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New Regulation in 2022 set to Pile more Pressure on Landlords Already Working to Recover from Covid-19 Challenges

New legislation being introduced this year is set to present landlords and their tenants with new regulatory and financial challenges on top of the financial burdens of Covid-19, says independent property management agent 

There is a mix of new legislation being introduced early in 2022, and confirmation of other regulations that will be introduced over the following few years. Some of the new legislation that is due to introduced will not only add unwelcome costs to landlords’ overheads, and subsequently impact rents, but they are also likely to change the working practices of many landlords.

 

2022 will see the introduction of several new pieces of legislation and confirmation of Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards that will present some serious challenges to landlords and their tenants. Robert Burdett, MD at James Leigh Property Management

 

February 2022: Energy Price Cap announcement expected

The energy price cap rise is due to be announced in February 2022 and to take effect in April 2022. This means that tenants’ energy bills will rise. Landlords should be aware of this, and tenants are likely to ask why their energy bills are increasing. Understanding the changes means that landlords can provide the answers to their tenants, albeit unpopular. For landlords, it could be an opportunity to give some advice to tenants on how they can lower their energy consumption.

April 2022: Changes to Right to Rent Checks announced

Temporary measures announced to keep the rental market moving in the early stages of Covid-19 are due to end on the 1st April 2022. These included checks by video, use of photocopies and photos. the Government has already indicated that it wants to introduce a digital system, but has not provided any more information yet on what this will include.

April 2022: Making Tax Digital for VAT

This is due for introduction in April 2022, and while many businesses are already submitting VAT returns digitally, all businesses will be required to submit VAT returns using a suitable software package, and keeping digital VAT records.

These changes mean that the beginning of 2022 will be challenging for landlords. Most have already made numerous changes to look after their tenants who may have been suffering financial hardship, alterations to the way properties can be marketed and access requirements to keep people safe during Covid-19.

Announcements expected for future changes in regulation in the New Year include:

Early 2022: Confirmation on increase to Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards 

There has been speculation over what these changes are likely to be, but it is expected that these will be confirmed during the early part of 2022. From April 2025 it is expected that new tenancies in rental properties will have to hold an Electrical Performance Certificate (EPC) rated C or above, and that from April 2028 the new standards will apply to all tenancies. Whatever the changes, they remain unclear at the moment, but it seems likely that they will be part of the drive to a net-zero economy.

Early 2022: Renters’ Reform Bill White Paper

This is a significant piece of legislation that will affect the way landlords operate, and include the abolition of Section 21, the reinforcement of Section 8, Lifetime Tenant Deposits, and could include a Landlords’ Register. This is a major change to the legislation governing the property rental market, including how landlords can evict their tenants. Landlords should keep an eye on this so that they are prepared for changes when they pass onto the Statute Book

 

Landlords are facing some major changes during 2022. It’s important that they take the time to assess their businesses and ensure that they are taking the correct professional advice to implement new rules correctly. That’s no small ask after all the emergency  changes to legislation and the extra support that they have offered tenants, many of whom have suffered financial hardship, during Covid-19

Robert Burdett, MD, James Leigh Property Management

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Autumn Budget ‘leaves a lot to be desired’ for housing market – Mortgage Solutions

Industry figures have expressed disappointment at the lack of prominence of the housing market in today’s Autumn Budget, stating that many figures were a rehashing of previous announcements and did not make key reforms.

In the Budget and Spending Review today, Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak (pictured) confirmed that there would be a £24bn multi-year settlement for housing, £11.5bn of which would be used to build a target of 180,000 affordable homes.

He reiterated the government’s commitment to £5bn in grant funding for cladding remediation and said that this would be partially funded by a residential property developer tax.

Sunak also said that the government would make changes to bank corporation surcharge and provide a £1.8bn investment in brownfield sites.

He also announced that there would be £65m investment to improve planning regime with a new digital system. There is also £65m funding for those in rental debt.

Many of these announcements had already been announced over the past year, and housing only appeared four times in Sunak in his roughly hour-long address.

Government funding for affordable homes falls short

Industry figures said the funding announced was a step in the right direction, but still fell short of what was needed to address the housing shortage, especially when it came to affordable housing.

Propertymark’s policy and campaigns manager Timothy Douglas said that whilst there was some “good news” from the announcements today it “leaves a lot to be desired”.

