November- Latest Housing MarketĀ  News

November- Latest Housing MarketĀ  News

Although COVID-19 has presented unique challenges for people looking to move or let, it is far from impossible. In fact, by working within the Government guidelines we are successfully conducting appointments, negotiating offers, and progressing sales and lets through to a mutually agreed moving-in date.
Find the latest News.

<span style="font-family: Georgia; font-weight: bold;">What impact has COVID-19 had for landlords?</span>

Since the pandemic hit the UK earlier this year, landlords and tenants have felt the financial strain.
Here's how the latest developments are expected to impact the property market this autumn.
With the government's furlough scheme extended in line with the introduction of the second national lockdown, offering 80% of an employee's salary, it's thought that many will benefit from this respite over November.
However, with the future still largely unknown, it's understandably a stressful time for tenants unable to continue paying their rent and landlords who have seen reductions in their income.
Between March and August this year, ONS estimate that the number of workers on a payroll decreased by a worrying 695,000.
One of the hardest-hit groups is the under-24s, with 156,000 fewer individuals of this age in employment compared to just three months ago.*
Comparatively with homeownership in the UK, recent research has found that 92% of homeowners are confident they could continue to meet their mortgage repayments in the next six months, whereas the same could only be said for 81% of tenants about upcoming rent.
Up to 12 million Brits will struggle with rent and bill payments in light of COVID-19 and its continuing economic fallout.**
Whilst the government have extended the mortgage holiday for struggling homeowners and landlords by a further six months, it's advised to speak with your lender directly and to only consider this as a last resort.
During this holiday, interest will still accrue, which could add a significant amount for you to pay off after it has run its course.
If you need professional advice on any of the contents covered here, please contact our team.
*Source: BBC News
**Source: The Financial Conduct Authority

<span style="font-family: Georgia; font-weight: bold;">Why over-pricing your property could be a problem</span>

Rightmove’s latest asking price index has revealed the extraordinary market conditions we are now experiencing.
When looking at the average price of a property coming to the market, it had increased by 1.1% in the past month, to an all-time national record of £323,530.
This is 5.5% higher than a year ago, making it the highest annual growth rate for over four years – equivalent to over £16,000.

However, the portal has now warned some sellers are expecting too much.
Momentum caused by pent-up and new demand has caused new records in several key metrics, leading Rightmove to revise their forecast for annual growth to around seven per cent.

“The forecasting rulebook has been rewritten in this extraordinary year, with predictions of a post-lockdown price plunge in quarter three failing to materialise, and Rightmove’s original forecast in December last year of a two per cent annual rise for 2020 being too timid” the portal says in a statement.

Rightmove’s director of property data, Tim Bannister, has stated: “we predict the annual rate of growth will peak by December at around 7% higher than a year ago.”

Despite the effective market closure between March and May this year, 2% more sales have been agreed this year so far than in the same period in 2019.
New records for the property market according to Rightmove

Three new records were recorded for the market, with figures better than ever previously recorded:

- Average sell time is now 50 days, making it 12 days faster than this time last year 

- Number of sales from an agent is now set at a new record, now 70% higher than a year ago 

- For the first time ever, agents now have more properties marked as sold than available for sale

Why over-pricing your property could be a problem 

Researchers have found that asking too much from the offset can only make properties stand out as being of poorer value, putting buyers off.

Over-pricing loses that initial interest as buyers often have reservations about a property that has not sold as quickly as others or have had a price reduction.
In a market where prices are rising fast, a property that is overpriced from the beginning will have a reduced chance of standing out from the competition.
What does this mean for you this November?
Whilst we're seeing market conditions go from strength to strength with positive price increases and heightened activity, it's important not to lose sight of the end goal.
That being, in order to receive an offer and complete in the right timeframe, you need a realistic asking price and achievable expectations.
As leading local agents in your area, we're experienced at pricing properties for current market conditions, giving you the best chance on the market at the most accurate value and as quickly as possible.
Contact us today for your valuation.


<span style="font-family: Georgia; font-weight: bold;">Busiest ever autumn? Buyers, prices and supply all up and rising</span>

Buyers up. Prices up. Supply up.

An astounding number of homeowners and movers are progressing with their sale right now, with 140,000 more buyers in the process of completing when compared to this time last year.
Since the end of the country's spring lockdown, we've seen record levels for properties reaching 'sales agreed' in the UK, culminating in there being 50% more homes going through the system as buyers rush to meet the stamp duty deadline.

Zoopla estimates that there are currently over 418,000 sales in the pipeline awaiting completion, with an overall value that's over £112 billion.
What are the key facts and figures behind all of this market activity?
- Sales agreed hit an annual high back in August, showing a 62% year-on-year uplift.

- There has only been a slight change in pace, as sales agreed were running at a 53% year-on-year uplift this month in comparison to October 2019.

