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Number of new builds registered in England and Wales up almost 8%

There was a 7.9% increase in new builds submitted with the Land Registry for registration in England and Wales in August this year compared to the same month in 2018, official data shows.

Of the 93,574 sales received for registration in August 2019 some 72,806 were freehold, a 4.5% decrease on August 2018, and 12,411 were newly built, a 7.9% increase on August 2018.

The number of detached properties registered reached 22,213, up from the 21,968 recorded in July and 18,523 in June. Semi-detached were the most popular with 25,283 registered in August, up from 24,848 in July and 21,623 in June.

But terraced homes were equally popular with 25,244 registered in August, up from 25,115 registered in July, but this was down on the 21,721 registered in June, the data also shows.

There were 15,565 flats and maisonettes registered in August, down from the 15,915 registered in July but up from the 14,393 registered in June.

The most expensive residential property sold in August was in the City of Westminster for £16.5 million while the cheapest residential property sold in August was in Sunderland for £18,500.

The most expensive commercial sale taking place in August 2019 was in Southwark for £129.3 million and the cheapest commercial sale was in St. Helens for £105.

There were 743 residential properties in England and Wales for £1 million and over registered, of which 410 were in Greater London, five in the West Midlands, six in Greater Manchester and one in Wales.

Source: Property Wire

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Five Scottish cities in line for hundreds of family rental homes

Hundreds of new family homes for rental are to be built across Scotland thanks to a partnership deal struck between two property companies.

Five cities have been targeted – Dundee, Edinburgh, Inverness, Perth and Stirling – following the agreement between Scottish housebuilder Springfield Properties and Sigma Capital Group, the Edinburgh-based residential development and urban regeneration specialist.

The move follows the launch earlier this year of the Sigma Scottish PRS Fund – the first dedicated vehicle to focus on the creation of new homes for the private rental market in Scotland. It has initial resources of £43 million, with £30m provided by the Scottish Government’s Building Scotland Fund.

Under the new agreement, Springfield will build family homes for Sigma’s PRS property platform, with the majority of them to be built in the former’s “village” developments.

Graham Barnet, chief executive of Sigma, said the partnership would target the construction of hundreds of new homes for families across the five cities. Once built, the homes will be let under Sigma’s Simple Life lettings brand.

He added: “Springfield has a well-established reputation for delivering quality homes in Scotland and this partnership brings significant benefits for both sides, especially in accelerating the rate at which mixed tenure sites can be developed.

“We look forward to working with Springfield as we develop the partnership and extend our model in Scotland.”

Springfield Properties chief executive Innes Smith said: “We are proud to be chosen by Sigma as their first partner in Scotland to deliver homes for the private rented sector.

“This agreement stands to accelerate our delivery of homes, particularly on village developments, and we expect it to provide a further revenue stream, alongside our existing private and affordable housing activity, with good visibility over cash flows.

“It will also increase the number of homes available in the private rented sector and contribute towards our goal of ensuring that everyone within Scotland has a great place to live.”

Earlier this month, Sigma provided an upbeat outlook for the year and hailed its push into the Scottish private rented sector after revealing solid first-half numbers. Until recently, the firm had been focused on property projects and investments south of the Border.

Barnet said that market fundamentals remained strong with high levels of demand for quality, family-sized rental homes from workers on moderate incomes.

The interim results showed that revenues in the six months to 30 June increased by 19 per cent to £5.8m. Profit before tax for the period rose by 3 per cent to £4.3m. Sigma said the second half of the year had started well.

By SCOTT REID

Source: Scotsman

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Empty homes number rose by 5.3% last year – study

The number of empty homes in England increased by almost 11,000 last year, a study suggested, prompting calls for urgent action to bring them back into circulation to help tackle the housing crisis.

Research by Action on Empty Homes and the Nationwide Building Society indicated that last year saw the fastest rise in the number of long-term empty homes in England since the recession.

