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Brexit predictions wrong?

Average UK home jumps £3000 in August, according to the Office of National Statistics, confounding predictions referendum would hit the market.
House prices are continuing to rise despite predictions that Brexit would have an impact on them. They continue to outstrip wider inflation. read more...

Brexit ! What does it mean for UK property market?

Britain's property boom is expected to end following the Brexit vote, housing experts have warned. 
Some experts have predicted massive falls in sales and valuations in the months ahead due to the uncertainty surrounding Britain's exit from the European Union. 

One property specialist said that the near term prospects for the UK housing market now look very uncertain. read more...

 

Lack of Property for Sale

The number of properties being placed on the market has dropped by a fifth since June 2015, with London being the worst affected. Property listings across Britain have fallen by a massive 20% in the last three months, but in London they fell by an even further 5% on this, according to the online housing estate agent HouseSimple. read more...

Life insurance helps more people than ever

Death is often referred to as ‘the last taboo’ but recently British attitudes towards death have begun to change. As a nation we are more willing to talk about our own mortality and we are more willing to make financial plans for an uncertain future. A report by the Association of British Insurers (ABI) has revealed that insurers paid out nearly 25,000 life insurance claims last year with average payouts topping £26,000. read more...

New Insurance Dedicated Page

This is a brand new page on the site dedicated to insurance and insurance news, you will find articles/links & blogs which will be updated on a regular basis. read more...

House price growth picks up in July

According to Nationwide house prices rose by 3.5% in July this year, but firmly

believe tht the property market is finally stabalising.

Average UK house price are edging closer to the £200,000 mark, and  the pace of growth again increasing in July by 0.4% month-on-month, which is an improved performance on June's 0.2% decline. read more...

Will Right-to-buy hit affordable homes?

Rural housing campaigners are warning that the government's plan to extend right to buy legislation could decimate the provision of affordable housing. read more...

Facebook updates could invalidate your home insurance

Holidaymakers are being urged to resist the temptation to post pictures or status updates on social media sites or risk invalidating their home insurance. Telling the world that you’re away for a fortnight is an open invitation to burglars and insurance companies are warning homeowners that claims could be rejected. read more...

Limited Properties aid the rise in house price rises in April 2015

House prices in the UK have jumped by 1.6% in April this year; this is due to the lack of housing available to buy. Average property prices in Britain now stand at a record high of £196.412; this is up by £3,084 compared to figures in March this year. This is the largest increase since March 2014. read more...

Are Millionaire Basements a thing of the past?

The super-rich are maximizing property value in the heart of London as never before. But they’re not building up out or across, they’re digging down. In 2011 there were planning applications for 46 basement developments in Kensington & Chelsea, last year it rose to 450. Basement conversions have given London’s homes an entirely new lease of life. They offer the opportunity for spectacular spaces that the original structure above doesn’t have the natural space to accommodate. But at what cost? The noise and the disturbance for local residents are astonishing to see. read more...

Help to Buy ISA Set to Help First-Time Buyers

The Help to Buy ISA that was announced in last week’s budget by the Chancellor, George Osbourne, will potentially give first-time buyers a £3000 bonus to help raise a house deposit. For every £200 that an aspiring homebuyer saves, the Government will chip in £50. The tax break is capped at £3000, but it means that someone who saves up £12,000 will receive the full amount. This is particularly good news for a couple saving up for a home together, as they could benefit to the tune of £6000. read more...

North-South Property Divide Set to Narrow new

A recently published report has suggested that the North-South property divide could be set to narrow.  According to property analyst Hometrack, the momentum behind the housing market recovery is shifting away from southern England and heading north to cities such as Liverpool, Sheffield and Glasgow.  The logic is that the cities in the south have reached their peak and that there is more room for growth in the north.  Hometrack said that average house prices in both London and Oxford are now so high that they are more than twelve times local annual earnings.  This is almost double the UK average of 6.3 times wages.read more...

 

More Homes on the Market new

The number of homes for sale has recently seen a sharp increase, according to the credit checking agency Experian. It says that the total number of homes that were put up for sale in the last three months of 2014, rose to 187,905, which is a 27% increase on the 147,852 seen in the same period of the previous year. The phenomenon is being attributed to home owners trying to cash in on rising house prices. However, with the number of potential buyers failing to post a corresponding rise, those currently hunting from a home may be able to benefit from a ‘buyers’ market’.read more... 

Key under the mat new

Police are warning against hiding a house key for a friend or relative in order to let them gain access to your home.  Their data shows that opportunistic thieves are increasingly scouring the exterior of properties for keys hidden in common places.  These locations would include the old classics like under the door mat, a plant pot or even a garden gnome.  There were over 6000 burglaries last year, which did not involve a break in to get into the property.  This represents a sharp increase in this type of crime, where the overall number of thefts from homes is falling. read more....

