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Investors Prefer Property Over Stocks And Shares

Investors Prefer Property Over Stocks And Shares

UK Property Investors are far more positive about continuing to invest in bricks and mortar over stocks and shares as the outlook for the UK property market continues to improve.

The latest Lloyds TSB Private Banking Investor Confidence Index shows that positive sentiment in the UK property market has improved massively in the last 3 months, whilst investors shy away from speculating in other markets with stocks and shares.

In April the positive sentiment for property was only 8%, and improving sentiment in regions such as Wales, West Midlands and North West has added to the strong confidence in London to lift the overall UK property sentiment level to 32%.

This means that UK property is now the fifth highest asset class, behind gold, emerging market shares, commodities and UK company shares. Over the same timescale, sentiment for gold showed a remarkable slump, dropping from 46% to just 12%.

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Mainstream Buy to let mortgage lenders are changing their products and lending policies as they prepare for the new rules to be implemented that will tighten up on the necessary criteria borrowers must meet, causing a stir in the market.

The Co-Op Bank announced this week that it was scrapping residential “Interest Only” mortgage products but the lender has confirmed that landlords can still obtain interest-only mortgage loans for the purchase of buy to let rental properties.

Platform will continue to offer interest only mortgages for the purposes of purchase and refinance for landlords, but has pulled all similar products for residential homeowners offered through the Co-Op, Platform and Britannia.

LloydsTSB also withdrew “Interest Only” residential home loans but similar “Interest Only” Buy-To-Let mortgage products for landlords will remain in place for the foreseeable future.

LloydsTSB have said that they intend to reduce loan exposure by cutting all UK mortgage lending by 3% stating that borrowing costs on the wholesale money markets were too high.
Instead, LloydsTSB want to raise more cash from their own savers to underwrite all forms of lending and want to raise deposits by 3% .

Banks, building societies and mainstream mortgage lenders tend to view the UK buy to let market as a business with rent from tenants used to underwrite interest payments and long-term capital appreciation, as the property increases in value, is accepted as a suitable repayment method.

Landlords can utilise Rent Guarantee insurance from specialist landlord service providers to ensure that their rental income remains uninterrupted and they can cover their Buy To Let mortgage payments.

Property investors and landlords don’t need to panic and should shop around for the best deal on the market. However, meeting the increased criteria could prove too much for some investors and they may be forced to seek alternative vehicles for finance or use alternative investment strategies such as Lease Options to control property.

Residential property affordability is at its most favourable in almost a decade, according to the latest Lloyds TSB Affordable Cities Review.

My home town of Salford, in the North West, is the most affordable UK city with an average property price of £102,391 that is 3.81 times the average gross annual earnings.

This partly reflects a 32% fall in house prices in this part of Greater Manchester since 2008.

The average price for a home in a UK city is £173,202 equating to 5.5 times the average gross annual earnings.

This is an improvement on 5.7 times the average gross annual earnings in 2011 and is significantly below the peak of 7.2 times the average gross annual earnings observed in 2008.

10 most affordable UK cities, 2012

UK cities

Region

Price to Earnings ratio

Salford

North West

3.81

Londonderry

Northern Ireland

3.87

Bradford

Yorkshire and the Humber

3.98

Lancaster

North West

4.00

Stirling

Scotland

4.04

Belfast

Northern Ireland

4.08

Durham

North

4.08

Lisburn

Northern Ireland

4.09

Hereford

West Midlands

4.26

Birmingham

West Midlands

4.43

UK cities average

 

5.51

Sources: Lloyds Banking Group, ONS

The marked improvement in affordability in UK cities over recent years has been driven by the significant fall in residential property prices.

Since 2008, the average house price within a city has fallen by 18% (£37,403) from £210,605 in 2008 to £173,202 in 2012.

  • 7 out of the 8 most affordable cities are in Northern Ireland and the North of England.
  • Ely in the East of England is the most affordable city in the south of England (4.60).

The least affordable city in the UK is Truro in the South West where the average property price (£250,489) is nearly ten times (9.71) the average gross earnings in the area. The benefits to the quality of life associated with living in this picturesque part of Cornwall have supported residential property prices in this area for the past decade.

Oxford (8.80) is the second least affordable city, followed by Winchester (8.76). Inverness (5.97) and York (5.95) are the least affordable cities outside Southern England.

Suren Thiru, housing economist at Lloyds TSB, commented: “The improvement in housing affordability within many of our major urban conurbations has been significant during the past few years and reflects the decline in house prices over the period. There is, however, a distinct north-south divide to the locations of the most affordable UK cities. Looking forward, the marked improvement in city affordability is likely to help support demand for those able to enter the housing market. Much of this benefit, however, maybe offset by the continuing difficulties many households face in raising a deposit and uncertainty over the outlook for the UK economy.”

