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Friday, January 29, 2016

The most popular BTL mortgages

Max LTVInitial RateTermCompletion feeBooking feeIncentivesLender
85%4.99% Discount2 Years2.5%£130.00NoKent Reliance Semi Exclusive
85%5.19% Fixed2 Years2.5%£130.00NoKent Reliance Semi Exclusive
85%5.29% Discount2 Years2.5%£130.00NoKent Reliance Multi Let & Ltd Co. Semi Exclusive
80%4.6% Fixed2019-03-311.5%£150.00NoParagon Premier
80%4.85% Fixed2019-03-311.5%£150.00NoParagon Premier HMO
80%5.39% Variable0 Years2%£0.00NoSaffron Light Refurbishment
75%2.35% Fixed2018-04-302.5%£0.00Free Valuation (on properties up to and including £500,000)Newcastle Building Society
75%3.49% Fixed2021-04-302.5%£0.00Free Valuation (on properties up to and including £500,000)Newcastle Building Society
75%3.49% Fixed2 Years1.5%£100.00NoAxis Bank
75%4.59% Fixed5 Years2%£100.00NoAxis Specialist

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.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Private sector interest in PRS

The Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) has committed to provide £1bn of funds for the Private Rental Sector (PRS).

The bank has allocated £1 bn from its £30 bn loan book to provide development and investment finance for the private rental sector.

This week there has been a number of large companies expressing interest in investing in the Private Rental Sector.  Companies will not be affected by the income tax rises proposed by the Chancellor for private investors.

According to Property Week Legal and General have announced plans to invest £600m and Grainger Trust also have announced a pledge to announce £850m in the sector.

Landlord insurance - professional rates - online brokers

TDS rates continue to rise

A report by the Centre of Economics Business Research claims 284,000 landlords have failed to  place all their tenants deposits into one of the government-backed tenancy deposit schemes.

The figures, based on CEBR research, alongside certain extrapolations, and fingers held to the breeze, approximate that somewhere in the region of 85 per cent of landlords comply with  the tenancy deposit protection legislation.

The research tank estimates this figure equates to approx. £514 million in unprotected tenant deposits.

According to Cebr data the percentage of landlords protecting deposits continues to increase -
  • 2008: 35.2%
  • 2009: 54.6%
  • 2010: 63%
  • 2011: 70.6%
  • 2012: 72.2%
  • 2013: 77.2%
  • 2014: 80.8%
  • 2015: 85.5% 
If discovered, landlords can expect to be fined approximately three times the deposit value.

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Wednesday, January 27, 2016

I still think London house prices will crash

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Is the housing market out of control?

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YourMove rent index up 0.4% in Dec

Agency, Your Move, have released their December buy-to-let index for Scotland.

Their index shows rents north of the border, rose by 0.4% in December.

The average monthly rent in Scotland is now £548, 2.2 per cent higher than a year ago.

Universal Credit driving people into debt

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House prices edge up in Jan - Nationwide

Nationwide House Price Index for January 2016 has been released -
  • Average house price up 0.3% in January.  
  • Annual house price growth at 4.4%.
Commenting on their figures, Nationwide's Chief Economist, Robert Gardner, says: 

“The pace of UK house price growth remained broadly stable during January. Indeed, annual house price growth has remained in a fairly narrow range between 3% and 5% since the summer of 2015. This trend was maintained in January, with house prices up 4.4% over the year, broadly in line with the 4.5% increase recorded in December.

As we look ahead, the risks are skewed towards a modest acceleration in house price growth, at least at the national level. The labour market appears to have significant forward momentum. Employment has continued to rise at a robust rate in recent months and, while the pace of earnings growth has slowed somewhat, in inflation-adjusted terms regular wages continue to rise at a healthy pace

With this trend expected to continue and with interest rates also likely to stay on hold for longer than previously anticipated, the demand for homes is likely to strengthen in the months ahead.

“The concern remains that construction activity will lag behind strengthening demand, putting upward pressure on house prices and eventually reducing affordability. Indeed, the market is already characterised by a shortage of stock, with the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors reporting that the number of properties on estate agents’ books remains close to all-time lows.”

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Tenant to pay £1,000 for pet damage

It hardly seems fair but a Nottinghamshire tenant has been ordered to pay just £1,000 after causing £12,000 worth of damage to their rental property.

Despite Martin Starsmore, 28, signing a tenancy agreement with a 'no pets' clause he and his wife moved in a border collie and three cats into the rental property in Newark.

