COMPETITION: Win tickets to The Homebuilding Show with celebrity interior designer Julia Kendell

DIY SOS and 60 Minute Makeover interior designer Julia Kendell has revealed her worse TV experience ahead of this weekend’s London Homebuilding & Renovating and Home Improvement Show.

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On one of the early editions of 60 Minute Makeover, Kendell tells Zoopla she used a quick drying floor paint that refused to dry during the show’s half an hour lunch break.

“I tested it at home before the show and the paint seemed to dry very quickly. But it didn’t work on the day and the floor was sopping wet when the furniture was brought into the room.

“It meant the workers had to tie plastic bags on their feet when they went into the room. It was an absolutely chaotic mess, but it was all filmed and made for great TV.

“The decorators stayed afterwards, of course, to do the floor properly,” she added.

Julia Kendell 1Kendell is one of a host of celebrity experts at this weekend’s London Homebuilding & Renovating and Home Improvement Show, which is running at London’s Olympia from September 26 to September 28.

She explained: ” If you are barking on any kind of project then this is the show for you. It is all very well watching how to do things online, but here you get to touch and feel things.”

Other experts include Piers Taylor, co-presenter of the BBC2 hit series The House that 100K Built, Charlie Luxton from More 4’s Building the dream, Matt James from ITV’s Love Your Garden and Michael Holmes, editor-in-chief of Homebuilding & Renovating magazine.

The show features more than 300 exhibitors, free daily seminars and masterclasses and bespoke advice from 11 property experts. Topics that will be covered include eco living, architectural design, interior design, financial and planning permission issues.

To win a pair of tickets to the show, let’s us know why you’d like to attend in the comments section at the bottom of this article and the winner will be emailed this Thursday.

Renovate show

September 23, 2014 at 11:43 AM Leave a comment

UPDATED: Number of homes changing hands falls to new low

The number of mortgages approved for house purchase fell in August as the property market continued to show signs of slowing down, figures revealed today.

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A total of 41,588 loans were approved for people buying a home during the month, 3 per cent fewer than in July and 5 per cent down on the recent six month average.

There was also a fall in the value of mortgages approved for house purchase, with £6.7bn worth of loans in the pipeline, down from £7bn in July, according to the British Bankers’ Association.

Other data showed that the number of homes changing hands in August fell to its lowest level since November last year, according to HM Revenue & Customs.

An estimated 99,930 properties worth more than £40,000 were sold in the UK in August on a seasonally adjusted basis, down from 101,670 in July, although on a non-seasonally adjusted basis there was a slight increase in sales.

Mortgage advances reached £11.1bn in August, 15 per cent higher than in the same month of 2013.

But the BBA pointed out that the rate of annual increase has been slowing in recent months, while total advances were also down on the recent six month average.

Mortgage lending looks set to slow further going forward, with the number of loans approved for both people remortgaging and those releasing equity also down.

Pipeline loans for people remortgaging dropped to 19,178, 16 per cent down on August last year, while approvals for equity release mortgages dived by more than 30 per cent year-on-year to 6,252.

September 23, 2014 at 10:15 AM Leave a comment

Homeowners typical ‘release’ 20K from their property on remortgaging

The amount of equity people unlocked from their property has jumped by 10 per cent in the past year on the back of strong house price gains, research showed today.

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The average person who remortgaged during August released £20,219 from their home, 10 per cent more than they had in the same month of 2013, according to property services group LMS.

The group estimates a total of more than £500m of equity was released during the month, a 9 per cent rise on August last year.

It said recent house price increases had increased the amount of equity people had in their properties, putting them in a better position to remortgage.

But despite the increase in the amount of money people unlocked, total remortgage lending fell to £3.87bn in August, 1 per cent lower than in July, as the impact of tighter lending criteria continued to be felt.

The group, which processes more than 28 per cent of all remortgage transactions in Britain, also estimated that the number of loans for people switching to a new deal was 8 per cent lower than in August last year.

Overall, people remortgaging accounted for 21 per cent of new home loans during the month.

Andy KneeAndy Knee, chief executive of LMS said: “The hangover from MMR accounts for lower remortgage volumes, as those who could remortgage for a better rate or to reduce monthly payments are put off by the time-consuming and intrusive checking process.

“However, as the process is fine-tuned, affordability will come down, lender appetite will return and the arrival of highly competitive rates towards the end of the year will encourage more remortgage activity, to offer excellent long-term fix opportunities.”

Average incomes increased for the second consecutive month during August, which combined with more competitive mortgage rates, led to annual repayments as a proportion of income for people remortgaging dropping to their lowest level since the start of the year.

The typical person remortgaging took out their previous mortgage four years and nine months ago, a longer period than the average remortgage time of three years and one month in August 2008, before the credit crisis struck.

The average loan-to-value ratio for people remortgaging fell to 57 per cent.

