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Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Rightmove's September asking prices

Rightmove
[Source: Rightmove Property Portal]

Property investment returns over 25 years

September asking prices increase

Rightmove says their September asking prices on new listings are up 0.9 percent on August's.

Miles Shipside, Rightmove director and housing market analyst comments: 

“We usually see a price fall at this time of year as potential home-movers are generally still in holiday mode. However, it looks like there are early signs of a bounce-back in demand after the summer lull, leaving those estate agents with a shortage of stock at a potential disadvantage and therefore eager to attract new instructions.

While there is more property coming to market this year, it has been more than swallowed up by increased sales. There is already 10% less property available per estate agency branch compared to this time a year ago, and with enquiries by phone and email to agents up by 16% compared to August last year, and at near record levels, you can see why there has been an earlier than usual price pick-up. The ability of potential buyers to remain on-watch and in-touch and react more quickly is also a factor. While you may be switched off from work during the summer break, many people’s mobile devices are still switched on to the internet to see what’s coming to market.”

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Fire Door Safety Week

It's Fire Door Safety Week, and to celebrate, the Fire Door Safety week organisers want landlords to get involved by raising awareness of ... fire and doors.

So if you've ever heard someone ask - A door’s a door’s a door, right?

Please put them straight - No, a fire door is an engineered safety device!

For those who want to become more aware, or raise the awareness of others, go to the Fire Door Safety Week Website.

ONS property prices hit record highs

July's property price data from the ONS underlines the recovery in the UK housing market, with average property prices up 11.7% over the year to the end of July 2014.

Alongside record prices, for London, the East of England and the South East, three further regions of the UK now have average house prices higher than their pre-financial crisis peak.

The regions hitting new highs are, the East Midlands, the West Midlands and the South West.

Download the  Office of National Statistic house price data for July 2014


Take advantage of our discounted landlord insurance rates

Average London home costs over half a million

What tenants are looking for.

A recent survey of tenants into what they really want reveals a tenants wish list:

The initial choice of choosing a rental home is based on the number of bedrooms in the rental property, followed by prices.  No big surprise there.  Tenants appreciate a central location and also they like to be new work and shops according to landlord insurance company Axa.  I would add in particularly for younger tenants a good bar or too and for your older tenants and those that appreciate a good pint of craft beer a decent real ale pub.

Surprisingly, the top feature demanded by tenants of a rental property is a garden which is stated as important to 35% of tenants questioned.  The use of garage is 2nd on the list of most desirable features.

A Tenants turn off

The big turn off for tenants is dirt and grime.  A landlord might be advised therefore to invest in a full house clean before marketing.  Tired decor is unsurprisingly another big turn off so landlords need to get their paint brush out and do a little bit of touching up before marketing their property for let.
No big surprises in these figures apart from perhaps the appeal of the garden.

Clean and tidy is the name of the day…clearly or should it be cleanly!

Landlord insurance - expert brokers - professional rates

Monday, September 15, 2014

Scottish independence could jeopardise house prices

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Most popular BTL mortgages

Max LTV Initial Rate Term Completion fee Booking fee Incentives Lender
85% 5.29% Fixed 2 Years 2.5% £130.00 No Kent Reliance Semi Exclusive
85% 5.99% Discount 2 Years 3% £130.00 No Kent Reliance Multi Let & Ltd Co. Semi Exclusive
80% 3.99% Fixed 2016-12-31 £2495 £150.00 Free valuation Mortgage Trust Exclusive
80% 4.99% Fixed 2016-12-31 0% £150.00 Free valuation Mortgage Trust Exclusive
75% 4.69% Discount 3 Years 2% £0.00 No Saffron BS Semi Exclusive
75% 2.39% Fixed 2016-12-31 2.5% £150.00 Free valuation Mortgage Trust Exclusive
75% 2.75% Fixed 2016-12-31 £2495 £150.00 Free valuation Mortgage Trust Exclusive
75% 3.79% Fixed 2016-12-31 0% £150.00 Free valuation Mortgage Trust Exclusive
75% 2.5% Discount 2 Years £1995 £250.00 One free Valuation on properties valued up to £1,000,000 Hinckley & Rugby Exclusive
75% 5.39% Variable 0 Years 2.5% £0.00 No Saffron Light Refurbishment
60% 2.45% Discount 2 Years £1950 £250.00 One free Valuation on properties valued up to £1,000,000 Hinckley & Rugby Exclusive

IMPORTANT! Due to current market conditions, lenders are withdrawing and replacing products with little or no notice.  Please check our website regularly to see the most up-to-date products available. 
 
