Could a private landlord put together a shared ownership scheme similar to those offered by Housing Associations? This question was raised by one of our members who came up with the idea of selling 10% of his property every year to one of his tenants. I explained that it would be incredibly difficult to make... Read more
A Scottish estate agency is staging an international property roadshow to attract Asian buyers to three cities, despite growing concern about the effects of overseas purchasers on house prices and availability.
Three executives from Rettie & Co next week visit Singapore and Hong Kong to hold two seminars, a business breakfast and a drinks party. They aim to emphasise the attractiveness of Edinburgh, Glasgow and Aberdeen to Asian buyers.
The Rettie roadshow - which emulates the kind of events undertaken by high-end estate agents attempting to sell prime central London property - comes just as the development firm turning Battersea Power Station into apartments has announced that it will offer units in its second phase to Britons before marketing them overseas.
Late last year, 11 house builders in the UK signed a commitment to give priority to selling homes in new schemes in Britain before, or at the same time, as selling them overseas; many top-end schemes, however, still make a point of selling abroad first.
Recent data from Douglas & Gordon agency shows 50 per cent of purchases in central London in 2013 were by overseas buyers; other agents have been known to market new-builds in expensive provincial cities such as Cambridge and Bath at overseas roadshows.
However, there has been widespread concern from groups outside the industry about growing numbers of foreign investors effectively pricing-out British owner occupier and landlord buyers.
Rettie claims that with London's market now over-heating "many investors are hunting for better returns elsewhere". Its team visiting the Far East includes research and strategy director John Boyle, who has previously advised the governments of Ireland and Bahrain on property issues.
The firm will no doubt be emphasising new figures released about the rude health of the Scottish housing market. LSL/Acadata says the average price of a Scottish home is now £146,696, up 3.6 per cent in the past year. It claims only London and south east England saw higher average increases.
- Estate Agent
- Rettie & Co
- foreign buyers
The British Property Federation wants the Government and insurance companies to end what it calls “uncertainty and lack of fairness” in the Flood Re proposals.
Flood Re - a scheme which means annual insurance premiums will be capped and payouts for flood damage will come from a central pot of money - was meant to add a level of stability to the property industry as well as home owners.
But the BPF is worried that the Government currently wants to exclude leasehold and private rented properties from the measure because these categories are formally classified as commercial.
The Federation says the authorities cannot pick and choose which areas of the residential market they want to help. Without Flood Re, many agents fear that homes close to or within recently-flooded areas will be hard to sell as buyers investigate potential premiums.
Data from the Leasehold Knowledge Partnership shows there are at least 800,000 leasehold properties in England in flood risk areas, with 70,000 of those designated as being at high risk.
“Floods do not discriminate, nor should the insurance industry. There’s no justifiable reason to exclude leaseholders from Flood Re simply because they own a flat rather than a house. And it isn’t fair to exclude almost four million PRS properties” insists BPF policy director Ian Fletcher.
An app called Pingit, created by Barclays bank, has been used to pay the £23,000 deposit on a south London home sold at auction. It's thought to be the first property transaction of its kind in the UK.
Pingit, which launched in 2012 and can be downloaded from the Apple app store, allows users aged 18 or above to receive and send money free of charge.
Transfers can be to anyone with a UK current account (in all mainstream banks, not just Barclays) so long as they have a UK-registered mobile phone number.
The funds are transferred instantaneously and the sender does not need to know the recipient's bank details - just his or her mobile phone number.
Savills and Barclays worked together to modify the app so it could scan a Savills QR code which then displays the full transaction details; the buyer needs only to click on the 'OK' option for the funds to be transferred.
If only there was a similar app to make conveyancing work that quickly...
- Estate Agent
The much-vaunted rebranding of Cluttons has finally broken cover on the firm's central London offices.
The firm has ditched its old red and white colour theme for a more fashionable cyan (or pale blue as most of us would call it). The scheme is appearing on Cluttons' nine central London residential offices, each of which will be refurbished this year; new branches will be opening in the summer at Blackheath and Camden.
The firm already operates in 50 countries - mostly offering property management and consultancy services - and senior partner Bill Siegle says its future success lies in "our international growth." He promises the firm will enter new markets, although does not specify which.
Like Savills, Cluttons has dropped the term 'estate agent' even from some statements restricted entirely to residential issues; instead, it refers to itself as an "international real estate services company".
- Estate Agent
Housing market analyst Henry Pryor says house prices could fall by as much as 25 per cent in 2016.
Pryor, a familiar face and voice analysing housing market trends on BBC TV and radio programmes, says the Government is "determined to ramp house prices" until the May 2015 general election. They will then plateau before falling, he forecasts.
He says the Government believes that "voters are forgiving of politicians' financial mismanagement of the economy if you let them feel good about the value of their home."
Pryor feels there are two underlying threats to the housing market.
The first is what he calls "political interference" - measures ranging from Help To Buy, to a review of mortgage availability to a threatened mansion tax - which he believes distort the market. It's the removal of "stimulants" like Help To Buy which could deter buyers and help contribute to price falls, he says.
