JUNE 2019

(25/06/19) Ideal Flatmate: build to rent rents 15% more expensive than BTL
Renting platform Ideal Flatmate has found that renting from a build to rent supplier is typically 15% more expensive than renting from a buy to let supplier, although build to rent units typically have more facilities included in the rent – things such as wi-fi, cleaning and parking. 

(24/06/19) Property Agent JLL: commercial property transactions down
According to commercial property agent JLL, London office transactions are down around £3.1 billion in the first 6 months of this year compared to 2018 – from £8.1 billion to £5 billion. JLL pointed to the leasing market being strong, with over 4 million square feet of offices set to be let in the first half of the year.  JLL also suggested there was “a dwindling supply pipeline” of commercial property.

(21/06/19) Land Registry: Flats 2.1% cheaper in the year to April 2019
Land Registry data reveals that the average price of flats fell 2.1% in the year to April 2019. In the same period, in contrast, detached houses went up 2.5% and semi-detached houses 1.7%. Terraced houses went up 1.6%.

(07/06/19) Halifax: House prices increased by 5.2% in May
Halifax’s HPI indicates that prices nationwide rose by 5.2% in May. The figure was surprising coming on top of a 5% increase in April. Some commentators cast doubt on the Halifax figures. According to Nationwide, prices fell by 0.2% between April and May. 

(03/06/19) James Brokenshire: Let first time buyers use their pension
Housing and communities secretary James Brokenshire has said first time buyers should be allowed to tap into their pension to get onto the housing ladder. 

MAY 2019

(31/05/19) Nationwide: House prices fell 0.2% in May
Nationwide’s HPI indicates that prices nationwide fell by 0.2% in May. That compared to 0.3% growth in April. Year on year price growth was 0.6% , down from 0.9% in April. The average price of a house was £214,946.

(23/05/19) ONS: House prices doing better in the North
ONS data reveals that house prices in London fell by 1.9% in the year to March 2019. In Yorkshire and Humberside however they rose by 3.6%. In the same period prices fell in the South East and North East. They stood still in the East but rose in all other areas – by over 3% in Scotland, Northern Ireland and the West Midlands. The average price of a house as at March 2019 was £227,000.

(06/05/19) Begbies Traynor: 14% of businesses experiencing distress
Insolvency consultancy Begbies Traynor, in a report released 29th April, found 14% of British businesses were experiencing significant financial distress – with the property and financial sectors being the worst affected. In the first quarter, companies in “critical distress” rose 17% compared to a year earlier.

(01/05/19) Rightmove: Average asking price up in April
Rightmove data: the average asking price of a house in England & Wales increased in April by 1.1% or £3,447, putting the average price of a property at £305,449, 0.1% less than a year ago.

(01/05/19) Which: Scottish government to provide loan for first time buyers
The Scottish government has announced a scheme to help first time buyers. They will be able to get a loan of up to £25,000 provided they can find a 5% deposit and the purchase must be in Scotland. The loan is repayable. The scheme is to be trialed and full details are not yet finalised.

(05/05/19) Nationwide: House prices in Britain up 0.4% in April
Nationwide House Price Index: house prices in Britain (England & Wales) increased by 0.4% in April, compared to 0.2% in March – the fifth month in a row in which price growth was below 1%.

APRIL  2019

(27/04/19) UK Finance: loans to first time buyers on the up
Data from UK Finance – released 17th April – showed that in February 2019 24,800 first time buyers took out a mortgage, 4.1% more than in the same month a year earlier. 

(17/04/19) Ludlowthompson: BTL investors in UK up to 2.5 million
Data from estate agents Ludlowthompson indicates that the number of BTL investors in the UK has risen to 2.5 million in the last tax year; up by 5% in the previous 12 months and up from 1.97 million in the tax year 2011-12 ( a rise of 27% in 5 years). BTL landlords currently own an average of 1.8 properties each.

(16/04/19) UK Finance: Lending to BTL landlords increased in 2018
According to UK Finance BTL lending increased to £36.8 billion in 2018, slightly up on 2017, when lending was £35.6 billion. The figures indicate that the sector is holding up well notwithstanding a range of challenges. The lending figure for January 2019 was £3.28 billion, slightly down on the same month in 2018.

(15/04/19) Government: Proposed end to “no fault” Section 21 evictions
The government has announced that it plans to end Section 21 no fault evictions by landlords in England. Its proposals will be subject to consultation and legislation, which seems likely to be concluded next year. When the new law comes in, landlords will need to show a ground or reason to bring a tenancy to an end – such as rent arrears.

(11/04/19) RICS: House prices in London and SE to fall all year
RICS expects prices in London and the south east to fall in the whole of 2019. House prices in the rest of the country are expected to fall over the next two quarters. March was the eight successive month of falling enquiries from buyers. Across the UK it took an average of 19 weeks to sell a property – 21.5 in the south east.

(11/04/19) Guardian: Rents falling
The Guardian reported official figures that rents are falling, down from an average of £772 a year ago to £757 now.

(10/04/19) ONS: GDP up 0.2% in February 2019
ONS has reported GDP rose 0.2% in February 2019 compared to 0.5% in January. In the 3 months to February growth was 0.3%.

(6/04/19) Halifax: House prices fell by 1.6% in March
Halifax House Price Index showed house prices fell by 1.6% in March 2019. In February 2019, Halifax reported a nearly 6% jump in house prices.

