Six regions of the UK now have average house prices higher than their 2008 ‘peak’ according to the Office for National Statistics.
The East Midlands, West Midlands and south west England join London, East Anglia and south east England in rising above the 2008 highs with the UK average price now up 11.7 per cent on a year ago.
The biggest rise was 19.1 per cent in London.
The full regional breakdown was:
UK: £272,000, annual rise of 11.7 per cent
England: £284,000, up 12 per cent
Wales: £171,000, up 7.4 per cent
Scotland: £198,000, up 7.6 per cent
Northern Ireland: £139,000, up 4.5 per cent
North east England: £156,000, up 9.5 per cent
North west England: £175,000, up 7.7 per cent
Yorkshire and the Humber: £174,000, up 5.0 per cent
East Midlands: £187,000, up 7.6 per cent
West Midlands: £198,000, up 7.3 per cent
East Anglia: £282,000, up 10.6 per cent
London: £514,000, up 19.1 per cent
South east England: £337,000, up 12.2 per cent
South west England: £246,000, up 7.1 per cent
- House Prices
A Yes vote in tomorrow’s Scottish referendum would create over a year on uncertainty in the housing market - but a No vote would still leave people unsure how the Scottish economy may change as a result of additional devolution.
That is the view of LSL Property Services, which says over half of Scotland’s property prices fell in July leaving the country still on average some 0.6 per cent below the 2008 peak, with transactions still 30 per cent lower than six years ago.
The new figures are not all bad news. There were 9,285 transactions in July, climbing five per cent from June to reach the highest monthly total since July 2008. And in two particular areas prices reached new high - major employment centres Aberdeenshire and Edinburgh.
But on the other side of the coin, uncertainty is leaving its trace according to Gordon Fowlis of Your Move, one of LSL’s agency brands.
“Depending on the outcome of the referendum, there is a chance of a mass take-off and sale of investments, which would disrupt house prices in the short-term. Ambiguity surrounding Scotland’s future isn’t helping. We are in the throes of the longest period of sustained monthly house price growth since February 2007, but only time will tell whether this recovery will be derailed” says Fowlis.
“A Yes vote would usher in a further sixteen months of uncertainty. A Scotland outside the UK would open the floodgates to the real questions of currency, exchange rates, mortgage risk, and property taxation. Many mortgage holders could see their LTV shoot up as the implications of borrowing from a bank in a foreign country are unmasked. A No vote doesn’t guarantee clarity either – but the mist of ambiguity would clear sooner” he says.
- LSL Property Services
In a coup for Strutt & Parker and small Devon agency Michelmore Hughes, the much-publicised Bantham Estate has been sold in accordance with the wishes of its owners and, unusually, its existing residents.
The estate won substantial publicity in the spring because residents in the 21 homes on the estate - along with conservation and other groups - wanted the entire estate to remain as one. This includes the residential element, 716 acres, two main boat houses, a harbour and an 18-hole golf course, on sale for OIEO £11.5m.
Together they are considered to be one of the most uniquely diverse and unspoilt villages in the UK. But it was feared that there may be no single buyer willing to take on the entire offer, and to manage it as now.
However, the two agents have secured a deal with Nicholas Johnston who already owns the Great Tew Estate in Oxfordshire.
Johnston’s statement says:“I am delighted to have agreed and concluded the purchase of the beautiful Bantham Estate in Devon. I would hope that our existing Estate at Great Tew in Oxfordshire and the long term, coherent and considerate management of this equally beautiful village, farmland and landscape would reassure those genuinely concerned about the future of Bantham. We look forward to bringing another long period of family ownership to this unique estate.”
- strutt & Parker
- Michelmore Hughes
The franchise firm which calls itself the world’s largest residential estate agency has opened its fifth UK office in one month, in the London borough of Islington.
As is usually the case with Century 21, it will be operated by an existing local agent - in this case Hannah Little - but taking up the full branding of the franchise.
“We were drawn to Century 21 for many reasons. Firstly, it is a major international brand, secondly those international links provide a range of property opportunities for clients, and also the major investment and commitment from Shepherd Direct” says Little.