The number increased by 5.3%, meaning an additional 10,983 homes were left empty, said the report.

10,983 Increase in empty homes last year

Action on Empty Homes and the Nationwide Building Society

This was double the 2.6% rise seen in the previous year and marks the second consecutive year with a substantial increase in numbers of long-term empty homes, reversing the previous trend of steady declines seen since 2008, according to the research.

There are now more than 216,000 long-term empty homes in England, equivalent to 72% of the Government’s annual new homes target, at a time when more than a million families are on waiting lists for local authority housing, said the report.

Empty homes are found in all Council Tax bands but are particularly prevalent in the highest band (Band H) and in the lowest band (Band A), the report added.

Joe Garner, chief executive of Nationwide, said: “Concerted action and funding are needed from Government and the housing sector to identify and tackle the growing issue of empty homes.

“It’s a missed opportunity that there are 200,000 empty properties that could house people desperately needing a home of their own.”

Will McMahon, director of Action on Empty Homes said: “With homeless numbers at their highest levels in over a decade, it makes no sense to leave hundreds of thousands of homes standing long-term empty.”

A Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government spokesman said: “The Government has given billing councils in England the power to charge up to 100% extra council tax – on top of the standard bill – on properties that have been empty for at least two years, to help incentivise owners to bring them back into productive use.

“We are investing £1.2 billion to tackle all forms of homelessness and have made the most ambitious change to homelessness legislation in a decade – helping more people than ever before access vital support to prevent them from becoming homeless in the first place.”

Source: Shropshire Star

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House prices in selected UK regions on the rise

House prices in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland are expected to continue their upward trajectory, reallymoving has predicted.

Values have been forecasted to rise by 8.7% in Wales, 3.8% in Scotland and 1.9% in Northern Ireland over the next three months.

Rob Houghton, chief executive of reallymoving, said: “Considering the current political situation, the UK housing market continues to show remarkable resilience.”

Average house prices in England and Wales are set to see an average 0.9% monthly drop over the next three months.

London is set to see a moderate increase of 1.5% overall in the three-month period from September to November.

Year-on-year, house prices are on course to remain in positive territory throughout the Autumn.

A 3% annual increase forecast for September will be the highest rate of annual house price growth for almost a year, followed by 2.7% in October and 2.1% in November 2019.

However, average house prices in England and Wales are set to see an average 0.9% monthly drop over the next three months.

Houghton added: “House prices are on course for minor monthly falls in September, October and November, but while the temptation is to attribute this to Brexit, in fact it is largely down to seasonality with the market following its usual pattern of peaking in August then tailing off steadily through Autumn.

“The London market has proved to be most vulnerable to the political situation and the data suggests buyers were more cautious in August when No Deal Brexit rhetoric peaked, prompting a 2.3% monthly fall in prices agreed which will translate to completions in November.

“Nationally, annual growth is set to remain in positive territory throughout the Autumn, indicating that people are continuing to press ahead with home moves and the underlying value of the housing market remains stable.”

By Michael Lloyd

Source: Mortgage Introducer

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House prices fall in rare September slump

Rightmove has revealed that UK house prices have decreased for the first September since 2010 as the usual autumn rebound failed to transpire.

The average price of UK property coming on the market fell by 0.2%, or £730, to £304,770, as the number of agreed sales dropped 5.5%. Underlying housing fundamentals remain strong, yet the October 31st Brexit deadline and the prospect of no-deal have discouraged buyers.

Miles Shipside, Rightmove director, said the approaching deadline was “causing some to hesitate”. If it lasts, the traditional autumn bounce in completions may be “missed altogether”.

Excluding London, the UK housing market has been somewhat resilient since the 2016 referendum. House prices in London have been in decline since March 2018, but that has been explained by a reduced interest from international buyers. Other regions have remained resilient against uncertainty.

The Rightmove figures have indicated that the intensity of no-deal Brexit concerns are impacting the larger market.