He said the previously announced £65m funding for rental debt provided some support but the “devil is in the detail”.

He explained: “Almost four million low-income households are in arrears with their household bills, yet this money will be targeted at those who are most at risk of homelessness, excluding a significant number of others from help.”

He added that the £1.8bn fund in brownfield sites and £11.5bn for affordable homes but noted that the latter was not new money and only 32,000 of the 180,000 would be social rented housing, which is a third of what is needed.

This was echoed by Landbay’s chief executive John Goodall who said that the £11.5bn investment to build 180,000 new homes would be “helpful, if they actually get built”.

He said: “The government is woefully short in its target to build 300,000 new homes a year, so we need to see the detail of exactly how that is to be achieved.”

Steve Collins, chief executive of affordable housing provider Rentplus, said: “Any new investment in housing is to be welcomed but the current funding is still well short of what is needed to provide the affordable housing required to meet demand.

“Given the chancellor’s wish to control spending, the only way to deliver the number of new affordable homes needed is through a significant injection of institutional funding. Privately funded housing providers are already stepping in to fill this gap but there is the potential for many more millions to be invested.”

He added that Homes England and National Housing Federation have both called for further institutional investment in social housing and this should be supported by the government being clearer on alternatives to Help to Buy and shared ownership.

Richard Pike, Phoebus Software sales and marketing director, said: “This was never going to be a budget that really tackles our housing shortage, the Chancellor had much bigger fish to fry after the pandemic.

“There was the usual nod with the announcement of further investment to help development on brownfield sites, which acknowledged the fact that we are woefully behind the government’s target to build 300,000 new homes per year. While the £24bn multi-year settlement sounded good, when spoken out loud, we will need to see exactly how that money is to be carved up and over how many years.”

John Phillips, national operations director at Just Mortgages, said the budget had been “light on news for the property sector”, and added the benefit of funds for affordable housing and brownfield sites would not be felt for years.

Missed opportunity for stamp duty and court system reform

Industry figures had also been hoping for some comment around stamp duty, with the tax holiday fuelling property prices and a boom for the sector earlier over the past 12 months, and some calling for reform.

Douglas said: “The UK government has also missed a golden opportunity to reshape an outdated stamp duty land tax system to reflect rising house prices and remove some of the market distortions it causes.

“It is further disappointing there is no reform of the court system to deal with the volume of possession hearings – an estimated 62,000 just in England and Wales alone – or proper funding for landlords so that calls for energy-efficiency improvements on an older private-rented stock are financially viable, and not just hot air.”

Phillips disagreed and said a lack of action on stamp duty was a positive for the sector.

He said said: “While some may have been calling for a review of stamp duty, the lack of action is actually a positive for the market. Last year transactions were artificially inflated by the tax savings and the pandemic, and since stamp duty has returned, the urgency has dropped, but demand has remained.”

He added that the state of the mortgage market would become clearer in the coming months, but there were “positive signals” from lenders with the return of high loan to value (LTV), especially 95 per cent LTV products which showed lenders did not feel a “price-crash is imminent”.

“The imbalance of buyers and sellers backs this position up. There are still over 10 buyers for every one property listed, and although a sizeable sum has been allocated for new homes, these will take years to build and in the meantime, prices will continue to rise.

“The chancellor’s latest budget may have been light on news for those in the mortgage market, but in this instance, no news is good news.”

This content was originally published here.

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Plenty of demand still needs fulfilling in the UK housing market | Mortgage Introducer

Simon Jackson is managing director at SDL Surveying

If you’re a UK consumer who takes only a passing interest in the housing market then the likelihood is your views on ‘what it is like’ are probably shaped by the media, perhaps specifically the newspapers, you read.

Are the high level of transactions and the levels of demand a sure sign of an overheating marketplace, or actually are we already seeing the future in terms of a normalised post-stamp duty holiday market beginning to emerge?

My feeling is that it’s the latter argument that looks far more credible and as we move forward throughout the year, most notably as we pass this forthcoming June stamp duty holiday deadline and the partial one – which is only a few months away in September – we’ll begin to see this normalisation become ever clearer.

Indeed, there’s already a very strong argument to suggest that’s exactly what we’re starting to see.

After all, anyone coming to the housing market right now and determining that they have a very good chance of getting any sort of stamp duty saving would, at best, be very optimistic and, at worst, somewhat deluded.