Search the whole BTL mortgage market free

 

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.

Homelet's Rental Data for August 2014

Homelet's Rental Data for August 2014 shows -
  • Average monthly private rents in the UK (excluding London) now £729
  • Average monthly private rent in London now £1,464
The figures show a growth in rents on new UK tenancies of 7.8% over the three months to August in comparison with this same period in 2013.

Gas Safety Week 2014

Gas Safety Week 2014 starts today. Co-ordinated by the Gas Safe Register with support from the gas industry including retailers, manufacturers, consumer bodies and the public. The week aims to highlight the importance of regular checks on gas appliances.

A survey of Gas Safety Register engineers reports that 1 in 6 properties they attend have an unsafe gas appliance.

Birmingham is thought to be the worst place in the UK for gas safety with one third of homes thought to have an unsafe gas appliance.

Russell Kramer, chief executive for Gas Safe Register, said: “Over the past three years there’s been 31 deaths and over 1,000 injuries that have resulted from gas related incidents.

Landlords need to make sure they keep all their annual Gas Safety Certificates up to date.

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Landlords take in £2.7 billion in rent

Landlords now take in a total of £2.7 billion in rent per month according to the latest figures from landlord insurance company Direct Line.  This is a total of £32 billion over the year.

Unsurprisingly, a massive 44% of rents is paid in London, which has the highest proportion of private renters.  Next comes Bourmouth, with 30% of households renting privately.

Outside London, Leeds pays the most in rent, with a total of £565 million.

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Saturday, September 13, 2014

Ready made investment portfolio for sale

For most of us landlords we spend a lifetime building up a portfolio of residential properties. Inevitably this sort of landlord ends up with a mixed bag of property investments. A little bit of this, the odd flat the odd terrace a couple of semis.

Blocks of flats give opportunities

I admire landlords who have brought nice self contained blocks of apartments where they own the freehold and can also make additional cash through the service charges and ground rent. If you are cash rich and are looking at acquiring a mixed bag of property how about this portfolio of 251 properties available through Allsop.

It generates over a million quid in rent and I'm guessing there are a number of opportunities for arbitrage. Offers are invited but personally I wouldn't be looking to pay anything more than £10 million. This sounds a lot but given the management costs of this portfolio it seems fair.  The properties available are:

236 houses and 15 flats Located throughout the country, with a regional bias in the East and West Midlands Subject to 144 assured shorthold tenancies, 19 assured periodic tenancies, 4 assured tenancies, 59 regulated tenancies and 25 vacant properties Total current gross rent reserved £1,146,807 per annum Estimated reversionary income £1,300,000 per annum upon letting all vacant units
Further opportunity to enhance rental income as tenancies expire. If it wets your appetite more details and offers can be made via:

Anthony Hart +44 (0)113 236 6677
anthony.hart@allsop.co.uk  

Finance my investment - expert solutions

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Landlord love from the Telegraph

The Telegraph have written a piece defending landlords and warning against the dangers of over regulation and any kind of introduction of rent controls.
It makes a change to have the media defending us, and not just doing their usual - prefacing the term landlord with 'rogue' or 'scum' and spitting out accusations of 'money grabbing' and 'heartless'.

The article is worth a read, particularly if you're feeling a little got at, hated or generally detested. 

Remember we love you, even if nobody else does.

New Private Rented Sector Code from RICS

The Royal Institute of Surveyors (RICS) has launched the first edition of it's new cross industry best practice code for the letting and management of private sector housing in England.

RICS claims the aim of the code is to ensure:
  • good-quality homes for rent
  • consistent and high standards of management
  • choice for the consumer.
The code is intended for use by landlords and lettings and management agents in the private rented sector (PRS).





Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Telegraph talk up the bungalow

The Telegraph have written an article talking of the resurgence of the bungalow.

Whether this consensus takes off, I'm not so convinced, surely a country so short on space is not wanting a new wave of bungalow building.

I expect this to be a single story.

HMRC is after you

There has been a warning to landlords that their letting activity could be under scrutiny from the HMRC.

