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Prices rise by nearly £6,000 in a month to new record: Rightmove

house prices

Asking prices have climbed by £5,767 or 1.8% over the past month to reach a new record of £333,564 in May, the latest index from Rightmove has found.

Average prices across the UK were also up by 6.7% compared to March 2020, with no direct annual comparisons were available due to the fact the property market was in lockdown a year ago.

London prices have remained almost flat since the first lockdown, edging up by just 0.2% since March 2020 to £640,373.

Wales has seen a sharp jump of 13% over the same period, with average asking prices now £225,161.

In the North West prices climbed by 11.1% £223,446 and in Yorkshire & the Humber they rose by 10.5% to £216,614.

Average London house prices are 2.9 times higher than prices in the northern areas and although still large, this is the smallest ratio recorded by Rightmove since 2013.

While the number of new properties coming up for sale is at a similar level to the long-term average, demand continues to massively exceed supply, especially in northern regions and in the market for family homes.

Rightmove director of property data Tim Bannister says comments: “Last year’s unexpected mini-boom is rolling on into 2021, with new price and market activity records again defying many predictions. 

“Buyer affordability is increasingly stretched, but there’s obviously some elasticity left as many buyers are squeezing their way into higher price bands. 

“This high demand, with both willingness and ability to pay more, has pushed the average price of property coming to market to a new all-time high of a third of a million pounds.”

Bannister adds: “There appears to be more headroom in buyers’ budgets among those looking to upsize.

“Family homes with three bedrooms or more are like gold dust in many areas of the country, especially in parts of the north. 

“For example, compared to the same period in 2019 agents in the North East have 59% less available stock for sale in the ‘second-stepper’ sector made up predominantly of three bedroom homes, while Scotland is 65% down in the ‘top of the ladder’ four bedroom or more sector. 

“In contrast London’s available stock is down 20% and 24% respectively in these sectors, so while supply is still limited it is more closely matched to demand.

“Another important factor driving the higher demand and quicker average time to sell in the north is that more of their sellers are intending to buy and stay local, whereas many Londoners are looking to move out. 

“Rightmove research among those intending to sell in the next 12 months shows that an average of 84% in the north are looking to move locally, compared to only 52% in London. 

“The pandemic has changed many aspects of what people want from their homes, and the pricing pendulum is swinging away from London towards the north.”

Yorkshire-based estate agent Manning Stainton’s managing director Mark Manning says: “Across our region we are seeing a continued surge in the volume of new buyers entering the market. 

“Of particular note is the vast number of those buyers arriving from other destinations around the country, particularly the south. 

“This surge in buyer activity combined with a relative shortage of new properties coming to market has had the inevitable effect of creating a significant surge in prices with buyers clamouring to get their hands on most listings that hit the market. 

“We can see little sign of this abating and would predict that even with the end of the present stamp duty incentive that prices will continue to rise through the rest of this year and likely beyond.”

Munday’s Estate Agents managing director Becky Munday, based in London, says: “People are now prepared to go even further in their race for space, with many more no longer chained to traditional commuter barriers or southern cities. “In London we’re seeing immediate knock-on effects of a working-from-home culture take hold, coupled with the vanishing act of most international buyers who have part supported and underpinned the capital’s economy. 

“That will take time to recover from, but a slight correction in prices for a city that has previously seen incredibly high values achieved is not all bad. 

“It has created genuine opportunity for domestic buyers to upsize or choose an area or home which suits their needs better, with local families affording the space. 

“Most buyers we see in London are local, with properties selling within a few weeks and often attracting multiple bids; in the past week we’ve had three ‘best and final’ scenarios. 

“House price growth in London might be slow and steady, but transactions remain buoyant. 

“Buyer demand shows no sign of abating and may well increase once international travel resumes and the overseas market can return. 

“I have never seen a sellers’ market quite like it. 

“The window of opportunity for sellers may be closing soon, however, as a wave of newly vaccinated homeowners – who feel more confident about listing their homes now the virus is under control – is set to join the house moving frenzy and level up the playing field.”

