Mortgage approvals jump to four-month high despite tough new lending rules

Mortgage approvals for people buying a home jumped to a four-month high in June as the market recovered from the introduction of new lending rules that saw an increase in the time it takes to secure a mortgage offer.

Mortgage 6

A total of 67,196 loans were agreed for people buying a property during the month, the highest level since February, according to figures published by the Bank of England.

Pipeline loans for people remortgaging to a new deal also increased, rising to 31,682, the highest number since March.

The jump in mortgage activity during June suggests the lending market has recovered from the blip it experienced in April and May due to the introduction of the Mortgage Market Review (MMR).

The rules, which included tough new affordability criteria, led to an increase in the time it takes to secure a mortgage offer.

Mortgage brokers and commentators warned at the time of the rules’ introduction in late April that they were likely to lead to a temporary fall in mortgage approvals while lenders got to grips with new systems and processes.

Net lending, which strips out repayments and people remortgaging to a new deal, fell slightly in June, according to the Bank.

Mortgage advances on this measure totalled £2.08bn during the month, down from a spike of £2.29bn in May, but still above the recent six-month average of £1.9bn.

Samuel TombsSamuel Tombs, senior UK economist at Capital Economics, said: “The rise in the number of mortgages approved for new house purchase to a four-month high suggests that the disruption caused by the introduction of the Mortgage Market Review regulations in April has faded quickly.

“Looking ahead, further rapid rises in employment and still low mortgage interest rates should stimulate further demand for mortgage lending.

“However, with lenders set to face tough stress tests later this year and action from the Financial Policy Committee in June perhaps dampening expectations of future house price growth, the recovery in mortgage lending still looks likely to be a gradual affair.”

The figures come the day after data from the Land Registry showed house price growth in England and Wales stalled during June.

Property values fell in seven regions, with Yorkshire and the Humber seeing the biggest drop of 1.3 per cent, while prices fell by 1 per cent in both the East Midlands and North East.

Even in London, which has been the main driving force for the market, prices edged ahead by just 0.1 per cent during June.

But across England and Wales as a whole, house prices were still 6.4 per cent higher than they had been a year earlier at an average of £172,011.

The figures add to growing evidence that some of the heat is coming out of the property market, as more homes are put up for sale, easing the mismatch between supply and demand.

Surveys from estate agents also suggest that potential buyers are becoming more cautious in the face of high house prices and concerns about future increases in interest rates.

Recent strong price growth has left the average UK home costing £260,311, according to Zoopla.

July 29, 2014 at 10:47 AM Leave a comment

Home owner confidence high despite it being ‘more difficult’ to get a mortgage

Nine out of 10 home owners expect house prices to rise in the next six months despite almost half saying getting a mortgage is more difficult than three months ago, Zoopla reveals.

29.07.14 House prices

As many as 92 per cent of home owners are confident that the value of their property will increase during the rest of this year, according to the latest Zoopla Housing Market Sentiment Survey.

The average prediction is that values will rise 7.6 per cent during this period.

It comes amid growing concern that the introduction of tighter mortgage rules is stalling the housing market, with the survey suggesting four out of every 10 home owners believing getting a mortgage is now harder than three months ago.

However, the new rules are not putting the brakes on Britons carrying out home improvements with 79 per cent of home owners planning to spend at the least the same or more on doing up their properties.

However, one significant shift is in the outlook among London home owners, who are no longer the most confident in the country about house prices in their area.

The proportion of home owners in the capital expecting prices to rise in the next six months has fallen from 98 per cent to 92 per cent in the last three months. It follows a sharp increase in London, where average house prices have climbed £63,069 to £567,392.

The Zoopla survey found that the South East, the South West, the East of England and the West Midlands have all overtaken the capital in terms of homeowner confidence.

Zoopla’s Lawrence Hall said: “After months of consistent growth in the capital’s property market we are now seeing a slight increase in caution among London’s homeowners. More broadly, securing a mortgage appears to be getting harder now that the Mortgage Market Review has caused lenders to be more rigorous with their lending criteria and approval process.”



Region Rise (%) Flat (%) Fall (%)
South West England 95% 4% 2%
South East England 95% 2% 2%
East of England 93% 6% 4%
West Midlands 93% 5% 3%
Wales 92% 5% 4%
London 92% 3% 5%
Yorkshire and The Humber 91% 6% 4%
North West England 90% 7% 3%
East Midlands 90% 6% 4%
Scotland 90% 6% 4%
North East England 87% 8% 5%

Source: (July 2014)


July 29, 2014 at 10:27 AM Leave a comment

Sell your home by using your garden as an extension

The hot, humid temperatures of late can be used to advantage if you are selling your home during the summer, explains Caroline Knight and Karin Hawkes.

