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UK house prices up 7.3 per cent – strongest annual growth in six years

UK house prices enjoyed their strongest annual growth for six years in 2020 as the market was spurred on by tax breaks and changing demand amid the pandemic, according to latest figures from Nationwide Building Society.

The average UK house price jumped 7.3 per cent this year to £230,920 after rising 0.8 per cent in December alone.

Broken down by region, England saw prices rising 6.9 per cent year-on-year in the fourth quarter.

Wales was the next best price performer, with a 6.6 per cent rise, followed by Northern Ireland (up 5.9 per cent) and Scotland (up 3.2 per cent).

The report revealed that prices have jumped 5.3 per cent since March, when the pandemic struck, after demand was sent surging by a stamp duty holiday and the shift to homeworking.

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Nationwide said the stamp duty boost had brought forward people’s home-moving plans, while changing working patterns had increased demand for larger homes in less densely populated locations.

Robert Gardner, Nationwide’s chief economist, said: “The resilience seen in recent quarters seemed unlikely at the start of the pandemic.

“Indeed, housing market activity almost ground to a complete halt during the first lockdown as the wider economy shrank by an unprecedented 26 per cent.

“But, since then, housing demand has been buoyed by a raft of policy measures and changing preferences in the wake of the pandemic.”

However, he added that the outlook for the housing market remains “highly uncertain” as restrictions to control the virus tighten across the UK and with government support measures and the stamp duty holiday set to end in the spring.

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He said: “Housing market activity is likely to slow in the coming quarters, perhaps sharply, if the labour market weakens as most analysts expect, especially once the stamp duty holiday expires at the end of March.”

Howard Archer, chief economist at the EY Item Club, also warned that the property market will see a reversal of fortunes in 2021 and could fall by around 5 per cent by the end of next year.

He said: “We believe that the housing market is likely to come under mounting near-term pressure as the economy is hampered by pandemic-related restrictions, while there may well still be a significant rise in unemployment despite the furlough scheme being extended until April.”

Jeremy Leaf, a north London estate agent and a former residential chairman of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, said: “We are in a very different place now as optimism following the initial rollout of a vaccine and the possibility of a Brexit deal has been replaced by realisation that the effects of the virus will get worse before they improve, as well as recognition of the negative impact on confidence and values.

“However, the determination of the overwhelming majority of buyers and sellers to conclude sales agreed prior to Christmas, relatively few price renegotiations and approval of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine bodes well, provided present constraints prove relatively short term.”

Source: The Irish News

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Sales agreed on £62bn more homes in 2020 than 2019

More activity at higher price points means the value of homes selling is 26% higher than in 2019, with the value of sales agreed in 2020 up £62bn on the previous year, the latest Zoopla House Price Index shows.

Zoopla found that the pandemic has driven a seismic search for space and quality of location, with 40% more buyers across the whole of 2020 compared to 2019 – despite 2+ month closure of UK housing market.

The highest rates of price inflation are in regional housing markets, but greatest increase in market activity has been concentrated in London, the South East and Eastern England.

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Richard Donnell, director of research & insight, Zoopla, said: “The housing market is ending 2020 strongly with more buyers looking for a home than this time last year. More sales at higher prices have boosted the value of homes selling in 2020, led by a strong rebound in southern England.

“The ‘once in a lifetime re-assessment of housing’ kick-started by the pandemic has further to run in our view and this will support demand into 2021. With a long Christmas weekend, and many households isolating in smaller groups, we expect interest in housing to be stronger than usual ahead of the traditional Boxing Day bounce when interest in housing jumps and the next tranche of would-be buyers.

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“While market activity is being boosted by latent demand unlocked by the pandemic, the housing market is not immune to economic forces and rising unemployment. Economic pressures are already impacting in parts of the market, reducing the volume and share of sales in less wealthy areas, for example.

