More than a third of landlords increasing rents

The cost of renting a home in the private sector edged ahead by just 1 per cent during the past year, Government figures showed today.

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The increase means someone who was paying £500 a month in rent in June 2013, would now be paying £505, according to the Office for National Statistics.

Tenants in London saw the biggest increase during the 12 months, with their rents rising by 1.4 per cent.

At the other end of the scale, the cost of renting in the private sector rose by only 0.2 per cent in Wales during the same period, while in the North East and North West rents edged ahead by 0.3 per cent.

The pace at which rents rose in all regions of Great Britain was significantly below the rate of inflation as measured by the Consumer Price Index, was stood at 1.9 per cent in June, meaning being a tenant is getting cheaper in real terms.

The low increase in the cost of renting a property is good news for potential first-time buyers saving for a deposit.

The small rise is also unlikely to bother many buy-to-let landlords, who are still benefitting from strong growth in property values and record low interest rates.

Recent research from lender BM Solutions showed that rental yields remained strong at an average of 6.2 per cent during the second quarter.

The highest yields were seen in the North West, North East, West Midlands and Wales, while the lowest were seen in Central London, where house prices are highest.

Around 35 per cent of landlords said they had increased their rents during the past year, with 26 per cent planning to hike them in the coming six months.

Meanwhile, financial information group Moneyfacts.co.uk said the number of different buy-to-let mortgages available had increased to a level not seen since 2008.

The group said landlords currently had a choice of 665 different products, 43 per cent more than were available in July last year.

The increased competition in the market has also driven the interest rates charged on the loans down to a record low.

The average cost of a fixed rate loan is now 4.17 per cent, while the typical rate charged on a variable mortgage is 4.03 per cent.

Sylvia Waycot, editor at Moneyfacts.co.uk, said:“Lender interest in the buy-to-let market may be fuelled by the knowledge that it falls outside of the recent Mortgage Market Review.

“This makes the process of granting any buy-to-let mortgage quicker and simpler as it is not subject to the new affordability criteria that is starting to clog up the mainstream mortgage market.”

July 25, 2014 at 11:28 AM Leave a comment

What’s occurring? Gavin and Stacey ‘home’ up for sale

Gwen’s home from the popular TV show Gavin and Stacey has gone on the market despite welcoming more than 13,000 fans through its front door.

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The Barry property is famed for Gwen’s omelettes and feisty neighbour Doris, and is now one of the key stops on the Gavin and Stacey tour.

Estate agents Burnett Davies with Easton, which is handling the sale, described the terrace home at 47 Trinity Street as “a small piece of television history”.

The agent’s Alex Easton said: “It also offers a potential business opportunity for someone wanting to continue the frequent tours but unlike the current owner, charge visitors.

“The two double bedroom house is deceptively spacious and includes a very pleasant, south facing courtyard with elevated views across the old docks and Barry Island.”

The property comes with an asking price of £125,000.

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The current owners have decided to sell up and an open day is being held on August 2 between 10am and 1pm.

Homeowner Glenda Kenyon told the Daily Mirror: “Since the filming of Gavin and Stacey, I have welcomed over 13,000 visitors to the house including organised coach tours on a weekly basis.

“I will miss both the street and Barry, but having lived here for over 30 years, I feel it’s time for a change and plan to move to Swansea.”

July 25, 2014 at 10:37 AM Leave a comment

Top 10 homes with a sea view

All this hot weather is reminding us of our dream to move closer to the sea. This week we’ve picked our top 10 homes for sale with sea views.

1. The perfect place to dine al fresco.
Six bed, South Cornwall, £1.7m – Lillicrap Chilcott

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2. Look at the colour of that water, we just want to dive in.
Seven bed, St Ives, West Cornwall, £1.5m – Lillicrap Chilcott

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3. If you’re a fan of ultra modern you’ll love this beach front home.
Five bed, Littlehampton, £1.8m – Glyn Jones & Co

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4. Living on the cliffs you probably couldn’t get a more breathtaking view.
Three bed, Cornwall, £1m – Stags

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5. Plenty of room for entertaining the whole family with this superb decking area on the beach.
Four bed, East Sussex, £950,000 – John D Wood & Co.

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6. Open plan living at its best, wow.
Four bed, Brighton, £2.2m – Winkworth

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7. Who wouldn’t want to wake up to a sea view every morning?
Four bed, Gwynedd, £2.9m – Beresford Adams

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8. A balcony, a pool and a sea view – heaven.
Seven bed, Bridgend, £1.5m – Watts & Morgan

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9. You don’t have to win the lotto to get a sea view.
One bed, Plymouth, £84,950 – Cross Keys Estates

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10. A little piece of heaven. What’s not to like?
Seven bed, Porthmadog, £1.1m – Jackson-Stops & Staff

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Have a suggestion for a property to feature? Send us a link via Twitter to your #propertyoftheweek on Zoopla and our favourites will feature on the blog every Friday.

