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Thursday, July 28, 2016

Rent rising below CPI in most regions

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PRS is the 'new home of poverty'

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Fix your monthly BTL payments - new low rates

  • New buy-to-let fixed rates starting at 2.59% with a free valuation.
  • Re-mortgage only rates also available with free legals.
Available now exclusively via Property Hawk Mortgages.

We are happy to launch an exclusive range of fixed rates with Mortgage Trust.

Rates start at 2.59% up to 75% LTV and all products in the range have a free valuation.

There are rates available for remortgages only which also have free legals.

These could be an excellent choice for landlords looking to fix their monthly mortgage payments.

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.

Think-tank predict rising property prices

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Tories need to win over Generation Rent

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US rate hike put on hold

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London property prices hit hardest

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Rent inflation slows slightly says ONS

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Knight Frank's prime country property view

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Nationwide's house price data for July

  • House prices increased by 0.5% in July
  • Annual house price growth similar to last month at 5.2% 

Robert Gardner, Nationwide's Chief Economist, comments:

“This is the first month’s data following the EU referendum. However, it is important to note that, in constructing the index, we use data at the mortgage offer stage – this means any impact from the vote may not be fully evident in July’s figures, as there is a short lag between a buyer making the decision to purchase a property and applying for a mortgage.

It will be tempting for commentators to assign any trends in the coming months to the impact of the referendum. Housing market transactions were always likely to soften over the summer after the surge in activity in March, as buyers brought forward purchases of second homes to avoid the stamp duty levy, which took effect in April. Determining how much of any fall-back in activity is the result of the tax changes and how much is due to the referendum will be difficult.

In the near term, increased economic uncertainty may lead to weaker demand for homes. Leading indicators are consistent with softening ahead. Household confidence fell sharply in the wake of the referendum result, especially attitudes towards making major purchases, which in the past has correlated with mortgage activity, though less closely in recent years (see chart below). In the run up to the vote the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) reported declines in new buyer enquiries and expectations of weaker price growth amongst surveyors, though these trends pre- date the vote and are likely to have been impacted by the recent tax changes as well as the referendum.

How the labour market evolves will be crucial in determining the demand for homes in the quarters ahead. It is encouraging that conditions were robust in the run up to the vote, with the unemployment rate falling to a ten-year low in the three months to May. The decline in long term interest rates to new all-time lows in recent weeks should also help to keep borrowing costs low and provide some support for demand.
Even if there is a fall back in demand as a result of economic uncertainty, the impact on house prices is not certain, as potential sellers may also hold off from placing their properties on the market. The stock of homes on estate agents’ books is already close to its lowest levels for thirty years, and surveyors have reported a decline in new instructions to sell alongside a fall in buyer enquiries. Moreover, housebuilders may react to the uncertainty by delaying construction, even though home building is already failing to keep up with the natural increase in the population. "

Read in full the Nationwide House Price Index for July 2016

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London's rising rent versus flat earnings

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Wolverhampton landlord fined £6000

A Wolverhampton landlord has been ordered to pay £6000.
landlord fined
Wolverhampton Crown Court heard a description of the poor state of repair of an Oldbury property rented out by landlord,  Mr Robeul Alom Sadek Muqtadir.

The rental property was described as having a faulty boiler, water damage and dampness to the kitchen and lounge caused by leak in the bathroom.

Prior to the prosecution Sandwell Council's Housing Quality Team tried to liaise with the landlord to make the required improvements to the rental property, then issuing an improvement notice in June 2015 also subsequently ignored by the landlord, before bringing the case to court. 

The landlord was found guilty of failing to comply with the improvement notice, fined £5,000 and was ordered to pay £749.54 costs alongside a £500 victim surcharge - a court bill totalling  £6,249.54.

Read the Sandwell Council Press release on the landlord's £6000 fine

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Holiday home is flying out the door

Ok it's now been a full 6 days since I've officially completed the purchase of my holiday home in Bakewell. Already,  I've got the first 2 weeks in September booked out for my luxury Bakewell accommodation so things are looking positive.