(3/04/19) Landlord News: Third year of mortgage interest cuts imminent
When we move into the next tax year, it will be the third year of the government’s cut in mortgage interest relief for BTL landlords. The cuts will occur over a four year period.

MARCH  2019

(22/03/19) Halifax Buyer Review: Most mortgages going to first time buyers
Considering various data, Halifax indicates that most mortgages went to first time buyers in 2018, the first time that has happened since 1995. There were 372,000 FTBs in 2018 compared to 192,300 in 2008. The average price paid by a first time buyer in 2018 was £212,473 up from £153,030 in 2008.

(21/03/19) UK House Price Index: UK house prices are falling
The UK HPI for January 2019 shows that house prices have fallen 0.8% nationwide since December 2018. In England the fall was 1%. In London there was a fall of 1.6%.

(19/03/19) HCLG  Committee: Leaseholder abuse should end
The HCLG Committee of the House of Commons has called for leasehold abuses – such as exorbitant ground rents for newly built houses – to be reported to the Competitions and Marketing Authority, CMA. There are 4 million leasehold homes in the UK, 1.4 million of them being houses. The Committee has doubted the need for houses to be sold on a leasehold basis.

(07/03/19) Halifax House Price Index: House prices up 5.9% in February
HHPI has reported average UK house prices increased by nearly 6% in February, the largest increase since 1983 and pushing up the average price of a house by £13,000. The increase follows on from a 3% fall in January, suggesting volatility in prices.

(02/03/19) Nationwide: House prices fell 0.1% in February 2019
Nationwide’s February House Price Index reveals that nationally house prices fell 0.1% from January to February. In the 12 months to February, prices grew by 0.4%. The average price of a house stood at £211,304.

(02/03/19) Nationwide: Rise in number of people owning their home outright
Nationwide February House Price Index reports that 7.9 million people own their home free of mortgage. That is a record total and has grown by1.2 million in the last decade – mostly in the case of homeowners 65 or above.

(01/03/19) Moneyfacts: BTL Mortgage products on the rise
Moneyfacts has revealed that there are currently 2,162 BTL mortgages, the highest number since October 2007 when there were 3,305. However interest rates for BTL mortgages have been creeping up since September of last year. The average rate for a 2 year fixed rate deal is up 0.2% to 3.12%. 


(25/02/19) Persimmon: profits for 2018 over £1 billion, a record
Builders Persimmon became the first developer to top £1 billion in profits, up 13% since 2017 despite a slowdown in the housing market. Some commentators believe the company has benefited from the government’s Help to Buy scheme, which is seen by some as boosting the profits of developers.

(21/02/19) UK Finance: first time buyers at highest level in 12 years
The number of first time buyers has reached its highest level in 12 years. Data from UK Finance revealed 370,000 FTBs secured a mortgage, up 1.9% on the previous year and the highest number since 2006, when there were 402,800 FTB mortgages taken out.

(19/02/19) Rightmove: Homes are more affordable
Rightmove has revealed that nationally house asking prices rose by 0.7% in the year to February 2019. That compared with annual wage growth of 3.4%. In the year to February, asking prices in Greater London fell by 2.1%. In the South East the fall was 1.4%. In the West Midlands they rose by 3.2% and in the North West they climbed by 2.3%.

(14/02/19) Land Registry: House prices up nationally in 2018
Land Registry data indicates house prices rose by 2.5% on average nationally. In two regions, London and the North East, prices fell 0.6% and 1% respectively. The best performing areas in order were Northern Ireland, West Midlands and Wales – where growth exceeded 5%.


(31/01/19) Independent: Foxtons’ profits set to fall by 80%
The Independent reports that Foxtons expects profits of just £3m in 2018, down from £15m the previous year – making it the estate agent’s “toughest ever” year in London, where it does the bulk of its business. 

(29/01/19) Guardian: Limited security of tenure in the spotlight
The Guardian reports that controversial BTL mogul Fergus Wilson is planning to sell his 700 BTL units in order to retire. Many of his tenants are upset because they can be asked to leave without reason upon being served with a “section 21 notice”. 

(28/01/19) Lloyds Bank: 100% “Lend a Hand” mortgage launched
Lloyds Bank has effectively launched a 100% mortgage up to £500,000 for first time buyers, where a family member puts 10% of the purchase price into an account with the bank, receiving interest of 2.5% – with the family member not having access to the deposited amount. Barclays has launched a similar product. 

(22/01/19) HMRC: slight fall in residential transactions in 2018
Data from HMRC suggests residential transactions fell slightly from 1.22 million in 2017 to 1.19 million in 2018.

(22/01/19) This is Money:  BTL landlords on the retreat
This is Money reports Ministry of Housing figures that 3,800 BTL units are being sold every month. In 2015 banks approved 117,500 BTL mortgages. The 3% stamp duty surcharge, which came into effect from April 2016, was instrumental in a fall to 85,500 in 2016 and 74,900 in 2017.

(15/01/19) Government: Ban on tenant fees from 1st June 2019
The government’s ban on tenant fees comes into effect on the 1st June 2019. Also the rules around deposits will be tightened and landlords will not be able to ask for a deposit of more than 5 weeks’ rent where annual rent is less than £50,000. The new rules will apply to all tenancies signed from 1st June 2019.

(14/01/19) Landbay rental index: London rents grew less than expected in 2018
The Guardian online reports that the Landbay rental index found London rents rose some 3% less than anticipated in 2018, partly due to a fall off in foreign tenants in the capital as a result of Brexit. That amounted to a saving of £1,800 over the year for an average tenant. 

