Tag Archives: Property Market News

Do You Fit the Private Landlord Profile? Buy to Let News, Latest Articles

A snapshot of landlords and letting has just been released by the Department of Communities and Local Government following a survey of property investors.

The aim is to profile landlords how they buy, let, manage buy to let and shared homes, sometimes called houses in multiple occupation (HMO). Continue reading Do You Fit the Private Landlord Profile?

Buy to let Borrowers Braced for New Lenders Latest Articles, Lettings & Management, Property Investment News, Property Market News

House with for rent sign

"Buy to let is about to been shaken up by new lenders"

The buy to let mortgage market is set for changes as new lenders are ready to offer loans to property investors.

Santander was poised to start lending last month, but has held back blaming technology problems.

The bank had approached mortgage brokers with a 75 per cent loan-to-value deal for landlords with small portfolios of up to three properties.

The loan will come with a capped £1,000 arrangement fee.

Santander has hinted that the bank was to enter the buy to let market for months. Continue reading Buy to let Borrowers Braced for New Lenders

House Prices Going Nowhere this Year, Says the Halifax House Prices, Latest Articles, Property Market News

Red arrow going downwards

"Halifax believe house prices will remain as they are for some time"

House prices are unlikely to change for the rest of the year, according to one of the UK’s largest mortgage lenders.

The housing market has stuttered along for most of the year, with insignificant rises and falls as prospective buyers turned to renting due to problems raising large cash deposits and mortgages.

A general lack of confidence in the economy has not helped prices, which the Halifax says are 2.3% down compared with the same time last year.

The rate of decline is slightly lower than the fall of 2.6% seen in August and continues the improvement since May, when prices were 4.2% lower than those in May 2010. Continue reading House Prices Going Nowhere this Year, Says the Halifax

£1,600 Fine for Landlord Who Ignored Licence Warnings HMO's & Student Lets, Latest Articles, Lettings & Management, Property Market News

"North-East landlord fined for not getting his licences"

A landlord who ignored repeated warnings from a council that he should licence his property was fined £1,600.

Leon White was also ordered to pay costs of £709 in his absence after failing to attend the hearing at Teesside Magistrates Court.

He faced a charge of failing to licence a house in a selective licensing area.

The prosecution follows a crackdown on landlords by Middlesbrough Council in the Gresham neighbourhood after the area was designated for selective licensing in a bid to improve housing standards and antisocial behaviour.

All landlords who let property in the area must have a licence before taking in tenants. The court heard White ignored letters asking him to contact the council about licensing his property.

Councillor Julia Rostron, Executive Member for Community Protection, said: “The majority of landlords in Middlesbrough take their responsibilities seriously, but there are a few who show little or no interest in managing their properties responsibly.

“A small minority of landlords continue to let their properties without carrying out relevant referencing for prospective tenants.

“Designating a selective licensing area helps the council to deal with rogue landlords while tackling poor behaviour which seriously affects the lives of local residents.

“We are happy to work with landlords, but enforcement action will be taken when all other avenues have been explored.”

Several other prosecution cases are pending.

Meanwhile, councillors in Inverness have had a flood of complaints about shared houses. Around 180 businesses protested about 10 shared houses licensed for 149 tenants in streets around the city centre.

The business owners complained that litter, antisocial behaviour and crime has increased and are having a negative impact on shoppers.

However, the Highland Homeless Trust which manages the properties, claims that any trouble and the residents could not be linked.

Business Improvement District spokesman Craig Duncan said businesses supported the council calling a halt on licensing shared houses in the area and were calling for planning restrictions on new shared houses.

House Prices Set to Keep Falling Buy to Let News, Latest Articles, Property Market News

Big red arrow pointing downwards

"Supply is twice current demand"

Homebuyers dropping away from the housing market are likely to trigger further falls in prices over the next few months.