Nottingham Magistrates’ Court heard how Mr and Mrs Starsmore refused the letting agent entry to inspect the condition of the rental property during the course of the tenancy.

The prosecution claimed £12,000 of damage was discovered when the property was finally vacated, much of which were caused by dog urine and excrement, both inside and outside the property, as well as damage to UPVC windows and a cooker. 

The ground floor carpets needed to be replaced at a cost of £1,012.

Other building repairs carried out totalled £4,000 according to the agent. 

Mr and Mrs Starsmore's £795 deposit bond ­on the house was not returned. 

Nottingham Magistrates’ Court ordered Mr Starsmore to pay £1,000 in compensation to Richard Watkinson and Partners estate agents to cover the cost of new carpets. 

Carney to be grilled over BTL boom

The Governor of the Bank of England will be questioned by the Treasury committee today on UK financial stability,  in particular, concerns over the continuing boom in buy-to-let property investing.

Concern over Stamp Duty change - ARLA

The ARLA Private Rental Sector report for December reflects the usual seasonal lull in the rental market -  a drop in supply of rental properties matched by a fall in tenant demand.

ARLA report their agents registered an average of 29 prospective new tenants during December, down from November's - 34, and saw the average number of managed rental properties drop to 182, down from 189 in November.

The number of rent increases also slowed, with only 18% of letting agents reporting a growth in rent – down from 23% in November, and the lowest rate of 2015.

ARLA managing director, David Cox, reflected: 

“As we’d expect in December, the UK saw a lull in activity, with people putting off any moves until January. The supply of housing stock was down, and fewer tenants were on the hunt for new properties. It’s reassuring to see the number of agents reporting rent increases is still on the decline – some encouraging news for tenants as we start 2016.”

Moving into 2016

The majority of ARLA letting agents report concern over the BTL stamp duty reforms, with 62% predicting the reforms will increase rents costs, and 65% expecting to see decreasing supply as some landlords exit the lettings market.

However, in the short term, 24% agents have reported an up-swing in demand from BTL investors, galvanised by the looming April stamp duty deadline.

David Cox concludes: 

“With supply, demand and the number of agents reporting rent increases all declining in December, this could well be the calm before the buy-to-let storm. Buy-to-let landlords determined to complete purchases before the changes come into force in April are storming the UK housing market, meaning the lull we’d usually see is less significant. But subsequently, after April, we’re very likely to see the number of buy-to-let properties on the market begin to decrease, and this will most certainly have a detrimental effect on renters across the country.”

Rising housing benefit bill

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Monday, January 25, 2016

Another second home stamp duty guide

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Map of affordable property areas

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7 things to know about Right to Rent

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BTL versus FTBs creating mini-bubble

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Online rental fraud rising steeply

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£5 million rogue landlord fund

A £5 million Government fund is to be shared out between 48 UK councils to help tackle rogue landlords.

The fund is to help councils tackle issues, such as ‘beds in sheds’.

Housing Minister Brandon Lewis believes the fund will enable councils to identify problem neighbourhoods, increase raids on problem properties, issue more statutory notices and to demolish sheds and other prohibited developments used for residential letting.

According to Lewis -

‘Significant progress has already been made, now with £11.7 million distributed to councils to crack down on rogue landlords and we have introduced protection for tenants against retaliatory eviction where they have a legitimate complaint and stopped landlords from serving an open-ended eviction notice at the start of a tenancy,’ 

The measures will not hamper the vast majority of landlords who are diligent and responsible. Many private rental tenants are happy with their home and the service they receive, but there are still rogue landlords that exploit vulnerable people and force their tenants to live in overcrowded and squalid accommodation.
The funding will ensure tenants know what level of service they can expect and have confidence to get help and take action if things go wrong,’

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Landlords which utility provider should you choose?

I'm getting 'brassed off' with utility companies.  For the most part landlords are totally disinterested on which utility company a tenant uses.  At the end of the day, it will not make any difference to them because it's the tenant who pays.  Not always true.

Landlords with empty properties are getting fleeced

I've recently experienced a situation where I have had two empty rental properties.  The first because I'm in the process of selling it: the other is being refurbished.  I've paid out nearly a grand... yep £1000 pounds whilst I've not used a single kilowatt of gas or electricity.  This p...s me off big time.  Despite telling the utility company that the property is empty and therefore will not be using any energy (even the fridge is switched off)  Utility Warehouse insist on sending me estimated readings of the bill which includes a usage figure that assumes somebody is still living there.  If I don't pay they start sending me threatening letters.  Do I really have the time to explain every month to some clueless operative that the property is empty & therefore the readings will be exactly the same as the previous ones.

