Housing minister insists affordable homes are available in London

Hardworking families in London are being provided with ‘tens of thousands’ of new homes, the Government’s housing minster has exclusively told Zoopla.


Brandon Lewis, who was appointed to the Government post earlier this year, insisted affordable homes are being provided for those wanting to live and work in the capital.

His comments come in the same week that the Government’s flagship Help to Buy scheme was deemed ‘a flop’ by the opposition – particularly for those hoping to buy in London.

Brandon LewisHousing Minister Brandon Lewis said: “Everyone has the right to live in a safe and affordable home. This Government has worked tirelessly to make that possible and fix the broken housing market we inherited from the last Government.

“Our current affordable homes programmes is on track to deliver 170,000 new homes by 2015, to be followed by a further 165,000 by 2018, which will be the fastest rate of affordable house building for 20 years.

He claimed the Government’s Help to Buy scheme, which helps those with a small deposit to buy a home, was a key element in helping people onto the property ladder.

“Our Help to Buy scheme has enabled over 40,000 aspiring households to buy their first home with a fraction of the deposit they would normally require, and our action to cut the deficit has kept interest rates low and mortgages more affordable,” he said.

“And in London Help to Buy equity loans have allowed over 1,400 people to get a foot on the housing ladder. We have also increased discounts for council tenants looking to exercise their Right to Buy and have introduced new housing zones to boost house building and create tens of thousands of new homes for hardworking families across the capital.

However, he admitted that more need to be done to improve the property market. As well as struggling to save for a deposit, many home buyers are unable to keep up with the sharp rise in house prices, particularly in London.

The typical value of a home in Britain has increased almost £18,000 in the past year to £275,721, while in London they have risen by more than £60,000, according to Zoopla.

Lewis said: “The sector is clearly moving in the right direction, but there is still more to do, and improving the housing market will continue to be a vital part of our long-term economic plan,” he said.


August 22, 2014 at 2:23 PM Leave a comment

Zoopla is the first UK property portal to launch app ads in Google organic search

Zoopla is once again proving it’s ahead of the game with its latest campaign of app promotion ads in Google organic and paid results as featured in the Google blog.

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Zoopla is leading the way in the property industry once again with a new feature called ‘deep linking’ that allows mobile users to transition from Google search results directly into their Zoopla app.

It means that when a user sees one of the new Zoopla ads or organic results in Google search results pages, clicking on the ad will instantly open their Zoopla app and seamlessly take them to the right place.

Once inside the app, users signed into their MyZoopla account can take advantage of all the features while on the move.

These include being able to search for property based on a user’s current location, finding property within a desired commute time, saving favourite properties, the ability to share property searches and being able to contact estate agents instantly with the click of a button.

The feature is only available on Android devices and users will need to have the free Zoopla app installed. They will also need to be signed into a Google account in their browser.


August 22, 2014 at 12:10 PM Leave a comment

Number of first time buyers recovers to pre-credit crisis levels

The number of people taking their first step on to the property ladder hit a seven-year high in July, research showed today.

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A total of 30,000 first time buyers bought a home during the month, the highest level since August 2007 and 25 per cent more than in July 2013, according to LSL Property Services.

There was also a 10 per cent drop in the amount first time buyers put down, with deposits falling to £26,642, £3,000 less than a year earlier.

The Government’s Help to Buy scheme continued to have an impact on the proportion of a property’s value that lenders were prepared to advance, with average loan to value ratios rising to 82.9 per cent, compared with 79.5 per cent in July 2013.

But it was not all good news for people taking their first step on to the property ladder, with the typical mortgage rate they secured rising for the fourth consecutive month, increasing to 4.19 per cent, up from 3.99 per cent in March.

This higher rate also led to the size of mortgage repayments as a proportion of income growing to 22.6 per cent, compared with 20.2 per cent a year ago.

People typically spent £155,844 on their first home, 8 per cent more than the average amount paid a year earlier.

Despite the drop in the average deposit put down by first time buyers, people still needed to save the equivalent of 72 per cent of their annual pay towards their first home.

But this figure was down from 82.6 per cent of earnings in July 2013, also reflecting the fact that the average salary of people buying their first home had risen to £37,000 from £35,843 a year earlier.

David NewnesDavid Newnes, director of estate agents Your Move and Reeds Rains, part of LSL Property Services, said: “The first-time buyer market is still active, even as the wider property market is starting to show signs of cooling down.

“As the economic recovery gathers momentum, more buyers are finding themselves in a position where they can afford to own their own home.”

He said a whole generation of first-time buyers had found themselves stuck on the side-lines of the property market as the economy recovered from the recession and real wages fell.