 

New Stamp Duty Rates


George Osborne has announced the end for the current stamp duty system; the much-maligned slab system is set to be replaced by a progressive taxation policy, similar to income tax.  Under the new scheme, which came into force on midnight 4th December, the Chancellor has suggested that 98% of homebuyers will pay less tax, and that only those purchasing a property over £937,000 will be worse off.
Under the old scheme, stamp duty was levied at 1% at a purchase price over £125,000, 3% above £250,000, 4% above £500,000, 5% above £1m and 7% above £2m.  The new scheme kicks in at 2% between a house price of £125,000 to £250,000, 5% up to £925,000, 10% to £1.5m and 12% above that.  On the face of it, that doesn’t sound like a discount, but the graph below shows how the new stamp duty rates round off underneath the slab-like steps of the previous system, therefore giving homebuyers some relief in the centre of the stamp-duty bands. read more...

Homeowners Unprepared for Rising Costs


Recent ICM (Institute of Credit Management) research has shown that 32% of all UK homeowners would struggle to meet repayments if interest rates rose by just 2.5%.  Despite repeated warnings by the Bank of England, only 14% of those surveyed said that they had made plans for highly monthly payments in the future.  Those in London and the south east said that they would struggle the most with 39% saying that their households would be thrown into turmoil by the additional outgoing .read more...

London’s Property Rival


When it comes to being a centre of commerce, having runaway house prices and a steady stream of foreign buyers, London has a rival: Aberdeen.  According to data from the Nationwide Building Society, house prices in and around Aberdeen have doubled in the past ten years.  This is an increase that is only matched by the fashionable London boroughs of Islington and Westminster.
Scotland’s third city is currently a melting pot of first-time buyers willing to pay above valuation levels, interest from workers moving to the area, investors trying to get in on the act and a lack of homes for sale.  All these factors push prices up and questions the belief that the London property market is unique. read more...

Strict Mortgage Rules Curb the Market


Although still growing, the latest Nationwide Building Society figures show that the housing market is slowing.  House prices rose for the fifteenth consecutive month, but by just 0.1%, in July, with stricter mortgage rules thought to be the factor in growth slowdown.  However, a lack of availability of homes for sale has been spurring the market on over the last twelve months, during which time, house prices have gone up £18,000, an increase of 10.6%.  According to the building society, the average house price is now £188,949; a figure that is surely somewhat skewed by the capital. read more...
Landlord insurance buyer’s guide

Landlord insurance is often sold on price rather than the depth of cover, so property investors should dig deeper in to their policies to understand just what they can claim for.
One family recently picked up a £20,000 tab after a drugs gang moved in to their three-bedroom buy to let and wreaked havoc growing cannabis – but their insurance claim was rejected because the policy failed to include a malicious damage clause.
So what is landlord insurance and what cover should a property investor go for? read more...

Buy to let insurance guide for new landlords

Buy to let insurance is a specialist package designed to protect a property investment.

Property for rent must have specialist cover - standard home insurance will not pay out if a lodger or tenant is in residence.

Like many other insurance products, buy to let cover comes with several optional extras, so to help new landlords choose the best cover, here are some important points to consider:

read more...

 

Car and Home Insurance Renewals to be More Transparent

When it comes to renewing your car or home insurance knowledge really is power. After all, how can you compare costs if you can’t remember how much you paid last year? And that’s exactly why we welcome moves by the Association of British Insurers (ABI) to make the renewal process more transparent. read more...

Record Numbers Working from Home

Figures released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) suggest that a record number of people now work from home, at least since their figures started in 1998.  There were 4.2 million people classified as working from home in the first quarter of 2014, some 13.9% of the UK workforce. read more ... 

Market Still Strong According to Halifax

Demand is still strong in the housing market according to the latest round of figures released by the Halifax.  The monthly rise in house prices was exceptionally large at 3.9% but the 12-monthly figure, up to the end of May, was more realistic – quoted at 8.7%, which was a small rise on the previous month’s figure of 8.5%.  According to the bank, the average UK house price now stands at £184,464.  This is the highest it has been since October 2007. read more...

House Prices Up 8% in a Year

House prices have risen by 8% in the year up to the end of March 2014: This is the conclusion of the latest survey from the Office of National Statistics (ONS). It is down slightly from the 9.2% increase in the twelve months to the end of February, reflected in a quoted 0.5% fall in March. London, of course, is out on its own with an annual house price increase of 17% and once the capital and the south east are stripped out of the statistics, the average house price rise is a more modest 4.7%. read more...