Where else would you get charged for not using anything.  The logic that the utility companies hang this absurd charging on is that I'm using their service so hence the fixed service or standing charge. 

Why landlords should change to this utility company

Landlords do have a choice.  If landlords like me who have their property empty for any period of time, whether it being a rental void, because it's being refurbished or being sold then there is an alternative to getting clobbered by the utility company.  I've done a bit of research on the old 'tinternet' and low and behold Ebico is a utility provider where you don't have to pay any standing charge.  Therefore if you use no power you don't get charged.  I've therefore switched both empty rental properties to Ebico.  The company is part of Scottish & Southern Electricity and so far they have been incredibly helpful.  The only thing left for me to do is go back to Utility Warehouse and try and explain again that the my final reading is much less than any of their estimated readings because the property is EMPTY.  Get it!!!  Hopefully, they do and I'll then get a big refund for all those overcharged bills.

Landlord insurance - professional rates - online brokers

Saturday, January 23, 2016

HMO property on 12% yield

Property Hawk is a great believer in landlords doing it for themselves so when we were contacted by a Property Hawk user Ali with details of her HMO property for sale we'd give her rental property a quick plug.  The key aspects of the HMO for sale are:

  •  LICENSED HMO FOR 5 TENANTS - Melton Mowbray - Leicestershire
  • £249,000
  • 3 storey house built 2010 with 5 live in Professional single tenants in situ
  • Annual rental £28,572
  • £1800.00 total deposit protected
  • Gross rental yield 12.2% 
  • Highest quality furnished double bedrooms and communal lounge ,shared kitchen, superb garden
  • All rooms have large flat screen TVs
  • 4 luxury bathroom/shower rooms
  • Parking on road and on drive unlimited wi-fi internet
  • DASH accredited landlord
  • Nest intelligence thermostat fitted can be programmed from anywhere in the world by smart phone app or laptop, tablet
  • All certificates for gas , electric up to date . mains wired smoke/ heat detectors,carbon monoxide testers
  • HIGHLY sought after area . viewings highly recommend
For more details

Mortgage Search - Finance my investment

Thursday, January 21, 2016

This weeks popular BTL mortgages

Max LTV Initial Rate Term Completion fee Booking fee Incentives Lender
85% 4.99% Discount 2 Years 2.5% £130.00 No Kent Reliance Semi Exclusive
85% 5.19% Fixed 2 Years 2.5% £130.00 No Kent Reliance Semi Exclusive
85% 5.29% Discount 2 Years 2.5% £130.00 No Kent Reliance Multi Let & Ltd Co. Semi Exclusive
80% 4.6% Fixed 2019-03-31 1.5% £150.00 No Paragon Premier
80% 4.85% Fixed 2019-03-31 1.5% £150.00 No Paragon Premier HMO
80% 5.39% Variable 0 Years 2% £0.00 No Saffron Light Refurbishment
75% 2.35% Fixed 2018-04-30 2.5% £0.00 Free Valuation (on properties up to and including £500,000) Newcastle Building Society
75% 3.49% Fixed 2021-04-30 2.5% £0.00 Free Valuation (on properties up to and including £500,000) Newcastle Building Society
75% 3.49% Fixed 2 Years 1.5% £100.00 No Axis Bank
75% 4.59% Fixed 5 Years 2% £100.00 No Axis Specialist

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.

London, the worlds biggest property bubble

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RICS report pre-Stamp Duty BTL surge

RICS Residential Market Survey for December has surveyors seeing a jump in buyer demand, fuelled largely by reports of a surge in BTL, as landlords 'jump in' to beat this April's Stamp Duty increases. 
  • Demand up in December to a three-month high
  • Anecdotal evidence points to a jump in buy-to-let interest leading demand
  • First rise in new instructions since beginning of 2015
According to RICS Chief Economist Simon Rubinsohn -

'The housing market has experienced an unusually buoyant December. Those in the industry have been speculating that this is the result of the Chancellor’s announcement last November. Potential buy-to-let investors are looking to pick up properties before the increased stamp duty levy comes into force next April. If that is the case, then we can expect to see the housing market heating up further over the next few months.

The belief that demand was fuelled by announcements included in the Autumn Statement was further supported by qualitative responses to the survey. Chartered Surveyor, Robert Green of Chelsea-based Estate Agent, John D Wood & Co. said: “December was busier than normal as stamp duty changes have brought buyers back to the market, ahead of April.” While James McKillop of Knight Frank, London said: “The three per cent Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) proposal in the Autumn Statement has led to more buyers firming up their intention to buy additional residences in my region before 1 April.'

