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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

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A positive outlook for BTL: Seeking more than a room with a view

As the final quarter of 2020 begins – following an unprecedented six months – the buy-to-let (BTL) market is bouncing back strongly, in a way that few commentators predicted a few months ago, in my opinion.

The residential and buy-to-let markets both felt a significant impact during the initial stages of the pandemic. Public health measures made it difficult for surveyors to visit properties, contributing to nearly two months of disruption in the housing market. However, since property valuations became possible again, demand has returned, and the UK property market is demonstrating its resilience.

It has quickly become apparent to me that landlords and investors have not lost their appetite within the buy-to-let sector either. Demand for new tenancies has risen and historically such increases have often continued when supported by a growing market for property sales, as we are seeing now. The Chancellor’s stamp duty cut has further fuelled interest.

In fact, by July the number of new tenancies was nearly back to pre-pandemic levels, according to The Deposit Protection Service’s (DPS) quarterly Rent Index.

Most of the growth in new tenancies has been at properties owned by professional landlords, and we expect to see this trend increasing. Professional landlords with reliable portfolios of good properties are often in a better position to absorb financial shocks.

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According to the Savills Global Market Sentiment Survey, concerns over the pandemic are driving more UK residents to seek properties in rural locations.

The rise of home working means there are fewer benefits in living close to workplaces, particularly those in city centres. More people seem to be taking up the chance to find a property with a garden or a garage – or simply a bigger home, whether to accommodate greater home working or simply to enjoy more space. Such properties are more plentiful in the shires, meaning demand in urban areas may continue to fluctuate.

The Royal Institute of Charted Surveyors’ (RICS) August survey found that 83% of surveyors in the UK anticipate greater demand for homes with gardens or balconies in the next two years and that 68% expect the desirability of properties with a ‘more private’ outdoor space to grow. The increased demand for properties with specifically ‘roomier’ features has led to confidence in the housing market rising to a four-year high.

Overall, I believe this represents a relatively positive picture for brokers, professional landlords and buy-to-let investors. The fact that rates are low, loan-to-values (LTVs) are almost back to pre-pandemic levels can only go to support this positive picture.

Demand for rental properties is likely to increase in many areas, as renters seek tenancies with more than just ‘a room with a view’ to make staying and working at home more comfortable.

By Paul Fryers

Source: Mortgage Introducer

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More properties sell for over the asking price

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

BY RYAN BEMBRIDGE

Source: Property Wire

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Bank of Mum and Dad will drive housing market recovery

The Bank of Mum and Dad will be a key driving force behind the post-coronavirus recovery within the UK housing market, according to new analysis.

Nearly one in four housing transactions – 23 per cent – will be supported by the Bank of Mum and Dad (BoMaD), a four per cent rise since 2019, according to new research by Legal and General.

And 24 per cent of borrowers are now more reliant on financial support from family due to the pandemic.

The amount the BoMaD will lend this year is almost half of the total of 2019 as the housing market effectively locked down during the peak of the pandemic.

Families will lend £3.5bn to loved ones this year, compared to £6.3bn a year earlier, which will fund 85,000 fewer home purchases.

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Of those who have recently bought a house and received support from loved ones, 65 per cent said it would have been “unlikely” without the BoMaD. L&G’s analysis shows the BoMaD will be even more generous than usual this year, lending on average £20,000 towards deposits.

Homebuyers in London are set to receive the most, with the average BoMaD “loan” standing at £25,800.

“While the Bank of Mum and Dad is leaning in to help those lucky enough to have its backing, a generation of hopeful buyers without the support of BoMaD could find themselves locked out of the housing market”, said Nigel Wilson, L&G chief executive.

The government reopened the UK housing market on 13 May after lockdown, and has since announced a stamp duty holiday to reignite the housing market.

While there was a collapse in purchases in the first half of the year, L&G’s analysis shows the BoMaD will be involved in 175,000 housing transactions with an estimated transaction value of £50.3bn.

Wilson added: “Whilst the generosity of the Bank of Mum and Dad is undoubtedly helping hundreds of thousands of loved ones to realise their homeownership goals every year, it remains a symptom of our broken housing market.”

“Our reliance on BoMaD is unfair and unsustainable, and it’s putting retirements at risk as parents and grandparents try to help their kids to have a similar standard of living as they enjoyed.”

By Angharad Carrick

Source: City AM

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House-Buying Surges, Gazumping Is Back

Recent house-buying interest has been so great that property portal Rightmove has thought fit to issue guidance on how to avoid gazumping.