The figure was down from 70 per cent when they last took out a home loan, reflecting recent strong house price gains.

People in London had the lowest loan-to-values, borrowing an average of just 50 per cent of their property’s value, while those in the North West had the highest at 65 per cent, followed by homeowners in Wales at 64 per cent.

September 23, 2014 at 9:30 AM Leave a comment

Flats increase in price at ‘double the rate’ of other properties

The typical cost of a flat has soared at double the rate of other types of property during the past 10 years, spelling bad news for first time buyers, research showed today.

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The average price of a flat has increased by nearly £51,000 – the equivalent of £425 a month – since 2004, to stand at £208,169, according to mortgage lender Halifax.

Flat values have soared by 32 per cent during the period, more than double the 15 per cent rise recorded for all residential properties.

The price of flats has risen at nearly three-times the rate of prices for detached homes, which have increased by just 12 per cent since 2004.

The performance of flats has been particularly strong since 2009, with values soaring by 43 per cent in the five years to 2014, compared with a 15 per cent price gain for bungalows.

But Halifax said some of the steep price rises for flats were due to the booming London property market, with flats account for a relatively high proportion of the housing stock in the capital.

It added that in five regions of Britain, terraced houses had actually been the best performing property type since 2004.

All types of home suffered substantial price falls during the housing market downturn in 2007 to 2009, with terraced houses and flats the worst affected, recording price drops of 33 per cent and 32 per cent respectively.

The group said the steep drops for these property types, which are popular with first time buyers, was likely to be the result of the tighter lending criteria employed by lenders during the period, which made it harder for people to buy their first home.

Martin Ellis, housing economist at Halifax, said: “There has been a significant increase in the number of first-time buyers since 2010 compared with a modest decline in the number of those moving home.

“This difference is reflected in a bigger rise in prices over the past five years for those property types that are most popular with first-time buyers: flats and terraces.

“Since 2009, larger property types – such as detached homes, semis and bungalows – have underperformed flats and terraces.”

Despite the steep price rises seen for flats, semi-detached homes and terraced houses have actually remained the most popular types of property purchased during the past 10 years, with these property types collectively accounting for 60 per cent of all sales so far in 2014.

For first-time buyers, semi-detached homes have increased in popularity, accounting for 29 per cent of purchases this year, up from 25 per cent in 2004.

But while 21 per cent of homes sold in 2004 were detached, these properties accounted for just 16 per cent of transactions this year.

Flats are cheapest to buy in the East Midland, where they cost an average of £94,518, followed by the North at £101,883.

Unsurprisingly, flats are most expensive in Greater London, where they sell for an average of £328,771.

It is cheaper to buy a terraced house than a flat in Scotland, Wales and the North West.

Strong house price growth has left the average home in Britain costing £265,022, according to Zoopla.


September 22, 2014 at 11:23 AM Leave a comment

Higher borrowing costs on the cards, research suggests

The rate at which people think house prices will rise has eased to a 13-month low as consumers brace themselves for higher borrowing costs, research showed today.

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The Knight Frank Markit House Price Sentiment Index fell to 69.2 in September, its lowest level since August last year.

The figure was also well down on the peak of 75.1 reached in May, although at above 50 it indicates that people still expect house prices to rise, albeit at a slower rate.

The groups said the prospects of higher borrowing costs next year, tougher rhetoric from policymakers and stretched affordability in areas that have seen strong price gains were causing households to reign in their price growth expectations.

The index first started to ease in June, and the trend has continued during the summer.

Overall, only 46 per cent of people expected the price of their home to increase during the coming year, the first time the level has fallen below 50 per cent in 2014.

Grainne Gilmore, head of residential research at Knight Frank, said: “House prices are rising across the UK, but our index signals a continuing slow-down in the pace of growth.

“The strengthening economy, job creation and low base rate are helping underpin property values, but there are signs that households across the board are becoming more circumspect about the scale of price growth they expect.”

Households across the country thought the value of their property increased in September, but the rate of growth was the slowest recorded for eight months.

Just under 27 per cent of people thought the value of their home had increased during the month, while 5.5 per cent said it had fallen.

People in all regions of Great Britain thought house prices rose in September, with those in London reporting the strongest gains, followed by people in the South East and East.

Households in the South East were most optimistic that property values would continue to increase in the coming 12 months, with people in London and the West Midlands also upbeat.

The survey adds to growing evidence that the property market is beginning to slow down as buyers become more cautious in the face of recent house price gains and future hikes to the cost of borrowing.

At the same time, the number of homes being put up for sale has increased, easing the mismatch between supply and demand and reducing the upward pressure on prices.

The Council of Mortgage Lenders yesterday reported mortgage advances fell during August for the first time since February.

Strong house price growth has left the average British home costing £264,573, according to Zoopla.

September 19, 2014 at 1:44 PM Leave a comment

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