What is happening in the housing market this April

What is happening in the housing market this April


Hello everyone, 

It's amazing to be writing to you all with the Pubs open. I haven't been to the Pub yet myself, but I know how important meeting friends and family is to everyone.  It feels like a cloud has been lifted and finally we all have some things to look forward to Whether it is planning a holiday or finally being able to visit Grandma.

Losing the Duke of Edinburgh has been a sad shock. Watching the coverage makes you realise how much he had crammed into his life especially as he came to the Country, stateless as an immigrant. What a devoted Husband and Public servant, he was from that marvellous generation.  And what a love story!  We could all learn a thing or two from HRH and make every day count.   RIP Sir!.


<span style="font-family: Georgia; font-weight: bold; text-align: center; display: block; width: 100%;">The EPC rules and what they mean for tenants and landlords</span>

Introduced earlier this year, revisions to the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) on rental properties have meant that landlords are unable to let a flat or house with an EPC (Energy Performance Certificate) rating below an E.
 
In the years to come, we may even see further changes to this requirement, with plans to raise the bar to band C by 2025.
 
The aim behind this EPC regulation is to reduce bills for lower income households, provide more environmentally-friendly homes for tenants, and improve the quality of landlords' investments.
 

What does this mean for tenants?

Energy-efficient homes can be a lot more appealing to tenants, as they come hand-in-hand with the promise of lower energy bills and better insulation.
 
These properties are likely to boast a range of energy-efficient features, including: LED lightbulbs, heating controls, energy-saving appliances, high-performance windows and insulation.
 

As a landlord, how can I pay for energy efficiency improvements?
 
Whilst the financial cost of these improvements would normally be the landlord's responsibility, certain grants can provide additional funds and support.
 
The extension of the Green Homes Grant for another year – for example – offers a really brilliant opportunity for you to make drastic changes to your properties.
 
Learn more at: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/green-homes-grant-extended-for-
extra-year 
 
 

What happens if landlords break the rules?

Failure to abide by the regulations could see fines of up to £5,000 for landlords.
 
With the government's long-term proposal for band C ratings outlining a potential fine of £30,000 in the near future.
 

Can tenants request energy efficiency improvements?

Yes, tenants have the right to request consent from their landlords to carry out energy efficiency improvements to privately rented properties.
 
Landlords can only refuse consent if there are compelling reasons to do so, and they should be willing to contribute to bringing their homes up to scratch or improve their ratings on the EPC scale.
 

How long does an EPC last for rental properties?

EPCs on properties are valid for ten years.
 
If you are not sure as a landlord when your EPC needs to be renewed, then you can check on the EPC register provided by the government.

The EPC register can also be a good way for tenants to check how energy efficient a property is before thinking about renting it.

If you are a tenant or landlord and want any further information surrounding EPC rules and regulations, please get in contact with us as we will be happy to help.
 



<span style="font-family: Georgia; font-weight: bold; text-align: left; display: block; width: 100%;">Mortgage agreements for early 2021 at their highest since the financial crisis</span>

Mortgage approvals have reached a 14-year high, propelled by last year's property market boom.
 
The Bank of England’s mortgage data from the end of last year shows a 24.2% increase in mortgages agreed compared to the previous year, and at any time since the global financial crisis, with £87.7 billion worth of mortgages agreed.
 
In Q4 2020, mortgage lending reached £76.6 billion, with a year-on-year increase of 4.2%, whilst the share of mortgages with a low loan-to-value was 4.5% down in a year; the lowest since 2007.
 
Considering that the housing market was effectively closed for two months in 2020, it is incredible to see that the year ended with more approvals than the one prior.
 
The value of new mortgage commitments hitting a 14-year high was largely driven by homeowners who looked to move into larger properties and see savings of up to £15,000 from stamp duty tax in the process.
 
This activity has resulted in the annual growth rate for new mortgage commitments almost quadrupling in Q4 2020.
  
April should signal a turning point for first-time buyers, who will now have access to 95% mortgage options once again due to government-guaranteed support.
 
Having been absent until now, it's thought that the return of lower deposit mortgage products will lead to more positive growth for the sector in 2021.
 
As we head into the popular seasons for home selling, with schools and businesses reopening and the vaccine program continuing to take effect, we'd like to help you with your plans this year.
 
To learn your property's value, visit our website.
 
 
 



<span style="font-family: Georgia; font-weight: bold;">Strict new fire regulations for HMOs and multi-tenancy buildings</span>

The Home Office recently announced their intention to increase fire safety measures, stating that landlords of HMOs (House in Multiple Occupation) could face unlimited fines if they fail to comply.
 
The new enhanced procedures will be included in the future Building Safety Bill, which will be enforced in approximately 2022 and will apply explicitly to HMOs and other multi-tenancy premises.
 
The exact details are yet to be confirmed, but the government affirm that the act will improve the Fire Safety Order by requiring fire assessments to be recorded for each building.
 