I would anticipate that every single property market professional they encounter along the way – whether estate agent, adviser, lender, you name it – is going to be disavowing them of the notion that a stamp duty saving is achievable even before the end of September.

As mentioned, that seems very optimistic given that I’m reading of average offer to completion times of 20 weeks – five months in old money, in case you come across a client who thinks it still might be doable.

So, if as I suspect, the vast majority of those now coming to market are fully aware their chances of purchasing and saving money on stamp duty are slim to non-existent, that would seem to tell me their motives for buying are not reliant on achieving that saving.

Which seems bizarre to even say or perhaps think, but clearly if there is going to be a tax saving then, as we’ve seen time and time again in the housing market, this does act as an incentive.

The reason I say all this is that we’re still seeing incredibly strong demand in the market.

From our perspective, business volumes have been very good; our surveyors have been very busy which continues to mean we look at ongoing recruitment and adding further resource in order to meet that demand.

However, this ongoing activity points us even more strongly in the direction of a ‘landing’ for the housing market post-stamp duty holiday.

This isn’t a hard crash and is much smoother than some of the more pessimistic commentators might have us believe.

The underlying drive of this market – if it ever was – is no longer stamp duty savings simply because it can’t be.

So, what is it? It’s people’s genuine desire to look at other housing options, particularly in a post-lockdown environment where (as we know) many found the stresses and strains of those periods compounded by their living arrangements.

So, whether it’s tenants in the private rental sector or those looking at home ownership, there is a genuine desire to move to other properties which fit the bill far more effectively.

That’s a desire for more space in order to work from home more, as many millions of people look likely to do on a regular basis, or it’s a move away from certain regions or cities or towns, where that type of space is more freely available.

What we can see are people looking at their options to make those moves in still very strong numbers.

The likelihood is that the summer will move at a slightly slower pace, simply because people will want to take holidays – and will have employers urging them to take them – but over the course of the next few months and, beyond the end of September, I see no reason to suspect housing demand will fall off that cliff.

If anything, we’ll see far more motivated buyers and sellers, not thinking about stamp duty in the sense of saving money but understanding that, depending on their circumstances, they will have to pay the ‘going rate’ as it was pre-pandemic.

It’s always going to be a factor, given the cost, but it’s not going to be figuring further up the scale of considerations than it does in ‘normal’ times.

And it therefore seems entirely plausible that talks of any sort of crash are very much exaggerated, plus there is an awful lot of demand to be fulfilled in the coming months, to keep us all very busy for some time to come.

This content was originally published here.

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Most in-demand UK property hotspot revealed as housing market slows in cities – Isle of Wight Radio

Newquay has the most in-demand property market in the UK right now, according to data from a property website.

The Cornish town has been named the hottest sellers’ market, with 82% of all properties put up for sale this year already sold, according to figures from Rightmove.

It is followed by Newton-Le-Willows in Merseyside, where 81.8% of properties have sold, and Plymstock in Devon where 81.2% have sold.

Newquay agent Bradley Start, partner at Start & Co Estate, said the area is seeing the worst property shortage for 30 years as out-of-town buyers fuel a demand for housing.

He said: “The stock shortage is the worst I’ve seen in thirty years and there’s just seemingly endless demand.

“It’s a mix of locals moving, people buying holiday homes and those relocating completely, which is leading to more out-of-town buyers than we would normally see.”

Asking prices in the top 10 seller areas have continued to rise since the market reopened in May 2020 following the first lockdown, with seven of these hitting a new record this year.

The demand is being helped by people looking to leave cities and relocate as working from home becomes the norm.

As a result, the property market is much slower in city centres which have been hit hard by the pandemic – with many seeing just one in five properties on the market sold since the start of the year.

Birmingham city centre has been named as the top buyers’ market, where just 18.4% of properties have been sold.

It’s followed by Liverpool city centre where 22% have sold.

Other areas in the top 10 buyers’ market include affluent areas like Beaconsfield in Buckinghamshire – where average asking prices are over £1m – and Sunbury-on-Thames in Surrey with average asking prices over £500,000.

The list is based on just under 300,000 properties that have come up for sale since the start of 2021.

Rightmove said the easing of coronavirus restrictions has increased activity in an already busy housing market.

Across the country almost two out of every three properties are currently sold subject to contract, and available property is down 26% on this time last year, the property website added.

The number of new properties coming up for sale rose by 51% in March, but demand continues to outstrip supply.