Read more on RICS Residential Market Survey for December 2016

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Tory councillor fails to act on notice

Ooh, the shame. A Tory councillor, who happens to also be a landlord, has pleaded guilty to failing to carry out the necessary improvement works to his Primrose Hill rental flat.

Cllr Bucknell failed to act on an improvement notice issued by Camden Council on the 22nd August, 2014.

Ironically, Cllr Bucknell used to be Camden Conservatives’ spokesman for housing. 

The Cllr Bucknell pleaded guilty at  Highbury Magistrates Court, arguing there were complicated 'significant mitigating circumstances' and asking for additional time to prepare a statement of mitigation before sentencing. The court agreed to delay sentencing.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Confiscation Order of rents of £37k

Landlord Liakath Ali, has been handed a Confiscation Order totalling £37,000 over rents paid at four rental properties in Mile End by Snaresbrook Crown Court.

The Confiscation Order enables Tower Hamlets council to reclaim cash paid in rent by the tenants of  four rental properties, which were described as rat infested, mouldy, over-crowded, and without any proper fire safety precautions.

Liakath Ali, from Bedfordshire had already been found guilty of having broken a number of laws under the Housing Act for the Mile End properties by Thames magistrates. He did not attend the hearing.

Alongside the £37,000 Confiscation Order of rents, Ali faces £12,500 in fines and £17,500 costs -bringing it to a grand total of £67,000.

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Interest rates on hold

For landlords who were starting to sweat a little bit about the prospect of interest rates and their loan costs go up in 2016.  A little bit of good news coming from the turbulence in the commodity and global stockmarkets.  Mark Carney the Governor of the Bank of England has gone on record as saying there is no need for rates rises just yet.

When will interest rates rise?

Money market are now not predicting a rate rise until 2017.  This is good news for landlords like me who still have a number of variable rate buy-to-let mortgages.  I'm still choosing to remortgage one of my variable rate mortgages to a fixed rate mortgage and I'm still happy with this stategy of moving my loans towards long-term fixed rates to balance the risk in my portfolio against a sudden change in interest rates.  However, clearly we still live in extraordinary economic times which makes forecasting very difficult, so my advice to landlords is to spread their risk and expect and continue to plan for the unexpected.

Mortgage Search - whole of the market

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Forget BTL - another opinion

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Where to buy in London in 2016

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Average monthly rent rises to £919

Countrywide Lettings has released its rental data for 2015.

  • Average monthly rent in the UK now £919pcm
  • The East of England saw the highest growth,  rents up 6.5%, whilst Central London saw the lowest growth of just 0.5%
  • 34% of tenants renewing their tenancy saw their rent increase, up from 27% during 2014.
  • Increased demand means that the average rental property lets two days faster than in 2014.
  • The proportion of under 25s renting in the Capital fell by 4% in the last year.
2015 saw an imbalance of supply to meet the increasing demand.

Research Director at Countrywide, Johnny Morris, comments -

“A mix of steadily increasing demand and a lack of homes to rent supported rental growth in 2015, even though wage growth remained subdued. In the capital rising costs meant renters were more likely to move to Outer London or the commuter belt in search of more affordable places to live.

2016 looks to be a complicated year for landlords as the government focuses its efforts on boosting homeownership. The additional 3% stamp duty charge, stricter regulation and changes to tax relief from 2017 onwards will all take their toll on investor sentiment and impact behaviour.

With stock at a premium, the smaller landlords who decide to sell up will add upward pressure to rents, although any rises will be tempered by affordability pressures.”

countrywide rent index 2015 new tenancies

countrywide rent index 2015 existing tenancies

ONS publishes November's HPI data

The latest Office of National Statistics house price data is out. The data based on November's property sales show  that -

  • Annual house price inflation at 7.7% for the UK, 8.3% in England, 1.3% in Wales, 0.4% in Scotland and 4.6% in Northern Ireland.
  • Highest annual house price inflation areas in England were East (10.2%), the South East (9.8%) and London (9.8%).
  • Excluding London and the South East, annual house price inflation was 5.8%.
  • First time buyer annual house price inflation at 7.4% .
  • Owner-occupiers (existing owners)annual house price inflation at 7.8%. 

Councils too 'soft' on rogue landlords

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Monday, January 18, 2016

Rightmove's January HPI

Rightmove's latest HPI ( Jan 16) shows we haven't lost our obsession with property despite the doom-mongering press.

