Reeds Rains Property Blog

Property News from Reeds Rains

House Price Index - March 2015

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  • March sees smallest annual change in house prices for sixteen months, at 5.6% (£14,620)
  • Despite slower rises, average property prices across England and Wales set new record at £275,123
  • Slowdown more prevalent in the south as London hit by higher stamp duty and threat of Mansion Tax
  • Sales up 11.6% in March – but only half the typical monthly upswing expected at this time of year
  • In the run-up to the General Election, sales are down 5% year-on-year in Q1 

Adrian Gill, director of Reeds Rains estate agents, comments: “Property prices in England and Wales continue to hit new heights, yet the cogs of the machinery are flagging to the most laboured pace we’ve witnessed for sixteen months. Slowing to 5.6% in March 2015, annual house price growth has now been waning for half a year, and hasn’t been this sluggish since November 2013. But with homes on average worth £14,620 more than a year ago, it’s a far cry from anything worth lamenting from a bird’s eye view – even if people on the ground might feel somewhat differently. While price inflation simply isn’t as rapid as it was, the stamina is still strong, and prices edged forward another 0.2% in March.

“While house prices might still be on the up, sales appear to be treading water. Completed home sales in March 2015 totalled 72,200 – on the surface, this marks a strong 11.6% increase on February, but delving a little deeper reveals this is only half the uplift we would usually expect for the market at this typically animated time of year. Taking Q1 2015 as a whole, we’ve seen 5% fewer completed home sales than in the first quarter of last year.

“But this is far from a typical year. With the General Election tightening its tempo every week up until May 7th, cautious buyers are holding back to wait and see which way the chips fall. Property regulation is a hot topic in one of the most uncertain UK elections in a generation: no one wants to have the rug pulled from under their feet before they’ve made it through the front door.

“Examining the regional pattern of movement, it becomes apparent that we’re seeing less of a downturn than a convergence. The radical stamp duty overhaul has greatly boosted the prospects of buyers across the country, and injected new life into areas where prices have been stalled and the recovery is yet to show its face. But the small minority of those negatively affected by the restructuring of the old slab system are disproportionately concentrated in the more expensive, southern regions of England. Naturally, London has been the hardest hit at the sharp end of this reform, and also most directly threatened by future mansion tax, possessing the lion’s share of high-end property, and the clustering of properties in the million pound price bracket mirrors the locations where price rises have cooled most quickly. Between January and February, the South West has seen annual house price rises fall back by 1.1 percentage points from 5.5% to 4.4% – the most marked slowdown across England and Wales, and closely followed by London and the South East, which both experienced downtrends to the tune of 0.9 percentage points. While values in London and the South West are no longer at their peak, the East and West Midlands and East of England are instead among those setting new price records in February.

“For so long, London has been the workhorse dragging up overall measures of UK house price growth, but we’ve reached a new equilibrium. While house price growth is more measured than it was a year ago, it’s also far more evenly distributed across the country, with London having the most negligible impact on barometers of house price growth for three years. The difference between annual growth including and excluding the capital is now only 0.7%, the smallest gap since March 2012. Striking this fairer balance between London and the rest of the country is only good news for the long-term sustainability of the housing market recovery.”

Full details about the March 2015 House Price Index can be found here

Rental Regional Review...

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England: Latest statistics from the English Housing Survey

At the end of February, the Government published its annual English Housing Survey and, for the year 2013 to 2014, the headline report had some encouraging data for landlords. The private rented sector remained larger than the social rented sector, even growing by 1% to 19% (4.4 million) of households in the country, while social housing held steady at 17% (3.9 million). And in terms of young adults renting, almost half (48%) of all households made up of 25-34 year olds rented privately, an increase of 3% on the previous year. That figure is more than double what it stood at a decade before. Over the same ten-year period, the number of households in this age group owning property fell from 59% to 36%. If this trend continues, albeit steadily, the demand for Private Rented Sector (PRS) accommodation will continue to increase accordingly. 