Mr Shipside said: “As the deadline gets closer and tensions heighten, there has been a big swing with sales agreed now over 5 per cent below those of a year ago. Buying activity is still at nearly 95 per cent of what it was a year ago, but sellers in all regions are seeing fewer sales go through.”

People selling property are also holding back, but prices continue to fall. The number of newly-marketed properties decreased by 7.8% this month compared with last year, with all regions down on the previous year, Rightmove found.

The most recent Office for National Statistics (ONS) data shows prices increasing 0.9% across Britain in June, but falling by 2.7% in London, continuing a trend since March 2018. Prices in the south-east decreased by 0.6% in the same month.

A total of 53% of homes were taken off the market in the most exclusive boroughs of central London instead of sold in the second quarter of the year, according to Lonres. The figure has risen gradually since 2014, when it ranged between 30 and 40%.

Marcus Dixon, head of research at Lonres, said that changes to stamp duty and the uncertainty surrounding the EU referendum in 2016 had hit the market. He said: “Indeed, since 2016 more properties have been removed from the market due to a withdrawal than a sale.”

Source: Scottish Housing News

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UK house price growth ground to a halt in August

House price growth ground to a halt in August across the UK amid signs of a “slowdown” in activity in the property market, according to the latest figures from Nationwide.

Average prices were unchanged between July and August when analysts factored out seasonal variation in the latest house price index from the building society.

The average home in Britain sold for just over £216,000 ($263,000) in August, no higher than a month earlier but up 0.6% on a year earlier.

It marks the ninth month in a row of muted price growth below 1% or even declines on an annual basis.

Marc von Grundherr, director of London estate agent Benham & Reeves, said prices were “climbing at a snail’s pace.”

“While the UK property market may have ground to a halt on a month on month basis, it is an admirable show of defiance to at least register some annual growth, given the seasonalities at play and the addition of political turbulence that continues to plague home seller sentiment,” said von Grundherr.

He said price growth could continue to stall over the next few months as prime minister Boris Johnson takes Britain closer to a no-deal Brexit, but predicted a “consistent and strong uplift” later this year or next.

Robert Gardner, Nationwide’s chief economist, said: “Surveyors report that new buyer enquiries have increased a little, though key consumer confidence indicators remain subdued.

“Data on the number of property transactions points to a slowdown in activity, though the number of mortgages approved for house purchase has remained broadly stable.

“Housing market trends will remain heavily dependent on developments in the broader economy. In the near term, healthy labour market conditions and low borrowing costs will provide underlying support, though uncertainty is likely to continue to exert a drag on sentiment and activity.”

By Tom Belger

Source: Yahoo Finance UK

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Londoners pay highest UK house price premium to live closer to a station

London home buyers are willing to pay almost 10 per cent more on a house in order to live closer to a station, according to Nationwide.

The building society found Londoners are willing to pay a whopping 9.4 per cent premium for a house located 500 metres away from a station.

That amounts to approximately £42,900 based on averages London house prices.

Data shows that – naturally – this premium falls the further away from a station a house is located.

A property located 1,250 metres away commands only a 1.9 per cent premium. At 1,000 metres this increases to 4.1 per cent and at 750 metres the premium rises again to 6.6 per cent.

London homebuyers are willing to pay much more to live closer to their nearest train station – particularly in comparison with inhabitants of Greater Manchester and Glasgow.

Nationwide suggests that “this probably reflects the greater reliance on public transport in the capital, with residents less likely to drive”.

In comparison to London’s 9.4 per cent, a premium for a property 500 metres from a station in Manchester stands at 7.8 per cent, or £12,600.

This falls to 3.8 per cent, or £5,700, for properties 500 metres from a station in Glasgow.

Average London house prices on every Tube line

While Londoners are willing to pay a premium on a home closer to a station, their average house price differs greatly depending on what Tube line they use.

Average house prices in London are most expensive where the nearest station is the Circle line, where the average cost of house is £801,000.

