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Halifax: UK House Prices Have Hit A Record High

UK house prices have hit a record high despite rising at a slower rate than a year ago, according to the Halifax house price index this morning.

The lender said that the affordability of houses was “close to pre-financial crisis levels”, as house prices remained historically high at an average of £252,765.

The difference between the 2007 financial crash and today, is that mortgage rates are considerably lower.

Despite slowing their ascent in the first quarter of 2021, inflation has risen by 5.7 per cent, as the standard house price a year ago sat at £252,030.

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The 5.7 per cent jump was down from a nearly five year high of seven per cent last year, the lender reported.

Prices lifted only 0.3 per cent in the first quarter of this year, smaller than the 2.5 per cent jump in the final quarter of 2020.

The London property market showed slower gains in house prices over the start of this year, the “strongest” since the 2016 EU referendum, Halifax said.

The standard house price in Greater London sat at £505,359, down 2.5 per cent from the final quarter of last year, however, has edged 2.1 per cent higher in comparison to 2020.

Demand for larger properties carried through from last year, while existing houses were hit by rising inflation 6.2 per cent more than new builds.

Are we due another crash?

The outlook for the next six months appears to be bright, particularly with the help of the “ongoing government support,” CEO of property platform Twindig, Anthony Codling said.

Read about the UK Housing Market via our Specialist Residential & Buy to Let Division

“There is a risk that when the extended holiday ends, the UK housing market will wake up with a hangover.”

However, Codling advised home buyers not to worry, “because at the moment mortgage supply is increasing, whereas, in the credit crunch, mortgage supply fell off a cliff edge.”

“The spring and summer selling seasons will be strong, but as the stamp duty holiday ends in September, concerns about another cliff edge will start to be voiced and this may soften house prices in the autumn.”

Financial analyst at AJ Bell, Laith Khalaf agreed that a looming financial crash is unlikely, because “the housing market has repeatedly confounded economists expectations, and it keeps going from strength to strength.”

With low-interest rates and “highly accommodative” government policy, the housing market has a strong supply and demand dynamic, Khalaf added.

“While there might be a few bumps along the way, particularly at the end of the stamp duty…the property market has proved itself to be unbelievably resilient. And in large part, that comes down to the efforts the government and the Bank of England have made to make mortgage borrowing incredibly easy and cheap.”

By Millie Turner

Source: City AM

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Broker optimism on BTL at seven-year high

The number of brokers expecting more buy-to-let business over the next 12 months is at its highest level since 2014, according to a survey by Paragon Bank.

In a February/March survey of 195 intermediaries, half said they were anticipating higher levels of buy-to-let mortgage business over the coming year, up from 41 per cent in Q4 2020.

The number of brokers who already saw strong demand for buy-to-let mortgages also rose, to 47 per cent in the first quarter of this year, up from 44 per cent in Q4 2020.

Meanwhile, the number of intermediaries who reported weak buy-to-let mortgage demand was at its lowest since before the start of the pandemic, at 12 per cent.

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Richard Rowntree, managing director of mortgages at Paragon Bank, said: “It’s fantastic to see that such high levels of optimism have been recorded following the challenges of the past year or so and that this is being driven by strong levels of demand.

“The extension of the stamp duty holiday is certainly a driver of that, but it is underpinned by longer-term demand for rental property.”

Carl Shave, director at Just Mortgage Brokers, commented: “With 2020 being a subdued year for buy-to-let investment due to the economic climate from the pandemic, it is pleasing to see the optimism from brokers and the positive reports of an uptake in demand. Indeed this is being reflected in the increase in enquiries for our advisers.

“The stamp duty holiday extension will at present add a little fuel to the fire as investors look to take advantage of the potential savings this can provide. It will therefore be interesting to see what impact this has on the market when it expires and the resulting longer term outlook.”

Paragon’s findings come after analysis by Hamptons found the number of properties sold by landlords last year slowed to a seven-year low, despite the first annual rise in profits on sales in more than five years.

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Earlier research from Foundation Home Loans before the stamp duty holiday was extended also suggested the end of the tax break would not prevent landlords from adding to their portfolios.

Hiten Ganatra said his firm was seeing an increased appetite from professional landlords looking to grow their portfolio, with returns being realised from BTL investments “far superior than to leave money in the banks”.

Ganatra said: “Landlords are happy to generate yields of 5 to 7 per cent, which invariably gives them an even great return on investment than holding cash.

“We are also seeing more and more landlords moving into the HMO [houses in multiple occupation] space which is helping to enhance yields to 8 per cent-plus.”