- Regionally, sales agreed year-to-date are up the most in the South East by 15%, followed by London at 12% and the East of England with 11%.
With the deadline for stamp duty savings looming, what can you do to increase your chances of completing in time?*
To avoid any disappointment, make sure you can do your bit to help move the process along, follow these tips:

Acquire a reliable solicitor
Over lockdown, the housing market will remain open, including for agents, solicitors and conveyancers.
Having gone through this once before, these representatives should be fully prepared to provide a seamless experience whether from home or the office.
Meaning once an offer's been accepted, you can move to the next stage without any unnecessary hold-ups.
Identify issues early on

A conveyancer will identify any problems and will offer solutions.
Obtaining the relevant information and agreeing a positive way forward will take time. If you know your issues early on, try and get them sorted as soon as possible and keep your solicitor updated.

Manage the chain

If you are in a chain, issues may arise that are beyond your control.

It is important you understand your dependencies. Talk to your seller, buyer and their agents regularly, monitoring what is happening with any related transactions and making sure you're all working towards the same target; that being, the same completion day.

Good communication will keep things on track and avoid any delays along the way. Talk to us today for more information.

*Stamp duty holiday ends March 2021.

Buy To Let Mortgages

Now that the property market is resuming activity we have seen property demand increase, especially in the lettings market. Research by Rightmove found that demand for rental homes rose by 33% in May 2020, which is higher than the same time last year! Mortgage lenders have also re-introduced many of their products to accommodate the increased activity.
The range of mortgages has expanded over the past few weeks with buy to let options re-entering the market. There are many lenders that are offering a range of mortgage products with excellent rates. If you are a landlord and have not needed a mortgage payment holiday, this could be your window of opportunity. Landlords may wish to use this time to consider expanding their portfolios as there are plenty of prospective tenants looking for their next home. Investing in property now could lay the foundations for long term capital gains.
How has buy to let mortgage availability changed?
The outlook for buy to let landlords has improved vastly recently. Landlords who are seeking buy to let mortgages now have more choice with Barclays, Lendinvest, and Virgin Money (to name a few) renewing their products to include increased variety. Over the past month, buy to let products have increased to levels almost the same as March 2020. If you are a landlord, now if a great time to re-assess your property portfolio and consider expanding, or recalculating your portfolio financing. There are an additional 280 further options for buy to let mortgages. This rise shows the mortgage lenders shift in focus from existing borrowers, to including new borrowers too. This means that if you have been considering renting your home the market has options available for you.

What about interest rates?
Buy to let mortgage rates are low, as with all mortgage rates currently. This is because the Bank of England’s base rate is still currently sitting at 0.1%; making rates increasingly competitive. The greatest savings have been identified with 5 year fixed rates; the greatest reductions can be found with five year fixed with 80% LTV. If you are in a position to switch your mortgage deal, or enter the buy to let market, now is the perfect time to look around.

<span style="font-family: Georgia;">What Does The Stamp Duty Cut Mean For Landlords?</span>

The buy to let sector has seen a tremendous amount of change over the past few years in order to help rebalance the property market, with key pieces of legislation such as the Tenant Fees Act and the recent Electrical Safety Standards regulations. The changes to stamp duty will go some way to reigniting the buy-to-let market and offers landlords a tremendous opportunity to make the most of the tax changes.

With the temporary increase on the stamp duty threshold to £500,000 until 31st March next year, first-time buyers and existing homeowners are set to save up to £15,000. For additional and investment properties, stamp duty is also removed up to this value, however the 3% surcharge remains.

Charlotte Nixon, mortgage expert at Quilter, believes that the changes to stamp duty could have the consequence of more investors returning to the market;

“Buy-to-let investors have left the market in their droves over the last few years after tax changes have made it an untenable investment for many. The stamp duty holiday may serve to entice some of these investors back to the market."

“Not only will this cut help to reignite the property market but also improve the supply of rental properties, which has been dwindling over the last 12 months."

Nixon is supported in her opinion by David Whittaker, Chief Executive of Keystone Property Finance who believes;

“The Chancellor’s decision to cut stamp duty will have positive implications for homebuyers across the country and will certainly help to stimulate the housing market. Importantly, this latest cut will also go some way towards providing a much-needed boost for the buy-to-let sector.”

“As a result of this measure, many portfolio landlords across the UK will now be considering new buy-to-let purchases."
The numbers can be useful to bare out the extent of the potential savings for landlords looking to increase their portfolios – before the stamp duty holiday was introduced you would have paid £26,000 in stamp duty but now that is reduced almost by half to £13,500.

If you are thinking of investing in an additional property or looking to increase your property portfolio, then making the most of the stamp duty holiday is advised – contact us today to see how we can help you.