So far this year Rightmove has recorded 20 of its busiest days, with a new record set on 7 April when more than 9.3 million visits were made to the website.

Rightmove’s director of property data, Tim Bannister, said: “Areas around the north and South West are the stand-out sellers’ markets right now, and places in Cornwall and Devon are continuing the trend of a desire to move to the seaside and countryside.

“Suburbs are also faring well as some people move further out from the centre of cities. Both sale and rental properties in city centres have been suffering over the past year as the usual appeal to live there has temporarily been taken away, leading to more stock than usual being available, but we may see these start to shift more quickly over the next few months as lockdown restrictions continue to be removed.”

Top 10 sellers’ market areas by % of properties sold

Newquay, Cornwall – 82.0%

Newton-Le-Willows, Merseyside – 81.8%

Plymstock, Devon – 81.2%

Hailsham, East Sussex – 81.1%

Canvey Island, Essex – 80.5%

Atherton, Manchester – 80.3%

Quedgeley, Gloucestershire – 80.1%

Willingdon, East Sussex – 79.2%

Whitchurch, Bristol – 78.2%

Melksham, Wiltshire – 77.9%

Top 10 buyers’ market areas by % of properties sold

Birmingham city centre – 18.4%

Liverpool city centre – 22.0%

Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire – 29.0%

Manchester city centre – 31.0%

Sunbury-On-Thames, Surrey – 31.4%

Langley, Berkshire – 31.5%

Bushey, Hertfordshire – 31.8%

Norwich city centre – 32.5%

Witney, Oxfordshire – 33.2%

Southampton city centre – 33.3%

This content was originally published here.

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House Price Index April 2021: Our Analysis

House Price Index Reports are being published for April, and this month we’re taking a look at the statistics provided from Rightmove.

Headline figures for the month:

  • Prices have reached a record high this April, with the average selling price at £327,797
  • We’ve seen an increase over last month in prices of +2.1%, which equates to £6,733.

The chart below is linked from Rightmove’s House Price Index for April and shows the statistics broken down by market sector as well as March and April stats.

House Price Index

Alongside these figures, Rightmove reports a ‘buying frenzy’ for new stock. The number of houses selling within a week has reached an all-time high, while the average number of days to sell a property has reached a historic low. The fastest-selling stock is two- and three-bedroom semi-detached properties. 30% of these properties are reported as selling within a week of being placed on the market.

The housing market was effectively closed during this period in 2020, however, making comparisons with the same period in 2019 is possible. The figures show that properties coming to market have only increased by 3% on April 2019, which is a modest increase, however, the number of sales agreed compared to the same period is up by 55%. According to Rightmove, the availability of property for sale is at its lowest level ever. And while the proportion of available property has recovered to pre-Covid levels, it is still outpaced significantly by buyer demand.

Rightmove has forecast that some of the heat may come out of the housing market when Government support including furlough and the Stamp Duty holiday comes to an end and economic conditions become more challenging.  That said, forecasters expect the housing market to remain buoyant for the rest of 2021.

Looking across the United Kingdom (except NI), every region shows a monthly increase and growth vs last year. Take a look at the map below for regional figures.

House Price Index It’s good news for sellers in the East of England with average property values in third place after, unsurprisingly, London, and the South East. And more good news with an average time to sell at just 51 days.

Our Analysis of the House Price Index for April

The signs in the house price index could show the beginnings of the market overheating with the lack of available properties, rising prices, and high demand. However, the economic measures introduced by the Government to protect the housing market are likely to take some of the heat out when they end later in 2021. There is also some anecdotal evidence that many potential sellers are waiting for their second Covid vaccine, and for restrictions to ease as the pandemic continues to slow across the UK. That means that there is likely to be an increase in available properties, which will naturally slow house price increases as buyers have more choice and selling prices calm somewhat. The housing market is unlikely to become a buyers’ market, but it will rebalance somewhat.

Alongside this is the changing nature of the type of properties that people are looking to buy. Demand for properties in rural areas with more space and facilities for people to work from home is high at present, but whether this trend continues will depend on whether businesses wish to see their staff return to the office permanently, a blend of homeworking and office, or remain at home.

There will be an impact when the Stamp Duty holiday ends, along with furlough, and the inevitable economic challenges that the UK could face, including rising unemployment and any fallout from Brexit that is yet to be felt. Of course, the UK economy is highly resilient, so there are forecasts that expect only a short-term slowdown.

