Today is Mortgage Freedom Day – the day on which new homeowners have earned enough money to cover the cost of their mortgage for the whole year.
It takes the average person who has recently bought a new property 100 days to earn enough to meet their annual mortgage repayments, according to Halifax.
But renters will have to work for another 32 days before they have brought in enough cash to cover their annual accommodation costs, with Rent Freedom Day not coming until May 12.
The average annual mortgage repayment currently stands at £6,954, while the average salary is £25,603 a year after tax, according to the group.
It said Mortgage Freedom Day occurred three days earlier this year than in 2013, while it is almost a month earlier than it was five years ago.
The date has been brought forward as a result of the average net annual income increasing by £2,153 during the past 12 months.
At the same time, the average mortgage payment has risen by only £357 a year during the same period.
Craig McKinlay, mortgage director at Halifax, said: “While monthly mortgage and rental costs account for the majority of many people’s household budgets, Mortgage Freedom Day provides a different perspective on how much we spend on these costs over the course of a year.
“Our research shows that today, if people had put everything they’d earned since the start of the year towards their mortgage, the average homeowner would be mortgage free for the remainder of the year, which is a reassuring thought.”
Unsurprisingly, there is considerable regional variation in when Mortgage Freedom Day occurs.
Homeowners in four London boroughs have to wait until well into July before they have earned enough to cover their annual mortgage costs.
At the other end of the scale, people in Armagh in Northern Ireland have the earliest Mortgage Freedom Day, with it falling on February 13.
On a regional basis Mortgage Freedom Day occurs earliest in Northern Ireland, falling on March 10, followed by Scotland where it is on March 11.
Unsurprisingly, London has the latest Mortgage Freedom Day, with homeowners in the capital having to wait until May 20 to have earned enough to meet their annual mortgage costs, closely followed by the South East on May 2.
Property sales jumped to a six-year high during the first quarter of the year as buyers continued to return to the market, figures showed today.
The average chartered surveyor estate agent sold 22.7 homes in the three months to the end of March, the highest level since February 2008, according to the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors.
The group said the pick up in activity occurred across Britain, with all regions seeing an increase in inquiries from potential buyers, apart from Wales, where interest was static following strong growth in the previous months.
At the same time, there was a big increase in newly agreed sales outside of London and the South East for the second consecutive month.
But the group said that while activity was now encouraging in areas of the country where it had previously been stagnant, the market continued to be hampered by a shortage of homes being put up for sale.
It added that the predicted ‘spring bounce’ had failed to materialise, with new instructions falling for the third month in a row.
The imbalance between supply and demand continued to push prices higher during the month, with 57 per cent more surveyors reporting price rises than those who recorded falls.
Outside of London and the South East, price gains were strongest in the South West and East Midlands.
It was the eleventh consecutive month in which house price rises had been recorded by the survey across Britain as a whole, the longest period of consistent growth since the onset of the financial crisis.
With no sign that the current shortage of homes on the market will ease any time soon, surveyors expect property prices to continue rising into the summer.
Overall, 48 per cent more surveyors expect the value of property to increase during the coming three months, while 77 per cent more expect gains over the coming 12 months.
Looking further ahead, surveyors now expect annual house price inflation to average 6 per cent per annum during the next five years.
Simon Rubinsohn, RICS chief economist, said: “Now that the housing market recovery is well and truly underway and mortgage finance is more readily available, buyers seem to be looking to test the market right across the country, not just in the usual hot spots of the South East.”
But he said it was a “major concern” that enough houses to meet this demand were not coming on to the market.
He said: “For the market to operate effectively, we desperately need more homes in areas where people want to buy and want to live.
“Until this happens we’re likely to see prices continue to increase and it is going to be ever harder for many first-time buyers to conceive of ever owning their own home.”
Today’s figures come after Nationwide said house prices rose for the fifthteenth consecutive month in March, while Halifax said annual house price inflation was rising at its fastest rate for nearly six-and-a-half years, although it reported a price fall on a monthly basis.
