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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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Housing Market Resilience Surprise Despite Economic Uncertainty

In our latest media release, Bob Burdett looks at the latest RICS report on the housing market.

 

Housing market demand remains strong despite uncertain economic conditions and the continuing fluctuation in Covid-19 cases in England says Robert Burdett, MD at James Leigh Property Management. 

Commenting on the October Survey published by the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors(RICS), Mr. Burdett said, “The analysis in RICS’ October survey is certainly supported by what we are seeing on the ground, which is that demand remains very strong with supply struggling to keep up. House prices continue to rise, although they have calmed somewhat since the end of the Stamp Duty holiday.”

Supply continues to be a challenge, but demand has defied forecasts. The end of the Stamp Duty holiday has been balanced by continued low borrowing rates, although the cost of borrowing is beginning to rise, despite the Bank of England keeping the Base Rate unchanged. The rate of increase is likely to slow further as the housing market enters the traditional slowdown over Christmas and the Winter.

Moving into Spring, supply is expected to improve as the housing market enters a period where it is naturally buoyant. That said, transactions are set to continue throughout the Winter despite the supply challenges and resulting house price rises as buyers take advantage of low interest rates, ahead of an anticipated rise in the Base Rate of interest in 2022.

Robert Burdett said, “We expect transactions to slow over Winter, as it always does, but we are still seeing brisk trade, so the signs are positive for a busy end to 2021, despite uncertainty around Covid-19, and the massive strain that the economy has been under.” Bob Burdett James Leigh Property Management

Since 2009 there have been 3.5 million first-time buyers entering the housing market, none of whom have experienced rising interest rates. Alongside this possible increase in mortgage payments is the spectre of the rising cost of living which could impact confidence and therefore prices. 

Robert Burdett said, “The factors impacting the housing market including the looming interest rate rise in 2022, supply and demand issues, seasonal variations and the rise in the cost of living could impact the market, but the fact is that it has shown remarkable resilience over the last 18 months, so there is much to be positive about as 2021 comes to a close and we look forward to 2022.”

 

The RICS UK Residential Market Survey October 2021 can be viewed here 

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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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Nuclear Power Stations & House Prices: Understanding the Impact

nuclear power stationsNuclear power stations are controversial. There’s no doubt about that. Public perception of the risks associated with an operating station and storage of nuclear materials can impact local house prices, but the relationship between nuclear power stations and local house prices isn’t as simple as that. 

Whilst the impact of nuclear power stations may superficially be negative, there is a complex relationship between housing needs, workers at a nuclear plant in the long term, and workers brought in during the construction phase, and local housing stock in the purchase and rental markets.

Nuclear Power Stations in the East of England

In the East of England construction on Bradwell B and Sizewell C is set to begin in the next few years. Both sites will employ around 9000 people during the construction phase, with 900 employed when the power plants become operational. Both are areas of relatively low population density and insufficient housing stock to deal with such an influx of people. That means that the housing market in the wider region will be impacted.

The Impact of Nuclear Power Stations 

Environment

Whilst the public perception of nuclear power stations is that they are polluting, the opposite is actually true. Since 1958, nuclear power stations have saved 2.3 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide. They have a lower carbon footprint than coal, oil, and gas power stations, and lower even than solar power. So living in close proximity to a nuclear power station compared to other industrial sites is arguably healthier in terms of clean air. 

Rental properties

There are two opportunities for buy-to-let landlords. Firstly, the construction phase of new nuclear power stations. Large numbers of workers will come into the area over a prolonged period of time. For a landlord, that means people with a known income, a set period of time living in the local area, and a known demographic. That removes much of the uncertainty when taking on a new tenant, as well as the certainty that for the period that a nuclear power station takes to build, properties are likely to be let. 

Secondly, consider that rental values are affected by house prices and the availability of suitable properties. Demand near nuclear power stations will naturally increase so landlords can expect rental values to increase, at least during the construction phase. There could also be pressure on housing stocks when nuclear power stations become operational, depending on local housing stock. 

House Prices

House prices are affected in the most simple form by supply and demand. In the case of a major infrastructure project, demand may outstrip supply. This is no different for the construction and operation of nuclear power stations. The major difference is the public perception of safety, although, with more awareness of environmental issues, proximity to polluting industrial developments will also play a part near other types of industrial sites.

So housing demand near nuclear power stations will rise. There will be demand for properties suitable for workers during the construction phase and ongoing needs in the long term. Considering the 9000+ workers needed during the construction phase and 900 or more thereafter, demand is likely to far outweigh supply. So expect house prices to rise. 


nuclear power stations and the housing market The Opportunities in the Housing Market near Nuclear Power Stations 

There are three key opportunities in the housing market near nuclear power stations during the construction phase and into their operational period.