But he added: “The recent increase in high loan-to-value lending options – enabled by Help to Buy – has allowed them a shot at getting on the ladder at long last, and the number of first time buyers has climbed to a seven year high.”

Strong house price growth seen in recent months has pushed the average price paid for a first home above the £150,000 barrier in London, the South East, East, South West and Wales.

Unsurprisingly, London was the most expensive place in which to buy a first property at an average of £251,061, followed by the South East at £194,955.

At the other end of the spectrum, Northern Ireland and Yorkshire and Humber had the cheapest properties at an average of £89,470 and £103,741 respectively.

First time buyers in London typically saved £62,253 for a deposit, nearly six times more than the £10,710 put down by people getting on to the property ladder in the North East.

August 22, 2014 at 7:00 AM Leave a comment

Number of properties changing hands begins to ‘cool’, reveals Gov’t figures

Property transactions slumped in July as the housing market continued to show signs of cooling, Government figures revealed today.

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A total of 101,190 homes valued at more than £40,000 changed hands during the month on a seasonally adjusted basis, 1.3 per cent fewer than in June and the lowest level since December 2013.

But despite the dip, sales levels were still 13.5 per cent higher than they had been in July 2013, according to HM Revenue and Customs.

The figures add to growing evidence that the property market is beginning to slow down, as buyers balk at the high prices being demanded by sellers.

The introduction of the Mortgage Market Review is also thought to have contributed to the fall in sales, as the new rules, which include stricter affordability criteria, have lengthened the mortgage application process.

House price gains also appear to be moderating, with Nationwide Building Society reporting that property values remained largely unchanged in July, rising by just 0.1 per cent.

In its latest Agents’ Summary of Business Conditions, which was released yesterday, the Bank of England also said housing transactions had eased in recent months.

It added that house price growth was slowing in the South, with some areas seeing price falls, while there were fewer cases of sealed bids and people making offers over the asking price, as some of the heat came out of the market.

Strong house price gains have left the typical British property costing £263,705, according to Zoopla.

But despite evidence that the housing market is slowing in the South, there are also suggestions that price growth is accelerating in other areas, as the recovery ripples out across the country.

Meanwhile, separate figures released today showed that the number of new homes started by builders rose by just 0.3 per cent during the second quarter of the year, well down on the 10.7 per cent jump recorded during the previous quarter.

help_to_buy_scotlandBut the total of 36,200 new homes started during the three months was still nearly 24 per cent higher than during the same period of 2013, according to the department of Communities and Local Government.

The increase was driven by a rise in private housing starts, which were up 1.6 per cent at 29,900. 

New properties started by housing associations and local authorities fell by 5.6 per cent.

Paul Diggle, property economist at Capital Economics, said: “The marginal gain in housing starts in the second quarter suggests that material and labour shortages are constraining housebuilders’ output.

“Despite the impetus from the Help to Buy equity loan scheme and favourable wider economic conditions, these constraints will keep a lid on housebuilding for a while yet.”


August 21, 2014 at 11:37 AM 1 comment

House prices: how much will your child pay for their first property?

A baby born today faces the prospect of paying £3.4m for their first property, new research has suggested.

20.08.14 Baby

The alarming statistic comes on the back of recent double digit house price rises that have forced first time buyers to turn to the Bank of Mum and Dad to help with a deposit.

The calculation is based on the average house rising in value by 8.6 per cent during the past 60 years.

If this pattern continues, a typical house worth just over £200,000 today is expected to reach £3,391,474 in the year 2048, the year when a child born today reaches a typical first time buyer age of 35.

The research by online estate agents eMoov also suggested that even a child who is 10 years old today faces paying more than £1.6m for a property, requiring a deposit of more than £320,000.

And if you have a child who is currently 4 years old, they will most likely need £2.4m.

By 2032, the average deposit of 20 per cent will be the equivalent of the price of the average price of a property today.

Russell Quirk, eMoov’s chief executive, said: “Our research shows the staggering truth about the rise of property prices within Britain in recent times. Property prices are always on the move, but viewed over decades our research shows an annual rise of 8.6 per cent since 1954.

“If the trend continues then the bank of Mum and Dad will become even more important for the next generation of home owners”

Mortgage experts agree that parents will play a more pivotal role in helping their children onto the property ladder.

Mark HarrisMark Harris, of mortgage brokers SPF Private Clients, said: “Already the Bank of Mum and Dad has become essential in helping first-time buyers onto the housing ladder and this research suggests that their role will become even more crucial.

“With wages failing to keep pace with property prices, home ownership is only going to become more unaffordable unless Mum and Dad come to the rescue with a hefty deposit.”

August 20, 2014 at 1:54 PM Leave a comment

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