On the supply side, meanwhile, data from Moneyfacts has shown that product availability in the buy-to-let market continued to improve for a fifth consecutive month in March.

By Chloe Cheung

Source: FT Adviser

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What is driving booming UK house prices?

What is driving booming UK house prices? – The main reason for the price rise is the introduction of a range of measures by the government that has made it easier to buy a new home. These include the extension of the stamp duty holiday and the introduction of a government-backed 95% mortgage scheme to help potential home buyers.

The stamp duty holiday was first introduced in July 2020 by Chancellor Rishi Sunak to give the housing market a boost following its shutdown during the first nationwide coronavirus lockdown in March.

Support for those at risk of losing their jobs, such as the extension of the furlough scheme, and also the better-than-expected growth of the economy and the successful coronavirus vaccine rollout have also contributed to increased buyer confidence and rising house prices.

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In the past year millions of workers have spent the majority of time at home and this has been another reason for the rise in house prices. The future of office work is still not confirmed and therefore many people are now looking for larger homes out of city centres, and properties with more outdoor space and room for an at-home office.

For those workers who have kept their jobs during the pandemic, and who haven’t been spending as they usually would, the Bank of England predicts that around £100bn has been saved, fuelling the housing market further.

“The Stamp Duty holiday and other comprehensive government support measures have enabled the property market to stare down the pandemic, against all the odds,” says George Franks, co-founder of London estate agency Radstock Property. “We all know that a giant fiscal squeeze and rising unemployment are on the horizon but for now the success of the vaccination roll-out, new living requirements and exceptionally low mortgage rates have lit up the market. Even if the property market does start to cool down later in the year, an extreme lack of stock will prevent a material fall in values. In London, rising unemployment will potentially be less of an issue than in the rest of the country, as the capital’s jobs market is an ecosystem in itself. Overall, we continue to expect average UK house prices in 2021 to rise by 2% to 4% depending on property type and location.”

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What is likely to happen next?

Demand for new houses is the reason for UK house prices rising. Halifax says this trend is likely to continue for the next few months, although it is cautiously optimistic, with warnings over what might happen when the government-backed schemes come to an end and the full economic consequences of the pandemic are felt.

“Right now, there is a huge bottleneck in the property market, with large numbers of prospective buyers and not enough new stock, and this is really driving up house prices,” notes Rhys Schofield, managing director of Peak Mortgages & Protection. “The sheer volume of prospective buyers is partly due to the return of first time buyers, as securing a higher loan-to-value mortgage has got a lot easier over the past month or two. With the Stamp Duty cliff edge looming, the lack of stock may be because next time buyers have less of an incentive to move, which frees up starter homes. House builders also shifted the vast majority of their stock at the end of last year and have limited units available within the next six months. We’ve even had a client reserve a property through one of the bigger national housebuilders, which won’t actually be built until early 2022.”

By Stuart Fieldhouse

Source: The Armchair Trader

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BTL Mortgage Offers Available To Landlords Climb Back Up

There are now 2,333 BTL mortgage deals available to landlords, the highest number since March 2020, when there were 2,897 deals available. While this has resulted in more choice for landlords, average rates have also risen.

The average five year fixed rate now stands at 3.41 per cent; its highest since September 2019 when it reached 3.44 per cent.

The average two year fixed rate currently stands at 3.05 per cent, again the highest in nearly two years. In June 2019 it also stood at 3.05 per cent.

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‘It is important to note that these are averages, and therefore while representative of the market as a whole, there are some very competitively priced products available, with some – depending on LTV and criteria – available at below 2 per cent’, said Moneyfacts’ Eleanor Williams.

‘Therefore, those who are hoping to refinance or take on a new deal would do well to shop around’.

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One other reason is that some deals offer incentives, such as free valuations or ‘no legal fees’. Williams said these are becoming scarcer ‘although interestingly, the proportion of the market where cashback is available has increased, not only year-on-year, but by 8 per cent over the last month’.

Source: Landlord Knowledge

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Long-term stimulus needed to bring the housing market to life

Long-term stimulus is needed to bring the housing market fully to life, and avoid short-term peaks and troughs, according to Robert Burdett, managing director of James Leigh property Management.

Burdett believes that the stamp duty holiday is an unprecedented and very welcome shot in the arm for the housing market when it was desperately needed.

However, he said: “But with lockdown now easing and COVID-19 firmly in retreat, now is the perfect opportunity to be looking at how the housing market can be built on firmer foundations than it has previously enjoyed.