(08/01/19) Halifax: House prices rose in December 2018
The Halifax House Price Index for December 2018 shows an increase of 2.2% on November 2018. That was the fastest monthly rise in almost two years. In contrast Nationwide’s data suggested that house price growth in December 2018 was just 0.5%.

(10/01/19) Homes & Property: Savills more gloomy about London
Website Homes & Property reports that Savills now expects London property prices to do less well than previously predicted due to Brexit uncertainty. In 2017 Savills expected London prices to be flat in 2019 and increase by 5% in 2020. Now it expects prices to fall by 2% in 2019 and be flat in 2020.

(11/01/19) National Audit Office: More areas hit the £1000 rent mark
There are now 25 areas outside London where the average rent for a two-bedroom home exceeds £1,000 per month.

(12/01/19) HomeLet: Rents rose in 2018
According to HomeLet rents rose by 4.7% in London in 2018; nationally the rise was 1.5%. If London is removed from the figures, the national increase was 0.7%.


(31/12/18) Land Registry: House prices fell in September 2018
The UK House Price Index for October 2018 shows that house prices in England fell by 0.2% since September 2018, giving annual growth of 2.7%. However there were regional differences. London prices fell by 0.3% since September with the North West increasing by 1.2% and the North East decreasing by 1.9%.  In the 12 months to October 2018, London prices fell by 1.7%; in the case of flats in the capital the fall was 2.9%.

(30/12/18) Halifax: House prices to grow 2% to 4% in 2019
Leading lender Halifax has predicted house prices nationally will increase by 2% to 4% in 2019 – subject to the outcome of Brexit. This year it predicted growth of between 1% and 3%, with the end of year figure likely to be closer to 1% than 3%.

(29/12/18) RICS: Zero house price growth in 2019
RICS has predicted zero house price growth across the country as a whole in 2019.

(28/12/18) Haart Estate Agents: Growth in first time buyers in 2018
Data from Haart Estate Agents indicates that the number of first time buyers was 8.5% higher in November 2018 compared to November 2017.

(28/12/18) Zoopla: Small rise in property prices in 2018
Zoopla data shows that house prices rose by 1.02% nationally in 2018. The best performing town in England was Smethwick West Midlands, up 9.67%. The town with the biggest fall in the UK was Alnwick Northumberland, down 6.58%.Scotland was the best performing region, up 6.4%. England increased by 0.6%. London declined by 1.7% and the east of England fell by 0.5%.

(27/12/18) Homes & Property: Bleak start to 2019 expected in London
Homes & Property newsletter reports that experts are expecting a bleak first three months to 2019 in the London housing market as both buyers and sellers wait to see how Brexit pans out. Only “death, divorce and debt” are expected to drive supply. Savills and Strutt Parker are expecting a 2% fall in prices in 2019.

(21/12/18) Resolution Foundation: More young parents now homeowners
According to Resolution Foundation 28% of young parents 25-34 own their own home, up from an all time low of 25% in 2016. The growth was seen as being due to stagnant house prices and relatively low mortgage rates.  However, homeownership in this group is half what it was in the 1980s.

(19/12/18) Rightmove: Asking prices fell in December
According to Rightmove’s house price index, asking prices fell 1.5% on average in December, coming on top of a 1.7% fall in November. The December fall equates to £4,496.  With the November fall, asking prices have fallen almost £10,000 in two months.  Year on year, London asking prices fell by 1.1% and the South East 0.9%. Regions in the North and Midlands finished the year in positive territory.   

(18/12/18) Rightmove: London asking prices fell in 2018
According to Rightmove’s house price index, asking prices in 2018 fell 1.8% on average in the London boroughs as a whole .  The outer boroughs suffered the biggest fall at 4.3%, the worst fall since the global financial crisis. In Hounslow (the worst performer) asking prices fell by 6.5% and in Bromley (the best performer) asking prices rose by 4.5%.    

(18/12/18) Today’s Conveyancer: Fewer foreign BTL landlords
Today’s Conveyancer reports research using properties from Countrywide affiliated businesses indicating that foreign landlords now make up 5.8% of the BTL market compared to 14.4% in 2010. 10.5% of London BTL landlords are overseas investors.

(10/12/18) ONS: UK Economy slowing
Figures from the Office for National Statistics show the economy grew by 0.4% in the 3 months to October 2018, down from 0.6% in the 3 months to September 2018. The services sector which makes up 80% of the economy grew by 0.3% in the 3 months to October 2018.  In October itself GDP grew by 0.1% after being flat in August and September. 

(08/12/18) Totally Money: Nottingham NG1 best for rental returns
According to the financial comparison site Totally Money, the best postcode for rental returns is NG1, Nottingham – followed by L7 Liverpool, TS1 Cleveland, L1 Liverpool and NG7 Nottingham.

(08/12/18) Rightmove: London asking prices to fall in 2019
According to Rightmove analysis, asking prices in London commuter regions are set to fall by 2% on average in 2019. In London asking prices are set to fall 1% next year.  In contrast asking prices in the North are expected to increase by 2-4%

(07/12/18) Halifax: House prices rising at slowest rate since December 2012
Halifax data shows prices grew by just 0.3% in the year to November 2018, a fall from 1.5% in October and the weakest growth since 2012. The figures of Halifax contrast with Nationwide – they suggest much stronger growth of 1.9% in the year to November 2018.

