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Average house prices up 8.7% in England and Wales

Average house prices increased by 8.7% across England and Wales in the year to January 2021, according to e.surv Chartered Surveyors’ House Price Index.

On a monthly basis, average house prices rose by 1.2% between between December 2020 and January 2021.

Overall, the average price of a house in England and Wales was £330,958 at the end of January.

Richard Sexton, director at e.surv, said: “2020 proved an exceptional year in almost every way and many of the changes it ushered in won’t be easily swept aside.

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“Indeed, our data shows that the remarkable growth in property prices we saw in the second half of last year has continued into 2021.

“Rapid growth in the South West, East Midlands and the North West means that average property prices have started the year up close to 9% on January 2020.

“There are, as always, a number of factors at play, but we may well have moved beyond the release of the demand that was pent-up at the start of 2020 and into a new phase for the market.

“For many, the pandemic has proved very financially trying, but this hasn’t been universal. For some households, where people have kept their jobs and transitioned totally to home-working, the pandemic has provided an opportunity to cut spending and build their savings.

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

“For these consumers in a more fortunate financial position, the combination of low mortgage rates and the stamp duty holiday have made entering (or often re-entering) the property market an attractive prospect.

“Many buyers have made the decision to make a move in the last year and the popularity of larger properties with more outdoor space has increased greatly, as buyers have reevaluated their current living situation.

“That activity in the property market has been able to continue at all over the last year, is due in a large part to the industry’s willingness to embrace technology and work innovatively.

“From remote valuations to virtual house viewings, the industry has shown that it is able to adapt and change to meet extraordinary circumstances – a positive sign for the future.”

By Jake Carter

Source: Mortgage Introducer

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Housing market experiences busier than usual December

A major estate agency experienced a busy December, despite activity dropping off from November.

NAEA Propertymark found there were eight sales per branch in December, the highest since 2006.

Meanwhile there were an average of 348 prospective buyers per branch, the most since December 2016.

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NAEA PropertyWire attributed the busy December to the stamp duty holiday.

Despite the market being stronger than normal, the number of buyers registered per branch actually fell by 41% from 580 in November.

Meanwhile the number of sales agreed fell from 13 in November.

Mark Hayward, chief policy advisor, Propertymark, said: “The number of potential buyers in the market fell significantly in December after Novembers’ record high.

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

“While we would ordinarily expect to see a lull over the festive period, these numbers show that the tightening of lockdown restrictions, coupled with the reality that many individuals would no longer meet the stamp duty deadline, has exacerbated this.

“As we approach the stamp duty, LTT and LBTT cliff edges on the 31 March, we are increasingly concerned about the pressure this is placing on the property industry with more than two-thirds (69%) of estate agents expecting to see an increase in failed sales due to buyers realising their sales will not complete ahead of the deadline. It’s important that action is taken now to prevent this and support the property sector.”

BY RYAN BEMBRIDGE

Source: Property Wire

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What will the property sector look like in 2021?

After the property sector was forced to halt everything during the first lockdown, the second half of the year saw demand for online conveyancing services bounce back dramatically.

We expect this surge to continue throughout Q1, due to a number of reasons.

For starters, the huge back up of prospective buyers and sellers after the spring 2020 market cut-off should keep demand going through early 2021.

Buyers have now had months more to save up a viable house deposit, and both sellers and buyers will want to get the ball rolling.

What’s more, low interest rates, resulting in cheaper mortgages for some, are spurring things on.

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Couple this with the stamp duty holiday continuing up until 31 March 2021, demand is still soaring.

After these incentives diminish come Q3 and 4, we forecast a plateau later in the year.

House Prices to Increase

Many believe that the end of the stamp duty holiday, combined with the end of the Furlough Scheme on 31 March 2021, will cause house prices to decrease.

That said, some think the increase in prices will continue into early 2021, and decrease come 2022. They believe that the peak in pricing will coincide with the usual spring boom in house sales, and continued growth will simply be subdued.

We are more inclined to agree with the latter. Low interest rates, as well as cheaper mortgages available for some people, will prop everything up until Q3 and 4.

Then, after this initial demand, and the stabilisation of the market post-COVID, we can see a decrease potentially following suit from 2022 onwards.