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“The introduction of the 95% mortgage is a welcome move for first-time buyers, but more needs to be done to ensure the whole market can enjoy a stable future.”

Lending criteria currently prevent some buyers from accessing mortgage finance because on paper their income is not high enough to meet the lender’s criteria for income, even though they may be paying more in rent than they would be for a mortgage.

Data released by Estate Agency firm Keller Williams show the changing pattern of where people want to live, and the outdoors features strongly in the research.

Burdett said: “The research published by Keller Williams shows that the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way people are thinking about the homes they want to buy.

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“Working from home in particular means that people are not as reliant on access to the cities, and so can buy where they want to live rather than where they need to access work.”

Support for the housing market for the long term could include a continuation of the Help to Buy scheme and reform to the mortgage industry so that affordability reflects current household expenditure.

Burdett added: “In the end, the housing market needs measures in place that will flatten the bumps in the road and create a sustainable future market.

“If the stamp duty holiday has taught us anything, it’s that short terms measures whilst useful at the time, do nothing for longer-term stability and growth.”

By Jake Carter

Source: Mortgage Introducer

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Majority of Property Transactions Since May 2020 Backed by Mortgages

Mortgages have fuelled 70% of property transactions across Great Britain since the market reopened back in May of last year, after initial lockdown restrictions were imposed, according to a research.

Enness analysed market data on mortgage-financed sales as a percentage of all sales in each area of Britain between May 2020 and November 2020.

While 270,785 of the 387,667 homes sold across Britain (70%) have seen the buyer backed by a mortgage, there is some regional difference. In London, 80% of all sales have come through homebuyers with a mortgage, with the East of England, West Midlands (72%), the South East and East Midlands (71%) also coming in higher than the national benchmark.

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In contrast, the South West is home to the most cash homebuyers with just 64% of homebuyers purchasing via a mortgage.

With the capital home to the largest regional percentage of mortgage-backed purchases, London also accounts for the top three highest at local authority level. Lewisham is the mortgage hotspot of Britain for homebuyers with 88% of all transactions financed via the sector, followed by Barking and Dagenham and Waltham Forest (87%).

Slough and Crawley are home to the highest percentage of mortgage-based purchases outside of London along with Hillingdon (86%).

At the other end of the spectrum, just 40% of property transactions in East Lindsey have been financed by a mortgage since the market reopened in May of last year. North Norfolk (43%), Argyll and Bute (44%), Torridge, Ceredigion (45%), Scarborough (48%), Rother, South Hams and Pembrokeshire also rank with some of the lowest levels of mortgage-financed transactions.

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“A lot has been made about the boost in buyer demand due to the stamp duty holiday, but it’s the continued low rates of borrowing that have really been the foundation of this heightened market activity.

While a stamp duty saving is nice, the ability to secure finance at a much lower rate of interest than historically possible has brought about a major boost to market sentiment in recent years and the impact is clear, with 70% of all transactions financed as such.

Some lenders have begun to tighten their lending criteria and this could make it harder for those with a less stable financial background to obtain a mortgage. However, it’s unlikely to impact the actual ratio of mortgage-financed buyers in relation to those purchasing with cash, particularly while the Bank of England keeps rates at sub-one per cent.”

BY PETE CARVILL

Source: Property Wire

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The buy-to-let boom is far from over, research has revealed

A year ago there were warnings that the buy-to-let market was looking increasingly bleak and that landlords were deterred from entering the sector, or quitting it altogether as a result of tax changes.

But despite scaremongering that there will be a ‘mass exodus’ of landlords, new data suggests that buy-to-let landlords are taking a far more pragmatic approach.

New data from Hamptons shows that last year 131,900 properties were sold by landlords in Great Britain, the smallest sell-off since 2013, when 105,830 properties were sold.

The research also reveals that the average landlord who sold up last year in England and Wales sold their buy-to-let for £82,450 or 42% more than they paid for it, having owned the property for 9.1 years on average.

The average landlord gross gain increased by £3,390 or 4% to £82,000 compared to 2019 – £79,060 – marking the first annual rise in more than five years.

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Landlords in London made the biggest gains. The average London landlord sold their buy-to-let for £302,200 or 71% more than they originally paid for it, having owned the property for 9.8 years on average.

Last year reversed the fall in a London landlord’s gross profit.  Despite the increase, typically landlords who sold in the capital last year made a smaller gross profit than those who sold in 2016 when they made an average gain of £364,960. 2016 marked the high point for landlord profit when many investors, having bought at the bottom of the market following the 2008 financial crash, decided to sell up.