Original Article from Mortgage Strategy 17/05/2021

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Rent Stock Drought Worsens – half of Britain sees 50% supply fall

Rent Stock

Lettings agency Hamptons says there’s been “an unprecedented fall” in the number of rental homes on the market, leading to double-digit rent rises in the past year.

There were 45 per cent fewer homes available to let in April 2021 than in April 2019, with half of regions across Britain recording falls of 50 per cent or more.

The South West topped the stock shortage league with 62 per cent fewer homes to rent than at the same time in 2019. 

London recorded the smallest fall of 20 per cent, while rental stock in cities generally was down 24 per cent over the same period. 

Unsurprisingly, Hamptons says this is triggering sharp rent rises because demand so heavily outstrips supply.

Rents across Great Britain rents rose 5.9 per cent annually in April, the fastest rate since January 2015.  

Growth remains driven by regions beyond London, with rents outside the capital up a huge 10.4 per cent on this time in 2020.  

This is the first time since Hamptons’ index began in 2012 that average growth rates outside of London have hit double digits, partly driven by the drop in rents in April 2020 – they down 2.2 per cent this time last year.  

Taking that fall into account, over the last 24 months rents are up 8.0 per cent outside London.

As with stock shortage, the South West saw faster rental growth than anywhere else in the country, with prices up 11.3 per cent on the same time last year.  Rental growth in the South East also surpassed 10.0 per cent. 

Aneisha Beveridge, head of research at Hamptons, says: “The longer-term impact of fewer rental homes is driving rental growth now, with rents rising six times faster than inflation.  

“Tenants face half the choice they had two years ago and each new instruction has brought a deluge of enquiries within hours of homes going onto the market.  

“While the current stamp duty holiday has boosted investor purchases a little, we are yet to see these flow into new instructions and improve choice for tenants.”

Original Article from Letting Agent Today 17/05/2021

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Help to Buy Equity Loan: 300,000 homes bought using the scheme

Help to Buy

More than 300,000 new-build homes have now been purchased using the governments’ Help to Buy Equity Loan across England since the scheme launched in 2013.

As many of you will be aware, the government provides a loan of up to 20% of the purchase price of a property to help buyers struggling to raise the full deposit, although the potential government contribution towards a London home is 40%, reflecting higher house prices in the capital.

The official Help to Buy statistics released yesterday show that 313,043 households have now bought a home with the support of the Help to Buy: Equity Loan Scheme since its launch.

In the three months up to December 2020, there were 21,026 completions, the highest quarterly annual total ever and 40% higher than the same period in 2019.

Most of the home purchases in the Help to Buy: Equity Loan scheme were made by first-time buyers, accounting for 257,520, or 82%, of total purchases.

Housing secretary Robert Jenrick said: “Helping people get a foot on the housing ladder is central to the mission of this government.

“The figures show over 300,000 homes have been sold through our Help to Buy scheme which hugely benefits first time buyers.

“Alongside other measures such as the stamp duty cut and new mortgage guarantee scheme, Help to Buy will continue to help more and more people to have a home that is truly their own.

This latest milestone underlines how successful the scheme has been in helping people buy their own home, according the chair of Homes England Peter Freeman.

He commented: “With the original Help to Buy scheme, and the new scheme aimed specifically at first time buyers, we look forward to helping more people like Sam achieve their dream of home ownership.”

Original Article from Property Industry Eye 14/05/2021

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7 Security Gadgets to Protect Your Chelmsford Home

Security

Nobody can place a price upon the importance of keeping your family and property safe.

However, with so many technology pieces on the market today, it can be challenging to know where to start with investing in gadgets to protect your home.

Here, we take a look at some of the most popular gadgets on the market to help you stay safe at home. 

1. Video Doorbell

Smart doorbells are convenient for letting the delivery driver know where to leave your parcel, but additionally, they provide a significant level of protection.

This security gadget allows you to use your phone to see who is hovering around your front door immediately. Most smart doorbells have a security screw. Meaning, criminals cannot tamper with the device, and it will be almost impossible to remove during or before a burglary.