Continued Struggles for First-Time Buyers

Statistics show that home movers are set to overtake first-time buyers with home purchases once again. As the year moves to 2021, we can only predict that these struggles will continue for a number of reasons.

Firstly, continually rising house prices, as well as sky rocketing rent, low wages, and unemployment, makes it near impossible for first-time buyers to save a deposit.

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

What’s more, despite low interest rates, a withdrawal of high loan-to-value mortgage products disproportionately affected first-timers, who typically require bigger mortgages to cover the lack of a hefty deposit.

We can expect this struggle to continue if the picture isn’t changed.

What’s more, new equity loan scheme, which is aimed at supporting first-time buyers with new-build purchases, may not have the intended effect.

It certainly seems like a great opportunity, but the country is still lacking affordable housing for many, so we doubt it’ll help.

Then, we have the stamp duty holiday, which has only really benefitted those already on the ladder, further increasing the disparity between first-time buyers and others.

Finally, young people have been affected most dramatically by unemployment this year, further compounding the issue.

What Are Your Predictions for the 2021 Property Market?

Evidently, there’s no clear picture of how the property market will look in 2021. It all depends on how the government deals with the pandemic in the new year, as well as the success of the vaccine.

It’ll also depend on how quickly unemployment rates get back on track.

By Daniel Chard

Source: Mortgage Introducer

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Housing market remains open during new national lockdown

The housing market will remain open during the new lockdown in England.

Boris Johnson has announced a set of new national restrictions for England, similar to the March lockdown.

But unlike the first lockdown, the housing market is to remain open for business.

Government advice on home moving during the coronavirus remains unchanged. Consequently, people in England will be able to move and removal firms, tradespeople, and estate agents can still operate by going inside homes. Adherence to safety and social distancing remains crucial.

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Government advice on moving home: 

You can still move home. People outside your household or support
bubble should not help with moving house unless absolutely necessary.

Estate and letting agents and removals firms can continue to work. If you
are looking to move, you can go to property viewings.

Follow the national guidance on moving home safely, which includes
advice on social distancing, letting fresh air in, and wearing a face
covering.

Industry reaction: 

Ben Taylor, CEO of Keller Williams UK, said: “With immense caution I welcome the fact that the property market remains open albeit that viewings and the physical moving process itself must be met with extreme diligence. Why have the government chosen to ‘exempt’ the UK housing market and estate agents?

“Think of it as a string to the broader economy rather than it doing us estate agents a particular favour especially with billions of pounds in accelerated property transactions currently competing to complete by the end of the stamp duty deadline on March 31st.”

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

The managing director of Enness Global Mortgages, Hugh Wade-Jones, commented: “It remains business as usual for the UK property market and as a result, it’s unlikely we will see any decline in the huge levels of buyer activity seen since last year, nor should we see property prices detract from their current upward trend.

“Billions of pounds in property transactions are also currently waiting to be dragged through the system prior to the stamp duty holiday ending. It would have been a disastrous move for the government to have slammed the door in the face of these aspirational homebuyers so close to the finish line and would have no doubt caused a landslide of property transaction fall throughs and a drop in values.

“Of course, the industry must continue to operate with immense caution and all physical aspects of the home buying journey itself must be treated with kid-gloves. Literally.”

Mark Hayward, chief policy adviser, Propertymark, said: “We welcome the news that the housing market is to remain open throughout this new lockdown period, but it is essential that all agents continue to play their part in reducing the spread of the virus through following all relevant guidance on how to safely conduct viewings.

“It is vital that agents operate in accordance with government and Propertymark guidelines to help prevent the spread of Covid-19, keep movers and buyers safe and keep the housing market moving through these uncertain times.”

Director of Behnham and Reeves, Marc von Grundherr, commented: “The latest news of another national lockdown should do little to slow the momentum of the UK property market, given that official government advice still deems it ok to transact and move home.

“As a result, the industry will continue to service the vast number of homebuyers who have entered the market since last spring and this will ensure that many more will benefit from the current stamp duty holiday.

“With no speed bumps in sight for the time being, the market is now clear to accelerate through the gears throughout the coming year and we should see a healthy increase in transactions and price growth over the coming months, if not, across the remainder of the year.”