The second threat is public disorder. He says there is growing resentment at the perceived inequality of housing wealth in the UK. "Hopefully people will solve this politically but you've got to admit there is little evidence of this" he says.
A full version of Pryor's views are on his blog on www.henrypryor.com/blog
- Henry Pryor
- Price Falls
- Housing Analyst
- General Election
New research shows precisely why people want to move house, providing perfect raw material for agents trying to pitch advertising and individual property details to catch the right buyer.
Strutt & Parker has asked 1,000 buyers - across all ages, demographic groups and areas of the country - to list a range of reasons why they want to move.
Many peoples' favourites like being closer to work or getting in to the catchment areas of better schools score surprisingly lowly, while lifestyle and convenience are the biggest reasons.
The league table is as follows (and remember each buyer cited several reasons):
1. Change of lifestyle (51.7 per cent)
2. Easier access to shops and amenities (35.3 per cent)
3. Being closer to family and friends (32.5 per cent)
4. Cutting running costs (31.2 per cent)
5. Needing more space (30.3 per cent)
6. Being closer to public transport (24.7 per cent)
7. Having a smaller home (24.7 per cent)
8. Being closer to work (14.8 per cent)
9. Releasing equity for later life (13.6 per cent)
10. Better schools (10.5 per cent)
11. To top up an existing pension (9.6 per cent)
12. To release funds to help children or other relatives (7.8 per cent)
- strutt & Parker
- Property Details
Over 65-year-olds who own their homes have seen an average capital appreciation of £7,100 per property in the past year - the equivalent of almost £600 per month.
In addition, there is a record 4.69 million homes owned outright by over-65 year olds who have paid off their mortgages.
This property affluence may explain why down-sizing pensioners made up a large chunk of the housing market activity during the 'downturn years' of 2007 to 2013; in some areas, 30 per cent of transactions were over-65 year olds selling up.
In total, pensioners now own £801.1 billion of property equity. But there are big regional variations in the proportions of property equity belonging to the over 65s.
In London, for example, 18.45 per cent of all residential equity is owned by pensioners - in the north east of England, despite homes being much cheaper, the proportion of equity held by over 65s is a mere 3.35 per cent.
The research has been undertaken by Key Retirement Solutions, using data from a range of Government sources.
- Retirement housing
- Capital Appreciation
You have to hand it to online estate agents - they at least do things differently.
Sarah Beeny's troubled Tepilo website, which underwent a relaunch at the end of last year, has now added an unexpected feature - a "children's opinion section."
This is a space where the children of sellers are encouraged to describe their parents' homes, including an opportunity for kids' drawings of properties to be uploaded.
Beeny says the idea came to her after two children from Somerset popped hand-written leaflets about their parents' home into letterboxes of potential buyers. The result, apparently, was two offers for the property.
"Honest reviews from the offspring who grew up there could also give potential buyers the kick they need to make the deal" says Beeny.
- Sarah Beeny
- Online Agents
Recently a Property118 reader remortgaged his own main residence using an Offset mortgage. It was valued at £700k and he capital raised a further £300k (bringing his mortgage to a new total of £450k). He then placed the £300,000 equity released in to the mortgage-linked offset savings account. By doing this he is still only... Read more
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For an increasing number of people, buying a property is becoming unrealistic. In many parts of the UK millions will never be able to afford their own home even if they are working because property prices are so detached from what people get paid.
Shelter revealed that average earners in England need to more than double their annual salary just to keep up with house prices.
Not surprisingly the situation is most acute in London where the average annual salary would need to increase four-fold to more than £100,000 in the borough of Hackney alone.
In Watford and Brighton & Hove an extra £47,000 each year is needed to keep up with local house price inflation, while in Manchester £34,000 more is required.
Worryingly for agents in terms of attracting first-time buyers, even the cheapest areas have not seen wage and house price inflation remain aligned.
Shelter Chief Executive Campbell Robb said: "When you’d need to more than double your salary just to keep up with rising house prices, it is no surprise that the dream of a home of their own is slipping further out of reach for a generation.
"Politicians need to start meeting people halfway by committing to bold solutions that will get more affordable homes built. Otherwise future generations will find themselves priced out of a stable home, however hard they work or save.
"The only solution is to build more affordable homes."
- Property buyers
- Property prices
I recently spent a lot of time exploring Property118 and reading new and past articles, and I have to say the site content and its member’s contributions are very impressive. I don’t know of another site that offers as much, or one wherein the members so readily help and support one another. When you combine... Read more
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Dear Readers, If a tenant signs a tenancy surrender form (Deed of Surrender), but subsequently changes their mind and refuses to move out or return the keys, is the landlord legally allowed to change the locks and deny the tenant access? Would this then be in breach of the Protection from Eviction Act? Putting it... Read more
FCC Paragon has become the latest company to sign up to exhibit at the Property118.com Virtual Property Show. Securing the commitment of a well-established company such as FCC Paragon is an exciting development and just works to highlight why the Property118.com Virtual Property Show is the future for property trade shows. FCC Paragon was established... Read more
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