However,  despite being new to the holiday lettings market I know that running a holiday let is going to be much more intense and much more work then any of my buy-to-lets.  To do it well; think boutique hotel rather than absent landlord.  Holiday lets require personal attention, high levels of furnishings and little touches of hospitality far beyond that demanded by your buy-to-let tenants.  However, the upside is that my one bedder in Bakewell should be generating £2500 per month (in peak season) this compares to the very meagre £500 pcm that might be attainable as an unfurnished 1 bed apartment.

So why am I not rushing into the holiday home business given the potential gross rent is 5 times as much.  Time dear boy... time.  To manage all those checkins, checkouts, bookings, little gifts, cleans, bedding and expectations of people on holiday will take a significant time input.

Therefore I can confidently say that this holiday home will be my first and possibly last purchase apart from a potential  property in Palma Mallorca.  Anybody who knows anything about the rental business knows that the size of your expected rental yields will to a degree reflect the immediate of management imput.  You don't get 'out for nowt' in this game.

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Celebrity landlord chat

Well we have had the landlord horror movie....I'm sure you can all remember that one.  Now rapper Giggs from Peckham .....RRRRR RESPECT is on the cusp of releasing his new / first album entitled funnily enough LANDLORD.

Check out the interview with Giggs on TimwestwoodTV. Personally, I love a bit of Westwood and grime ( another great English contribution to global music culture....)

One of the Directors of Property Hawk can be regularly found doing his Thang in Peckham library so can one conclude that landlording is becoming hip?!  I very much doubt it.

Boring Boring landlord insurance - but good.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Holiday lets letting agent charges

I have just completed the purchase of my first ever holiday rental property in Bakewell you can see a picture of the kitchen above.

A day after completing the purchase I've also had my first booking of my luxury Bakewell accommodation at the beginning of September which gives me just over a month to furnish the shell with the likes of beds, wardrobes, kitchen equipment.  This is all new for me as I always let out my buy-to-let properties unfurnished.  I'm now manically surfing the web in search of furniture and design inspiration for my Scandinavian design masterpiece overlooking the River Wye.  It's going to be a busy Summer.

Charges for holiday home letting agent

I know as a buy-to-let landlord I've always balked at the cost of letting out my property with a letting agent.  The costs of this are between 10 -16% depending on the exact details your opt for and what part of the country.  London as always tends to be more costly.  However, these all pale into insignificance for holiday rentals.  I've just looked at the costs through the agent I've have ended up with (it's a long story) holiday cottages and my gross rent for a week has been whittled down from £440 to £312.66 that works out at a whopping 29%.  Ridiculous particularly when all they do is provide an internet platform and contact service for the holiday home owners.  They don't conduct any of the viewings or day to day management...that's all left to the owners.  What makes it even more untenable is that to the cost through Airbnb is 3%...yes just 3% to be a host.  In fact there is no charge at all to list your holiday home the 3% charge is just to cover the finance charges that they incur from the finance companies for handling the payments.  You can guess what I'll be doing this weekend...registering my new holiday home on Airbnb!

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Thursday, July 21, 2016

Rogue landlord argues he is a humanitarian

A Southend landlord who was given one month to pay a fine of £40,000 in May has returned to court to appeal his fine.

Found guilty of breaching 15 regulations governing houses in multiple occupation, Robert Crow, 67, argued that Southend Council officers were trying to bankrupt him as he had 'just 30p' in his pocket, following the failure of the council to pay housing benefit to his tenants.

The court listened to Mr Crow declaring he was a "humanitarian landlord” and not the rogue that had been painted in the council's prosecution. The landlord argued that even though the council inspectors found his HMO to be squalid, with some tenants living beneath a tarpaulin covering the back yard, his acts helped house tenants that otherwise would have been homeless - going on to claim some paid no rent to live at the property.