Difficulties in raising deposits and mortgages are forcing would-be buyers to rent rather than buy – which in turn is increasing the numbers of houses that are not selling and pushing prices down.

The latest figures clearly indicate a shift in supply and demand, says housing market monitor Hometrack in a report for September.

Home buyers registering with estate agents fell 1.6 per cent in August and the falling trend continued with a 2.6% decrease in registrations for September.

Meanwhile, homes for sale in the nine months to the end of September increased at double the pace of demand – with 22% more properties but only 11% additional demand.

Richard Donnell, director of research at Hometrack, said: “The September survey shows a clear shift in the balance between supply and demand in the housing market, with the number of people looking to buy falling for the second month in a row.

“Events in the eurozone, together with pressures on the domestic economy and household incomes are clearly taking their toll on consumer confidence.

“We expect demand to continue to slip back over the final few months of the year. This will compound the gap between supply and demand and suggests a likely acceleration in the level of monthly price falls over the final quarter of the year.”

Hometrack reckons property prices dropped for the 15th month in a row in September, by 0.1%, with the prices falling faster since June than earlier in the year.

Donnell said: “The wider the gap between asking and achieved, the less slack there is to absorb weaker demand. In the short-term we see above average price falls registering in the housing markets in the north of the country.”

Quarterly figures from the Nationwide also disclosed average house prices fell year-on-year.

The building society says during the period, 0.1% was shaved off the value of the typical home, which now costs £166,597.

The Nationwide also pointed out that average UK house prices are almost 10% below their peak in 2007.

HMO Landlords Pick up £28,000 Bill for Flouting Fire Safety Cautionary Tales, HMO's & Student Lets, Latest Articles

money down the drain

"A round up of rogue landlords in court and their fines"

Two landlords who put tenant lives at risk by flouting fire safety rules were ordered to pay fines and costs of almost £28,000.

The pair – Fiaz Mahmmud, 48, and Audrey Feegrado, 39, of Daffodil Close, Hatfield, Hertfordshire – denied seven charges relating to the management of a house in multiple occupation (HMO) at Watford Magistrates Court.

The court was told that their failings as managers could have led to lethal consequences for their student and young professional tenants. Continue reading HMO Landlords Pick up £28,000 Bill for Flouting Fire Safety

Rent Arrear Calls up 84%, Claims Debt Charity Buy to Let News, Latest Articles, Lettings & Management, Property Market News

Notes being squeezed into coins

"Tenant Arrears is on the rise"

Tenants who cannot afford to pay their rents are overwhelming helplines with SOS calls.

The number of tenants in rent arrears has almost doubled since the start of the credit crunch according to debt advice charity National Debtline.

The charity reckons calls from tenants with financial problems has soared by 84% since the start of the credit crisis in 2007.

The charity warns tenant finances are not likely to improve, rents and living costs keep rising and more renters are moving into buy to lets because they cannot save enough cash to buy a home of their own.

Joanna Elson, chief executive of the Money Advice Trust, which runs National Debtline, said: “It is clear high rent costs are becoming increasingly difficult for people to meet. A few years ago many people in today’s rent market would be planning to buy their first home, but now it seems they are struggling to even pay the rent.

“The chances of these renters being able to save the many thousands needed for a deposit are very slim indeed, which will only increase the demand for rental properties and lengthen the spiral into higher and higher rent costs.

“On top of those people who call National Debtline with specific problems in affording the rent, there will be even more who are cutting back sharply elsewhere to make sure they can cover rent payments. This in turn can lead to other debt problems, with credit cards, overdrafts and loans being relied upon to pay for food and other essentials.”

Meanwhile, comparison portal MoneySupermarket.com reports that concumers are so stretched financially that a quarter (26%) confess they are stressed whenever they receive a bill.

The report has found that the rising cost of bills for utilities, credit cards and store cards has led to increasing consumer worries over how they will pay them every month.

One in four has cut spending, with 47 per cent buying less food and drink, while 56 per cent have stopped saving to pay bills instead.