Former letting agent, and blogger Sam Collett, has reported correspondence received from the HMRC which reads:

Dear Sir/ Madam,

I will soon be sending you a statutory notice under paragraph 18 of Schedule 23 to the Finance Act 2011 requiring you to send me a return of information.

I believe that your business may involve acting as a letting agent on behalf of property landlords.  I am writing to let you know that I will soon be sending you a notice under the above legislation.  That notice will require you to send me a return of gross rents that you have collected in the year ended 5 April 2014 on behalf of property landlords (including limited companies).

What information will I want from you?

We need to know about rents you have collected from tenants on behalf of landlords who have used your letting agency services in the year ended 5 April 2014.  We will use that information to check that the landlords declare the rents on their tax returns.  To request this information I will soon be sending you a statutory information notice.  This notice will require your return within 60 days of the date of the notice.  

This is not a check of your tax affairs.  We will only use this information to check that landlords have declared their rental income correctly.

….In respect of each landlord you will need to give the following particulars in your return:
- the name and address of the landlord for whom the rents were collected;
- the total gross rent collected from the tenant for the landlord for the year ended 5 April 2014;
- the address of the let property to which the rent relates

This warning to landlords using a letting agent shows that the HMRC continue to look to find landlords that don't declare their rental income and using 3rd party sources of information is very much part of their strategy.

Landlords income tax advice

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Mark Carney hints at interest rate rise


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Why won't landlords rent to benefit tenants?

This Guardian article asks why landlords are increasingly against renting to tenants on benefits.

I'm sure readers of this blog will have a few reasons/personal experiences they could list.

The system seems to forget, the heartache, financial cost and work that is burdened upon landlords when a tenancy goes bad. 

Maybe greater protection for landlords might increase their willingness to risk renting property to tenants on benefit.

However, I doubt that Shelter will put forward such a proposition. 

Zoopla's price estimates don't seem accurate

Zoopla's price estimate data seems to be about as accurate as a drunk myopic archer shooting in a gale.

I've just had a look at their price estimates for a street I know very well. The street is lined with Edwardian semi's, all pretty much identical, in size and layout, but with some more spruced than others.
I would factor in a £100,000 price range to cover the worst to the best, dependent on condition, outlook and layout.

So here's what Zoopla's price estimate came up with, in no particular order - £552,181, £917,200, £721,197, £814,769, £690,446, £751,380, £802,387, £849,255, £821,940, £869,873, £1029,766, £828,838, £786,028, £616,478.

With prices from £552k to £1029k that's a range of £477,000. 

It appears that despite grinding through a mass of data, Zoopla's figures are less accurate than a damp finger held up to the breeze.

Zoopla you need to sort out your estimation algorithms.

Don't you just love technology.

IEA report condemns Labour rent controls

Today's report from the Institute of Economic Affairs concludes that Labour's recent mumbling proposals to introduce tenancy rent controls would in fact result in higher rents.
Edward Milliband listen up and stop trying to score idiotic vote begging points.

The IEA report, entitled The Flaws in Rent Ceilings, considers that the implementation of Labour's proposals would result in higher initial rents, a misallocation of housing and a reduction in the supply of homes to rent – without improving affordability.

The study questions whether existing tenancy law results in high levels of insecurity of tenure in the private rented sector. 

The report recounts the disastrous impact on the private rented sector during the period between 1915 and 1989 when rent controls were last in use, and the sectors subsequent recovery since their abolishment.

The report makes clear the solution will not be found by over governance of existing supply, but by meeting demand by relaxing planning and building more property. The IEA are calling for any new government to introduce policies to stimulate investment in the rental sector and encourage investors to provide quality affordable rental property.


The report list the problems with tenancy rent controls as:

  • Landlords increasing rents to compensate against future uncertainty over increased security of tenure.
  • New tenants could face high start rents as landlords insure against within-tenancy risks and compensate for future losses.
  • Security of tenure is not a major consideration for the majority of those groups dominating the private rental market, namely young people, students and more mobile households. Over 35% of private renters remained in residencies for less than a year in 2013. Because rents will be initially higher, fixed term tenancies would allow less mobile households to enjoy low rents at the expense of the more mobile – harming labour mobility.
  • Landlords will make the highest profit at the beginning of a tenancy and will seek out tenants that are likely to be more mobile. This increased selectivity would make it increasingly difficult for households seeking longer tenancies to find accommodation, further fuelling the UK’s housing crisis.
  • The existence of tenancy rent controls is likely to result in maintenance being carried out between tenancies rather than during them, compromising quality for some tenants.
  • While previous forms of rent controls were ultimately unsustainable due to their shortcomings, rent regulations such as these would prove extremely difficult to reverse. Statutory bodies that support the policy would have a vested interest in its maintenance and tenant lobby groups would gain the upper hand over small landlords, young people and mobile households.