TfL rail serves the least costly homes, at an average cost price of £359,000.

Of the London Underground lines, average house prices are least expensive where the nearest station is on the Metropolitan line, at a £439,000 average.

Nationwide suggests that “this probably reflects that the line stretches towards the outer suburbs, with only a short section in central London.”

London house prices on every Tube line:

LineAverage House Price
Circle£801,000
Bakerloo£624,000
Victoria£573,000
Northern£563,000
Jubilee£553,000
Hammersmith and City£524,000
Docklands Light Railway£505,000
Overground£490,000
Piccadilly£485,000
District£478,000
Central£450,000
Metropolitan£439,000
TfL Rail£359,000

By Emma Tyrrell

Source: City AM

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New Housing Secretary reveals plans for shared ownership changes

The Government has announced it will shake up the shared ownership housing model, allowing buyers to increase their stakes by just 1% at a time under new proposals.

In his first major policy announcement as Housing Secretary, Robert Jenrick revealed plans which would allow people to increase their share of their homes in smaller increments.

Critics dubbed the move the “wrong priority” and urged ministers to instead “get building”.

Under the current model, buyers can only increase their share of a property in 10% chunks.

It is expected that the changes will come into effect early next year.

In addition to the shared ownership shake-up, the minister said he will look to reform the planning system with the aim of increasing housing delivery.

Homeowners using the Help to Buy incentive could also be given new freedoms which would make it easier to take out a 35-year mortgage.

It was announced on Wednesday that the Government has closed a loophole with immediate effect that had prevented people from taking out a mortgage with a term of more than 25 years.

Mr Jenrick said the proposals were particularly focused on getting lower-income buyers on the property ladder.

“Building the houses this country needs is a central priority of this Government,” he said.

“We know that most people still want to own their own home, but for many the dream seems a remote one.

“My mission is to increase the number of homes that are being delivered and to get more young people and families on to the housing ladder, particularly those on lower incomes.”

He added that reforms need to go “much further” to make the housing market work.

“I will be looking at ensuring young people from Cornwall to Cumbria aren’t priced out of their home areas and how we can build public support for more house building and better planning.

“This Government will help a new generation to own their home.”

His statement echoed one of the stated priorities of Boris Johnson, who said he wanted to give “millions of young people the chance to own their own home” in his first speech as Prime Minister.

Specialist housing charity Shelter, however, called the set of announcements from the new Secretary of State “worrying”.

Polly Neate, Shelter’s chief executive, said: “Pinning his hopes on yet another complicated housing scheme is a worrying start for the new Housing Secretary of State.

“The Government must realise that unworkable schemes, laden down with admin costs, are the wrong priority at any time – and are woefully inadequate when this country is facing the current housing emergency.

“If the new Government is serious about getting to grips with our housing crisis then it must follow through on its commitment to get building. That’s why we’re calling for three million more social homes over the next 20 years, to give more families the sort of step up they actually need in life.”

Source: Express and Star

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Study reveals rental costs before buying a first home

The average adult in Britain will pay out more than £63,000 in rent before they get onto the property ladder, a new study has found.

Researchers found that people who have bought their first home within the last five years had typically paid £625 every month in rent to their landlords.

And on average, it takes renters almost eight and a half years before they finally save up enough to buy their own home, spending a total of £63,225 in rent, according to the study from home builder Keepmoat Homes.

This means they’ll have already spent the equivalent of more than a quarter of the average £228,903 property in the UK, it points out.

‘For many people, renting is an important first step towards home independence. It offers benefits like flexibility, allowing you to test different areas and types of home, before you commit to buying somewhere,’ said Tim Beale, the firm’s chief executive officer.

‘However, this research highlights the considerable cost of renting and therefore it isn’t surprising to see that for over half of people asked, say they feel as if the dream of home ownership will never be possible,’ he explained.