The UK coalition Government’s NewBuy scheme was launched today, (12th March), aiming to provide a much needed boost for people seeking first-time buyer mortgages.

A recent survey by property portal Rightmove questioned over 2,726 potential house purchasers between March 5th and 7th 2012 about their awareness of the 95% NewBuy mortgages and how the new Government backed scheme might affect them.

Their results of the survey found that nearly 2 in every 5 first-time buyers believe that the introduction of the scheme means they are more likely to get on the housing ladder within the next 12 months.

The NewBuy scheme is available only on UK new-build properties.

However, some critics were already questioning the scheme before any official announcement was made.

Labour’s shadow housing minister Jack Dromey claimed that only 3 out of the original 7 lenders were participating, and that the number of developers in the scheme had fallen from 25 to 7.

The Council of Mortgage Lenders, which up until last week was unable to confirm whether the launch was even going to go ahead despite being co-architect of the scheme.

The CML issued a general, guarded statement, adding that it would issue further information when details of the scheme and participants were available.

CML Director General, Paul Smee, said: “NewBuy mortgages will help creditworthy borrowers who simply haven’t yet managed to build up a large enough deposit to gain access to finance to buy a newly-built home. NewBuy is good news for home-buyers, and potentially good news for jobs and the wider economy too. Borrowers need to understand the implications of high loan-to-value (LTV), borrowing, so we will be supporting the initiative with clear consumer information to help people decide whether NewBuy borrowing is an attractive option for them.”

The House Builders Federation (HBF) also issued a statement just days after it too had to admit it did not know for sure if today’s launch would go ahead.

Stewart Baseley, executive chairman of the HBF, said: “NewBuy will help thousands of people to meet their aspirations to buy a new home, freeing up the housing market and helping first-time buyers and those unable to take the next step on the ladder. The scheme will also provide a vital kick-start for house builders large and small who will be able to build the homes and create the jobs that the country desperately needs.

According to the research by Rightmove, 38% of those looking to buy for the first time stated they would be more likely to purchase a home over the next 12 months once the scheme was launched.

The scheme could also benefit ‘second-steppers’ – those looking to sell and trade up for the first time – with 24% of respondents in this group stating they would be more likely to purchase over the next 12 months.

Rightmove director Miles Shipside said: “NewBuy looks set to give a significant housing boost to the fortunes of those who need it the most. We’ve found that raising a deposit has long been the major obstacle for those looking to purchase a new home at the foot of the housing ladder. NewBuy helps address this challenge, and we’ve found that the knock-on effect is that, as of today, nearly two in five first-time buyers will be more likely to getting on the housing ladder via thanks to this initiative. First-time buyers and second-steppers have long been frustrated in their efforts to get on to or move up the housing ladder by prohibitive deposit requirements. Four out of ten first-time buyers cited ‘raising enough of a deposit’ to be their single biggest housing market concern in our recent First-Time Buyer Report. NewBuy opens the door to these groups and can also serve as a great stimulus to help safeguard and create jobs in the new build property sector.”

The HSBC and Yorkshire and Clydesdale banks have already said they will not be participating, and neither LloydsTSB or Santander have deals ready although Nationwide has said it will have NewBuy deals available.

Families who are looking to move into larger properties are finding themselves stuck in first-time buyer flats because they cannot sell their homes or get a mortgage.

A survey by LloydsTSB found that “second steppers”, those who have a first home to sell and who want to move up the ladder, are increasingly stuck in unsuitable accommodation.

The report reveals that home affordability for Second Steppers has become much less favourable and declining house prices have led to many homeowners being in negative equity.

Second Steppers are homeowners looking to sell their first home and move up the property ladder.

Many potential Second Steppers in today’s market would have bought close to the peak of the UK property market and are now finding it increasingly difficult to get off the “first rung”.

Many bought at the peak of the market in 2007, and may have negative equity to cope with as well as a lack of buyers and difficulty meeting moving costs.

The figures show the majority of property vendors in this situation have been stuck on the property ladder for over 12 months.
Some will have had children in the intervening time and feel that they are stuck in unsuitable accommodation.

22% now believe that it is harder to move up the housing ladder than to get on it in the first place.

According to Lloyds TSB’s report,
• 61% of second steppers have wanted to climb up the ladder in the past 12 months but have been unable to do so as they face an increasing number of challenges.
• 22% believe it is now harder to move up the ladder than get on it in the first place.
• 43% also feel it will be as equally difficult.

