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Rightmove says buyers and sellers are sticking with their plans to move

The vast majority of buyers and sellers with sales already agreed or those hoping to move when lockdown ends are intending to continue with their plans, according to data out from Rightmove over the weekend.

Most of the properties that were on the market for sale before lockdown have stayed on the market, with total available stock for sale down just 2.2%.

A survey conducted on a live webinar by Rightmove this week asked people if their plans before lockdown had now changed.

Four in ten(40%) buyers and sellers said they were going ahead as planned and over half (54%) said they had postponed their plans for now but were planning to continue after the lockdown ends.

This determination coincides with early signs that more home-hunters are researching and searching now in an effort to move home once the government signals it is safe to do so.

Visits to Rightmove initially dropped by 40% at the start of lockdown, and have been recovering slowly over the past few weeks.

Last week they were up over 20% when compared with the first few days of lockdown.

Rightmove’s Commercial Director and Housing Market Analyst Miles Shipside comments:

“The resolve of buyers and sellers to carry on with their sale is clear, whether it’s those who are going through the conveyancing process already or those who currently have their home on the market or want to buy when lockdown ends.

“The longer people are spending in their homes the more they may be considering not just a new home but also a new location, and are starting to research and search for their next move, leading to this slow but steady recovery in activity.

“It’s very early days for the market and will still take some months for the industry to find its feet but these signs are encouraging.”

There are signs of a shift in the percentage of people considering a move from the city they currently live in, with agents also reporting increased interest in smaller towns.

This time last year, 42% of Londoners enquiring about a property were looking to move outside of the capital, and this has risen to over half (51%) this April.

There is a similar trend in Edinburgh where 60% of residents are looking to move outside, up from 53% in April 2019.

In Birmingham, half of those living there are enquiring inside the city and half outside the city, up from 45% looking outside the city last year.

There are similar shifts in other cities including Liverpool, Sheffield, Glasgow and Bristol.

Shipside says:

”It’s not unusual for there to be a large proportion of would-be buyers considering a move out of a city if they’re looking for a more affordable place to buy for the first time or to trade up but get more for their money, but there’s been a notable shift during lockdown of more contemplating out-of-city moves.

“It remains to be seen how people’s commutes may change when lockdown is over.

“Some people may already be thinking of moving further out from their current place of work if they can perhaps work from home a few days a week, which opens up a number of new areas they had never considered before.”

Righmove has also published some views of local agents:

Reece Giles, branch manager at Douglas Allen Estate Agents in Brentwood, said:

“We’ve definitely seen an uplift in people looking to move out of the more built-up areas from nearby London boroughs. Interest has kind of gone through the roof, really.

“The proof will be in the pudding, but from what we are seeing right now, it seems that people are genuine about wanting to escape the inner city because that’s not the life they want anymore.

“I think the market overall is still very resilient. Buyers and sellers who have their heart set on moving still want to move”

Helen Burley, sales manager at Fine & Country in Woldingham, said:

“We’ve definitely seen a trend of people moving from the city to live in our village. The people that we’ve been speaking with since lockdown who want to move from London absolutely can’t wait to move to the village.”

Mark Collins, owner of Collins Independent Estate Agents in Guildford, said:

“We’ve seen lots of interest in the sales side from people up in London. People are realising that they don’t need to be in the thick of it to be operational. People are naturally working from home more, because it’s been made possible. Our registrations are up and I definitely think the trend of people moving out of London will continue.”

Source: Property Industry Eye

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Home moves expected to be delayed by five months

People who’ve been planning to buy or sell a property expect to suspend their plans for five months on average, research by online mortgage broker Trussle found.

While the government discouraged buyers and sellers from moving house in late March, half (49%) of those who planned to buy had already stopped looking due to COVID-19.

Ian Larkin, chief executive of Trussle, said: “The coronavirus pandemic has not only had a huge impact on the economy, but also on everyday life in the UK.

“Just last month, it would have been nearly impossible to contemplate the scale of the lockdown and its economic impact. We’re now feeling the effects in the housing market and it’s difficult to predict how long it will take for transactions to return to pre-crisis levels.

“With the government’s latest plea discouraging buyers from moving house, It’s entirely understandable that people are putting off their housing plans.”

One in six homeowners (16%) are currently thinking about remortgaging in the near-term despite the disruption.

By RYAN BEMBRIDGE

Source: Property Wire

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Buyers could withdraw from deals amid coronavirus fears, warning

Property supply was falling even before the coronavirus hit, while any accepted offers could now be withdrawn after the outbreak of the virus, reports suggest.

