House prices in England and Wales fall for fifth month in a row, new data shows

House prices in England and Wales fell for the fifth month in succession, but some cities bucked the trend with Leicester recording the fastest growth, according to new data.

Overall, average house prices slipped 0.2 per cent in July to £302,251, figures compiled by Your Move show. Despite the fall, the average price is still up 1.6 per cent on a year ago and all regions of England and Wales have recorded “modest” growth on an annual basis.

Slow activity has held prices down with an estimated 75,000 fewer activities in July compared to June; 2 per cent down on June and 6 per cent lower than the seasonal trend. Transactions in the first seven months of 2018 are estimated to be 4 per cent below the same period in 2017.

The West Midlands recorded the fastest annual growth at 3.3 per cent while the South East and East of England were the slowest at 0.5 per cent.

What effect the Bank of England base rate rise at the start of August will have on the market remains to be seen, Your Move said.

The average price of a property In London now stands at £625,529 at the end of June with prices falling in almost two thirds (21 out of 33) of the city’s boroughs on an annual basis.

The biggest drops on an annual basis have been seen in the City of London, down 19.4 per cent (albeit on a small number of transactions), Hammersmith and Fulham, and Southwark, both down 11.7 per cent. In both Westminster and Hammersmith and Fulham, sales of new builds in previous months or years can explain much of the swing in prices.

Overall, the most expensive borough remains Kensington and Chelsea, where prices are down 1.9 per cent on an annual basis to £1,765,033, while the cheapest borough is still Barking and Dagenham, with an average price of 308,547, up 1.8 per cent annually.

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Value of UK property market falls £26.9bn as house prices stagnate

he value of Britain’s housing market has fallen by £26.9bn, or 0.33pc, since the start of the year, as growth in the North East and Wales has failed to counteract falling prices in many other regions across the country.

The nation’s homes decreased in value by an average of £927 each between Jan 1 and June 30 this year, and are now worth a collective £8.2 trillion, according to figures from property site Zoopla.

While the value of the housing market in the North East has risen by 3.31pc, and Wales’ by 1.4pc, poor-performing regions such as the South West, which endured a decline in value of 2.51pc, and Yorkshire and The Humber (-2.12pc), has dragged the overall market value down.

It marks a reversal of fortunes for the UK housing market, which registered an increase in value of 3.5pc in 2017, despite a slowdown in London and the South East.

Zoopla’s most recent data found that on a local level, the English town of Barrow-in-Furness in Cumbria was the top-performer in terms of house price growth, with prices rising 6.7pc in the past six months. Holt in Norfolk experienced second-best growth of 6.27pc, followed by Pontypool in Torfaen (6.06pc).

By comparison, Reigate in Surrey saw price growth in the first half of 2018 decline in value by 6.7pc. The second and third largest reductions were seen in Lydney in Gloucestershire, and Sturminster Newton in Dorset, which reduced in value by 6.69pc and 6.64pc, respectively.

Despite property prices in London falling at their fastest rate since February 2009, the capital’s homes collectively rose in value by an average of 0.75pc in the six months to June 30.

Zoopla’s Laurence Hall said it was “not surprising” to see a small drop in values since the start of the year.

“Uncertainty around Brexit is a very real factor in the market, however on the positive side, the drop is creating a potential opportunity for first time buyers to get a foot on the ladder in some regions across Britain,” he said.

Analysts have blamed Brexit for the slowdown in the UK’s property market since 2016. House prices have risen more slowly than before the EU referendum, which hit consumer confidence and spending as the pound’s fall pushed up inflation.

According to figures from Nationwide in April, house prices were growing by about 5pc a year around the time of the Brexit vote, but in 2018 growth has consistently hovered around 1pc.

A buoyant property market depends on the UK’s economic health, so if the pound weakens further, inflation surges, and interest rates are raised, the capacity for house price growth would be reduced.

Equally, if Brexit negotiations are successful, economic growth continues to remain positive, and confidence is boosted, house prices could increase faster than initially thought.

Source The Telegraph

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/property/house-prices/value-uk-property-market-falls-269bn-house-prices-stagnate/

How a a £15,000 loan led to a 1,500 residential property portfolio

Empire Property Concepts founder Paul Rothwell tells the Telegraph Business Club about his company’s focus on converting disused commercial property into residential accommodation

Paul Rothwell’s career in property development began while he was a student. He used a £15,000 loan from his dad to buy a house and convert it into flats for himself and fellow students.

When he graduated, he didn’t sell the house but let it out and took out a second mortgage to help fund another.

That was how Empire Property Concepts (EPC) started out, and now, just 13 years later, it has a portfolio of more than 1,500 residential units across various portfolios.

Empire’s response to Permitted Development Rights (PDR) legislation was to set up a new company, Empire Property Holdings (EPH).

EPH issues Loan Notes across several Special Purpose Vehicles (SPVs) to finance EPC’s developments, focusing on converting disused commercial property into residential accommodation.

With interest rates low or negative, these Loan Notes offer sophisticated investors an innovative way to engage in the UK property market.

