Reeds Rains Property Blog

Property News from Reeds Rains

House Price Index - February 2015

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House prices £34,000 above pre-crisis high

  • At £273,528, home values now £34,192 higher than at height of the housing boom in February 2008
  • But over half of that value (£17,340) added in the past year, following annual rise of 6.8%
  • London buyers at top-end brace for General Election, but lower rungs of ladder keep moving
  • Completed home sales in the opening two months of 2015 down 9% compared to a year ago

Adrian Gill, director of Reeds Rains estate agents, comments: “Seven years on, and the average house price across England and Wales is £34,192 higher than at the pinnacle of the housing boom in February 2008. We’re performing well by yesterday’s standards, but we’ve got to keep an eye on the trajectory of our current recovery. Average house prices are currently 6.8% (£17,340) higher than they were last year – but this is the smallest annual increase witnessed for fourteen months, as the market mellows from the extraordinary noise of the past year. So far in 2015, completed home sales are 9% lower than over the same period twelve months ago, but demand hasn’t faded out of view. February still marks a 4% improvement on January activity levels, and in recent weeks, we’ve seen agreed sales climb above 2014 levels, as activity comes into focus.

“After storming ahead of the rest of the country in the whirlwind of last year, the conditions have calmed in London and the South East. Their combined lead on the rest of the UK hit a summer-peak in July 2014 – when this corner of the country hoisted the wider England and Wales annual change to 5.4% higher than it would have been otherwise – but in February this growth gap has fallen to less than half its former glory, to only 2.2%. Annual house price growth in England and Wales stood at just 4.6% in February excluding these weighty regions.

“The capital has already had the first taste of added pressure placed on prime property in the form of revised Stamp Duty, and the £1.5m to £5m slice of the market has also been hit by cold feet in the run up to the General Election, with the threat of a potential mansion tax. This let-up of high-end activity has brought down the average London house price, but beneath the surface, the lower rungs of the ladder are thriving. For instance, the borough of Newham – where the typical property value currently stands at £273,727 – saw an enviable 2.1% monthly price rise, more than double the overall 1.0% average London price jump. In terms of annual growth, more affordable areas like Barking and Dagenham (+16.5%), Bexley (+15.6%) and Waltham Forest (+16.8%) are punching well above their weight, coming in ahead of the year-on-year improvements seen in high-end areas like Kensington and Chelsea, where prices have fallen 7.4% in the past twelve months.

“In the south of the country overall we’re seeing a very orderly market, with buyers and sellers on more of an even keel. Rates of annual growth have slowed across the board in England and Wales, but it is regions with the lowest average property prices which are dragging their feet. The North saw the smallest annual uplift in January, with home values just 1.9% higher year-on-year, while in Yorkshire and The Humber prices stagnated over the month.

“On a monthly basis, house prices are trundling along overall, climbing 0.5% since January to reach a new record. The housing shortage may be propping up property price growth, but more needs to be done to stave off this winter lull and invigorate the property market recovery. It’s pivotal that the Chancellor recognises the importance of expanding the UK’s property stock in the upcoming Budget. Measures like the Help to Buy scheme and reforming Stamp Duty have airlifted support to the bottom end of the market, but unless more new homes are built, he’s practically playing a zero-sum game: reshuffling a deck doesn’t leave you with more cards.”

Full details on the House Price index can be found here

Smart new home for Reeds Rains Pontefract as office is transformed

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Reeds Rains - Pontefract

In response to the increased activity in the local market and demand for its services, Reeds Rains has chosen its Pontefract office to benefit from a major refurbishment.

To celebrate, they are holding a launch party on Wednesday 11th March 2015 from 5.00pm - 7.00pm. 

The refurbishment sees the office extend their services into the building next door to create an impressive new showroom to display the increasing number of properties which are becoming available.  

The office has been updated with modern new furnishings and high tech LED displays to enhance the on-going display of properties which is a popular feature with the residents in Pontefract. Along with this, the office also features the new Reeds Rains logo which has also been designed to highlight its long standing position in the property market but also its forward thinking approach to residential sales and lettings and can been seen as a key feature within the office.

 Looking smart - The new showroom

Reeds Rains is based at 24 Beastfair, Pontefract, WF8 1AW and the local team would like to welcome visitors to come and see the new office and provide them with the opportunity to come and talk to industry experts about selling, buying or renting their property. 

