When is this year’s most popular day to move home?

Newly released data from HomeOwners Alliance has revealed that, for the last 12 years, August has been the most popular month to move home.

And, according to research, this year will be no exception as August 30th is predicted to be this year’s busiest moving day for Brits.

Based on figures from the English Housing survey, there were 625,000 owner occupier moves in England in 2016-2017 or approximately 1,700 moves per day. On the most popular day of the year, 3.8 times this level (approximately 6,500 moves) are expected. Looking at the most popular month and days to move, this translates into 75,000 homeowners moving in the month of August, alone and 175,000 homeowners moving on Fridays over the course of the year.

Paula Higgins, Chief Executive of the HomeOwners Alliance, says: “Many homeowners like to move during the school summer holidays so their children can settle into their new place in time for the new academic year, which is the start of September across most of the UK.

It may appear sensible to move on a Friday, so you have time to unpack and settle in over the weekend before heading back to work. But we advise people to be exceptionally careful if they move on a Friday. On this particular Friday, 30th August, with even more moves expected to be happening than usual, it’s paramount that people are as organised as possible.

Of course delays can occur at any time, but issues with transfers of funds are more likely to happen on a Friday when banks, conveyancers and removal firms are stretched to the limit as it’s the time when most housing deals tend to complete. On the last Friday of the month bank money transfers can get overloaded and it’s peak time for conveyancing fraud. If there are delays in transferring funds, you may have to spend the weekend in a hotel or on friends’ and families’ sofa.”

Rob Houghton, CEO of reallymoving, adds: “Moving on the busiest day of the year isn’t for the faint-hearted, especially with the August bank holiday also happening that week, pushing more moves onto the remaining four days. Ensure your solicitor and everyone in the chain knows you’re working towards that date and book your removals firm well in advance, so you only need to confirm as soon as you exchange. It’s best to ask them to come to your house to assess the volume of your belongings. This ensures you have the right sized van and number of team members on the day of your move.”

Further moving day research by the HomeOwners Alliance, discovered 115,000 delayed moves annually. One in five homeowners (19%) who bought their home between 2016 and 2018 had moving day delays because of sellers vacating their homes late or funds not being cleared on time.

A quarter (25%) of these homeowners incurred costs of more than £500 on average, with one in seven (14%) of them losing more than £1,000 in costs, including removal firms cancellation charges and hourly waiting charges, storage fees, hotel/ accommodation costs and late completion charges.

Tips on avoiding moving day delays:

Suggest a mid-week move to all in your chain pointing out the potential downfall of choosing to move on a busy day. Savings are possible, for example, removals firms may offer mid-week deals on prices. See our guide on https://hoa.org.uk/advice/guides-for-homeowners/i-am-buying/what-is-the-best-day-to-move-house/

If you have to move on a Friday, ask your solicitor to order the mortgage money from your lender the day before completion so it can be transferred first thing on the day of the move. Do not allow the transfer to take place later than 3pm. Otherwise you will likely be stranded without keys to your new abode until Monday.

If you’re going to be moving this August, remember things will be busier. Start getting quotes for removals firms as soon as possible – you want them ready to appoint immediately after exchanging contracts. Read our guide on how to find the right removals company https://hoa.org.uk/how-to-find-the-right-removals-company/

Choose a removals firm you trust and have rapport with. Talk through what would happen if a delay occurred. For example, do they have emergency storage if needed?

Original source: Property Reporter https://www.propertyreporter.co.uk/household/when-is-this-years-most-popular-day-to-move-home.html

Majority of BTL lenders now offer products for ltd companies

For the first time, considerably more than half (59%) of all buy to let mortgage lenders offered products to landlords who use limited companies as borrowing vehicles in Q2 2019, according to the results of the latest Buy to Let Mortgage Index published by Mortgages for Business.

The number of providers serving corporate buy to let borrowers has been growing steadily since the tapered introduction of new tax rules for landlords began two years ago. The restriction of income tax relief on mortgage interest has meant that limited companies can be a more tax and financially efficient method of operating property portfolios than the self-employed route which was used predominately by landlords in the past.

