A third of tenants say they’ll never own a home

More than a third of people living in rented accommodation think they may never be able to buy their own home, research showed today.

Around 35 per cent of renters aged between 35 and 44, think homeownership may be beyond them, rising to 50 per cent among those in the 45 and 50 age bracket, according to insurer Aviva.

The group found that although 15 per cent of renters were saving for a deposit in the hope of getting on to the housing ladder in the future, 41 per cent of these people had already lived in a rented home for more than five years.

The number of households who rent a property through the private sector has increased by 889,000 since 2008/2009, including an additional 434,000 households in the 25 to 34 age range.

There has also been a 64 per cent increase in the number of families with children living in a rented property during the same period.

The main reason people gave for renting was that they could not afford to buy their own place, cited by 56 per cent of those questioned.

But 22 per cent said they were still renting because the property they were in had become their home and 8 per cent said the house was in a good area in which to raise a family.

The study also found that people in rented accommodation were less likely than homeowners to have certain financial products, such as life insurance, savings and pensions, making themselves financially vulnerable.

Only 23 per cent of renters had life insurance, compared with 51 per cent of homeowners, while just 3 per cent of renters had critical illness cover, compared with 19 per cent of owner-occupiers.

At the same time, 12 per cent of people who rented their home had a private pensions and only 28 per cent had an employer pension, compared with 27 per cent and 59 per cent respectively of homeowners.

People who had bought a property were also more likely to have a savings account at 70 per cent and an ISA at 52 per cent than their renting counterparts, only 53 per cent of whom had a savings account, while just 29 per cent had an ISA.

Louise Colley, protection director for Aviva, said: “Renting offers many benefits such as affordability and flexibility, but there’s a concern that many renters are being left financially exposed.

“When someone takes out a mortgage they are often asked to consider how they might pay it if they were seriously ill or if sadly an income-earner was to die. This can often prompt people to take out protection products like life insurance and critical illness cover.

“If a family rents, these conversations may not happen, so there’s a risk that if a renting family loses an income, they may not have the protection that could help to pay the rent and cover the bills.”

October 15, 2014 at 9:07 AM Leave a comment

House prices to rise by almost 20% in the next five years

House prices hit a new record high in August but the booming London market showed signs of slowing down, figures revealed today.

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The average cost of a home in Britain rose by 0.6 per cent during the month to stand at £274,000, according to the Office for National Statistics.

The annual rate of growth was unchanged from the previous month at 11.7 per cent, as the housing market recovery continued to ripple out across the country.

London remained the key driver of growth, with prices in the capital soaring by 19.6 per cent year-on-year.

But property values in London dipped by 0.1 per cent during the month to stand at £514,000 or 39.5 per cent above their pre-crisis peak.

In the South East and the East annual house price growth picked up slightly to 12.3 per cent and 11.6 per cent respectively, while it was 9.6 per cent in Northern Ireland and 9.3 per cent in the South West.

But growth was more subdued in other regions, with prices edging ahead by just 3.8 per cent year-on-year in the North East, while they were 4.7 per cent higher in Wales and 5.6 per cent up in the North West.

Property values are now above their pre-crisis peaks in London, the South East, East, South West, East Midlands and West Midlands.

David NewnesDavid Newnes, director of Reeds Rains and Your Move estate agents, said: “A north/south divide in the field remains evident in the race back from the debris of the financial crash.

“For six regions of the UK, average property prices achieved on completion are yet to match their pre-crisis score.”

Meanwhile, estate agent Knight Frank forecast that the cost of a home would rise by only 3.5 per cent in 2015, as the market pauses for breath.

In regional terms, the group expects house price gains in all areas of the country to be in the 3 per cent to 5 per cent range.

The South East is expected to see the strongest gains at 5 per cent, while growth will be slowest in the North East, North West, Yorkshire & the Humber and Wales at 3 per cent.

Despite the predicted slowdown in growth next year, the group still expects house prices to rise by a cumulative 18.2 per cent in the five years to the end of 2019, which would represent a 12 per cent gain in real terms.

The prediction comes amid growing evidence that the property market is beginning to cool as more homes come on to the market.

At the same time, survey evidence suggests demand is reducing as potential buyers are put off by the high house prices currently being demanded by sellers and the prospect of interest rate rises next year.

Mortgage lender Halifax last week said annual house price inflation may have peaked at 10 per cent, although it still reported a 0.6 per cent price gain for September.

Nationwide reported a 0.2 per cent fall in property values for the same month, with annual growth also slowing.

October 14, 2014 at 11:21 AM Leave a comment

Property is ‘more affordable’ than before the financial crisis

Property is significantly more affordable than at the start of the financial crisis in all areas of the country except London, research showed today.

29.07.14 House prices

Low interest rates have ensured it is easier for people to get on to the property ladder or trade up it in all regions outside of the capital, despite recent strong house price gains and stagnant wage growth, according to estate agent Hamptons International.

The group has created an affordability index, which not only looks at the house price to earnings ratio, but also factors in changes to the cost of living and mortgage rates.

