Property market news – what does 2018 have to offer.

Image

This week’s Property News article is presented by The Property 

As property market news for the new year sheds light on what to expect in 2018, an unusually conservative assessment emerges from Halifax that demands attention.
UK lender Halifax published a pretty pessimistic outlook for UK house price growth, putting a dent in the stocks of housebuilders and an uncertainty as to what your house is worth. While this was not completely unexpected, it marks a worrying time for those with a stake in the property market, as the period of uncertainty for Great Britain after the Brexit referendum continues to bite away at people’s pockets, making getting an accurate house valuation all the more difficult.

A solemn foundation for property market news in 2018?

If this is your first visit to our site, know that the readings of the UK housing market we have come to expect from Halifax are usually rather more optimistic. But they have said that property prices over the last three months of 2017 rose by just 2.7%, compared to that same three-month period back in 2016. That’s a drop from the growth of 3.9% in November, and the 4.5% recorded in October. The latest reading fell short of forecasts significantly; analysts in the Reuters poll were predicting a growth of 3.3%, so growth has slowed noticeably. This is a trend that suggests the uncertainty after Brexit is damaging property values.

There is still uncertainty of what is going to happen now that Britain has voted to leave the EU. (Read more about Brexit from the Daily Express – click here) Uncertainty following Brexit also extends to the UK Property Market. Mark King Properties, (South Wales based property investor) explores this issue and the effect it may have on house prices in more detail, click here to read the article.

Reflecting on property values, prices actually fell by around 0.6% in December, which was the first downturn since June of 2016, according to Halifax. As property market news goes, this is not the way many would have hoped things would be going into 2018.

Analysing the figures, the managing director of Halifax Community Bank observed that the pattern of the housing market in 2017 was similar to that of the year before. There was a slow in the growth of house prices, even in the south-east, and a distinct flatness to all building activity, sales completed and approved mortgages for purchasing a house. He attributed this pattern to an observed squeeze on the real growth of earnings and the ongoing uncertainty about the future of the British economy.

What he did predict, however, is that house prices in 2018 will probably be supported by scarcity – few properties for sale, housebuilding at low levels, high rates of employment and low-interest rates that will promote the servicing of mortgages. The forecast stands at a predicted growth in house prices in the 0-3% range when we reach the end of 2018. So if you’re asking the question “What is my house worth?”, you may not need to fear a drastic plummet in prices in these uncertain times.

Currently, the average price of a UK house stands at £225,021, with prices in London typically topping the scale. Analyst Sam Tombs from Macroeconomics commented on the data released by Halifax showing house price growth slowed. He said that it shows how the recent rise in new mortgages has had a dampening effect on a property market that was already showing signs of price rises flagging. The Halifax index had been indicating a rise of 3.6% from June to November; a strength that had not been reflected by other indices. In Tombs’ opinion, a correction was well overdue.

Tombs went on to say that he expects the recent reforms made to the stamp duty rules for first-time buyers, as well as the ongoing shortage of existing homes being put on the market, should ensure a stabilisation of house prices in 2018. In other words, he doesn’t expect there to be an outright fall in the value of properties through 2018, despite the uncertainty of the Brexit negotiations.

With this property market news entering the public realm, it was no surprise to see that shares in housebuilders saw some of the biggest descents on the London stock market at the start of the second week of January 2018. Barratt Developments and Taylor Wimpey were the leaders in the sector lower, both going down by 1%. Closely following were Persimmon, who saw a fall of 0.9%.

As the year continues, we can only wait and see what property market news unfolds, but the outlook is a cautious one for anyone for people hoping to profit from the sector. These are uncertain times in Britain, and the property market is not immune to uncertainty.

 

2018 Property hotspots for first-time buyers, from Surbiton to Sydenham and Gidea Park

With the recent elimination of stamp duty for property up to £300,000 is a valuable reduction in start-up costs for buyers already struggling to raise huge deposits.

With the continued growth in the number of house builders getting the Help to Buy London scheme, this allows first-time buyers to pick up a new flat with only a five per cent deposit.

These changes will not solve London’s housing crisis. The huge gap between wages and house prices remains. But for those who are in the lucky position of being able to buy in 2018, there are still pockets of cost-effective housing in the capital.