06/12/18) News: Property owner fined £18,000 for Japanese knotweed
A property owner in Bristol has been fined £18,000 for not removing the invasive plant Japanese knotweed. The homeowner was prosecuted by Bristol City Council acting on behalf of 7 adjoining homes under the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014.   

(05/12/18) Cips activity index: Negative growth a possibility in Q4
The activity index of the Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply, Cips, which monitors the dominant service sector of the UK economy, fell to just 50.4 in November –  with 50 or more suggesting expansion. The index suggests that growth for the fourth quarter could be wafer thin and could even go into reverse for the first time since June 2016, after the Brexit referendum vote.

(05/12/18) Resolution Foundation: Home ownership depends on parents
According to research by Resolution Foundation, one in four 30-year-olds whose parents own a property own their own property; that figure falls to one in ten where their parents did not own a property. Persons with homeowning parents are more likely to be homeowners themselves. The percentage of 30-years-olds owning their own home has fallen by about a half in the last 20 years.

(01/12/18) LonRes: Big price discounts in prime London boroughs
Data from LonRes suggests buyers were knocking 13.6% off asking prices in Kensington & Chelsea and Westminster in the three months to October 2018. The discounts were said to be the highest in a decade with the 13.6% average amounting to £363,405.

(01/12/18) Nationwide: House price growth up 0.3% in November
According to the Nationwide House price index for November 2018, house prices rose 0.3% in November, pushing up annual house price growth to 1.9% (up from 1.6% in October). The average price of a house nationally is now £214,044. Nationwide indicated that prices are likley to spring back if Brexit uncertainty is lifted. 

(01/12/18) Hometrack: House prices risen since Brexit referendum
According to Hometrack Cities House Price Index, since the Brexit referendum house prices have fallen in just one of 20 cities monitored in the index – Aberdeen. Prices in London are 2% higher since the referendum but in Birminham, Edinburgh and Manchester the rise has been around 15%. As at October average annual growth was 6.3% Manchester, 6.1% Nottingham and 6% Liverpool.


(30/11/18) Bank of England: Mortgage lending up 3.3%
The Bank of England has reported that mortgage lending was up 3.3% in the year to October 2018. Remortgage levels remained more or less unchanged. Mortgage lending has been rising at a steady 3% since 2016, much lower than pre-credit crunch levels. The growth in consumer spending slowed marginally in October, down £0.9bn – but expected to increase again in the period to Christmas.

(27/11/18) London Central Portfolio: Property market slowing nationwide.
According to property consultancy LCP house prices are slowing not just in London but across the country. Chief Executive Naomi Heaton says the political climate surrounding Brexit has created “considerable uncertainty” nationally. 

(27/11/18) Government data: Number of homes built for social rent fallen.
Data from the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government released earlier this month indicates that the number of homes being built for social rent has fallen to 6,463 homes in 2017-18 compared to around 30,000 a decade ago.

(27/11/18) Savills: Property downturn could reduce affordable housing by 25%.
Savills finds that about 100,000 of the government’s new homes target of 300,000 per year should be priced below market value for rent or sale to meet demand. Across the South 34,100 such homes were needed in the last year but only 14,700 were built.  A major housing downturn would make matters worse.  At the moment only about half of the required100,000 are being built – 43,498 in the financial year 2017-18.

(27/11/18) UK Finance: Mortgage lending up in October
Figures from UK Finance show mortgage lending to the residential market increased by 5.6% in the year to October 2018.  Remortgages were down 13.5% in the same period. 

(26/11/18) Ministers: No deal Brexit to make mortgages more expensive
In the wake of the risk of a no-deal Brexit, the Evening Standard reports government ministers are warning of more expensive mortgages and lower house prices in the event of a “botched Brexit”.

(26/11/18) Reuters poll: London house prices set for modest fall
A Reuters poll of 17 property experts reveals that they think London property prices will fall by 1.7% this year and 0.3% next year; rising 1.5% in 2020. The experts expect national prices to increase by around 2% each year from now to 2020. They are optimistic on interest rates – not expecting the base rate to rise to 1.25% until 2020 (current rate 0.75%)

(22/11/18) Virgin Money: maximum age for BTL lending increased
VM has increased its maximum age for BTL lending from 75 to 85 as well as offered a new 80% LTV mortgage on 2 and 5 year fixed rates below 4%. From June the lender accepted applications from portfolio borrowers with up to 10 mortgaged properties

(18/11/19) Shawbrook Bank: North West best for rental yields
Research by the bank shows the best rental yields are in the North West 5.4%, Scotland 5.3% and the North East 5.1%. London came in at 3.9%, the South West 3.9%, the East 3.8% and the worst performer was the South East at 3.7%

(18/11/18) NISRA: Average house prices up by £3,000 in third quarter 2018.
According to Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency prices rose by 2.3% in the quarter to September 2018 – the sixth quarterly rise in a row. The average NI property now costs £135,060 but prices are still 40% below the 2007 market peak.

(17/11/18) CEBR: Properties taking longer to sell
Research by the Centre for Economics and Business Research commissioned by Post Office Money suggests properties are taking longer to sell. The average number of days before a sale was agreed was just 39 for Edinburgh but 131 for Blackpool; London was 126. The average for major towns and cities was 102, up 6 days on 2017.  Bristol and Luton were taking 10 and 14 days longer respectively to sell compared to 2017.