In terms of rents, the average in the PRS rose over the five years since 2008-9 from £153 to £176 per week, an increase of 15%. Given that inflation stands at roughly 3% per annum, this means that landlords have just managed to keep their rents rising in line accordingly. If you don’t do it already, now is the time to check whether your own rents have kept up with inflation and the local market. If they haven’t, it means the value of your profit is falling year on year, so you may need to review your investment and take steps to ensure it produces the returns you need.

Visit or call your local Reeds Rains branch to discuss whether we can help you do any more to maximise your rents from a market perspective. Call 0845 450 0865*, or email Landlords@ReedsRains.co.uk

Scotland: Tenant antisocial behavior 

Private landlords are responsible for any antisocial behaviour displayed by their tenants or guests in and around their property. That’s anything that results in others feeling alarmed, distressed or intimidated, all of which is subjective and therefore sometimes hard to tackle. To help you, Renting Scotland has released a new guide on how to minimise the chances of antisocial behaviour and what steps to take if it occurs.

Of course, if we are managing the property for you, we will look after any issues and try to resolve them before they become a major problem. If you do manage yourself, though, and receive a complaint from someone else in the property, a neighbour or the local authority, you need to talk to your tenant directly.

Explain what’s been reported, why it’s unacceptable and ask them to change their behaviour, then follow it all up in writing, so you have a clear record, should things escalate. Your tenant may not realise what they’ve done is considered antisocial and it could be easily rectified.

Importantly, then make sure you feed back to the complainant what you’ve done and how you and/or the tenant will attempt to rectify the problem moving forward. Often, the problem relates to noise so, for example, you may have agreed that they won’t play music or use a washing machine after 10pm.

If the behaviour continues, you can ask the council to apply for an antisocial behaviour order (ASBO) or take steps to evict the tenant. Provided you have established a good line of communication and have dealt fairly and clearly with the tenant, you should find it simply a matter of process for them to leave. But do remember that if, at any point, you feel threatened by them, you can always call the police.

For more information, visit www.rentingscotland.org/landlords-guide  

Wales

The market in Wales is currently pretty stable, with neither property prices nor rents rising, on average. At times like this, it is worth knowing what you can do to maximise your returns, through avoiding some costs and reducing others, ensuring your profits don’t drop.

The first thing to do is look at your expenditure. If you haven’t had a mortgage review in the past 12 months, contact your financial advisor or mortgage broker and ask them to see whether you could be on a better rate. Then look at your other monthly costs – utilities, services, etc. - and see if you can reduce any of those. To arrange an appointment with a Reeds Rains Mortgage Advisor, call 0845 450 0865*, email Landlords@ReedsRains.co.uk

The next thing you need to do might seem to contradict the last point, but make sure the property is well-maintained. When the market is stable, it’s an indication that supply and demand are balanced and therefore you need to work harder to get and keep the best tenants, as there’s no shortage of rental property for them to choose from. Do a thorough inspection (or we will happily come round and do this for you) and make sure you touch up paintwork, fix any little problems and generally ensure the property is looking good, inside and out. Your gas system and appliances should all be fine, thanks to the annual certification required, but if you haven’t had an electrical inspection for four or five years, have a ‘Part P’ registered electrician check the system is safe and certify that everything’s working properly.

Prevention is better and cheaper than a cure, and provided your on-going maintenance is thorough, you should be able to avoid having any unexpected bills in the near future. 

Northern Ireland

Research into the rental market in Northern Ireland for the first half of 2014 has just been published and the overall picture for landlords is good, with rents up by 2.6% on the previous 6-month period, demonstrating a healthy demand for private rented sector property.

The volume of rental transactions was down by more than 16% over the six-month period and by over 11% on the same period in 2013, which estate agents have suggested is because the sales market is improving and therefore some landlords are exiting the market. If this continues, it’s good news for you, as reducing rental stock will keep demand high.

Belfast is still dominant and driving the market, with just over 40% of all rental transactions in Northern Ireland being undertaken in the city, and that figure shows a slight rise on the previous six-month period. In contrast, every council area outside Belfast recorded a fall in transactions. Outside the city, the next largest rental market is North Down, which stands some way ahead of the next four: Lisburn, Craigavon, Newtownabbey and Ards. The lowest rental transactions were recorded in Moyle, Strabane and Ballymoney, with the number of transactions in Ballymoney having fallen by more than half over the six months. 