The group said the amount of income families had left after paying for essential items, such as food and utilities, had fallen by 6 per cent or £60 a month since the start of the financial crisis in 2008.

This drop was largely due to the fact that post-tax income for a full-time working couple had increased by just 9 per cent in the past five years, but spending on essentials had soared by 28 per cent.

But despite recent house price rises, the average cost of a home is still 5 per cent below its pre-crisis peak, while low interest rates mean mortgage repayments account for a significantly lower proportion of people’s income than in 2008.

Fionnuala Earley, director of research at Hamptons International, said: “Our analysis shows that ability to buy across the country, but excluding London, has improved since the start of the recession when both house prices and interest rates began falling.

“London is the stand out exception. Here ability to buy is now worse than it was before the crash.”

Northern regions have seen the biggest improvement in the affordability of property since the financial crisis started.

Hamptons International estimates that affordability for first time buyers has increased by 305 per cent in Wales since 2008, while it is 212 per cent better in the West Midlands and 190 per cent better in Scotland.

But the group admits these figures do not take into account the large deposits people currently need in order to obtain a mortgage.

Other groups have not fared as well, with families with young children seeing the least benefit.

Although their ability to afford property has only deteriorated in London, the improvements seen in other regions have been far more muted, increasing by an average of just 27 per cent across Great Britain as a whole.

Looking ahead, as the economy improves, the group expects wages to rise in real terms, increasing people’s ability to buy a property, but it added that some of the improvement would be offset by higher interest rates.

Meanwhile, research carried out by the Daily Mail found that foreign buyers, particular Chinese and Russian investors, were turning their attention to properties outside of London as they looked to cash in on Britain’s strong housing market.

It said houses in South Wales and Weston-super-Mare, and flats in Manchester, Liverpool and Sheffield were being offered at foreign investment fairs and on estate agents’ websites in China and Russia.

The number of homes bought with cash had increased by over a fifth in the past year, according to estate agent Savills, and many of these purchasers are thought to be wealthy foreign buyers.

But there are fears that an influx of foreign investors will push up prices for first time buyers and families outside of the capital, which has recently seen strong growth in property values, largely due to demand from overseas buyers.

October 13, 2014 at 3:10 PM 1 comment

Retirement homes can help with care burden of over 55s

Britain is suffering a chronic lack of purpose built retirement housing, a new report reveals today.

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Retirement housing makes up just 2.8 per cent of all new homes being built, and yet there is huge demand for such properties, according to estate agents Knight Frank.

A quarter of over 55s say they will consider relocating to a retirement village in the future, equating to 4.4m people.

The term ‘retirement homes’ referred in the report to properties specifically built with older people in mind and with some levels of care provided. However, it excludes care homes.

Grainne Gilmore, head of UK Residential Research at Knight Frank, said: “Housing can play a part in helping to mitigate the care burden. Ensuring older people have access to support and the level of care they need as they age can not only enhance living standards, but can cut care bills later in life as fewer acute services are needed.

“In many cases, living in suitable housing can ensure people stay ‘at home’ for longer, in a sociable and pleasant environment. The UK is far behind some other countries in providing retirement housing.”

Gilmore added: “There is no doubt that potential demand for these types of property is large, and is only set to grow. The housing wealth held by older generations is sizeable, and has been boosted by a near trebling in house prices over the last 20 years – downsizing to realise this wealth amid longer retirements is set to gain momentum.”

For sale:

1. In the heart of Bournemouth Town Centre is this £130,000 retirement apartment, with access to communal lounges, guest rooms and laundry room with an onsite manager.

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2. For a leafy retirement home, a two bedroom apartment is available in Weeke, Winchester, for £475,000. It includes a fitted kitchen, spacious bath and shower rooms, under floor central heating, CCTV and pendant alarm call systems for additional security.

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3. This two bedroom flat in Potters Bar costs from £467,950 and includes a 24 hour emergency call system, double glazing, raised height electrical sockets to reduce bending and energy efficient heating.

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October 13, 2014 at 10:50 AM Leave a comment

Are you buying or selling a property worth £1m?

RDF Television is currently making a documentary that is going to take a look at a cross-section of the £1m properties on the market.

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The programme has been commissioned as part of Channel 4’s blue-chip Cutting Edge series and will likely transmit in a prime time slot early next year.

Jessica Reid, the programmer’s producer said: “We’re interested in featuring everything from one bedroom flats in London to castles in Scotland, city centre penthouses to far-flung farms and barn conversions to new build houses – and we’re also really keen to meet some of the people moving in and out of these homes.

“Across the film we hope to create a snapshot of what £1m buys you in various parts of the country and to find out more about how the property market works, as well as finding out what attracts people to the home that they’re hoping to purchase.

“Whether you’re looking to upsize or downsize; find your dream home or secure a brilliant investment property; start a new life in a different part of the country or move around the corner – we’re interested in hearing from you, so please do get in touch. You’ll find all of our contact details below.”

Please contact either Jess on 020 7013 4320, Joe on 020 7013 4373 or Marian on 020 7013 4324.

October 10, 2014 at 11:07 AM Leave a comment

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