You can view the full government guidance for the lockdown in England by clicking here.

By MARC DA SILVA

Source: Property Industry Eye

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House prices rose at twice the rate of flats in 2020

The rate at which the price of houses is rising is more than double that for flats as lockdown-weary Britons look for more space.

Annual property price growth for houses in the UK is currently running at 4.3%, while price growth for flats is just 1.8%, according to our latest House Price Index.

The trend is being seen across the country, with all regions reporting significantly stronger increases in the value of houses than those of flats.

Richard Donnell, our director of research and insight, said: “The search for space has been a key feature of the rebound in market activity as households re-evaluate their housing requirements.

“Demand for family homes with gardens, parking and extra space to work from home has continued to rise.”

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Why is this happening?

The coronavirus pandemic triggered a ‘once-in-a-lifetime reassessment of housing’ in 2019, as lockdowns and social distancing created a greater appetite for home offices and outdoor space.

Analysis of our advanced search property tool over the past 12 months found that ‘garden’ was the top feature buyers looked for, while ‘detached’, ‘rural’ and ‘secluded’ all also made it into the top 10.

The high level of demand for houses is putting upward pressure on prices, as demand outstrips supply.

By contrast, flats are suddenly in less demand than they were before the pandemic, leading to slower price growth.

Who does it affect?

The rise in the value of houses was strongest in Wales, followed by the North West and Yorkshire and the Humber, all regions in which affordability is less of a barrier to price growth.

By contrast, the price of flats was broadly unchanged year-on-year in the East, while they edged ahead by less than 1% in the West Midlands and the South West.

The current trend could make it harder for sellers trying to trade up the property ladder from a flat to a house. This is because they are not only likely to find their current property takes longer to sell, but they will also face increased competition for their next home and an enlarged gap between the price of the two properties, if they are staying in the same region.

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

What’s the background?

The quest for more space has contributed to a shift in the demographic profile of home movers, and there has been a notable increase in sales in more affluent demographics, where house prices are typically higher.

This shift, along with a high level of transactions, has contributed to a 26% rise in the value of property that changed hands in 2020, with sales rising by £62 billion to £300 billion.

Moving into 2021, older, equity rich, long-time homeowners are expected to continue to take a growing share of sales.

Top three takeaways

  • The rate at which the price of houses is rising is more than double that for flats as lockdown-weary Britons look for more space
  • Annual property price growth for houses in the UK is currently running at 4.3%, while price growth for flats is just 1.8
  • The trend is being see across the country, with all regions reporting significantly stronger increases in the value of houses than those of flats.

By Nicky Burridge

Source: Zoopla

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Housing market stabilising during second lockdown

The housing market in England and Wales is displaying signs of stabilising, according to analysis of web traffic from property advice website Property Price Advice.

Valuation requests on the website have broadly returned to their four-year average, representing a significant fall from the immediate post-lockdown spike.

Requests in June were almost 70% above the four-year average, the highest ever recorded on the website.

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Peter Sherrard, founder of Property Price Advice, said: “Activity from our web users (via natural searches) in October was closer to what we’ve been seeing over the last few years, and shows that the buzz of the post-lockdown summer market is certainly cooling off.

“We will be monitoring activity with a close eye and it will be interesting to see if the second lockdown will see a repeat of house-hunter activity from the first.

“Clearly the dynamics of unemployment, mortgage lending criteria, general housing supply for sale, all coupled with a potential covid vaccine, will have a profound effect on transaction levels and potentially price.”

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

Property Price Advice also has a computer model designed by economic consultants Pragmatix Advisory, which translates this web activity into housing price and transaction forecasts for the next eight weeks.

Given the level of activity, average house prices for November and December are expected to be 3.3% ahead of the same months in 2019.

BY RYAN BEMBRIDGE

Source: Property Wire

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Demand for homes in rural areas rises due to the pandemic

London firm Urbanist Architecture has seen a 65% increase in enquiries for homes in the countryside since Q4 2019, research from architecture and planning firm Urbanist Architecture has found.

With the UK population confined to their homes for the majority of 2020, lockdown has caused an increasing number of city dwellers to rethink their current surroundings and yearn for greener pastures and open spaces.