 

1. Rental Properties

As demand increases, so will rental values. For the savvy landlord investing in property near the site before the construction phase begins could yield a higher rental yield than under normal circumstances. Values will be highest for the right properties during the construction phase where thousands of homes will be needed, and the closer to the site the better. These properties must be suitable for the demographic- people working in the construction industry with specialist skills looking for smaller homes for shorter periods of time. The working population will be transient, so shorter-term lets are likely to be in demand. 

2. House Sales

In the same way as rental values, as demand increases, so will house prices. This could have an impact on the wider region, depending on housing density and availability of suitable homes. So for those homeowners with in-demand properties, there is an opportunity to sell up at a higher price than under normal circumstances, especially if the prospect of living near a nuclear power station isn’t appealing.

3. Property Investors

For property investors with the knowledge of investment opportunities like major infrastructure projects, there is an opportunity where nuclear power stations are likely to be constructed. Investing in property for the purpose of selling on for a profit as property prices rise is a clear opportunity. There is, of course, risk involved in this strategy, so understanding the stages that any major project must go through, planning consents, consultations, and construction schedule is crucial to make the best judgements. We would also recommend taking professional advice. 


James Leigh Property Management – Powered by Keller Williams is an independent residential sales and letting agent with properties across Essex, London, and surrounding areas. In addition to sales, we manage over 150 properties for landlords across the region. To discuss any aspect of our blog, Nuclear Power Stations & House Prices: Understanding the Impact available properties or to discuss your property management requirements drop us a line

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Housing Market July Update

We keep a close eye on performance in the housing market. The data provided in the industry every month by companies like Rightmove, Zoopla, and Savills helps us understand the trends, provides us insight, and means that when we provide a valuation it’s based on not only our experience but data that supports our advice. 

 

So what’s been happening in the housing market in July?

Firstly, house prices. Nationwide has reported that house prices fell by 0.5% in July, with a 0.3% drop reported by Rightmove. Whilst that might suggest a cooling in the market, the fall overall has been caused by a drop in the top end of the market, typically the four-bedroom plus sector where a 0.8% drop has been reported. In real terms that represents an average drop of £4699. This could be caused by the tapering and end of the Stamp Duty holiday in September, where buyers can no longer make large savings.

In the mass housing market, however, house price growth remains strong. two bedroom, first-time buyers, and stepper three and four-bed properties remain scarce, with the resulting inflation in prices. Growth in this sector of the market sits at +0.6% for July, around £1328 on average, fuelled by continuing strong activity. The Stamp Duty holiday has had less impact on this sector of the market so its loss is having far less impact.

In June, there were 213,120 transactions, cooling slightly in July. Savills reports that it expects a slowing in August and a small spike in September. TwentyCi reports that July sales were still 23% above 2017-19 levels. The usual Summer slowdown doesn’t appear to have taken place possible as people take holidays closer to home, and housing is higher up their agendas.

What does this housing market data mean if I’m selling my home?

With demand still high across the board, even at the top end of the market where prices have dropped in July, sellers can expect to sell quickly, and at a good price. That doesn’t mean that pricing above the actual value is a good idea, but arranging a professional valuation and advice will give you the answers that you need.

With such high demand you can expect to arrange more viewings than under normal circumstances, and there are numerous reports of potential buyers getting into bidding wars to secure their new homes. 

Finally, Rightmove and other industry leaders are recommending that sellers sell first and then look to buy as the best way to secure your next property. That makes you as the buyer more attractive to a seller since you have already shored up your end of the chain.

There are, of course, many variables to consider, not least of which are local and regional variations, so speak to your local estate agents for advice and guidance and your valuation. And of course, listing your home for sale.


housing market July Update The team here at James Leigh Property Management, powered by Keller Williams, is here to help. As an independent estate agent, we have extensive knowledge of the local property market in both sales and lettings, and are here to help. 

Arrange a free valuation with us today online for a guide, and get in touch to arrange a home visit for a complete appraisal, valuation and to take the next steps to successfully sell your home.

Contact us by calling 01206 584 484 or email us

 


What about house buyers?

The housing market is currently a seller’s market, and that’s not likely to change until well into 2022. So buyers face some challenges, not least of which is high demand coupled with low availability of property for sale. This is acute across all sectors of the market. Demand for flats is lower than houses, and demand for houses in the first-time buyer and stepper sectors of the market is particularly high.