Analysis by property website Home.co.uk found supply of new sales stock was down 2% annually across the UK in February, and this, combined with already low stock levels, pushed average asking prices up 1.1% on a monthly basis – the largest rise over a month since July 2015.

Properties are selling faster, though, with typical time on the market for sales properties in England and Wales at 111 days, equal to that of March 2019.

In the rental sector, Home.co.uk warned supply was down 17% annually.

Doug Shephard, director of Home.co.uk, claimed: “For the time being, Brexit hysteria has been replaced by coronavirus hysteria but the British property market marches on stoically nonetheless.”

Separately, analysis by removals and conveyancing comparison website reallymoving.com predicted house price growth of 5.9% between March and May according to quotes requested on its website.

This is based on offers accepted on listings between December and February but comes with the caveat that many deals could collapse in the coming weeks and months due to the virus.

Rob Houghton, chief executive of reallymoving.com, said: “Buyers returned to the market in their droves in the New Year and this activity has clearly translated through to higher house prices across the country between March and May, but now we are facing another potentially prolonged period of uncertainty due to the deepening coronavirus crisis.

“The current situation is unprecedented but we know from past events such as the global financial crisis in 2008 that when people were worried about their jobs and their pensions, they tend to withdraw from making big financial decisions and avoid taking on new debt.

“It’s too early to say the extent to which the property market will be affected, and the Bank of England’s emergency 0.5% interest rate cut should help mitigate the impact, but consumer confidence is fragile and I expect we will see a proportion of deals collapsing and a short-term drop in prices by late spring or early summer.”

By MARC SHOFFMAN

Source: Property Industry Eye

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House price affordability ‘improved across two-thirds of Britain over past year’

Nearly two-thirds of Britain has become more affordable for home-buyers in the past year, analysis has found.

Yorkshire Building Society, which looked at official wage and house price figures across local authorities, found that homes have become more affordable in 64% of the country over the past year.

Despite affordability improvements, average house prices in some areas are around 20 times the average local wage.

In other places, a home costs around three times earnings typically.

7.72 Average house price-to-earnings ratio across Britain

Yorkshire Building Society

And buying a home in nearly half (49%) of local authority areas is still less affordable now than before the financial crisis, the society found.

Yorkshire Building Society’s strategic economist, Nitesh Patel, said: “House prices have grown by an average of 43% since 2009 – twice as fast as earnings (21%) in the same period.

“The difficulty in affording to buy a home is one reason why house sales have not picked up in the past year, even though some of the key drivers for the housing market remain positive.

“The longer term outlook for people wanting to buy a home remains to be seen.

“Demand for home ownership is still strong and supply is limited, so, over the short to medium term, house prices could increase faster than earnings.

“This may continue to cause issues for home-buyers, particularly those buying their first home.”

The research found that housing affordability has particularly improved in parts of London and the South East of England over the past year, with areas such as South Buckinghamshire, Sevenoaks, Tower Hamlets, Watford and Canterbury seeing homes become more affordable relative to local wages.

Copeland in North West England, Blaenau Gwent in Wales, and the Shetland Islands in Scotland are among the places where house price affordability compared with wages has worsened – although many of these areas remain relatively affordable compared with some other parts of Britain.

Across Britain, house prices typically equate to 7.72 times wages.

The least affordable part of the country is Westminster in London, where properties cost nearly 20-and-a-half times average wages.

The most affordable is Burnley in Lancashire, where the average home costs around three times typical local earnings.

Here are the top 10 areas with the biggest improvements in housing affordability over the past year, according to Yorkshire Building Society, with the average house price-to-earnings ratio in the third quarter of 2019 and the percentage change in the ratio year-on-year. (A minus percentage number means that affordability has improved, a positive one means that it has worsened):

  1. South Buckinghamshire, South East, 13.68, minus 24%
  2. Runnymede, South East, 10.49, minus 20%
  3. Eden, North West, 7.06, minus 18%
  4. Sevenoaks, South East, 11.32, minus 17%
    =5. Lewes, South East, 9.81, minus 14%
    =5. Bracknell Forest, South East, 9.43, minus 14%
  5. Daventry, East Midlands, 8.39, minus 13%
  6. Tower Hamlets, London, 10.23, minus 12%
    =9. Canterbury, South East, 8.65, minus 11%
    =9. Watford, East of England, 10.15, minus 11%