The findings are also reflected in the total value of buy to let mortgage applications completed in the quarter at Mortgages for Business. By value, more than half (52%) were from landlords using limited companies.

In addition, the Index indicates that the gap in pricing between the average buy to let mortgage rate (3.1%) and the average rate available to limited companies (3.7%) diminished by two basis points when compared to the first quarter of the year.

Lenders margins over the cost of funds fell slightly to 0.54% from an average of 0.55% in Q1 2019. While this is not a huge cut, it demonstrates that lenders are really having to squeeze margins to remain competitive. Low loan to value products fared the best, with margins dropping below the 0.5% mark (0.48%) for the first time since Mortgages for Business started tracking costs and fees back in 2013.

There was an increase in the proportion of fee-free and flat fee-based products, up to 20% and 38% respectively, to the detriment of percentage-based fees which fell to 40% despite having peaked at 48% at the end of 2018.  This is a positive outcome for borrowers, who tend to dislike percentage-based fees and another sign that lenders are vying for business in a challenging market. Flat lender arrangement fees, sitting at £1,504, fell slightly quarter on quarter which bodes well for landlords in need of finance.

Steve Olejnik, managing director of Mortgages for Business said:

“The Index points to some good news for landlords, particularly those using limited companies who now have a greater choice of lenders than ever before, to help them finance their rental properties and access to better rates. In particular, we’ve seen the options increase at the more specialist end of the market, and we’re delighted that the number of lenders in that space is growing.”

Original source: Property Reporter https://www.propertyreporter.co.uk/finance/ajority-of-btl-lenders-now-offer-products-for-ltd-companies.html

Professional landlords starting to dominate the market

Challenging market conditions, including a combination of increased tax, industry regulation and political uncertainty, seem to have caused a dip in the number of small-scale and accidental landlords in recent years.

This has coincided with a rise in the number of professional landlords with large rental property portfolios. In view of this trend, letting agents must ensure they provide a service that meets the expectations of experienced landlords, according to PayProp.

New mortgage lending has consisted mostly of complex and professional landlord business so far this year, according to the latest figures from buy-to-let (BTL) mortgage lender Paragon.

The lender reported that the proportion of ‘complex’ BTL completions – customers operating through corporate structures or running large portfolios – increased from 72% to 88% in the first half of 2019 compared to the same period in 2018.

It added that lending to experienced, professional landlords represented 92% of the company’s future business at the end of March.

Neil Cobbold, Chief Operating Officer of PayProp UK, suggests that the jump in ‘complex’ buy-to-let mortgages may not only be down to new landlords entering the market, but in part also to small-scale and accidental landlords moving their properties into corporate structures, to take advantage of favourable tax rates.

Meanwhile, the English Private Landlord Survey 2018 revealed that 48% of rental properties are let by landlords who own five or more properties, and that this segment comprises 17% of the survey base.

The official report found that the proportion of landlords with just one property has declined from 78% to 45% since 2010. However, it is unclear if this is due to landlords selling their properties, buying more, moving their property into a corporate structure, or a combination of all three.

The report also shows the proportion of landlords with five or more properties increased from 5% to 17%.

Neil Cobbold, Chief Operating Officer of PayProp UK, said: “Following huge changes in the lettings market over the last few years, it’s perhaps no surprise to see research suggesting that the number of accidental or part-time landlords may be dwindling while professional portfolio landlords appear to be thriving.

Despite a boom in the number of tenants, letting a property has become more complex and carries an increased risk, something that may well have discouraged one-property landlords who were previously self-managing.”

At the same time, it has been easier for those with a more structured business in place to absorb the market changes and tricky conditions,” he says.
Impressing professional landlords should be treated as a priority

There are several things letting agencies can do to make sure they are meeting the needs and expectations of professional landlords. Most notably, they need to provide a full service which allows landlords to remain profitable.

Cobbold explains: “As the market becomes more complex, one of the key strengths letting agents need is the ability to provide valuable knowledge and guidance to landlords with large portfolios.

