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House Prices Set For Short-Term Hit

Coronavirus-hit buyer confidence will translate into short term house price falls of between 5 and 10 per cent, said researchers at international property agents Savills.

But such a drop would be smaller than the price falls experienced in the early 1990s recession or in the Global Financial Crisis, suggested authors of the firm’s May UK Housing Market Update, Ed Hampton and Chris Buckle.

The pace of recovery in prices after the initial falls will depend on the state of the wider economy, although the signs are not too encouraging. The May forecast from Oxford Economics anticipates the UK’s Gross Domestic Product 0.7 per cent lower by the end of 2024 than it expected in April, says the Update. ‘This will have a knock-on effect on household incomes’.

On the plus side, interest rates are also now expected to be lower for longer. ‘Our November forecast for 15 per cent UK house price growth over the five years to 2024 included an assumption that the Bank of England base rate would rise to 2 per cent by the end of that period. Oxford Economics’ current forecast is for it to be 1 per cent’, say Hampton and Buckle.

‘The trade-off between borrowing costs and income rises will determine the medium term outlook for house prices, once the initial crisis has passed’.

But at least the market is moving again. And ‘short term activity will be supported by a degree of pent up demand and some buyers may now have a greater inclination to move following lockdown. There is now particular emphasis on moving for more space, and to the countryside.

It is also possible that the new homes market may recover faster, due to it being easier to perform virtual and socially distanced viewings in new build homes.

‘While this bodes well for an increase in activity, it is starting from the exceptionally low levels observed during lockdown. Data from the main property search portals suggests that sales agreed and new listings were at around 10 to 20 per cent of the levels seen immediately before the lockdown, although buyer browsing levels have been higher’.

Low activity levels are also reflected in mortgage lending data. New mortgage approvals fell to their lowest level in March since early 2013. The drop was particularly sharp as it followed an exceptionally strong February, which had been the strongest month since early 2014, said Savills.

Source: Residential Landlord

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Will the coronavirus epidemic harm UK property prices?

With current turbulence in equity markets, some investors who sold out of stocks and currencies last week are looking around for alternatives. UK property, which has been severely depressed due to the uncertainties around Brexit last year, looks like it could be one of them. UK house price growth continued its upward trend in the months immediately succeeding the election – in January UK house prices were up 1.9% year on year.

This was the largest increase in 14 months and beat December’s number of 1.4%.

At London estate agent Benham & Reeves, there is notable new interest in the market. It reports a higher total number of transactions so far in Q1 than in the past 112 months, which represents a dramatic upswing in interest. It is a trend being seen elsewhere in the housing market.

“Investors should be looking at fixed-return and less risky alternative investment options,” says Yann Murciano, CEO at BLEND Network. “We have already seen investors liquidating their equity positions and looking for alternatives that provide steady yield.”

BLEND Network is a peer-to-peer property lending marketplace that connects lenders directly with borrowers and focuses on lending to established property developers. Lenders can lend from GBP 1000 to property-secured loans and earn up to 15% p.a.

Murciano thinks that the coronavirus will undoubtedly affect the London property sector, but says the worst of the impact will be restricted to the international buyer and luxury property market focused on Prime Central London real estate. Outside the capital, property prices are less volatile and he sees a growing pool of local, specialised developers who can deliver projects with strong investment potential.

There is still a shortage of housing supply in the UK

The UK continues to suffer from an under-supply of low cost housing and there are now a number of funds and platforms that are addressing the appetite from investors for strategic allocations into that sector.

But what sort of impact can we expect from coronavirus on the UK property sector?

The Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) has polled surveyors in the UK, asking them about what they expect to see in terms of the effects of the virus. Activity in the housing

market was up in February, but much of the economic effects of the coronavirus have really only been felt since the beginning of March. It may be we see a delay of sellers putting houses onto the market at the same time as buyers and investors are looking for new opportunities.

The recent decision by the Bank of England to cut rates should not be discounted either. This will make mortgages cheaper and with the additional and very dramatic stimulus measures announced, will have a positive effect on the UK economy in the medium term. This could create a situation where we have more buyers than sellers in this market, with knock on consequences for house prices.