Statistics

Company website: empirepropertyconcepts.co.uk

Business sector: Consumer & Retail

Location: Doncaster, UK

Annual turnover: £4.5 million

Number of Employees: 16

Year Founded: 2009

East Midlands is Most Confident Region for House Price Growth

Consumer confidence in the housing market has increased by its largest rate since 2016, according to the latest Housing Market Sentiment Survey by Zoopla.

Over eight in ten homeowners (84%) predict house prices in their area will grow by 6.9% over the next six months.

This is a marked increase on the previous survey held in November 2017, when a price increase of 4.9% was forecast by 70% of consumers.

The East Midlands remains the most confident region, with 93% expecting prices to rise compared to 79% in November’s survey, closely followed by the East of England (90%).

Although North Eastern homeowners have the least optimism, market confidence has nearly trebled in the region from 22% in November to 63%. In London, 76% of consumers are anticipating prices in the capital to grow.

However, in terms of the rate at which prices are predicted to rise, homeowners in the West Midlands are the most optimistic, predicting property prices in the region will grow by 10.6% in the next six months.

Zoopla believes that the rise in confidence is a result of wider activity in the housing market, due to a seasonal increase in momentum.

Build-To-Rent Development Pipeline Exceeds 100,000

New research by Hamptons International proposes that the private rented sector will continue to grow despite recent policy changes.

Demand for rented property will be a key driver of the sector’s performance, due to long-term demographic changes and a consistent decline in homeownership levels as house price increases outpace income growth.

As a result, the estate agency forecasts that 20.5% of households will be renting in Great Britain by 2022, up from 19.4% in 2018, and that there will be six million households renting privately by 2025.

The research goes on to explore the different ways in which properties can appear on the market. For example, it estimates that around 80,000 homeowners decided to let their home out as they struggled to sell.

However, Hamptons predicts that the build-to-rent sector will become a larger part of the market, as it found the development pipeline will deliver more than 100,000 units, with more expected to come in the future.

Cash owners outnumber those buying with a mortgage, the research also highlights, noting that cash buyers have increased for 23 out of the last 25 years.

In 2017 alone, 65% of investors purchased using cash, equating to billion in property.

“The mass of cash in the market alongside increasing institutional interest is acting as an insulation to changes in policy. Creating a firm foundation on which the sector can continue to grow, particularly as the demand for rented homes will continue to rise,” the research concludes.

Inflation and poor growth see Bank of England ditch rate rise plans

Interest rates could stay low for as long as another two years, as falling inflation and weak economic growth force the Bank of England to scrap plans to push up rates in the coming months.

Mark Carney is expected to hold rates at 0.5pc at Thursday’s Monetary Policy Committee meeting, postponing a highly-anticipated rate rise for at least three months. The freeze will disappoint savers who have laboured under historically low rates for almost a decade – and a boon to borrowers who get extra time with cheap money.

But economists now suspect that inflation will keep falling quickly towards the Bank’s 2pc target, making it harder for policymakers to raise the rate.

Poor GDP growth at the start of this year and signs of a slowing global economy could also dent the Bank’s longer-term inflation estimates.

If that forces it to cut back its inflation forecast then the case for higher rates could evaporate altogether.

“They are stuck. The Bank can’t raise rates now, the economic numbers have been too weak recently,” said Martin Beck at Oxford Economics. “They should not have raised rates in November, closed the term funding scheme or worried that credit growth was too strong – those three things have contributed to the economy slowing.”

Markets are currently pricing in only two rate rises by August 2019, but George Buckley, an economist at Nomura, thinks even this may be too many if inflation is slowing sharply.

“Should the Bank publish a forecast with inflation below target based on market rates that would be quite a statement, as it would imply that even limited market pricing for rate hikes might prove too much,” he said.

UniCredit’s Daniel Vernazza believes it will be at least another year before rates rise to 0.75pc.

Kallum Pickering at Berenberg Bank fears the Bank has missed its chance. “They should have hiked by this stage of the economic    cycle, but they cannot do it now because of the soft data,” he said.

Banks push back BoE rate forecasts after growth data shock

LONDON (Reuters) – Banks scrambled to push back their forecasts for the next Bank of England interest rate raise after data on Friday showed a sharp and unexpected slowdown in Britain’s economic growth.

The new forecasts anticipate the next BoE hike to take place in August this year or as late as 2019.

Before Friday’s GDP data most economists had expected the central bank to tighten monetary policy in May.

The change in banks’ forecasts signals a much weaker outlook for the pound, which has been among the best performing major currencies in 2018.

Last week expectations of higher rates lifted sterling to its highest since the Brexit referendum in June 2016.

The likelihood that the BoE will not hike next month also means bond prices could rally further and presents a more volatile backdrop for the UK stock market.

UBS scrapped its estimate of a single rate hike in 2018 after the weaker-than-expected growth figures while Nomura, which has long been hawkish on UK interest rates, now sees a first hike in August.

Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Natwest Markets strategists pushed back their May rate hike calls to November.