1. GIDEA PARK
According to Paul Money, branch manager of Beresford: It’s not too late to get in on the Crossrail action.

He believes the leafy Thirties suburb of Gidea Park, on the Essex borders, is a great place for first-time buyers.  You could pick up a three-bedroom semi for about £400,000, or a two-up two-down cottage for £325,000-£350,000. Two-bedroom flats cost between £280,000 and £320,000, and one-bedroom flats start from about £220,000 to £250,000.

Even though it may be affordable but Gidea Park will be too suburban for some. Its high street has suffered from proximity to the large shopping centers Westfield Stratford City, Lakeside, and Bluewater. While nightlife is limited to some good old-school pubs. On the other hand, it is pleasantly leafy, with a golf club and Raphael Park, and has a safe, affluent sort of vibe.

2. SYDENHAM
South-east London has been attracting many first-time buyers over the last five years, catapulting areas including Hither Green and Crystal Palace from anonymity to desirability.

Rory Cramer, head of the consultancy at Marsh & Parsons New Homes, believes the next area to surge will be Sydenham, where the average price of a flat currently stands at £366,000.

“It’s a true gem of an area and often overlooked,” he says. “With trains into London Bridge in 16 minutes, large green open spaces and independent coffee shops and restaurants, it’s no surprise that prices have increased 16 percent on the same time last year, making it a great investment opportunity.”

Expect to pay about £400,000 for a period conversion, or if you want a new build, Cramer recommends the Dylon Works development where you could use Help to Buy London to pick up a one-bedroom flat for about £379,000.

3. SURBITON
Surbiton may be in  Zone 5, but it is a ridiculously quick commute. Mainline services take from 19 minutes to reach Waterloo, which makes it faster to central London than living in most of Zone 2.

Property ranges from grand Victorian villas and conversion flats to Art Deco apartment buildings and 20th-century semis. Surbiton’s main shopping street is Victoria Road, which has a comprehensive if not the particularly exciting range of supermarkets, shops, and chain restaurants.

More exciting is Maple Road, where independent restaurants and cafes are opening up: this is becoming the go-to spot for buyers heading out of more central areas.

“The stylish Maple Road area is highly desirable for thirtysomething professional couples – a slightly younger demographic than Kingston, which is much more family orientated,” says Edward Gray, managing director of Cocoon estate and letting agents. “It has a range of high-end restaurants, eateries, bars and quality pubs, all within a short walk of the Thames towpath, including the very popular No97, a restaurant and gin bar.”

First-time buyers could get a flat in this popular area from about £450,000 or a Victorian terrace from about £600,000. For buyers on a tighter budget, a two-bedroom flat in a Sixties building would start at about £375,000.

Gray particularly tips Surbiton for future potential. If the proposed Crossrail 2 project goes ahead prices could soar – although buyers will need the patience to benefit since the line won’t be operational until the 2030s.

 

German property investor buys UK fund manager Rockspring

Patrizia German property investors have purchased UK investor Rockspring in a deal that boosts Patrizia holdings across Europe to around €40bn (£35bn) and gives it an instant London presence.

Rockspring has been seeking a backer to ensure the future growth of the business in the middles of concerns of economic and political changes in the UK. Rockspring have invested in UK and European offices and retail properties since 1984. They will continue to trade as normal, but access to Patrizia’s client base will give it more scope to invest its existing funds across Europe.

“Earlier this year a number of factors combined to make us realise it was the right time to start considering our future and prepare Rockspring for the next phase of its growth.” said Robert Gilchrist, chief executive of Rockspring.

He said Brexit, an uncertain political environment and changing regulations, as well as a strong real estate investment market, had led the management team to its decision.

The company has recently committed to developing the next phase of its Cambridge Research Park, as well as securing a let to John Lewis at one of its warehouse sites. It has also invested in a number of European cities, including buying an office building in Amsterdam last month.

Patrizia meanwhile will be able to access new investors through Rockspring’s London office.

Wolfgang Egger, chief executive of Patrizia, said the deal would allow the firm to “strengthen its market position significantly in its core European markets”.