Rightmove data since the start of this year report higher prices and higher activity -
  • Price of property coming to market up 0.5% (+£1,509),
  • Rightmove site visits are up 21% in first working week of 2016 compared to same period in 2015

Read the full Rightmove HPI Report for January 2016 

Why I'm remortgaging

I'm sat here in bed waiting for a nice cheque of about £35,000 to land on my doorstep.  In times gone bye the prospect of such a relatively large amount of money hitting my bank coffers would have got me jittery with excitement.  These days I take it a little more in my stride.  In a sense it's not real money....but just numbers, which leads me onto why I have chosen to remortgage now.

Why am I remortgaging my BTL now?

Like a lot of things in life it's a combination of push and pull.  My current mortgage on the one bed apartment in question is a repayment mortgage which has dwindled nicely to a mere £20,000.  I could leave it to run it's course and pay the whole thing off over the next few years.  However, I do now have better things to do with my capital.  I'm paying a mere 2.25% interest currently but I'm mindful that interest rates will not stay at there current levels for ever.  I'm therefore looking at locking into the current extraordinary low rates.  By seeking the advice of a good BTL mortgage broker I've managed to find a 5 year fixed rate with the Mortgage Works that gives me 75% of the current £75,000 valuation  and as I've said should leave me a nice fat cheque of £35,000 even after all the legal and set up fees.  Why the Mortgage Works? Well this is on the advice of my mortgage brokers who very helpfully highlighted the fact that the Nationwide BS owned specialist lender will lend without you having to go through all the hassle of providing 3 years proof of earning backed up by your SA302.  Given that as ever I'm going to be doing my tax return right up to the last minute. I will not have the SA302 for 14/15 until probably next week.  No good if I need to remortgage now.

Lets be honest I need the money

Some would say it is not prudent to remortgage my buy-to-let when it's ticking along nicely and I'm now swapping for a higher rate.  They may be right but as is the case for all landlords we all have our own personal financial goals to meet.  This is what makes the sector so varied and exciting. When looking at my calculations even with a 75% LTV I am still covering my repayment costs on the loan even at the higher rate of interest and higher gearing.  The reality is I'm actually expanding my property portfolio for the first time in over a decade so in simple terms I need the 'cash' to finance the purchase of another property. This is lucky because it's one of the few categories that lenders like when seeking a justification of why they are remortgaging.  It's not a good idea to tell a prospective lender that you need the cash because you want to blow it on buying a Ferrari or once in a lifetime holiday.

So when `I say I need the cash it's a business decision where I'm recycling my assets into a new set of mainly property assets which will earn me way more than the 4.09 % I will have to pay in annual interest payments.  It's a pain that my cost of borrowing will go up in the short term but given the projections on future interest rates then my current cost of 2.25 % was likely to rise shortly anyway.

Should landlords remortgage now?

It's a classic dilemma for many landlords at the moment of whether to try and lock in the currently historically low interest rates.  Let's be honest many forecasters have been wrong to date with their forecasts of rapidly rising mortgage rates.  For me it's clear cut because having the capital is more important than paying the absolute minimum on interest charges.  Not all landlords are in this position and therefore for them it may be wiser to sit on their current historically low rates until mortgage rates make a dramatic movement.  The difficultly here is that the attractive longer term fixed rates would start to disappear way before rates do start to move.  There is as always when it comes to being a landlord no clear right or wrong answer.  Happy landlording!

Buy-to-let mortgages explained

Friday, January 15, 2016

Why Brits should give up on BTL

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Landlord MPs on the rise

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Rent in Brent? - a free landlord fair

If you rent in Brent, then you might want to attend the Brent Landlord Fair 2016.

Organised by Brent Council and the Genesis Housing Association the free event is to be held on Tuesday 19 January 2016 at Brent Civic Centre, Engineer’s Way, Wembley HA9 0FJ. 

The council claim landlords and agents will be able to learn about all the  'various schemes and incentive packages' on offer.

Free seminars will be hosted by Gas Safe, the NLA and the Brent Council housing benefit and procurement teams.

Light refreshments will also be provided for those in the market for 'tea and bickies'.

I can't confirm as to whether these will be free, but the web page claims the event is 'absolutely free', so here's hoping!

Find out more on the Brent Landlord Fair 2016 and how to register.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

£17,963 rise in average house price

The average house price in England and Wales rose 6.6% year on year to £292,077 according to Your LSL data.

An increase of £17,963 over 2015.

Unsurprisingly, Central London saw a fall of 8.7%, following election scares and the hike in top rate stamp duty.