The top 10 local authorities where landlords made the biggest gains were all in London.

Kensington and Chelsea topped the list. Last year the average Kensington & Chelsea landlord sold their buy-to-let for £784,980 more than they paid for it 10.6 years earlier.  The gain they made was 9.5 times greater than the average in England & Wales.  Camden, City of Westminster and Hammersmith & Fulham ranked second and third on the list, with the average landlord gain exceeding £500,000.

Landlords in the North East continued to make the smallest gains. The average landlord who sold up in the North East made £11,310 or 16% capital gain having owned for 8.0 years. Some 36% of investors in the region sold their buy-to-let at a loss, compared to just 12% in England & Wales overall.

This means that 37% of investors who sold in the North East last year would have paid capital gains tax (CGT) due to the sum being covered by their £12,300 annual allowance.  Across England & Wales, 77% of landlords would have paid CGT on their profit.  London landlords, who made the biggest gains, are most likely to have a tax bill to pay with 91% of investors making a gross gain surpassing the annual CGT allowance.  Investors can offset costs such as stamp duty and renovation expenses from their capital gains tax bill.

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The North East also had the highest share of landlords selling up.  Last year 24% of homes sold in the region were sold by a landlord.  This equates to around 9,730 homes.

Meanwhile, 17% or 15,540 homes sold in London were previously rented, down from 19% or 18,920 homes in 2020.

Some 9% of rental homes sold in Great Britain last year had been owned by a limited company landlord.  Last year,12,400 buy-to-let companies were dissolved. While the average buy-to-let company had operated for 6.2 years, 75% operated for less than five years.

Rental growth

In March, the average rent on a newly let home stood 4.4% higher across Great Britain than at the same time last year.  Regions outside London continued to see the highest rates of rental growth with rents increasing by 6.8% annually, the third consecutive month that annual rental growth outside the capital exceeded 5%. And apart from London, last month every English region recorded rental growth of at least 4%.

Rental growth in London continues to follow a different path, with rents falling 2.1%.  This marked the second month in a row that rents have fallen after turning positive between October 2020 and January 2021.  Once again, the fall has been led by Inner London where rents dropped 17.1%, the 13th consecutive month that rents have decreased.  While in Outer London, rents were 2.6% higher than at the same time last year, with tenants in Zones 3-6 viewing 48% more homes than in March 2020.

Aneisha Beveridge, head of research at Hamptons, said: “Last year, the number of homes sold by landlords reached a seven-year low.  A pause in the housing market during the first Covid-induced lockdown, which suppressed overall transactions, combined with an eviction ban throughout the remainder of 2020, limited the opportunity for landlords to sell up.

“Landlord sales have been relatively high over the last few years due to tax and regulatory changes that have reduced the profitability for some investors.  But given tax relief on mortgage interest will be fully phased out from the 20/21 tax year, it seems as though most landlords who would be hit hardest by these changes have already left the sector.

“Over the last few years, the average capital gain made by a landlord has been shrinking.  But despite the pandemic, stronger house price growth seems to have reversed this trend.  Landlords who have been in the game for the longest period of time have reaped the largest rewards.  The average landlord who owned their buy-to-let for more than 15 years made more than three times more than a landlord who had owned their property for less than five years.  Many of whom would have renovated and invested further in their property to add value.”

“Despite the gradual easing of lockdown, the London vs rest of the country rental growth divide remains entrenched.  Outside the capital would-be tenants are scrabbling over stock before it hits the portals, while in Central London landlords are chasing tenants just as relentlessly.  There are however signs of a return to Zone 1, with viewings up 64% year-on-year in March.  But record high stock levels mean rents are unlikely to start recovering to pre-pandemic levels until later in the year.”

Average landlord seller gain by region

RegionAverage Landlord GainYoY Change £Average % gainAverage length of ownership (years)
London£                      302,200 £         3,76071%9.8
South East£                      102,200-£         5,38045%9.2
East of England£                        90,590-£         2,63048%8.9
South West£                        68,250 £         2,16040%8.6
West Midlands£                        50,240 £         5,22042%9.0
East Midlands£                        44,560 £         2,96041%9.1
Wales£                        37,120 £         1,17038%9.6
North West£                        34,780 £            17036%9.0
Yorkshire & the Humber£                        30,800 £            94034%9.6
North East£                        11,310-£         3,50016%8.0
England & Wales£                        82,450 £         3,39042%9.1
Source: Hamptons & Land Registry