Speaking to the Southend Echo, Crow claims

“I have been tainted as this terrible, nasty rogue landlord, but I’m just trying to keep people alive. They said I was forcing people to live in squalor, but I’m taking them off the street.”

The court granted a new magistrates’ hearing for Monday, August 1st, until which time Mr Crow will be required to pay back £50 a week on his £40k fine.

Sadiq Khan's battle with bad landlords

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Gov update on changes to landlord tax relief

The Government have provided updated information on the changes to tax relief for residential landlords.

These changes are to be gradually introduced over 4 years, starting in April 2017 and completed by 6th of April 2020.

Read in full - the Government's changes to tax relief for residential landlords

Universal Credit roll out delayed again

The Government have announced yet another delay to the full roll out date of Universal Credit.

The latest forecast - March 2022, but let's not hold our breathe.

Robert Devereux, the permanent secretary at the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) attempted to defend the delay by saying

"The complexity of this undertaking is probably the largest thing this department has ever done."

Savills UK auction on Monday - catalogue

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Surge in foreign property buyers since Brexit

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The risks of renting to foreign students

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CML lending data positive for June

The Council of Mortgage Lenders have released a positive lending outlook for June.

The CML estimate lending during June will reach £20.7 billion, up 3% on June 2015 and the highest level of June lending since 2008.

The June lending estimate moves up by 16% on May's sluggish £17.8 billion.

This will bring Q2 total lending to £56.1 billion, up 8% on Q2 2015

CML's senior economist Mohammad Jamei comments:

"The result of the EU referendum is likely to affect the housing market, but there remains considerable uncertainty. Although mortgage firms have ample lending capacity, activity levels are likely to bear the brunt of any market adjustment over the next six months or so, as buyers and sellers wait to get a clearer idea of where we might be headed.

But as with the economy, the UK housing market’s starting position is relatively favourable, with transactions having increased by almost 80% from post-crisis lows. Over the next six months, activity is likely to soften modestly, while lending will be driven more by remortgaging and less by house purchases.

We also expect some form of monetary easing to be undertaken by the Monetary Policy Committee when it meets on 4 August, given the uncertain outlook that has set in after the vote result."

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Leeds Landlord Show next week - free tickets

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London "green Belt' now sacrosanct

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Heartless landlord handed prison sentence

A landlord from Wembley has been handed a four month prison sentence and ordered to pay fines and costs totalling £20,000.

Rohan Sheikh was found guilty of illegally evicting six tenants from an unlicensed House of Multiple Occupancy (HMO) on Wembley Park Drive after they complained about poor living conditions and damp. Mr Sheikh has already been convicted of the assault of one tenants during the illegal eviction that took place in February this year. Mr Sheikh pleaded guilty to all charges.

Tenants were given 2 hours to vacate the property, but the landlord had failed to seek the required possession order from the courts.

The court also heard of the poor state of repairs at the illegal HMO property - damp, holes in ceilings and walls, filthy carpets, dumped rubbish in the front garden.

One Brent councillor described Mr Sheikh as a 'heartless landlord'.

Sheikh has appealed his sentence and is out on bail pending his hearing. 

Read more -

PRS - the new home of poverty

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Tuesday, July 19, 2016

The new housing minister - a quick guide

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London property prices fall for third month

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Impact of Brexit on prime property prices - Savills report

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UK to avoid recession and house price crash

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ONS latest property price data

The ONS has published its House Price Index using data from May's sales.

The UK annual property price growth is now at  8.1% ( the same as April 2016).