Outside of prime London property, the rest of the capital faired best - London saw a 11% rise, outshining Nottingham, which came in second with an annual increase of 10.6%.

Adrian Gill, director at LSL (Reeds Rains and Your Move estate agents), comments: 

“The housing market has enjoyed some smooth sailing in the past year, with a steady 6.6% growth in house prices during 2015 rewarding homeowners and reinforcing our collective desire to own our own homes. The typical home across England and Wales is now worth £17,963 more than at the end of 2014, with new price records established every month throughout 2015 after twelve consecutive monthly rises. December also marks the highest year-on-year house price growth for ten months, and this may well prompt existing homeowners to move up to the next rung of the property ladder in 2016, freeing up homes at the bottom for first-time buyers. The rising tide of property prices has been propelled so far by a sinking supply of houses coming onto the market, compared with increasing enquiries from potential buyers eager to clamber aboard the property ladder. If the current speed of house price growth continues into 2016, the value of the average home may soon pass the £300,000 watermark, having reached £250,000 in December 2013. Property price rises have certainly left the recession in their wake, with house prices passing the £200,000 milestone only in October 2005.

During December, house prices rose by £1,650 (0.6%), a pick up from the 0.4% monthly uplift in November, and we may subsequently see prices surge further during the first quarter of 2016 before the Government’s new housebuilding programmes have a chance to boost the supply of property on the market. Home sales have surfed the waves of buyer demand in December, increasing 8.5% compared to November 2015. A total of 85,000 home sales represents the best figure for this month since 2006, with sales buoyed up by the extra support available for first-time buyers and rising wages.

The tide certainly turned for the Central London housing market last year. The hike to the top rate of stamp duty has taken the wind out of the centre’s sails, with house prices in the most expensive five boroughs falling by 8.7% on average during 2015. In Kensington and Chelsea, London’s most expensive borough, prices fell by 14.2% over the year. The tax changes announced in 2014’s Autumn Statement increased the rate of stamp duty on homes worth over £1.5 million to 12%, and while price increases in the central boroughs used to keep England and Wales’ house price growth afloat, since January they have been anchoring down the average price increases in London – and the country overall. The reality is that there has been an undercurrent of growth in the rest of London, with values outside these top-end boroughs rising by 11% year-on-year. The increase has been strongest in the cheaper boroughs, with Newham seeing 23.8% annual growth. But the overall price rise across the capital has been submerged by the top end, with the annual change in London standing at just 5.6%, below the UK average.

Regionally, house prices in the South East have been increasing at a rate of knots, enjoying the fastest growth of any region. The 8.1% year-on-year price rise in the South East has been particularly propelled by demand for homes in commuter towns. Luton has seen the largest increase of 18.5% year-on-year, with the average cost of a semi-detached home in the town increasing by approximately £40,000 since 2014. The East Midlands has also seen a significant surge in house prices, overtaking East Anglia to become the second fastest growing region in England. This acceleration has emanated from a boom in the City of Nottingham, which has seen year-on-year house price growth of 10.6%, boosting the region’s overall annual growth rate of 6.7%. Average property prices in the city have risen £14,691 in a year and now stand at £152,978.”

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Public meeting on Ealing licensing scheme

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Birmingham landlord fined for eviction

A Birmingham landlord has been fined £700 for illegally evicting his tenants.

Mirsad Solakovic had initially failed to follow the proper possession proceedings for his rental property in Bordesley Green. 

Birmingham City Council confirmed they had then written to Solakovic's management agent to outline the required legal procedure to obtain possession, which the agent had then began, however the landlord's impatience, meant he failed to wait the required two month notice period, and instead saw him 'take the law into his own hands.' 

Solakovic gained entry to the property when the tenants were out, changed the locks, then dumped all the possessions of the family of nine in a garage for them to reclaim.

Birmingham City Council cabinet Member told the Birmingham Mail 

“In this case, Mr Solakovic took the law into his own hands and unlawfully evicted a family. Today’s prosecution sends out a clear message that we will not tolerate this behaviour and will pursue those landlords who operate outside the law.”

Found guilty of  illegal eviction the landlord will need to pay a fine of £700, £1,500 costs and a victim surcharge of £70.