July 25, 2014 at 9:06 AM Leave a comment

First time buyer deposit falls to £24K

The number of people buying their first home has soared by nearly a third during the past year as lenders accept lower deposits, research showed today.

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Around 146,600 first time buyers purchased a property in the six months to the end of June, 27 per cent more than in the same period of 2013, according to LSL Property Services.

The group said it was the highest number of first-time buyers during the first half of the year since 2007, before the financial crisis struck.

It attributed the surge in people getting on to the property ladder to a new willingness among lenders to advance mortgages to people with smaller deposits.

It said the average deposit put down by a first-time buyer was £24,530 in June, 18 per cent less than a year earlier and the fifth consecutive month in which it has been less than £25,000.

At the same time, typical property prices paid by first time buyers have remained broadly stable, rising by just 2.9 per cent to £119,743.

David NewnesDavid Newnes, director of estate agents Your Move and Reeds Rains, part of LSL Property Services, said: “The bottom of the market continues to recover, even as activity further up the price bands is beginning to show signs of slowing down.

“Lenders have been more willing to lend to higher loan-to-value borrowers. Help to Buy has boosted confidence and with it demand among first-timers who have been carefully saving up for their deposit.”

But he warned that new loan-to-income caps announced by the Bank of England could have a “stifling effect” on first time buyers, adding that there would need to be careful interpretation of them to ensure they did not cut good buyers out of the market.

Around 26,500 people got on to the property ladder during June itself, 10.4 per cent more than a year earlier and the second consecutive month in which first time buyer numbers topped the 26,000 threshold.

But despite the growing number of first time buyers entering the market, the dream of home ownership still remains far off for many people.

In June, 93 per cent of tenants registered with Your Move and Reeds Rains wanted to become homeowners, but only 17 per cent expected to be able to buy a property within the next 12 months, and 14 per cent did not think they would ever be able to afford to buy one.

Financial help from the Bank of Mum and Dad remains a key factor in helping people to get on to the property ladder, with 39 per cent of first-time buyers in June receiving family help to build up their deposit.

A further 7 per cent put money they had inherited towards a deposit, while 4 per cent used a Government scheme, such as Help to Buy.

Only 45 per cent of first time buyers completely self-financed their property purchase during the month.

Meanwhile the Resolution Foundation warned that the number of people facing mortgage repayment problems could double by 2018 as interest rates rise.

It estimates that the number of households who had to spend more than a third of their post-tax income on mortgage repayments would rise to 2.3 million by 2018 from 1.1 million -  the equivalent of one in four households with a mortgage.

The number of households spending more than half of their post-tax income on all forms of debt repayment, defined as being in debt peril, also looks set to double to 1.1 million.

The group called on policymakers to learn the lessons from the past and tighten lending criteria and reduce the UK economy’s dependence on debt.

It added that an “orderly and managed dismantling of the debt overhang” was needed, so that people who were lent money during looser credit conditions did not suffer affordability problems.

July 25, 2014 at 7:00 AM Leave a comment

Commercial property owners ‘lose’ £100m in tax relief

Commercial property owners have missed out on £100m in tax relief since the introduction of new regulation, research suggests.

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Analysis of HMRC’s monthly property transaction report highlights that more than £84m has been lost in the first three months alone, taking the figure to approximately £100m to date.

The findings, by capital allowances specialist Catax Solutions, identified 3,000 commercial properties sold in the first three months that were eligible for tax relief, of which only 1 per cent have had any relief claimed against them.

The regulation changes implemented on April 1 this year – as part of the the 2012 Finance Bill – mean that any individual or business owning a commercial property has to identify the capital allowances in their commercial property at the point of being bought or sold, or they could be lost completely.

The change is significant to thousands of businesses, with the figures for April, May and June showing that approximately £28m, £26m and £30m was lost in tax relief in each month respectively, indicating a potential annual loss of more than £330m.

Mark Tighe, managing director of Catax Solutions, said: “Our worst fears are being realised. We have watched in frustration as Britain’s commercial property owners throw away an absurd amount of money in tax relief month after month due to a lack of understanding and knowledge of capital allowances.

“Unfortunately, the more intricate details of the Bill are so complex, it’s not surprising many of the parties involved in commercial property transactions struggle to get their heads around capital allowances and the changes introduced. As a result, the amount of tax relief lost will grow with each passing quarter.

“We also have grave concerns that this is just the tip of an iceberg that could quickly go into meltdown, leading to accusations of negligence followed by complex and protracted legal proceedings as more and more property owners discover that they could be missing out.”

July 24, 2014 at 9:27 AM Leave a comment

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