In terms of property type, two and three-bedroom terraces and townhouses continue to have the largest market share (39%) across Northern Ireland, with apartments close behind at 31%. In Belfast city centre, these two types of accommodation together represent nine out of every ten rental transactions. 

YOUR PROPERTY MAY BE REPOSSESSED IF YOU DO NOT KEEP UP REPAYMENTS ON YOUR MORTGAGE

Our initial mortgage consultation is free. We will charge a fee between £349 and £699 on application. The amount we will charge is dependent on the amount of research and administration required.

IN GENERAL BUY TO LET MORTGAGES ARE NOT REGULATED BY THE FINANCIAL CONDUCT AUTHORITY.

Cracking Community Spirit

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 Jan Johnson - Halifax branch manager

Branches across Reeds Rains are enjoying Easter by supporting their local primary schools through a very special Easter competition.

Halifax, Morley and Bamber Bridge provided Easter packs for the pupils which included a blank Easter egg template the students were asked to design along with an invitation to valuation flyer for the parents.

The students created their own Easter themed picture for the competition and over the Easter holiday, the artwork is being displayed in the branches. The branches are welcoming parents to see for themselves the work which their kids had done.

Prizes are available where the winner will receive a £25 Smyths Toy Voucher and the runners up an Easter egg. (*)

The competition is part of the Reeds Rains drive to support the local community and create greater links with it.

Cairn Morrison, the Morley branch manager for Reeds Rains says: “The pupils really enjoyed the competition and the Easter egg designs look fabulous. There are so many designs to choose from and picking a winner is difficult. We managed to hold the competition with 3 local primary schools who have been very supportive and we have found this a great way to engage with the local community.

If you would like to find out how Reeds Rains can help you buy or sell your property then visit:

Reeds Rains Halifax, 16-18 Bull Green, Halifax, HX1 5AB
Telephone: 01422 348989 (**) 

Reeds Rains Morley, 88 Queen Street, Morley, Leeds, LS27 9EB
Telephone: 0113 252 0181  (**)

Reeds Rains Baddeley Green, Stoke-On-Trent, ST2 7HA
Telephone: 01782 544133 (**) 


(*) Terms and Conditions - The competition will run between Monday 16th March and Thursday 2nd April 2015 and is open to children between the ages of four and eleven. The 1st prize is a £25 Smyths Toy Voucher. Each of five runners up will receive an Easter egg. To enter, simply use this template to design an Easter egg. Only one entry per child. Winner will be decided by Reeds Rains branch staff. Prizes will be awarded in assembly after the Easter holidays. The promoter is Reeds Rains.

(**) Calls may be recorded for training and/or monitoring purposes. 

First Time Buyer Opinion Barometer - March 2015

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First-time buyers demand housing action as half are forced to consider homes with no natural light

  • First-timers increasingly willing to compromise living space to get on the ladder: 51% say natural light isn’t vital in a first home, 63% would go without a bath, 93% happy without an ensuite bathroom
  • First-time buyers want to clamp down on land banking and make it easier to convert buildings to residential use, while one in ten want to build over high streets and golf courses
  • However, February sees 21,000 first-time buyer completions, up 11% from 19,000 in January

The housing crisis is creating growing anger and desperation among would-be first-time buyers, with over half now willing to forgo natural light in their search for an affordable first property, according to the latest First Time Buyer Opinion Barometer from Reeds Rains.

When asked about the requirements that they consider to be ‘vital’ in a first home, only 49% of first-timers cited natural light as essential. Just 54% said a garden as mandatory, and 55% a car parking space.

With the average price of a first-time buyer home now £143,767 as of February, first-timers are more willing to sacrifice spaces including garages, dining rooms and utility rooms in order to save on costs. 

Just 7% of first-time buyers said an ensuite bathroom was an essential requirement to a first-home; while 14% said a garage was mandatory, and just a third (30%) viewed having a dining room as vital. Staggeringly, 11% of first-time buyers said a kitchen wasn’t vital in a new home.