Whatever challenges the UK faces in the coming months, we expect the housing market to remain resilient in the coming months, with steady growth into 2022.

Read the full House Price Index here 

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Boost for housing market with government 95% mortgage scheme launch

Boost for housing market with government 95% mortgage scheme launch

A new government-backed mortgage scheme to help people with smaller deposits get on to the housing ladder is available from today (April 19).

The scheme, which was first announced at the Budget, will help first time buyers and current homeowners secure a mortgage with a five per cent deposit to buy a house of up to £600k.

The scheme is now available from lenders on high streets across the country, with Lloyds, Santander, Barclays, HSBC and NatWest launching mortgages under the scheme today and Virgin Money following next month.

Housing Secretary Rt Hon Robert Jenrick MP commented: “For too many people, no matter how hard they work, home ownership can seem out of reach. One of the biggest divides in our country has been between those who can afford their own home and those who cannot.

“That’s why we are determined to do everything we can to help hard-working families and prospective first-time buyers get their feet on the housing ladder in an easy and affordable way, to level up this country.

“Despite the challenges faced over the past year, the government has intervened to protect jobs, support builders and buyers to help keep the housing market healthy. Today’s 95 per cent mortgages launch further strengthens our commitment to build back better from the pandemic.”

Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak added: “Every new homeowner and mover supports jobs right across the housing sector, but saving for a big enough deposit can be hard, especially for first time buyers.

“By giving lenders the option of a government guarantee on 95% mortgages, many more products will become available, boosting the sector, creating new jobs and helping people achieve their dream of owning their own home.”

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#6 Tips for a Successful House Sale

We’ve taken a look at the tips and advice that we give our clients when they are considering a house sale, and chosen the top six. Yes, there are many things that you can do to prepare your home for sale, but these six should go a long way to getting that sale secured and to your move happening quickly.

#6 Tips for a Successful House Sale 

1. Give the garden a good prune

2. Spruce up inside

3. Pets

4. Be ready with answers

5. Be aware of your responsibilities 

6. Engage a professional estate agent 


Remember, first impressions last. We’re not, in any of our tips, suggesting that you should undertake any major works, but rather refreshing and sprucing things up! When a prospective buyer first pulls up outside your house, everything they see from then until they leave will leave a lasting impression on them. And it’s almost certain that they will be viewing more properties that day, and on subsequent days. So you want to make their visit to your home a memorable one. For the right reasons!


So here are our top six tips for a successful house sale:

1. Give the garden a good prune

Your front garden is the first thing that your prospective buyers will see when they arrive. So it’s a great idea to keep the lawn mown, prune any trees, bushes, and hedges, and have a good general tidy. And the same for the back garden. Most of these jobs are probably done anyway and remember that you’ll probably only need to do this once more before you move, so it’s worth the effort. People want to see as much of a blank canvas as possible so that they can imagine the changes that they will make, so you could consider uncluttering. Is your collection of 300 garden gnomes going to cut the mustard? No probably not. 

2. Spruce up inside

We’re not suggesting that you remodel the kitchen, but giving the walls a lick of paint and repairing any damage, cracks, and wear and tear could help your house sale. Are there rooms where a neutral colour could lighten the room and provide that blank canvas we mentioned earlier? Try and declutter indoors too. Of course, there are things that will be very personal to you, but they won’t mean anything to a prospective buyer, and consider whether what’s important to you could stop your prospective buyer from imagining their vision for what will become their home.

3. Pets

There are a couple of considerations here. The best atmosphere for a potential buyer will enjoy your home more if the atmosphere is relaxed and comfortable. Some people don’t like animals, and others will be nervous around pets other than their own. Try and remove that worry. Could you arrange for the dog to be out for a walk, or better yet in the kennel if you’re got multiple viewings in a day? That takes away any anxiety and bad behaviour on the part of your pet and removes any potential for tension. It also gives you the chance to vacuum up after your beloved long-haired mutt! Animals also come with a particular smell, so put the cat litter outside, and try an air freshener, or simply give the house a good air. We’re not suggesting that you deny having any pets, but remember, anything that can affect your potential home buyer from imagining their vision for your home could prevent a successful house sale.