New Mortgage Rules

From the 26th of April, obtaining a mortgage will be even tougher.  The City regulator, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is introducing new regulations to try and ensure that the last boom and bust financial crisis is not repeated.  Now lenders are required to do a full affordability check in the form of taking a closer look at outgoings.  All regular payments will be taken into account when determining if the borrower will be able to keep up repayments.  These could include the cost of things like regular haircuts, holidays and childcare.  The new checks will have a direct implication on how much a potential buyer will be able to borrow, and they will inevitably increase the time taken for the lender to consider the application. read more ...

House Price Rise Begins to Slow

The latest house price indices from Halifax and nationwide suggest that although prices are still rising, the rate of ascent has slowed.  The Halifax said that prices have risen 8.7% in the year to March, which is the highest inflation rate since October 2007.  However, prices fell by 1.1% in March compared to the previous month.  This was only the third monthly decline in fifteen months, putting the average house price at £178,249. read more ...

Help to Buy Scheme Could End Early


Thousands of home buyers have been getting onto the property ladder thanks to the Government’s Help to Buy scheme, which was launched last April.  However, brokers and lenders are warning that rising house prices, mortgage pricing and reasonable deals outside of Help to Buy could see the scheme being pulled before its due end date.  The Help to Buy equity loan and the guarantee scheme, launched last October, has helped more than 20,000 borrowers access low deposit mortgages. read more...

 

Borrowed Money to Cover Housing Costs

A recent survey by the charity Shelter has highlighted how a large number of people have turned to borrowing money to cover mortgage and rental payments – some have even turned to the short-term high interest loans offered by pay-day loan companies. Of the 3,675 renters and mortgage payers surveyed, 19% had borrowed money to cover payments. read more...

House Price Prediction for 2014


With a new year comes the usual round of predictions from the housing industry analysts.  There has been more activity than expected over the winter of 2013/2014 so far, but will the recovery continue?  Ray Boulger of mortgage broker John Charcol, says that he expects house prices to go up by 8% in 2014.  This would match the increases seen in the Nationwide and Halifax price indices seen at the back end of 2013.  Many other analysts agree, including the Halifax. read more...

 

House Prices up by 8.4% in 2013


According to data recently released by Nationwide, house prices rose by 8.4% in 2013 as the UK economy gained momentum.  The annual rise put the average house price at £175,826, which the building society says is only 5% below the peak seen in 2007.  The survey is based on Nationwide’s own data, so it cannot be classed as a comprehensive picture, but its monthly figures, along with the other major lender, Halifax, are widely considered to be a good indication of market trend. read more...

 

House Prices Continue to Rise
The latest house price indices from the Halifax show that house prices continued to rise in November 2012.  This was the tenth successive month that the Halifax has tabled an increase; prices were up 1.1% on the previous month, contributing to an annual rise of 7.7%.  The average house price is now cited at £174,910.  The lender says that a strong demand for housing with a lack of homes coming onto the market is driving house prices upwards.  However, it did add that the rise would be kept in check by buyers’ constrained finances. read more...

 

Thousands Use Help to Buy First Phase

The Help to Buy scheme was launched by the Government in April to help people buy new-build homes with a shared equity loan. Six months later, by the end of September, 5,375 homes have been bought using the scheme. Under Help to Buy, home buyers are given an equity loan of up to 20% of the property price after they stump up a 5% deposit. The scheme has now moved into its second phase, which is not restricted to newly built homes and has been rolled out across the UK (phase one excluded Scotland & Wales). The average price of a property bought under the scheme was £194,167 with an average equity loan of £38,703. According to the Department for Communities and Local Government, the highest number of Help to Buy sales were in Leeds, Wiltshire, Milton Keynes and Reading. Many house builders say that their business has been boosted by the scheme, including Taylor Wimpey, which said that it had sold all the homes that it was building this year. read more....

 

Private Rental at a Record High

There have been many reports printed recently; stating that private rents are unaffordable to many families, but the latest comes from LSL property Services which says that the average cost of renting a home privately is now at £757. A greater demand for rental property saw prices rise by 2.1% in September, which outstripped August’s rise by 1.8%. Conversely, this was on the back of mortgage lenders reporting September as a strong month, continuing on from summer’s increased lending trend.read more...

 

New Property Highs from the ONS

October of 2013 saw a shockingly high average property value estimation from the Office of National Statistics; it says that house prices have risen 3.8% in a year to reach a record high of £247,000 – well past the previous market peak of January 2008.  The ONS’ monthly study showed that house prices were on the increase in all regions of the UK, apart from Scotland.  Prices rose in England by 4.1%, in Wales by 1%, in Northern Ireland by 1.1% and shrank by 0.7% north of the border.  The latest stats also found that first-time buyers are paying 4.9% more for a home, compared to at the same time last year. read more...