Spoil-sport Councils Threaten Landlords with Olympic Fines Buy to Let News, HMO's & Student Lets, Latest Articles, Lettings & Management

Tower bridge and City Hall, London

"London Councils to get tough on Olympics"

Landlords and homeowners hoping to cash in on the London Olympics by renting to sports fans could be breaking the law and face fines of up to £20,000.

While landlords in some neighbourhoods can take in guests on short-term lets, those in adjoining areas can only watch in envy as the capital’s 33 councils apply letting rules differently.

Some councils have announced they will police lettings to make sure no-one breaks the rules, while others are turning a blind eye to landlords who may break the law.

Westminster is leading the crack down on homeowners and landlords by enforcing a strict rule that requires property owners to get planning permission for any lettings shorter than 90 days – and permission is rarely granted.

The penalty is a fine of up to £20,000 and a criminal record on conviction.

Westminster Council told BBC London that the action would keep the rental market for longer term residents and short lets often result in complaints about noise and nuisance, especially in the more prestigious mansion blocks.

Rosemarie MacQueen, Westminster Council’s head of city planning development and design, said: “In Westminster, we have a population of 250,000 and that has to grow with targets from the mayor and ourselves.

“If we have short term lets, we’ll never increase our long term residential population. Secondly, residents who live in blocks of flats with short term lets actually feel their quality of life has gone down.

“There’s a fear of crime, they don’t know the faces of the people who are coming in and a lot of short term residents don’t treat the place like home. They leave litter in the corridors, come and go and have parties.”

Letting agents have approached many homeowners and landlords in London with huge financial incentives to rent their properties to visitors to the Olympics next summer.

Some properties can fetch rents of up to £20,000 in the four weeks of the games.

Buying is Cheaper than Renting in 90% of Towns House Prices, Latest Articles, Lettings & Management, Property Investment Strategies

1 green property amongst a row a red properties

"Renting is more expensive, but you need the big deposit to avoid it"

The falling cost of buying a home over the past 12 months coupled with demand pushing up the cost of renting has made buying cheaper than letting in 45 of 50 major cities, according to Zoopla.

Providing buyers can raise a deposit and mortgage, it is on average 13% cheaper than renting a similar property.

The cheapest places to live compared with renting are Milton Keynes by 39%, Birmingham (34%), Northampton (33%), Warrington (32%) and York (29%).

The study based calculations on buying or renting a two bedroom flat.

Renting in London is an average 28% more than the cost of owning. A flat costs £430,608 in the capital, leaving renters paying £5,964 more a year than owners pay for a mortgage.

Nicholas Leeming, business development director of Zoopla, said: “With house prices down, low interest rates and sky high demand in the private rental sector, buying has never been a better option for those able to secure a mortgage.

“And with owners reducing prices further in order to achieve a sale before Christmas, there may well not have been a better time to buy in recent times.”

A separate study by surveying firm E.surv pointed out that the cost of renting will keep rising until the banks can offer more accessible mortgages to buyers.

Director Richard Sexton said: “The banks are being held back by weak economic growth and the spectre of a double-dip recession, as well as the regulator’s insistence they hold more capital. They are in no mood to target first-time buyers.”

“While more buyers able to secure a deal with an 85 per cent or higher loan-to-value than at any point since May 2010, this is not happening on a large scale.”

Empty Homes Could Empty Your Pockets Latest Articles, Lettings & Management, Property Investment News

"Councils could up the tax on empty properties"

Property investors who let homes stand empty for two years could pay more tax under plans to bring more homes into use.

Thousands of homes are empty across the country awaiting repair or development, often tied up in planning rows.

Now the government is suggesting the owners should pay extra council tax to encourage them to either sell or take in tenants.

The aim of the proposal is to ease waiting lists for families and the homeless in areas where councils and housing associations do not have enough properties. Continue reading Empty Homes Could Empty Your Pockets

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