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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a true guide to property prices rather than rely on any house price index data, but Land Registry data is a few months out of date because the Land Registry only record actual completed residential property sales.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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 Avoid Committing Mortgage Fraud

Avoid Committing Mortgage Fraud

How To Guard Against Mortgage Fraud

Following fresh warnings from the National Fraud Authority about the rising level of mortgage fraud in the UK, lenders want more done to protect their interests.

Mortgage fraud was a widespread problem before the financial meltdown and collapse of the property market back in 2007/8 due to the availability of self- certification mortgages with buyers, brokers and mortgage advisers able to ‘self-declare’ earnings with little, if any, proof required by an industry too busy to carry out proper rules and checks on applicants.

Mortgage fraud costs the industry around £1 Billion (GBP) a year, leading the Financial Conduct Authority to want to instruct mortgage lenders to better acquaint themselves with the solicitors they work with.

The new stricter mortgage rules introduced in the Mortgage Market Review in April 2014 are intended to reduce the number of people who attempt to make false claims and self-certification mortgages are now a thing of the past.

However, this won’t stop mortgage fraud or prevent homeowners and property investors from being a victim of identity or registration fraud.

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Land Registry Data Show Property Values Not Rising As Fast As PredictedLand Registry Data Show Property Values
Not Rising As Fast As Predicted

Data from the Land Registry’s House Price Index (HPI) in March 2014, shows that overall annual UK property values have increased by just 5.6%, taking the average UK property value to £169,124 (GBP).

The monthly change from February to March 2014 actually shows a property value decrease of 0.4%, however London saw property values increase by 12.4%, while the Eastern and North East regions experienced their greatest monthly rise, with property values rising by 1.1%.

Wales was the only UK region to experience an annual price drop of 1.6% and was also the only region that showed the most significant monthly price fall with values down 4.2%.

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Property Repossessions Fall As Prices Increase

Property Repossessions Fall As Prices Increase

Property Repossessions Make Great Investments

Latest figures from the Land Registry show that property repossessions have dropped in every region of the UK with falls in the past year ranging from 10 – 39% whilst property prices have continued to climb.

The December 2013 data from Land Registry’s House Price Index (HPI) shows an annual property price increase of 4.4% which takes the typical average property value in the UK to £167,353.

The monthly change from November to December 2013 showed a property price increase of 1.1%.

But behind the good news there is a large North-South divide in property repossession volumes, with the number of property repossessions far greater in Northern England than the number of repossessions in the South, even after the recent falls.

Property repossessions are a fantastic opportunity for would be property investors as the mortgage lender in possession of the property are only seeking reimbursement for their initial mortgage outlay, presenting below market value (BMV) opportunities for investors.

Repossession volumes decreased by 31% to just 1,129 in October 2013 compared to 1,636 property repossessions in October 2012.

The UK regions with the greatest fall in the number of repossession property sales were the East Midlands and the South West.

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Landlords Face Closer Scrutiny From HMRC

Landlords Face Closer Scrutiny From HMRC

HMRC Want Landlords
To Pay Up

Her Majesties Revenue and Customs (HMRC) are determined to hit private rental sector (PRS) landlords for as much tax as possible.

Over the past few months, HMRC inspectors have been closely scrutinising PRS landlord activity, focusing on any money generated by sales of buy-to-let properties that were purchased by property investors.

HMRC have created dedicated task forces in the Yorkshire and Humber region and in the South East of England to ensure property investors are not evading tax obligations.

HMRC have also been publicising a property sales campaign to try and round up property investors who have yet to declare income from the sale of rental properties, so if you are a property investor who has recently sold a rental property, (that has never been your main residence), you better hurry up and declare it to HMRC before 6th September 2013.

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Property Prices Increase As New Houses Built

Property Prices Increase As New Houses Built

Property Prices Increase As New Houses Built

On Tuesday, it was revealed that the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), said 21% of its members had reported an increased workload during the second quarter of the year.

The poll, the most upbeat since the start of 2007, indicated that the reported recovery of the UK property market was widespread, with surveyors in almost all of the UK’s regions and industry sub-sectors becoming busier.

The best-performing regions were London and the South West, often referred to as the driving force behind the UK property market, while the worst region was Northern Ireland, the only part of the UK where RICS surveyors continue to see their workload shrink.

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Which is the best residential property price index?

Which is the best residential property price index?

If you are a property investor looking to conduct thorough due diligence before purchasing property, which of the conflicting reports from different monthly house price indexes do you rely on?

Below is a quick overview of the four main index providers, provided by Quick Move Now!, along with some handy notes for how to interpret their data, and a comparison of their reporting of residential property prices during 2012 

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Avoid Property Fraud

Avoid Property Fraud

There has been a great deal of stuff and nonsense bandied about by the media concerning property fraud over recent months, however, most of it has been fairly erronious.

To mark the launch of the UK Land Registry’s “Property Fraud Hotline” earlier this month, here are a few tips to help landlords and property owners to protect the registration of their assets.