 

Creating that curb appeal

Curb appeal is a term that’s big in the real estate business but a bit of a mystery to many buyers. It refers to the external look of a house, the way it looks from the curb, and it sometimes extends to the impression that a prospective buyer gets when first walking through the front door. It’s difficult to overestimate the importance of a good impression made at this stage. The curb appeal of a house can make as much as £5,000 worth of difference to its asking price. It’s also one of the single biggest factors influencing how fast a house sells. The good news is that it’s easy to improve the curb appeal of any property by making a few simple, low cost improvements that take very little time to organise. read more...

 

Finding thatched roof insurance

For a whole host of reasons, most insurers will not entertain the idea of providing cover for a property with a thatched roof. The property may have a romantic feel and look good, but homes with thatched roofs come with a variety of problems and risks that insurers are inclined to avoid. read more...

 

Fastest House Price Rise for Seven Years

British house prices bucked their usual holiday month trend in August to rise at their fastest rate for almost seven years. This is according to the latest property market survey from the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), which also said that the number of houses being sold jumped to its highest level in three and a half years. A balance of 40% of surveyors said that prices had risen in their area in August – up from 37% in the previous month. An increase in enquiries from potential buyers was reported by 66% of its members and a net balance of 45% of surveyors expect further price growth over the next three months. read more...

 

The Families Priced Out of 75% of England’s Property Market
Families on low to middle incomes are being increasingly priced out of England’s property market as values rise, warns the homeless charity Shelter.  Up to 1.8 million households with an income of £20,000 to £40,000 could find themselves stuck on the lowest rung of the property ladder, or face years of renting because they can’t afford the repayments for a three-bedroom home.  The charity says that these ‘forgotten families’ are priced out of 78% of suitable housing available and that they need a drastic expansion of shared home ownership schemes to ease their plight. read more...

House Prices in England & Wales Hit an All-Time High

The average home in England & Wales now costs £232,969 - £1,140 higher than the previous peak recorded in February 2008. This is according to a report by LSL Property Services, which said that property prices were being driven up by a strong demand in London and the easing of lending conditions – thanks largely to the Bank of England-backed scheme, Funding for Lending. read more...

 

Private Rental the “Most Expensive Form of Housing”


The recently published ‘Home Truths’ report from the Resolution Foundation, which campaigns on behalf of low to middle-income families, suggests that a third of Britain is now effectively off-limit for low-income working families, because private rents are unaffordable.  The report is based on average rental figures and divided into local authorities.  Affordability is based on a couple with one child with a household income of £22,000.  Affordable rent is defined as no more than 35% of net household income.  On that basis, 125 of 376 local authorities (33%) are unaffordable. read more...

Government Schemes Help First-Time Buyers


The first four months of 2013 has seen a spike in the number of first-time buyers securing a place on the property ladder.  According to market analysts, almost 10,000 more first-time buyers secured a mortgage deal than in the equivalent period of last year.  Government schemes such as help to buy are thought to have played a big part in this welcome development.  Under the scheme first-timers can buy a new-build home up to the value of £600,000 with only a five per cent deposit. read more...

 

Spike in House Sales Shows Market Confidence

The total number of properties sold in the UK over the last three months, has been at its highest level for three and a half years.  This is based on information provided by the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).  Its members sold an average of 17.9 houses in the quarter up to May 2013.  Although this is still below the market peaks seen up until 2007, it shows a healthy increase on the extreme lows of 2009 and could indicate an increased confidence in the housing market. read more...

 

Home insurance: buildings and contents cover

It is said that you don’t know how good your insurance company is until you make a claim. This may be true, but when it comes to what is probably your most valuable asset – your home – a bit of homework into the policy you choose is likely to pay off as well. There are two kinds of home insurance: buildings and contents cover. It is not compulsory to have either, but if you have a mortgage, your lender will usually insist on adequate buildings cover. As for contents, they are likely to be more valuable than you think, and you should think carefully about how much it would cost you to replace your possessions in the event of theft, fire, flooding or any other disaster. If you are unsure as to what counts as buildings and what counts as contents, imagine turning your house upside down and shaking it. Anything that falls out is contents. Anything that stays in place, from the walls to the kitchen sink, counts as buildings. read more...

 

Asking Prices Hit a New High


House sellers’ asking prices have hit a new high, indicating a new-found confidence in the property market.  So says the property website Rightmove, which has cited a 2.1% month-on-month rise – pushing up the average asking price to £249,841 in May.  This indicates a £20,000 rise for the year so far, the strongest start to a year for the property market since 2004. read more...

 

Bank to Pay Stamp Duty of First-Time Buyers

The Halifax has launched a new initiative to tempt first-time buyers through its doors by offering cash-back on stamp duty. If they take out a mortgage with the bank, they will be able to reclaim the one per cent stamp duty paid on properties purchased between £125,000 and £250,000. The Halifax says that it’s doing this to help ‘ease the burden’ on first-time buyers trying to get on the property ladder. The offer is available until 7th July 2013. read more...

