Posts tagged ‘estate agents’

Mortgage lending falls amid tighter loan rules

Mortgage lending fell to its lowest level for a year during May in a further sign that the housing market may be cooling, research has shown.

Mortgage 4

A total of 61,202 loans were approved for house purchase during the month, the fourth consecutive monthly decline and the lowest level since June 2013, according to chartered surveyore.surv.

The group said approval levels were now 19 per cent lower than at the beginning of the year, as demand from potential buyers eased.

Richard SextonRichard Sexton, director of e.surv, said: “The mortgage market is losing some steam and undergoing a gentle cooling, as demand begins to simmer among homeowners.

“Uncertainty is one factor affecting home movers. Some buyers are waiting to see if the market will begin to plateau before agreeing to pay the high price tag on new property.”

The research comes as the Royal Institution for Chartered Surveyors also reported a cooling in the housing market during May.

The group said the number of homes being put up for sale fell for the fifth month in a row, but demand from potential buyers also eased, taking some of the pressure off prices.

It said the shortage of homes on the market, combined with the introduction of tough new lending rules under the Mortgage Market Review appeared to be “stemming the tide” of perspective buyers.

But despite the overall decline in mortgage approvals, e.surv said pipeline loans to first-time buyers continued to pick up in May with 9,670 mortgages agreed for people with a deposit of 15 per cent or less, 40 per cent more than in the same month of last year.

Data released by the Council of Mortgage Lenders today also showed a 52 per cent year-on-year increase in lending to first-time buyers in April.

A total of 24,500 loans worth £3.5bn were advanced to people buying their first home during the month.

But the group said first-time buyer affordability worsened in April, with average income multiples rising slightly to 3.42, up from 3.41 in March.

At the same time, the average amount borrowed rose to £121,500, the highest level ever recorded and up from £118,750 in March.

At the same time, typical first-time buyer incomes also rose to a new record of £37,000.

The group also reported that the value of mortgages advanced to people moving home rose to £8.8bn in April, 11 per cent more than in March and 47 per cent higher than a year ago.

Paul Smee, director general of the CML, said: “First time buyers and home movers continue to be key drivers in the growth of the market and, despite fears that MMR preparations may hinder this momentum, we have seen a continued year-on-year upward trend every month in 2014.

“The UK picture continues to mask a disparate set of varied local conditions, but overall we expect lending levels to continue to build on the foundation of growth we have seen over the past 12 months.”

June 13, 2014 at 8:50 AM Leave a comment

Estate agents sell highest number of homes in more than 6 years

House prices were pushed higher during April as the mismatch between supply and demand continued, research showed today.

Woman looks in estate agents window

The average chartered surveyor estate agent sold 23 properties during the three months to the end of April, the highest level since February 2008.

But the number of new homes being put up for sale fell for the fourth consecutive month, according to the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors.

The group said the ongoing imbalance between supply and demand was a key driver of price appreciation and indicated that house prices remained firmly on an upward trend.

Despite the shortage of homes on the market, 26 per cent more surveyors reported a rise in sales than those who saw a fall.

The trend looks set to continue, with 33 per cent more surveyors expecting a further rise in sales levels going into the summer.

The mismatch between supply and demand is being seen across Britain, with surveyors in nine out of the 12 regions reporting a decline in the number of new properties put up for sale during the month.

Meanwhile, growth in new buyer enquiries was positive across all regions.

Across Britain 48 per cent more surveyors expect further price rises during the coming three months, while 72 per cent predict prices will increase in the next 12 months.

Overall, surveyors expect the average cost of a home to rise by an average of 6 per cent a year in the coming five years.

There are also signs that the recovery is broadening out from London, with 62 per cent more surveyors in the North West and 57 per cent more in East Anglia expecting price rises going forward.

These figures compare with 49 per cent more in London, down from 61 per cent in March.

Simon RubinsohnSimon Rubinsohn, chief economist at RICS, said: “House prices in general look set to remain firmly on the upward trend, although interestingly, there are some tentative signs that the price momentum in the London market may begin to slow in the second half of the year.