Adrian Gill, director of estate agent Reeds Rains, comments: “First-time buyers are willing to sacrifice space and comfort in their quest to buy a first home. But this shouldn’t be such an arduous task – these findings should send a warning flare out to our politicians that many first-timers are tripping up along the path to homeownership, despite much improved access to finance. 

“There is only a finite stock of housing on the market, and unfortunately, first-time buyers are the least prepared in the current scramble for property. The lion’s share of new housing policy has been stoking demand, rather than supplementing supply, with the Help to Buy ISA the latest in a host of flagship first-timer policies. But building initiatives remain largely untouched, leaving enormous potential to revise and improve housing policy.

“Of course, there is a flipside. Such strong buyer demand means now is a fantastic time for sellers to put property on the market, with affordable properties likely to be snapped up quickly.”

In their bi-monthly survey, Reeds Rains asked first-time buyers what policies they would accept to encourage more housebuilding. Four in ten first-timers (41%) would accept legislation to prevent land banking – when developers buy a plot of land for development but don’t build on it straight away. And over a third (37%) think it should be easier to convert existing buildings to residential use.

Some Egg-cellent ideas for Easter!

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Easter is one of the biggest celebrations here in the UK, for many it's a weekend full of tasty treats and catching up with family and friends. On average each child living in the UK recieves an average of 8.8 eggs1- that's a lot of chocolate! With all the treats and events it's easy to forget why we even celebrate Easter. Do you know where the name Easter even comes from? The name Easter came from Eastre, the Anglo-Saxon goddess who symbolizes hare and egg2?

Find below our list of things to keep you occupied and ensure you have an egg-cellent Easter!

Arts and Crafts

Children love Easter, with the extra chocolate and fun activities it's no wonder. From decorating eggs to making traditional Easter bonnets, take a look at these fun ideas to keep children occupied.

You can also print and colour your very own Reeds Rains Easter egg here - don't forget to share the finished product with us on Facebook or Twitter!

Find out more >

Easter Baking

Easter isn't just about Easter eggs, other treats enjoyed over the Easter period including scrumptious bakes like chocolate nests, creme egg brownies and hot cross buns to name a few.

Find out more >

Be charitable

Find out if your local schools or clubs are doing anything over Easter or even your local supermarket. These days a lot collect Easter eggs to send to those less fortunate and you can also buy eggs where a contribution is made to charity. 

Easter Egg Hunt

It wouldn't be Easter without a traditional Easter egg hunt, fun for all the family with delicious treats at the end. Take a look at these ideas to create your own egg hunt or find out if there's one going on in your local area.

Easter Movies

Unfortunately we can't guarantee sunshine and blue skies this Easter, so if you find yourselves stuck indoors hiding from the rain and wind then pop on one of these Easter movies. Our favourites include; Hop, Yogi the Easter bear, Bugs Bunny's Easter funnies and Winnie the Pooh.

Pack a picnic

If the sunshine does come out you could pack a picnic and take all your Easter treats with you. There are lots of lovely parks around if you take a ball or other toys this makes a really fun, cheap day out for the family.

Visit local attractions

Easter is a wonderful time for visiting local attractions. Lots put on special events to celebrate or offer discounts to encourage visitors.

Get gardening - you could win £250 worth of gardening goods with Reeds Rains and CJ Wildlife

The long Easter weekend presents the opportunity to get on top of your garden in time for the Spring. Be inspired by our top 10 Reeds Rains gardens here or if you need some supplies you might want to enter our competition with CJ Wildlife, there's £250 worth of gardening goods to be won and they are also offering Reeds Rains customers a 10% discount, find out more and enter here

Start your property search

Maybe now is the time to get moving, take a look at the properties Reeds Rains has to offer here. If you are looking to sell your home then you can also book a FREE valuation. 

Sources:

1 http://www.birminghammail.co.uk/whats-on/family-kids-news/18-fun-facts-about-easter-6997696

2 http://list25.com/25-funny-curious-interesting-facts-easter/3/

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