(14/11/18) Your Move: London prices still rising overall
The index of Your Move for October shows London prices rose 1.8% compared to 12 months earlier. Kensington & Chelsea and Westminster fell by 0.8% and 14.4% respectively. Barking & Dagenham and Bexley increased by 0.9% and 1.1% respectively. Prices actually fell in the South East and the North East.

(12/11/18) RICS: House prices to fall in the south
According to the latest RICS market survey prices are expected to fall in London, South East, East Anglia, South West and North East. Fewer landlords are bringing properties on the market and rents are expected to increase modestly. The best performing areas are Scotland and Northern Ireland.

(7/11/18) Savills: North-south gap to narrow
According to real estate agent Savills house prices in the north will grow much faster than London prices over the next 5 years. Prices in the NW are expected to increase by 21.6% with London managing only 4.5% and the South East 9.3%.

(7/11/18) Halifax: House prices still climbing
House prices are still rising according to the Halifax house price index for October 2018, but by the slowest rate in 5 years. In the 3 months to October 2018 prices countrywide were 1.5% higher than a year earlier. The monthly change was plus 0.7%, the quarterly change plus 0.2%. Sales for the 3 months to September 2018 were pretty much the same as the previous 3 months, showing a flat market. Demand and supply remain weak.

(01/11/18) Nationwide: House price growth slows
Annual house prices fell to 1.6% in October, down from 2% in September – according to Nationwide’s index. House prices are expected to increase by 1% over the year.


(24/10/18) House sales plummet in central London
According to real estate investment firm London Central Portfolio sales in prime central London fell 16.8% in September to 3,606 – amounting to fewer than 70 sales per week; transactions levels had fallen 45% since 2014.  In England & Wales as a whole transactions also fell, but by 3.2% compared to the 16.8% for central London.

(24/10/18) Fall in the number of residential sales in September.
According to the UK Property Transaction Count issued by HMRC the number of completed residential transactions in September was 80,750 down compared to 99,940 in August – a drop of 19.2%. Overall transactions are down 11.9% compared to 2017.   

(24/10/18) Asking prices being slashed across the UK.
The Independent online reported findings of Zoopla that asking prices are being reduced as sellers find it more difficult to sell as further proof of a slowdown in the housing market. Nationwide sellers have cut prices in 37.9% of homes, up from 32.4% in April. In London 39.5% of sellers reduced prices, up from 34.6%. Prices were cut most in Brighton – 46%. In Manchester the cut was 19% and in Glasgow 26% – reflecting the healthier property market in those areas.

(17/10/18) Profit warning from house builder Crest Nicholson.
The Mail online reported a warning by builder Crest Nicholson that its profits were likely to be in the £170m-£190m range compared to £207m last year. The company put the fall down to “political and economic uncertainties” and suggested autumn sales were not as strong as usual. There were price drops in some London areas where affordability was stretched.

(17/10/18) House prices increased by 0.2% from July to August.
The Land Registry’s house price index for August, based on actual sale prices, shows that average UK house prices increased 0.2% from July to August, increasing the annual price rise to 3.2% and the average price of a property to £232,797.Three regions experienced price falls during the period: East of England 1.1%, London 0.5% and South West 0.4%. The North West stood still and the East Midlands was the biggest climber in England at 1.5% followed by the North East at 1.4%. Wales rose by 1.6%. The average price paid by a first time buyer in London was £425,299. In London flats were the worse performing property type in the year from July 2017 – down 1.2%.

(16/10/18) Rents have fallen since 2015
The Guardian online reports a study by pressure group Generation Rent showing that rents have fallen 2.8% since Chancellor Osborne announced higher taxes for BTL landlords in the 2015 Budget – contrary to the warnings from landlords that they would increase steeply.The National Landlord’s Association is reported to have responded that the full effects of the tax changes are not yet known due to the impact of other market factors such as Brexit.

(15/10/18) Aberdeen property prices set to bounce back.
The BBC reported a claim by Aberdeen estate agent Aberdein Considine that buyers were returning to the market following an uptick in oil prices and investors were likely to see a “substantial return on investment over the next 5 to 10 years”. Prices had fallen some 15% since the oil price crash in 2014. The optimism of Aberdein Considine was supported by the Aberdeen & Grampian Chamber of Commerce. 

(15/10/18) Substantial fall in BTL landlords since 2014.
The Guardian online reported figures from Hampton International suggesting that the amount spent by buy to let landlords countrywide had fallen 30% since 2014. In London BTL landlords spent £3.5b on property in the first 6 months of 2018, 40% down on the same period in 2015. The Guardian also reported Rightmove figures that approvals for new BTL mortgages were 15% down on a year ago and 53% down on 3 years ago. According to Rightmove, the reduction in BTL buyers gives “an opportunity for stamp duty-free first-time buyers to negotiate harder” 

(12/10/18) London prime property prices set to fall for another two years.
The FT reported a 5 year report by property agent Savills that prices for prime central London property (property in the
  top 5-10% of the market in terms of price) were set to fall for at least another two years– by 5% this year and 1% next year. They are then expected to flatten in 2020 and jump by 6% in 2021. Prices for prime central London property had already fallen by 18.4% since their peak in 2014. In outer London prime property prices are expected to fall by 1.5% this year, 1% in 2019, flatten in 2020 and pick up 3.5% in 2021. The Midlands, North and Scotland in general are expected to see growth of 2-3% over the next 5 years.

