Supply of homes available to rent increased by 3% in March, latest sector data shows

The supply of properties available to rent from letting agents increased by 3% in March month on month in the UK private rented sector, the latest data report shows.

The research from the Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA) reveals that the number of properties managed per letting agent branch went up from 197 in February to 203, the highest since records began in 2015.

The data also shows that year on year the number was up by 13% from 179 per lettings member branch in March 2018.

Demand from prospective tenants also increased, with the number of tenants seeking a home to rent registered per branch rising to 67 on average, compared to 65 in February.

The number of tenants experiencing rent rises fell marginally in March, with 30% of agents witnessing landlords increasing them, compared to 34% in February but up from the 23% recorded in March 2018.

The monthly ARLA report found that in March the number of landlords exiting the market remained at four per branch. But this is up from three last year.

‘Whilst its really positive that the number of properties available per branch hit a record high last month, this may be the first signs of the industry consolidating ahead of the tenant fees ban as agents either sell-up or merge,’ said David Cox, ARLA chief executive,.

‘This, coupled with landlords exiting the market and rent costs continuing to rise, means the overall picture is far from positive for renters. The full effects of the tenant fees ban have not yet been felt, and now the Government is introducing yet more new legislation which will deter new landlords from entering the market, such as abolishing Section 21,’ he pointed out.

‘Until we have greater clarity on the changes planned, this news will only increase pressure on the sector and discourage new landlords from investing, meaning rents will only continue to rise for tenants,’ he added.

Original Source: Property Wire

Improvements, including garden landscaping, adds average of £40,000 to a property

Home owners in Britain have added an estimated average of £40,000 to the value of their properties by doing home improvements in the past five years, new research has found.

The average spend has been £14,015 with garden landscaping, a gym, extension or walk-in wardrobe the most likely to increase the value of a property, adding around 19%.

Overall, some 64% of home owners made improvements over the last five years, spending £295 billion in total, according to the analysis based on the median asking price of £286,000 for a three bedroom semi-detached house by Post Office Money.

Those who have made changes to their home estimated that the improvements increased the value of their property by £40,000, from an average of £210,000 before the improvements to £250,000 afterwards, an average increase of approximately 19%.

A breakdown of the figures suggest that garden landscape costs an average of £2,750 and adds 77% to the value of a home, a gym costs around £10,000 and adds 44%, while an extension costing £80,000 adds 37%.

A walk in wardrobe costing £3,400 adds 34%, a jacuzzi or hot tub, costing £6,000, adds 27% while a swimming pool, costing around £30,000, adds just 22%. A basement conversion, costing around £90,000 adds an even lower 17%.

The improvement that add the least value include a new driveway costing £25,000 adding just 9%, a conservatory costing £9,000 adding 10% and a wet room costing £7,500 adding just 7%.

The most common improvement was a new kitchen with 25% of home owners opting for one, while 18% carried out garden landscaping, 16% bought a new shed, 14% added decking or a patio and 12% put in a new driveway.

‘Over the past few years, house price growth has slowed, so home owners have turned to other options to add value to their homes with renovations being a clear opportunity. Making the right changes to your home can increase its market value significantly but if improving your home’s asking price is your priority, it’s important to keep in mind the cost of the improvement and the value it could add,’ said Chrysanthy Pispinis from Post Office Money.

The research also found that while only 5% of those who have made home improvements in the past five years did so with the express intention of moving, 28% did so because they thought it would be a good investment and would add value to their property.

The most popular reason for making home improvements was to improve the look of a home with 59% doing so. To fund renovations some 74% used savings, 16% used a personal loan or credit card, while 6% used equity release or mortgages.

‘Home improvements are not all about making changes which add value for re-sale and 63% of the homeowners we polled had no plans to move. Renovations allow home owners to create homes that reflect their needs and tastes, with the potential added benefit of adding value in the long term,’ added Pispinis.

Original Source:

Five interior design trends for children’s bedrooms

With the speed children grow and go in and out of fads, kid’s bedrooms require updating on a regular basis. If that inevitable time has come around again to change the décor of your child’s bedroom, here’s five interior design trends to create a welcoming, creative, inspiring and much-loved space for little ones.