Emma Bevan, Branch Manager for Reeds Rains explains: “We’ve had a Reeds Rains office in Pontefract for many years and we’ve been able to help hundreds of customers during that time in selling, buying and renting houses. 

The fact is that Reeds Rains was established more than 140 years ago and at last year’s Estate Agency of the Year Awards, sponsored by The Sunday Time and Times, Reeds Rains won the silver award for Best National Estate Agency and the bronze award for Financial Services. This brings the peace of mind and reassurance that, we know, many people seek when choosing an agent. By combining this with our great local team who have vast experience in residential sales, lettings and financial services; we think we’ve got a winning combination. And it’s this, as well as our new refurbishment, that we think puts us in the perfect place to respond to the obvious increase in local market activity.

The fact that we now operate from such attractive surroundings simply adds to our overall appeal and, we hope, demonstrates our true commitment to listening and responding to our customers’ needs and to providing an agency they can not only rely on but enjoy visiting.” 

For more information about Reeds Rains – simply contact the local team at Reeds Rains Pontefract, 24 Beastfair, Pontefract, WF8 1AW  or telephone them at 01977 701891 (*).

Reeds Rains - Pontefract

(*) Calls may be recorded and/or monitored for training and/or data protection purposes.

 

Latest Deregulation Bill may make it harder to evict tenants

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Over the last few years there have been studies which have claimed that some landlords are evicting their tenants if they request improvements to the property. This is called ‘retaliatory’ or ‘revenge’ evictions.

To try to change the law to protect tenants from the unscrupulous landlords that evict tenants to avoid improving their property, Sarah Teather a Liberal Democrat MP, introduced a Private Members’ Bill: the ‘Tenancies (Reform) Bill’. 

The Bill wasn’t initially passed, but was reintroduced this month through the House of Lords using another Bill: the Deregulation Bill. Although this bill was actually aimed at reducing the burden of legislation on businesses, organisations and individuals, in this case it was used to incorporate changes which would make it more difficult to evict a tenant via retaliatory eviction.

This Bill has now been passed by the Lords and they are currently urging the Government to pass the Bill too, which is due for its forth reading in March 2015. The Bill needs to be passed by the House of Commons and then has to receive ‘Royal Assent’ before it becomes law.

How will the changes affect landlords?

Currently there are two ways of securing possession of your property. The method which is affected by this Bill is the issuing of a ‘Section 21’ notice. Landlords can serve a Section 21, requesting the tenant leaves without giving any reason. For example it might be your original home and you want to move back in or you want to sell the property. A Section 21 can only be enacted at the end of the tenancy contract period, for example after a fixed tenancy agreement of six months. You will need to abide by the period of notice (normally two months) within the contract.

The changes will protect the tenant from eviction if they have already complained about the property’s condition and, as the landlord, you haven’t provided a response within 14 days or the response you did provide was inadequate and/or the tenant has already lodged a formal complaint about its condition with the LA. As long as the complaint is valid, landlords will be prevented from serving a ‘Section 21’ eviction notice for six months after the Local Authority has sent a letter requesting the improvements.

What can Reeds Rains do to help you? 

From our perspective, the idea of evicting a tenant because they have fairly requested repairs or legally required improvements is unfair, so it is best to ensure the tenant has no reason to complain in the first place.

We will keep you up to speed on what’s happening with this legal change and let you know if it comes into force. If we fully manage your property, we would aim to make sure your property is let legally at the start of the tenancy and advise of any repairs are required if we re-let it for you. And, if we receive any complaints from the tenant, we will make sure we get back to them within the required number of days.

To keep up to date with the latest news and changes sign up to our mailing list here.

An invitation to join the Reeds Rains Landlord Event

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Refurbished branch - Reeds Rains Chorley

In response to increased activity in the local market and demand for its services, estate and letting agents Reeds Rains are hosting an event dedicated to landlords.

The event is for current and potential landlords who are looking for advice from industry professionals and will be held in a selection of their branches during March. 

Lee Gallagher is the lettings manager for Reeds Rains in Chorley who says: “We are passionate about lettings and are excited about welcoming landlords to our office. At the event, experts will be on hand to explain a range of topics we think will be of interest to landlords. For example, more information about rental value and yields, tips on the best places to buy, what we think tenants are looking for from renting as well the full range of services available from Reeds Rains.