Another factor has been the introduction of stamp duty at 2% for overseas buyers of UK property, announced in the UK budget last week, which will apply from April 2021. This will apply in England and Northern Ireland and is intended to take some of heat out of UK property from foreign investment. That said, it means there is now a closing window of opportunity for foreign investors in UK property. This could create demand at a time when the property market would otherwise be running out of steam.

Source: The Armchair Trader

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ONS: Average UK house prices up 2.2%

The average UK house price rose by 2.2% to £235,000 in the year to December 2019, according to data collected by ONS.

Average house prices in England increased by 2.2% to £252,000.

Wales and Scotland both also recorded a 2.2% rise year-on-year, with average house prices increasing to £166,000 and £152,000 respectively.

Meanwhile, Northern Ireland noted a 2.5% uplift, boosting average house prices to £140,000.

All regions saw a rise in average property prices in the year to December 2019; the South East of England recorded the lowest average increase, up 1.2%.

Average property prices in Yorkshire and Humber noted the greatest rise over the selected timeframe, growing by 3.9%.

Franz Doerr, founder and chief executive of flatfair, said: “The continued growth of rental prices is preventing renters from accessing the homes that they want.

“As the ‘Boris bounce’ has driven up house prices, we are seeing a continuing trend of tenants opting to rent for longer than ever before.

“However, rising rents, and the need to scrape together a large lump-sum deposit when moving are huge barriers that need addressing.

“With a growing number of landlords leaving the sector leading to a reduction in the available housing stock, action needs to be taken to make the rental market work better for tenants and landlords alike.”

Hedi Zidan, founder and chief executive of Nestify, added: “Today’s figures demonstrate that the UK rental market is resilient, and that demand remains strong.

“Our landlords are increasingly meeting tenants who are seeking a range of different accommodation solutions, durations and tenancy options.

“This means that in order to maximise the current UK housing stock, it’s vital landlords have access to a range of short, medium and long-term rental options.

“These figures demonstrate how integral professional landlords are to UK housing and it is our belief that they should be supported to provide the range of tenancies that the UK rental population so clearly crave.

Marc von Grundherr, director of lettings and sales agent Benham and Reeves, stated: “Much has been made of the ‘Boris Bounce’ and there is no doubting that it spurred a huge uplift in market activity.

“While today’s figures display a slightly more muted market landscape in terms of actual sales, it is important to remember that even the most enthusiastic of buyers and sellers would struggle to get a transaction completed in the few short weeks between the election result and the end of the year.

“All in all a resilient show from the UK property market, particularly given the backdrop of political turbulence that has been prevalent for much of the last 12 months, and a foundation that should now see a strong performance for the year ahead following on from December’s election results.”

Gráinne Gilmore, head of research at Zoopla, added: “The certainty provided by the definitive result of the General Election was a shot in the arm for the UK housing market.

“The annual level of growth for the UK according to the ONS is the highest recorded in 2019, with all regions seeing positive growth for the first time in nearly two years.

“The pick up in annual price growth reflects the trends seen in Zoopla’s UK Cities House Price Index, which recorded the highest level of house price inflation in two years for December 2019.

“Zoopla data shows an increase in buyer demand since late last year, a trend that is set to continue amid real wage growth and low interest rates.

“However, in some areas there is still a shortage of homes coming to market to meet this demand.

“The upcoming Budget is a prime opportunity for the new Chancellor to address some of the factors affecting the housing market at present.

“Any review of stamp duty charges to help the movement of homeowners up and down the property ladder would be welcome, but the extent and nature of any reform, which must be balanced against political exigencies, remains to be seen.”

By Jake Carter

Source: Mortgage Introducer

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House prices increase across whole of UK for first time in nearly two years

House prices increased annually across the UK’s nations and regions in December, for the first time in nearly two years, official figures show.

The average UK house price was £235,000 in December, £5,000 higher than December 2018, figures released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) and Land Registry show.

For the first time since February 2018, all regions saw positive annual growth.