All good smart doorbells have motion detectors. When motion is sensed around your front door, a notification is sent instantly to your smartphone, allowing you to tap into the camera and see who is loitering.

Not only a great feature for when you are out of the home but during the night whilst you are in bed.

This Ring Doorbell offers a vast range of security features, easy set-up, and a user-friendly app. 

2. Outdoor Security Light

Outdoor security lights provide an element of protection without the expense of a full camera set up.

Having a bright outside light will allow you and your family to leave and enter the property safely and easily. But it will also startle unwanted visitors, causing a fright and encouraging them to vacate your land.

The motion sensor on this Auraglow security light is up to 18 metres, so it can be placed anywhere around your property and still provide ample light and security.

3. Smart Plugs

A smart plug is an adapter that transforms any household electrical item into a smart device. Smart plugs are great for energy efficiency and the general smooth running of your home.

They work alongside your phone, allowing you to control items plugged-in from anywhere with an internet connection. A security feature here is the ability to turn on and off lights, giving the impression someone is in the building.

This Kasa smart plug has a seamless app and handy voice controls. Smart plugs are an inexpensive gadget to help protect your home.

4. Indoor Security Camera

An indoor security camera does exactly what it says on the tin. It is the best way to see what is going on inside your home whilst you can not be there.  

A camera with two-way audio is excellent for pets, as well as children who might let themselves into the house after school.

For intruders, the two-way system allows you to have a clear, HD video of them to hand over to the police – and allows you to frighten them away too.

One of the best on the market is the Google Nest Cam IQ, boasting excellent picture quality in every light.

5. Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detector

Providing full protection for your property goes further than deterring break-ins.

Your smoke detector needs to do more than sound an alarm. The best devices on the market can locate precisely where a fire is, and even send alerts to your smartphone if you are not home.

Gone are the days that burnt toast finds you clambering up to switch off the alarm. The Nest Protect, which can detect both smoke and carbon monoxide, allows you to silence the sound from your smartphone, should you be confident the smoke is arising from an innocent source. 

6. Smart Locks

Smart locks are still in their relative infancy; yet predicted to be a fast-growing piece of kit for every property.

At first, the concept of a home without a physical key might seem alien. But once you consider the way most hotels have worked for years, it begins to make sense.

Smart locks allow you to open your door with your fingerprint or smartphone app. Meaning they offer a tremendous amount of flexibility. You can add or remove users quickly and easily, should family or friends need to access your home.

The August WiFi Smart Lock has an innovative auto-lock feature, so you will never again leave your house unlocked.

7. Fake Security Cameras

Fake security cameras are one of the most cost-effective security ‘gadgets’ available.

They can be purchased inexpensively online and provide an immediate deterrent to criminals who may be considering targeting your home.

However, be warned that experienced criminals are wise to fake cameras and can quickly spot the difference. Meaning, fake cameras are not an ideal option for the long term.

Nonetheless, an excellent choice for those who need immediate protection on a minimal budget.

Essex Homes And Lettings are your local property experts for the Chelmsford area. Call us on 01245398466 or email sales@essexhomesandlettings.co.uk to chat with a member of our friendly and experienced team.

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Rental market outside London rising at three year high

Rent

Zoopla says rents outside London are rising at an average three per cent per year, the highest level since late 2018.

However despite the increases, average affordability remains broadly unchanged as wages rebound from the dip recorded last summer, keeping pace with rental growth.

Rents are rising fastest in the North East (up 5.5 per cent) and the South West (5.3 per cent) year on year – the strongest rate of growth in a decade in these regions amid increased demand and constrained supply. 

However, the North East remains one of the most affordable regions in the country, with average rents absorbing only 21 per cent of the income of the average single earner pre-pandemic, compared to the UK average of 32 per cent.

Northern towns of Wigan and Barnsley are seeing some of the highest rental growth in the country, at 8.0 per cent with Rochdale at 7.8 per cent; this outperforms average annual rental growth in these towns of around 1.5 per cent between 2011 and 2019 by some margin.