28.07.14 Garden 2

The warm weather is a chance to show just how useful your garden can be. To convey the feeling that the garden acts like an extension to your property to create an outdoor seating area – even if you have absolutely no intention of dining outdoors yourself.

An ‘all-weather’ metal set can be purchased relatively inexpensively and you will be able to take it with you to your new home. Or a bench seat filled with comfortable cushions will offer the inviting possibility of a quiet read. Don’t forget a sunshade for the ultimate feeling of luxury as it will conjure up the illusion of rest and relaxation – something that most people feel is lacking in their busy lives.

Surround the patio with pots of aromatic herbs that could be used on the barbecue or within refreshing salads during this balmy time. If you have a vegetable patch, make sure it looks productive as it will give the impression of a healthy lifestyle and enjoyment generated from your outdoor room.

You could compare the preparation of your house and garden for sale with the art of dressing a shop window – you are suggesting many positive things with the use of colour, scent, props and the hint of endless possibilities that your home will offer to its new owners.

July and August are months in which to appreciate your garden to the full. Make sure that your prospective buyers notice all of its possibilities such as areas for seclusion, entertainment space, shade, sun, wildlife spotting opportunities and space for play. You are merely planting the seed of an idea – hopefully your buyers will make it blossom.

28.07.14 Garden

Why we like this bungalow garden in London’s Stanthorpe Road…

  • The bungalow itself is quite unusual but it looks very well cared for, with baskets of cheerful flowers conveying the impression that this home is loved.
  • The green foliage and pink blooms break up what could easily be a rather harsh facade.
  • The rear garden has oodles of appeal, especially the brick wall boundary that makes it feel secluded and private.
  • There is ample area for seating and despite the mature trees on the other side of the boundary the garden offers both sun and shade.
  • The vegetable garden and sheds give the impression that this garden is useful and productive, conveying a ‘lifestyle’ that is happy and healthy.

Caroline Knig14.03.14 Kerb Appeal 3ht and Karin Hawkes are passionate about the beneficial impact that outdoor space can have on a property. Their design and maintenance service, Kerb Appeal South East, helps to form a missing link in the house sales process within KentSussex and Surrey. They are on a mission to enable sellers to enhance their properties with the minimum of fuss and upheaval, thereby maximising the selling potential of any home.

July 29, 2014 at 7:30 AM Leave a comment

Number one complaint of Generation Rent?

Generation Rent is a pretty disgruntled bunch if a new survey is to be believed. More than half feel they have been ripped off by their landlord, with a failure to make repairs to their homes the number one gripe.

Woman looks in estate agents window

According to the study by loans company Ocean Finance, more than half (52 per cent) of 18 to 24 year olds currently rent, and 46 per cent of those aged 24 to 34 do the same. More than one in five (22 per cent) of those aged 35 to 44 are also in rented accommodation.

Half of all tenants in the UK feel a private sector landlord or letting agent has ripped them off with failure to get repairs done the top reason behind this feeling, new research shows.

Here is a seven point plan to reduce the stress of renting, so you can enjoy your Young Ones years to the full:

Gordon Hood1. The internet is a brilliant way to research rental opportunities and get a good idea of what typical properties cost, but Gordon Hood, head of the lettings department at Knight Frank in Ascot, Surrey, recommends showing your face to local agents once you know what you are after. “It is great to meet the individual or couple when they come into the office, we can gleam a great deal more about their requirements and ensure we can find them the best possible property for them in the quickest possible time,” he said.

2. Use technology to help you. Rebecca Warren, lettings director at Chestertons in Hyde Park, said: “Once you know where you want to be Zoopla has a map search function that allows you to draw the desired areas and will show the availability within that area, you can then set up an alert so any new instructions are sent over immediately to you.”

Jenny Kimmings3. Check out the small print when signing up for a house or flat. Jenny Kimmings, lettings manager of Hamptons International in Marlborough, says it is crucial to understand exactly what you are agreeing to. “Check any special conditions written into the tenancy agreement, for example a break clause if you have agreed one, or you will find yourself tied in when you don’t think you are,” she said. “Or perhaps the landlord has agreed to redecorate before you move in. Anything agreed verbally like that would need to be in the tenancy agreement.” It is also important to ask your agent what fees you are going to be charged – and if you will be charged again as and when you renew your lease.

