House prices dip to an average of £188,374

House prices dipped by 0.2 per cent in September as the booming property market continued to show signs of cooling, figures revealed today.

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The slide, which followed 16 consecutive months of price rises, left the average British home costing £188,374, 2 per cent higher than the pre-correction peak.

The annual pace of house price growth also moderated, easing to 9.4 per cent, down from 11 per cent in August, according to Nationwide Building Society.

The figures are in line with other data which suggests the property market is beginning to slow as buyers become more cautious in the face of future interest rate rises and the high prices being demanded by sellers.

The Bank of England yesterday said the number of mortgages approved for house purchase fell for the second month in a row during August.

Robert Gardner Chief EconomistRobert Gardner, Nationwide’s chief economist, said: “Price growth may soften further in the final quarter of the year, given the high base for comparison from Q4 2013.

“However, the outlook remains uncertain. There have been tentative signs from surveyors and estate agents that buyer demand may be starting to moderate, but the low level of interest rates and strong labour market suggest that underlying demand is likely to remain robust.”

House prices rose in all 13 regions of Britain during the year to the end of September.

London continued to see the strongest annual growth, with property prices in the capital soaring by 21 per cent to stand at an average of £401,072, 31 per cent higher than their 2007 peak.

Annual gains were also strong in the Outer Metropolitan at 14.4 per cent, and the Outer South East and East Anglia at 13.2 per cent and 11 per cent respectively.

But there continues to be a considerable north/south divide, with prices in the North rising by just 4.3 per cent during the past year, while in Wales they edged up by 5 per cent and in Scotland they were 5.2 per cent higher.

Average house prices in the south of England, which encompasses London, the South East, South West and East Anglia, were up 15.3 per cent year-on-year.

But in northern regions of England, property values rose by an average of just 6.7 per cent.

Nationwide said house price growth in the south has exceeded gains in the north for the past 22 quarters.

However, there was a significant slowdown in the pace of gains in London during the three months to the end of September, with prices rising by just 0.9 per cent during the period.

East Anglia led the way in the third quarter with a gain of 3 per cent, followed by Northern Ireland at 2.9 per cent and the West Midlands at 2 per cent.

At the other end of the scale, prices fell by 2.1 per cent in the North in the three months to the end of September, while they dipped by 0.8 per cent in Wales.

Matthew Pointon
, property economist at Capital Economics, said despite the recent fall in demand from potential buyers, he still expected housing market activity to pick up in the next few months.

He said: “More homes should come onto the market as potential sellers’ expectations about future increases in the value of their current property moderate and, alongside the return of real earnings growth, that should tempt buyers back.

“We therefore expect the number of buyers and sellers to be more-or-less matched, which implies house prices are set for a prolonged period of much more moderate growth than that seen over the past 18 months.”

September 30, 2014 at 10:25 AM Leave a comment

Sir Cliff Richard to sell Berkshire penthouse raided by police

Sir Clifford Richard is to sell his multi-million pound penthouse in Berkshire’s Sunningdale after it was raided by police following child abuse claims.

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The Living Doll singer has told friends he feels ‘violated’ by the police search of the premises. He has denied the allegations and is determined to sell the luxury penthouse at the earliest opportunity.

He is understood to have bought the apartment in 2008 for £3.1m and is believed to be putting it back on the market for a similar price.

There are currently several homes for sale in the same Art Deco building. They range from a four bedroom flat occupying an entire wing of the 1930s Grade II listed mansion, which is listed on Zoopla for £6.5m, to a two bedroom flat for £825,000.

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There is currently a three bedroom flat for sale on the exclusive estate for £3.5m.

It includes glass-etched American Black Walnut interior doors, a German fitted kitchen, a bar area and an extensive second floor terrace with panoramic views over the grounds. There is also a hot tub.

The average price of a property in the area has risen more than £80,000 in the past year to £941,786.

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September 29, 2014 at 11:35 AM Leave a comment

UPDATED: Mortgage approvals drop to lowest level in a year

The number of mortgages approved for people buying a property fell for the second month running in August, figures showed today.

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A total of 10,357 loans were in the pipeline for house purchase during the month, down from 10,703 in July, according to the Bank of England.

It was the lowest monthly figure since September last year, with the exception of April and May, when the market was disrupted by the introduction of tough new lending criteria under the Mortgage Market Review.

The data adds to growing evidence that the booming property market is beginning to cool, as buyers become more cautious in the face of recent strong house price gains and the prospect of future interest rate rises.

mark_carneyBank of England Governor Mark Carney warned last week that the point at which interest rates would start to rise from their current record low of 0.5 per cent was “getting closer”.

Total mortgage advances increased slightly during the month, rising to 17.46 billion, up from 17.2 billion in July.

The figures came as the National Association of Estate Agents warned that the younger generation continued to be squeezed out of the property market.

The group said the number buyers aged between 18 and 30 remained at an all-time low of just 3 per cent of sales in August.

There was some good news, with the proportion of sales accounted for by people buying their first home rising to 28 per cent during the month, the first increase since April and up from just 20 per cent in July.