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Wednesday, January 13, 2016

The most popular BTL mortgages

Max LTVInitial RateTermCompletion feeBooking feeIncentivesLender
85%4.99% Discount2 Years2.5%£130.00NoKent Reliance Semi Exclusive
85%5.19% Fixed2 Years2.5%£130.00NoKent Reliance Semi Exclusive
85%5.29% Discount2 Years2.5%£130.00NoKent Reliance Multi Let & Ltd Co. Semi Exclusive
80%4.6% Fixed2019-03-311.5%£150.00NoParagon Premier
80%4.85% Fixed2019-03-311.5%£150.00NoParagon Premier HMO
80%5.39% Variable0 Years2%£0.00NoSaffron Light Refurbishment
75%2.35% Fixed2018-01-312.5%£199.00Free Valuation Newcastle Building Society
75%3.79% Fixed2 Years1.5%£100.00NoAxis Bank
75%4.25% Fixed2021-01-310%£199.00Free Valuation & Free Legal fees (remortgage) Free Valuation & £300 Cashback (House Purchase)Newcastle Building Society
75%4.59% Fixed5 Years2%£100.00NoAxis Specialist

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.

Prepare now for BTL stamp duty changes

Stamp duty changes for buy-to-let purchases

In his Autumn Statement, the Chancellor announced that higher rates of stamp duty will be charged on property purchased for buy-to-let purposes (above £40,000). This change will come into effect on purchases that complete from midnight on 31 March 2016. The higher rate of stamp duty for buy-to-let purposes will be 3 percentage points above the current stamp duty rates and will represent a significant cost for buyers.

What you can do to get ready

Whether you are purchasing a property or raising funds to facilitate a purchase of another property, it is important that you understand how this change could affect you. If you are arranging a buy-to-let mortgage with Property Hawk Mortgages, please ensure that you provide us with all the information we need to process your mortgage application as early as possible.

Allow sufficient time

Please remember that even after we have received all the information for your mortgage application, lenders will need time to carry out some essential checks, including the assessment of the subject property before the mortgage can be approved. In addition, as we could see a higher volume of applications over the next three months, it might be difficult for lenders to keep within standard timescales.

Once we have received the information for your case, we will do everything we can to help facilitate the transaction before the end of March. However, we can't guarantee that we will be able to help you meet the deadline and you should be aware that it will be your responsibility to cover the additional stamp duty charge if the mortgage completes after the deadline.

Getting support

Please contact us if you require any further information or an update on your application.

Tel: 029 2069 5446


Housing Bill passes third reading

Housing and Planning Bill got by its Third Reading. 

The vote in the Houses of Parliament saw 309 in favour, to 216 against. 

The Bill is expected to be passed into law by the summer.

Zac Goldsmith managed to squeeze in his London Mayoral Election amendment. The “Zac amendment”, calls for a “2 for 1” guarantee, meaning 'at least two new affordable homes are provided for each old dwelling [sold]” by London Councils.

A Labour amendment, put forward by shadow housing minister Teresa Pearce failed to fly. The amendment to ensure that all rented accommodation was “safe for people to live in” was defeated by 312 votes to 219.

Local Government Minister, Marcus Jones argued that the Labour proposal would cause “unnecessary regulation and cost to landlords.”

More outright homeowners than mortgaged

Take advantage of our discounted landlord insurance rates

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Right to rent checks start

Landlords need to be aware that they have less than a month before the right to rent legislation goes live.  From the 4th January landlords can carry out the rental checks required to find out whether a tenant has a right to rent in the UK.  These checks will be required by the 1st February and are required of a landlord of tenants that have immigrated into the UK to ensure that they have a right to reside in the UK.
This is a landlords guide to checking immigration documents.

A pilot scheme has been running since 2014 in the West Midlands but the scheme will go nationwide from the start of February.  The right to rent checks are detailed here.

Landlord insurance - online brokers - professional rates

Monday, January 11, 2016

Saturday, January 09, 2016

Info a landlord must give a tenant

A landlord who takes a tenant deposit must provide their tenant with certain information to stay legal.  The information known as the section 213 notice has taken on more importance since the tightening up of the tenancy deposit scheme legislation as a result of the Localism Act 2011.

Once you have received your tenants rental deposit a landlord has 30 days to tell their tenant:

    •    the address of the rented property
    •    how much deposit you’ve paid
    •    how the deposit is protected
    •    the name and contact details of the tenancy deposit protection (TDP) scheme and its dispute resolution service
    •    their (or the letting agency’s) name and contact details
    •    the name and contact details of any third party that’s paid the deposit
    •    why they would keep some or all of the deposit
    •    how to apply to get the deposit back
    •    what to do if you can’t get hold of the landlord at the end of the tenancy
    •    what to do if there’s a dispute over the deposit

For information of Tenancy Deposit Scheme Fees

If you do get into a dispute with your tenant then here are some tips on how to deal with tenancy deposit disputes.