This puts the  average UK house price at £211,000, up £16,000 over the course of 12 months, and £2,400 higher than April's figure.

uk property prices ONS data may 2016

Broken down by country - 
  • England -  average property price is £227,000, up 8.9% over the year.
  • Wales - average property price is £143,000, up  3.6% over the year.
  • Scotland - average property price is £143,000, up  4.0% over the year.
  • Northern Ireland  - average property price is  £118,000, up  3.6% over the year.
Then by English region.

regional house prices may 2016 ONS

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Prime London property could drop 40%

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Slough leads on property price growth

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Monday, July 18, 2016

0.9% fall in asking prices post-Brexit

The first bit of ppst-Brexit house price data is through with Rightmove’s asking price data for July 2016 (two weeks pre-Brexit vote and 2 week post ) has the average asking price down 0.9% (-£2,647)  from June.(although a holiday slowdown does typically result in  falls of  0.4% in July).

asking prices july 2016

Rightmove's Miles Shipside comments:

“As far as the price of property coming to market is concerned, the fall of 0.9% is within the range that we have seen at this time of year since 2010. With the onset of the summer holiday season new sellers typically price more conservatively and the average drop in the month of July is 0.4% over the last six years. Perhaps unsurprisingly this July’s fall is marginally larger, as political turbulence has a track record of unsettling sentiment. Indeed last year saw a seasonally unusual 0.1% fall in the run up to the May election, and a June and July price surge as a result of the post-election boost. Average new seller asking prices were up by 3.1% over that two-month period.

Housing markets do not like uncertainty, with positive sentiment typically driven by confidence and momentum, supported by low borrowing costs. There seems to be little prospect of an increase in historically low mortgage rates in the short to medium term, with even greater certainty readily available with increasingly competitive five-year or even ten-year fixed rates. Agents in areas where stock shortages were driving momentum before the referendum say activity has recovered quickly, with buyers’ fear of losing a scarce property a key factor. They say that very few deals have fallen through as a direct result of post-Brexit jitters. Those areas of the country whose housing markets were struggling or readjusting earlier in the year, such as parts of London, will continue on what is often a fairly lengthy path of price reductions to encourage buyers to return in numbers.

While confidence has been unsettled, the governmental instability in the few days after the referendum now seems to be being addressed far more quickly than was originally imagined. This is not a new credit crunch and the effect on banks and mortgage lending should be limited. As long as lenders keep mortgage deals attractive and available, the underlying demand for home-ownership should overcome most uncertainties.

If you’re putting your property on the market and are keen to sell, then pitching your asking price too high would be counter-productive in the current environment. Buyer affordability is already stretched and they will be looking for extra reassurance that they’re getting the best priced home to suit their needs. Pricing competitively will tempt buyers, some of whom are sitting on their hands. Sellers may be extra-willing to negotiate in some less active parts of the country, so there could be opportunities for a mutually beneficial deal for buyers combined with a speedier sale for sellers.”

The summary so far based on two weeks of post-Brexit-vote statistics is that the housing market remains steady, underpinned by the same fundamentals that have led to its recovery since the last downturn.”

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A BTL mortgage market update

So, what now for landlords?

Jane Simpson at Property Hawk Mortgages says:

It may be some time before we get a clear vision of what the ‘new normal’ is for landlords in the UK buy-to-let sector. The full impact of government regulatory and tax changes over the next couple of years remains to be seen and landlords will surely be considering the best ways to proceed with their buy-to-let businesses in the changing environment.

It is clear however, that tenant demand remains strong and may be increasing. As issues relating to home ownership continue there is a large proportion of the UK population living in rented properties and landlords play a crucial role in servicing the PRS. It is important therefore that landlords continue to provide good quality rental accommodation and are not forced to sell-up unnecessarily.

Despite the recent tax changes that appear to be an attempt to dampen the buy-to-let market, landlords can still find opportunities to make their property investments work for them. There has been a lot of commentary recently about the potential benefits of using a corporate structure to hold property portfolios in order to avoid new tax levies and this is certainly something that some landlords are considering.

There are also plenty of options for landlords seeking out properties that could provide above average returns. For example, auction properties in need of refurbishment, student lets or semi-commercial properties.

Buying property at auction is potentially a great way to bag a bargain as purchases can sometimes be made from urgent sellers below the current market-value. It is also an opportunity to find cheaper properties that may need some light refurbishment work in order to make them attractive on the rental market. Either option provides the potential to make a profit on the increased post-purchase value of the property.