Here are the top 10 areas where housing affordability has worsened the most over the past year, according to Yorkshire Building Society, with the average house price-to-earnings ratio in the third quarter of 2019 and the percentage change in the ratio year-on-year:

  1. Copeland, North West, 3.68, 32%
  2. Blaenau Gwent, Wales, 3.97, 14%
  3. Shetland Islands, Scotland, 5.48, 12%
  4. Harborough, East Midlands, 8.73, 11%
  5. Pembrokeshire, Wales, 7.40, 10%
    =6. North Devon, South West, 10.44, 9%
    =6. Bridgend, Wales, 5.61, 9%
    =8. North Kesteven, East Midlands, 7.35, 8%
    =8. South Derbyshire, East Midlands, 6.30, 8%
    =8. Forest Heath, East of England, 8.47, 8%

Here are the top 10 least affordable local authorities with the average house price-to-earnings ratio, and the percentage year-on-year change, according to Yorkshire Building Society:

  1. City of Westminster, London, 20.44, minus 8%
  2. Camden, London, 19.76, minus 1%
  3. Hammersmith and Fulham, London, 17.37, minus 7%
  4. Three Rivers, East of England, 15.88, 5%
  5. Hackney, London, 15.72, minus 3%
  6. Haringey, London, 15.36, minus 8%
  7. Brent, London, 15.27, minus 9%
  8. Richmond upon Thames, London, 15.26, minus 2%
  9. Ealing, London, 15.11, 4%
  10. Islington, London, 14.86, 0%

And here are the 10 most affordable local authorities, with the average house price-to-earnings ratio followed by the percentage year-on-year change:

  1. Burnley, North West, 3.05, minus 8%
  2. East Ayrshire, Scotland, 3.38, 5%
  3. North Ayrshire, Scotland, 3.61, 3%
  4. Copeland, North West, 3.68, 32%
  5. North Lanarkshire, Scotland, 3.70, minus 3%
  6. County Durham, North East, 3.75, minus 5%
  7. Renfrewshire, Scotland, 3.82, minus 4%
  8. Barrow-in-Furness, North West, 3.83, 5%
  9. Inverclyde, Scotland, 3.92, 5%
  10. Hyndburn, North West, 3.94, minus 9%

Source: Express and Star

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Mortgage approvals made to home buyers jumps to nine-month high

THE number of mortgage approvals made to home buyers in the UK jumped to a nine-month high in March, figures from a trade association show.

There were 39,980 approvals for house purchase, marking the highest total since June 2018, according to UK Finance.

Meanwhile 29,448 re-mortgage loans got the green light in March – the highest figure since August 2018.

UK Finance said personal deposits grew by 0.4 per cent in the year to March, with savers’ money held in instant access accounts growing at a faster annual rate, of 2 per cent.

This reflects consumers’ preference to keep cash close at hand amid ongoing economic uncertainty, UK Finance said.

Howard Archer, chief economic adviser at EY ITEM Club said: “UK Finance reported mortgage approvals for house purchases somewhat surprisingly edged up to a nine-month high of 39,980 in March.

“The housing market has been constrained for an extended period by overall challenging conditions – relatively limited consumer purchasing power, despite recent improvement, after an extended squeeze and fragile consumer confidence.

“It should be noted that the overall national picture has been dragged down by the particularly poor performance in London and parts of the South East.”

Samuel Tombs, chief UK economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics, said looking ahead, mortgage lending is likely to continue to “flatline”.

“Mortgage rates look set to hold steady, keeping the proportion of home buyers’ incomes absorbed by loan payments at historically low levels,” he said.

“Nonetheless, households’ overall confidence still is low and surveys show a marked deterioration in households’ view that housing is a good investment, which only will have been strengthened by the recent slowdown in house price growth.

“It’s hard to see lending returning to 2013-to-15 levels any time soon.”

Jeremy Leaf, a north London estate agent and a former residential chairman of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (Rics), said:

“It is still tough to find common ground between even realistic buyers and sellers, and sales are certainly taking considerably longer, not least because as we are finding, buy-to-let investors have not been replaced completely by first-time buyers.

“The picture is very patchy and can vary considerably between areas which are quite close together and between London and elsewhere.”

Andrew Montlake, director of mortgage broker, Coreco believes there has been a “marked improvement” in the property market in the past month or so.

“Something has changed, and this week in particular has seen a huge surge in mortgage inquiries,” he said.

