Category Commercial Property

Bridging lending breaks new records in Q2 2019

Bridging loan books grew to a record £4.62bn at the end of the second quarter of this year, representing growth of 11.7% compared to Q1 2019 and an increase of 14.4% on the same quarter last year.

Bridging loan applications also hit a record total in the 12 months preceding the end of Q2 2019, with £22.13bn of applications representing a 9.7% increase on the same period the previous year.

This is according to figures compiled by auditors from data provided by members of the Association of Short-Term Lenders (ASTL), which confirmed that more than £1bn of bridging loans were written in the second quarter of this year, an increase of 11.8% on the previous quarter and a rise of 4.1% on the same period last year.

There were £5.69bn of bridging loan applications in Q2 2019, which is 4% lower than the first quarter of the year but 5.3% more than the same period in 2018.

Benson Hersch, CEO of the ASTL says: “The second quarter of this year has delivered some very strong results for bridging lending, with record values both for applications over a 12-month period and total outstanding loan books. In fact, nearly all measures were higher than last quarter and the same period in 2018. The wider political and economic environment remains uncertain and the challenge for the industry now is to continue this level of activity whilst maintaining high standards of underwriting and customer focus.”

The ASTL Data Survey: Q2 2019

These figures are taken from the responses from ASTL members, which include most of the key lenders in the bridging market.

 


Spring is in the air for the buy to let market in the UK

Spring is definitely in the air for the buy to let market in the UK with some new found optimism after a long period of backlash against Government tax and regulatory changes.
It seems as if many landlords are embracing a business like attitude and getting on with making their portfolios work for them. Indeed, London, Manchester and Liverpool are the most popular cities for buy to let investment in the UK going into 2019, according to new research.
And most landlords are planning to increase their portfolio, the survey commissioned by Experience Invest has found while Nottingham, Leeds, Birmingham and Newcastle are also regarded as good bets for buy to let going forward.
When looking at the types of property that investors were considering investing in this year, the survey also found that houses were top at 67%, followed by flats at 54%, new build residential for 39% and 24% student accommodation.
Overall, just 11% of those surveyed said that they plan to reduce their portfolios in 2019. Some 39% are planning on increasing the size of their portfolio over the coming 12 months, while 35% have no intention of buying or selling any property in 2019 and 15% will be selling some assets to then reinvest in new properties.
It comes at a time when rents are steady. Official figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show that in the private rented sector rents increased by 1.1% in the 12 months to February 2019, up from 1% in January.
In England and Wales rents were up 1.1%, while in Scotland they increased by 0.7% and in London by 0.2%. But, overall, rental growth has generally slowed since the beginning of 2016, driven mainly by a slowdown in London over the same period.
Pressure will continue on landlords to raise rents in 2019, according to Kate Davies, executive director of the Intermediary Mortgage Lenders Association (IMLA). She believes that after filing their 2017/2018 tax returns at the end of January, landlords will be more aware that ongoing changes to mortgage interest tax relief are increasing the financial challenges ahead.
It may mean becoming more business-like or adopting new models. The industry is aware that this could mean offering longer tenancies or even shorter tenancies. In this respect a new study has found that short term rents could be worth considering.
The research from short term letting agency Portico Host found that short term let properties in Walton, Liverpool, are achieving the best yields in the North West at 30.68%, compared to landlords of longer term rentals, who can achieve a yield of 7.88%. The Airbnb yield figure is based on an occupancy rate of 60% of the year, which is typical for these types of properties due to seasonal demand.
While this is not the answer for every landlord it is a model that they might want to look at as they seek to improve and grow their business. They should also be buoyed by research showing that buy to let is still a good investment option beating investing in gold, cash and fine art in the last decade in terms of returns.
Investing in the FTSE 100 would have brought the biggest return when considering the annual capital gain and the percentage yield with an increase of 119%, whilst the value of classic cars is up 94% during the same time period.
However, for those that aren’t professional investors a buy to let property is a very good option, according to the research from lettings inventory and property compliance specialists VeriSmart.
The report says that when considering the annual gain in house prices along with the increase in rental yields, an investment in the sector a decade ago would have brought a 92% return today. This is much higher than the 60% return that investing in gold would have brought and a world away from the 16% increase in cash or the 4% drop in fine art.
It also says that the growth in the property market has been by far the most reliable option with the FTSE 100, gold or cash providing a far more volatile option that is also open to a larger degree of impact from political and economic factors as well as influence from other foreign countries.

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.


Structural Shifts to Make the UK’s Housing Market Healthier

A 2.5% house price growth per annum over the next 5 years is the new headline figure

In their latest residential report, global services firm JLL explores the factors triggering structural changes in the UK’s property market, indicating that political legislations and the advent of new technologies in the construction industry (i.e. Build Information Modelling), will leave a positive mark on the sector.

Whilst house price growth is expected to remain moderate in the short term, the market will achieve greater stability in the medium term, says JLL – benefitting the government, buyers, sellers and industry participants.

The UK’s exit from the European Union is not expected to interfere with the transition towards a healthier housing market; JLL believes that while scenarios for a post- Britain vary, forecasts lean towards an upside in the risk balance scale, both in terms of the economy and the property market.

In the short-term, growth in property prices is expected to average 1% in 2018 and 2% in 2019, with transaction levels remaining just below 1.2 million pa. Around 2020-2022, property prices are due to improve steadily, with increases of 3.5% pa.

The lettings market is to remain more robust, according to the company, with rental growth averaging 2% pa in 2018 and 2019, and continue to expand – achieving rises of around 2.5% pa during the 2020-2022 period – supported by the continued unaffordability in the housing market and the rise in popularity of renting.

In terms of supply, housing starts are forecast to stay at circa 200,000 pa during 2018-2019, and increase to 215,000 homes a year by 2022.

 


Interest Rate Rises for First Time in More Than a Decade

Monetary Policy Committee voted to increase base rate to 0.5%

The Bank of England has voted to increase the base interest rate in the UK, ending more than a decade of interest rate cuts.

 

The decision, made by the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC), increased the interest rate from 0.25% to 0.5%, reversing the emergency rate cut made in August 2016 in the aftermath of the Brexit referendum last year.

 

Citing the continuing weak performance of sterling and rising costs for households as core reasons for the decision, Bank of England Governor, Mark Carney, said that today’s increase marks the first of three rate increases over the next three years, but that these would be limited and gradual.

 

Rising interest rates would help to support the value of the pound in the markets, whilst providing savers with greater incentive. However, Mr Carney warned that the change would make the cost of borrowing more expensive.

 

The rise follows the publication of September’s Consumer Price Index (CPI) which showed that inflation in the UK had reached a level of 3%. The Bank – and the MPC – are targeted to maintain a CPI of 2% to prevent the economy from overheating.

 

In addition to sluggish productivity levels in the UK, Mr Carney said that ‘the decision to leave the European Union is already having a noticeable impact’ on the UK’s economy.

 

In the report accompanying the MPC’s decision, the group highlighted that ‘Brexit-related constraints on investment and labour supply appear to be reinforcing the marked slowdown that has been increasingly evident in recent years in the rate at which the economy can grow without generating inflationary pressures.’