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House price growth to reach 14% in November

Reallymoving has predicted annual house price growth to reach 14% by November 2020.

The quote service said the prediction is based on deals already agreed, as pent up demand and urgency to benefit from the temporary stamp duty holiday has driven up activity in the market.

Annual price growth is forecast to reach 4.7% in September, 11.4% in October, and finally 14% in November.

Rob Houghton, chief executive of reallymoving, said: “Buyers are determined to make their move now, despite the fact that the current spike in prices will in many cases wipe out the stamp duty savings.

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“For those higher up the ladder with secure finances, a healthy level of equity in their property and little other debt, gloomy economic forecasts are only encouraging them to press ahead with the move rather than sit tight and wait out what could be a long and painful recession.

“More than ever people’s homes are their castles and their offices – and with borrowing costs likely to be rock bottom for the foreseeable future, paying over the odds on a purchase isn’t too painful if you’re also getting over the odds on your sale and making a stamp duty saving.

“It’s a different story for first-time buyers though, who aren’t benefitting from stamp duty savings in most areas and who have seen low deposit mortgages all but wiped out. This explains why the proportion of first-time buyers in the market has dropped by 19% since May.”

BY RYAN BEMBRIDGE

Source: Property Wire

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Million pound homes outperform the rest of the market

Sales activity in the £1m+ property market is storming ahead according to Rightmove, as wealthier buyers prioritise space and leafier locations

Houses over £1m are selling 18 days faster than this time last year – the fastest pace since 2014.

Paul Oberschneider, chief executive at Hilltop Credit Partners, said: “A common conception is that houses in the £1m+ market take longer to find buyers than the overall market because of their higher price points.

“But the latest data from Rightmove shows that UK’s million-pound homes are actually outperforming the rest of the property market in terms of the number of sales being agreed.

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“The hottest millionaire markets right now are Norfolk, Wiltshire, Cornwall, Henley, Hackney, Tooting, Stoke Newington, Balham with affluent buyers willing to part with huge sums of money to buy larger homes.

“A big reason for this market sentiment is the ongoing pandemic which is pushing many potential buyers to swap city apartments for bigger homes with more living spaces and gardens.

“With the government’s big push for work-from-home once again, many employees are also expected to spend fewer days in the office and may look to relocate to a bigger property with more outdoor space. The post-Covid market will have an increased focus on indoor and outdoor space and wealthier buyers will be the first to move to bigger homes.”

BY RYAN BEMBRIDGE

Source: Property Wire

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More properties sell for over the asking price

One in eight (13%) properties sold for more than the original asking price in August – the highest recorded since November 2015.

NAEA Propertymark’s August Housing Report found that over half (53%) of properties still sold for less than the asking price last month;

Mark Hayward, chief executive, NAEA Propertymark, said: “It’s interesting to see that one in eight properties sold for more than asking in August this year.

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“Last month, we witnessed a boom in the number of prospective buyers following the government’s announcement of a Stamp Duty holiday, and it seems this is increasing the level of competition in the property market.

“With the increase in the number of prospective buyers since this announcement, many buyers are clearly willing to pay over the asking price in order to secure their dream home.”

The average number of sales agreed per estate agent branch stood at 12 in August, a slight decrease from 13 in July.

This is the highest figure recorded for the month of August since 2007.

BY RYAN BEMBRIDGE

Source: Property Wire

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HMRC: Residential transactions see monthly increase of 15.6%

Residential transactions saw a monthly increase of 15.6% in August according to the latest UK Property Transactions Statistics by HMRC.

Despite the monthly increase, year-on-year the figures show that the August figures (81,280) are 16.3% lower than August 2019.

There were 8,350 non-residential transactions in August, which is a yearly decrease of 15.5% and monthly increase of 7.5%.

HMRC’s data reveals that the residential transactions for Q2 was the lowest quarterly total since Q1 2009 following impact from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Mark Harris, chief executive of SPF Private Clients, said: “Despite only being introduced the previous month, the stamp duty holiday was already filtering through to transaction numbers in August as buyers rushed to take advantage of the saving.

“Despite the recovery in number of transactions compared with the previous month, the pandemic has had a significant impact on the market with August’s numbers down significantly on last year’s.

“The data illustrates just how long it takes for property transactions to complete and at the moment, with some lenders struggling with service levels, along with surveyors and lawyers, it is all taking longer than it usually would.

“Buyers need to be patient, as well as engage good advisers who can help steer the transaction through in as prompt a fashion as possible.”