Commenting on the research, Mark Littlewood, Director General at the Institute of Economic Affairs said:

“It is absurd that households across the UK have to pay such a large proportion of their monthly income on rent. But imposing rent controls on the market will do nothing to improve affordability, and will simply result in a number of perverse incentives that will harm those very individuals which such a policy sets out to protect.”

“The government needs to wake up to the fact that only through increasing the supply of rented accommodation can we really address the problems of high rents and poor tenancy security. If we are serious about helping the most vulnerable in society, we need to radically liberalise planning laws so we can build more houses."


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Sharp increase in Minimum Income Standard

Figures from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation claim the Minimum Income Standard ( MIS) ( the amount of money required to pay for what is perceived as a basic reasonable standard ) has risen sharply since it was first calculated in 2008.
  • A single parent with one child now needs to earn £27,000 up from £12,800 in 2008.
  • A couple with two children now need to each earn £20,220 up from £13,900 in 2008.
  • A single person now needs to earn £16,200 up from £13,500 in 2008.
The sharp rise is due to inflation in basic goods and services, changes in tax thresholds, and rise in rents.

Most popular BTL mortgages

Max LTV Initial Rate Term Completion fee Booking fee Incentives Lender
85% 5.99% Discount 2 Years 3% £130.00 No Kent Reliance Multi Let & Ltd Co. Semi Exclusive
85% 5.29% Fixed 2 Years 2.5% £130.00 No Kent Reliance Semi Exclusive
80% 3.99% Fixed 2016-12-31 £2495 £150.00 Free valuation Mortgage Trust Exclusive
80% 4.99% Fixed 2016-12-31 0% £150.00 Free valuation Mortgage Trust Exclusive
75% 4.69% Discount 3 Years 2% £0.00 No Saffron BS Semi Exclusive
75% 2.39% Fixed 2016-12-31 2.5% £150.00 Free valuation Mortgage Trust Exclusive
75% 2.75% Fixed 2016-12-31 £2495 £150.00 Free valuation Mortgage Trust Exclusive
75% 3.79% Fixed 2016-12-31 0% £150.00 Free valuation Mortgage Trust Exclusive
75% 5.39% Variable 0 Years 2.5% £0.00 No Saffron Light Refurbishment
65% 5.27% Fixed 2017-03-31 2.5% £0.00 No Saffron BS Ex-Pat Semi Exclusive
60% 2.45% Discount 2 Years £1950 £250.00 One free Valuation on properties valued up to £1,000,000 Hinckley & Rugby Exclusive
IMPORTANT! Due to current market conditions, lenders are withdrawing and replacing products with little or no notice.  Please check our website regularly to see the most up-to-date products available. 
 
Search the whole BTL mortgage market free

 

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.

Monday, September 08, 2014

Halifax House Price Index for August


Halifax have released their House Price Index for August 2014.

Their data reports a 0.1% rise over the month, bringing the annual increase to a very healthy 9.7% and the quarterly figure in at 3.0%.

The average property price is now at £186,270.


Martin Ellis, an economist for the Halifax commented that "Housing demand is supported by continuing economic recovery, growth in employment, improving consumer confidence and low mortgage rates. Nonetheless, earnings growth that remains below consumer price inflation, and the prospect of an interest rate rise at some point over the coming months, are likely to curb demand."


The death of 'Let to Buy'

Worrying news for those 'accidental landlords' out there. It appears the Treasury are going to enforce the forth-coming European Mortgage Credit Directive on those BTL mortgages classified as 'unplanned'.

This will mean those homeowners who find themselves wanting to switch a residential mortgage to a BTL mortgage on a home they are unable to sell will find themselves subject to increased regulation and affordability checks.

As it stands, BTL mortgages are not regulated in the same way as residential homebuyer mortgages, landlords are perceived as 'businesses', so presumed to better understand the risks, unlike owner- occupiers, who are considered innocent lambs who need protection from lending wolves. 