Not only this, they need to demonstrate why their service represents value for money and how they can keep void periods to a minimum. Furthermore, agents who use technology to provide a streamlined and efficient service can impress large-scale landlords who manage a huge number of processes each month.”

Protecting landlords’ money and remaining transparent is equally important if agencies want to ensure long-term business relationships with their clients.

Of course, part-time landlords remain important to a letting agency’s client base, but being ready to work with professional landlords can be hugely profitable due to the larger portfolio sizes on offer.”

Original source: Property Reporter https://www.propertyreporter.co.uk/landlords/professional-landlords-starting-to-dominate-the-marke.html

12 Things Potential Buyers Don’t Want to See in Your Bathroom

Bathrooms can be a key consideration for potential buyers. Could yours benefit from some pre-viewing TLC?

While a complete renovation may not be cost-effective (and, besides, people often like to put their own stamp on a place), there are a number of things you can address to give potential buyers a good feeling about your washspace.

Mortgage approvals crept up month on month in June, latest figures show

The mortgage market in the UK saw growth between May and June with mortgage approvals up 0.6% along with growth in the number of small deposit borrowers, the latest home lending market monitor report shows.

According to the report from chartered surveyors e.surv, low mortgage rates are also enticing existing home owners back to the market.

Overall, the mortgage market was buoyed by strong activity among first time buyers and those with smaller deposits, with the proportion of loans going to these types of borrowers increasing month on month to 27.9% from 27.7% the previous month.

Existing home owners, who have been responsible for much of the strong growth in the market so far this year, continued to come to market in June and this has worked to combat a lack of activity in the wider housing market, where fewer people have been making purchases in recent months, according to Richard Sexton, director at e.surv.

‘Summer can sometimes see a drop in or stall in activity, as would-be buyers take holidays and think less about their finances. Mortgage lenders have made a concerted effort to revamp their product ranges and launch new deals to help lure in borrowers,’ he said.

‘For existing home owners, there are now a wide range of remortgage products available which are designed to help them cut their repayments and get greater certainty about their future outgoings,’ he added.

Borrowers with large deposits continued to grow their market share and the number of mortgage approvals to this part of the market increased modestly to 24.7% from 24.5% in May.

‘We have seen an increase in the number of both small and large deposit borrowers and this is likely a result of more first time buyers getting on the ladder and also existing home owners with lots of equity choosing to remortgage,’ Sexton said.

Yorkshire was replaced as the best location for small deposit borrowers to purchase, with Northern Ireland seeing the largest share. Some 35.9% of all borrowers in Northern Ireland had small deposits, a figure which will include many first time buyers. This compared to 35.7% in Yorkshire. The North West at 34% was the other region which saw more than a third of its loans going to small deposit customers.

London was the area with the smallest proportion of these customers, at 17.4%. The capital had the highest proportion of large deposit buyers, with 33% of all borrowers from this category. This was ahead of other regions, including the South East, where 29.3% was recorded, and the South and South Wales at 24.9%.

Rents rising in UK at fastest rate for two years, yields up too

Rents are rising at the fastest rate since 2017, pushing the average yield on residential property to 4.5%, its highest in two years, new research shows, while in London they are at their highest since 2015.

Landlords expect rent rises to continue as costs rise and tenants’ finances improve, according to the Buy to Let Britain report from Kent Reliance, which also shows that the value of the private rented sector (PRS) increased by £6 billion in the last year following weakening house prices and subdued growth in the number of rental properties.

The supply of homes in the PRS is expanding by just 0.2% a year, with 5.4 million properties currently in the sector but it suggests overall that the growth of the PRS is subdued on the back of Government intervention and the economic impact of Brexit uncertainty.

The value of the average rental property has risen by 0.3% in the last year, with Brexit uncertainty gripping the wider housing market, although average property prices fell in four regions. The biggest annual decline occurred in London, which took a disproportionate toll on the overall value of the sector.

Meanwhile, reforms to the tax treatment of mortgage interest and tighter lending rules, combined with continued regulatory changes, have hit landlords’ confidence, undermining the supply of properties within the sector, the report adds.