Alan Cleary, managing director for mortgages at OneSavings Bank, added: “After a rocky start to the year, the continued uptick in activity is not only good for the market, but for buyers and sellers who are finally making progress with their property plans.

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“People on both sides want to make the most of low borrowing costs and the temporary removal of stamp duty which for now at least is helping to bolster the market.

“However, as we head into the often quieter months of the year, the uncertainty around the UK economy could mean that the strong levels of activity leading up to this point may start to wane.”

Jeremy Leaf, a former RICS chairman, believes that the market is showing determination to get transactions through.

Leaf said: ‘Transactions are a better barometer of market health than more volatile house prices.

“Although a little historic, and there is a delay between the point when the sale is agreed and completion, these numbers still demonstrate considerable resilience when we were emerging from the previous lockdown and before the stamp duty holiday could have much impact.

“On the ground, we have noticed no sign of sales collapsing, renegotiating on deals or price reductions in the past few days – more of a determination to carry on.”

By Jessica Nangle

Source: Mortgage Introducer

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Best boroughs for student rental demand

Benham and Reeves, has revealed the best boroughs for student rental demand, despite predictions of a rental market decline due to a lower level of students heading to the capital. London’s higher education providers accommodate 16% of the UK’s university students each year, and as many as 32% of the capital’s students come from overseas.

The average London student pays £702 a month in rent, meaning those on a three-year course will pay out £8,424 a year, totalling more than £25,000 throughout their course.

This means the capital’s student body brings in nearly £271m to London’s rental market in rent each month, with international students accounting for £85.6m of it.

However, with COVID-19 causing travel restrictions and broader health implications for universities, it’s predicted that the number of students heading to London this term will drop by as much as -24%.

That’s a loss of over £65m a month for the London student rental sector, but despite this prediction, many areas of London are still experiencing extremely high levels of demand for student accommodation, something that will be welcome news to student landlords across the capital.

According to the research by Benham and Reeves, the number of student-specific rental properties that have already been snapped up by students sits at 22% of all student-specific properties listed on the rental market.

However, in Merton, this ratio is far higher, with 80% of all student accommodation already let agreed.

Bromley (75%), Bexley (61%), Barking and Dagenham (60%), Hounslow (53%), Harrow (53%) and Redbridge (50%) are also seeing high levels of current student demand for rental properties.

Even in more expensive markets such as Hammersmith and Fulham, Islington and Camden, student rental demand is sitting at 19% to 25%.

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Director of Benham and Reeves, Marc von Grundherr, commented: “There is currently an evident decline in the level of rental demand from students than we might otherwise expect at this time of year. This has, of course, been driven by a lower number of international students looking for properties due to the travel restrictions and other hurdles that the current pandemic has presented.

“However, while predictions of student rental market losses are rather eye-watering, to say the least, we don’t believe this will be an issue that plagues the market for long.

“Many current students are beginning their studies in a virtual capacity until such time they can make a move to London, and once they do, we should see a further influx of demand for suitable student lets.

“University is very much about the life experience you gain from actually moving to a new city or country. With London still offering some of the best standards of higher education you can find worldwide it’s unlikely students will refrain from this first-hand experience unless absolutely necessary.

“Like many areas of life this year, we may see a slow start to the university year. But as life develops to deal with COVID-19, greater degrees of normality will prevail, and this is no different in the rental market student or otherwise.

“The very promising signs are that currently, many boroughs are experiencing massive demand for student rental properties, and this bodes very well for the academic year ahead. Foreign student demand, in particular, can bring very favourable levels of rent for buy-to-let landlords. We regularly have students from China and other areas of Asia renting at well above the average in their chosen areas to ensure they secure the best property they can while studying.”

DescriptionData PointSource or Workings
Number of UK higher education students2,383,970London Higher
Number of students studying at 39 HE providers in London386,000London Higher
London Students as a Percentage of UK total16% 
Number of overseas students (Other EU and Non-EU) in London122,000London Higher
Percentage of International Students in relation to London total32%Overseas student total as a percentage of all London students
Average monthly London student rent£702Save the Student
Total rent paid by all students each month£270,972,000Monthly rent multiplied by the number of London students
Total rent paid by international students each month£85,644,000Monthly rent multiplied by the number of international students
Expected Covid-19 drop in student numbers24%KCL
Forecast number of total students after drop293,360Total number of London students reduced by 24%
Forecast number of international students after drop92,720Based on international students accounting for 32% of total students
Decline in monthly student rental income as a result of drop-£65,033,280Total Rental income reduced by 24%
Decline in monthly international student rental income as a result of drop-£20,554,560Based on international students accounting for 32% of total students
Table shows the level of student rental properties already let as a percentage of total student properties listed.
LocationCurrent Demand for Student Rentals
Merton80%
Bromley75%
Bexley61%
Barking and Dagenham60%
Hounslow53%
Harrow53%
Redbridge50%
Waltham Forest44%
Greenwich42%
Kingston upon Thames37%
Lewisham34%
Wandsworth34%
Sutton33%
Croydon31%
Richmond upon Thames28%
Haringey27%
Hammersmith and Fulham25%
Ealing25%
Islington23%
Brent22%
Southwark21%
Hackney21%
Newham20%
Hillingdon20%
Camden19%
Lambeth18%
City of London18%
Barnet15%
Tower Hamlets13%
Kensington and Chelsea11%
Westminster10%
Enfield0%
Havering0%
London22%
Source: Rightmove