4. Make sure your deposit is going to be held in a Government-approved tenancy deposit scheme, so the landlord can’t just keep it when you leave, and make sure a full and accurate inventory of the state of the property is made when you move on so you don’t get blamed for damage.

Nicola Merry5. Although landlords can be frustrating Nicola Merry, lettings manager at Kay & Co says the best way to handle them is to be a model tenant they won’t want to lose – that way they are likely to try and keep you happy. That means paying rent on time, responding politely and quickly if they get in touch, and taking care of the property. It is always nice to meet with your new landlord before moving in, especially if they are they managing the property themselves,” she added. “It helps build a rapport especially if renting for the long term, which can be invaluable if problems arise during the tenancy.” “

6. If your problems are really severe and you suspect laws are being broken your local Citizen’s Advice Bureau or campaigning charity Shelter will be able to advise you on the best course of action.

7. Lack of space is a common gripe for renters. If your possessions are spilling out of control consider renting a self-storage space to stash your treasures until you have a place of your own. Make sure to shop around to get the best deal. Aussie Man and Van, for example, offers storage in London for £9.95 plus VAT per week for a 175 cubic ft space.

To let: Pick of the rentals…

1. Live in total James Bondesque luxury in this Knightsbridge pad, available for £50,000 a week (and no, this is not a typing error).

28.07.14 Rent 1

2. Make a life changing move to an adorable thatched cottage in Cornwall, yours for £345 a week.

28.07.14 Rent 2

3. Young professionals in Manchester will love this three bedroom warehouse flat in the fashionable Northern Quarter, on at £288 a week.

28.07.14 Rent 3

4. Or live in the centre of Liverpool in a lovely listed townhouse, available at £387 a week.

28.07.14 Rent 4

July 28, 2014 at 12:06 PM Leave a comment

UPDATED: Growth in house prices slows as buyers adopt ‘cautious’ approach

House price growth stalled during June as potential buyers adopted a more cautious approach, figures showed today.

28.07.14 home

The average cost of a home in England and Wales was unchanged during the month at £172,011, according to the Land Registry.

The annual rate at which house prices are rising also slowed to 6.4 per cent during the month, down from 6.7 per cent in May.

The slowdown in growth comes as separate research showed a steep fall in confidence among potential buyers in the face of high house prices and future interest rate hikes.

A balance of just 5 per cent of people thought it was a good time to buy a home at the end of the second quarter, down from 34 per cent in the previous three months, according to Halifax.

The group said the fall in confidence was the largest recorded since it started collecting the data in 2011.

Around 55 per cent of potential buyers said raising a deposit was the biggest barrier preventing them from getting on to the housing ladder, while 35 per cent sited high house prices and 18 per cent admitted they were worried about future interest rate rises.

But while buyers are now cautious, there was an increase in confidence among potential sellers, with a balance of 25 per cent thinking it was a good time to put a property on the market – the highest level ever recorded by the index.

Both groups also remained optimistic about future property price growth, with a balance of 66 per cent predicting further price rises.

The Land Registry data showed that London continued to enjoy the highest house price growth of 16.4 per cent year-on-year, but this was down from 17.8 per cent in May.

Growth was also strong in the East and South East at 7.8 per cent and 7.9 per cent respectively.

But on a monthly basis, house prices fell in seven regions, with Yorkshire and the Humber seeing the biggest drop of 1.3 per cent, while prices fell by 1 per cent in both the East Midlands and North East.

Even in London, which has been the main driving force for the market, prices edged ahead by just 0.1 per cent during June.

Evidence that the housing market is beginning to slow down naturally will help to further ease concerns that a property price bubble had been building up, particularly in London.

Strong price growth had caught the attention of policymakers and led to the Bank of England introducing measures to help calm the market.

But recent data has suggested some of the heat has started to come out of the market as more people put homes up for sale, helping to ease the supply shortage.

At the same time, potential buyers have become more cautious in the face of high house prices and speculation about when interest rates will start to rise.

Peter Rollings, chief executive of Marsh & Parsons, said:“After a frenetic start to the year, the pace of house price growth has slowed this quarter as the market stabilises and returns to more normal trading conditions.

“With more choice coming onto the market, sellers are able to find their next onward purchase and consider trading up.”

Despite suggestions that the market is slowing, a total of 1,028 homes worth more than £1m changed hands during April, the latest month for which Land Registry transaction data is available, the equivalent of 34 a day.

Recent strong house price growth has left the average UK home costing £260,311, according to Zoopla.


July 28, 2014 at 10:19 AM Leave a comment

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