“This acquisition represents an important milestone for Patrizia in achieving our vision to become a global provider of European real estate assets for our clients,” he added.

There are signs that the slump is easing after prime London property going through a though year

The City of Westminster, Camden, and Kensington and Chelsea are capital’s three most expensive boroughs. According to a report from LSL Acadata published Monday, These three boroughs each saw sales jump by more than 20 percent in the third quarter.

This surge indicates that “momentum is returning” to prime central London after a year of tumbling property prices.

Acadata’s Peter Williams and John Tindale  said “Movement at the top end of the market helps to increase activity all the way down the housing chain,”

The report may also be a cause for optimism nationally. While November’s 0.9 percent annual gain in prices was the slowest since April 2012, and down from 6.3 percent a year ago, they increased from the previous month for the first time since March.The signs of improvement buck a trend of pessimistic reports on housing, particularly regarding London.

In the RICS survey, brokers flagged a range of reasons for the stagnation, including Brexit uncertainty, political instability and November’s interest-rate increase from the Bank of England.

Even in Acadata’s report, the picture isn’t entirely rosy. Prices in the Greater London area were down 3 percent from a year ago in October, with the City of Westminster leading losses with an 18.2 percent drop. London’s market also remains a drag on the UK.

The annual change in prices reported this month would have been 3.3 percent without the capital and the southeast.

 

Ipswich council borrowed more than £56 million in November to buy commercial property in the town

Ipswich council borrowed more than £56 million in November to buy commercial property in the town, buying buildings that are already occupied to get a regular rental income.

Public Works Loans Board revealed in the monthly report the details and shows how local authorities are able to borrow money at low-interest rates to invest in property. Many authorities use the PWLB to borrow money for capital investments at a low rate – enabling them to get a much higher return on rental income.

The borough borrowed just under £30m at 2.15% a year fixed for 20 years and £26.5m at 2.49% fixed for 20 years. Council leader David Ellesmere said this money was used to buy a particular commercial property in the town that is already occupied and would provide this income from day one of the purchase.

The purchase has not yet been concluded so Mr. Ellesmere could not say where it was. “But this kind of investment is vital for an authority like Ipswich that has had its funding cut by £12m over the last four years. Without this, we would be facing really serious cuts to core services.”

Mr. Ellesmere said the borough borrowed money to invest for two reasons – to secure an ongoing income (as in this case) or to invest in a new commercial opportunity that could take several years to mature as in the case of the sugar beet factory site investment at Sproughton.

However, the opposition Conservative group is worried about the authority’s level of borrowing – and has warned it could face losses if there was a fall in the property market. Opposition leader Ian Fisher said: “We realise why the council is doing this and that there is a need for some commercial confidentiality, but we are worried that they are gambling with public money to some extent.

“We do not know at this stage where the money is going and there is inevitably an element of risk with this kind of deal.“We feel it might be better to pause this for a couple of years until we know how the economy is going to be doing after Brexit – potentially the council could end up with large losses.”

Councils across the country – and of all political control – have been investing in major developments over the last few years.

Handy tips to keep your home safe this Christmas

The leading trade association for the locksmithing profession Master Locksmiths Association issues security advice on keeping your home secure this Christmas.They are encouraging homeowners to remain vigilant during the festive period.

Whilst Christmas is an exciting time with plenty of festive celebrations, presents. It is also a time when burglaries traditionally peak, with homes full of presents and families out and about enjoying the festivities, opportune criminals can be watching for the right moment to strike.

Over this festive period, homeowners are advised to:

1. Keep your Christmas lights on safely:

With 30% of burglaries occur via unlocked front doors and  26% occur via open or unlocked windows. So ensure you use or install outdoor electrical sockets for those Christmas lights and do not be tempted to run cables for outdoor lights through partially open windows or doors.

2. Keep gifts out of sight:

Even though it may be a tradition to keep gifts under the tree during the lead up to Christmas, this can also be an advertisement to potential thieves. Consider placing yours out of sight and away from the window, in particular away from those that look onto busy streets. And if you’re buying expensive presents that will be kept outdoors, such as bikes, why not include an appropriate lock that has been independently tested by a third party certification agency.