But other data suggests there is not a bubble building up in the market, with mortgage approvals for house purchase actually falling slightly during February, according to the Bank of England.
Britain’s seaside towns are under attack, with one tourist chief claiming once-popular resorts are in danger of “death and decay” without Government investment.
Hotelier Jim Fowler claims coastal locations like Ilfracombe in Devon, are turning into ghost towns – and his fears have been echoed by Malcolm Bell, head of tourism at VisitCornwall.
However, while some holiday towns can be deeply depressing out of season (and a little too “kiss me quick” when thousands of tourists descend) there are some absolute treasures, whose good value quality period housing stock, sea views, good looks, disproportionately good facilities (thanks to those same tourists), and community feel make them excellent places to live all year round.
On the most westerly point of the Cumbrian coast, around 40 miles south of the Scottish border, is St Bees. This is one for those who like their beaches dramatic and not too crowded: the expanses of sand are huge, and fringed by towering red sandstone cliffs. The area is beloved of walkers, particularly as St Bees is also close to the Lake District National Park.
The village itself is pretty and traditional and popular with parents thanks to the presence of its own primary school, rated “good” by Ofsted. In their spare time residents can choose between jet skiing and paragliding, just two of the sea-based sporting options available. The town centre is hilly but pretty, and there are several pubs to enjoy.
“It is a cute, popular little seaside town,” said Angelina Chapple, manager of Lillingtons estate agents.
“It is a really popular place to live, partly because it has got its own train station. And you get a lot of families because of the schools.”
The average property price in St Bees currently stands at £201,004, up 7.73 per cent in the last year.
The village centre is full of pretty cottage style houses, some Georgian, and Chapple says a two bedroom house would cost around £100,000, while larger properties with five or six bedrooms would cost between £250,000 and £285,000.
At the other extreme of England, more than 350 miles south is another seaside gem, Southsea, in Hampshire. Southsea is a great little town and has the benefit of being only a mile from the centre of Portsmouth, which means residents can easily take advantage of its shop and transport links.
Southsea also has a good high street of its own, as well as plenty of bars and restaurants. Its beach is gravelly, and blessed with not one but two piers. Southsea Common means you are never far from some open space, and the town is large enough to sustain a theatre and annual music and arts festival.
Families like the area because of the presence of Charter Academy (seniors) rated as the best performing school in Portsmouth and the second-most improved school in England and Wales at GCSE level.
Steve Sprake, director of Pearsons estate agents said Southsea was one of the most sought after addresses in the Portsmouth area. “It is a busy, bustling place, with everything on your doorstep – you don’t need a car,” he said. “It is a thriving town with a good blend of shops and restaurants. It is a great place to live.”
The average property in Southsea currently stands at £194,593, up 8.21 per cent in the last year.
If you would like a seafront flat – many former hotels have been transformed into apartments – expect to pay around £200,000-plus for a two bedroom property. A Victorian or Edwardian townhouse with four bedrooms would cost on average between £350,000 and £400,000.
North Norfolk is famous for its beaches and Cromer is one of its nicest traditional beach towns – and one which has not been rendered totally unaffordable by an influx of second home owners from London.
The town has it all – two blue flag beaches, good shops, and plenty of cafes and restaurants.
Freshly caught fish and seafood is sold daily on the beach, and it’s a great starting point to explore the whole coastline as well as the Norfolk Broads.
Cromer Academy (seniors) is a small but highly rated school, and the town is large enough to support a string of primary schools which earn “good” ratings from Ofsted.
The town does have its share of seasonal “bucket and spade” shops, but it also has independent art galleries and craft shops to counterbalance.
Louis de Soissons, a director of Savills estate agents said he believed that Cromer was on the up. “There are some very nice houses in Cromer with fabulous sea views, and it has got a lot of character and charm,” he said.
“There is also a lot of investment going on. There has been a lot of regeneration of the old seafront area and the pier is being restored. At the moment it is good value for the North Norfolk coast, but I don’t suppose it will stay like that forever.