The UK’s Buy-To-Let Hotspots


A Study by the high-street bank HSBC has compiled a league table of the UK’s buy-to-let hotspots.  The list is dominated by coastal towns and northern cities.  Inexpensive property prices coupled with strong rental demand has made seaside towns, such as Blackpool, and cities such as Manchester, Hull and Nottingham lucrative prospects for buy-to-let landlords. read more...

 

Optimism for Estate Agents

The latest RICS (The Royal Institute for Chartered Surveyors) figures, showing the highest number of house sales in England and Wales for three years during the first quarter of 2013, have put estate agents in a more buoyant mood.  Although quoted property sales, at an average of 17, is not exactly breath-taking, it will raise hopes that the worst of the slump is over.  Previous quarterly figures had slumped to lows of less than 10. read more...

 

The Interest-Only Mortgage Legacy


A report due out in May, compiled by the Financial Services Authority (FSA), is expected to announce that nearly four million home owners are at risk of losing their homes as the capital on their interest-only mortgages becomes due.  Although access to this particular loan type is very restricted, it is believed that there are still around 3.8 million of them outstanding and that approximately 150,000 interest-only mortgages will mature each year between now and 2020. read more...

 

Bedroom Tax’ Due to Begin in April 2013


A forthcoming change in housing benefit that has been dubbed the ‘bedroom tax’ will affect over half a million tenants when it starts in April this year.  Strictly speaking it is not a tax at all, and the Government argues that it will help cut the annual £23bn bill for housing benefit, free up more living space for overcrowded families and encourage people to seek employment.  However, charities argue that it will lead to higher levels of rent arrears and homelessness. read more...

 

Bank Initiative Continues to Fuel the Market


The latest house price figures from the Halifax show that the housing market continues to recover thanks to the bank of England’s Funding for Lending initiative.  Although down 0.2% on December, January’s house price figures were up 1.3% on the corresponding month of 2012.  Prices in the three months up to January were 1.9% higher than in the previous three months and the average price of a home is cited by the bank, at £162,932. read more...

 

Important measures to take to increase the value of your home

Anyone who is considering selling their house will want to maximise the value as much as possible. There are ways in which this can be done on a budget, but on occasion it may involve a little expenditure.  It is important to consider the potential return for any money that is paid out.  There is no point having the loft converted, for example, if the value added to the house is less than the cost of the work carried out. read more...

 

Misleading Land Registry House Price Reports

Although widely touted as being the most reliable data, because it is based on actual sale prices; the Land Registry monthly house price report is badly under-estimated.  This is because it does not include the sales of new-build homes.  If you want to see the data for all residential property sold you must refer to the Land Registry’s quarterly report – a privilege that you will, rather annoyingly, pay for. read more...

 

Eight Years Saving for First-Time Buyers

 

Financial analysts at Barclays bank have calculated that, in order to accumulate enough money for a house deposit, first-time buyers will have to save, on average, for eight years.  Back in 1995, first-timers took just an average of one year to save up for a home deposit.  read more...

 

End of Year Figures from Nationwide

 

Property prices in Britain declined by 0.1% in December according to the latest price index by the Nationwide. It cites a 1% decrease in property prices for the year as a whole, which negates a 1% rise shown in 2011; this means that by the Nationwide's figures, property prices have effectively remained unchanged over the last two years ago. Not surprisingly, the bank aren't particularly optimistic for the year ahead; house prices are expected to stay at similar levels or to decline slightly throughout 2013. read more...

 

Positive Prediction for the Housing Market

 

The Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) has predicted a more stable and “positive” year for the housing market in 2013. The group, which accounted for four in ten of all house purchase loans in October, has based its prediction on increased activity in the market. In total, there were 49,500 loans advanced for house purchase in October; this was an increase of 13.8% on September and was up 10.2% on October 2011. read more...

 

Repossessions Fall to Five-Year Low

 

The number of homes being repossessed has fallen to its lowest level since 2007, says the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML). Last year the CML forecast that 45,000 homes would be seized but, so far, only 26,300 properties have been repossessed in the first nine months of 2012. The third quarter of this year saw 8,200 repossessions, down from 8,500 in the second quarter and substantially lower than the 9,600 cases that were reported for the same period of 2011. read more...

 

Calls for More Self-Build Homes

 

Building your own home should not be considered a “pie in the sky dream,” says the new housing minister, Mark Prisk. At a conference in London, organised by the council of Mortgage Lenders, Mr Prisk indicated that self-build could play an important part in boosting the UK housing market. “I’m not pretending self-build is the entire answer, but it is an element I want to encourage you to incorporate,” he told the audience. read more...