Most landlords buy auction properties using either cash or a short-term bridging solution and may look to obtain a buy-to-let mortgage immediately afterwards. There are a number of buy-to-let lenders who will consider a ‘day one remortgage’ including Aldermore, Axis Bank, Fleet Mortgages, Foundation Homeloans, Kent Reliance, Mortgage Trust, Paragon Mortgages, Shawbrook Bank and Virgin Money.

Student lets are another possibility, which can often provide higher than average yields as rent can be charged to a number of different tenants for one property. Although some landlords may shy away from students, thinking that they may make unreliable tenants, there really is no evidence to support this and it could be a missed opportunity.

Research for the National Landlord Association (NLA) found that students are least likely to miss rent payments and also provide the highest yields. However, student accommodation tends to endure more wear and tear so may incur higher maintenance costs.

Property Hawk Mortgages currently has fourteen lenders on its panel that will considering student lets, including Aldermore and Godiva with a maximum of 4 students, Precise with up to 8 students, Paragon with up to 20 students and Shawbrook with no maximum.

For landlords concerned by the buy-to-let stamp duty increase, semi-commercial properties can provide an opportunity for property investors to avoid the additional 3 per cent charge. For example, currently a single freehold that includes a commercial property, such as a shop with living accommodation above, is not subject to the levy increase. So potentially, an investor can buy the single freehold property and then create separate leases for the commercial element and the residential element. The flat above the shop could then be considered for a buy-to-let mortgage.

At Property Hawk Mortgages we get enquiries on a wide range of different property types in locations all around the UK and it is no surprise that the valuations and expected rental income varies considerably even for properties that seem very similar. It is certainly advisable for landlords to carefully research the areas they are buying in and to seek out those that can provide the best returns. For landlords who don’t need to provide hands on management of their properties, looking further afield may also provide some excellent possibilities.

Periodically reports are published from various sources hailing the new buy-to-let hotspots and these could be worthy of investigation by landlords. For example, Hull was named best coastal town for buy-to-let investment by LendInvest with returns of up to 10.7%; a recent article in Mortgage Introducer highlighted Glasgow as an attractive buy-to-let proposition, with evidence of flats that come on to the rental market in the city attracting up to ten different applicants. Properties can be more affordable in Glasgow and high tenant demand helps ensure a reasonable rental income.

At one point in time it was quite difficult to arrange finance for properties in Scotland due to the different legal system and most lenders chose to avoid it. However, there is now a wider, albeit still reduced, choice of lenders for properties in Scotland, although some still restrict the areas of the country they will consider.

In summary, it seems likely that the buy-to-let sector will persevere, although the market may be somewhat subdued for the remainder of the year and into 2017 as landlords consider their options and work out the best way forward. However, there are still plenty of opportunities for buy-to-let investors and the most rewarding properties may be found in some unassuming places.

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.

A Fair Wear and Tear Guide by Mydeposits

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Thursday, July 14, 2016

BofE keep base rate at 0.5%

The Bank of England have kept the base rate at 0.5% despite all the talk of dropping it to 0.25%.

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House prices rise 0.6% in June say LSL

The data from LSL Property Services House Price Index for June is out.

The largely pre-Brexit data has annual property price growth at 6%, with the average property now costing £293,444.

All good, but hold on let's wait for next months Brexit fall-out. 

In brief LSL has -
  • Transaction numbers climb back to 2015 levels but Brexit looms large 
  • London house prices down 1.4% (£8,400) month-on-month – biggest fall since May 2011 
  • Slough and Luton top the leader board for annual house price growth at 21% 
  • Transactions in June 2016 were down 13% on June 2015

  •  2016  is looking uncertain
Adrian Gill, LSL director, Adrian Gill, comments: 

“Brexit is going to have a wide range of influences on the market, both positive and negative. How they will all balance out is far from clear, but they are going to increasingly dominate the market in the months ahead.”
house prices lsl june 2016

Read the post-Brexit RICS forecasts for property prices

Londoners negotiating on property

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RICS do their best to calm property prices

Following the great and unwashed of Britain calling for Brexit the RICS UK Residential Market Survey for June 2016 reflects the mass uncertainty.