 Lettings Manager - Lee Gallagher

We are also excited to showcase our updated office with its modern new furnishings and high tech LED displays to enhance the on-going display of properties.

The new office in Chorley also features eye catching custom made wallpaper featuring the striking Buckshaw sculpture, which reinforces Reeds Rains interest in its local area. Inside the office, the new Reeds Rains logo has also been designed to highlight its long standing position in the property market but also its forward thinking approach to residential sales and lettings and can been seen as a key feature within the office.

Custom made wallpaper -  Buckshaw sculpture - Reeds Rains Chorley 

This new office makes it the ideal setting for us to demonstrate our revolutionary new system which helps landlords to manage their properties more easily using the Landlord and Tenants Portal. This is an online system which allows landlords to check the circumstances of their let. Landlords have information readily available about rental payments, outstanding maintenance issues as well as an array of useful information that landlords themselves have requested.

All in all we hope the event provides useful and we look forward to welcoming landlords new and existing to find out for themselves what great services Reeds Rains can offer.”

The landlord event will be held in the the following locations and the details are below:

Preston
Thursday 5th March5.00pm - 7.00pm
Address - Reeds Rains Preston, 80 Fishergate, Preston, PR1 2UH
Telephone - 01772 561666

St Helens
Thursday 5th March5.00pm - 7.00pm
Address - Reeds Rains St Helens, 15 - 17 Barrow Street, St Helens, WA10 1RX
Telephone - 01744 733633 

Pemberton
Wednesday 11th March: 5.00pm - 7.00pm
Address - Reeds Rains Pemberton, 798 Ormskirk Road, Pemberton, Wigan, WN5 8AX
Telephone - 01942 216381 

Hanley
Thursday 12th March:  5.00pm - 7.00pm 
Address - Reeds Rains Hanley, 17 Piccadilly, Hanley, Stoke On Trent, ST1 1EN 
Telephone - 01782 204244

Bamber Bridge
Thursday 12th March:  5.00pm - 7.00pm
Address - Reeds Rains Bamber Bridge, Unit 5 185 Station Road, Bamber Bridge, Preston, PR5 6LA
Telephone - 01772 336183

Chorley
Thursday 12th March:  5.00pm - 7.00pm
Address - Reeds Rains Chorley 24 High Street, Chorley, PR7 1DW
Telephone - 01257 267626

Blackpool
Saturday 14th March: 5.00pm - 7.00pm
Address - Reeds Rains Blackpool, 69 Whitegate Drive, Blackpool, FY3 9DA
Telephone - 01253 304060

Liverpool
Thursday 19th March: 5.00pm - 7.00pm
Address - Reeds Rains Liverpool, 24B North John Street, Liverpool, L2 9RP
Telephone - 0151 227 2027 

Wolverhampton
Thursday 19th March: 5.00pm - 7.00pm
Address - Reeds Rains Wolverhampton, 4 Waterloo House, Wolverhampton, WV1 4BL
Telephone01902 428888
 

 Calls may be recorded and/or monitored for training and/or data protection purposes.

Rental Regional Review

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England:

What impact will election policies have on letting a property?  

Things are definitely hotting up in the Private Rental Market in England. Shelter and Generation Rent are just two organisations calling for tougher policies that could dramatically impact both landlords and tenants. The main request is for rent controls to limit by how much rents can be increased from one year to the next and, in some cases, even maximum amounts of rents that can be charged in certain areas. There are also calls for all landlords to be licensed and for letting agents to be regulated, which would mean increased costs for all those letting property.

From our perspective, we know that rents are pretty good value for tenants and, although increasing, they aren’t rising ahead of inflation, so rent controls or limits aren’t really required. That’s backed up by our research, which shows that rents are typically ‘naturally capped’ by what people earn. However, we are supportive of licensing landlords and robust regulation of letting agents, both of which would mean tenants could be sure of working with approved professionals.

House Prices

Our latest House price index shows that prices in January 2015 versus 2014 were up year on year by 7.5%, with the North and Yorkshire seeing the biggest boost, mostly due to an increase in first time buyers. Adrian Gill, director of Reeds Rains estate agents, comments that this annual growth “is the smallest yearly improvement witnessed for 10 months” and that “average property values haven’t taken any steps forward from where they stood in November”.