July, which is typically a quieter time for the property market, was extraordinarily busy across the UK, reported Rightmove.

‘We saw a massive £37bn worth of property sales-agreed in July – the busiest month for home buying since we started tracking this data over ten years ago. Our latest weekly-sales agreed figure is also up by 60 per cent compared to the same week in 2019 as buyers continue to press ahead with their home-moving plans’.

The portal has also recorded all-time highs in seven regions for new seller asking prices, with rising popularity of countryside locations driving up prices in places such as Devon and Cornwall.

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‘More property is coming to market than a year ago in all regions, and at a national level the new supply and heightened demand seem relatively balanced’, commented Rightmove’s’ Miles Shipside. ‘However, those expressing most desire to move on are unsurprisingly in London and its commuter belt.

‘London has 69 per cent more properties coming to market, with the South East at 60 per cent and the East at 56 per cent. With work and transport patterns potentially changing most around the capital, commuter-belt properties need to have more appeal to prospective buyers than just proximity to a station.

‘Many buyers do appear to be satisfying their new needs in these regions, as the number of sales agreed in each is also at a record level. The out-of-city exodus has helped push prices to record levels in Devon and Cornwall, for example, where working from home means a different lifestyle much closer to your new doorstep’.

Source: Residential Landlord

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Property transactions start to rebound

There were 70,710 property transactions in July, 14.5% more than in June but still 27.4% less than in July last year, the HMRC’s seasonally adjusted figures show.

The HMRC said the stamp duty holiday announced on July 2020 is unlikely to impact transactions until late August or early September.

Anna Clare Harper, author of Strategic Property Investing, said: “The upward trend in transactions data reflects a piece of positive news for all of us: the housing market is moving again after a complex start to the year. This change reflects a release of pent-up demand and supply.

“What we’re seeing in the market, which will be reflected in August’s and September’s data, is the further influence of recent and temporary policies.

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“The temporary stamp duty land tax change is helping those home buyers and investors who are looking to buy a property worth less than £500,000 in particular.

“We don’t know for sure what will happen next: economically, or in policy. But what we can predict accurately is that two crucial factors – economic confidence and policy – will prove fundamental to the future of the UK housing market.”

Jonathan Sealey, chief executive at bridging lender Hope Capital: “Although there’s clearly a long way to go for the market as a whole to get back to where it was, at Hope Capital we are seeing stunning levels of inquiries, way up on last year.

“Covid-19 has created changing patterns of demand, as people adapt to a slightly different lifestyle, with less commuting and more working at home. This is also likely to feed through into increased transaction volumes, with many people considering a move away from large towns and cities.

“As the recovery unfolds, we’re expecting to see a lot of demand from buy-to-let landlords, taking advantage of the Stamp Duty cut to expand their portfolio and provide rented housing that meets people’s desire for somewhere quiet to work at home, and better access to the great outdoors.”

By RYAN BEMBRIDGE

Source: Property Wire

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Property viewings up 30% in July

Property instructions and viewings were up in July following the stamp duty holiday, according to data published by property group Andrews.

Viewings saw a monthly increase of 29% in July, with physical viewings up 45% as buyers returned to the market. There were almost 6,000 viewings in July compared to just 20 in April, with a third of those viewings still being carried out virtually. Offers made and accepted by sellers were also up 12% in July. Instructions were up by more than a fifth (22%) from June, with valuations up by a third.

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David Westgate, group chief executive at Andrews Property Group, said: “What a difference four months makes. In April viewings and instructions across the industry fell off a cliff as the country was gripped by coronavirus and the Government asked us to stay at home. But the rebound has been swift as lockdown eased and the Chancellor’s stamp duty announcement at the start of July gave the market a timely boost.

“Buyers and sellers alike have shown renewed vigour in the past six weeks. With a lengthy window of opportunity to purchase before the stamp holiday comes to an end, we expect buyer activity to remain buoyant over the coming months. And we saw an immediate uplift in valuations and instructions since stamp duty was frozen, with sellers keen to take advantage of motivated buyers and more confidence to list thanks to stable house prices.

“It won’t be all plain sailing from here, but the Government has shown how important it sees a healthy and stable property market for the general wellbeing of the overall economy. And house prices have proven to be extremely resilient in the past when faced by strong economic headwinds, which suggests the market is well placed to cope with some potentially heavy bumps in the road ahead.”

Source: Property Wire