Nobody really has a clue as to what's going to happen next, (none more so than the leaders of the Brexit campaign).

It's left both property sellers and buyers in a spin, like chickens wondering if now is quite the right time to be crossing the road.

Nobody wants to buy a property, only to find that it's dropped 10% before they've finished unwrapping their salad bowls.

The RICS have done their best to calm nerves Their guess work is clearly designed to look as if whilst acknowledging the risk of a short-term drop, some back-stroking for buyers regards longer-term values, might be enough reassurance.

However, realistically, I'm picturing there's been a lot of coin tossing going on in agent's back offices up and down the land.

Key points from the RICS survey -

  • Buyer enquiries down for the third month in a row - now lowest since 2008
  • A sharp fall in agreed sales - further short term drops predicted
  • 12 month price falls predicted for London and East
  • Longer term outlook positive

Drop in supply and demand

Increasing numbers of agents are reporting steep falls in both new buyer enquiries and supply of properties for sale.

Agent predictions in the short term ( 3 months )

Agents are predicting a further drop in sales activity over the coming three months, with agents giving their most negative short-term outlook since 1998.

Although the Brexit fall out doesn't appear to have hit prices yet, with London the only region where agents are reporting actual price falls.

That said, in the short term agents are increasingly predicting price falls in the short term (next 3 months ).

Agent predictions in the mid term ( 1 year )

Agents predict over the next 12 months the dip in prices is only expected to persist in London and East Anglia and longer term.

Agent predictions in the long term ( 5 years )

Prices are still expected to rise, although at a slower rate than previously anticipated. A cumulative increase of 14% on property prices projected over the course of the next five years.

Rents predictions

Agents are predicting rents to remain resilient.

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Half of middle class children in rented accommodation

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Pros and cons of BTL in 2016

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Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Scottish planning reforms set out

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Latest ONS data on UK population

The upward pressure on house prices and rents.
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US housing crisis is a warning for UK

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Rents still growing but slowing

Homelet's rental data for June 2016 has the average rent in the UK (excluding Greater London) at £773 per month,  annual growth of 3.5% , with the average rent in London now at £1,575, up 3.9% on the year.

Although rents are still going up, the annual rate of growth has slowed. Annual growth rate in May was 4.4 per cent ( compared with June's rate of 3.5%), with London down from 6.2% last month to 3.9% in this latest data.

Compared with this time last year when annual rental growth rate was at 7.8% (London at 10.1%).

Homelet Chief Executive Officer, Martin Totty, comments:

“The June HomeLet Rental Index shows that the rental market remains resilient in the face of the various economic and political headwinds the sector has faced recently. Landlords are continuing to secure rental growth whilst there are some early signs of affordability criteria beginning to bear on the rates of rental price growth”

The impact of the EU referendum vote will now play out over the months ahead: if, as expected, the result acts as a restraint on the supply of new housing, the gap between demand and supply in the private rental sector will remain marked; all the more so if more people decide to rent while waiting to see what happens to house prices.

Landlords will be considering their position carefully, particularly in the light of further taxation changes to come next year, which could reduce net yields; with long-term drivers such as net population growth still in place, it is likely that rents will continue to rise, though affordability will continue to be crucial. The recent slowdown in rental growth rates may suggest an affordability ceiling is being approached.”

