Reeds Rains Property Blog

Property News from Reeds Rains

e.surv Repossessions Release - April 2014

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Home Repossessions 44% Higher In The North 

But signs North-South divide is starting to close 

  •  North East and the North West are the repossession hotspots 
  •  Eight in ten (78%) Northern towns have more repossessions than average 
  •  Oldham has highest repossessions rate and East-Central London the least 
  •  But the North-South divide may be beginning to close: 4 of the 5 biggest improvers are in the North: Carlisle (-26%); Harrogate (-23%); Telford (-22%) and Hull (-21%) 

The rate of home repossessions was 44% higher in the North than in the South in 2013, according to detailed research released this morning by e.surv chartered surveyors. 

e.surv’s analysis of court-ordered repossessions in England and Wales in 2013, broken down by post code, found there were 5.6 repossessions per 1,000 households in the North, 44% higher than the 3.9 repossessions per 1,000 households in the South.This compares to 6.3 repossessions per 1,000 households in the North and 4.4 in the South in 2012. 

Eight in ten Northern towns (78%) were home to more repossessions than average in 2013. The North West, North East and Wales were repossession hubs in 2013, with 6.0, 5.9 and 5.8 repossessions per 1,000 households respectively. The South West – the area with the lowest number of repossessions per year – experienced the biggest improvement, with repossessions falling 15% over the past year.   

Richard Sexton, director of e.surv chartered surveyors, explains: “The North is still home to the largest wedge of repossessions, despite improvements in household finances across the country. Both the North West and the North East are still paying the price of recession-driven public sector job cuts – which stimulated a glut of local repossessions. The whole country is now in recovery, but the North has the furthest to go to catch up, and is comparatively lagging behind.”

Buy-To-Let Index – March 2014

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Buy-to-Let Lending Takes Rent Rises To Four Year Low

  • Rents rise at slowest annual pace since January 2010 – up just 0.9% in twelve months to March
  • Average rent across England and Wales now stands at £741 per month, after 0.2% monthly fall
  • Proportion of all tenants behind on rent stands at 7.8%, down from 8.5% in March last year
  • Rising house prices increase landlords’ annual returns to 12% – or almost £20,000 per year

Rent rises across England and Wales have slowed to their lowest annual rate in over four years, according to the latest Buy-to-Let Index from LSL Property Services plc, which owns the UK’s largest lettings agent network, including national chains Your Move and Reeds Rains.As of March, rents across England and Wales are now just 0.9% higher than twelve months ago.

Rents have not increased as slowly since they grew by 0.4% in the twelve months ending January 2010, making the latest annual rent rises the slowest for over four years.

In absolute terms this means the average rent in England and Wales is only £6 higher than a year ago, currently standing at £741 per month compared to £735 in March 2013.

On a monthly basis, rents fell by 0.2% between February and March. This leaves rents in England and Wales approximately £1 lower than in February.

David Newnes, director of estate agents Reeds Rains and Your Move, part of LSL Property Services, comments: “Mortgage lending is recovering steadily – and the impact is becoming clear.  This year is seeing access improve across all areas of the property market, and that now includes private renting.

“A flow of investment from landlords has increased supply of homes to let, supported by historic low mortgage rates and significant growth in the number of buy-to-let loans.  At the same time more first time buyers are starting to balance the many thousands of new tenants entering the rental market.  And this is slowing demand a little.  The result is a private rented sector where supply and demand are more aligned than for many years.  More mortgage lending is good for tenants too.”

Read the full LSL Buy-to-let index - March 2014 here

Buy-to-let index - February 2014

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Rent Rises Accelerate in February 

  • Rents across England and Wales rise by 1.6% in twelve months to February

  • After first month-on-month rise since October, rents now average £743 per month

  • Seven in ten regions see higher rents in February than January

  • Second best month on record for tenant finances as proportion of late rent falls to 6.9%

  • Landlords earn average annual return of  9.7% (or over £16,000) over last twelve months

Annual rent rises across England and Wales have accelerated, according to the latest Buy-to-Let Index from LSL Property Services plc, which owns the UK’s largest lettings agent network, including national chains Your Move and Reeds Rains.

As of February, the average rent across England and Wales is now 1.6% higher than twelve months ago, currently standing at £743 per month.

This is the fastest annual increase since November 2013, and compares with a year-on-year rise of 1.4% in January this year.