Average prices in Cromer stand at £201,670, up 9.38 per cent in the last year. Expect to pay £300,000 plus for a four bedroom Edwardian house, or from around £150,000 for a two bedroom flat close to the sea.
Properties for sale:
1. Family sized Victorian house in Cromer, on the market for offers over £350,000
2. Pretty pastel-painted townhouse in the centre of Southsea, with three bedrooms, for £329,950
3. Spacious two bedroom flat in a period building in the heart of St Bees for £115,000
If you’re buying a typical three or four bedroom property in Britain, the statistics show you can expect to spend more than a quarter of a million pounds. But what if you are looking for a larger property? Particularly, if you’re a landlord or looking to run a hotel? Here, we show you properties with at least 10 bedrooms that have an asking price of less than £250,000.
1. Eleven bedroom semi-detached house in Liverpool for £244,950
2. Twelve bedroom end of terrace house in Great Yarmouth for £225,000
3. Fourteen bedroom property in Blackpool for £120,000
4. Ten bedroom detached house in Weston-Super-Mare for £225,000
5. Ten bedroom end of terrace house in Blackpool for £89,999
6. Ten bedroom terraced house in Margate for £240,000
The housing market recovery is losing steam, but prices are expected to continue rising as the supply of properties remains tight, economists said today.
A number of indicators have pointed to a slowdown in housing market activity during the past month, with new buyer enquiries and mortgage approvals both dipping, Capital Economics said.
But it added that the number of homes being put up for sale had continued to fall, leading to market conditions remaining “very tight”.
As a result, it expects prices to continue to rise during the coming months.
Matthew Pointon, property economist at Capital Economics, said: “The housing market recovery looks to be losing a little steam, with a number of indicators dropping back over the past month.
“While that may in part reflects the poor weather, it could also be a sign that the pent-up demand that has been released in recent months is now tailing off.
“That said, while the recovery no longer appears to be accelerating, further rises in both prices and activity are likely.”
The group pointed out that the latest output indicators suggest the economy is continuing to grow at a robust pace, while inflation is falling and incomes are rising, meaning the squeeze on real earnings may be coming to an end.
It added that although the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors had said the balance of surveyors reporting a rise in new buyer enquiries had eased for the third month in a row, new sales instructions declined at a faster rate.
It said this suggested the imbalance between supply and demand would continue, putting further upward pressure on house prices.
At the same time, the average property took just 7.9 weeks to sell in March, the joint shortest time since the middle of 2007, reflecting the tight market conditions.
But there is considerable regional variation, with properties in London typically selling within three weeks, while those in Wales took an average of 12 weeks to find a buyer.
Capital Economic’s analysis is likely to ease concerns that a bubble is building up in the property market.
Nationwide recently reported that house prices had risen for the fifthteenth consecutive month in March, while Halifax said annual house price inflation was rising at its fastest rate for nearly six-and-a-half years, although it reported a price fall on a monthly basis.
But figures from the Bank of England showing a fall in mortgage approvals for house purchase during February have helped to ease concerns that a runaway market was developing.
Meanwhile, the Council of Mortgage Lenders today published data on postcode lending for the second time.
The figures, which cover the third quarter of 2013, measure outstanding lending by Barclays, HSBC, Lloyds Banking Group, Nationwide Building Society, Santander UK, RBS, and Clydesdale and Yorkshire Bank, which together represent around 73 per cent of the total mortgage market.
The figures showed that outstanding mortgage debt owed to participating lenders totalled £897.2bn at the end of September last year.
Unsurprisingly, mortgage debt was highest in London at £229.52bn, followed by the South East at £162.35bn.
At the other end of the scale, homeowners in the North East collectively owed just £26.12bn, while those in Wales owed £28.6bn.
Bob Pannell, chief executive of the CML, said: “With data covering outstanding lending rather than new flows, there are only small changes since the last quarter.
“It is likely to take some time before any discernable changes or trends emerge from this quarterly data series.”