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Property market expected to start 2021 with a bang

With pent-up demand after lockdown and news of a Covid-19 vaccine, the UK property market should expect a promising start in 2021, property developer GRE Assets has predicted

With offices in the UK, Spain and the Middle East, GRE Assets has an international perspective of the impact the global Covid-19 crisis has had on the UK property market.

Michael El-Kassir, managing director of GRE Assets, explains what the company has experienced in the latter half of 2020 and how he believes this will inform the market as we approach 2021.

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He said: “With the imposed lockdown restrictions meaning people have spent much more time at home this year, we believe this has led to a distinct rise in the number of people seriously considering their next property move. Low interest rates, the existing Help to Buy scheme and stamp duty incentives, have also created a sense of urgency.

“The pandemic has been a wakeup call for prospective buyers and renters, who have reassessed their priorities when looking for their next home. Not only are they spurred on to make the leap from London, they also recognise the importance of having access to green space, whether that is nearby parks, balconies, terraces, and gardens.

“The working world has also seen a vast shift, as employees and companies have adapted to working from home. While people will return to the office as the latest restrictions ease, we strongly believe businesses will continue to work flexibly moving forward, meaning adaptable space and connectivity at home is of high importance for new homeowners.”

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El-Kassir said the South East is the region to watch in 2021.

He added: “With the constraints experienced within the housing market earlier this year, we saw increased demand and lack of supply post lockdown. While UK wide we have seen a rise in house prices and activity, it is the South East that really stands out.

“The region offers the near-perfect package of high-quality, affordable homes in popular regeneration areas with excellent connectivity to London.

“Demand here is currently outstripping supply, which is something we intend to continue to address as we head into 2021.”

BY RYAN BEMBRIDGE

Source: Property Wire

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Housing market to remain open despite national lockdown

Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick has confirmed that the housing market will remain open despite the looming national lockdown.

On Saturday Prime Minister Boris Johnson confirmed a new month-long lockdown for England beginning on November 5 and ending on December 2.

Information regarding the fate of the housing market during the lockdown was initially scarce between, however Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick has taken to Twitter over the weekend to confirm that the market will remain open.

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On Sunday evening Jenrick confirmed that property moves would still be allowed and that tradespeople would still be able to enter properties.

The residential property surveying industry has also received confirmation from the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government that physical property inspections can continue to be provided.

Additionally the Prime Minister confirmed that mortgage repayment holidays will no longer be ending with further information published set to be published today.

Kate Davies, executive director of IMLA, praised the government for keeping the market open in challenging times.

She said: “While the country faces a second national lockdown, the government has rightly decided to keep Britain’s housing market open.

Read about the UK Housing Market via our Specialist Residential & Buy to Let Division

“Lenders, advisers, surveyors, and conveyancers are already experiencing unprecedented levels of demand from consumers eager to take advantage of the government’s Stamp Duty holiday, which is due to end on 31 March 2021, and also the Help to Buy scheme, which will be available only to first-time buyers from 1 April 2021.

“They now face the task of helping thousands more consumers potentially requesting payment deferrals as borrowers struggle to meet their mortgage repayments during the lockdown.

“Closing the housing market at this time would have only added to this pressure on the sector by creating yet another backlog of demand once lockdown ends.”

By Ryan Fowler

Source: Mortgage Introducer

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UK house prices surge the most in 11 years as lockdown lifts

UK house prices jumped the highest in 11 years this month, adding to signs that parts of the economy are rebounding rapidly as coronavirus restrictions are eased.

Mortgage lender Nationwide said average house prices leapt by 1.7% in July, above all forecasts in a Reuters poll of economists and the biggest monthly increase since August 2009, when the market was recovering from the financial crisis.

“The bounce back in prices reflects the unexpectedly rapid recovery in housing market activity since the easing of lockdown restrictions,” Nationwide chief economist Robert Gardner said.