Century 21 began in the US and claims to be the world’s largest residential agency with some 7,000 franchise offices and over 100,000 agents in 77 countries. It is part of a group including the well-known US realtor brand Coldwell Banker, and Sotheby’s International Realty, which has a UK office in Mayfair.
Some 18 months ago Shepherd Direct acquired the licence to operate the Century 21 sales and lettings brand across the UK and Channel Islands; its headquarters are in Scotland and central support services for franchisees are based in Nottingham.
- Century 21
What are today’s landlords and tenants struggling with? We’re running a live Q&A in partnership with Shelter, helping everyone to get answers to their burning questions on renting and sharing. We’ve invited people to send in their questions in advance and the range and depth of what we’re getting in already is quite astonishing. We’ll... Read more
From 1 October 2014 anyone carrying out “lettings agency work” operating in England must belong to a government authorised redress scheme or face a fine of up to £5000.00.
Who does it apply to?
The Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013 s83 provides:
(7)In this section, “lettings agency work” means things done by any person in the course of a business in response to instructions received from—
(a)a person seeking to find another person wishing to rent a dwelling-house in England under a domestic tenancy and, having found such a person, to grant such a tenancy (“a prospective landlord”);
(b)a person seeking to find a dwelling-house in England to rent under a domestic tenancy and, having found such a dwelling-house, to obtain such a tenancy of it (“a prospective tenant”).
(8)However, “lettings agency work” does not include any of the following things when done by a person who does no other things falling within subsection (7)—
(a)publishing advertisements or disseminating information;
(b)providing a means by which—
(i)a prospective landlord or a prospective tenant can, in response to an advertisement or dissemination of information, make direct contact with a prospective tenant or (as the case may be) prospective landlord;
(ii)a prospective landlord and a prospective tenant can continue to communicate directly with each other.
With regards to property management work:
(6)In this section, “property management work” means things done by any person (“A”) in the course of a business in response to instructions received from another person (“C”) where—
(a)C wishes A to arrange services, repairs, maintenance, improvements or insurance or to deal with any other aspect of the management of premises in England on C’s behalf, and
(b)the premises consist of or include a dwelling-house let under a relevant tenancy.
(7)However, “property management work” does not include—
The section goes on to define “relevant tenancy” as an Assured Tenancy ( of which Assured Shorthold Tenancy is a subset); a Rent Act tenancy, and residential long leases. Commercial leases are not relevant tenancies.
In short, if you are a lettings agent, a relocation agent, or a property management agent then the rules apply to you and if you are not already a member of a scheme you have a fortnight from today to do so.
Newspapers that carry advertisements, web portals which facilitate landlords and tenants finding each other directly are not considered to be carrying out “lettings agency work”, nor does the definition apply to things done by a local authority.
Currently there are three schemes:
The Property Ombudsman http://www.tpos.co.uk/
Ombudsman Services – Property http://www.ombudsman-services.org/property.html
Property Redress Scheme www.theprs.co.uk.
Agents should also be aware that in order to comply with the Consumer Contracts (Information Cancellation and Additional Charges Regulations 2013 the name and details of any redress scheme be given to consumers before any contract is entered into. The information should be given either in the terms of business or separately but before the contract is concluded.
Filed under: England & Wales
After 7 years living abroad we are moving back to the UK in the next couple of months. Before we left in July 2007, in the dim distant days of self certified buy to lets and sub prime lending, we transferred the mortgage on our home from a repayment to a buy to let mortgage.... Read more
I’ve been training council and housing association staff since 1998 and I must have worked with thousands of housing people since that time.
Furthest west I’ve been is St Austell, furthest North Motherwell, although I did once turn down a course for the Hebridean Housing Partnership on the basis that someone told me you had to fly in from Glasgow in a small plane which lands on a beach.
Being one of that breed of people endowed with the remarkable super power of being able to hold an entire jet liner in the sky just by clenching their bum cheeks for 8 hours I declined.Meet the ‘Frontliners’
Sometimes the course delegates are young and enthusiastic or not necessarily young and to be frank….a little worn down by it all but one common factor I often find when asking questions at introduction time is that the majority never expected to be doing it, they just fell into the work in a variety of ways and either ‘Liked it and stayed’ or ‘Never escaped’, depending on how you look at it.