“There’s always a surge in activity levels during the spring but this year it has been accentuated by the pent-up demand caused by Brexit.

“Those who aren’t buying are re-mortgaging in order to improve their homes, and many are picking up an even more competitive rate as they do so,” he added.

Source: Irish News

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The gap between buyer-seller expectations in the property market

According to a report in The Guardian, the UK’s property market is stalling during a period that usually marks the midst of the house-selling season.

The Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) had predicted that Brexit would impact both house sales and prices and this seems to have borne out.

What is more, the gap between the asking price and selling price of houses is now around 96%, equating to a difference of more than £10,000 on the average UK house price of £305,000.

So, as house price growth slows, sellers are noticing that when their property lands on the market, the true price realised in the sale is significantly less than they expected.

There are reasons other than Brexit that may be attributed to this pricing gap.

Martin Ellis from the Halifax stated to The Financial Times that the rapid growth in house prices between 2014 and 2016 made houses less affordable, which had a knock-on effect on demand.

In addition, buyers are becoming more comfortable with challenging prices: this confidence is based on a number of factors, including slowing house price growth and rising transaction costs.

Ultimately however, the gap between a seller’s hope of a high return and a buyer’s expectations of a substantial discount, is a reflection on the fact that in general, many houses have been over-priced.

So the message is: those in the property market need to be more realistic.

Sellers – some advice

  • Go for the agent who definitely wants to sell your property. It has happened that sellers become locked into contracts with agents who are not adequately working for them.
  • An overvaluation can detrimentally impact on the saleability of your home so don’t be tempted by inflated estimates.
  • Try to agree on a price that raises the maximum amount of interest from buyers – admittedly a difficult call to make.
  • Question the agent more. Find out what properties the agent sold within the previous six months and what actual discount was levied on those properties.

And for potential buyers…

  • Many homeowners who would otherwise want to take advantage of rising prices are now holding off putting their house on the market. This is leading to a general lack of affordable housing. So, if you find a property that is suitable for you, move quickly.
  • Be open-minded and flexible with your wish-list. You may not get everything you want in a property, so you may have to make compromises in order to get on the property ladder.
  • Bear in mind when applying for a mortgage that interest rate rises are expected before 2020.
  • Gazumping, where sellers pull out of an accepted offer because they have received a higher price from someone else, is more likely if your offer is relatively low. With gazumping you run the risk of losing money that you have already invested in the transaction for example professional and valuation fees. So, be mindful of this possibility when making an offer and agreeing on a price.

Source: Mortgage Introducer

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London home buyers receive more help from parents than in any other region

More buyers in London receive help from their parents to buy a home than in any other region, with residents of the capital also having the highest parental contributions – almost £31,000 per transaction on average.

Young people across the UK are set to increase their reliance on their parents to buy house, with the the “Bank of Mum and Dad” set to reach nearly £6bn this year, according to research released by Legal & General and the Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr).

The so-called Bank of Mum and Dad will be the equivalent of a £5.7bn mortgage lender in 2018, according to the research.

Family-supported lending remains a major force in the UK housing market, the firm said, with 27 per cent of buyers set to receive help from friends or family in 2018, up from 25 per cent in 2017.

This year, the Bank of Mum and Dad will help 316,600 relatives buy a home – up from 298,300 in 2017.

The value of Bank of Mum and Dad-supported property purchases in 2018 will rise to £81.7bn, according to the research, representing a five per cent increase since 2016.

However, parents are providing smaller sums, with the average contribution declining from £21,600 in 2017 to £18,000 in 2018.

Nigel Wilson, group chief executive at Legal & General, said: “The fact that in 2018, 1 in 4 housing transactions in the UK will be dependent on the Bank of Mum and Dad, while hard-pressed parents are finding it more difficult to provide the funds to help their family with deposits, will further exacerbate the UK’s housing crisis.

“We need more homes for the young, old and families alike.”

Under 35s are the most likely to receive parental assistance, with nearly 3 in 5 receiving money from family and friends to buy a property, according to the research.

By comparison, just eight per cent of over 55s receiving family assistance to buy a home. However, 20 per cent of homeowners aged between 45 and 55 are now relying on family help to buy a home.

“The volume of transactions depending on Bank of Mum and Dad funding keeps on growing, even as parents find it harder to provide as much money for the deposit,” said Wilson.

“Bank of Mum and Dad funding is a vital plank in the housing market, but this year the supply of funds is being squeezed.”

Source: City A.M.