Property News

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Sharp rise in August

Nationwide Building Society have announced today that house prices rose sharply in August. The cost of an average home increased by 0.8% on the month, matching July's monthly gain. This lifts the annual rate of house price inflation to 6.6 %, its fastest since April 2005.

The figures indicate that the Bank of England's suprise rate rise at the start of the month has done little to slow the property market. Nationwide believe that prices are unlikely to fall as fast as they did the last time interest rates went up.

"While we expect base rates to reach 5 percent by the end of the year, above the peak of the last rising cycle, we do not expect the market to slow as sharply as before," said Fionnuala Earley, the Nationwide's Group Economist.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Mortgage lending rise

Latest Bank of England figures show that mortgage lending was the highest its been in nearly three years.

Lending rose last month by 9.79 billion pounds, the biggest jump since September 2003. Approvals for new loans also rose to their highest this year of 120,000 in July, a strong indication the British housing market has been picking up.

However it has yet to be seen what effect the Bank of England's surprise interest rate rise will have on August's figures.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

West coast properties rise above East

According to the Halifax annual seaside town review, Britain's West coast comes out on top. The west coast has shown the strongest growth in property prices over the last 5 years with 14 coastal places rapidly rising in value compared to 6 in the east.

Nine out of the ten most expensive coastal towns were found in Cornwall, Dorset and Devon. Sandbanks, in Dorset was the most expensive where the average house price is £508,000.

In the last 5 years properties in Seaham, an east coast town in County Durham, have risen the most up 181% making the average home £115,643. This is followed by Pwllheli (176%), Rock (172%), Caernarfon (166%), Maryport (155%) and Tenby (150%).

Colin Kemp, managing director Halifax Estate Agents, says "while there have been some strong gains overall in seaside town property prices, it is the case they still offer relatively good value for buyers compared with property in other areas."

Friday, August 25, 2006

A real struggle for first-time buyers

First-time buyers need to save almost three quarters of their income to make their initial property purchase, a new survey into property market accessibility shows.

Research by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) reveals a couple buying for the first-time require £29,200 in upfront costs to enter today's property market. This includes a deposit, surveys and legal fees.

This is equivalent to 74 per cent of the average couple's combined annual pay, making it much more difficult for first-time buyers to purchase a house than ten years ago. And its not going to get any easier with the RICS predicting that house prices will continue to rise by ten percent over the next two years.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Scotland sees increase in million pound homes

The number of Scottish homes for sale over the million pound mark has risen from 75 in the year to June 2005, to 114 by June 2006, latest figures from the land registry have shown.

This is a 56% rise which is similar to that of 58% for England and Wales where million-pound properties are more common. Unlike the market in England which is experiencing a slight slowdown, property prices in Scotland are continuing to rise.

The most expensive sales which range from 1.5 million upwards were mainly in Edinburgh and its outskirts, in particular North Berwick and Gullane.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

The Never-Ending Mortgage

Kent Reliance building society have brought in what is being dubbed as a 'never-ending mortgage'.

According to Kent Reliance "The concept is very simple. A person can pay their mortgage on an interest-only basis for their lifetime. When they die the mortgage and the property pass to the 'beneficiary' who can continue the mortgage or pay it off"

The beneficiary is then free to choose whether to carry on with the interest-only mortgage indefinately, sell the home, take out an alternative mortgage or pay off the debt by other means. However, the inter-generational mortgage has its drawbacks. The building society would still own a large portion of the home and each beneficiary would be left with a substantial mortgage as interest on the loan is only ever paid off rather than the loan itself. And not many children would find the prospect of inheriting their parents' debts appealing.

Such mortgages are popular in other countries such as Switzerland and Japan.

What women want

When it comes to buying property women know what they want. They spend more time researching properties than men and consequently view far fewer properties when looking to buy according to new research from On average women view 4.5 properties compared to males who view 6.8, a 30% difference.

Men also tend to be more aggressive buyers trying to get a deal , with only 5.5% offering the full asking price (22% offering 10% or more under the asking price) compared to 17% of women who will pay the full price and only 10% will offer under the asking price.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Concrete Kent?

Many more new houses are being earmarked to be built in Kent's rural landscape according to With the south east struggling to meet housing demands Kent is being viewed as an attractive option, with more affordable housing still within reach of London and faster rail links due to be in place by 2009.

Critics believe that not enough thought has been given to the environmental impacts that building more properties will have. Main concerns are the pressures that will be put on the transport systems in the area with the Highways Agency arguing that 'the road system will not cope with the increased volume of traffic despite a planned £250m investment in widening the A2' . Another is the south east's water shortage problem, Kent is already struggling to meet current water demands.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Summer Dip

'London prices declined by 1.5 per cent during August, taking the average house price down from £324,452 to £319,428.' according to the latest Rightmove house price index. This is the first time house prices have fallen in London since December.

Prices in Richmond-upon-Thames fell by 3.6 per cent and other affluent areas of the capital like Greenwich and Hammersmith and Fulham also saw significant reductions in property value, decreasing by 3.1 per cent and 2.9 per cent respectively.

After recent house price rises, this could indicate the start of a period of stability in the housing market.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Take to the Hills

It would appear that many people are taking to the hills when it comes to buying property. Concerns over flooding and high insurance costs are putting many buyers off properties in lowland areas. A recent survey has found that as many as 79% of buyers consider flood risk when looking at property.