You can download and send your own free prescribed information through the Property Manager.

Landlord insurance - rent guarantee insurance - professional rates

Friday, January 08, 2016

The BTL mortgage market in 2016

What’s in store for 2016?

Jane Simpson at Property Hawk Mortgages says:

2015 was a successful year for the buy-to-let mortgage market. There has been a marked improvement in the marketplace with new lenders entering and a significant increase in the number of products for landlord clients to choose from. This has resulted in increased competition and better rates.

However, it hasn’t all been such encouraging news as the Government announced two new levies affecting buy-to-let investors. The first blow to landlords is the reduction in the level of tax relief available to them being phased in from 2017. Under the new scheme landlords will no longer be able to deduct mortgage interest from their rental income before calculating how much tax they owe, but will instead get a tax credit equivalent to 20 per cent basic tax rate on the amount. This could significantly impact the profits that landlords make on their buy-to-let investments and some could even end up operating at a loss.

However, these tax changes do not affect limited companies, so 2016 could see a rise in the number of landlords looking to hold their properties in a Special Purpose Vehicle. At Property Hawk Mortgages we have started to get an increasing number of enquiries about limited company mortgages and there has already been a reaction by lenders to the growth in demand with many more products now available in this area.

The second blow to landlords is the additional 3 per cent stamp duty on buy-to-let properties which will come into effect in April 2016. This new buy-to-let surcharge will certainly make prospective landlords think hard before investing in rental property, especially amateur landlords who are considering just one or two buy-to-let investments as a supplement to their pension plans. The returns may not be attractive enough anymore.

As a result of this change to stamp duty, it is expected that there could be a flurry of buy-to-let purchases during the first quarter of 2016 as landlords look to secure new properties before the increased charge comes into play. Landlords looking to make buy-to-let purchases in the early part of 2016 should be aware of the impending changes and make sure to get their applications in earlier enough so that they complete before April.

Interestingly, Property Hawk Mortgages has recently launched a bridge-to-let scheme with Aldermore. Aldermore provides a flexible approach to short-term lending, offering straightforward bridging finance including an exit route onto one of their standard buy-to-let mortgages. The scheme is ideal for buy-to-let auction purchases, properties not suitable for mortgage purposes or those in need of refurbishment or renovation.

We may find that this scheme also proves popular for new buy-to-let purchases as April approaches. The cost of taking out a bridging loan for a short period is likely to be less than the 3 per cent increase in stamp duty.

Generally speaking, I am expecting 2016 to be another good year for buy-to-let with healthy competition between lenders and a large number of products in the marketplace. There could well be new providers joining the sector and we may see more offering mortgages for specialist areas of buy-to-let lending such as for HMOs, limited companies and student lets.

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.

Wednesday, January 06, 2016

Most popular buy-to-let mortgages

Max LTV Initial Rate Term Completion fee Booking fee Incentives Lender
85% 4.99% Discount 2 Years 2.5% £130.00 No Kent Reliance Semi Exclusive
85% 5.19% Fixed 2 Years 2.5% £130.00 No Kent Reliance Semi Exclusive
85% 5.29% Discount 2 Years 2.5% £130.00 No Kent Reliance Multi Let & Ltd Co. Semi Exclusive
80% 3% Fixed 2018-01-31 2.5% £150.00 Free valuation Mortgage Trust Exclusive
80% 4.6% Fixed 2018-12-31 1.5% £150.00 No Paragon Premier
80% 4.85% Fixed 2018-12-31 1.5% £150.00 No Paragon Premier HMO
80% 5.39% Variable 0 Years 2% £0.00 No Saffron Light Refurbishment
75% 2.35% Fixed 2018-01-31 2.5% £199.00 Free Valuation Newcastle Building Society
75% 2.75% Fixed 2018-01-31 £2495 £150.00 Free valuation Mortgage Trust Exclusive
75% 3.69% Fixed 2 Years 2% £125.00 No Foundation Prime
75% 3.69% Fixed 2018-04-30 £1999 £125.00 No Foundation Prime
75% 3.79% Fixed 2 Years 1.5% £100.00 No Axis Bank
75% 4.25% Fixed 2021-01-31 0% £199.00 Free Valuation & Free Legal fees (remortgage) Free Valuation & £300 Cashback (House Purchase) Newcastle Building Society
75% 4.59% Fixed 5 Years 2% £100.00 No Axis Specialist
70% 4.99% Fixed 2 Years 2% £125.00 No Foundation Light Adverse

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.