August Newsletter - House prices forecast to increase 1.2% over the next three months

In this month's edition, we kick things off with news of an increase to house prices, which are forecast to rise 1.2% over the next three months.

Elsewhere, we ponder whether the appoint of Boris Johnson as Prime Minister will have an effect on the property market, we reveal the most important factors for homebuyers looking for a new property and finally, if you're a landlord looking to steer clear of those dreaded void periods, why not read our guide?

House prices forecast to increase 1.2% over the next three months

A new study from has found that current market conditions are indicating a 1.2% increase in property prices over the next three months of summer, which bodes well for a strong season. To that end, the average price for a property in the UK now stands at £237,110.

These figures are supported by analysis by the Halifax looking at house prices over the last quarter. The latest Halifax house price index showed that property values actually increased by 2.4% over the last quarter, with Russell Galley, Managing Director of Halifax, explaining: “Generally the housing market is displaying a reasonable degree of resilience in the face of political and economic uncertainty. Recent figures show demand looking slightly more stable, with mortgage approvals ticking along just above the long-term average.”

With regional markets also showing resilience in the face of the potential instability that can be attributed to the ongoing Brexit uncertainty, property is set for another strong quarter. Eight of the twelve regions of the United Kingdom are set to see prices rise in the period to September 2019, with Northern Ireland and Wales all showing extremely positive growth.

Rob Houghton, CEO of noted: “The chance of us leaving the EU without a deal seems increasingly likely and people are realising that the window between now and the end of October may present their best opportunity to sell. The market has proved itself to be surprisingly stable over the last twelve months.”

Does the Prime Minister's appointment affect the market?

The United Kingdom now has a new Prime Minister which moves us on swiftly from Theresa May’s reign as our second-ever female leader. Love him or loathe him, Boris Johnson is now leading the country into a historic era in terms of relations with Europe and the rest of the world. With the appointment of Johnson comes a step change in political policy, but what does his appointment mean for the property market, if anything?

During the midst of his campaign to become Prime Minister, Johnson made some proposals which could have far-reaching consequences for the property market – many of which could be extremely positive.

One of the key proposals that the man dubbed Bojo has put forwards revolves around stamp duty; for properties that cost less than half a million pounds stamp duty would be completely cut, and at the other end of the scale properties valued at over £1.5m would see rates cut from 12% to 7%. This latter proposal, in particular, could have a welcome impact to housing in the capital city due to the higher values of property prevalent throughout London.

These changes would be welcome to all in the property sector and could potentially signal an upsurge in property transaction levels, should they come into place. For the lettings market also, which has been subject to many legal changes in the past few months, this incentive could lead to growth.

The new Housing Minister, Robert Jenrick, has decried his modus operandi for property as “We will focus relentlessly on boosting supply and home ownership,” adding that “As the Prime Minister has made clear, we’re determined to close the opportunity gap and give millions of young people the chance to own their own homes.”

As well as appointing a comparatively youthful Housing Minister (Jenrick is the first cabinet minister to have been born in the 1980s), Boris Johnson has also appointed Sir Edward Lister as Chief of Staff. With Lister’s former employment being as chairman of Homes England, he brings with him a wealth of property insight to one of the top cabinet positions, which may benefit the industry in the long-term.

It seems that the sentiment amongst estate agents is positive with regards to Johnson’s appointment with Iain McKenzie, the Chief Executive of The Guild of Property Professionals, affirming that: “I am in favour of anyone who is going to improve sentiment or confidence in the housing market. Current economic data is strong, but the uncertainty of Brexit has caused stagnation in the market. Mr Johnson’s commitment to ‘deliver Brexit’ on 31st October with a new ‘can do’ spirit is therefore very much welcomed.”

Landlords - how to avoid those dreaded void periods

All landlords at some point will experience the unfortunate situation of having void periods, hopefully not for any protracted periods. Read a few our tips which could help you to avoid these situations, or at least reduce them to a minimum.

Do your research
One of the easiest ways to avoid long void periods for your property is to ensure that you have the right tenant in your property in the first place. Having a tenant in your property who is suitable and can afford the requisite rent will, of course, reduce any headaches for you later down the line. Ensure that your agent has properly referenced tenants, and if at all possible, try to meet prospective tenants to establish a good relationship from the outset.

Short term vs. long term
As well as researching your tenants, investigating the area that you are letting your property within to ensure that you are asking for a fair price will also help you to side-step any void periods. A keenly priced property will attract more applicants, giving you a greater choice of tenants. It is important to keep in mind here that offering a more competitive rental price could lead to longer tenancies, therefore finding the balance is imperative for any landlord.

Property inspections
Regularly inspecting your property can be a good way to build up further rapport with the tenant if you are managing a property yourself, and allows you to ensure that it is in a good condition. This can benefit you in multiple ways; firstly, it helps to ensure that your property is of a nice standard for the current tenant, as well as meaning you don’t have to waste any time should your tenant move out and you want to bring your property to market immediately.

Find the right agent
With the raft of new legislation which has come into place in the lettings industry, having a well-informed and proactive estate agent has never been more important. Employing an agent on a fully-managed service will take many of the responsibilities out of your hands as a landlord and with the superior marketing available, as well as pools of applicants who are tried and tested, the most straightforward way to reduce your void periods could be to choose your agent wisely.

The most important factors for homebuyers looking for a property

For many of us, when we decide to move to a new home there will be many factors to consider, which can range from new work commitments, to growing family needs or simply the need for better quality of life. A new survey from Broadband Choices has discovered the five key reasons as to why people select a location for their new home, which could form a useful list for current house-hunters.

1) Safety First
Whether you’re staying put or moving home, crime will always remain a key concern for the majority of us and with 84% of respondents to the Broadband Choices poll listing crime as a crucial factor this still rings true. Knowing that your home and possessions are in an area with low crime rates is obviously very attractive, with low crime rates correlating to strong house prices and the converse also true.

2) Commuting Commotion
Getting to and from work, as well as freely being able to see friends and family, is of course extremely important when deciding where we would like to live. Amongst correspondents, nearly three-quarters mentioned transport links as one of their decision points for a location to live within. Living within close proximity to a tube station, for example, can add £42,000 to the price of a home, according to research from Nationwide.

3) A Quality Connection
Unsurprisingly in these modern times, a strong internet connection which will allow broadband and television streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime stands at third in the list of buyer priorities when searching for a new home. With 69% of people mentioning a strong internet connection in the poll, many of whom stating that they would pay over-the-odds for a property with a guaranteed superfast broadband connection, it would seem that for home-sellers updating your broadband could actually help in the process of finding a buyer.

4) Top Of The Class
For those with families, schools are an extremely important consideration; with catchment areas and the competition around catchments for the best schools being an important factor for both families, and those planning on families in the long term. Just over half of correspondents listed schools as a deliberation in their home buying decision, with recent studies showing that homes in catchments for schools with Ofsted ratings of 1 can cost almost £40,000 more than those with Ofsted rating 2.

5) Shop Local
As well as transport links ranking highly in the list of priorities for buyers, local shops and amenities also place highly with just over a third of people stating that living close to shops and amenities is a significant factor in their property search.

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