The portal says current rental performance is being driven by an uptick in demand for rental properties in the 28 days to the end of April, compared to the average demand recorded across the ‘normal’ markets of 2017 to 2019.

In the first quarter of the year, demand for rental property outside of London was 32 per cent higher than the same period last year.

Zoopla suggests supply of rental properties in most markets is failing to keep up with demand, and the new supply of property coming to the market outside of London is five per cent lower than in Q1 last year.

Original Article from Letting Agent Today 12/05/2021

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Good news – there are more mortgages and many are cheaper

Good news

It’s not just housing transactions that signal a red-hot market – the mortgage landscape is at its strongest for some time too.

Data from independent consultancy Moneyfacts shows that the number of residential mortgages on offer rose for the seventh consecutive month to 3,927. 

There are now 78 more deals at 95 per cent Loan To Value and 41 more at 90 per cent LTV than last month, giving a boost to those with small deposits. 

Following nine months of increases, the average overall two-year fixed rate reduced by 0.01 per cent to 2.57 per cent this month.

“The sense of optimism in the mortgage sector continues, with product choice continuing its climb back towards pre-pandemic levels. After seven months of consecutive increases and 3,927 products now on offer, this represents a 53 per cent rise year-on-year” explains Moneyfacts spokeswoman Eleanor Williams.

She says higher LTV products returning and rates reducing couldn’t come at a better time as house prices continue to rise. 

There has also been a reduction in the average fee charged by lenders – excluding no-fee deals – and the average shelf-life of a mortgage deal has extended slightly, “which means that borrowers have around a month to secure their chosen product.”

Original Article from Estate Agent Today 11/05/2021

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Mortgage lending soars as stamp duty buying boom goes on

Lending

Mortgage lending has shown the biggest net increase on record according to the Bank of England. 

Mortgage borrowing in March rose by a net £11.8 billion pounds, the strongest since BoE records began in April 1993.

Lenders approved 82,735 mortgages in March – some 5,000 fewer than in February – but the March 2021 figure was 45 per cent up on March 2020.

Reaction from the industry has been swift and supportive. 

“I expect we will see a robust rebound in mortgage approvals in April fuelled by both the vaccine rollout and extended stamp duty holiday which encouraged more homebuyers to come out of hiding and start house hunting” says Twindig PropTech chief Anthony Codling. 

Jeremy Leaf, north London estate agent and a former RICS residential chairman, comments: “Mortgage approvals are always a good indicator of future direction of travel for the market. And although these numbers are a little lower than the previous month, they reinforce what we have been seeing on the ground – buyers are determined to move even though many know the log jam in the system will mean they won’t be able to take advantage of the stamp duty concession before the tapering begins at the end of June.

“Looking forward, we don’t expect much to change although prices will probably soften rather than correct as more people’s requirements are satisfied and balance between supply and demand returns.”

David Ross, Hometrack’s managing director, adds: “Our figures show that April is set to outperform March, signalling further activity to come for lenders.

“Our data shows £150 billion of property transactions were completed in the first 15 weeks of 2021. Running 10 weeks ahead of a typical year, this level wouldn’t normally be achieved until the end of June. At the same time, one in every 50 homes was sold between January 1 and April 15, up from one in every 100 during the same period last year.” 

Original Article from Estate Agent Today 05/05/2021

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5 Typical Mistakes Sellers in Chelmsford Should Avoid When Selling Their Home

Mistakes

Selling your home in Chelmsford is not always easy. Get things right though, and it can open up a move to a new place and somewhere to start the next chapter of your life.

We often talk about styling properties, tidying up and making things neutral – in fact, we often advise people on how to make the most of the house they are selling because we’ve got tons of experience and expertise on this topic!

But what many other estate agents forget to do, is offer advice on what home sellers should avoid doing.

Here, we look at five mistakes that home sellers should try to avoid.  

1. Getting the asking price wrong

As a seller, you want the best price you can get for your property – that’s a given, and why not? Of course you’re going to want to put more pounds in your pocket.

But, sometimes, sellers want too much. Despite the expert advice of their estate agent, sellers want more than the property is actually worth. And by marketing the property too high, often against the advice of their estate agent, they can be putting people off.