ONS head of inflation Mike Hardie said: “Annual house prices grew across all regions of the UK, the first time this has happened in nearly two years, with London seeing its strongest growth since October 2017.”

Average house prices increased over the year in England to £252,000 (a 2.2% rise), Wales to £166,000 (2.2%), Scotland to £152,000 (2.2%) and Northern Ireland to £140,000 (2.5%).

In England, growth ranged from 1.2% in the South East to 3.9% in Yorkshire and the Humber.

London prices increased by 2.3%, accelerating from 0.4% in November and a 1.2% fall in the year to October.

The report said the sharp rise in London may reflect a shift in the type of properties being sold, with more high value homes potentially changing hands as a result of wider considerations relating to Brexit and other financial issues.

Sales of very high value properties in London can have a knock-on effect for average prices across the capital.

Purchases of very high value properties may be particularly affected by considerations such as uncertainty, including around the effects of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU, expectations of actual or potential tax changes, and other factors, the report said.

In December, average prices were £574,800 in inner London and £429,500 in outer London.

Lawrence Bowles, senior research analyst at Savills, said: “This index measures values at the time a sale completes.

“The process of buying a home takes time, and generally the deal is agreed a month or more before the completion date.

“That means most of the transactions covered in these December figures were agreed before the general election.

“We’ll have to wait for the January figures to see if there’s real evidence of the post-election bounce in values to match the undoubted improvement in buyer sentiment across the market.”

He continued: “All eyes will be watching the London numbers, where house prices are right up against the limits of affordability and where sentiment has been particularly impacted by political and economic uncertainty.”

Howard Archer, chief economic adviser at EY ITEM Club, said housing market activity could get a further lift if the Government introduces measures aimed at it in the forthcoming Budget.

He said: “However, the economy still looks set for a pretty challenging 2020 and there will still be appreciable uncertainties, including on the UK-EU relationship front – so that the upside for house prices in 2020 is likely to be limited.”

David Westgate, chief executive at Andrews Property Group, said: “For all regions to have delivered positive annual growth for the first time in nearly two years highlights just how resilient the UK property market has been against a backdrop of extreme political uncertainty.

“There’s a definite sense that the property market has turned a corner and is shaking off its post-EU referendum anxieties.”

Jeremy Leaf, a north London estate agent and a former residential chairman of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (Rics), said: “These figures reflect what was happening in the months leading up to the (general election) so only show a more solid resilience in activity in what was still quite a turbulent period.”

By Vicky Shaw

Source: Yahoo Finance UK

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Asking prices for marketed properties in the UK increase 0.8% to near a record high

  • Asking prices for marketed properties in the UK increase 0.8% to near a record high.
  • National total sales that were finalized posted a 12.3% annual increase.
  • RIC announced the house prices to have increased at the fastest pace in January in almost 3 years.

Rightmove’s House Price Index (HPI) for the United Kingdom came out on Monday. According to the property website, asking prices for houses in the UK placed on sale in February saw an increase this month that was fueled by the market optimism after Prime Minister Boris Johnson won the general election on December 12th.

Monday’s report offered an insight into the marketed property between January 12th and February 8th. As per the data, asking prices for such properties saw a 0.8% monthly increase. While it was significantly lower than a 2.3% increase that was recorded last month, the jump was sufficient to bring the HPI (House Price Index) close to its record high.

National Total Sales Increased 12.3% Annually

In terms of national total sales that were finalized, Rightmove announced a 12.3% annual increase. The increase in sales agreed in London, on the other hand, was reported at a much higher 26.4% annually.

Rightmove’s director Miles Shipside commented on Monday’s data and highlighted that the seller confidence is starting to show signs of recovery for the first time in many years. Although, it is still distant to the increase reported in early-bird buyers.

Experts also accentuated on Monday that the UK’s housing market has also shown other signs of recovery following Conservative’s victory in the general election of December 12th. According to the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, last week’s data on house prices suggested the fastest rate in January in almost three years.