Source: Property118

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Dash for bigger homes pushes up September asking prices, Rightmove says

Surging activity in Britain’s housing market nudged up asking prices for homes in September, as buyers sought larger properties following the coronavirus lockdown, a survey showed on Monday.

Property website Rightmove estimated there were almost 40% more sales moving through the pipeline than a year ago, chiming with other surveys that show a post-lockdown surge in the market, helped by a temporary cut in property tax.

Rightmove said asking prices rose 0.2% in September, reversing August’s decline. The national average asking price now stands at 319,996 pounds ($415,642), up 5.0% on a year ago.

Official data based on prices paid at the end of the purchase process showed a 3.4% rise for the year to June.

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Prices hit a record high for homes with three or four bedrooms, the survey showed.

“Needing more space has always been the most popular reason for moving house, but now there’s a new urgency for extra space to be able to work from home,” said Tim Bannister, Rightmove’s director of property data.

“Buyers (are) competing for the same type of property. At the start of the year a fourth bedroom was very much a luxury for buyers trading up, but it’s now emerging as a must-have for those who are able to take that step.”

But with unemployment set to rise sharply later this year with the closure of the government’s furlough scheme, and the end of a tax break on property purchases in April 2021, the outlook for the housing market next year looks tougher.

Reporting by Andy Bruce, editing by David Milliken

Source: UK Reuters

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June house prices rose 3.4% as ‘flood of buyers’ returned

UK house prices increased by 3.4% in the 12 months to June, compared to an annual rise of 1.1% in May, the UK House Price Index revealed.

Month on month, house prices rose on average 2.7% between May and June.

Regionally, the East Midlands saw the greatest annual price rise of 4.5% while the North East saw the lowest annual price growth with a rise of 1.7%.

Shaun Church, director of Private Finance, said: “These latest figures reveal the scale of the impact that the sudden burst in pent-up demand had on house prices following the reopening of the property market.

“Price rises were driven by a flood of buyers resuming purchases put on hold during lockdown immediately after restrictions were eased. Initial strong demand has been boosted by the higher stamp duty threshold coming into effect in July.”

Around 150,000 housing transactions were put on hold in March and restarted again in June, according to the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR).

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However, Church expects the strong market activity to be short lived.

“An uptick in infections and mounting concern over the reintroduction of national and local lockdowns is weighing on consumer confidence,” he said. “This could cause buyer activity to dip, resulting in the market readjusting to a new economic environment.

“Lenders are taking a risk-averse position in response to high uncertainty levels in the UK economy. Mortgage providers are increasing rates on higher loan-to-value products to reduce exposure to riskier borrowing propositions. Unfortunately, this will create barriers to entry for first-time buyers, the group of people that have been hardest hit financially by the pandemic.”

It is widely expected that the property market will experience a downturn next year.

CEBR forecast a 14% drop in house prices in 2021. In its latest report, the Intermediary Mortgage Lenders Association said the policy decisions lenders made now about loan-to-value restrictions would affect the severity of a downturn next year.

However, estate agents said they are no signs yet of the market slowing down.

Jeremy Leaf, north London estate agent and a former RICS residential chairman, said: “Although a little historic, these figures highlight the resilience of the property market and the strength of pent-up demand even as we were recovering from lockdown and before the announcement of the stamp duty holiday.

“This comprehensive survey reflects prices paid for property and so is an indicator of some optimism. We are being told repeatedly that this mini-boom will not continue as the job retention scheme unwinds and unemployment rises but we not seeing many signs of that on the ground. If anything, the market is being more restrained by lender caution and lack of capacity to deal with the number of enquiries rather than demand fizzling out.”