It explains that as the costs of property investment rise, whether due to larger tax bills or those associated with tighter regulation, landlords may seek to recoup these in higher rents to preserve their profitability.

Some 24% of landlords, already expect to raise rents in the next six months, nearly five times the number that expect to reduce them. Improved finances among tenants is also allowing more leeway. Wages are currently rising at 3.4%, up from 2.9% a year ago and well in excess of inflation.

Professional landlords are not just seeking to recoup higher tax costs in the form of higher rents, it suggests, pointing out that many now operate via limited companies to mitigate the impact of the changes to mortgage tax relief.

An analysis of Kent Reliance for Intermediaries’ mortgage data shows that in the first quarter of 2019 some 72% of buy to let mortgage applications were made through a limited company, significantly higher than in 2016 when it was 45%.

‘There is no escaping that growth is subdued in the private rented sector following four years of government intervention. Brexit uncertainty has only compounded this issue, having the obvious knock-on-effect on landlords’ confidence,’ said Andy Golding, chief executive of OneSavings Bank, which trades under the Kent Reliance for Intermediaries and InterBay Commercial brands in buy to let.

‘The positive news is that for those landlords looking to expand their portfolios, underlying market conditions seem to be changing. Yields are climbing as rents rise faster than house prices, providing further opportunities for committed investors,’ he pointed out.

‘Holding property in a limited company structure is increasingly popular for landlords adding to their portfolio, while many are also remortgaging to fix outgoings by taking advantage of historically low rates. However, it’s clear the private rented sector now holds less appeal for amateurs,’ he explained.

‘Without some policy stability, there is the tangible risk that the supply of homes will contract, and rents will become less affordable. Rents are already rising, and will continue to do so as landlords come to terms with higher set up and running costs, on top of larger tax bills. Neither outcome suits tenants, nor helps with the ultimate issue of housing affordability,’ he concluded.

Original Source: Property Wire https://www.propertywire.com/news/uk/rents-rising-in-uk-at-fastest-rate-for-two-years-yields-up-too/

Rents increased across the UK in the year to June 2019, led by Northern Ireland

Residential rents in the UK increased by 1.8% year on year in the 12 months to June 2019 and are now up 13.9% compared with five years ago, the latest rental index shows.

The data from the HomeLet index reveals that the average rent in June was £941 but when London is excluded it is £781, a rise of 1.8% year on year.

The biggest year on year growth in rents was in Northern Ireland with a rise of 4.7% and all 12 of the regions monitored by HomeLet showed an increase in rental values between June 2018 and June 2019.

The South West also recorded a strong rise, up 4.5% year on year while in Wales the annual growth was 3.6% and in Scotland it was 2.9%.

Rents in London increased by 0.9% year on year to an average of £1,611 a month, some 71.2% higher than the UK average, the data also shows.

The average duration of tenancy for rented properties in June 2019 was 30.7 months, down from 32.1 for the same month last year.

‘Since the beginning of the year we have observed a gradual decline in the year-on-year variations in London rents, which reflects what is also being observed in the London housing market thus far in 2019,’ said Martin Totty, chief executive of HomeLet.

‘What is most striking about the latest data is the consistency of rental prices we are seeing across the whole UK, with all regions recording a continued year on year increase. This is a continuation of the theme we’ve been seeing since the middle of 2017 as rents have continued to edge up,’ he pointed out.

He explained that while the drop in tenancy duration year on year is not significant it is worth noting that it has coincided with the introduction of the Tenants Fee Act in England and could be a very early indication of more mobility amongst tenants. ‘It will be interesting to observe what prices do throughout the whole country in the coming months,’ he added.

Original source: Property Wire https://www.propertywire.com/news/uk/rents-increased-across-the-uk-in-the-year-to-june-2019-led-by-northern-ireland/

Six essential interior design tips for a productive and creative home office

If you’re lucky enough to be able to work from home, you’ll want to equip your home with a dedicated space for you to do your work. But how you design and decorate this space will have a big impact on your productivity and creativity levels?

Here are a few tips to creating a home office that will be both comfortable and mentally stimulating.