Macroeconomics Continue To Be Uncertain For UK’s Market

Despite the optimism, however, the macroeconomic scenario continues to be uncertain for the United Kingdom. The UK is currently negotiating with the EU to strike a broader trade deal within the deadline of December 2020. Britain is also interested in defining its trade terms with other countries as an entity outside of the European Union following its departure from the EU on January 31st. Any friction between the EU and the UK regarding trade relations, as per the analysts, can be expected to cast a dramatic impact on financial indices including the HPI.

Rightmove’s House Price Index was unable to stir a significant movement in the forex market with the GBP/USD currency pair continuing to trade between 1.3044 and 1.3051 earlier on Monday. The next significant move in Cable is expected on Tuesday after the Office for National Statistics reveals its average earnings index.

By Michael Harris

Source: Invezz

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UK Property Prices Surge at Fastest Rate for 2 Years

Summary:

  • Annual property price growth in the UK rose to 4.1% in January 2020, the highest rate of growth recorded since February 2018
  • Prices in January increased by 0.4% month-on-month, with market commentators attributing the growth to a ‘Boris bounce’ following the UK’s general election and EU withdrawal
  • Increased activity in the market underlines the rising level of confidence amongst buyers and investors

It’s been a good start to the year for the UK’s property investors.

You may have heard some commentators referring to a ‘Boris bounce’. And it seems that ever since the outcome of December’s general election, which saw Boris Johnson’s Conservative party win a strong majority, there’s been a significant rise in activity in the UK property market.

Now Halifax has revealed its latest index figures for January 2020, revealing that average property prices increased 0.4% from December 2019.

It means that the UK’s annual rate of price growth has now reached a two-year high of 4.1%

This data followed similarly positive figures published by Nationwide at the end of January, which stated that price growth measured by its index is now at a 14-month high.

It seems that, with a new government decided and with the 31st January’s Brexit deadline passed, more buyers and investors are returning to the market. Furthermore, it also suggests that there was a high level of ‘pent up’ demand from those who were waiting to make their next move in the market at the end of 2019.

Russell Galley, Managing Director of Halifax, explained: “A number of important market indicators continue to show signs of improvement. We have seen a pick-up in transactions with more buyer and seller activity consistent with a reduction in uncertainty in the UK economy.”

“Looking ahead, we still expect a moderate rate of house price growth over the course of the year. Demand is likely to continue to exceed the supply of properties for sale across the UK, with the subdued pace of new building also adding to upwards price pressure.”

AUTHOR: GARETH MARSHALL

Source: Select Property

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UK property prices are in the doldrums

House prices barely rose in 2019. Good news, says Nicole Garcia Merida.

It’s been a sleepy year for the property market. The average house cost £211,966 in January and £215,734 in November, according to figures from Halifax. That’s a gain of just 1.8%. London, which during upswings often outperforms the rest of the country, is now underperforming it. By October the average cost of a house in the capital had slipped by 1.6% year-on-year to £472,232, says the Land Registry.

The market’s lacklustre performance in 2019 continues a trend observed in the past few years; prices have made small percentage gains or trod water. This is hardly scintillating material for dinner-party dissections of the property market, but as we like to point out regularly, it is good news in the long term.

The price rises of recent years, fuelled by loose credit and government tinkering such as Help to Buy, which artificially fuelled demand, have propelled the market to unaffordable levels. The house price-to-earnings ratio is steadily declining from record peaks of over seven – but the credit bubble pushed it far beyond the usual levels of below four seen in the 1980s and 1990s.

Flat prices in conjunction with regular increases in wages are a painless and steady way for the market to fall to affordable levels. It bodes well, then, that annual wage growth has strengthened in the past year and reached an 11-year high of 3.9% in June. The bigger picture is also encouraging for those keen for the market to cool. House prices in Great Britain rose by 34% on average in the past ten years.

But once the figures are adjusted for inflation, they have fallen 0.3%, according to a Savills report using Nationwide data. The subdued 2010s followed a 67.1% real-terms increase in the 2000s and a 13.9% slide in the 1990s.