“The critical issue for the market remains the lack of second hand supply with our numbers suggesting that the picture is, if anything, getting worse.

“It is too early to conclude whether this will undermine the positive trend in transactions volumes, but clearly the absence of properties to buy will ultimately be a factor in influencing the ability of people to move homes.”

RICS said the stronger housing market was being supported by more favourable credit conditions.

The figures come the day after Chancellor George Osborne signalled the Government may consider scaling back its Help to Buy scheme amid concerns that Britain’s property market is in danger of overheating.

His comments were in response to a report by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development that warned the booming property market could threaten the UK’s economic recovery.

It called for access to the Help to Buy scheme to be tightened, and said buyers should be required to put down bigger deposits for mortgages.

 

May 8, 2014 at 7:00 AM 1 comment

Floor plans are the key to buying a home

If you are looking at a property listing, there are several items that you will undoubtedly cast your eye over first.

10.01.14 Floor plan 5

For sale: Three bedroom house in Salisbury for £330,000

There’s the decorative order – does the living room suit your taste and standards? – and of course, the price – is the property within your budget? You’ll probably also look at the number of bedrooms, and may even need to consider what the local schools are like.

But there’s perhaps one item that you’ll overlook. Or at least, it may not be at the top of your list of priorities. And yet it can be a deal breaker if you get it wrong, estate agents warn.

It is none other than floor plans – those architect-type drawings that many buyers avoid clicking onto in favour of photos of more colourful cushions and bed spreads.

James Kendling, of estate agents Hamptons International in Buckingham, said: “Floor plans are especially useful in determining the versatility of accommodation. Often buyers are looking for the potential to extend a property or alter the layout to suit their own personal needs, it is in these early stages that a floor plan can determine whether the property is proceedable.”

“Typically buyers will view multiple properties at any given time and then take home the floor plans to compare and scrutinise each property to determine which layout is best suited to their needs.”

The warning comes amid a report from insurer LV= that the average British home has shrunk by two square meters in just a decade, down from 98.8 in 2003 to 96.8 today.

The report highlights the overcrowding present in family homes today, claiming 150,000 children have seen their bedrooms partitioned in two in an attempt to create extra bedrooms.

If you’re buying a property and want to make sure that it is big enough to meet your needs, you will need to first understand the dimensions of it – and for this you will need to study the area of the floor plan, measured in square feet or square metres.

So if a room is four meters by four meters, it means it is 16 square meters, which is another figure you may on the floor plan.

A similar calculation can be done for measurements taken in square feet, with a square foot being the equivalent to 12 inches wide by 12 inches long.

View the property floor plans listed on Zoopla:

1. For sale: Three bedroom detached house in Fareham for £309,950

 10.01.14 Floor plan 2

2. For sale: Five bedroom semi-detached house in Tonbridge for £350,000

10.01.14 Floor plan 3

3. For sale: Five bedroom property in Newlands for £615,000

10.01.14 Floor plan 4

January 14, 2014 at 8:00 AM 2 comments

Affordable family homes within commuting distance of London

If you are looking for an affordable place to buy a family home within commuting distance of London, there are some hidden gems, according to estate agents.

26.11.13 Affordable homes 1

The typical value of a home in London has increased by more than £41,000 in the past year to more than £500,000, pricing many people out of buying a home – particularly families needing more space.

But if your job is in London, you may need to be as close as possible to the capital to keep commuting times to a minimum.

Reading and Southampton are among the areas highlighted as the most attractive places to live in Britain in a recent report. They are within commuting distance of London and still offer three bedroom family homes in the region of £350,000.

The report by accountants PriceWaterhouseCoopers and the think tank Demos found the Berkshire town of Reading has the highest standard of living due to factors such as good health and a life work balance.

In Aldermaston, a village just outside of Reading, it is possible to buy a three bedroom family home for £385,000, according to Nick Smirthwaite, of estate agents Sansome & George.

26.11.13 Affordable homes 2

26.11.13 Affordable homes 3

Smirthwaite said: “The property is a good size, with all the bedrooms being doubles.

