Property News

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

07% house price rise in October

According to the latest data from Nationwide, the UK's biggest mortgage lender, house prices rose another 0.7% this month but the annual rate of increase eased slightly to 8.0%

The average home costs £169,623 in October, £12,500 more than a year earlier.

Fionnuala Earley, Nationwide's group economist, said though house prices cooled in October following a sharp increase during September, the underlying trend is 'still firm'. She noted that the three-monthly growth rate rose to 2.6%, its fastest pace since Sept 2004.

Monday, October 30, 2006

House prices up 187% in 10 years

Halifax has revealed that house prices have almost tripled since 1996, having gone up 187% in 10 years.

In February 1996 the average house was £62,453 - this figure now stands at £179,425 showing an average increase of 10.6% a year.

House prices in London have risen the most with a 240% increase, whereas Scotland has seen the smallest rise of 110% (still almost double that of ten years ago). The best performing county as far as house prices go is Cornwall, where property values have surged some 274%, followed by Carmarthenshire in Wales with an average increase of 264%. The ten best performing counties all had price rises of more than 240%, with six of the top ten in Wales.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Mortgage approvals rise in September

British Bankers' Association data showed today that British mortgage approvals rose just 3% in September from a year ago to 72,155, after similar modest gains in August and July.

The rise in approvals remained well below a 20% annual rise in May and a 22% year-on-year gain in June and came as economists expect a further rise in interest rates next month following August's surprise increase to 4.75%.

David Dooks, BBA director of statistics says "Though September's net mortgage lending was below the high summer plateau, that is not necessarily a sign of the market moderating".

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Buy-to-let yields down in Scotland

According to buy-to-let broker, Landlord Mortgages, rental yields in Scotland have fallen from an average 6.5% at the start of the year to just under 6%.

Scotland, however is still outperforming England where yields dropped from 6% to 5.5%. Landlord Mortgages, says the fall on return for buy-to-let in Scotland is a result of average house prices increasing, meaning investors have to pay more to secure a property. The lower house prices in Scotland have generally made it a more lucrative market for investors but it is now moving into line with the rest of the UK.

However, a report by the Edinburgh Solicitors Property Centre showed that the market for people with buy-to-let mortgages in Edinburgh demonstrated significant growth during the last year. The average house price in Edinburgh has reached £199,615, a 13% increase over the last 12 months.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Cost of fixed-rate mortgages may rise

LONDON (Reuters) - The cost of fixed-rate mortgages is set to rise, after "swap" rates hit their highest in more than two years.

The price at which lenders buy funds in the money markets to underpin loans has hit its highest since August 2005, as markets price in a 0.25% hike in the base rate next month and a further quarter percentage point increase next year.

As these rates determine fixed rate mortgages, homeowners who want to fix their interest rate should get their skates on. "With the likelihood of a further rise in the base rate in November, now could be a good time to get into a fixed rate," said Richard Brown, chief executive of "There are still a number of two year deals available below 4.5 %, but we could see these being withdrawn and replaced with less attractive deals if the widely predicted increase is imposed next month."

However, with two Bank of England base rate rises already factored into "swaps", fixed deals could prove uncompetitive until the base rate rises beyond 5.25%.

Friday, October 20, 2006

House price growth fastest in Northern Ireland

According to the Halifax house price index, 7 out of the top 10 places which saw rises in property prices over the last year, were to be found in Northern Ireland.

Newry and Antrim in Northern Ireland have seen property prices increase by 46% over the last year and have the fastest growing house prices in the UK.

Craigavon, Londonderry, Ballymena, Lisburn and Belfast were the other Northern Irish towns in the list. The only places outside Northern Ireland in the top ten were Nelson in Lancashire, Kilmarnock in Ayrshire, and Oban in Argyle.

Martin Ellis, Halifax's chief economist believes that this is due to these areas offering more affordable housing, "Notably, all ten towns recording the strongest price rises over the past year had average house prices that were comfortably below the national average this time last year."

In the UK, there is only one town where the average property value is less than £100,000 - Lochgelly in Fife.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

BoE: house price rise does not mean economy boom

Bank of England deputy governor Rachel Lomax said the recent rise in house prices is not a sign that the UK is set for another boom in the economy.

'I think the fact that house price inflation has edged up, especially in London, doesn't necessarily mean we are on the edge of another great boom,' she said in an interview with the Daily Mail.

Lomax was also keen to reiterate that UK rate-setters are not unduly troubled by short-term rises in inflation, it is the outlook for inflation that counts. 'Today's high inflation doesn't necessarily mean tomorrow's high inflation' she said.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

'accidental' landlords

According to research by the National Landlords Association, 43% of its members did not buy the first property they let out with the intention of joining the rental market.

It would appear that almost half of Britain's of private landlords ended up renting out property by chance - rather than deliberately entering the buy-to-let market.

21% of those surveyed said their first residential letting property was one they already owned and subsequently decided to let out rather than sell. Meanwhile, 9% inherited their first rental property and 9.5% said they stumbled into being a landlord through letting out part of a property, changing their mind on a purchase for themselves and letting it out, inheriting a home with sitting tenants, or letting out premises above a shop or offices.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

25K "loo with a view"

An outdoor toilet has sold for £25,000 in Cornwall. The public toilet, on National Trust property and within a World Heritage Site, was sold at London auctioneers Colliers CRE to an anonymous bidder. It apparently has amazing views over Cornwall.

The building itself is on 0.2 acres of land, built in granite with a flat roof . Despite being an outdoor toilet the actual guide price was £35,000. Richard Argles of Colliers CRE said: "We are delighted with the sale, this is one of the most attractive places to go in Cornwall."

Property prices in the West Country are amongst the highest in the country and toilets set in prime locations have become highly sought-after. A few months ago a toilet in Polperro, Cornwall was sold for £29,250.