Top 10 local authorities where landlords made the biggest gains

Local AuthorityRegionAverage landlord gainAverage length of ownership (years)
KENSINGTON AND CHELSEALondon£784,98010.6
CAMDENLondon£735,2309.8
CITY OF WESTMINSTERLondon£627,04010.2
HAMMERSMITH AND FULHAMLondon£506,8009.5
ISLINGTONLondon£473,86010.2
HACKNEYLondon£392,69010.2
WANDSWORTHLondon£365,2209.4
BRENTLondon£355,2609.6
HARINGEYLondon£354,09010.2
HOUNSLOWLondon£347,79010.9
Source: Hamptons & Land Registry

Annual rental growth

Mar-20Mar-21YoY
Greater London£1,699£1,663-2.1%
     Inner London£2,570£2,131-17.1%
     Outer London£1,534£1,5742.6%
East of England£967£1,0215.5%
South East£1,050£1,1327.8%
South West£832£9089.1%
Midlands£694£7325.4%
North£644£6886.8%
Wales£654£7006.9%
Scotland£673£6963.5%
Great Britain£982£1,0264.4%
Great Britain (Excluding London)£832£8896.8%
Source: Hamptons

By MARC DA SILVA

Source: Property Industry Eye

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New Mortgages for Energy Efficient Rental Properties

Paragon Bank has launched a range of buy-to-let mortgages with lower interest rates for energy efficient properties.

The 80% LTV mortgages charge a market-leading 3.99% interest, fixed for five years, exclusively for rental properties which earn an energy performance certificate (EPC) of A to C. The loans can be used for the purchase and remortgages of self-contained properties and houses in multiple occupation (HMO).

The lender hopes the new mortgages will encourage landlords to invest in the energy efficiency of their properties.

The number of properties in the private rental sector with an EPC of A to C has increased 272% over the past decade to 1.8 million. However, around six and ten homes in the sector still are at a grade D or lower.

Energy inefficient properties are expensive for tenants to heat and frequently dangerously cold. A government survey of the country’s housing stock has found that homes below an energy efficiency ratio (EER) of C cost an average of £500 more to heat each year than properties that achieve a C or better. Those high costs leave a disproportionate number of private tenants in fuel poverty—25% in England, compared to 10% across the wider population.

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The most energy inefficient rental properties are on average 2⁰C colder in winter than the most efficient homes, posing risk to tenant health.

Inefficient rentals are also responsible for high levels of carbon emissions. Nationally, energy use in homes account for around 14% of the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions and any pathway to net zero requires investment in insulation, double and triple glazing and low-carbon heating systems in homes.

Under proposed regulations, which the government began consulting on last autumn, all homes in the private rented sector will need a minimum EPC grade of C or better for new tenancies by 2025. All privately rental properties will need to achieve that grade by 2028.

Richard Rowntree, managing director of mortgages at Paragon Bank, said: “Landlords have made great strides in adding more energy efficient homes to the PRS – or upgrading properties to C or above standard—over the past decade. However, more needs to be done as the Government moves towards its net zero carbon target by 2050 and landlords have a key role to play in that.

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“Our new range of products at 80% LTV for homes with an energy rating of C or above will be an incentive for landlords to add energy efficient homes to the sector, benefitting tenants through lower energy bills and the environment through reduced consumption.”

Landlords, along with other homeowners, were extended some help in upgrading their properties with the government’s Green Homes Grant scheme. The initiative offered homeowners up to £5k to cover two-thirds of the cost of energy efficiency upgrades. However, the project was dogged by difficulties and was shuttered prematurely at the end of March, having issued just 28,000 vouchers for work and seen just 5,800 energy efficiency measures installed.

Source: Money Expert

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House prices reach new record high as property market booms

UK house prices hit a record high of £254,606 on average in March after jumping by 1.1 per cent month-on-month, according to an index.

Across the UK, the average price is around £15,000 higher since the start of the national coronavirus lockdowns in March 2020 – equating to an increase of more than £1,000 per month on average.

Values in March 2021 were 6.5 per cent higher than the same month last year, the Halifax said.

It said Government support measures and a stamp duty holiday have been key to bolstering the housing market.

Russell Galley, managing director of Halifax, said: “Following a relatively subdued start to the year, the housing market enjoyed something of a resurgence during March, with prices up by just over 1 per cent compared to February.

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“This rise – the first since November last year – means the average property is now worth £254,606, a new record high.