The Bank of England reported that mortgage approvals – a first step to house purchases – quadrupled in June after hitting a record low in May, though they remained more than 40% below pre-pandemic levels.

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Prices are now 1.5% higher than they were a year ago, though Nationwide said that on a seasonally adjusted basis, they were 1.6% below a peak reached in April.

The mortgage lender said it expected price gains to continue in the short term, helped by a temporary cut in property purchase tax which finance minister Rishi Sunak announced this month to help what he saw as an ailing market.

But these price increases risked proving a “false dawn” if unemployment surged later this year when temporary job support measures end, Nationwide’s Gardner warned.

Britain’s economy shrank by a quarter over March and April due to the unprecedented hit from the coronavirus lockdown.

Some Bank of England officials fear that while there might be an initial rapid bounceback, this will rapidly slow and it could take years for the economy to regain its former size.

Retail sales are almost back at pre-pandemic levels, for example, but many pubs, restaurants and entertainment venues are closed or operating below capacity due to social distancing restrictions and public concern about the coronavirus.

Reporting by David Milliken

Source: UK Reuters

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Lockdown results in positive financial impact for a third of first-time buyers

A third of first-time buyers across the country have revealed that the lockdown has resulted in a positive impact on their finances, with this group of property hunters making up a third of those hoping to purchase a property in the next 12 months according to analysis from money.co.uk.

In regards to location, the data shows that over a quarter (28%) of first-time buyers are looking to purchase a home in London in the next year, with Barnet being the most sought after area for Help to Buy purchases. The top five London hotspots for first-time buyers also include Tower Hamlets, Lewisham and Greenwich.

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Additional insights reveal that the process of taking out a mortgage has become more difficult during the pandemic. Of those who have applied for a mortgage, 44% have claimed that there has been a reduced number of mortgage products available to them.

Salman Haqqi, personal finance expert at money.co.uk, said: “Since the UK went into lockdown in March, we have seen a huge impact on the property sector as a whole. However, following the recent reopening of the market, there has been an increase in the number of people purchasing the properties they had to put on hold due to COVID-19 restrictions.

“For those looking to buy, there are currently fewer mortgage products available than pre-COVID-19 but there are still some good deals to be found. With the base rate at a historical low at the moment, prospective buyers should really do their homework and research their options.

“If they have any doubts, they should speak to a mortgage advisor to ensure they are getting the right deal for their personal affordability, and circumstance.”

Source: Property Wire

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Buyers return to UK housing market as lockdown lifts

Buyers returned to the UK’s housing market last month as it reopened after months of standstill during the coronavirus lockdown, however activity remained low, the latest research showed.

The latest survey by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors found that a net balance of 61 per cent of its members reported a rise in new buyer enquiries in June following a result of minus 94 per cent the previous month.

The number of new properties being listed for sale also jumped during the month, with a net balance of 42 per cent of Rics members reporting an increase rather than a decrease.

Despite the increase in supply, the average number of properties on estate agents’ books remained close to all-time lows, with just 39 on average per branch.

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The results of the survey were published the day after the chancellor announced a year-long stamp duty holiday, raising the payment threshold from £125,000 to £500,000, in a bid to boost activity in the market.

Simon Rubinsohn, Rics chief economist, said: “Key activity indicators in the Rics survey suggest that the market is enjoying a short term bounce following ending of the lockdown, with sharp spikes in the metrics tracking both buyer enquiries and new instructions.

“However, there are worrying signs that this rebound may quickly run out of steam against the backdrop of a tightening in lending criteria by mortgage providers, and the uncertain macro environment particularly with regard to the employment picture.

“Respondents to the survey highlight both of these issues in explaining the broadly flat picture regarding sales expectation beyond the immediate uplift.

“Meanwhile, the issues around the sales market appear to be shifting sentiment in the lettings market with, somewhat ominously given the prevailing economic climate, rent expectations beginning to edge upwards once again.”

By Jessica Clark

Source: City AM