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Saturday, January 21, 2017

Tenants have more power to negotiate

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Bristol tops city price growth

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Increased receipts from London's SDLT

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Friday, January 20, 2017

Immigration changes and the student market

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CML's view on longer tenancies

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Skipton cuts BTL rates

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Tel: 029 2069 5446
Your home may be repossessed if you do not keep up repayments on your mortgages.  
The Financial Services Authority does not regulate some forms of mortgage.

RICS reports on a 'stuttering market'

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Thursday, January 19, 2017

Woking landlord fined

Woking landlord, Alan Kevin Fowler has been fined after failing to comply with two Improvement Notices served by Woking Borough Council under the Housing Act 2004.

Mr Fowler failed to respond to the notices requiring him to have smoke alarms installed, repair a faulty extractor fan, carry out an electrical inspection, treat areas of mould growth, replace cracked ceramic floor tiles, fix a leaky toilet and have the installation of a hot water cylinder properly authorised.

Mr Fowler also failed to respond to requests for information on ownership and occupation of the rental property under the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976.

The landlord received a fine of £4,500 alongside costs to Woking Council of £3,732.11, plus a victim surcharge of £200.

Cllr Colin Kemp, Woking Borough Council’s Portfolio Holder for Housing Services comments:

“We gave Mr Fowler ample opportunity to rectify the multiple issues with his property, all of which were ignored. We were therefore in no doubt that prosecution was the only suitable approach. The proactive court enforcement action will act as a deterrent to others considering neglect of their property and of their duty to provide a secure and habitable place of residence for their tenants.”


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Where the property market is heading

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Gov. won't build 1m homes by 2020

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UK's housing stock = £6,785,000,000,000

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Charting the London market slowdown

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EPCs - post BREXIT

EPC could go as a result of BREXIT

Landlords are familiar with their requirement to obtain an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) before trying to let their property.  Do I really need an EPC?

The EPC was one of those pointless bits of legislation introduced as part of a the European Directive on Energy efficiency in buildings Directive 2002/91/EC (EPBD, 2003) back in August 2007 as part of the equally pointless HIPs (now defunct and scrapped).

So could these pointless bits of paper be the first bit of European legislation to be thrown on the bonfire of regulations as Britain takes back it's control of law making as a result of Brexit? One hopes so...

EPC Lifespan

As it stands the EPC has a life span of 10 years and some landlords who originally obtained one just after the legislation was introduced will very soon  have to look to obtain an updated version.  Recently I was looking at letting my property which obviously involves getting my buy-to-let on Rightmove.  As part of the process of uploading photos and details (which I did incidentally at Manchester Airport as a waited for my flight to Dubai), there was one box about uploading the EPC. Yikes!  You know that feeling that you can't remember whether you have had something done, or if you have, can you find the right documentation.  I searched desperately to find this elusive bit of landlord documentation on my various email addresses, but nothing came up.  At this point I knew the chances of getting my rental advert live were sinking into the soon to be experienced Dubai sand.

EPC register 

Knowing that I wasn't going to be able to sort my EPC remotely, and fearing that at best the hard copy was residing with a letting agent that I had fallen out with, I decided to requisition an EPC assessor to come and meet me at the rental property on my return to duly issue me with another useless bit of paper.

Mark turned up promptly on Blue Monday appropriately with his little Mini Cooper and his set of retractable ladders, all raring to go.  He'd already told me it was going to take no longer than 30 mins.  Whistling and chirping away to himself he busied himself ticking his boxes whilst I disappeared off to inspect a let garage (that's another story).

On my return, Mark now finishing up,  mentioned that he was going to upload it to the EPC Register.  Well, this is a new one on me.  It turns out that this EPC register allows anybody to do a search by property to find whether there is a valid EPC associated with the property. 

Now, had I known or possibly remembered then I could have accessed my rental property details and established that I had already got an EPC.  What was more annoying was it was there ready to download as a PDF. 

The upshot being obviously I could have downloaded the entire 4 page Energy Performance Certificate informing me that my rental property currently scores a modest 58 and has a D classification.  Not good but not bad!  It also tells me that for a megre investment of £17, 000 on a £75,000 property my tenants could save about £350 a year on their energy bill.  Not compelling.

So landlords who need access to their EPC should remember that they can download their EPC from the good old government EPC register for FREE.  Enjoy!