(12/10/18) Southend on Sea best for net rental yield.
According to research by independent broker Private Finance Southend is the top BTL destination in terms of rent with average net rental yields of 6.6%; in second place was Nottingham (6.4%); Westminster was in third (5.1%) and Edinburgh in fourth (4.9%). Also in the top 10 were Camden, Tower Hamlets, Liverpool and Greater Manchester.   

(8/10/18) Possible tax breaks for landlords selling to sitting tenants.
The Guardian online has reported that the government is looking at encouraging landlords to sell to sitting tenants (living at the property for at least 3 years) by doing away with capital gains tax in the case of those doing so. The tax break is said to cost £1.3b per annum and the government could pay for that by restricting other tax breaks for landlords.

(8/10/18) Steep fall in house price affordability for young people from 1996-2016.
The Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) has released data showing that in 1996 90% of young people 25 to 34 years old could afford to buy the cheapest property in their area based on a 10% deposit and borrowing 4.5 times their salary.  However, by 2016 that percentage had fallen to 60%.

(6/10/18) Average UK house prices fell by 1.4% in September.
According to Halifax data, nationwide average house prices fell by 1.4% in September compared to August. However, on an annual basis prices nationwide are still increasing – by 2.5%. The nationwide figures need to be treated with caution since the more detailed picture is that London prices are falling while prices in most other parts of the country are rising. The Halifax index measures house price changes on a monthly basis and that too demands caution. The August decline followed a 0.2% fall in August.

(4/10/18) Average UK house prices rose by 0.3% in the third quarter.
Data from Nationwide shows that countrywide prices increased by 0.3% in the third quarter ending in September with the annual increase at 2%. The picture nationwide was mixed: Yorkshire and Humberside, £160,263, 5.8%, East Midlands, £186,414, 4.8%, Northern Ireland, £139,374, 4.3%, West Midlands, £190,607, 4.1%, North West, £162,596, 4.1%, Wales, £154,881, 3.3%, East Anglia, £228,690, 3.0%, Scotland, £149,161, 2.1%, South West, £245,434, 1.9%, Outer South East (includes Brighton and Hove, Milton Keynes and Aylesbury, Oxfordshire) £279,858, 0.8%, Outer Metropolitan (includes Reading, Slough, St Albans, Windsor and Maidenhead), £364,309, minus 0.3%, London, £468,544, minus 0.7% and North East, £125,085, minus 1.7%.


(30/09/18) Risk of higher stamp duty for foreign buyers.
According to the Telegraph the government is looking at increasing the stamp duty payable by foreign buyers. A consultation is planned and rates could rise by 1% to 3% reportedly.

(29/09/18) Bulgaria cheapest for holiday homes.
Research by currency exchange firm FairFX indicates that the cheapest place to buy a holiday property is Bulgaria – with a two bed flat costing £92,093 on average, with living costs at £18,442. Next on the list were Brazil, Hungary, Ireland & Poland. The most expensive place was Monaco with the average price of a two bed apartment being £7.365m and living costs of £26,427.

(27/09/18) Affordable homes disappearing from Manchester city centre.
ITV has revealed that of 9,700 homes due to be built in Manchester city centre up to 2021 only 28 will be “affordable” rental units. Cllr Richard Kilpatrick is reported to have said: “It’s destroying the social framework of our city. We have a situation where people born here can no longer live here, they have to move out elsewhere to neighbouring boroughs”. According to the council there are 2,250 affordable homes in the pipeline for the city as a whole.

(22/09/18) BoE warns on house prices.
Bank of England Governor Mark Carney has warned that in the worst case scenario a disorderly Brexit could lead to house prices falling by as much as 35%.

(19/09/18) London house prices falling.
ONS figures indicate that London house prices fell by 0.74% on average in the year to July 2018, the biggest fall since 2009. The City fell by 6.7% and several central boroughs also recorded falls. However, several borough saw healthy rises including: Camden (3.8%) Redbridge (4.1%) and Greenwich (3.4%).

(16/09/18) Two in five BTL landlords looking to sell.
According to property-backed P2P product Octopus Choice, 2 in 5 BTL landlords are looking to sell while just over half (56%) are looking to hold or buy new property. Reasons cited by those looking to exit were: tax changes (23%) falling yields (24%) cooling house prices (19%) property management had become a burden (60%) undervalued costs involved (61%)

(15/09/18) New HMO rules from 1st October 2018.
New HMO rules come into force from the 1st of October 2018. An HMO licence will be needed where there are 5 or more tenants from two or more households living in a property – regardless of the number of floors (previously the rule applied to properties of 3 or more floors). It is believed the changes will affect 160,000 properties and just over 70,000 landlords.

(06/09/18) BTL landlords taking out fewer mortgages.
Figures from UK Finance have revealed that the number of new mortgages to BTL borrowers fell to 5,500 in the year to May 2018 – almost 10% down year on year. 

(05/09/18) Private rental sector declining.
Data from Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) indicates that the number of homes in the private rental sector fell by 46,000 last year, almost 4,000 each month – the largest reduction in 20 years. Many commentators put the fall down to buy-to-let landlords exiting the market due to a raft of unfavourable government policies against the BTL sector in recent years.

(03/09/18) 51% of wealth is in real estate.
Latest figures from the ONS reveal that the UK’S net worth in 2016 was £10.2 trillion of which 51% was attributed to the value of land. That compared to an equivalent percentage of 41% in France and just 26% in Germany.

