New £1 billion fund announced for building new homes in England

The Government and Barclays have announced a £1 billion housing development fund to help deliver thousands of new homes across England.

Under the agreement loans ranging from £5 million to £100 million, which will be competitively priced, will be available for developers and house builders who are able to demonstrate the necessary experience and track record to undertake and complete their proposed project.

Funding is open to new clients as well as existing Barclays clients, and will put greater emphasis on diversifying the housing market, as at present almost two thirds of homes are built by just 10 companies.

A key priority of The Housing Delivery Fund is to support small and medium sized businesses to develop homes for rent or sale including social housing, retirement living and the private rented sector, whilst also supporting innovation in the model of delivery such as brownfield land and urban regeneration projects.

‘There is a vital need to build more good quality homes across the country. This £1 billion fund is about helping to do exactly that by showing firms in the business of house building that the right finance is available for projects that help meet this urgent need,’ said John McFarlane, Barclays’ chairman.

Housing Secretary James Brokenshire said that it will see Barclays in partnership with Homes England also help to see more design and innovation introduced to new home building.

‘It is a further important step by giving smaller builders access to the finance they need to get housing developments off the ground. This is a fantastic opportunity to not only get more homes built but also promote new and innovative approaches to construction and design that exist across the housing market,’ he added.

According to Sir E Lister, chairman of Homes England, the organisation will play a more active role in the housing market and do things differently to increase the pace, scale and quality of delivering new homes.

‘The Housing Delivery Fund demonstrates Barclays’ commitment to the residential sector and will provide a new funding stream for SME developers to help progress sites and deliver more affordable homes across England,’ he said.

Brokenshire added that it will move towards the target of 300,000 new homes being built a year by the mid-2020s and that with 217,000 homes built last year, England has seen the biggest increase in housing supply for almost a decade.

More Londoners Buying Property in the North and Midlands

The number of homeowners from London buying properties outside the capital has increased, according to new research from Hamptons International.

Just over 30,000 of Londoners looking to buy a new property left the capital in the first half of 2018, some 16% more than H1 2017 and an increase of 61% over the last decade.

The majority of homeowners moving, around 38%, moved to the South East, a modest 3% fewer than the first half of 2017, followed by 30% moving to the East of England.

However, the number of movers leaving London and buying property in the North and Midlands has more than tripled in the last decade, with over a fifth (21%) moving to these regions compared to just 6% ten years earlier.

First-time buyers are also buying outside of London, with around 31% buying their first home beyond the capital. Whilst this is nearly double the number recorded five years ago, it is a 2% decline on last year’s figures, due to savings from stamp duty relief and the Help-to-Buy scheme.

Although the vast majority of first-time buyers, some 85%, moved to East of England or South East, Hamptons notes this is 10% fewer than four years ago. On the other hand, more than one in ten (12%) buying their first property in the North or Midlands, four times the number recorded in 2010.

“With affordability stretched, more Londoners are moving out of the capital to find their new home,” said Aneisha Beveridge, research analyst at Hamptons International.

“More people are making a bigger move and buying a larger home sooner to avoid having to pay stamp duty on additional moves as they trade up. But for many, this means heading further North.”

Beveridge goes on to note that despite more first-time buyers staying in the capital, “raising a deposit remains a hurdle for many, which helps explain why increasing numbers of first time buyers who leave London are heading North.”

Brexit is Least Concerning Issue for Majority of UK Landlords

Almost two-thirds of landlords have no plans to sell their buy-to-let properties over the coming year…

Landlords remain optimistic about the buy-to-let market despite recent regulatory and tax changes, according to the latest Landlord Sentiment Survey by lettings agency Your Move.

In a survey of over 1,000 landlords, more than half (52%) felt positive about current market conditions, with almost two-thirds (64%) stating they were unlikely to sell a buy-to-let property in the next 12 months.

Just 16% expressed negative feelings towards the market, whilst 30% responded to the survey as being “indifferent”.

The poll also revealed that for 83% and 80% respectively, the most important considerations for landlords are the costs of upkeep and property maintenance, and the ability to make a long-term profit.

Brexit was the least pressing issue for landlords, with just 32% expressing concerns towards it, whilst under half (43%) regarded the upcoming tenant fees ban in England & Wales as a potential problem.

“Given the number of regulatory and tax changes in the buy to let market over the last few years, it wouldn’t be surprising if landlords felt some trepidation about the future,” said Martyn Alderton, national lettings director for Your Move and Reeds Rains.

“However, it’s great to see that the landlords we surveyed do, for the most part, remain positive about the future.”

He concluded: “Our research shows the majority of landlords are in it for the long term and that’s important for the well-being of the private rental sector, providing much needed homes for those who cannot yet afford, or do not wish to purchase due to lifestyle choices.”

What an interest rate rise means for you

A borrower with a mortgage of £100,000 will see an increase of £12 in their repayment, according to the Nationwide.

The UK's wealth disparity has been reveaeled
Image: People with a standard variable rate mortgage of £100,000 will pay £12 more a month

The Bank of England has raised interest rates to their highest level in almost a decade but what are the effects of an interest rate increase on day-to-day finances?