Stephen Noakes, mortgage director of Lloyds TSB said: “First-time sellers are now faced with some very tough challenges when trying to make their next move on the property ladder and many are finding it more difficult than getting on the ladder in the first place. It is vital that this group of home movers receive more support and attention as they play an intrinsic role in getting the housing market moving again.”

A recent study by HSBC also found that as many as 360,000 home owners are unable to move up the property ladder thanks to a combination of sliding house prices and more restrictive lending rules.

Those who bought properties in 2007 before the housing crash do not now have sufficient equity in their homes to trade up to larger properties, according to new research by HSBC.

Although most are not yet in negative equity, they do not hold enough of their home’s value to cover the required 10% deposit on a new property and pay associated moving costs, such as stamp duty, agent fees and legal expenses.

The problem has been exacerbated because the price of many first time properties has fallen faster than the rest of the housing market.

Demand from first time buyers has waned since lenders pulled out of the 100% mortgage market.

Mortgage lenders now require buyers to put down at least a 10% deposit, and even then these borrowers will be charged a higher mortgage interest rate than those borrowing 75% of a property’s value.

Peter Dockar, the head of mortgages at HSBC, said: “Those who have bought their first home can no longer rely on rising house prices to provide them with the deposit they need for their second.”

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While London may prove to have the most expensive streets in the UK within Kensington and Chelsea ,  MyPropertyPowerTeam.com lists  the other expensive streets Lloyds TSB identified across England and Wales by region.

Property investors should be on the lookout for properties available in these top locations. Remembering the old adage of “buying the worst properties in the best streets” in order to maximise capital appreciation.

  • East Anglia

The most expensive streets in East Anglia are concentrated in Cambridge.
All are close to the main University area (particularly around the Botanic Gardens) in the CB2 and CB3 postal districts.
The most expensive street is Sedley Taylor Road with an average house price of £ 1,111,000. 

  • East Midlands

Valley Road in the Nottingham suburb of West Bridgford is the most expensive street in the East Midlands with an average price of £823,000. Unlike in other regions, the most expensive streets in the East Midlands are spread around the region in towns such as Northampton (Golf Lane, £795,000), Leicester (Swithland Lane, £675,000) and Belper (Hazelwood Road, £790,000). 

  • North

Seven of the ten most expensive streets in the North are in Newcastle, with many of them in the Jesmond and Gosforth areas.
Graham Park Road is the most expensive with an average price of £1,228,000 followed by Oakfield Road (£896,000) and Darras Road (£750,000). 

  • North West

The ten most expensive streets in the North West are all in areas south of Manchester.
Withinlee Road in Prestbury is followed by Macclesfield Road in Alderley Edge (£1,320,000) and Torkington Road (£1,285,000) in Wilmslow. 

  • South East

Five of the ten most expensive streets in the South East are in Surrey. Properties on Leys Road in Leatherhead have an average price of £3,108,000 (highest outside London).
Other expensive streets in the region include Moles Hill in Leatherhead (£2,608,000), Nuns Walk in Virginia Water (£2,574,000) and both Phillippines Shaw (£2,352,000) and Wildernesse Avenue (£2,293,000) in Sevenoaks. 

  • South West

Poole has six of the ten most expensive streets in the South West.
Brundenell Avenue in Sandbanks in Dorset has an average house price of £2,024,000 and is the most expensive street outside of London and the South East.
Sandbanks is well known for commanding premium property prices, with Chaddesley Glen (£1,443,000), Crichel Mount Road (£1,415,000), Elms Avenue (£1,366,000) and Bingham Avenue (£1,310,000) all having an average price above £1 Million (GBP). 

  • West Midlands

Four of the ten most expensive streets in the West Midlands are in Solihull. The most expensive streets are Quarry Park Road in Solihull (£1,070,000), Rosemary Hill Road in Sutton Coldfield (£990,000) and Alderbrook Road in Solihull (£939,000). 

  • Yorkshire and the Humber

The most expensive streets in Yorkshire and the Humber are all located in the area that makes up the “Golden Triangle” between Harrogate, Wetherby and North Leeds.
The region’s most expensive street is Bracken Park in Scarcroft in Leeds with an average price of £934,000, followed by Wigton Lane in Leeds (£840,000) and Orchard Close in York (£800,000). 

  • Wales

The most expensive street in Wales is Druidstone Road in Cardiff with an average house price of £685,000.
Eight of the ten most expensive streets in the Principality are in Cardiff and Swansea; the remaining two are Gannock Road in Conwy (£677,000) and Glasllwch Lane in Gwent (£485,000).

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