Use lots of colour

It’s safe to say children of all ages love colour and, with spring being here, now’s the time to get bold with colour in your child’s bedroom. From striking turquoise walls to lime green curtains and quilts, from a pale blue ceiling to wooden furniture painted in white, really go to town with colour in your child’s room to craft a vibrant and inspiring personal space that’s in-keeping with the season.

Create an accent wall

A striking accent wall, whether it’s decorated with wallpaper, artwork or is painted in a standout colour, will help bring your little one’s room to life by creating a fresh new look.

As an accent wall is just one specific area of a room, you can afford to adorn the space with your child’s favourite pastime, television programme or video game character, as even if they are into another activity altogether in six months’ time, you can change the theme of the accent wall without too much trouble.


Accessories are easy to change and are an inexpensive way to transform a child’s bedroom. From dinosaur cushions to pirate lamps, fairy-themed bookshelves to Lego toyboxes, replace existing accessories with new ones to make your child’s room come alive with their favourite themes and characters.

Introduce a reading zone

If your child is old enough to be reading books or doing homework, creating a reading zone in their bedroom can be an effective way to encourage quiet relaxation, reading and doing homework. Such spaces can be defined by a desk, comfortable chair or beanbag and should ideally be far enough away from toys and other potential distractions.

Use open shelving

Adorned with brightly-coloured toys and beautifully-illustrated books, open shelving looks great in a child’s bedroom.

Revamp your youngster’s room by putting open shelves on the walls and then placing their favourite toys and books on the shelving to create eye-catching decoration in the room.

You child’s personal living space in the perfect place to generate a creative, inspiring ambiance and have endless fun with colours, patterns, textures and ideas.

Original source: New i.d Interiors

Mortgage approvals increased by 4% year on year in March

Mortgage approvals in the UK increased in March, up 4% year on year with middle market borrowers dominating the home lending market and Yorkshire having the highest proportion of first time buyer lending, the latest monitor report shows.

Some 66,174 mortgages were approved during March 2019 despite the housing market being subdued, with the report from chartered surveyors e.surv also showing that low rates have created favourable conditions for existing home owners looking to take out new loans.

At the same time first time buyer activity has increased, despite the slowdown in the wider market. Across all parts of the market, approvals were also up month on month, rising 2.9% between February and March.

However, the proportion of loans given to small deposit borrowers fell slightly compared to the last survey, down from 26.3% to 26%, but Richard Sexton, director at e.surv, said it still represents a significant share of the mortgage market.

The figures also show that the recent squeeze on borrowers with large deposits continued into March, with the proportion of loans going to this part of the market falling once again, down to 26.2% from 26.9% recorded in February and down from 28.1% ratio in January and 30.1% in December 2018.

This fall, coupled with the modest drop in small deposit lending, meant that mid-market borrowers were the main beneficiaries. Almost half of all loans went to this segment of the market at 47.8%. This is higher than the 46.8% recorded the previous month and up from the 44.8% recorded in January.

‘With almost half of all mortgages going to midmarket borrowers, it is clear that many current homeowners are still coming to market for new loans,’ said Sexton.

At the other end of the scale, just 16.7% of mortgages in London went to this part of the market. London was dominated by those with large piles of cash as a deposit. Some 35.2% of mortgages in the capital had a large deposit this month, although this figure was down compared to the 36.8% recorded last month. After London, the South East was the area which was most dominated by large deposit borrowers. They occupied 31.1% of the market this month, it was the only other part of the country where large deposit customers had more than a 30% market share.

‘While most people have family and work ties which mean they must purchase a property in a specific area, for those able to choose where to live, Yorkshire is proving an attractive place to buy,’ Sexton pointed out.

‘With low purchase prices and good first time buyer affordability, the region was more tilted in favour of young borrowers than any other during March. London buyers have a much tougher time, with this market stacked toward those with more cash to spare,’ he added.

Original source: Property Wire

Decorating tips to get your house spring-ready

April is here and spring has sprung meaning one thing only – it’s time to inject some new life into your property so it’s ready for the socialising seasons of spring and summer.

Take a look at the following simple decorating tips to get your house spring-ready.

Accessorise with brightly-coloured accessories and large mirrors

With more daylight filtering into the rooms, make the most of the increasingly light evenings and mornings by hanging large mirrors on the walls to bounce the light around.

Now’s also the time to get bold with colour, patterns and textures by introducing brightly-coloured accessories such as vibrant rugs and striking artwork into bedrooms and reception rooms.