Global sea levels have been rising at a rate of 1.5 to 3mm a year, plus there has been an increase in the number of storm surges and flash flooding. A lecturer of climate change at Sheffield University, Dr Edward Hanna has said "Despite significant uncertainties remaining about the future effects of global warming and rising sea-levels, I personally would not buy a property within about five to ten metres above mean sea-level."

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Edinburgh more costly than London?

Edinburgh is the second most expensive British city to live in and considerably more costly than London, new research has discovered. The research is based on living costs with the average Londoner spending 75% of their monthly wage on essential living costs, mortgages and bills etc compared to people in Edinburgh who have 93% of their wages committed to essential living costs.

Edinburgh's rising property prices are making it hard for workers on average salaries, in particular public sector workers, to afford even modest accomodation. There are also growing concerns over the gap between the cost of property and what mortgage lenders will provide. Many key workers are moving further out of the city and facing long commutes in order to get on the proprty ladder.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Countrywide sees record profits

A 24% increase in house exchanges was one of the key reasons for the record profits of the estate agents Countrywide.

Countrywide, whose businesses include an estate agency, financial services and surveying, said the disposal of interests in Rightmove and TMG Holdings Ltd and the sale of its commercial surveying division drove the increase in profits as well as completed house sales.

Pre-tax profit for the six months to the end of June was a record £62.8 million compared to £3 million last year. Countrywide are 'confident of the immediate future and anticipate a further strong profit and cash flow performance next year.'

Monday, August 14, 2006

Property prices soar in Hartlepool

Hartlepool has seen one of the fastest rise in property prices in the country. It has shown a 27% increase in house prices over the last year, the average house now costing £103,905 compared to last year of £81,841.

There are mixed feelings over the increasing prices, on the one hand it shows Hartlepool's growing economy, however there is also the problem of affordable houses with the average income £17,000 many people, not just first-time buyers, are priced out of the market. Julie Richardson, owner of Richardson Real Estate, in Murray Street, said: "Property has always been cheap in Hartlepool. This has encouraged investors to buy in the town and the prices have gone sky high. But this makes it difficult for first-time buyers who now finding it more difficult to get on the ladder" Hartlepool Mail.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Small Suffolk town voted best place to live

Framlingham, a small market town in Suffolk has been voted as the best place to live in Britain, according to Country Life magazine 'Framlingham is the “essence of the English market town”, steeped in history, with good schools and thriving shops.'

Framlingham has a population of about 3000 and locals feel it has a good community spirit, a thriving twice-weekly market is held in the town, and with a castle and an attractive church it is easy to see its charm. The average price of a detached property is £305,147.

Framlingham beat off competition from Presteigne in Powys, and Beverley in East Yorkshire.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

No sale, no fee

"A 'no sale, no fee' home information pack has been launched almost a year before the packs are due to come into force"

Home information packs, or HIPs, have not been universally accepted as being helpful when it comes to the buying and selling of property. Some critics are concerned that sellers may find themselves having to fork out on two HIPs by the time their house sells.

HIP provider Spring Move has stated that it will only charge homeowners once a sale has been agreed and is calling on the rest of the industry to follow suit. This will be made available to homeowners bying their HIPs through Spring Move and estate agents.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Country property sees higher price tag

The last few months have seen the fastest price growth for country properties over the past two years. According to Knight Frank Prime Country Index country house properties have grown by 3.9% and farmland prices have also risen due to high demand.

It would appear that a booming London market has resulted in London buyers taking their money out to the country in search of some prime country property. Areas showing the strongest price growth in country properties have been Hampshire, Oxfordshire, Wiltshire and Hertfordshire.

Monday, August 07, 2006

More paying Inheritance Tax

There has been a 72% increase in people paying inheritance tax compared to 5 years ago, according to Halifax. Inheritance tax is charged at 40 per cent of all assets passed on once the initial £285,000 exemption is used up.

Many feel that the current inheritance tax threshold of £285,000 is too low especially with current house prices continuing to rise has meant many families paying more and more to the Treasury. Tim Crawford, Halifax's economist, is calling on the government " to raise the inheritance tax threshold to £430,000 to account for the increase in property prices over the past ten years."

Sellers Market

Despite last week's interest rate rise, house prices could continue to increase as the number of potential buyers outnumber sellers by more than two to one. It would appear that people are reluctant to put their own properties on the market whilst they are looking for their next home resulting in an acute shortage of supply according to David Newnes, managing director of Your Move Estate Agents.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

House price rise in July

Whilst May and June saw a slight dip in house prices, the average house price rose by 0.2% in July according to Halifax, Britain's largest mortgage lender, with the average house now costing £177, 020.

Martin Ellis, Halifax's Chief Economist comments 'This mixed pattern of monthly price rises and falls is a typical feature of a more stable housing market. Overall, house prices have increased by only 0.9% in the past four months compared with a 3.3% rise in the preceding four months.'

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

'Environmental Vandalism'

Campaigners in the West Midlands claim that a huge rise in house building in the West midland countryside is a threat to green belt land claiming it 'environmental vanalism'.

The government predicts that over the next 25 years 50% more land than previously planned will be allocated to building. However, Shropshire and Herefordshire councils feel they will be unable to meet the predicted figures without 'serious damage to the countryside and market towns'. Fears from The Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) are that the region is the latest battleground over housing development between government and local councils.