 

Sky High Rents Force up the Housing Benefit Bill

 

Rent increases of 37% in just three years have forced many families onto housing benefit. This is according to a survey by the National Housing Federation (NHF), which says that the Government’s housing benefit bill has almost doubled. Since 2009 there has been an 86% rise in housing benefit claims from working families, with 417,830 now receiving payments and a further 10,000 applicants every week. The root of the problem is house prices; they have risen three times faster than wages since 2001, rendering the property ladder a distant dream for many, forcing them into the rental market. read more...

 

Why to buy over rent

 

If you have aspirations of leaving the rental market and finally actually buying a new home, then regardless of whether you’re looking for a nice three-bedroom property in the north of England or flats in London, you have a key question to ask yourself: should you buy an existing property or purchase one of the many new homes that are being offered by developers such as Barratt Homes? read more...

 

Interest-Only Mortgages are Almost Extinct

 

Nationwide are the latest lender to announce the end of interest-only mortgages; it won’t be offering the product to new borrowers from 11th October. Last year the Financial Services Authority (FSA) announced that from 2013 it would enforce new rules to ensure that lenders scrutinised their potential customers more closely. This will include making sure that those taking out interest-only mortgages have a suitable investment in place to pay back the capital at the end of the loan term. read more...

 

A Body Blow for Estate Agents

 

The role of a traditional estate agent could now be under threat following proposals to lift restrictions on private web-based sellers. The Department for Business Innovations and Skills has proposed amendments to the Estate Agents Act, so that web-based ‘intermediaries’ – which allow sellers to advertise their home online direct to the public – will no longer be treated in the same way as estate agents. read more...

 

Considering a move to the garden of England?

With its stunning scenery, quaint towns and villages, and easy access to the sea, Kent has always been a very popular place to live. However, in the last decade, new homes in Kent have become even more popular as young people are priced out of the housing market in London and look to more affordable alternatives outside the capital. Because it is within easy commuting distance of London, it’s particularly popular with young families, who are tied to jobs in London but really need to find a bigger home with access to good schools for the kids. read more...

 

Mortgage Deposits Drop for First-Time Buyers

The size of mortgage deposit needed by first-time buyers to purchase a house has dropped below 20% for the first time since November 2008.  The Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) said that the average first-time deposit was 19% for the month of July. read more...

 

 

Rising Mortgage Rates Promise More Repossessions

 

A recent hike in the standard variable rate (SVR) of interest for an estimated 400,000 Santander mortgage borrowers has signalled lenders intents to balance the books and has underlined that there is now a general trend towards rate rises. The bank’s increase of rate from 4.24% to 4.74% followed similar rises by Bank of Ireland, Halifax and Royal Bank of Scotland’s One Account. The danger is that many of the targeted homeowners have little or no equity and are unable to switch deals, inevitably piling on the misery for those in difficulty. read more...

 

The Buy-to-Let Mortgages Boom

The number of properties available for rent continues to rise, according to the latest figures from the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML), which show that the number of buy-to-let mortgages approved is up 17% in the last twelve months. Despite the struggling economy and housing market, landlords are taking advantage of the all-time high in rent and buy-to-let is recovering from its low point in 2010. Landlords snapped up an extra 17,360 properties with buy-to-let loans in the three months to June – up from 15,100 in the same period of last year. read more...

 

10 tips for finding the best home insurance deal

If you're a homeowner or you're considering buying a home, it's likely that you'll want to protect it. After all, a house is usually one of the biggest investments you'll ever make. Your building society or bank may require you to take out buildings insurance along with your mortgage - that way their loan to you is protected as well as your home. read more...

 

British Summer Causes a fall in Asking Prices

 

The miserable summer weather that we have been experiencing has wiped an average of £4,138 (1.7%) off the asking prices of property in the UK. This data comes from the property search website, Rightmove, who said that asking prices tumbled to an average of £242,097 during the first half of July. It is the biggest fall for the summer month since 2008, but prices remain 2.3% higher than they were twelve months ago. read more...

 

Nationwide Cite House Price Fall for June

 

According to one of the country’s leading mortgage lenders, the Nationwide, house prices fell by 0.6% in June, to £165,738. This brings the annual decline in prices to 1.5%, which is the sharpest decline seen in three years by the building society. The decline in property value has been put down to the weakness of the nation’s economy and the end of the stamp duty holiday for first-time buyers. In its report, Nationwide also stated that there are few signs of a near-term economic recovery and that the outlook for the market is “highly uncertain.” The other big lender, Halifax, has not yet released it figures for June, but it did show a monthly rise of 0.5% for May with the less volatile three-monthly figure standing at +0.8%. read more...

 

Halifax: No Change In House Prices for the Rest of 2012

In its latest report on the housing market, the Halifax has predicted that house prices will remain stable throughout the rest of the year, ending the year at roughly the same level as today’s (June) prices.  Although its monthly house price indices have been somewhat volatile – down 2.3% between March and April and then up by 0.5% between April and May, house prices are just 0.1% lower than one year ago.  The quarterly figure to the end of May showed a rise of 0.8%, with the average house now worth £160, 941. read more...