Highlight key features with flowers

Introducing freshly-cut flowers into the home is a must during the springtime, creating a real sense of bringing the beauty of the season indoors.

Highlight notable features around the home such as tables, windowsills, desks and more, by placing a vase of fragrant freshly-cut spring flowers in key areas to make them stand out and play centre stage.

Paint kitchen cabinets

Rather than ripping out the old kitchen and replacing it with a new one, inject some new life into your kitchen so it’s ready for spring and summer-time socialising by painting the cabinets in a new vibrant colour.

Put up floral wallpaper

If you really want to go to town in your springtime home refurb project, putting beautiful floral wallpaper on the walls will add some seasonal zest into the home.

Modern floral wallpaper comes in all colours and patterns, so finding some to complement the look and style of your home won’t be difficult.

Make a statement ceiling

Making statements with paint are on-trend this year and none more so than during the spring when homes are crying out to be brought to life with colour.

Bring some vivacity to your home by transforming a room with a statement ceiling. Resonate the blueness of the sky by painting the ceiling in a stylish tone of blue or bring some additional sunshine into your bedroom by painting the ceiling in a sunny shade of yellow.

Upgrade cushions and curtains

If your cushions and curtains are still in ‘winter’ mode, being made from heavy materials in dark shades, early spring is the perfect time to spruce up your interior for the summer by replacing cushions and curtains with more spring-centric alternatives of light, breezy colours and patterns.

You might want to think about replacing heavy curtains with blinds to create a more minimalist style to your home and to let the maximum amount of light pour through the windows.

Original source: New i.d Interiors

Investors with property portfolios not put off by Brexit, survey suggests

While there is a consensus that Brexit has been having an impact on the property market, especially in London, a new piece of research suggests that those investing in buy to let are not put off.

More than half, some 57%, of property investors are not changing their investment strategy, according to an independent survey of 500 British buyers who have property portfolios by bridging lender Market Financial Solutions.

The research also found that since the European Union referendum in June 2016, some 64% of investors have not let Brexit impact their property investment decisions. Indeed, 45% of investors have expanded their property portfolio since and only 7% have sold one or more homes as a direct result of Brexit.

Some 57% said that they do not envisage their property investment strategy changing following a Brexit deadline while 29% are planning on actively investing in new properties immediately following Brexit.

‘There is a sense of Brexit fatigue setting in across most financial sectors. But importantly, while some predicted that this uncertainty would cause house prices to tumble and property investors to flee the market, the research demonstrates that appetite for real estate as an investment asset has remained strong,’ said Paresh Raja, chief executive officer of MFS.

‘It is positive to note that the majority of property investors have been actively seeking new opportunities regardless of Brexit, and such buoyant behaviour looks set to continue over the coming months. Although a degree of hesitancy at times like this is inevitable, the research underlines the long-term strength of bricks and mortar investment to weather such periods,’ Raja added.

Original source: Property Wire

Study suggests people would move home to reduce their commute to work

The majority of people in Britain living in city locations would be happier living closer to work, compared to only just 8% of those living in rural areas, a new study has found.

Overall 70% would move at a time when there is a growing trend for homes with a short commute as people want to achieve more of a work life balance, according to the research from Canary Wharf Group.

It also found that 47% of Londoners would consider moving nearer to their place of work, while 40% in Birmingham said they would, 37% of Oxford residents and 33% of people living in Newcastle and York.

Belfast, Aberdeen and Southampton residents are least likely to consider a move at 14%, 15% and 17% respectively while those aged 25 to 34 are most likely to consider relocating, with 63% saying that they would consider it, as did 43% of 35 to 44 year olds.

In addition, 70% of respondents in city areas say they would be happier living closer to their place of work, compared to just 8% of those living in rural areas. Overall, 34% said they would be happier if they lived closer to their place of work.

Proximity to the office ranks among the top factors when looking to move home, cited by 48%, while 53% said being alongside local amenities, 56% having a garden and just 25% for good schools.

The average UK commute lasts 32 minutes and covers 22 miles, spanning various modes of transport with the majority using car or van at 65%, versus 17% by foot and 10% by bike.

Older respondents were most likely to walk at least part of their way to work, which is perhaps correlated to the fact that a larger proportion of them live closer to their places of work. Almost a quarter of 45 to 64 year olds walk either part or all of their way to work, compared to just 7% of 25 to 34 year-olds.