“Looking ahead to 2021 we expect house price growth to reach 5% by mid Q1 and then slow to +1% by the end of the year as demand starts to weaken over 2021 H2. The number of completed housing transactions will be buoyed by a strong Q1 with sales agreed over 2020 Q4 completing early next year.

“Overall, we expect the number of completed housing transactions to match 2020 levels at 1.1m.”

By Ryan Fowler

Source: Mortgage Introducer

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London leavers bought 73,950 homes outside the capital in 2020

In 2020 London leavers purchased 73,950 homes outside the capital, the highest number in four years, Hamptons research has found.

There has been a clear increase in the popularity of London outmigration since the onset of Covid-19.

In the first half of 2020, London leavers bought 6.9% of homes sold outside the capital, equating to 24,480 sales.

However, in the second half of 2020, this figure rose to 7.8% and twice as many sales (49,470).

Aneisha Beveridge, head of research at Hamptons, said: “Despite Covid-19 closing the housing market for seven weeks, the number of homes bought by Londoners outside the capital has risen to the highest level in four years.

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“While leaving London has been a rite of passage for many, often families reaching life stage milestones, the effects of lockdown and the desire for space seems to have heightened this drift.

“Meanwhile the lure of a stamp duty holiday acted as an impetus for more buyers to bring future planned moves forward.

“The prospect of homeworking more regularly has also meant that London leavers are moving further than ever before. The average London leaver moved 10 miles further than in 2019 as buyers’ favour space over commutability.”

The average London leaver spent £372,860 on their home outside the capital.

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The typical person leaving London from May onwards travels as far as Cambridge to the north, Colchester to the east, Brighton to the south or Didcot to the west.

It seems this is a trend that’s likely to stay, as we head into 2021.

Beveridge added: “We expect this outmigration trend to continue into the first half of next year too.

“But usually as prices in the capital begin to flatline, which we forecast to happen in the second half of 2021, more Londoners decide stay put.

“Even so, given the housing market has been anything but normal since the onset of Covid, we expect to see the total number of homes bought by London leavers next year hit 2016 levels.”

BY RYAN BEMBRIDGE

Source: Property Wire

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2021 house price growth to reach 4%

House prices should inflate by 4% in 2021, Rightmove’s House Price Index found.

The firm said housing will be a high priority for people but price rises for newly marketed properties should be more modest than this year.

Prices this year have jumped by 6.6%, while the first quarter of next year is expected to be very busy due to the stamp duty deadline.

After that however it’s expected that things slow down, though cheap mortgage rates should continue to support the market.

Jeremy Leaf, north London estate agent and a former RICS residential chairman, said: “Interestingly, Rightmove is forecasting solid price growth for 2021, despite activity clearly slowing as 2020 draws to a close.

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“At the coalface, we are experiencing much the same but expecting a busy first quarter as buyers and sellers rush to take advantage of the stamp duty concession. However, we don’t anticipate a cliff-edge scenario at present.

“Nearly all sales agreed seem to be proceeding to exchange of contract, unless exceptional circumstances prevail and prices are not being widely renegotiated in anticipation of a market fall due to Brexit, the pandemic or potentially worsening economic news.”

The possibility of the stamp duty holiday being extended was discussed once again.

Sam Mitchell, chief executive of online estate agent Strike, said: “It’s hard to predict what will happen in the next few months, particularly with so much uncertainty around Brexit deal talks and rising unemployment levels as a result of the pandemic.

“However, people’s increased home working flexibility and desires for more space and rural locations is likely to keep demand ticking by. Plus, the recent breakthrough with the vaccine news has injected a newfound confidence in those who might have been on the fence about buying or selling.

“There’s no doubt that the government will also continue its commitment to the country’s economic recovery with continued support for the UK property market included.

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“Who knows, maybe they’ll consider an extension to the stamp duty scheme or turn their focus back to helping first time buyers get a foot onto the property ladder.”