 

Are There Hidden Costs When Buying a Home?

As with so many financial transactions these days, buying a home involves a number of hidden costs. Though property prices are lower now than they were in 2007, hundreds of first-time buyers are being priced out of the market, which is why many landlords and potential landlords compare buy to let mortgages at Moneysupermarket with the aim of trying to make a good return from rental properties. read more...

 

No Good News from RICS

In its latest report, the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) has confirmed that the upturn of housing market activity at the beginning of the year has well and truly ended. Its monthly survey of members who work as estate agents shows that sales fell in April, for the first time since September 2011. The reason cited for this was the cessation of the stamp duty holiday for first-time buyers, on March 24th. The survey also found that house prices were continuing to fall across the country, except in London. read more... 

 

House Prices Drop £10K in Two Years

The latest house price figures to come out of the Halifax show a drop of 2.4% in April. This leaves the average house price at £159,883, which is the same level as in August 2004. If these figures are accurate, the average home has lost £10,000 pounds in value since April 2010, where the market seemed to have bounced back from its 2008/2009 slump. In a market full of contradictory figures, when taking the 2.4% rise, cited by Halifax for March, into account, the more stable quarterly figure ends up at a rise of 0.3% - i.e. relatively unchanged. read more... 

 

Mortgage Rates Continue to Rise

The cost of getting a new mortgage is continuing to rise, as the likes of Abbey, HSBC, Halifax, Lloyds TSB, Santander, Britannia and Cheltenham & Gloucester have all announced recent interest rate rises in their mortgage portfolios. Although the Bank of England base rate continues to stay at its all time low of 0.5%, lenders argue that increasing mortgage rates are due to the rise in the cost of raising funds, from both savers and wholesale financial markets. These are just the latest moves in a six-week period that has seen the cost of obtaining a mortgage rise, pretty much across the board. Many lenders have put up their rates twice in this period. read more... 

 

Asking Prices Hit an All Time High

There may not be many houses for sale and many would-be buyers are still struggling to secure a mortgage, but according to the estate agents’ website, Rightmove, asking prices have now hit an all time high. Average asking prices rose by 2.9% between March and April 2012, to £243,737, £1,327 more than the last peak in May 2008. read more...  

 

Mortgage Deal Numbers Fall

The amount of mortgage products available has dropped sharply after reaching a peak in February. Experts suggest that this is because the stamp-duty holiday for first-time buyers ended on the 24th March. The number of deals peaked at 2,757 in February 2012, but the numbers fell to 2,325 in March and then to 2,288 in April. Another theory for this decline is the introduction of NewBuy - the Government’s latest incentive to get first-time buyers into the market. This is a policy that is hoped will help 100,000 people to buy a newly-built property with a little help from the builder and a high street bank, but guaranteed by the taxpayer. Certainly, most of the loan deals that have disappeared seem to be the ones aimed at first time buyers – i.e. those in the highest loan-to-value bracket. read more...

 

New Stamp Duty Rules

Following the latest budget, the Government has outlined its planned modifications to the stamp duty system. Properties sold for more than £2m will now be subject to a charge of 7% of the purchase price. This will represent an extension to the current stamp duty thresholds, where residential properties over £1m are liable for 5% stamp duty. In addition to this, those buying properties for over £2m via a company will now pay 15%. read more...  

 

NewBuy Scheme Launched to Assist Homebuyers

The latest helping hand to those wishing to climb onto the housing ladder in England has been launched in the shape of HomeBuy, the latest Government mortgage indemnity scheme. Building firms and the taxpayer will be the co-guarantors of property bought by existing or first-time buyers, in a scheme that is backed by some high street names. Barclays, Nationwide and Nat West are supporting the NewBuy scheme, where people will be able to borrow up to 95% of the value of their new home. read more...  

 

UK House Price Fall in February

According to the latest figures from the Halifax, house prices fell by 0.5% in February, compared to the previous month. The bank cited the average home value at £160,118, which is 1.9% lower than one year earlier, with the three-month on three-month figure showing a drop of 1.1% in February. The house price drop in February came after a rise of 0.6% in January and is a contradiction of Nationwide’s figures for the month, which said that house prices had risen in February by 0.6% and by 0.9% over 12 months. read more...  

 

Mortgage Rate Hike for RBS, Nat West & Halifax Customers 

Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) and Halifax have increased their mortgage rates for 200,000 and 850,000 customers, respectively. This is potentially the start of a scenario that analysts are referring to as a the ‘mortgage time bomb’ – in which the banks look set to pass on the rise in wholesale money market borrowing to their customers. Despite being 82% owned by the taxpayer, RBS has upped its RBS and Nat West branded offset mortgages to 4% - a rise of 0.25%. The same change will hit its ‘One Account’ range on 1st May; a portfolio that includes Virgin One, Direct Line One and Nat West One. read more...  