Written by: Samantha Partington

Source: Your Money

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Property Market Activity in the UK Remains High – RICS

August 2020 saw another month of uplifts in buyer inquiries and transactions, as the UK property market continued to rebound following months in lockdown.

Summary:

  • Data from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) shows that activity in the UK property market in August continued to remain high
  • 63% of surveyors reported a rise in interest in residential property over the month, with 61% also reporting an increase in sales
  • The research also found a greater demand for properties with gardens and access to outdoor space following life in lockdown

UK property’s post-lockdown bounce back continued in August.

New figures from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) shows sustained growth in the number of new residential property inquiries and sales over the month.

This continues a period of increased market activity since it ‘reopened’ at the start of June, following the UK’s national coronavirus lockdown.

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In RICS’ August UK Residential Survey, 63% of members questioned responded by saying they saw an increase in people interested in buying a property. For the third month in succession, there was also growth in the number of sales completed; in August, 61% of respondents noted they’d recorded an uplift in new sales agreed.

And confidence amongst buyers was matched by sellers, too. A net balance of +46% of respondents reported an increase in the number of properties being listed for sale in August.

This activity has had a notable impact on property prices in the UK. According to a net balance of +44% of those that took part in the survey, house prices increased during August, up from a balance of +13% in July. The survey also found that this price growth is happening across all regions of the UK except for London, where average values have flatlined over the last two months.

Analysing the findings, Simon Rubinsohn, Chief Economist at RICS, commented: “The latest RICS survey provides firm evidence of a strong uplift in activity in the housing market, which should help support the wider economy gain traction over the coming months.”

In addition to highlighting the buoyant nature of the UK property market, the survey also picked up on some of the emerging trends in the UK following life in lockdown. Specifically, the increased demand from buyers and tenants on property with a garden, or with easy access to outdoor green space.

83% of surveyors stated that they believe properties with a garden will be in high demand for the next two years. 79% stated the same for property near to green space, and 68% agreed the next two years will increase demand for property with private outside space.

Source: Select Property Group

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House prices rise as appeal of gardens and space grows

Housing market activity in the region continued to rise in August, as those looking to take advantage of the stamp duty holiday continued their search for a new home.

Sixty-three per cent of respondents reported an increase in buyer interest across the West Midlands over the month, according to the August 2020 RICS UK Residential Survey.

However, the longer-term view remains more cautious.

As buyer enquiries continued to rise, the number of new properties listed for sale also increased, with a net balance of plus 26 per cent of survey participants noting an increase in vendors listing property to sell.

Consequently, strong growth in agreed sales was cited for a third successive month, with a net balance of plus 52 per cent of contributors seeing a pick-up.

Looking ahead, near term sales expectations for the West Midlands remain positive, but 12-month sales projections are still in negative territory, with the net balance coming in at minus 12 per cent.

Anecdotal evidence suggests concerns over the broader economic climate continue to drive this subdued assessment.

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Meanwhile, the pandemic is expected to cause a lasting shift in the desirability of certain property characteristics, as eight per cent of respondents, nationally, anticipate demand increasing for homes with gardens over the next two years.

Seventy-nine per cent predict rising demand for those properties near green space, while a net balance of plus 68 per cent foresee a rise in the desirability of properties with more private/less communal outside space.

Turning to house prices, the August survey feedback points to a sharp acceleration in house price inflation.

Across the region, a net balance of plus 52 per cent of respondents reported an increase in prices, the strongest reading since September 2018.

This is up from a net balance of plus 49 per cent in July and marks a turnaround compared to the reading of minus 27 per cent registered back in May.

Simon Rubinsohn, RICS chief economist, said: “The latest RICS survey provides firm evidence of a strong uplift in activity in the housing market which should help support the wider economy gain traction over the coming months.”

By James Pugh

Source: Shropshire Star

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Covid-19 set to change what consumers want from property

The idea that ‘customer is king’ affects all industries, and has grown exponentially in importance for businesses and investors in recent years. The Covid-19 pandemic is having specific and significant impacts on the private rental sector through customer wants and needs.

Some of these are existing trends and changes, exaggerated by circumstance. Others are new. All must be considered by PRS investors. Two key areas of consumer need are relevant:

• What customers want, and are willing to pay for; and

• Consumer confidence.

The PRS market context

Before sharing my thoughts on how customer wants, needs and confidence are changing what works in the PRS in a post-Covid world, it is important to set the context.

National and international investors are attracted to the sector, as UK residential property investment has for many years offered compelling stability, growth, yield and a hedge against inflation.