The outlook for 2020

There has been widespread talk of a “Boris bounce” for the property market as well as for shares. There is now certainty over our departure from the EU and a clear majority in Parliament reduces political uncertainty. However, while Brexit-related uncertainty hampered the market in the past three years, its removal doesn’t necessarily mean that the market will rocket. As Emma Powell and Alex Newman point out in the Investors Chronicle, the housing market began to slow in 2015 before the referendum.

The main problem remains affordability, notes Callum Jones in The Times. The house price-to-earnings ratio was still 6.8 in the third quarter of 2019; along with mortgage loan-to-income restrictions, this makes it difficult for buyers to muster deposits and bolster overall prices.

Throw in dwindling support from Help to Buy and the upshot, reckons Capital Economics, is that house-price growth will “only pick up a little” next year.

Where to look on the Crossrail route

In recent years there have been plenty of breathless articles in the financial press highlighting the scope for house-price rises in certain areas owing to the arrival of Crossrail, or the Elizabeth Line. But it is always hard to gauge how much a local price rise owes to a specific project and how much to a wider market upswing.

In any case, a Savills study suggests that house-price growth has faltered close to two-thirds of the Crossrail stations, as Anna White points out in the Evening Standard. How much this has to do with the delay to Crossrail and how much with the wider London slowdown is a moot point, but those in the market for a new home with good transport links should consider some of these areas. In each case, general regeneration may give prices more pep, reckons White.

One to look at is Southall, where the Crossrail station and new houses are reviving a “tired high street”. The typical house costs £310,000. Slough, once Crossrail opens, will be almost half an hour closer to Canary Wharf, while multimillion pound investment will transform the town centre, says Renata Holland in the Evening Standard. The average house will set you back £243,000. Acton, meanwhile, was once regarded as “Ealing and Chiswick’s poor relation”, says Andrea Dean in Metro, but it is now on an “equal footing”. A house costs £443,000.

Investing in empty property

Buying an empty property may seem like a straightforward way of buying a house on the cheap. There are certainly plenty to choose from: in England alone, there are over 200,000 that have been empty for at least six months, the legal definition of a long-term vacancy. Owners struggle to sell or derive an income from them so they may be keen to offload them for a reasonable price. But be sure the sums add up.

Finding a vacant property can be as easy as going for a drive around the area you’re interested in and spotting one. Otherwise, it might be worth contacting estate agents keen to make a commission, or local councils as they will be keen to get the property back into use, says Chris Menon in Moneywise. Monitor auctions around the area, too. If empty properties don’t sell you can contact the real-estate agent to discuss a price. Once you find the property, a search on the HM Land Registry website gives you the name of the owner, property limits and the risk of flooding.

Once you’ve found an empty dwelling, the key issue to consider is how much work it needs and how much it will cost. Could the sum be so high that it negates the saving on the empty house compared with a previously inhabited house needing no work? Once you begin enquiring about the price, get a structural surveyor in to produce a full report.

Factor in potential financial assistance too. There are initiatives offered by several councils that are designed to enable landlords and homeowners to apply for and receive up to £25,000 to refurbish an empty house to then rent out or sell, says Angelique Ruzicka in This is Money. The loans schemes began as a solution to housing shortages and unoccupied properties that have posed a problem for those living close by. Council loans are repayable after three years of renting out the property or when the property is sold.

Do your research and ensure you qualify for an empty home scheme, but otherwise mortgages are an option, says Menon. However, “many lenders may only lend up to 80% to 95% of the current value of the property and may withhold some funds as a ‘retention’ until works are complete”. If the property is entirely uninhabitable, you will need a broker to find you a specialist provider.

By Nicole Garcia Merida

Source: Money Week

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UK house prices set to rise 2% in 2020 – Rightmove

UK house prices will rise 2% over the next year, Rightmove said on Monday, as it revealed the smallest decline in December asking prices since 2006.

The property website said: “Home-mover confidence and activity have been dogged by political uncertainty since the 2016 referendum. With a clear majority in the election, there is now an opportunity to release some of the pent-up demand in the spring, and for some modest upwards price movement.

“Sellers’ pricing power will be enhanced by a lack of choice for potential buyers, with the proportion of estate agent stock that is available for purchase at its lowest for over two years.”