3. Don’t advertise an empty home:

While Christmas is a time for enjoying the occasion, if you do plan on spending the festive season away from your home, be careful not to shout about it on social media, you potentially could be advertising an empty home to strangers. Similarly think carefully about any message you add to your voicemail or answer phone. Adding a timer system to your lights requires very little effort and can work as an excellent deterrent against would-be-thieves especially when used upstairs or away from sight

4. Consider fitting a home security system:

Homes with security systems are 300% less likely to be burgled. So for further peace of mind, consider installing an alarm or CCTV system which will allow you to keep an eye on your property from wherever you are in the world via the internet, including your smartphone

5. Review your security regularly:

Check that all locks on doors and windows are correctly fitted and functioning and replace any that are broken. Don’t be tempted to take the DIY route. On average, the cost of fixing botched DIY security jobs is £323.A local expert locksmith, such as an MLA approved company, will be able to check your locks and advise on the best products to use. Plus, they can usually carry out an assessment of your home security free of charge

“Christmas should be a time of excitement, but we often see homes targeted by thieves at this time of year. By taking a few simple precautions, homeowners can do a lot to keep their homes safe and secure. For extra peace of mind, ask an MLA-approved locksmith to review your home security – they have the expertise and knowledge to advise you on appropriate security measures in line with your home insurance requirements and will often carry out home security assessments free of charge.” Said Dr. Steffan George, Managing Director of The Master Locksmiths Association (MLA)

The average bills will fall around 5% for water and waterwaste for customers across England and Wales.

The Water Services Regulation Authority Ofwat has finalised decisions that means the average bills for water and wastewater customers across England and Wales will fall by around 5%, before adjustments for inflation, between 2015 and 2020. This would see average bills fall by around £20 from £396 to £376.

Over the next five years, customers will benefit not only in lower water bills but also have improved levels of service. As companies are set to spend around £2000 for every household across England and Wales.

By 2020 customers will benefit from significant improvements in areas of service that really matter to them, such as by tackling leakage and promote water efficiency, there will be more than 370 million liters a day of water saved – enough water saved to serve all of the homes in Birmingham, Manchester, and Leeds. With a reduction in the time lost to supply interruptions -down on average 32%. 4,700 fewer properties flooded by sewer water and cleaner water at more than 50 beaches.

With around 760,000 people benefit from some form of financial support from their water company this figure will more than double to around 1.8 million by 2020. Companies are putting in place measures, such as social tariffs, which are forecast to help an additional one million people over the next five years.

The announcement from Ofwat includes the decision to lower further the weighted average cost of capital (WACC), which is the minimum rate of return that lenders or investors require to support investment in the sector. Since its initial proposal of a WACC of 3.85%, Ofwat has updated its decision to reflect current market evidence on required returns, resulting in a WACC of 3.74%.

Jonson Cox, Chairman of Ofwat said:

“This is an important step in maintaining customers’ trust and confidence in the water sector. We set out to deliver a challenging but fair outcome. We are requiring companies to meet higher service standards and deliver on their promises to customers. We are bringing down bills so customers can expect value for money, while investors can earn a fair return. Companies will need to stretch themselves to deliver much more with the same level of funding as in previous years. We will achieve more resilient infrastructure and better service as a result.”

Cathryn Ross, Chief Executive of Ofwat said:

“With bills held down by five percent and service driven up over the next five years, customers will get more and pay less. Where companies stepped up to do the best they could for their customers we did not need to intervene. But where companies fell short we stepped in to make sure customers get a good deal. Now the hard work begins. Companies will only build trust and confidence with their customers if they deliver. Those who do can look forward to fair returns, while those that don’t will be hit in the pocket and face a tough five years ahead.”

These new charges will come into effect in April 2015. Companies have two months in which to accept Ofwat’s final determination or seek a referral to the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA).

