According to data from Paragon Mortgages rental voids are at their lowest level since they began surveying landlords 13 years ago. In the first quarter of the year, the average time a landlord could expect a property to remain between tenants was less than two and a half weeks. And remember, these are national figures. More here.
It’s a question of priorities, and it was answered in last week’s budget, according to a very readable and intelligent piece in the Red Brick blog. Total cost of all the Governments potential market-boosting giveaways (factoring in the Help To Buy ISA): £33bn by 2020. Grants, loans and guarantees to build affordable housing: £16.5bn.
This not only makes nonsense of government arguments about austerity, it also shows yet again that the government favours the better-off, as of course the scheme will dispense money in inverse proportion to need.
I think the point of the Experian report - apart from the rise of the rental sector - is the creeping urbanisation of our countryside, as town and city workers are forced further afield by house prices. So the real question is “are you a ruburbanite?” And who’s surprised by the news that the suburbs are spreading?
A little boost for the London Land Commission and the relaxation of planning laws in less than two dozen “housing zones” were the only nod to increasing the provision of homes in yesterday’s budget.The (property) headlines were reserved for the new “help to buy ISA”, an extraordinary announcement that a Tory Government would donate 25% to savings/accumulated interest in special tax-free accounts, to be used for deposits on the purchase (by a first-time buyer) of a home. The small print… a maximum of £3000 from the Government, a maximum opening deposit of £1000 and £200 monthly savings from the saver, and maximum property values of £250,000 outside London and £450,000 in the capital. The total projected spend by the state? £2.1bn over five years. Which could have built a lot of homes for housing associations, instead of offering a helping hand to middle-class ftbs, and helping to support an dysfunctional system. How much of that 25% will vanish - over five years - into increased property price values as a result of greater demand?
After watching him earn such a distinguished record as housing minister, we’re exactly as shocked as the next man to hear archive of him (Radio 4, Today) peddling get-rich-quick “products” (including “Seriously Rich 3”) under the unimaginative pseudonym Michael Green (we’d have preferred Joe “Private” Walker), (apparently) while being paid as an MP… a timeframe he’s officially denied. Who’d’ve ever thought it? Original story here.
According to this, estate agency review site RaterAgent, is dealing with a fake review (either a positive one written for the agency itself or a negative one written for a rival) in every eight submitted. They’re onto you, they warn, and you won’t get away with it.
Or - rather - more surveyors are reporting falls than reporting price rises, in the three months to the end of February. The trend runs contrary to the direction of the rest of the UK, particularly in the south where the market has generally heated up, with some unwillingness to place properties on the market until after the election blamed for a lack of supply. Agents/surveyors point to a lack of affordability in the capital that will continue to put pressure on prices in the short/mid-term.
In brief… two tenants complaining of a bad smell and blocked fire escapes in their top floor flat return home to find their belongings shifted. They’re told they need to leave because of a carbon monoxide leak that has made the accommodation unsafe. New tenants move in two days later. Almost £25,000 in fines are the result. More here.
The longest-running and arguably the most recognised house price index around is to be sold to financial services company Markit for an undisclosed sum. Markit will add it to its collection of over 14,000 indices, and promises to administer it using identical methodology and under the current name into the future. More here.
A studio flat the size of a small waiting room was let within 40 minutes of appearing on the EJ Harris website. The 301 sq ft property, close to Oxford Circus, was said to have received over 200 emails in the first 15 minutes of appearing, had five offers after half an hour and was not only let in 40 minutes, but let with fees, deposit and the entire six months rent of the tenancy paid upfront. It’s apparently a new record, and illustrates both the strength of the London lettings market, and the power of the W1 postcode. More here.