Original Source: Property Wire

Renting can work out cheaper, but owning a home is still a good investment

People renting a home pay 43% less than home owners for housing costs and could see savings of £77,241.61 over a standard 25 year mortgage period, new research shows.

The best savings can be found in London and Bristol, according to the study into housing expenses, with insurance and maintenance costs driving factors in higher costs for home owners.

Lending experts Ocean Finance analysed monthly housing expenses data from the Office of National Statistics, and talked to 2,000 UK home owners and rental tenants, but while savings can be made, buying a home is probably still a better investment overall.

The study report says that while getting on the property ladder has the well-known costs of funding a deposit, solicitor’s fees and surveys, the real savings for renters were found in the accumulation of home maintenance, decoration and buildings insurance costs over the span of a mortgage period.

Even though rental tenants will incur higher moving charges, as the study shows renters are most likely to move to a new house every two years compared to home owners moving every 10 years, these additional costs still didn’t make an impact on the overall savings.

While those in rental accommodation don’t have the security of owning their own home, the maintenance and buildings insurance costs that are covered by a landlord build up to huge saving over the years.

Other findings suggested that one in 10 home owners regret buying their home and 75% of had at least one major house maintenance issue each year, spending an average of £380 in order to fix it.

It also found that the average home owner will spend £2,805 on buildings insurance over a 25 year period, and an additional £9,500 on maintenance costs outside of insurance cover and
£1,068 on home decoration each year.

With so many ongoing costs to consider when buying a home, unexpected maintenance was cited as one of the biggest reasons for those that regret purchasing their current home. Some 44% of them said that spiralling costs relating to maintaining their home made them regret entering into a mortgage.

The data also suggests that those who jump into the housing market early have the biggest chance of regretting their decision, with 35% of 18 to 34 year old home owners showing remorse at entering into a mortgage.

‘For many, owning their own home is the ultimate dream as it symbolises achievement and success. One of the major benefits of home ownership is that you are building equity, meaning that if a home appreciates in value you have an investment asset that will generate wealth upon sale or refinance in the future,’ said Ugo Arinzeh, managing director of Onyx Property Consultants.

According to Ian Williams, director of communications at Ocean Finance, while there are hefty savings to be made by staying in a rental agreement rather than stepping onto the property ladder, the money saved would need to be invested wisely to match the equity gained on a mortgage over 25 years.

‘What is clear from the research is that more care and attention is needed before entering into a mortgage agreement, in order to better plan for unexpected costs and minimise the chance of regretting your financial obligations to a single property,’ he said.

Original Source: Property Wire

Poll reveals the kind of property that makes a forever home in the UK

The average adult in the UK would be willing to pay more than £335,000 for their forever home, a new study has found, and when they find it they want to stay there for life.

Those getting on the housing ladder for the first time want a two bedroom semi-detached home but they intend to end up living in a three bedroom house where they would stay for the rest of their lives.

For those currently in what they describe as their forever home, they spent an average of almost 10 years saving up to get the cash together to buy it, according to a poll commissioned by home specialist Swinton Insurance.

And while two in five believe a house becomes a forever home based on the amount of memories made there, some 53% think it’s all down to it being in the perfect location.

It also found the average home owner believes they will have owned three properties by the time they reach the age of 65 and although around one in 10 reckon they will work their way through at least four other properties before settling down.

This is after getting their foot on the property ladder at the age of 28, in a home worth an average of £132,563 while one in six first time buyers in the UK bought a flat or apartment, some 35% went on to move into a semi-detached house. And after moving into their first place, home owners stay an average of five years in it before moving to the next property.

The survey, carried out via OnePoll, also found that a third of adults had difficulty taking their first step onto the property ladder, with the majority struggling to make enough money and one in 10 said that a house they really liked ended up selling for a higher price than they could afford.

As a result, two in five believe it’s harder for first time buyers to get on the property ladder now than it was 20 years ago.

The poll gives an indication of priorities and found that 43% of those aged under 45 prioritise sorting out their wifi access over sorting their home security and insuring their contents when they move into a new home.

‘Everyone has dreams of what their forever home could look like or include. As we get older our families change, and our requirements in a home fluctuate, we need enough space for all of our kids to grow, but once they make their own way that space could be wasted,’ said Angela Bowden from Swinton Insurance

Original Source: Property Wire