 

Property Sales in Traditional New Year Dip

According to HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) property sales have seen their usual New Year drop in numbers, but transactions in the first month of 2012 are at their highest since 2008. There were 64,000 UK property sales during the month, which is down from 86,000 in December, but up from the 52,000 recorded in January 2011. read more...  

 

The Death Knell for ‘Sell and Rent Back

The Financial Services Authority (FSA) has confirmed that the ‘Sale and Rent Back’ sector of the housing market has been almost completely closed down. This follows on from an investigation into the industry by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) in 2008 after distressed home owners, in their tens of thousands, sold their homes to companies offering them tenancies, as an alternative to being repossessed.  read more...

 

Homes ‘at Flooding Risk’ Highlighted by ABI

The Association of British Insurers (ABI) has mapped neighbourhoods at the highest risk of flooding - highlighting that up to 200,000 homes are affected. It has stated that these homes will face insurance problems, when a Government agreement, obliging insurers to provide cover for the affected areas whilst flood defences are built, ends next year. Boston, Skegness and the Vale of Clwyd are the areas shown as facing the greatest risk. read more...

 

Buyer Beware: The Mortgage Fee Rip-Off

Figures compiled by financial information provider Moneyfacts, show that sneaky high-street mortgage lenders have been pumping up their charges to compensate for the lower, and less profitable interest rates. Mortgage arrangement fees went up by £609 in 2011; up from £889 to £1,498. That’s an eye-watering increase of 69%. read more...

 

Before you buy your first house

Buying your first house and committing to your first mortgage are big steps. It is currently a very difficult time to be getting on to the property ladder and there is therefore much to be considered. You should expect to need a large deposit and be prepared for vigorous credit checks from mortgage providers. It is a good idea to ensure that you've done some homework and considered your monthly repayments - an online mortgage calculator can help with this. read more...

 

House Prices Fell by 1.3% in 2011

Data released by the Halifax suggests that house prices fell by a total of 1.3% in the year of 2011. The bank said that the housing market had been surprisingly resilient in the face of falling incomes and a deteriorating economy, but it cited a house price fall of 0.9% for the month of December 2011. This brought the average house price down to £160, 063. read more...

 

FSA Set to Impose New Mortgage Lending Rules

New rules are set to be introduced in 2013 by the Financial Services Authority (FSA) to prevent a resurgence of the risky mortgage lending which was widely blamed for the financial downturn. The proposals intend to bring in “common sense” standards that will stop home buyers borrowing more than they can afford – although the current market climate has seen many lenders already implement many of their own restrictions. read more...

 

Mortgage Support Scheme Under Threat

The Support for Mortgage Interest (SMI) scheme, which currently helps some struggling homeowners to pay their mortgage, is being reviewed. At £400m per year, the Government has stated that the scheme is unsustainable and must be reformed. Some people on benefits are eligible for the scheme and can receive payments 13 weeks after losing their job – a timescale previously cut from 39 weeks, for a period of two years. read more...

 

First-Time Buyer Stamp Duty Concession to End

The first-time buyer stamp duty exemption will end in March 2012 , with the Government saying that the relief has been “ineffective.” In his Autumn Statement, Chancellor George Osborne said that the policy had failed to get people on the property ladder and that the concession would be scrapped on the date that was previously planned. read more...

 

Asking Prices Drop by 3.1%

The asking prices of homes put up for sale has dropped by 3.1% in just one month, according to the property website Rightmove. The website said that prices, and the number of homes for sale, were falling victim to economic uncertainty. The average asking price of newly marketed properties fell by £7,528 to £232,144 in the month of November. This fall in asking prices is the biggest that Rightmove have recorded since December 2007, and it was the third largest recorded in the history of the site. read more...

 

How are energy providers helping householders this winter?

Wintry weather is yet to take hold of Britain, but freezing conditions are just around the corner. When temperatures do eventually fall, many of the poorest energy consumers will face an uphill battle to heat their homes this winter.  read more...

 

How to Solve a Housing Crisis

Although house prices remain buoyant and interest rates are at an all-time low, the economy is in dire straits and only a fifth of 18-34 year-olds are able to get on the housing market. Many commentators believe that the housing market faces a growing crisis and some have come up with some radical suggestions to reverse this.  read more...

 

House Prices Up in October

According to the Halifax, house prices rose by 1.2% in the month of October – the same month in which the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) announced that market activity had shown signs of picking up. The Halifax, which is part of Lloyds TSB Banking Group, said that the housing market had remained “highly resilient” despite the increasingly gloomy outlook for the UK economy. The average house price now stands at £163,311, according to the bank, which means that prices have fallen 1.8% from 12 months ago. read more...