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Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Europe's divergent house prices

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Prime home counties rental data

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Don't drop letting fees ban

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Interest rates could rise or fall - Carney

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Rightmove HPI data for Jan 2017

Rightmove's HPI for January 2017 shows-
  • Newly marketed prices  up 0.4% (+£1,086)  
  • Rightmove visits up by 5%
  • FTB market opportunities up with two/one beds properties on offer up 1.9% from Jan 2016 
  • Fewer BTL investors, with sales down 13.2% in Dec 16 compared to Dec 15

Rightmove's Miles Shipside comments:

“The 0.4% monthly and 3.2% year-on-year price increases are indicators of the continued market momentum from the autumn. Demand for a suitable home is such that visits to the Rightmove website are still up by 5% year-on-year, despite being compared to a period that was boosted by high demand from buy-to-let investors rushing to beat the stamp duty deadline. Year-on-year comparisons for transactions in the first quarter of 2017 should also allow for the distortion of last April’s additional stamp duty tax deadline, as transactions were up 40% in the first quarter last year.

Those planning to buy their first home in 2017 have more choice of properties and less competition from other buyers than their counterparts a year ago. It’s a possible learning point for aspiring first-time buyers that a year ago buy-to-let purchasers acted more quickly and closed deals at a faster rate, appearing not to take a Christmas break. Admittedly they had the financial incentive of a deadline to motivate them, but first-time buyers still have time to act and currently have the incentive of stronger negotiating power to try and mitigate the upwards trajectory of property prices.”



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UK household rent 28% of income

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Monday, January 16, 2017

BTL is dead; buy shops instead

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LSL sees strong December housing market


The LSL House Price Index reports seeing a strong December market, with average house price gains of  0.4%. The Index's average house price is now just £47 off its all time peak ( from March 2016, prior to the 3% Stamp Duty surcharge )
  • England and Wales house prices are up £1.139 to £297,678
  • Annual price growth now 3.1%
  • Average prices up 0.4% in December to end just £47 shy of all-time high 
  • Hull is top-performing unitary authority with annual price growth at 16.2% 
  • The East is the top performing region, annual price growth of 7.9% 
  • Hammersmith and Fulham sees the biggest fall, down 11.5% during 2016

Oliver Blake, a director at LSL Property Services plc says, 

“It’s been a strong finish to an uncertain year. Despite the doubts over Brexit, prices have continued to grow, powered by good-value commuter properties.
As the lower transaction figures since April show, the market faces challenges ahead, but it enters 2017 a lot stronger than many would have expected.”



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How to solve the UK's housing crisis

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Homeless families sent to Coventry

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Homes Under the Hammer landlord fined

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London's first community land trust

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Gov unlocks £7bn for affordable housing

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Number of BTL deals set to fall

Email:info@propertyhawkbtlmortgages.co.uk
Tel: 029 2069 5446
Your home may be repossessed if you do not keep up repayments on your mortgages.  

The Financial Services Authority does not regulate some forms of mortgage.

Universal Credit tenant arrears increases

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Long term house price growth

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Sunday, January 15, 2017

Flats increasingly the home of choice

The Royal Mail’s Address Management Unit (AMU) say consumers are increasingly living in flats. 

The AMU data shows 23% of UK properties are now flats.

The research compiled by the Royal Mail’s Address Management Unit alongside the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR).

London has the highest share, 54%, followed by Scotland 38%. The Northern Ireland currently has the lowest ratio, with just 11%.

Steve Rooney, head of Royal Mail’s Address Management Unit, reflects:

“While the distribution of property types has been relatively stable for the last four years, the number of flats has grown more than any other property type. This rise is most likely due to high land prices limiting the possibility of building semi-detached and detached houses. The number of multiple residency additions has increased steadily over the last nine months and we fully expect this trend to continue for the near future.”

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Saturday, January 14, 2017

Paragon expand fixed BTL range

Paragon Mortgages have launched a new range of two and five year BTL fixed-rates for both purchase and remortgages.

The five year fixed is at 3.75% with a maximum LTV of 75%LTV. 
Interest rate coverage ratios start at 125% at 4 per cent, graduated to reflect the landlord’s individual tax status.

The two-year fixed at start at 3.25%, with a max LTV of 65%, or 3.40% for a 75% LTV.

Managing Director of Paragon Mortgages, John Heron,comments: 

‘The first quarter is an extremely busy time in the buy-to-let market as landlords review their portfolios and plan for the year ahead. The tax changes being introduced in April make it more important than ever for landlords to think ahead and minimise costs where possible. These products offer landlords the opportunity to put in place longer term mortgage finance, whilst taking advantage of the beneficial impact of today’s record low market rates.’

To make an enquiry about these, or to search the whole BTL market use Property Hawk Mortgages


Email:info@propertyhawkbtlmortgages.co.uk
Tel: 029 2069 5446
Your home may be repossessed if you do not keep up repayments on your mortgages.  

The Financial Services Authority does not regulate some forms of mortgage.