Tomer Aboody, director of property lender MT Finance, said: “What a crazy year it has been for the property market, one which has to go down on record as the biggest rollercoaster in terms of market sentiment, transaction numbers and even a complete standstill.

“Whether we ever see this again, who knows but what is for sure is that buyers’ demands and priorities have changed. Space is at a premium, with families especially prioritising the commuter belt and local village amenities.

“Confidence is set to continue for the first quarter of next year until the furlough scheme ends and possibly stamp duty relief at the end of March. Thereafter, we are at the government’s mercy – will it extend the stamp duty holiday and extend the feel-good factor for the market?”

BY RYAN BEMBRIDGE

Source: Property Wire

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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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UK house prices grew at fastest rate since 2015 in November

UK house prices grew at an annual rate of 6.5 per cent in November, the fastest rate since January 2015, as the sector batted off the second national lockdown.

According to Nationwide’s house price index, prices also increased on a month-on-month basis to be up 0.9 per cent compared to last November.

As a result, the average house price in the UK now stands at £229,721, up from £227,826 last month.

Nationwide said that despite the second lockdown, which has seen economic activity shrink in other sectors, the housing market has remained “robust” through November.

Property transactions hit 105,600 in the period, the highest since 2016, while mortgage approvals reached their highest levels since 2007.

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Robert Gardner, Nationwide’s chief economist, said: “The outlook remains highly uncertain and will depend heavily on how the pandemic and the measures to contain it evolve as well as the efficacy of policy measures implemented to limit the damage to the wider economy.

“Behavioural shifts as a result of Covid-19 may provide support for housing market activity, while the stamp duty holiday will continue to provide a near term boost by bringing purchases forward.

“However, housing market activity is likely to slow in the coming quarters, perhaps sharply, if the labour market weakens as most analysts expect, especially once the stamp duty holiday expires at the end of March.”

Jeremy Leaf, north London estate agent and a former RICS residential chairman, says: ‘These figures feel like the storm before the calm as buyers and sellers rushed to take advantage of the stamp duty holiday before the March deadline, despite continuing Covid restrictions in October, the possibility of a no-deal Brexit and economic growth stalling.

‘That frenzy has been since replaced by a quieter, but just as determined mood to complete sales previously agreed. We don’t see any signs either of significant price adjustments, irrespective of whether there is an extension to the stamp duty holiday, with activity continuing to be supported by a shortage of listings and longer-term low interest rates.’

Housing market set to come under pressure

EY Item Club’s chief economist Howard Archer warned that the elevated levels of activity in the market were unlikely to last.

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“The EY Item Club suspects that house prices could be around 5 per cent lower than now by mid-2021″, he said.

“The housing market is likely to come under mounting near-term pressure amid rising COVID-19 cases and lockdown restrictions, while there is likely to be a significant rise in unemployment even though the furlough scheme has been extended until March. Meanwhile, earnings have been limited and are likely to remain so.

“There is also likely to be a fading of the pent-up demand effect on housing market activity, while pandemic-related restrictions may also have some dampening impact on the housing market and consumer confidence.

“Indeed, consumer confidence declined further in November to be at a six-month low, which may increase the caution of many people in making major spending decisions.

Nationwide’s figures came after banker Halifax revaled that consumer confidence in the housing market had shrunk last month.

Just 14 per cent of people surveyed by Halifax said that they believed their home had become more valuable this month, compared with 17 per cent in September and October.

Despite the slip, the figure remains high above the four per cent recorded during the first national lockdown in May.

By Edward Thicknesse

Source: City AM

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Less than 20% of Britons think house prices will fall next year

An estimated 19% of individuals believe that UK house prices will fall next year according to the latest ING International Survey.

In contrast, 42% think house prices will rise in next 12 months.

The data also outlined that 35% of homebuyers in the UK offered a lower amount for their house than the asking price, compared with 30% in Europe.

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Over half (54%) of Britons spend three months or less looking to buy a home before purchase.

Additionally, the survey noted that 57% of those in the UK think that it has become more difficult to get on the housing ladder since 2015.