But the majority of people getting onto the property ladder are thought to be aged aged between 31 and 40, with this age group accounting for 45 per cent of all sales, the highest proportion ever recorded for August.

Mark HaywardMark Hayward, managing director of the National Association of Estate Agents, said: “Reports from our NAEA members suggest that the high house prices of the current housing market are still proving a barrier for the younger generation.

“It is evident that first-time buyers are indeed getting older, with the majority of home buyers this month aged 31 to 40, suggesting some correlation between the increase in the first-time buyer market and this age group.”

The number of properties for sale fell slightly during August, dropping to an average of 49 per estate agent branch, down from 51 in July.

There was also a dip in the number of sales agreed, with transactions falling to an average of eight per branch in August, compared with nine the previous month.

But there was an increase in the number of people looking to buy a home, bucking the recent trend, with 372 house hunters registering with estate agents, up from 368.

But nearly 90 per cent of estate agents think the expected increase in interest rates will affect demand for property, with 39 per cent of agents saying they have already seen a cooling.

Meanwhile, the Government has announced plans to extend the Help to Buy scheme to enable more young people to get on to the property ladder.

It said first-time buyers aged under 40 would be offered discounts of 20 per cent on 100,000 new build homes.

The discount will be made possible by releasing brownfield sites to builders and exempting them from certain taxes.


September 29, 2014 at 9:59 AM Leave a comment

House prices continue to rise as Bank of England warns interest rates are ‘to begin to increase’

House prices jumped by 1 per cent in August defying signs that the property market was beginning to slow down, figures showed today.

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The average cost of a home in England and Wales rose to £177,824 during the month, 8.4 per cent higher than in the same month of 2013 and within touching distance of the pre-crisis peak of £181,383.

Strong gains in London continued to drive the rest of the property market, with house prices in the capital soaring by 2.7 per cent to stand at £467,070, 21.6 per cent higher than a year ago, according to the Land Registry.

The housing boom is rippling out from London to other parts of the country, with the South East posting growth of 1.7 per cent, while prices were 1.6 per cent higher in Yorkshire and Humberside and 1.5 per cent up in the East.

But growth remained subdued in other regions, with property values creeping ahead by just 0.1 per cent in both the South West and North West, and by 0.2 per cent in the West Midlands.

Meanwhile, more than 37 properties a day changed hands for more than £1m in June, the latest month for which data is available.

A total of 1,135 homes were sold for at least seven figures during the month.

The Land Registry data comes as Governor of the Bank of England Mark Carney warned that the point at which interest rates would start to rise from their current record low of 0.5 per cent was “getting closer”.

Speaking at a conference, Carney said leaving interest rates low for too long could lead to other risks building up in the economy, with the housing market currently posing the biggest threat.

He said: “Relative to the recent past, the economic outlook is much improved.

“While there is always uncertainty about the future, you can expect interest rates to begin to increase.”

But he added that when rates did start to increase it would gradual, and the Bank Rate was likely to peak at below pre-crisis levels.

Economists expect the first increase in interest rates to be made in early 2015, although two members of the Bank’s Monetary Policy Committee have already voted for an increase.

For homeowners who are keen to lock into low interest rates, there are a number of competitive mortgage deals on the market.

Norwich and Peterborough Building Society has a two-year fixed rate deal at 1.89 per cent for people with a 35 per cent deposit who pay a £195 fee.

Those who want the security of a longer deal can get a five-year fixed rate loan at 2.89 per cent from Yorkshire Building Society, which comes with a £975 fee.

Today’s Land Registry figures contradict growing evidence that the housing market is beginning to slow down, although the Land Registry data, which is based on completed sales, tends to lag other indexes.

Mortgage lender Halifax said property values crept ahead by just 0.1 per cent in August, while the annual rate of growth also slowed.

Data from the British Bankers’ Association also showed a 3 per cent fall in the number of mortgages approved for house purchase in the month, compared with July.

Strong house price gains have left the average British home cost £265,022, according to Zoopla.

September 26, 2014 at 2:25 PM Leave a comment

London house covering less than 200 sq ft is on the market for £275,000

A bed ‘hanging’ above the front door, a staircase above a kitchen worktop and a living room floor defined by built in storage are just some of the creative ideas found in a one bedroom London property covering less than 200 sq ft.

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The terrace house is in the popular area of Islington and is on the market for £275,000.

It is currently the most viewed property on Zoopla, having received more than 150,000 hits in the last 30 days.

It covers a total area of 188 square foot, managing to include kitchen and living areas, as well as a shower room and mezzanine sleeping level.

Winkworth, the agents handling the sale, described the terrace property as a ‘unique one bed house presented in great condition throughout’.

It suggests the property would make an ideal buy to let or pied-a-terre.

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The property is situated in Richmond Avenue, which is a highly sought after residential road in Barnsbury. The bars, boutique shops and restaurants on Upper Street are just a short distance away.

The area has good transport links, with the closest tube being the Northern line’s Angel. Kings Cross is also nearby and provides an array of tube links across London.

The average price of a home in Richmond Avenue has risen more than £220,000 in the past year to £1,736,942.

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September 26, 2014 at 1:17 PM Leave a comment

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