Monday, July 11, 2016

Most popular buy-to-let mortgages

Max LTVInitial RateTermCompletion feeBooking feeIncentivesLender
85%4.99% Discount2 Years2.5%£130.00NoKent Reliance
80%2.89% Discount2 Years0%£0.00NoHanley Economic Exclusive
80%3.6% Fixed2018-06-300%£150.00Free Valuation and free legal services(other fees may apply).Mortgage Trust Exclusive
75%2.69% Discount2018-08-31£1299£0.00Free Valuation (on properties up to and including £500,000)Newcastle Building Society
75%2.85% Fixed2018-06-301%£150.00Free ValuationMortgage Trust Exclusive
75%2.95% Fixed2018-08-310%£0.00Free Valuation (on properties up to and including £500,000. ) Newcastle Building Society will pay for some of the legal fees for the re-mortgage including the basic professional fee and standard disbursements. The basic fee payable does not include a Telegraphic Transfer Fee (£30) where this fee is applicable and any non standard work such as but not inclusive too : Assured Short hold Tenancy Checks, Transfer of Equity, Removing Second or Subsequent Charges and Completing electronic Identification Checks. Newcastle Building Society
75%3.49% Fixed2 Years1.5%£100.00NoAxis Bank
75%4.09% Fixed2021-10-31£1999£125.00NoFoundation Prime
75%4.59% Fixed5 Years2%£100.00NoAxis Specialist
65%3.55% Fixed2019-10-31£1499£150.00NoParagon Premier Ltd Company

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.

Tax benefits of joint buy-to-let mortgages

With the new buy-to-let tax changes coming into play in 2017, landlords will be looking to off-set their increased levy payments.

In some circumstances, it may be beneficial for landlords to own their properties jointly with a spouse.
Profits derived from the property would be split between both applicants and if the spouse is in a lower tax bracket, this could reduce the overall tax bill.
It is important that landlords always seek professional advice regarding their individual tax affairs to assess the best way to deal with their buy-to-let investments.

First-time landlords or first time buyers.

A person who has never owned a property, either to live in or let out, may find only a limited choice of buy-to-let mortgages available to them.
However, a wider range of finance options becomes available if they apply jointly with an existing owner-occupier or landlord. Most lenders only require that the first applicant currently owns a property.
For example, young adults who either cannot afford to buy their own home or prefer to rent, may jointly purchase a buy-to-let property with one of their parents in order to get a foot on the property ladder.

Pooling resources

Although it is possible to get a buy-to-let mortgage at 85% loan-to-value, these products are more expensive and options are limited.
However, applicants with a larger deposit will have access to a much wider and cheaper selection of mortgages.
By pooling their resources, joint applicants may find themselves better off with more upfront to invest in their buy-to-let business.

To discuss your buy-to-let mortgage requirements please contact the Property Hawk Mortgages team on:

London flatshare data - ES article

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Scrapping EPC petition launched

A Petition to scrap Energy Performance Certificates has been put up on the Parliament Petitions website.

EPC's are the only surviving part of the Home Information Pack ( remember those folders of tree felling nonsensical beauracracy ) . 

All part of an EU diktat, European Union Directive 2002/91/EC, so post-brexit we won't have to keep them.

The question is do we think their something worthwhile?

Are they useful to tenants, buyers and not to forget the environment.

Personally I think they've helped encourage homeowners/landlords insulate  the UK's draughty old housing stock.

If you don't agree,, you can put your name down on the -

Growth if rental sector building plotted

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17 tenants share a 3 bed house in Brent

Brent Council report finding seventeen men renting a 3 bedroom terraced house in Kingsbury area.

The 3 bedroom house in multiple occupation was described by council officers as somewhat 'cramped'

The property was also found to have no working hot water and no heating, in poor repair, with grimy mattresses filling small rooms shared by as many as five men.

Unsurprisingly, the kitchen was filthy.

The tenants claim they club together their share of the £1200 per month rent in cash, which is then passed on to the landlord by a head tenant.

This 'head tenant' now faces prosecution proceedings. 

Brent Council is following a more pro-active  campaign to disrupt illegal lettings to help reduce the impact of substandard, squalid and overcrowded accommodation on  tenants' lives and those of their neighbours.