4. Be ready with answers

Take a look at our blog The Questions you need to ask for a Successful House Move for some ideas on the sort of questions that your potential house buyers will ask. A little bit of research will give you all the answers you need. You could even try and volunteer some of the answers. So for example, if your guests bring their children, you could give explain which local school catchment area your home is in. There could be all manner of questions that people have but always answer honestly, and if you don’t know, say so. 

5. Be aware of your responsibilities

There are particular responsibilities as a seller and some information that you have to disclose using a TA06 form. This is sent by your buyer to you to complete before you exchange contracts. More information about this here 

This covers issues such as boundary disputes, problems with title deeds, and disputes over noise and nuisance. If you do have anything ongoing, or you’re aware that there are issues with the title deed, for example, have a chat with your estate agent about the best way to deal with any issues.

6. Engage a professional estate agent

It might seem like an easy option to go it alone, but remember that a professional estate agent will take the right photos, create a stunning sales pack, and already have people looking for houses just like yours. Not only that, but a professional estate agent can provide you with a realistic sale price, give you advice and guidance on do’s and don’ts, and knows the local market, so they will know the strengths to concentrate on to get you the house sale that you are seeking.


There are many other things that you can do to make your successful house sale, these are our top six. If you are considering a move and have a property to sell, we can provide you a free valuation. You can do this online here or get in touch to arrange for a member of our team to visit. You can leave your details here 

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Bank of England gives housing market ‘clean bill’ after months of Covid

Housing demand remained strong in the first quarter of the year in stark contrast to commercial property, which has been dealt a body blow in many sectors, the Bank of England has reported.

Its quarterly review of the economy reveals that investors’ appetite for commercial property was still below its pre-pandemic level, in particular for retail premises, while the residential market remains largely in rude health.

Estate agents reported a significant over-supply in sales and lettings, with falling values and rents. Rental arrears were still an issue, particularly in commercial property where some loan covenants had been breached.

Outlook improved

The BoE found some estate agents had seen interest from overseas investors for property in prime locations, but overall its summary of business conditions shows the outlook for the housing market had improved, with activity supported by the extension of the Stamp Duty holiday and Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

But the agents quizzed also expressed concern about a shortage of properties for sale and said buyers appeared to be less price-sensitive than normal.

Demand for rental property remained strong in most parts of the UK, causing rents to increase. Rent arrears were reported to have risen only slightly, although there was uncertainty whether that would continue to be the case once the temporary increase in Universal Credit ends later this year.

The Bank of England said that while overall economic activity remained weak, this was expected to pick up soon. It pointed to tentative signs of business confidence improving and indications that employment opportunities would grow.

This content was originally published here.

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Spring and post Covid optimism in the air for the housing market – Property Industry Eye

Sentiment in the residential property market surged in the past week to its highest levels since last summer as people welcomed the government extension to the stamp duty holiday, support for 95% LTV mortgages, optimism over phenomenal coronavirus vaccination programme and general a general feel-good factor as spring arrived, the latest data from the Yomdel Property Sentiment Tracker (YPST) showed.

In the week to midnight Sunday, vendors soared almost 16% to finish 46% higher than the same week last year just before coronavirus restrictions were imposed; buyers were up 18% on the week and 52% year-on-year; landlords swept in to mark a record one week rise of 27% to end 16% higher than early March 2020; while tenants were flat week-on-week but 43% higher than a year earlier.

Digital traffic via estate agent own-branded websites soared even before the chancellor stepped down from the dispatch box after delivering his budget last week. Traffic overall was 43% higher than the same week last year, while the proportion engaging in live chat to make initial enquiries was up 34% year/year, which in turn delivered 29% more leads.

Yomdel provides 24/7 managed live chat services to 3,800 estate agent offices in the UK, handling more than a 1.9m chats per year. It has analysed the data and leads captured in live chat going back to January 2019, up until week ending 7 March February 2021. The website visitor data is a sample across major estate agency groups in the UK and covers in excess of 50 million unique website visits back to January 2019.

“To anyone who thought all demand had been sucked out of the market last year the message seems to be ‘you were wrong’. Spring is in the air, and last year’s atypical market shows every sign of repeating itself as people have turned to planning home moves as a prime lockdown activity. The extension to the stamp duty holiday has rekindled the fire and that is reflected in this week’s exceptional numbers,” said Andy Soloman, Yomdel founder and CEO.

“There’s no reason this demand will subside any time soon and aside from the fresh wave of vendors, of particular interest to agents will be the rush of new landlords looking for help. Agents we work with tell us rental stock is seeing significant shortages in some areas or categories with tenants jostling to pay top money for their rents,” he added.