“We view the (economic) slowdown as more serious, and see no prospect of hikes in 2018,” said UBS, the world’s largest wealth manager, in a note.

John Wraith, a UBS economist, said inflation could fall back to the central bank’s target of two percent later this year and that concerns about talks between Britain and the European Union over the terms of their divorce could resurface.

Market expectations of a rate hike in May tumbled to less than 20 percent from around 50 percent, after GDP data showed Britain’s economy slowed to 0.1 percent growth between January and March, the weakest quarter since 2012.

Earlier this month the market was pricing in a 90 percent chance of a rate rise.

The market is now also forecasting no more than one 25 basis point rate hike over the remainder of 2018, from a near-certain two rate rises expected a fortnight ago.

Sterling GBP=D3 tanked more than one percent to $1.3748 and government bond prices surged in the aftermath of the data.

Reporting by Tom Finn and Saikat Chatterjee, Editing by Tommy Wilkes and William Maclean

One Third of Millennials Will Continue to Rent in Their Retirement

The number of families with children living in rented property tripled between 2003-2016…

The Resolution Foundation has proposed a series of reforms aimed at protecting tenants and landlords in the private rented sector.

According to the think-tank’s research, half of all millennials – people born between 1980 and 1996 – will be living in rented property up to their 40s, whilst a third are likely to be renting beyond retirement.

Furthermore, four out of ten millennials aged 30 are already renting, double the rate of the previous generation and four times that of baby boomers, whilst the number of families with children lived in the private rented sector has grown substantially, from 0.6m in 2003 to 1.8m in 2016.

Although they acknowledge the policies the government has introduced to make housing more accessible for first time buyers, the Resolution Foundation argues that more needs to be done to provide greater security for those that rely on renting.

This includes short-term measures such as proposals for indeterminate tenancies, which are essentially open-ended leases. Such tenancies are already in use in parts of Europe, including Scotland.

A new tribunal system could also be created, in order to resolve disputes in a timely and cost-effective manner.

Lindsay Judge, a senior analyst at the Resolution Foundation, notes that support needs to be available across all areas of the housing market: “While there have been some steps recently to support housebuilding and first-time buyers, up to a third of millennial still face the prospect of renting from cradle to grave.

“If we want to tackle Britain’s ‘here and now’ housing crisis we have to improve conditions for the millions of families living in private rented accommodation.”

Extent of North-South Renting Affordability Gap Revealed

Households outside London spend an average of just over half their income on renting…

Households renting in London are putting a significant percentage of their income towards rent compared to the rest of the country, according to new data from Landbay.

Annual rental growth in the UK, excluding London, rose to 1.21% in March, bringing the average monthly rent to outside the capital.

In London, the average monthly cost of renting is more than double the national average, at 2100

However, the average disposable income for a worker in the capital is per 2455 month. As a result, 89% of their take-home pay is used on renting.

Outside the capital, rental payments amount to just over half (52%) of the average disposable income, which is per 1760 month.

In England, renters in the North East have the lowest percentage (41%) of their incomes going towards rent, followed by Yorkshire & the Humber (43%), the North West (44%) and the East Midlands (44%).

“Rents have continued to rise over the last five years, increasing by 9% across the UK since March 2013 and by 7% in London,” notes John Goodall, CEO and founder of Landbay.

“Not a day goes by when there isn’t more news about the supply-demand mismatch in the UK housing sector and until this is resolved, tenants will continue to rely on the private rented sector to support them.

“With the right property and the right location, there are attractive yields to be had, and consistent rental demand will drive returns in the long-term,” Goodall concludes.

 

Buy-To-Let Investors Target North West and South East

Two-fifths of landlords are planning to purchase more property in 2018

Landlords in the UK are optimistic that their buy-to-let (BTL) property portfolios will continue to perform well in 2018, despite the challenges the market faces from Brexit-related uncertainty and affordability stress tests.

According to the annual ‘buy-to-let barometer’ by Shawbrook Bank, 65% of investors were confident in their portfolio, whilst just 14% of respondents were concerned.

Growing returns and rising demand were cited as the two primary reasons for the confidence, as 21% of landlords had seen an increase in tenant demand in 2017.

Meanwhile, investor sentiment towards the UK economy is waning due to lacklustre growth and the uncertainty surrounding Brexit, as more landlords in 2017 (42%) expressed concern than in 2016 (33%).

Despite this, appetite for buy-to-let property remains healthy, with 39% of landlords planning to invest in an additional property in 2018, whilst expressing a strong preference for property in the North West and South East regions.

Commenting on the data, Karen Bennett, managing director of Shawbrook Bank commercial mortgages said: “There’s a healthy dose of uncertainty around at the moment, but the BTL market is showing its resilience. Property continues to offer an excellent underlying investment vehicle for professional landlords with the right investment strategy.

“Whilst the investment case for BTL remains strong, there are particular challenges ahead for portfolio landlords and the additional impact of the PRA (Prudential Regulation Authority) changes.

“Landlords now face much more stringent affordability tests and it’s therefore more important than ever than landlords are clued up on their obligations as the market continues to get even more complex.”