Brent landlords can apply for their license or if you wish to report illegal rental property in Brent email or call 020 8937 2384/5.

Thursday, July 07, 2016

A Landlord Case Study - LetMe

Following the introduction of LetMe Corporate via Property Hawk, Dean Thompson of LMC is pleased to offer the first in a series of blog articles, drawn from real life experiences of existing customers….

This is a case study of a private landlord renting their property through LetMe, a revolutionary new online agency that offers 12 months’ rent upfront, as well as a condition guarantee and a full management package. 

LetMe has recently started offering free and unrestricted listing on Rightmove and Zoopla for all landlords.

Steve King is a Business Development Manager from Bournemouth. He owns one property in the town centre and has been using LetMe’s full management service for almost a year. A change in family circumstances led to Steve becoming a landlord, “When my wife and I found out we were having a child we decided to move to a bigger place. Rather than sell the property we took some equity out and let it instead.”

Taking his first steps into the world of property investment, Steve encountered some problems when renting his property privately; “I let my property, for a short period of time, to someone that worked in the same office as me. That was somewhat difficult, I saw them every day, so any minor issue they had they would always want to speak to me.”

When Steve discovered LetMe he was pleasantly surprised by how simple, efficient and ‘stress free’ the process was. Within a few weeks of signing up, the property had been let, and tenants had moved in. He decided to use LetMe rather than any other agent because of the 12 months’ rent upfront guarantee. He said, “The key thing from my side is that I don’t need to worry about whether or not I’m going to receive the rent each month. At the time I actually needed a lump sum of cash so it was useful to have.”

Steve also found the certainty of the property condition guarantee was a weight off his mind. 

“Even if the tenants were to trash the place or have a big party or something, it’s still going to be put back to the condition it was in when you first let the property.” 

This risk-free approach means that Steve has decided he will definitely be renewing his contract with LetMe in a few months’ time. 

With the recent changes to stamp duty Steve has decided not to expand his sideline business right now, but he said that he would like to aquire another buy-to-let property at some point in the future. 

He said, “I see property as a good investment, and as something to buy and hold onto for the future, especially now that I have a family.”

The advice Steve has for any prospective buy-to-let landlords is to buy a low maintenance property. 

He said, “The main mistake I made from a buy-to-let perspective was that I bought a character property, an old Victorian house, so it just meant there was inevitably more maintenance than there is on a new build. So if I was going to buy again, as a bespoke buy-to-let investment, it would probably be a more modern building that didn’t need constant attention.”

The tenants who are renting Steve’s property are also delighted with the service they have received with LetMe. 

Steve explained that their decision to move to Bournemouth was very last minute; 

“They moved down from Scotland. They decided to move on a Saturday, got here on the Monday and they had moved into the property a week later so it was a very quick turnaround for them.” 

Happy in the knowledge that his tenants are pleased, and that his investment is safe, Steve says that he would happily recommend LetMe to friends and family who are looking to let their own properties.

Dean and the professional team at LetMe Corporate are happy to answer any questions you may have about the service or indeed when you are ready to send your first property. Please CLICK HERE and complete the contact form and one of the team will contact you swiftly to walk you through the process.

Mortgage rates to keep falling

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How many tenants can you fit in a terraced house?

How many tenants can a landlord fit in a 2 storey terraced house?

The answer is 28, but obviously, not legally.

The Hackney Citizen has reported the prosecution of landlord Alfred Landau, who had been letting out his seven-room rental property in Stoke Newington to 28 tenants.

An early morning raid by council officers discovered 28 tenants sleeping cheek by jowl, in rooms crammed with bunk beds and mattresses and all sharing just a single bathroom and kitchen.

The House in Multiple Occupation was unlicensed, had no fire alarms or CO detectors installed and had an illegally converted attic dormitory.

Thames Magistrates Court handed Mr Landau the maximum possible penalty available to them - a £20,000 fine, alongside fees of £1,845.

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