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Ufuk Bahar, managing director at Urbanist Architecture, said: “Prior to COVID-19, around two-thirds of our projects were focused in highly desirable London boroughs such as Westminster, Islington, Camden and Greenwich, with work ranging from extensions to new build homes and flat conversions.

“Those working in London wanted to build a life in the city and its sought-after Zone 2/3 suburbs, and a fast commute into Zone 1 was, more often than not, a deciding factor when our clients were deciding where to live.

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“Although our team has strong experience in delivering countryside and green belt projects, we could have never predicted the demand we’re seeing now.

“More and more clients are coming to us looking for large plots of land in truly rural locations, with many deciding to ditch city life and the daily commute for good in the wake of the pandemic.”

BY RYAN BEMBRIDGE

Source: Property Wire

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Housing market to remain open despite national lockdown

Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick has confirmed that the housing market will remain open despite the looming national lockdown.

On Saturday Prime Minister Boris Johnson confirmed a new month-long lockdown for England beginning on November 5 and ending on December 2.

Information regarding the fate of the housing market during the lockdown was initially scarce between, however Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick has taken to Twitter over the weekend to confirm that the market will remain open.

On Sunday evening Jenrick confirmed that property moves would still be allowed and that tradespeople would still be able to enter properties.

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The residential property surveying industry has also received confirmation from the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government that physical property inspections can continue to be provided.

Additionally the Prime Minister confirmed that mortgage repayment holidays will no longer be ending with further information published set to be published today.

Kate Davies, executive director of IMLA, praised the government for keeping the market open in challenging times.

She said: “While the country faces a second national lockdown, the government has rightly decided to keep Britain’s housing market open.

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

“Lenders, advisers, surveyors, and conveyancers are already experiencing unprecedented levels of demand from consumers eager to take advantage of the government’s Stamp Duty holiday, which is due to end on 31 March 2021, and also the Help to Buy scheme, which will be available only to first-time buyers from 1 April 2021.

“They now face the task of helping thousands more consumers potentially requesting payment deferrals as borrowers struggle to meet their mortgage repayments during the lockdown.

“Closing the housing market at this time would have only added to this pressure on the sector by creating yet another backlog of demand once lockdown ends.”

By Ryan Fowler

Source: Mortgage Introducer

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Birmingham rated the best place for property investors

Investors in Birmingham can expect a rental yield of 5.4% and price growth of 14.2% in the next five years, making it the best location for investors, according to UK developer SevenCapital.

Average rents have risen by 30% in the past decade, and are expected to increase by 15.9% in the next four. Prices in the city stand at £202,162.

There’s a raft of projects upcoming in the city – notably the Midlands Metro extension, HS2 and the 2022 Commonwealth Games

The second best city for landlords is Manchester, followed by Liverpool, Nottingham and Newcastle.

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Projected five-year price growth is particularly high in Manchester and Nottingham, at 15.76% and 16.92%.

Liverpool and Newcastle are on the cheaper end, with prices averaging at £186,527 and £198,307 respectively.

The only town represented in the study was Bracknell, which was rated the eighth best place for investors.

While the area has a high average price of £383,788, prices are expected to rise by 11.02% in five years.

Bracknell is home to tech businesses such as Dell, Microsoft and 3M, while the town is in the midst of a £770 million regeneration.

BY RYAN BEMBRIDGE

Source: Property Wire

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RICS: Buyer enquiries continue to pick up

A net balance of 52% of RICS surveyors noted an increase in new buyer enquiries in September.

New instructions coming onto the sales market also rose for a fourth month in a row, which now signifies the longest stretch of rising supply going back to 2013.

Tenant demand mostly increased, though it fell in London.

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Alan Cleary, managing director for mortgages at OneSavings Bank, said: “Evidence from the latest RICs market survey shows house prices rising strongly and tenant demand remaining firm in September, though falling a little from the high levels reached in July and August.

“Rising house prices should provide a natural support to rental growth. The immediate outlook is for a period of robust growth in overall levels of housing market activity, with transactions and prices continuing to drift upward.”

BY RYAN BEMBRIDGE

Source: Property Wire