“A year on from the early days of the first national lockdown, March’s data shows that house prices rose by 6.5 per cent annually, or £15,430 in cash terms.

“Casting our minds back 12 months, few could have predicted quite how well the housing market would ride out the impact of the pandemic so far, let alone post growth of more than £1,000 per month on average.

“The continuation of Government support measures has been key in boosting confidence in the housing market.

“The extended stamp duty holiday has put another spring in the step of home movers, whilst for those saving hard to buy their first home, the new mortgage guarantee scheme provides an alternative route on to the property ladder.

“Overall we expect elevated levels of activity to be maintained in the coming months, with consumer confidence spurred on by the successful vaccine rollout, and buyer demand still fuelled by a desire for larger properties and more outdoor space, as work-life priorities have shifted during the pandemic.

“A shortage of homes for sale will also support prices in the short term, as lower availability always favours sellers.

“However, with the economy yet to feel the full effect of its biggest recession in more than 300 years, we remain cautious about the longer-term outlook.

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“Given current levels of uncertainty and the potential for higher unemployment, we still expect house price growth to slow somewhat by the end of this year.”

Mark Harris said: “The market rebounded strongly in March as buyers realised that the stamp duty holiday extension meant it was still possible to take advantage of the saving, while the continuing easing of lockdown provided further impetus.

“It is no surprise that the start of the year saw a more subdued market as lockdown and home schooling made viewings practically impossible.

“With hardly a day going by without another lender launching a high loan-to-value offering, and indeed rates coming down on these as more providers enter the fray, there is plenty on the lending front to tempt borrowers.”

Tomer Aboody, director of property lender MT Finance, said: “What we are seeing is a real lack of stock which in turn increases competition and house prices.”

Source: Irish News

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BTL investors seek larger loans as they look to diversify

A majority of buy-to-let landlords are applying for larger loans as market conditions encourage borrowers to buy more expensive properties and diversify their portfolios.

According to buy-to-let lender Keystone Property Finance, three in five of its customers applied for a mortgage in its larger loans range, which offers loan sizes between £250,000 and £1m, since December.

The lender said the popularity of larger loans could be due to landlords being able to afford more expensive properties as a result of the stamp duty holiday.

Elise Coole, managing director of Keystone Property Finance, said: “Our data shows that landlords remain confident about the buy-to-let market, with the majority of customers looking to secure a larger loan to purchase their property.

“Undoubtedly, the [stamp duty holiday] has played an important part in this and has presented landlords with an excellent opportunity to bolster their portfolios and invest in higher value properties.”

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Chris Sykes, associate director and mortgage consultant at Private Finance, said with possible rent arrears during the pandemic, this had partly encouraged landlords to consider diversifying their portfolios, thus requiring larger loans.

A November survey from Citizens Advice found half a million private renters were behind on their rent. MPs have called on the government to support tenants to repay rent arrears caused by the pandemic, including funds for landlords to help them receive income and avoid evictions.

Sykes said: “We have many portfolio landlords who traditionally only did single let family homes for example, who now are looking into houses in multiple occupation, multi-unit freehold blocks, holiday lets, etc.

“Many are even going further afield than that and are looking into commercial or semi-commercial property or development opportunities for higher yields, perhaps more hands-on investments but the profits often are considerably higher and [often require] larger loans to get things done.”

Data from Hamptons shows 15 per cent of all sales agreed in November were to landlords, the highest figure for four years, with investors “rushing to complete” their purchases before the original stamp duty holiday March deadline, according to the estate and letting agent.

Matthew Fleming-Duffy, director at Cherry Mortgage & Finance, said his firm had seen over 60 per cent of its business come from landlords between December and mid-March.

Likewise Aaron Strutt, product and communications director at Trinity Financial, noted demand from borrowers purchasing expensive buy-to-let properties due to cheap rates.

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Strutt said: “We are getting more calls from borrowers who are keen to purchase an investment property.

“There are a lot of landlords with £250,000-plus mortgages keen to remortgage and get the best possible deal. There is also demand from borrowers purchasing expensive buy-to-lets because of the cheap rates.”

The figures from Keystone Property Finance also found that three in five applications (62 per cent) for its larger loan products were from landlords registered as a limited company.

Mark Harris, chief executive at SPF Private Clients, said his firm had seen a marked interest in setting up a buy-to-let limited company.

Harris said: “We have seen significant interest from landlord clients with regard to switching to a limited company and lenders are recognising this with a wider range of products at competitive pricing.”

By Chloe Cheung

Source: FT Adviser

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