If your house is too expensive for the area or is priced much higher than a similar property that recently sold, then people will be turned off.

If they do view, the chances are they’ll make an offer which is deemed to be too low by the seller and not given fair consideration. But it’s not just over-valuing! Similarly, if the asking price is too low, perhaps for a quick sale, this too can put potential buyers off because they may think there is something wrong with the house.

Top Tip Trust your estate agent. We know how to value a house. It’s what we do!

2. Failing to think outside the front door

You’ve done your house up inside – the carpets are cleaned, tatty wallpaper has been replaced with a gleaming coat of paint, and all the toys and knick-knacks stowed away.

The thing is though, have you taken a look outside? What’s the all-important kerb appeal like? Are there bins by the front door? Is the front garden a bit shabby and the back garden a wasteland?

Some sellers forget to make a first impression, and for most people, that will be when they drive past.

Top Tip When you’re putting your house on the market, bear in mind that many potential viewers will do a ‘drive-by’ before booking a viewing. Add outside jobs to your list of things to do!

3. Choosing the wrong estate agent

It has been known for people to choose the wrong estate agent. Now, of course we would say we know our stuff – because we do! But you must choose an estate agent that knows the area inside out and has the experience of selling homes just like yours.

Top Tip Decide what you want from your estate agent and do your homework. Shortlist a few before deciding we were right for you all along!

4. Leaving it too late to put your house on the market

If you’ve seen a house that you like, but have a property to sell, don’t try and put in an offer before you’ve even thought about selling your current home (unless you can afford to buy without selling!).

Currently, houses in Chelmsford are selling like hot cakes and if someone comes along and likes the same house but is in a better position than you, then you will almost definitely miss out.

Top Tip Speak with us about the process of getting your house on the market.

5. Taking it personally when a viewer says your house isn’t right for them!

If you’ve spent a lifetime in your home, and have raised your children in it, it’s no wonder that you feel close to your house. Some people cannot separate the fact that they love a house with the fact that they are trying to sell it.

This means they are less likely to put things away and neutralise the property ready for viewings or will take offence if someone either doesn’t like a room or suggests knocking a few walls about. Strange as it may appear, some people even think about who they won’t sell a house to!

Top Tip Try and think of selling a house as a business transaction – or at least something that is going to free you up for bigger and better things!

If you think you need some expert help on the do and don’ts when it comes to selling, just give us a call and we’ll talk you through the process. Call us on 01245398466 or email sales@essexhomesandlettings.co.uk to chat with a member of our friendly and experienced team.

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Average rents nearing £1,000 a month: HomeLet

Rent

Average rents across the UK are edging closer to £1,000 a month following five consecutive monthly increases, according to HomeLet.

April’s average of £996 was the highest on record and an increase of 2.9% year on year.

However, rents in London fell for the 11th month in a row and were 5.3% lower than a year ago at £1,580.

If London is excluded from the figures, average rents across the rest of the UK were 6.2% higher year on year at £853.

The South West was the region that recorded the highest annual growth with rents up 8.6% to £955, followed by the East Midlands with an 8.1% rise to £709.

All other regions apart from London saw annual growth.

HomeLet and Let Alliance chief executive Andy Halstead says: “We’re continuing to see a sustained demand for let property; against a backdrop of reduced stock, with landlords facing increased costs and growing concerns about legislative changes.  

“As we gradually ease from protective measures, the stark reality is that we’re fast approaching a summer where rental prices could accelerate at a rate never seen before. 

“Almost a quarter of adults in the UK live in the private rented sector.

“We all agree that the industry works best when balancing the needs of all parties, critically between landlords and tenants. 

“The common misconception is that increases in rents are solely driven by unscrupulous landlords trying to maximise profits. 

“That is simply not true.  

“Landlords have been hit by a sustained raft of legislative changes, which mean that their costs to let property have had to increase. 

“With the Tenant Fees Act as an example, costs are ultimately passed on to tenants through higher rents – the same group who should have benefited most from that legislation.      