Monday, October 16, 2006

House prices surge

According to the latest house price index from Rightmove, house prices in England and Wales rose 2.0% in October month-on-month, pushing the annual rate to its highest level this year. The figures are not adjusted to take into account seasonal changes in the market.

Average house prices in certain areas of London are soon set to reach the 1 million mark. Asking prices in the borough of Kensington and Chelsea stand at £999,087, up 10% on the previous month. The figure represents an increase of 66% on average prices for October 2005. Nearby Westminster experienced a similar increase, with average asking prices up 53.6% year-on-year to £692,733.

Rightmove believe that the huge increases seen in parts of the capital are down to a shortage of available housing and high numbers of wealthy people coming from overseas.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Fastest rise in 4 years

According to new data from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (Rics) house prices rose in September at their fastest rate for four years.

London and the south-east led the price rises, with estate agents reporting that ‘gazumping’ has returned while house prices in the capital increased at their fastest rate since January 2000.

"Greater economic activity has created a ripple effect in house prices across the country," said Rics spokesman Jeremy Leaf, however he did warn "Continuing house price rises will make it difficult for the Bank of England to leave the base interest rate level at 4.75%, unless the economy shows unexpected weakness."

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

City bonus mortgage

Woolwich has launched a new type of mortgage aimed at people who receive a large chunk of their salary in their annual bonus.

In many large City firms, annual bonuses can make up 40% of total pay. The new mortgage is designed for people wanting to buy now, but who will not have the means to do so until their bonus arrives.

According to Andy Gray, head of mortgages for Woolwich "Most people expecting a large bonus in January or February will already have a good idea if they are going to get one. The problem is it doesn't get paid until the new year. If they wait for the bonus the property may have gone."

The new Woolwich City bonus mortgage is only available to people wanting to borrow more than £500,000.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Chatham is best value for London commute

A survey by estate agents Haart, finds Chatham is the best value place to buy, in terms of commuting into the country's capital.

Chatham has an average house price of £144,100 and a 40 minute journey time into London with a relatively good value season ticket available. It is also benefiting from a £97 million government-funded Thames Gateway regeneration scheme to build 200,000 homes and create 150,000 jobs.

Towns between 20 minutes and one hour away from central London were considered in the report, with a final figure based on average property prices, time and travel costs combined.

Chatham's total commuter cost was £246,500, £20,300 ahead of next closest town, Slough. Also in the top five were Stevenage (£282,700), Redhill (£303,400) and Surbiton (£315,528).

With continued rising property prices, many more workers are finding that they have to buy outside of London, but the cost of commuting and time taken in getting to work are factors that need to be considered. Russell Jervis, managing director of Haart estate agents says "This model identifies the most affordable areas in and around London with a ‘commuter cost weighting’ to help potential buyers make their decision."

Monday, October 09, 2006

House prices up in August

The Department for Communities and Local Government have today said house prices rose 7.7% year-on-year in August compared with a 6.0% gain reported for the previous month.

The average house price stood at 197,631 pounds in August compared with 194,454 in July.

These figures back-up surveys from mortgage lenders Halifax and Nationwide that show that the housing market saw renewed vigour even after the Bank of England raised interest rates in early August.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Hold on interest rates

The Bank of England’s monetary policy committee has frozen the base interest rate at 4.75% for the second successive month amid growing anticipation that it will most likely increase the rate in November.

Last week, Nationwide predicted a rate rise in November following an increase in house price inflation of 1.3% last month while Halifax said yesterday house prices rose 1% in September.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

UK house prices up strongly

According to the latest data from Halifax, house prices rose by 1% in September and are increasing at an annual rate of 8%. This takes the cost of an average home to £181,186.

With inflation remaining above target, analysts expect another rate rise before the end of the year and on Thursday The Bank of England will announce its latest rate decision.

Most of the UK saw strong house price inflation, with Northern Ireland, the south west and south east of England seeing the strongest price growth during the three months to September. There were however, modest falls in Yorkshire and the East Midlands, which according to Halifax were "reflecting the increasing affordability difficulties for buyers as a result of the very rapid rise in house prices in these parts of the country over the past few years."

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Mortgage payment squeeze

Mortgage payments take up far more of our income than ten years ago, new figures show.

Data from shows that despite lower mortgage rates and higher wages, in the last ten years the proportion of incomes being used up by mortgage payments by first-time buyers has shot up more than 45%. This increase in costs has been driven by an increase in average house prices and the removal of mortgage tax relief (MIRAS).

In 1996 the average first-time buyer took out a mortgage of £39,811 on a salary of £17,308. This equated to a monthly mortgage payment of £264.84 taking up 18.4% of monthly income. In September 2006, the average first-time buyer needs a mortgage £110,500 on a average salary of £34,216. This means first-time buyers in the UK in 2006 are spending 26.8% of their income on their average monthly mortgage repayments of £763.46.

It is also thought that the average couple now needs to save at least £29,000 to pay for the deposit and stamp duty on their first home.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Homebuying help for key workers

Today the Government is launching a new initiative aimed at helping 20,000 key workers to get on the property ladder.

The Open Market HomeBuy Scheme will see selected banks and building societies providing the borrower with a 12.5% equity loan, which, when combined with an equivalent loan from the government, will make up a 25% deposit for each property. The 25% loan will be repayable after five years but it should help borrowers afford more expensive property. Borrowers will still have to fund the remaining 75% of the property cost through a standard mortgage or their own savings.

It is hoped the scheme will help key workers struggling to get onto the property ladder due to soaring property prices.

Four lenders have signed up to be involved from the outset - Nationwide, Bank of Scotland, Advantage, and the Yorkshire Building Society.