Additionally, the government have verified that the new legislation will:
 
- Include the refinement of how fire safety information is accessed and preserved throughout the lifetime of a building.
 
- Better the quality of fire risk assessments and the expertise of those who perform them.
 
- Enhance communication and the organisation amongst those responsible for implementing fire safety and making it easier to identify who they are.
 
- Strengthening enforcement action, distributing unlimited fines to those impersonating or obstructing a fire inspector.
 
- Reinforce guidance in regards to the Fire Safety Order, which makes it easier to hold those who breach compliance in court.
 
- Improve engagement between Building Control Bodies and Fire Authorities when reviewing building work.
 
- Instruct all new flats above 11m tall to install information boxes.
 
If you'd like to talk about this in more detail, please don’t hesitate to contact us or learn more about our services for landlords.
 
 



<span style="font-family: Georgia; font-weight: bold; text-align: left; display: block; width: 100%;">Lockdown helped third of UK homebuyers get onto the property ladder</span>

As challenging as the last 12 months have been for all of us, for many different reasons, there have been some positive stories and developments that have emerged during this unprecedented time.
 
According to new research from Rightmove, a third of UK home buyers have been helped onto the property ladder due to the national lockdown, with 27% of recent home buyers stating that the restrictions actually enabled them to save for their new home.
 
46% of those asked stated that they were able to get a foot on the ladder, as government 'stay at home' measures meant they drastically reduced their spending across social activities.
 
A further 33% said that having to work from home has also been a contributing factor to their ability to buy, as money otherwise spent on their daily commute or fuel consumption could be saved instead.
 
The other findings from this report show that savings were also made from family costs (10%) and moving back with parents or family members to save on rent and share social bubbles (5%).
 
Whilst it would be safe to assume we're all keen to return to some form of normality once again, it's incredible that the property market has been able to safely continue and help buyers achieve their dream of homeownership in 2020 and 2021.
 
With further savings available due to the stamp duty holiday extension until the end of June, it's expected that even more residential transactions will occur in the coming months.
 
To find out how you can get your foot on the property ladder, get in touch with us today.
 
 



<span style="font-family: Georgia; font-weight: bold; text-align: left; display: block; width: 100%;">Chain-free property listings boom as sellers opt to rent ahead of their next move</span>

Recent data from Rightmove suggests that there has been a sudden increase in the number of chain-free properties listed on the market, due to sellers being more willing to rent before they purchase their next home.
 
21% of available properties on Rightmove are chain-free, an increase from 15% this time last year.
 
This growing trend for chain-free property sales has been seen significantly in London, which has increased from 12% to 21%.
 
Sellers are often hesitant to come to market because they are unable to find somewhere they want to buy, but with record demand and the stamp duty holiday extension to consider, there is a greater sense of urgency across the sector.
 
Tim Bannister, Rightmove’s director of property data, said:
 
“Selling chain-free is perhaps something some owners hadn’t considered as a possibility before now, but with the competitive market and stock shortage we currently have they’re trying to put themselves in a more attractive position when their dream home comes along.”
 
In London, there has been an increase in landlords who are deciding to sell, pushing up the percentage of chain-free properties on the market.
  
Rightmove have also seen a significant increase in the number of buyers searching for ‘no-chain’ or ‘chain-free’ properties in their keyword search function, as buyers rush to make use of the stamp duty savings available until the end of June.
 
In February 2021, the property portal found that the number of buyers searching for these terms was a staggering 72% higher compared to last year.
 
Do you know your property's value? Book a valuation today to learn more. 
 



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<span style="font-family: Arial, Helvetica;">Housing market sees the strongest spring for home sellers in a decade!</span>

Many of us have been thinking about selling our homes in recent months, with a record number of buyers enquiring about properties on Rightmove right now!

Click here to read <span style="font-family: Arial, Helvetica;">Housing market sees the strongest spring for home sellers in a decade!</span>.



<span style="text-align: center; display: block; width: 100%; font-family: Georgia;">Prince Philip funeral latest news</span>

The Duke of Edinburgh’s ceremonial funeral will take place at 3 pm on Saturday, April 17, at St George’s Chapel.
The ongoing coronavirus pandemic will affect the funeral given ongoing restrictions such as social distancing and limits on numbers for funerals.

Click here to read <span style="text-align: center; display: block; width: 100%; font-family: Georgia;">Prince Philip funeral latest news</span>.



<span style="font-family: Georgia; font-size: 16px; font-weight: bold; text-align: left; display: block; width: 100%;">The Roadmap towards lifting Lockdown in England - The Return of the Soft Edges</span>

We have experienced drastic changes to our professional and personal lives. Children and students have had their education turned upside down. We have realised the importance of face-to-face social interaction and the fact that the “soft edges” have been missing from our lives, those things we have always taken for granted.

Click here to read <span style="font-family: Georgia; font-size: 16px; font-weight: bold; text-align: left; display: block; width: 100%;">The Roadmap towards lifting Lockdown in England - The Return of the Soft Edges</span>.