Rightmove director and housing market analyst Miles Shipside said that although the expected 2% rise is more than twice the current annual rate of 0.8%, it’s still a relatively marginal increase as it’s a price-sensitive market.

“There will be regional variations,” said Shipside. “London is finally showing tentative signs of bottoming out, and we expect a more modest price rise of +1% in all of the southern regions where buyer affordability remains most stretched. In contrast, the largest increases will be in the more northerly regions, repeating the pattern of 2019 with increases in the range of 2% to 4%.”

Rightmove said asking prices fell 0.9% in December to £300,025, marking the smallest drop at this time of year since December 2006. Prices had fallen 1.3% in November.

By Michele Maatouk

Source: ShareCast

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UK real estate to rebound by 2024 – Savills

  • The U.K real estate could rebound over the next half a decade
  • According to Savills, the average UK property prices are expected to jump by 15.3%
  • Savills warns that the growth will be slower due to higher taxes and rising interest rates

The UK real estate could be headed for a major bounce back in the next five years, after months of plummeting prices. The crisis, which has now lasted across the country for several quarters, could not-so-long from now come to an end, this is according to a Wednesday report by Savills.

Savills is a brokerage and real estate adviser based in London and its recent report predicts a 15.3% price jump for existing UK homes between the year 2020 and 2024. The report further states that the growth may not be uniform across all regions; the North-West is likely to lead with a 24% growth, while the East and South-East may experience an average growth of 11%.

“We anticipate a continuation of trends seen historically, where London and the South East underperform markets in the Midlands and North,” the head of residential research for Savills, Mr. Lucian Cook stated in the report. “This stage of the cycle appears to have begun in 2016, coinciding with the referendum, when London hit up against the limits of affordability.

The Savills’ report, however, noted that London’s luxury market would undergo a significant upswing; prime central London could rise by 20.5% on average, starting with an increase of 3% within the next year.

“Historically, a recovery in the prime markets has been sparked in prime central London, when the city’s most expensive properties start to look [like a] good value on a world stage,” Mr. Cook said in the report. “Values have been bottoming out over the past year, resulting in a build-up of new buyer registrations over recent months. Both signal that the market is set for a bounce, but this is being held up by uncertainty.”

In areas outside London, prime property prices could rise by about 14.2% by 2024 while luxury homes outside central London are expected to increase by 11.5%, the report indicated.

Scotland could experience a 20% jump in prime property prices, with units in North of England and Midlands expected to hike by 20.5%.

Rental rates are also set to rise within the next five years; in London, renters can expect a spike of about 18.8% even as annual transactions are expected to remain almost constant at 1.2 million.

But Cook warned that the growth could be slower than in the previous periods due to increased taxes and interest rates.

By Damian Wood

Source: Invezz

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House prices are going up – yet properties becoming more affordable in priciest cities

Property buyers in UK cities and major towns are having to pay up to 13 times their salaries to get a home.

London is the most expensive city in terms of the salary to house price ratio, but Cambridge, Oxford, Bournemouth and Bristol are not far behind.

Across 20 UK cities and major towns, buyers are paying a house price that is an average of 6.7 times their earnings.

In all of these cities, with the exception of Aberdeen, house prices have risen.

However Zoopla – which produced the figures – says that affordability is actually improving in 12 cities, including the most expensive four, where earnings growth is outstripping house price inflation.

Richard Donnell, research and insight director at Zoopla, said: “Housing affordability is slowly starting to improve in London as earnings growth outstrips house price inflation.

“There has been a clear downward trend in the ratio of house prices to average earnings over the last two years.

“However, the scale of improvement is relatively modest.

“While welcome news, the gap between earnings and prices needs to close further in order to make a material difference to would-be purchasers.

“The changing picture is not limited to London. There are 12 cities where the annual growth in house prices is below the growth in average earnings which is running at 3.7%.

“Lower-priced cities in northern England are actually getting less affordable than their southern counterparts when you consider that the annual percentage growth in house prices is outstripping earnings growth.”

By ROSALIND RENSHAW

Source: Property Industry Eye