Interestingly, it’s London which is leading this slowdown, having seen some big rises over the last 18 months, while in other areas, such as the North, sales were up by 7% and in Yorkshire and Humberside by 4.1% with flats and terraces changing hands due to low mortgage rates attracting new, first time buyers.

From a buy to let perspective, our index shows rents are higher year on year in eight out of ten regions across England & Wales. The best performer was the East of England, which saw rises of +7.6%, followed by the East Midlands at +6.2% and in London rents grew by +4.1%, while in Yorkshire & the Humber there was a +3.4% annual increase. And, just as house prices vary from one region to another, so do rents, which we saw falling in the North East by -2.1% and the South West by -1%.

For more information on the latest House price and Buy to Let Index, visit http://www.lslps.co.uk/

Wales: 

It’s a busy year for new rules and regulations in Wales this year! 

Firstly, a minor change. From the start of this year, for all new tenancies, you will need to provide Welsh Water and Dee Valley Water with your tenants’ details to help them chase up any water bill arrears. For existing tenancies, it’s from 21st January 2015. 

But some much bigger changes are also being implemented, thanks to the passing of last year’s Housing (Wales) Act 2014.

If we manage your property for you, we’ll take care of everything and keep you up to date, but if you’re managing a property yourself, you need to understand what these changes are and what they mean for you, so that you can take the necessary action.

In summary:

  • You will need to register yourself as a landlord at a cost of £50, plus £10 for each property
  • If Reeds Rains manages your property, we’ll look after everything else for you as we will abide by the new legislation on your behalf
  • If you manage the properties yourself, then you will need to secure a licence to do so, abide by a new code of conduct and attend a training programme. The cost will be several hundred pounds. 

With these new rules, it my be worth considering whether to continue to manage your property yourself, or whether it makes more sense for us to look after it, to help you stay on the right side of the law.

Do contact us on 0845 450 0865* or email Landlords@ReedsRains.co.uk for more help and advice on these changes and, don’t worry, we’ll always make sure you’re kept up to date!

House Prices

Good news for Wales from our latest House Price Index shows over the last three months it is the Region which recorded the highest rise in house prices in October, when prices rose by nearly 1% in just one month. However, this price growth hasn’t kept up the momentum and over the last few months, dropped back to almost no change at all year on year.

From a sales perspective, in the last quarter of 2014 they stagnated at 10,500 homes in Wales – the same number of sales as 2013. Although this does disguise differences with the types of property people are buying. Flat sales were up by 15% Q4 2014 versus 2013, while detached properties sales were on a par and there was a fall in the number of semi and terraced property sold. 

From a rental perspective, rents in the region are on average £566 per month which is a slight fall versus rents in the previous month, but up 2% year on year, so keeping up with inflation, just. On average, yields have remained the same year on year.

For more information on what’s happening in the Welsh market, visit http://www.lslps.co.uk/   

Northern Ireland 

All landlords letting property in Northern Ireland need to register themselves by 25th February 2015. If you haven’t already done so, make it a priority as you could be fined up to £2,500 for non-compliance. The Landlord Registration Scheme is aimed at helping make sure landlords are kept abreast of new legislation and ensuring they look after tenants. If you manage your property yourself, make sure you clearly display the Landlord Registration logo and your personal registration number to show tenants (and the local authority) that you’re complying with the law. For more information on landlord registration, do email, call or pop in to your local Your Move office and we’ll be happy to help with any queries you may have about letting.

Tenant demand is still high in the Region despite the fact that first time buyers can purchase a property in the area, on average, for just £90,254. In places such as Carrickfergus, a two bedroom house can be bought for just £22,500!

In a general Landlord Survey we carried out, most landlords are not expecting to raise rents this year, with just four in ten landlords expecting to increase rents to help cover inflationary costs and paying for maintenance the second most important reason to increase rents.  

For more information from the survey, visit http://www.lslps.co.uk/documents/landlord_survey_Q3_2014.pdf

For more information call 0845 450 0865* or email landlords@ReedsRains.co.uk . Reeds Rains, winners of the Gold award for Best Property Management and Silver award for the Best Large Lettings Agency at The Sunday Times and The Times awards 2014.

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