The YPST methodology establishes a base line average shown as 100% or 100, calculated according to average engagement values over the 62 weeks prior to the first national lockdown on 23 March 2020, and plots movements from there according to the volumes of people engaging in live chat, their stated needs, questions asked, and new business leads generated. Data is measured over full 24-hour periods.

New vendors were up 15.71%, or 23.15 points, to end the week on 170.49, some 70% above the average, 46% higher than the same week last year and at their highest level since early September.

Buyers, buoyed by the stamp duty holiday extension, surged 18.09%, or 27.66 points, to close at 180.53, 81% above the pre-covid-19 average, 52% above the same week 2020, and at their highest level since early August.

Landlords were the biggest gainers, soaring 26.56%, or 25.45 points, to 121.28, some 21% above the average and 16% higher than the same week last year.

Tenants were flat for a second week to end up 0.16%, or 0.20 points, to close at 123.50 some 24% above the pre-covid-19 average and 43% above the same week last year.

The following graph looks at the relationship between website visitor volumes, live chat volumes and the volume of leads generated. The data samples more than 50 million visitors to estate agent websites from Jan 2019 – 7 March 2021 and shows how web traffic (blue line) is 43% higher than the same week last year. The volume of people using live chat (red line) and the numbers of new business leads captured (purple line) are 34% and 29%, respectively, above the same week 2020.

This content was originally published here.

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ONS data: ‘These figures paint a picture of a housing market that’s got rockets strapped to its boots’ – Property Industry Eye

To the surprise of absolutely no-one in the property industry, latest provisional, seasonally-adjusted figures from the ONS (National Statistics) show UK residential transactions in February 2021 were at 147,050, 48.5% higher than February 2020 and 23.0% higher than January 2021.

The ONS commentary on the data says:

Provisional estimates of UK residential transactions in February 2021 have increased year on year, likely impacted by temporarily increased nil rate bands for SDLT, LBTT and LTT.

Provisional estimates of UK residential transactions in February 2021 have also likely captured impacts from forestalling, as taxpayers sought to file returns for completed transactions during February in time for the original increased SDLT nil rate band policy end date of 31 March 2021, and before the policy was extended at Budget 2021

The provisional non-seasonally adjusted estimate for UK residential transactions in February 2021 of 122,840 is the highest February total since the introduction of Stamp Duty statistics in their current format from 2005.

Following year on year decreases in April and May 2020 of around 50% caused by economic impacts relating to the coronavirus pandemic, UK residential transactions estimates have followed a gradually increasing trend during subsequent months.

Particularly interesting is the chart of  February transaction volumes in the last decade:

Jonathan Hopper, CEO of the buying agents Garrington Property Finders, commented:

“Clearly February’s extraordinary numbers are unlikely to be repeated. Almost 50% more homes were sold during the month compared to the same time last year, and the spike in completions was the result of a ‘sprint finish’ as countless buyers strained every sinew to hit the finishing tape before the Stamp Duty deadline.

“Now the Chancellor has moved the finish line back by several months, the pace is unlikely to stay quite as breathless. But the combination of a strong pipeline of would-be buyers, a gradual rolling back of lockdown and a growing sense of optimism should prove formidable.

“The sprint race may be over, but the market has plenty of spring left in its step.”

Jonathan Sealey, CEO at specialist lender Hope Capital, said:

“After a year of living with coronavirus restrictions and an unprecedented economic downturn, today’s figures highlight a property market that is in rude health. However, the spike in transactions in February will have been driven by house-buyers looking to beat the SDLT holiday deadline in March, so it will be interesting to see the impact of the Chancellor’s Budget announcement that will be extended into the summer.”

Iain McKenzie, CEO of The Guild of Property Professionals:

“These figures paint a picture of a housing market that’s got rockets strapped to its boots – up 50% year on year and nearly a quarter higher than January.

“The good news for the property market looks set to continue with the extension of the stamp duty holiday, and we’re expecting prices and transactions to continue to rise.

“The increase could also give a glimmer of hope that conveyancing delays, which had held up completion for many buyers, are starting to ease.”

Buying agent and property pundit, Henry Pryor, summed up in a tweet what many must be thinking,: “Did we really need the extention to the Stamp Duty holiday?”

This content was originally published here.