‘In reality home ownership can cost less than your rent. For example with our average selling price of £156,000, the standard monthly mortgage repayments would make you approximately £100 a month better off than paying the typical £625 rent,’ he added.

The study also found that of those who had bought their first home in the last five years, or who are still renting, some three quarters believe it is ‘impossible’ to save for a home while renting.

Of those who have bought a home, they spent almost five years saving before putting down an average deposit of £24,033 on their property, more than 80% of the average adult’s salary.

However, four in 10 were able to lean on their parents for financial support when it came to their deposit, while a fifth relied on an inheritance and a quarter even ended up moving back in with their parents to save on rent while 24% considered it but were able to avoid it.

For those respondents still renting, they think it will be at least another four years before they are in a position to think about buying their own home. Researchers also found 18% of renters have taken on two jobs in a bid to save for a deposit while paying out monthly to a landlord.

One in four have forsaken holidays, and a third have cut back on luxuries like magazines, flowers in the home and TV and movie costs while 30% said that they started taking a packed lunch to work and 18% tried to do all of their shopping in the reduced section of the supermarket rather than paying full price.

Unsurprisingly, three quarters of those polled, via OnePoll, believe something needs to be done when it comes to the cost of renting to help those trying to save for their own home.

Source: Property Industry Eye

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Property sales fell considerably in July, official figures show

Residential property sales have fallen considerably in the UK, with official data showing a fall of 8.5% month on month between June and July and a year on year decline of 12.4%.

The data from HMRC shows that overall there were 86,630 residential sales and 9,760 non-residential sales in July 2019. Non-residential sales also fell, down by 2.8% on a monthly basis and 5.8% lower than July 2018.

The figures suggest that there are a number of barriers preventing people from buying and Kevin Roberts, director of the Legal & General Mortgage Club, believes that it is not just Brexit.

‘While Government schemes have helped thousands of first time buyers onto the property ladder, we need to think about those further up the ladder too. To stimulate the market, the Government needs to build more housing across all types of tenure. This will provide second steppers and last time buyers with more choice and in turn, families can up or downsize accordingly,’ he said.

But it could be the usual summer slump exaggerated by Brexit uncertainty, according to Marc von Grundherr, director of Benham and Reeves. He also thinks sellers are reluctant to accept lower prices.

‘Although mortgage affordability remains fairly good, the huge stamp duty costs facing many buyers will do little to stimulate demand at the other end and continue to act as a financial anchor for those looking to climb the ladder,’ he explained.

But Joseph Daniels, founder of modular developer Project Etopia, does put the blame on Brexit. ‘Brexit has cemented caution into the attitudes of buyers and sellers and the sales slump is all but nailed on now until the political uncertainty settles down,’ he said.

Neil Knight, business development director of Spicerhaart Part Exchange and Assisted Move, believes it is more complicated than that. He pointed out that the figures follow the recent construction output figures which showed that overall construction output dropped by 1.3%, and the UK Finance mortgage trends report which showed levels of remortgaging, home mover mortgages and first time buyers all fell in June.

‘It feels like a fairly gloomy picture for the housing market. However, when you take into account that the drop in construction output was mainly driven by a 6% decline in private housing repair and not new housing and that while nationally, mortgage transitions are down, actually, when you look at a regional picture, it is only London where the market is struggling, it paints quite a different picture,’ he said.

He also pointed that the latest figures from the National House Building Council show that builders and developers registered the highest number of new homes for 12 years during the last three months.

‘These figures tie in much more with what we are seeing. While overall, the housing market may be subdued, the new homes market is much more buoyant. At Spicerhaart Part Exchange and Assisted Move, we are busier than ever, working with developers across the UK to offering part-exchange and assisted move services. We are being led to believe that the house building industry as almost ground to a halt, but that is simply not true,’ he added.

‘The demand is there and the activity is too and it is great to see such confidence in new-build housing despite uncertain economic and political times. Let’s hope it filters through to the rest of the market,’ he concluded.

Source: Property Wire