Final determination: average bill changes (excluding inflation)

All figures are in 2014/15 prices. Figures may not add up due to rounding

Changes to average annual combined bill for water and sewerage companies

Ofwat’s final determination

Companies’
2013 December
request

2014-15

2019-20

5 year change

5 year change

National average bill (England and Wales)

£396

£376

-5%

-2%

Anglian

£431

£390

-10%

-8%

Dŵr Cymru

£440

£416

-5%

-4%

Northumbrian
(including Essex & Suffolk)

£388

£382

-1%

0%

Severn Trent

£333

£316

-5%

-4%

Southern

£437

£403

-8%

-2%

South West*

£545

£506

-7%

-4%

Thames**

£370

£353

-5%

3%

United Utilities

£410

£398

-3%

0%

Wessex

£485

£442

-9%

-4%

Yorkshire

£373

£361

-3%

-1%

 

Changes to average annual water bill for water only companies

Ofwat’s final determination

Companies’
2013 December
request

 

2014-15

2019-20

5 year change

5 year change

Affinity

£176

£163

-7%

-4%

Bristol

£202

£160

-21%

1%

Dee Valley

£152

£149

-2%

8%

Portsmouth

£97

£96

-1%

-1%

SembCorp Bournemouth

£153

£134

-12%

-6%

South East

£201

£194

-3%

3%

South Staffs
(including Cambridge)

£141

£135

-4%

2%

Sutton and East Surrey

£186

£180

-3%

-5%

* The average combined customer bill for South West does not reflect the £50 per customer Government contribution towards household bills. This addresses the significant investment needed in the infrastructure which was inherited by the company at privatisation to meet environmental and drinking water quality standards.

** Thames Water’s figures includes the costs for the preparatory works to build the Thames Tideway Tunnel – a 25km sewer to deal with the problem of too much sewage overflowing into the River Thames. However, it does not include costs for the construction of the tunnel. This is because the project will be financed and delivered by an independent infrastructure provider (IP). The IP is due to be appointed in 2015.

 

#PROPERTYOFTHEDAY #10: 5 Bedroom Terraced House – West Brompton

Gallery

This gallery contains 12 photos.

On propertypropertyproperty.co.uk/blog we are introducing the #PropertyofTheDay segment, which will highlight properties across the UK that are currently available for sale or rent on the portal. Today we are highlighting FiveSevenTen in London and their lovely 5-bedroom terraced house, property … Continue reading

The UKs Top 10 Property Blogs

When it comes to the property market and tips on the property, we have curated a list of the UK’s top 10 Property blogs you can check out now!

  1. Home truths
  2. The rat and mouse
  3. Property owl
  4. Urban Splash
  5. Letting Focus
  6. Addicted to property.co.uk
  7. Property Hawk
  8. Property Industry eye
  9. My first home
  10. Land Lord Law

UK properties rise by five percent in the last year and adds more value on average home

HM Land Registry New figures show a typical property sold for £225,956 in August, up from £215,143 in the same month in 2016.

Increases over the last 12 months have been largest in the north-west, where house prices have risen by 6.5 percent. This was followed by gains of 6.4 percent recorded in the East Midlands, East of England and the south-west.

“The strength and prosperous nature of the country’s property market has once again been shown in these new statistics.” Kevin Shaw, national sales director at Leaders, explained

“The fact every single region across the UK experienced an increase of at least 2.6 percent in house prices over the last year, shows the market’s resilience despite the uncertainty of Brexit and gives sellers and buyers great confidence to make their next move.

“A significant rise in house prices is good news not only for homeowners who now have more options open to them when it comes to either moving or releasing equity in their property but also for landlords whose rental return is topped up by substantial capital growth that is realised when selling.”

Yet he acknowledges the challenge this presents for first-time buyers.

“Rising house prices are not good news for everybody and can make getting on the ladder less affordable for some.

“This week’s Budget is the ideal opportunity for the government to show it is on the side of prospective first-time buyers by reducing or even abolishing stamp duty for this group,” Kevin said.

The data shows that while the average property is worth £225,956, first-time buyers actually pay an average of £190,792 while those who have previously owned a property typically spend £262,156.

Kevin adds: “Looking ahead to the next 12 months, the outlook for the property market remains extremely positive. With the exception of the prime central London sector, further rises in house prices are expected across the country.

“Demand for all types of homes remains high and supply in many areas is not great enough, so we anticipate a busy and booming market for some time to come.”