It’s a strange job constantly sorting out other people’s problems and it does get to you sometimes, especially when you are trying to log in your interview notes only to be told by reception that there is another one waiting, and for this to happen all day, every day, whilst simultaneously being nagged by your manager about your case work and monthly stats.
As one wag said to me on a course “I used to love my Mum until I found out she was a member of the public”.Training? You must be joking …
It is quite rare for people working in housing law, by which I mean advice, homelessness housing management to actually be legally trained in any respect. Often the knowledge is picked up on the job.
I started as a homelessness case work/adviser on the Monday, was interviewing people by Wednesday and it was 18 months before I was sent on a training course to tell me what I should have been doing.
An anecdote I often tell on training courses 25 years later to more than a few nodding heads of acknowledgement. Plus ca Change then.Living in the real world
Some organisations are great at keeping their staff up to date while others struggle to jemmy in a half day somewhere once every couple of years.
It isn’t always down to budget either. In the busiest offices just finding time to get the staff off of duties can be a major headache. Homelessness offices have to stay open or the CLG starts hopping up and down.
Also, imagine you’re a manager trying to coordinate the diaries of a team of 20 people. Each one of them has appointments, duty rotas, meetings, annual leave etc. The chance of everyone being free on the same day is as rare as a conjunction of planets that give rise to the birth of a new Messiah.Plugging the black holes
As a trainer I often find black holes in people’s knowledge as well. Ask any housing advice worker in Newcastle or Lambeth to outline the tenancy rights of an agricultural worker and you’ll get a sea of blank stares. Not many farms in Jesmond or Brixton.
Go into a homelessness office in LLandrindod Wells and ask them about eligibility for homelessness assistance for citizens of Ecuador and a lot of shoe shuffling goes on.
And why not? Nobody can remember everything and if you don’t deal with Ecuadorian farmers that much why bother to retain the knowledge? As long as you know where to look it up if one comes through the door chewing on a hay stem.Why its a serious problem
The problem for agencies dispensing advice or housing officers dealing with possession hearings is that the less knowledge they have the less effective their organisation will be in achieving their aims.
Homelessness units can’t prevent as much homelessness as they need to without staff who are up to speed on not just the weird ones but also the more routine stuff as well.
Housing officers involved in possession proceedings wont be able to get those possession orders or warrants enforced if they are constantly pipped at the post by a solicitor who knows his Lambeth v. Hughes from his Forcelux v. Binnie.
Training in housing organisations should be an essential and ongoing part of the routines of the teams if the organisation itself is to meet it’s stated goals and targets and yet so often it’s a case of “haven’t got the time/budget”.
One manager said to me once “But what if spend the money training them and they leave?” to which I replied “What if you don’t and they stay?”The Easy solution
This is why Tessa and I formed Easy Law Training Ltd. She does the landlords and agents and I do the public sector posse.
We know the jobs that they do, the way they work, the pressures they are under and where their knowledge gaps will need the most shoring up.
If you are a public sector housing worker reading this nag your manager to get us in. You get Tessa’s qualifications and gravitas and my Hawaiian shirts. What’s not to like?
I did a talk at a conference on the topic of legal issues about the bedroom tax, it was basically a critical overview of the higher courts and tribunal (FTT and UT) cases. In case they are useful or vaguely interesting, my notes are here. (No jokes though. All the jokes were in the powerpoint, and I’m not putting that up.)
The notes are out of date already, though only a week old (though bits are recycled from my earlier notes).
A Scottish Upper Tribunal is to hear a room size case appeal on 18 September, while such appeals in England and Wales are stayed pending a test case. So we will see…
It also appears that article 8 separated family based cases appealed to the Upper Tribunal in England and Wales are also stayed or to be stayed, pending the hearing of the Liberty backed Judicial Review. And article 14 disability discrimination cases may perhaps be stayed pending the Supreme Court deciding whether to hear MA & Ors. The Scottish UT may well go right ahead, though.