“It has a great lounge, with a woodburner – which would be ideal to sit in front of with a glass of port.”

The property also has a modern bathroom, with a reasonably sized garden to the side of the property.

Smirthwaite points out that the property is next to a shop where customers park as well as being near a roundabout. “It gets busy around home time, but otherwise it is very quiet. It is a very nice property and I’d move into it tomorrow,” he says.

He explained Aldermaston is an old village with a basic infrastructure, which attracts a mix of people from young couples to retirees.

“If you picked that up and put it in nearby Mortimer, you would add another £100,000 to the price,” he said.

Elsewhere, between Southampton and Basingstoke, buyers can find a four bedroom property for sale at £375,000.

26.11.13 Affordable homes 4

Alec Fry, of the Winchester branch of estate agents Hamptons International, said: “This four bedroom property in Sutton Scotney represents great value for money when you consider that it’s recently been refurbished and has off street parking.

“The area is well known for its good schools and links to the South – four miles from Micheldever and six miles from Winchester station and with links to London Waterloo in just over an hour, this is decent buy in a great location.”

 26.11.13 Affordable homes 5

November 26, 2013 at 1:48 PM 7 comments

Sell your home with social media: how one couple are showing us how it’s done

This is a legacy post from the findaproperty.com blog which is now maintained as an archive within the Zoopla blog. Links have been preserved.

Watch out Kirstie and Phil. Martin and Mary Wells from Doulting, Somerset could well give Britain’s favourite TV property couple a run for their money after coming up with an entertaining and unique way to sell their family home.

Meet Martin and Mary Wells, Somerset’s answer to Kirstie and Phil (scroll down to watch the video)

Martin, a consultant media lecturer and Mary, an art technician at a local school, put their home on the market 14 weeks ago through estate agent Charles Barnard. Frustrated with the lack of solid interest in their five bedroom home, the couple – who have two teenage children –  slashed its price from £295,000 to £289,950.

But they didn’t stop there. The couple sat down and brainstormed for creative ways to promote the home to a wider audience and the result is a full campaign that includes social media in the form of YouTube, facebook and twitter, as well as a massive 2ft by 8ft For Sale banner on the side of their home.

The videos are great fun. In the first one Martin and Mary imitate Kirstie and Phil while giving a tour of their local village. In the other two videos you get more Martin and Mary being themselves and having a great old time showing us why they love their family home – bloopers and all.

“We didn’t want to be staid and boring we wanted to have some fun in it,” Martin, who has a background in film editing, explained. “We just thought we could say it differently, we could say it with video, we could use the web to our advantage and create something that is completely different.”

“Stop it with the dog, we’re not selling the dog”

And they have. While YouTube is cluttered with boring video tours of properties, the Wells’ efforts – all shot on an iPhone camera – stand alone as authentic, a bit rough around the edges, but also really very funny at times. They have other videos planned too, including a QVC shopping channel-inspired film, one based on a dog cam (the dog is featured in the film titled Annexe) and a double-glazing-style ‘buy the house and get a car thrown in’ video.

But what does their estate agent think of all this extra marketing? “Steve, our estate agent is right behind us,” Martin says. “He’s doing what he can, they have the brochures we’ve produced in their office, but he obviously has limitations about what they can do from a legal perspective.”

In the meantime, the Wells – who plan to downsize, but stay local once they’ve sold – seem to have inadvertently taught us all a lesson about selling a home in a challenging property market. You can see the property on facebook, interact with Martin via twitter (@houseforsale55) or watch the YouTube films to get a feel for the home’s family credentials. There’s a definite viral element to the films too, which encourages sharing.

“As you can tell, we both get really excited about these things,” says Martin. “We’re both really creative and we just want to do it differently.”

And they’ve certainly done that.

“We both like having fun we enjoy ourselves and we approached our estate agent with this and said: look we know you’ve tried the normal way of selling and while we’ve had loads of people through the door it’s not happened so what’s up.”

November 2, 2011 at 1:23 PM Leave a comment

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