So there is less availability of suitable property, and as a result, prices are high and rising. There are, of course, areas where house prices are lower whether in local pockets, or the North and Midlands, but it may not be feasible for many people to relocate. 

But there are things that you can do to make yourself more attractive to a buyer if you are competing for a property:

  1. If you’re selling your home, sell first and buy second. That means that your commitment is clear, and your end of the chain is active.
  2. Make yourself an attractive proposition. Spend some time preparing for your mortgage application- you could have one agreed upon in principle. Be sympathetic to the seller’s timeline. If they’re ready to move quickly, do what you can to accommodate that. have your legal team ready. Have your conveyancer at the ready to act for you. If they’re going to take a few months, decide whether you can be accomodating there too. There may be other things unique to your seller to consider, so be sure to communicate well. Remember. People buy from people.
  3. Take advice from the estate agent on reasonable offers. If you really want the property you might have to negotiate, or even compete with other buyers, so make sure that your offers are not only affordable for you but attractive to your seller.

What’s next for the housing market?

The housing market will continue to grow for the remainder of 2021, with Savills forecasting 9.0% growth by the end of the year. Continued demand and limited supply will continue this growth curve, but towards the end of the year there will be a slowing in transactions, although they will still be some 35% higher than in comparable “normal” years.

But moving into 2022 the picture should begin to steady, Savills estimates, with an expected rise in interest rates in the way. Mortgage affordability limits that were introduced by regulators have become embedded and will affect high loan-to-value mortgages. Together these factors are expected to slow house price inflation between 2022-2025 to around 11-12%, Savills reports. 

So the picture will stabilise in the coming months, and although the housing market will continue to see house price inflation, the factors affecting it will limit its impact on the market for the next three years.

But this doesn’t mean that you should wait to buy or sell your home. House prices will continue to rise, albeit at a slower rate, but rise nonetheless. People with equity in an existing property will be able to take advantage of low loan to value rates, or trade-up, while first-time buyers and steppers should be mindful of interest rate rises on the horizon and consider affordability now and later on.


To speak to a member of our team about any aspect of our housing market updates, for advice and guidance, and to arrange a valuation and get your property on the market, call us on 01206 584484 or email us 

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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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June House Price Index 2021: Our Analysis

We’re into July already and both Rightmove and Zoopla have published their June House Price Index. But first a quick look back at housing marketing performance in May. House prices continued to rise at an unprecedented rate due to the combination of the Stamp Duty Holiday, rising demand, and lack of supply. Experts were split on how the market would perform over the Summer and into Autumn, with concerns over the market overheating. Other experts claimed that the end of the Stamp Duty holiday would take the heat out of the market and have a calming effect. 


June House Price Index Review

We took the view that the market would slow slightly, and as other Government support and restrictions begin to ease, supply would improve, and house price increases calm.

Looking forward to June, house prices continue to increase, with growth reported between 0.8% – 4.7%. The higher figure is reported by Zoopla, and is compared to a 2.2% increase in the same period in 2020. Rightmove reports that June’s house price growth is the highest since 2015, although at 0.8% is far more modest than Zoopla’s figures.

Homebuyers continue to search for homes that offer more space, including home offices, rural areas with access to the cities. Properties that offer the opportunity to make lifestyle choices remain highly sought after. 

Continued house price growth also means that 1.8 million homes have moved into a higher Stamp Duty band.

Taking a look at Rightmove’s June House Price Index, the picture is similar, although the figures are lower. They report a buoyant market, with demand continuing to outstrip demand, and performance versus the same period last year showing continued growth at a pace. 

However, Rightmove reports sales agreed in May at 17% ahead of the same period in 2019*, compared to 45% in April. And the price of property coming to the market continues to slow from 2.1% in April, 1.8% in May, and 0.8% in June. These figures indicate that the fast pace of the housing market is beginning to slow. Under normal circumstances, a slowdown could raise alarm bells, but in this case, it could provide time for the market to rebalance. In particular, the supply and demand issue where lack of available properties is driving house price increases.


June House Price Index
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June House Price Index Insights

Both Rightmove and Zoopla report that buyer demand remains very strong compared with the 2017-2019 period, although it is beginning to slow.  Activity is increasing among first-time buyers who are beginning to be able to access a broader range of mortgages and the Help to Buy scheme. The Stamp Duty Holiday will still apply to properties up to £300,000 so this market continues to attract Government support. 

Buyers seeking larger properties- over £500,000 – are driving price inflation in some rural areas as they seek properties that will provide changes including working from home and a more rural lifestyle. They are selling their properties in the cities and are able to buy larger properties. Inevitably this increases competition and drives house prices up. 