(01/09/18) Fall in UK average house prices by 0.5% in August.
  to Nationwide the average price of a house in the UK fell by 0.5% in August – the biggest fall since July 2012. The fall contrasted with a 0.7% rise in July. The fall reduces the  2018  annual rate of growth to 2%, compared to the Nationwide’s prediction of 1%.


(30/08/18) Increase in the number of first time buyers.
According to the National Association of Estate Agents, NAEA, about a third of house sales (30%) was to first time buyers in July, a 7% increase year on year. The NAEA also found that the average number of properties for sale in each branch increased for the third month in a row to 41- up from 39 in June. However in July there was a drop in buyer demand, as there was in June.

(29/08/18) Risk of London house price crash.
The Guardian has reported that one in three industry experts believe there could be a full house price crash in London next year, especially if there is a “disorderly Brexit”. It is believed that average London prices will fall by 1.6% this year and 0.1% next year. The dominant view seems to be that Central London has been worse hit because top end international buyers have been put off by Brexit uncertainty. According to Rightmove, the average asking price of a home in London was £609,205 compared to the national average of £301,973.

(27/08/18) More people moving out of London for the Midlands and North.
According to research by Hamptons, 30,280 homeowners sold up and bought outside London in the first 6 months of 2018. That figure was 16% up on the same period in 2017,  but below 2007. The survey found the number of homeowner moving to the North or Midlands had tripled since 2010.  The population of London is 8.8 million which means that the movement out of London is extremely small, even though it does appear to be growing.

(27/08/18) Property prices in some parts of the country still below 2008 levels.
According to data by Hometrack house prices in Belfast, Liverpool and Aberdeen are still below the level they were before the 2008 house price crash. However in London and Cambridge prices are 65% higher. In Liverpool prices are 1% below what they were a decade ago. Glasgow is 1% higher and Newcastle 3% higher. In Belfast prices are still 28% below the pre-crash level.

(20/08/18) House asking prices nationwide down 2.3% in August compared to July.
Data from Rightmove has revealed that nationwide asking prices in August fell 2.3% compared to July. The biggest fall was in London where asking prices fell 3.1%. In London properties are taking an average of 67 days to sell and the average asking price is £609,205.

(15/08/18) IMF suggests UK property prices are over-valued.
The IMF has warned that UK property prices could be over-valued by as much as 12% – indicating the possible extent of price falls should there be a sustained downturn or crash. 

(14/08/18) Average age of first time buyers on the rise.
Halifax’s latest first time buyer review reveals that the average age of a first time buyer is 31, up from 29 a decade ago. In London the average of a first time buyer is 33. The average first time buyer deposit in London is £114,952 – 27% of price – compared to £38,335 in 2008. The average deposit of a FTB nationwide is £33,127 – up from £19,634 in 2008.

(10/08/18) Threat of increased stamp duty surcharge for BTL landlords.
Newspaper reports are suggesting that the Chancellor could be looking to hit BTL landlords again in the next budget by increasing the stamp duty surcharge beyond the current 3%. The surcharge was introduced in April 2016 and is believed to have driven many BTL landlords out of the market.

(3/08/18) House prices rising.
According to data from Halifax, house prices increased significantly in July by 1.4% taking annual growth to 3.3%. and upping the average price of a home to £230,280. The growth was put down to the strength of the jobs market with employment increasing
  by 137,000 in the 3 months to May 2018. The growth of 3.3% is in excess of wage growth which is currently 2.5% per year.

(2/08/18) Increase in BoE base rate.
The Bank of England has raised the base rate from 0.5% to 0.75%, the highest level since March 2009. The increase will most affect homeowners with variable or tracker mortgages. In theory the rise should lead to higher levels of interest for savers. The BoE sees economic growth of 1.4%
  this year and 1.8% next year.   

(1/08/18) House price inflation currently at 2.5% countrywide.
The annual house price index increased from 2% in June to 2.5% in July according to Nationwide Building Society. Between June and July house prices increased by 0.6%. Nationwide expects house prices to increase by just 1% over the course of 2018, implying a fall between now and the end of the year. 

JULY 2018

(20/07/18) More first time buyers than ever.
Analysing their lending in their “homemover review”,
  Lloyds Bank  has reported that for the first time since 1995 the number of first time buyers (175,500) has exceeded the number of homemovers (170,000). The figures relate to the first 6 months of 2018. Some commentators have speculated that the growth may be down to the government’s help to buy initiatives, the reduction in stamp duty for first time buyers and fewer purchases by buy-to-let landlords hit by tax increases.

(15/07/18) Sellers are dropping their asking prices.
According to the Rightmove Price Index for July, a third of sellers have dropped their asking prices at least once. The number of new properties increased by 8.6% compared to the same period last year, however the number of buyers has remained the same – making it harder for sellers to find buyers. Prices in England, Wales and Scotland fell by £248 on average compared to the previous month.
  In London average asking prices were down £11,000 on a year ago. The worse performing boroughs are Hackney (down 3.5%), Ealing (down 3.4%) and Hammersmith & Fulham (down 3.3%).  London properties are taking an average of 70 days to sell compared to 39 days in Scotland. The summer months are traditionally a slow month for house sales.

(15/07/18) Good news for first time buyers in London.
The asking price of starter homes has fallen by 3.5% or £18,000 in the year to July 2018, making it cheaper for first time buyers to get on the housing ladder – Rightmove figures reveal. The average price of a London starter home now stands at £486,000.

(13/07/18) Properties taking longer to sell.
According to RICS, houses are now taking 18 weeks on average to sell, compared to 16 weeks a year ago. The number of sales continues to fall nationwide. June was the 16
th consecutive month to see a fall sales. 