On a monthly basis, rents increased by 0.1% (or approximately £1) between January and February. This represents the first month-on-month increase in residential rents since October 2013.

David Newnes, director of LSL Property Services, owners of estate agents Reeds Rains and Your Move, comments: “Property to rent remains in high demand.  Despite great improvements in the prospects of many first-time buyers, there are still millions of households who rely on a healthy private rented sector for their homes.

“February’s annual increase remains below the rate of wider inflation.  However, this latest uptick and the high level of demand in the lettings market emphasise the importance.
 

Read the full LSL Buy-to-let index - February 2014 here

Scotland House Price Index - January 2014

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Scottish house prices show no negative response to Independence debate
 

  • House prices up £1,680 in January – largest monthly increase for 50 months
  • Average Scottish prices rise by £6,073 – largest annual increase since September 2010 
     

Donald MacLellan, Chairman of Walker Fraser Steele Chartered Surveyors, part of LSL Property Services, comments: “The enthusiasm of property investors suggests the Independence debate is having no impact on confidence within the Scottish housing market. Scottish prices are up £1,680 in January. Five consecutive months of rising prices indicate the market has bounced back fast as it gathers the fruits of the wider economic recovery. Whether or not the possibility of Scottish Independence throws up all sorts of question marks, such as the economic cost of a separate monetary system for Scotland, currency risks, changes to stamp duty and land tax, the property market seems currently unaffected. And whether some businesses are alarmed by the prospect of the use of a currency other than sterling, a development that might lead to a rise in transitional risks as well as large business costs, with corresponding implications for jobs, as yet there is little obvious impact. Banks such as RBS and Standard Life have threatened to leave Scotland altogether and decamp to England, possibly causing a drop in net lending. But if a yes vote for independence looked like the more probable outcome, we would expect this uncertainty to have manifested itself in property prices. As we can see, there has been no such impact on the housing market.

“2014 recorded the highest volume of sales in a January since 2008. Increased lending and mortgage availability are reaching heights not seen since before the recession as first-time buyers return to the market en masse. Mortgage finance – for those who can access it – is at its cheapest for some time. This is sustaining activity in all sections of the market, specifically buy-to-let investors and homeowners looking to upgrade. The spring market in Scotland will see more lending to first-time buyers thanks to cheaper rates, a boost in high loan-to-value mortgages and the support of Help to Buy. The lack of supply in properties in Scotland is boosting competition between new and previous buyers, propping up prices. The property market doesn’t appear to think things are set to change any time soon.”

Read the full LSL Scotland House Price index 

First Time Buyer Tracker – February 2014

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The most advanced monitor of first-time buyer activity available

AVERAGE FIRST-TIME BUYER DEPOSIT HITS £27,500 IN JANUARY AS PRICES CLIMB 16% IN A YEAR

1. Average first-time buyer purchase price hits new high of £155,832 – up £5,000 in a month
2. But high loan to value lending is on the up, average LTV for new buyers rises to 82.3%
3. First-time buyer numbers up by a third year-on-year
4. However repayments increase as a proportion of income, as real wages stay stagnant

The average first-time buyer purchase price climbed 16% over the year to January 2014, hitting a record high of £155,832, according to the latest First Time Buyer Tracker from LSL Property Services. It represented a 3.3% monthly increase in purchase price, equivalent to a jump of £5,000.

This increase in purchase price has driven a rise in deposit size. The average first-time buyer deposit rose to £27,519 in January 2014 – from £26,963 twelve months before.

And for the first time in seven months, deposits are growing as a proportion of income. The average deposit represented 75.1% of a first-time buyer’s income in January 2014, up from 74.7% in December 2013.

This was the result of the differing speeds of recovery in the economy. While house prices have raced ahead, wages have been much slower to pick up. The latest ONS statistics showed total pay increased by just 1.1% over the year to December. Factor in inflation, which tracked at 2% over the same time period, and real wages have actually been falling. Deposits are forming a larger proportion of take-home pay.

David Newnes, director of estate agents Your Move and Reeds Rains, part of LSL Property Services group, said: “While the property market has been firing forwards, wage growth has been stuck in the mud of the economic recovery. Prices for first-time buyer properties have been marching steadily upwards, and have now reached a new record. "The property market has remained accessible to first-time buyers, because an increase in high LTV lending has offset rising prices. This is enabling more first-time buyers to enter the market.”

Read the full LSL First Time Buyer Tracker

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