:: Who are the winners and losers?

It is a modest increase of 0.25 percentage points to 0.75%. Households can expect the cost of their loans and mortgages to go up as banks and lenders lift their interest rates.

Savers, who have had the most to complain about in the low-interest rate environment, may see a modest gain.

:: What will be the impact of my mortgage?

Skipton Building Society chief executive David Cutter told Sky News that most new mortgages are fixed for two- to five-years.

“The vast majority of new loans, 90% are on fixed rates. Back book (older mortgages) about 66% so there is going to be no immediate impact regarding affordability,” Mr Cutter said.

This is why interest rates have been raised by the Bank of England

This is why interest rates have been raised by the Bank of England

As the bank took its decision today, the mood could hardly have been more different from the crisis days in 2009

“On an average mortgage, if they do increase by a quarter of a percent, then I think your monthly payment will go up by £16 or about £190 a year.”

According to the Nationwide Building Society, anyone on a standard variable rate will see an increase of £12 on a mortgage of £100,000 and on a £200,000 mortgage, £25.

:: Why will savers benefit?

“The good news, of course, the rest of our membership, we have a million now, is the saving side because they have really suffered for ten years now. If rates do go up to 0.75% that will be highest since early 2009. So hopefully some relief is coming down the line as well,” Mr Cutter said.

Asked by business presenter Ian King whether the full rate increase would be passed on to savers, Mr Cutter responded: “Yeah, we’ll see what the reaction is in the market.”

While savers may be hoping for better returns, Bank of England statistics show that the average interest rate on UK current accounts increased by only 0.09% in the seven months since rates were increased by 0.25% last year.

:: Will this bring down prices at the shops?

While the Bank of England has raised interest rates partly to tackle inflation, this move will not be reflected in everyday prices for some time to come.

It took six months for the effects of the Brexit-hit pound to raise prices as imports became more expensive.

Retailers fear rate rises as higher mortgage and other bills for consumers mean they will have less money to spend.

The BoE predicted that inflation would be 0.1 percentage points higher this year and next at 2.5% and 2.2% respectively.

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.

London’s property market is in a coma

London’s housing market has ground to a halt.

After years of blockbuster growth, home prices have reversed course and are expected to drop further over the next year. The number of sales has dropped, and more homeowners are pulling properties off the market.

The dour outlook comes courtesy of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), which warned in a report on Thursday that weakness in London had caused its UK house price indicator to hit a five-year low.

A number of factors have hobbled London’s market.

The government has in recent years hiked taxes on property purchases, making it more expensive to buy luxury housing, second homes and investment properties. Doing so has scared off some wealthy investors and caused prices to slump in central London.

Britain’s decision to leave the European Union has also hurt the market, with potential buyers putting their plans on hold because of the economic uncertainty.

One property professional surveyed by RICS said that Brexit and the tax changes had “killed the liquidity of the London market.”

Related: Renting vs. Buying: What can you afford?

The Bank of England is also expected to keep slowly raising interest rates as the economy grinds forward, making mortgages even less affordable for Londoners.

The average house price in London is £486,000, according to the UK Land Registry.

That’s too high for many first-time buyers, whose finances have been hit by high inflation and small salary rises. But sellers would rather pull properties off the market than accept lower bids.

“Buyers and sellers are currently locked in a stand-off,” said Hansen Lu of Capital Economics.

RICS’ chief economist Simon Rubinsohn said that the slowdown in London “has the potential to impact the wider economy, contributing to a softer trend in household spending.”

He said the dynamic could ultimately impact the Bank of England’s thinking about future interest rate rises.

Still, analysts don’t expect house prices to collapse in London. Inflation has moderated in recent months, employment remains strong and the British economy is growing.

Lu said this should be considered “good news” for the stagnant market.

12 Months To Go: Brexit and the UK’s Defiant Housing Market

On the 29th of March 2019, the UK will leave the EU. There are several key areas of concern across every sector of the country, but what does Brexit mean for UK property, and how is the market confronting the challenges?

In less than 12 months, Britain is scheduled to leave the European Union, following a hard-fought referendum back in June 2016. The negotiations are well underway, with progress being made on key issues, such as the duration and specifics of the transition period, citizens’ rights and future trade deals.

Despite the pervading uncertainty and cooling activity, investor confidence and growth projections for the UK’s property market remain strong, supported by dwindling supply and climbing demand.

2018 is the year when decisions on Brexit must be made, and property investors prepare to adjust to a new status-quo. But is the UK’s post-Brexit future still unclear, and what does it hold for those investing in UK property?

 

Brexit and UK Property

The country has been on something akin to a rollercoaster since Prime Minister Theresa May invoked Article 50 last March, serving the official notification letter to the European Council that formally began the withdrawal process.

Following this, there have been various summits, a gamble of a general election, and the agreement of a vital transition period – which will begin after the UK’s official departure in March 2019 – all aimed at solidifying the UK’s new status in Europe.

While uncertainty is set to dissipate in the final year of negotiations before the UK exits the EU, the property market, like many other industries, has held strong since the referendum in June 2016 – defying expectations.