The survey results were based off of 13,000 respondents across Europe.

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James Smith, economist at ING Developed Markets, said: “The surprising post-lockdown resilience in the UK housing market has translated into relative optimism among British consumers.

“But this sentiment could be tested as we head into 2021.

“The anticipated end to the stamp duty holiday is set to coincide with a rise in unemployment over the winter, both of which are likely to put renewed pressure on house prices next year.”

By Jake Carter

Source: Mortgage Introducer

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October housing demand still very high

The average number of prospective buyers registered per estate agent branch reached 451 in October, the highest number ever recorded for that month, NAEA Propertymark’s October Housing Report found.

In October last year there were 341 house hunters on average per branch.

However there were still fewer than the 525 recorded in September.

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Mark Hayward, chief executive, NAEA Propertymark, said: “Typically, we see the property market slow down as we approach the festive period and people put their sale on hold until the New Year.

“However, the pressure of completing sales ahead of the Stamp Duty holiday ending means that we have seen the number of potential buyers and the number of sales completed remain unusually high for this time of year.

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“This boom has been hugely beneficial for the housing market; however, we are increasingly concerned about the impact of the stamp duty cliff edge on 31st March 2021.

“This cliff edge has already increased pressure on service providers within the industry, causing delays for buyers and sellers, and could cause thousands of sales to fall through at the final hurdle as buyers realise their sale will not be completed ahead of the deadline.”

The number of properties available stood at 39 per branch in October, falling from 41 in September.

BY RYAN BEMBRIDGE

Source: Property Wire

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Birmingham rated the best place for property investors

Investors in Birmingham can expect a rental yield of 5.4% and price growth of 14.2% in the next five years, making it the best location for investors, according to UK developer SevenCapital.

Average rents have risen by 30% in the past decade, and are expected to increase by 15.9% in the next four. Prices in the city stand at £202,162.

There’s a raft of projects upcoming in the city – notably the Midlands Metro extension, HS2 and the 2022 Commonwealth Games

The second best city for landlords is Manchester, followed by Liverpool, Nottingham and Newcastle.

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Projected five-year price growth is particularly high in Manchester and Nottingham, at 15.76% and 16.92%.

Liverpool and Newcastle are on the cheaper end, with prices averaging at £186,527 and £198,307 respectively.

The only town represented in the study was Bracknell, which was rated the eighth best place for investors.

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While the area has a high average price of £383,788, prices are expected to rise by 11.02% in five years.

Bracknell is home to tech businesses such as Dell, Microsoft and 3M, while the town is in the midst of a £770 million regeneration.

BY RYAN BEMBRIDGE

Source: Property Wire

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Million pound homes outperform the rest of the market

Sales activity in the £1m+ property market is storming ahead according to Rightmove, as wealthier buyers prioritise space and leafier locations.

Houses over £1m are selling 18 days faster than this time last year – the fastest pace since 2014.

Paul Oberschneider, chief executive at Hilltop Credit Partners, said: “A common conception is that houses in the £1m+ market take longer to find buyers than the overall market because of their higher price points.

“But the latest data from Rightmove shows that UK’s million-pound homes are actually outperforming the rest of the property market in terms of the number of sales being agreed.

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“The hottest millionaire markets right now are Norfolk, Wiltshire, Cornwall, Henley, Hackney, Tooting, Stoke Newington, Balham with affluent buyers willing to part with huge sums of money to buy larger homes.

“A big reason for this market sentiment is the ongoing pandemic which is pushing many potential buyers to swap city apartments for bigger homes with more living spaces and gardens.

“With the government’s big push for work-from-home once again, many employees are also expected to spend fewer days in the office and may look to relocate to a bigger property with more outdoor space. The post-Covid market will have an increased focus on indoor and outdoor space and wealthier buyers will be the first to move to bigger homes.”

BY RYAN BEMBRIDGE

Source: Property Wire