First time buyers hits 10yr high

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Sadiq Khans boost to affordable housing

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Thursday, January 12, 2017

The impact of PRA on BTL mortgages

Jane Simpson at Property Hawk Mortgages says:

2017 is set to be another challenging year for the buy-to-let market as the implications of the PRA regulations become clearer. As 2016 drew to a close there was a flurry of activity within the market as lenders announced their revised affordability requirements, confirming our expectations that sourcing buy-to-let mortgages will become more complex as a result of the changes.

Unsurprisingly, there is a good deal of variation in the approach taken by different lenders and landlords will need to be aware of this when researching the market for a buy-to-let mortgage. A number of lenders have adopted an income coverage ratio (ICR) of 145 per cent across their product ranges and are using the recommended minimum stress rate of 5.50 per cent or stressed product rate if higher. Lenders taking this approach include Barclays, Hanley Building Society and Natwest. Leeds Building Society has opted for a 140 per cent at 5.50 percent rental calculation for all applications except longer term fixed rates and ‘like for like’ remortgages which have a 5.00 per cent stress rate. Accord is using an ICR of 135 per cent and a stress rate of 5.50 per cent except for longer term fixed rates which are stressed at 5.00 per cent.

It is clear then that the landscape has changed significantly and the 125 per cent ICR, which has been so prevalent in the buy-to-let mortgage market during the last decade, has been retained only by those lenders that are looking to assess the tax status of their applicants and, in particular, where customers are identified as basic rate tax payers once the loan has been made along with limited company applications where these are allowed.

So far, so not so simple.

Let’s move onto some of the specialist lenders. Paragon Mortgages has kept a 125 per cent ICR for limited company applications and basic rate payers, but is applying a 140 per cent ICR for higher rate and additional tax rate payers. Like other lenders in the market, Paragon is using a stress rate of 5.50 per cent for all products except longer term fixed rates which have a stress rate of 4.00 per cent. To reflect the higher costs of managing more complex property Paragon requires a higher ratio for HMOs and multi-unit properties starting at 130% for basic rate tax payers and limited companies.

Similarly, Precise Mortgages has different ICRs for limited companies and basic rate tax payers (125 per cent), higher rate tax payers (145 per cent) and is applying a 160 per cent ICR for additional rate tax payers. The standard stress rate is 5.50 per cent and longer term fixed rates are being stressed at the pay rate.
Kent Reliance has not published different ICRs for tax status, but instead has created an ICR banding for portfolio landlords with 4 or more properties at 155 per cent and a banding for non-portfolio landlords with less than 4 properties at 140 per cent. Limited company applications require 125 per cent rental cover.

Aldermore has also taken an unusual position and is including alternative rental calculations for applicants using surplus personal income.

Property Hawk Mortgages has a dedicated buy-to-let sourcing system on its website which is available for landlords to use at no cost. We are currently in the process of creating a set of enhancements which will enable visitors to filter mortgages according to their tax status which should make sourcing more straightforward and help them to select suitable products.

Email:info@propertyhawkbtlmortgages.co.uk
Tel: 029 2069 5446
Your home may be repossessed if you do not keep up repayments on your mortgages.  
The Financial Services Authority does not regulate some forms of mortgage.


New BTL fixed rates from 2.05%

Property Hawk Mortgages is delighted to offer two exclusive buy-to-let fixed rates with Mortgage Trust.

There is a 2.05% 2 year fixed rate and a 2.75% 5 year fixed rate both available up to 75% LTV.

The interest coverage ratio (ICR) is 125% for basic tax rate payers with a stress rate of 4.00% for the 5 year product and 5.50% for the 2 year product.

These could be an excellent choice for landlords looking for achievable buy-to-let fixed rates during this period of changing affordability assessments.


Email:info@propertyhawkbtlmortgages.co.uk
Tel: 029 2069 5446
Your home may be repossessed if you do not keep up repayments on your mortgages.  
The Financial Services Authority does not regulate some forms of mortgage.

Paul Fosh property auction dates

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HMRC offer SA webinar help

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Homeownership for 25 yr olds cut in half

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Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Call to remove LTT in Wales

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City-wide licensing proposal for Brighton

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Student rent hikes to get a BTL mortgage

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BTL mortgage rates predicted to fall

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Call to stop the 'landlord bashing'

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Slow rental growth in second half of 2016

Homelet's December 2016 Rental Data reports in the second half of the year they saw very slow rental growth.

Homelet put the average UK rent at £892pcm, up from £877 this time last year and an annual growth for 2016 of just 1.7%.

This rate compares to the current Retail Prices Index (RPI) measure of inflation, which includes mortgage interest payments, which currently stands at 1.8%.

So, not really living up to the 'greedy landlord' narrative pushed by certain housing campaign groups.