“The ban on all tenant evictions [during the pandemic] and plans to abolish Section 21 may prompt some landlords to consider exiting the market when they’re able to, causing yet more strain on property supply. 

“Letting property will continue to be an excellent long-term investment, but the pandemic has amplified some of the issues that both landlords and tenants are facing.  

“The reality is that once the furlough scheme ends, millions of people could potentially be facing unemployment at the same time as tackling the most expensive rental market on record. 

“The country risks a deepening crisis if policy change aimed at restoring balance to the market is not urgently pursued.”

Original Article from Mortgage Strategy 06/05/2021

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Stamp duty transactions 48% higher than in Q1 2020: HMRC

stamp duty

“With the June deadline creeping closer, both lenders and brokers need to work collaboratively to ensure transactions are processed in time.”

The latest SDLT statistics from HMRC show that total stamp duty transactions were 48% higher than in Q1 2020.

Total transactions in Q1 2021 were similar to those in Q4 2020 but 48% higher than in Q1 2020.

Overall, residential property transactions in Q1 2021 were 2% higher than in Q4 2020 and 53% higher than in Q1 2020.

Cloe Atkinson, managing director of Mortgage Engine, commented: “Today’s figures show once again just how frenzied activity in the housing market is. The release of pent-up demand for property has been super-charged by the stamp duty holiday extension. The tax holiday has certainly been a success by any metric and current activity levels are further proof of the resilience of brokers, lenders and borrowers alike. Over the last year, the virus has forced the industry to re-shape the way consumers buy property and led to a great deal of adaption and innovation to overcome the difficult conditions caused by the pandemic. 

“Technology has been important for all parties in transitioning to this new way of completing purchases and the industry has seen a large increase in the use of tech solutions, such as remote viewings and automated valuation models. As the UK looks forward to the return of some pre-pandemic normality, tech-driven solutions will continue to be a vital part of the success of the mortgage market. A lot of progress has been achieved in the last year when it comes to tech adoption, but the industry needs to be ambitious and continue to build upon this momentum to provide better outcomes for its consumers.”

Lisa Martin, development director at TMA, said: “The first quarter of 2021 signalled a busy start to the year for the mortgage market – a fact which is reflected in today’s Stamp Duty Land Tax transactions statistics. We saw many more homebuyers and movers making their purchases and subsequently benefitting from the Chancellor’s stamp duty holiday than during the previous quarter, which led to a further uptick in transaction figures compared to the end of 2020. 

“While this demand is likely to continue over the coming months, it will also be interesting to see whether there is greater appetite from buyers to make the most of the stamp duty cut in certain regions, ahead of the initial deadline in June. For example, we may see a greater number of borrowers making house purchases in specific areas of the country where there’s the potential for better house price growth, while they can continue to save on stamp duty costs. 

“Over the coming weeks and months, it will be vital for lenders and brokers to work collaboratively in order to ensure that all transactions are processed on time. However, while some buyers rush to take advantage of the reduction in stamp duty, many borrowers will be unsure about what mortgage options are available to them, and which would best suit their particular circumstances. For this reason, professional advice will be crucial. Advisers are well placed to discuss the various options available for borrowers, and therefore have a key role to play in supporting clients’ decision making.”

Rob Barnard, director of intermediaries at Masthaven Bank, added: “It’s clear the stamp duty holiday has successfully injected energy into the market, but with the June deadline creeping closer, both lenders and brokers need to work collaboratively to ensure transactions are processed in time. For borrowers who want to prioritise speed, working with a broker and a specialist lender can give them access to a range of bespoke options. For some of these borrowers, short-term lending, such as bridging loans, could be an appropriate and often overlooked option. 

“While the tax holiday has been beneficial for many buyers, it’s also important to remember there are many would-be borrowers who have been unable to take advantage of the tax break, because of the impact of the pandemic on their finances. Specialist lenders and mortgage brokers need to work closely to ensure these individuals have alternative financial solutions at their disposal. It’s vital that the end of various government support programmes doesn’t leave those who have been financially affected by the pandemic high and dry.”

Original Article from Financial Reporter 30/04/2021