(6/7/18) Shifting attitude among savers.
Research by price comparison website MoneySuperMarket suggests 25% of savers are using their savings for holidays rather than a deposit for a home. The research identified a trend away from home ownership with renting becoming increasingly important. 

(5/7/18) London in danger of first house price fall since 2009.
According to a poll of industry specialists taken by Reuters last month, London could be in line for its first drop in house prices since 2009. The 30 specialists concluded that London was set for a 1% fall in 2018, with one specialist predicting as much as a 6% fall. In 2019 prices are expected to increase by 0.5%  Nationally prices are expected to rise by 1.7% in 2018  and 2% in 2019.

(1/7/18) Manchester house prices doing best.
According to Hometrack, in the 12 months to June 2018, average prices in Manchester rose by 7% – the best in the country. Edinburgh was also doing well. Central London prices fell 4% in the same period. In London average values are falling in over 40% of London boroughs.

(1/7/18) Government wants 3 year minimum tenancies.
The government wants tenants to have a minimum 3 year tenancy. According to government figures 80% of renters have tenancies of 6 months or 12 months and tenants stay in a property for an average of 4 years. The Labour Party wants tenancies to be longer than 3 years to give tenants greater security. Consultations on the matter will continue until August 2018.

JUNE 2018

(30/6/18) UK house prices up 0.5% in June: Nationwide.
According to figures from lender Nationwide, house prices as  a whole rose 0.5% in June. The average price of a UK home is now £215,444. In London, average prices actually fell 1.9% in the second quarter, with the average price of a London home standing at £468,845. The broad trend is London prices are falling and prices in most other parts of the country are rising. 

(28/6/18) Number of people moving out of London at highest level ever.
The Guardian reported that some 330,000 people moved out of London in the year ending June 2018. Top destinations were Birmingham, Thurrock, Bristol, Dartford and Epping Forest.

(27/6/18) Thirty somethings moving out of London.
According to the Guardian, a report by the Resolution Foundation found that in 2016 35,000 people in their thirties moved out of London, compared to around half that number in 2009.  Resolution Foundation concluded that expensive housing and weak earnings growth were among the reasons for the change.

(11/6/18) 85% LTV buy-to-let mortgages seem to be making a comeback.
Property118 has reported that BTL lender Kensington has introduced a 85% loan to value mortgage based on a 2 or 5 year fixed term. Minimum loan is £25,001 and minimum valuation is £75,000. The product is available to individuals and limited companies. 

(11/6/18) Halifax – house prices up in May.
According to the
  Halifax house price index, house prices rose 1.5% in May. In April prices had fallen by 3.1%. In the 3 months from March to May, prices were up by 0.2%.

(4/6/18) House prices still increasing nationally.
Figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed that in the year to March 2018 UK house prices increased by 4.1% nationwide on average. Prices in Scotland increased by 6.7%, in Northern Ireland by 4.2%, in England by 4% and in Wales by 3.5%. In London, prices decreased by 0.7% over the year. The average UK house price in March 2018 was £224,000. In London the average was £471,944.

(4/6/18) Fewer BTL mortgages being taken out.
According to UK Finance 5,500 BTL mortgages were taken out in March 2018 – down from 6,800 in March 2017 – a 20% fall.

(4/6/18) Fall in privately rented units.
A report by the Ministry of Housing has revealed that the number of privately rented units fell last year for the first time in 18 years. The fall was 46,000 – reducing the total number of privately rented units to 4.79 million.

MAY 2018

(14/05/18) Base rate held again.
The Monetary Policy Committee of the Bank of England voted 7-2 on the 10/5/18 to keep the base rate at 0.5%. The news is good for mortgage holders and borrowers but not so good for savers.
  The last increase in the base rate was in November 2017 when it increased from 0.25% to 0.5%.

(14/05/18) 3.1% house prices fell in April.
According to figures from Halifax, nationwide house prices fell by their biggest margin since 2010. The big April fall was however preceded by a 1.6% increase in March. Further, prices for the 3 months to April were 2.2% up on the same period in 2017. In general however, the trend in house prices across the country as a whole does seem to be downward.

(14/05/18) Buy-to-let landlords can still make a profit.
Lender Kent Reliance has carried out a study showing that a typical buy-to-let landlord could make net profits of £265,500 per property over the next 25 years – based on both income and capital gains. The figures are based on capital growth of just 1% per year, much lower than growth in the past. Reported

(07/05/18) Number of BTL mortgages for companies increasing.
Figures from Moneyfacts indicate that the number of buy-to-let 
mortgages for limited companies increased from 212 in April 2017 to 235 in April 2018. In April 2016 the total was just 80. Individual landlords have been switching to corporate status in an effort to counter the impact of the progressive reduction of mortgage interest relief on rental income. 

(01/05/18) Base rate rise uncertain.
Recent weak figures for retail and manufacturing make it seem less likely that a rise in the Bank of England’s base rate is imminent. However, the longer term outlook remains in favour of a rise from the current 0.5% to 0.75%. For the moment at least, it is good news for property owners.

(01/05/18) London property market is not dead.
According to property consultants JLL, property prices in prime central London are expected to increase by 12.5% over the next 5 years. That compares favourably with anticipated average growth of just 2.5% across the UK as a whole over the same period. If these figures pan out as expected, talk of the demise of the London property market is very much premature. Reported in the Telegraph April 2018.