Despite house prices and rental growth slowing in recent months, the significant falls in property values projected in the wake of the referendum have failed to materialise.

According to data from Your Move and LSL/Acadata, annual house price growth in February 2018 remains positive at a modest 0.6%, while data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) found that rents increased by 1.1% annually over the same period.

But if Brexit is not behind the deceleration in growth, what is?

 

Construction Industry Brexit

Fundamentally, house price and rent growth in the UK is governed by the imbalance between the supply and demand for properties, with this current slowdown forming a natural part of the property cycle.

As housebuilding construction activity remains subdued, owing to high materials costs and a chronic labour shortage, the supply of homes in the UK continues to fall far short of demand, pushing prices up in a competitive, high demand market.

Yet, this growth has started to cool as property becomes increasingly unaffordable for many prospective buyers. With the cost of purchasing a home too high, many households are turning from the housing market and towards the more reasonable rates available in the private rented sector.

As a result, home sellers are having to be more competitive with their prices in order to attract buyers, despite estate agents registering fewer homes for sale in February, which has caused a modest drag on asking prices.

Midlands Cities Among Top 10 Buy-To-Let Property Postcodes

London commuter belt towns fall down the rankings as Northampton, Leicester and Birmingham surge

Three of the top five locations for buy-to-let property investments are in the Midlands, according to new research.

Northampton, Birmingham and Leicester were all cited as top postcodes for buy-to-let, with strong rental growth of 2.38%, 3.91% and 4.35% respectively, according to independent mortgage lender LendInvest.

Whilst the Midlands regions have been steadily rising up the rankings, the report highlights the South West region as an up-and-coming market, as strong rental growth and healthy market activity has boosted the profile of cities like Bristol, Swindow, Truro and Gloucester.

Conversely, London and the South East continue to underperform, as declining rents deters further investment in these regional markets.

Historically strong performing commuter towns like Dartford, Romford and St Albans have recent begun to slide down the LendInvest buy-to-let rankings, in some cases by as many as 58 places.

However, the report notes that demand for housing will continue to support future growth: “Political changes are increasingly underpinning this uncertainty in the market, however the need for housing around the UK prevails.

“As such, we can expect the rental market to grow, with investors prioritising yields and rental price growth as valuable metrics to consider when purchasing a property.”

Over the last 10 years, rents have grown by 16% nationally, according to figures from Rightmove.

 

Economy wobbles as factories and building sites stall – putting May interest rate hike in doubt

Economic growth slowed again in February as the construction and manufacturing industries both stalled, a pair of oil refineries closed for maintenance, and the export boost from the weak pound began to fade.

The Bank of England had already cut its first-quarter growth forecasts from 0.4pc to 0.3pc because the icy Beast from the East made families stay at home instead of hitting the shops. But now economists fear even this estimate is too high.

The new figures “look consistent with GDP growth slowing to 0.2pc in the first quarter – below the Monetary Policy Committee’s 0.3pc forecast – from 0.4pc in the fourth quarter, casting doubt over whether a May rate hike is as likely as markets currently expect”, said Samuel Tombs at Pantheon Macroeconomics.

 

“We estimate that economic growth nudged lower to 0.2pc in the first quarter of 2018,” he said.

“The main reason for the weakness was severe weather in March, which is likely to have disrupted activity in all major sectors of the economy.”

Manufacturing output fell by 0.2pc in February, the Office for National Statistics said, and January’s 0.1pc expansion was also revised down to zero.

Falling output of electrical goods, machinery, textiles and plastics hit the figures.

Growth in industrial production overall – which includes manufacturing as well as industries such as mining and quarrying, and utilities – slowed to 0.1pc for the month.

A major cause was that two of the UK’s six refineries were closed for refurbishment. However, growth was supported by February’s unusually cold weather, which boosted domestic energy consumption.

Mark Carney at the Bank of England is expected to raise interest rates to 0.75pc next month – but this weaker data could make him think again Credit: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg

At the same time construction output tumbled by 1.6pc in the month, defying expectations of a 0.9pc increase. This drop may not be entirely weather related. The ONS said maintenance work led the decline, even as residential building and infrastructure construction increased.

The trade deficit increased in the three months to February, rising by £0.4bn to £6.4bn, as a dip in imports was more than offset by a larger fall in exports – which the ONS said coincided with a strengthening of the pound.

However, the overall slowdown may only be a temporary wobble, rather than a longer-term slowdown in the economy.

“While a continuation of such news may generate some nervousness in markets about whether the Bank of England will deliver another rate hike next month, it is worth pointing out that there is another full round of economic news before the Bank announces its decision,” said George Buckley at Nomura.

“We continue to expect a 25-basis point move on May 10 on the assumption of better economic news to come.”

Chief economist Lee Hopley at manufacturing industry group EEF said: “The data looks more like a temporary wobble than a turn for the worse. Whilst other indicators may have softened since the start of the year, ongoing growth in the global economy should continue to spur growth across manufacturing in the coming quarters.”

Source https://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2018/04/11/economy-wobbles-factories-building-sites-stall-putting-may/

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