In recent years, post 2007 credit crunch, a slowed property market has lead many homeowners to swap unsold properties onto a BTL loan with their lenders. The practice, known as 'Let to buy' might come to an end with the introduction of this European Mortgage Credit Directive in 2016.

The Treasury said: "There are some situations where borrowers do not seem to be acting in a business capacity. Examples of this may be where the property has been inherited or where a borrower has previously lived in a property, but is unable to sell it so resorts to a buy-to-let arrangement. In these cases, the borrower is a landlord as a result of circumstance rather than through their own active business decision."

The Council of Mortgage Lenders are arguing against the proposal.

Search the whole BTL mortgage market free

 

Email:info@propertyhawkbtlmortgages.co.uk

 

Tel: 029 2069 5446

Britain's smallest house for sale

Described as " an ideal buy to let or pied-à-terre" the countries smalls house has gone up for sale for £275,000.

At just 188sq feet the Islington house provides an open plan living space, shower room and mezzanine sleeping level.

For those landlords wanting to learn a few tricks on how to maximise space take a look at its details on Zoopla.


Landlord insurance

CBI and BCC call for more housebuilding

The CBI employers’ organisation and the British Chambers of Commerce are calling for 240,000 homes a year to tackle the “chronic” housing shortage.

The CBI is calling for MPs to stop “putting off big decisions until they’re overdue”.

Katja Hall, CBI deputy director-general, said that housing shortage should be a Government priority otherwise there will be “huge implications” for the country's competitiveness as the nations workforce becomes increasingly inflexible due to a lack of affordable housing and the high costs of re-locating.
However, despite house building over the last 12 months hitting a post 2007 crunch high, the  137,000 new starts continues to fall far short of the forecasted demand.

How to bet on the success of BTL

One of the founders of the online betting website Betfair is taking a punt on the continued success and popularity of buy-to-let from as little as £50.  Ed Wray, founder of Betfair hopes to get lucky with his equity investment.

What does it do?

Property Partner allows investors to obtain direct exposure to the direct buy-to-let let and residential investment market and for them to hold directly a property investment in their portfolio without all the work involved in buying and managing property.

Is it different?

The latest venture is the latest addition to the property crowdfunding band wagon.  Does it have a point of difference?  Not really other than perhaps it has some well known backers when & if it launches.

 Take advantage of our discounted landlord insurance rates

Saturday, September 06, 2014

The secret to successful letting is...

The secret of easy stress free letting I can reveal comes down to one simple thing.

Getting a good tenant in the first place.  For me a good tenant is intelligent.  Speak to them even better meet them in person. If they can't string a sentence together are they really going to be able to manage the tenancy and all the little problems that come along the way.  Answer....probably not.

I'm still recovering from the throws of letting a 'dumm arse' tenant thrust upon me by a cocky amateur letting agent who thought there was nothing to the process of letting property ( correct if you do it badly).

Never underestimate the time taken to recover from a bad let

I'm finding out to my cost just how long the process takes to recover from a bad let.  Getting possession and then the time and costs of completing your claim for the outstanding rent from the rental guarantor.

On top of this there are all the time and costs of getting the property renewed.  A rental void is painful but believe you me letting your property to the wrong tenant costs a lot more.  So my advice to landlords is think before you let & if you are unsure just walk away.  There are plenty more tenant fish in the sea!

 Take advantage of our discounted landlord insurance rates

Thursday, September 04, 2014

'To-let' boards banned in Newcastle

Newcastle Upon Tyne landlords will be hit with a £2,500 fine if they put up 'To-let' signs at their rental properties starting from December.

Using a Regulation 7 direction, Newcastle City Council will put a stop to the use of boards to advertise a property to let in the suburbs of Jesmond, Heaton, Shieldfield, Sandyford, Spital Tongues and Gosforth.

Newcastle is the first major city to be granted a ban on lettings boards.

Maps of proposed garden cities

The Telegraph share some maps showing the new proposed garden cities that might appear in the UK during the next three decades.

Forty of these garden cities are being proposed to be built by 2045AD  by David Rudlin, from the design consultancy Urbed.

These new garden cities would be built alongside existing towns, such as Northampton, Norwich, Rugby, Reading and Stafford, with an estimated 150,000 people housed in each.

Rudlin has called for a new Garden Cities Act, to help with the development of his proposals. 

Looking at the maps, they are hardly the Sci-fi future I imagined as a kid. 

There's not a flying car in sight.