  1. Take a Minimalist Approach

In order to be productive at the home office, you need to be immersed in a clutter-free environment. Not only does that mean making sure everything is put away in its proper place, but it also means taking a minimalist approach with your decor and design.

Keep the visuals at a moderate level and only keep out accessories that are necessary to create a stylish interior.

  1. Use Inspirational Colours

Forget about having a drab home office. Instead, spice things up with a little colour. But be picky about the tones that you use in this space and consider adding colours that have been shown to boost productivity.

More specifically, studies have shown that colours like blue, yellow, and green might be best used in a home office, as they induce feelings of mind stimulation, creativity, and relaxation, respectively.

  1. Add Effective Lighting

Let in as much natural light as possible, as it can help give both your mood and performance a boost. Hang sheer blinds over your windows and mirror opposite the windows to increase reflection. If you have minimal natural light, mimic it with layers of artificial lighting, including table lamps, floor lamps, and wall sconces.

  1. Include Some Greenery

Adding some real plants and flowers can do wonders for your mood and productivity. There’s something about natural things that give our minds some creative stimulation. While you’re at it, add a fishbowl or tank in your office for an enhanced creative environment!

  1. Install Adequate Storage

You’ll likely have plenty of paperwork and files in your office, not to mention a variety of office supplies. To keep things orderly, be sure to equip your office with adequate storage to house all your belongings accordingly.

  1. Outfit with Ergonomic Furniture

If you’re uncomfortable or are prone to chronic injury, you’ll be less productive, and your furniture plays a role in this. Be sure to outfit your home office with the right ergonomic chair and desk so that you can be comfortable while on the job.

Keep these tips in mind to create a fabulous home office that will stimulate your mind while keeping you focused

Original source: New id Interiors https://new-id.co.uk/six-essential-interior-design-tips-for-a-productive-and-creative-home-office/

Investment in Build to Rent sector reaches a record high

The research by Bidwells found almost two fifths of these transactions were forward funded as investors seek scale in key investment locations and the firm has indicated that the total funds committed over the past two years will reach up to £6 billion.

With the focus of investment in the year in the London market, accounting up to £1.6 billion of total funds committed, the South East and Eastern regions have revealed a further £417 million had been invested in the area.

When it comes to the residential market, the annual house price growth rose marginally in April to 0.9% from 0.7% in March, driven by the largest monthly increase in values since November 2018.

However, price growth remains weak despite a continued shortage of stock as both buyers and sellers choose to sit out the current political and economic uncertainty. This said, first time buyer activity continues to rise, assisted by Help to Buy, low mortgage rates and improved affordability.

Across the Oxbridge Growth Corridor, the report says that capital values for apartments in city centre locations generally remained stable in 2018. Highly accessible locations with quality city centre environments continue to record premiums. Recent evidence in the analysis underlines the positive impact of an improved town centre offer and the delivery of quality residential stock.

In all locations, values slip back sharply away from the city core, although this discount is particularly marked in Oxford and Cambridge. In the latter city, capital values are around £550 per square foot in the city fringe offering greater BTR opportunities for investors.

With the recently announced introduction of the East West Rail Route, it says that this presents long term opportunities in the Growth Corridor, providing locations along the route easy access to Cambridge, helping to address business concerns concerning the availability and affordability of housing.

Bedford, for example, will be within a half hour commute of the science and tech hub of Cambridge. However, new home capital values in the town currently stand less than half that those of the central Cambridge, while rents are amongst the most affordable across the Growth Corridor region at just 24% of average net incomes.

As always with new infrastructure, the investment impact takes time, but the commercial opportunity across the Growth Corridor region will quickly focus minds on future opportunity locations, it adds.

‘Given accelerating demand for globally mobile talent by knowledge based industries across the Oxbridge Growth Arc, we have seen growing investor demand across the region. Higher yield locations such as Bedford, with good access to the region’s universities and science parks, offer opportunities to investors, particularly given forthcoming transport infrastructure improvements,’ said Colin Summers, capital markets partner at Bidwells.

Original Source: Property Wire https://www.propertywire.com/news/uk/investment-in-build-to-rent-sector-reaches-a-record-high/