The UK PRS is unique, partly due to our cultural obsession with home ownership that has come to dominate the wider housing market.

Key points

  • Tenant needs are changing post-Covid
  • People care more about having a garden and space to work in
  • Economic confidence will be a driver of change

The sector has doubled in size in the 20 years from 2001, from 10.2 per cent to 20.3 per cent of households, according to Savills.

Since 1997, and the widespread take-up of Buy-to-Let mortgages, the make up of investors has diversified dramatically.

Savills also found that 94 per cent of the PRS was owned by individuals in 2018, with the vast majority of landlords owning four or fewer properties, and only 1 per cent owning more than 10 different properties in 2010.

The diversity of ownership has fallen since the Montague Review 2012 and a raft of regulatory changes such as mortgage interest relief via section 24.

The make-up of investors in the PRS is important because:

• It profoundly affects what the PRS actually looks like, and how it responds to Covid-19.

• In many ways, investors are considered as consumers too: you only need to watch Homes Under the Hammer, or read any major news publication, to realise how many ordinary people feel they can and should get involved with UK residential property investment.

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My own experience since studying land economy has predominantly been with PRS assets worth less than £5m, which make up more than 90 per cent of the £1.5tn sector.

I typically work with high-net-worth investors who want the benefits of PRS investment, without the hassle. During lockdown, I published a book on what works and what does not in this complex market.

The main message was that what works must be increasingly professional and efficient, while allowing the investor to be hands off.

Consumer appetite

So, how will Covid-19 affect customer appetites in PRS investment and the wider property market?

What consumers (tenants) want and are willing to pay for relates to buildings, service and confidence. Surveys suggest that people are thinking differently about their housing choices.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, people care more about having a garden, more indoor space, the right neighbours and local community, and space to work from home. It seems clear that ‘walk to work’ locations and layouts that facilitate working from home will be increasingly important.

On fabric of buildings, everything hinges on ability to pay. This may change in the aftermath of chancellor Rishi Sunak’s generous furlough scheme.

The truth is that there is a wider trend: what institutional investors often fail to consider, and many smaller landlords know well, is that many ordinary people, and in particular young people, are not willing to pay for what they say they want when you ask them.

This will need to be considered by PRS investors in a post-Covid world. What is more, appetite changes fast. The idea that ‘yesterday’s news is today’s fish and chip wrapper’ seems rather old hat to anyone who understands TikTok.

The PRS is not just about buildings, but also about service. On this, Helen Gordon, chief executive of Grainger, got it right when she described a core focus on innovation, communication and improvement. Kindness, compassion and a flexible, responsive service driven by technology is key. To an extent, the former of these have been necessitated by the ‘moratorium on evictions’ through Covid-19.

Economic confidence will also prove a key driver of change. There are widespread reports of PRS tenants handing back keys and moving back in with their families. Key life decisions are being delayed, whether due to cancelled weddings or employment status nerves.

The desire for more and better inside and outside space, combined with economic necessities and Covid-inspired nerves have resulted, in many parts of the country, in a correction in the ‘shrinking households’ phenomenon that has accompanied later settling down, and fewer/later lasting marriages, in favour of higher voids. This may not prove permanent, but it will certainly be relevant in the short to medium term.

Investors as consumers, and what they want

While tenant needs are key, there is another relevant group of ‘consumers’, who are acting as investors in the PRS. Side-line landlords have been on the decline due to market and regulatory changes, but what these investors want remains a key driver in the PRS.

What investors want in a post-Covid world is confidence, above all else. This is the currency of the era, and it seems to be worth more than data and oil combined.

They want yield and an inflation hedge. Mass government stimuli and long-term low interest rates are creating an unprecedented appetite for yield. Individual investors in a post-Covid world want this without the increased hassle (for example, more effort around health and safety, and increased need for tenant communications such as that around payment of rent and job security) associated with investing directly.

More professional delivery of PRS-focused investments targeted at ordinary investors seems essential to meet this growing demand.

The truth is, real estate is not about inanimate objects. Much like the internet, powerful businesses and governments effectively control access, and its content both shapes and reflects the pulse of the nation.

In a post-Covid world, we will of course need increased focus on public health in PRS products and services. Investors and operators must consider what tenants want, need and are willing to pay for, and do our best to deliver excellent customer service to tenants.

In many ways, I believe there has never been a better time for investors to access the PRS.

What needs to change is the way so many investors access this sector: it must be professional, efficient, and underpinned by superior technology, systems and customer service if it is to work for tenants and investors alike, in a post-Covid world.

By Anna Clare Harper

Source: FT Adviser