 2008, UK property prices slumped and were depressed for some time afterwards due to uncertainty in the economy, however, the end of 2013 saw the UK property market spring back to life.

According to data from the Halifax House Price Index (HPI), there were over 1 Million residential property transactions in 2013 for the first time since 2007, and residential property sales increased for the ninth month in a row in December 2013,  30% higher than in 2012.

The data from Halifax is great news for property owners and shows that the UK property market is well and truly back on its feet.  So, if you’re a property investor who is planning on investing in property in 2014, you can expect to see property prices continuing to rise.

2014 started with residential property prices on the increase and more people buying and selling. The introduction of the 2nd phase of the Government’s Help-To-Buy scheme in October 2013 allowed property purchasers to get 95% Loan-To-Value (LTV) mortgages, heralding the return of the first-time buyer to the UK property market. 

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New LHA Rates for 2014 -2015 Published

New LHA Rates for 2014 -2015 Published

Local Housing Allowance (LHA) Rates Change In April

Every year the Government publish Local Housing Allowance (LHA) rates that are periodically reviewed and payment levels in some UK regions may change without notice.

The April 2014 – March 2015 LHA rates have now been published and the revised list makes interesting reading for landlords and letting agents who are willing to accept tenants claiming benefits.

UK private rental sector landlords are able to ensure rental property profits by allowing their properties to be let to tenants claiming housing benefit (HB), with local authority rental payments exceeding buy-to-let mortgage payments.

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New Data Shows Residential Property Prices Are Still Climbing

New Data Shows Residential Property Prices Are Still Climbing

New Data Shows Residential Property Prices
Are Still Climbing

UK property prices are continuing to increase across all UK regions, according to the latest data published by the mortgage lender, Halifax.

The latest data gathered in a survey by the Halifax for February 2014, shows that residential property prices increased by 2.4% during the month, making average property prices 7.9% higher than they were in February 2013.

The growth in UK residential property prices over the last 12 months is the fastest annual pace of increase since October 2007 and means an average residential property in the UK now costs around £179,872 (GBP).

Residential house prices are increasing because of improving economic conditions in the UK and increased demand from frustrated buyers, encouraged by the Government’s Help-To-Buy scheme offering first-time and next-step buyers cheaper mortgages.

A recent poll of 27 economists and analysts by news agency, Reuters suggested that residential property prices could increase by another 7% this year, led by activity in the London property market.

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UK PRS Landlords Expect Tenant Demand To Increase

UK PRS Landlords Expect Tenant Demand To Increase

42% Of UK PRS Landlords Plan 2014 Rent Increases

According to the latest survey by specialist house share website, Spareroom.co.uk, 42% of UK private rented sector landlords expect to increase rental prices over the next 12 months and of those some 26% are planning to increase rents by more than 3%, which is significantly higher than inflation.

In their latest Rental Index, Spareroom revealed the average cost of a double bedroom in a shared house increased by 4.5% in the final quarter of 2013, reaching a new average of £507 (GBP) per calendar month.

Room rents in London also saw a rise in prices, with an increase of 2% over the same time frame, meaning the average cost of a double room in a shared house in the nation’s capital is now at an average cost of £676 (GBP) per calendar month.

Whilst some landlords plan to increase rental prices, 58% of Spareroom’s Rental Index respondents stated that they will not be raising rents and 5% of UK PRS landlords claimed that they intend to reduce rents during 2014. 

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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.

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!

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