  1. Property fraud can happen in many ways. Fraudsters may attempt to acquire ownership of a property either by using a forged document to transfer it into their own name, or by impersonating the registered owner. Once they have raised money by mortgaging the property without the owner’s knowledge, they disappear without making repayments leaving the owner to deal with the consequences.
  2. The property fraud line on 0300 006 7030 is available from 8.30am to 5pm Monday to Friday. An online reporting form is also available at http://www.landregistry.gov.uk/contact-us/report-fraud or customers who prefer to email or wish to contact Land Registry outside business hours.
  3. The line is not a substitute for reporting allegations of fraud to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 (who will pass your report on to the police) or for taking independent legal advice.
  4. In 2011, half of the 52 claims paid out by Land Registry for fraud and forgery were by non-family members. Of these, 22 involved properties with an absent owner and amounted to £1.5 Million (GBP) out of the total £7.2 Million (GBP) paid for fraud and forgery claims.
  5. Two publications for property owners are available free from Land Registry – Public Guide 17 How to safeguard against property fraud and Public Guide 2 Keeping your address for service up to date.
  6. With the largest transactional database of its kind detailing over 23 million titles, Land Registry underpins the economy by safeguarding ownership of many billions of pounds worth of property.
  7. As a government department established in 1862, executive agency and trading fund responsible to the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, Land Registry keeps and maintains the Land Register for England and Wales. The Land Register has been an open document since 1990.
  8. For further information about Land Registry visit www.landregistry.gov.uk

The UK Land Registry’s trial of a free restriction for absent owners is being continued, so far around 5,000 properties have been protected in this way since the trial began in February 2012.

Designed to help prevent forgery, the restriction requires a solicitor or conveyancer to certify they are satisfied that the person selling or mortgaging the property is the true owner.

There is no Land Registry fee for property owners who wish to register this restriction as long as they do not live in the property, (i.e landlords).

Owner occupiers will have to pay a small fee.

UK Land Registry Launches Property Fraud Hotline

UK Land Registry Launches Property Fraud Hotline

A new fraud line has just been launched that allows property owners who are concerned that their property might be subject to a fraudulent sale or mortgage quickly alert the UK Land Registry.

Callers can speak to specially trained staff for practical guidance about what to do next.

The telephone number is 0300 006 7030

Lines are open from 8.30am to 5pm Monday to Friday.

The types of properties most vulnerable to fraudulent registrations or even mortgage fraud are usually empty, tenanted or mortgage-free residential properties.

Individuals at a higher risk of fraud include owners who do not live in the property because they live abroad, buy to let landlords, are in long term hospital or residential care or where a relationship has broken down. Other high risk property types include a landlord’s previous residential address that has since become a rental property controlled by the owner.

Examples of property fraud include situations where a buy to let landlord gets a call from a local estate agent saying that one of his rental properties seems to be being marketed for sale or where a relative learns the property has been ’stolen’ by a fraudster impersonating the deceased proprietor.

Alasdair Lewis, Director of Legal Services said: “Fraud affects all parts of today’s society and everyone in it, costing this country an estimated £38 billion each year. Government has a zero tolerance to fraud against the public purse but in order to fight fraud, everyone needs to work together. The need for everyone to play their part is just as relevant in the fight against property fraud as in other contexts. Our award-winning Counter-Fraud Unit works closely with the police and other agencies to reduce the risk of property fraud. Since September 2009, our measures have prevented fraud valued at £52 million but with an average indemnity payout of some £150,000, fraud is still a fundamental risk to our business.”

Additionally, as part of its commitment to a range of counter-fraud measures, Land Registry’s trial of a free restriction for absent owners is being continued. Around 5,000 properties have been protected in this way since the trial began in February 2012.

Designed to help prevent forgery, the restriction requires a solicitor or conveyancer to certify they are satisfied that the person selling or mortgaging the property is the true owner. There is no Land Registry fee for home owners who wish to register this restriction as long as they do not live in the property. Owner occupiers pay a small fee.

Land Registry’s Counter-Fraud Unit picked up the top prize in the Fraud Prevention Category at the inaugural Fighting Fraud Awards, supported by the National Fraud Authority, in December 2012.

Land Registry’s top tips to help owners protect their property from fraudsters:

  • Make sure your property is registered. If you become an innocent victim of fraud and suffer a financial loss as a consequence, you may be compensated.
  • Once registered, have up-to-date contact details so we can reach you easily.
  • You can have up to three addresses on the register, email addresses or an address abroad can be used. The more information you provide, the more chance we have of reaching you if we need to.

Property Values To Remain Flat In 2013

Residential property values increased by an average of 1.3% in December 2012 but according to the latest figures released by the Halifax, property values are likely to end 2013 at levels close to where they began.

UK Residential Property Values Not Expected To Change In 2013

UK Residential Property Values Not Expected To Change In 2013

The Halifax House Price Index revealed an average residential property price of £163,845 (GBP), up from £161,795 (GBP) in November 2012.

Over the course of the year, residential property values have remained little changed with six monthly rises and six decreases month-on-month.

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