Finally, as the economy re-opens businesses are able to provide more substantive guidance to employees on how they will run going forward. Reports suggest that many businesses are moving towards more flexible working arrangements permanently, so employees are now able to make decisions on where and how they want to live including location, commuting time, type, and size of home.

*2019 is considered to be the most recent “normal” trading period for comparison.

Download the full June House Price Index from Zoopla here 

Review the full June House Price Indexfrom Rightmove here 


If you’re buying or selling, find out more about our services here 
To get your FREE online property valuation click here 

 

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Garden Features: Top #3 Tips to Utilise your Garden to Sell your Home

The choice and variety of garden features these days are almost dizzying. Step into any garden centre and you’ll be able to choose from water features, garden furniture, rocks, bedding, paving and chipped stone, pergolas, gazebos…..even statues and garden gnomes. The list is endless.

And in our own gardens, we can do what we like.

And in the same way that we all have a vision for the interior design of our homes, who doesn’t want to be able to enjoy the garden, whether that’s for barbecues, relaxing, having friends and family over, or space for the kids to play.

If you’re staying for good, that’s great. But in the same way that some features indoors can help or hinder a house sale, the landscape and features in your garden can have the same effect.


garden features

This vintage car looks great the way it’s been converted into an oversized planter. But it might not be to everyone’s taste, so it might raise questions in a prospective buyer’s mind. If I buy will it go? How much maintenance does it need? Is it safe? If there are easier options for your buyer to look at and buy you might lose out. Of course, you can explain what will happen with it. If it’s going with you then be proactive and explain that. And you might even find that your prospective buyer loves it and wants to keep it. It’s all down to personal taste!
 
 

Garden Features: #3 Top Tips to Remember

1. Keep it simple

Don’t ‘overdress’ your garden. We’re not suggesting a re-landscaping- that would be absurd. But if you are able to show off the really positive parts- areas to relax with friends, ease of maintenance, or space for the kids to play, that’s great. Put the chairs and cushions out, have your brolly up, weather permitting of course! Got a barbecue? Get it out where you would usually use it. If you can create the impression that your garden is functional and fun you will give your potential buyer a positive experience. If you’re a big fan of garden gnomes, fairies or even tortoises, can you unclutter by putting them away for a while?

2. Keep it tidy

Pretty obvious stuff this. Mow the lawn, have a good tidy up. If you have hedges or large plants that need pruning then do so before your house goes on the market. Everyone knows that hedges are hard work, so don’t create the impression that your potential buyer will be spending their leisure time tending to it instead of enjoying their garden. If you have pets, there’s some obvious tidying to do there too!

3. Keep in mind…

…that your potential buyer will have a vision of their own. So neat, tidy, and simple is the best strategy to present your garden in the best possible way. That gives your potential buyer the opportunity to experience what could be their garden, and create a vision in their own mind of what they might want to do with it. So try to unclutter, and try to understand in the eyes of your potential buyer what they might see and feel. Your taste is unlikely to be the same as their’s, so think about how you can help your buyer realise their vision for their next garden.


What are the most Impactful Garden Features that can aid a Successful Sale?

This is something that can change over time. Currently, buyers are looking for rural areas to buy, where properties can provide a better lifestyle. And part of that means office space in the home. For properties that have garden offices, or at least outbuildings that can be converted, there is likely to be a premium as people continue to work from home. The more practical features like this are more likely to attract a premium than landscaped features like raised beds, ponds, and pergolas, although these features can help a buyer to realise a vision if they are thoughtfully constructed.

Top 5 Garden Features to help you Secure a Successful Sale

The top garden features will vary depending on the buyer, their stage of life, and personal tastes and requirements. A young family will have different needs to a retired couple for example. But the top feature right now to increase the sale value of your home is a garden office. Many other features like pizza ovens, outdoor lighting, and pergolas may add value in terms of how quickly a house may sell, but they are unlikely to increase the sale value. So features that are desirable could be;

  • Outdoor lighting
  • Patio/decking
  • Raised beds
  • Outdoor seating area
  • Pergola

These are all structures that your potential buyer can alter relatively easily and cheaply by replanting, adding pots, climbing plants, and choosing furniture to suit their personal tastes. And if those structures are there already the new owner won’t have to spend money laying a patio or building a pergola, if that’s in their vision for their new garden.


If you’re considering selling, need some advice on garden features, how to prepare your home for sale, a valuation and to discuss your next steps, contact a member of our team 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