Monthly Archives: September 2009

Are first time buyers coming back to the market?

Bidding wars, gazumping, crowded property auction rooms?
Do you know what these phrases mean, or has it been that long you may have forgotten the meanings? Well increasingly we are hearing these phrases from both buyers and those who make their living in the property market. Could this be because there have been glimpses of that rare and endangered species ?the first time buyer?.
Many of the economic experts have carefully studied the available data and have made various conclusions about the future of the UK housing market. These could be some of the same economic experts that did not see the recent change in the economic climate. There has been lots of talk recently about the pent up demand, and I wonder how many first time buyers have been ?pent up?, in shared houses, or with parents and friends.
How many first time buyers are having the conversation that starts with ?I do not want to put off buying a house any longer, I know they will rise in the medium term.? This coupled with better mortgage deals, many now requiring only 10% deposits could be a sign of the dawn of a new era for the UK property market.

UK house prices rise, looks like the worst is over?

Both the Nationwide and the Halifax are cautious in their views, many analysts and property pundits are following the heard and predicting that prices are starting to flatten out. There are now some brave commentators who suggest prices could end 2009 with an annual rise as high as 5%. This would mean that the average house in the UK would have seen annual gains in excess of ?5,000 pounds.
No one can predict the future but it is looking increasing certain we may be near the bottom. If the brave are correct, the increasing numbers of professional property investors returning to the market could look forward to some potential impressive investment gains.

Is Mortgage lending keeping green shoots too closely cropped?

Let?s hope that bankers took note of the words of Alistair Darling, when he demanded more mortgage availability. The lack of funds available for buy-to-let and the private rented sector threatens to contract this vital supply of accommodation.

NHBC figures show a huge 95% increase in the number of new houses being started, in June this year in comparison with December 2008. The difficulty is that these figures are in comparison with historically low figures, and do not always give a true impression of the challenges faced by many of the nations house builders.

Some recent reports have suggested that the UK construction industry could be back up to full strength in as little as three years. We must ask the question, as the demand for projects for the Olympics and other major projects drain supply, are we training enough new apprentices and property professionals?

Speculation that commercial property could be a good bet

Some property elite are speculating now is the best time for acquisitions.
News of a very positive sentiment amongst some of the UK?s property elite was leaked from a breakfast networking event held in September.
Some commercial property chiefs are calling a ?bubble market?, some recent activity and acquisitions in the sector have drawn interest from many investors. Some feel now is the time to make bold purchases, the brave are prepared to accept some short term loses for medium term gains. The more savvy investors consider, that buy the time everyone agrees the market has bottomed many of the best deals have been done.
The long lead times that can be involved in many larger commercial property projects means that but the time present schemes are completed and sold or re-financed they could suddenly be producing great yields.

81 % rise in mortgage approvals over the year.

This almost unbelievable figure can be partly explained by the very low levels of mortgage lending over the previous year.
These figures released by the British Banking Association show even after this rise, lending is still a constraining figure for many buyers and developers.
There is much discussion amongst property professionals about the restraining factor lending is having on the property, development and construction industry. Is a lack of available properties to market also a restraining factor? It is after all, difficult to increase lending if there is little stock for purchasers to buy and ultimately borrow against.
Some argue that many very viable development projects have been forced to be either postponed or abandoned due to the shortage of development funding. Some finance companies are conspicuous in their absence from the market. Will they chose to return once the market shows even firmer signs of recovery. One question many property professionals are asking is how will the construction industry cope if there is a sudden demand for builders once finance returns and some of the moth balled sites re-start?

Building companies hiding under the “covers”

Over 100 UK building companies fined by the office of fare trading
Some of the largest UK building companies have been fined for the illegal practice of providing ?Covers?.
The process until recently was quite wide spread, many of the companies involved have defended their actions by claiming that they were forced into this position by the tender process. Many of the contracts involved were for multi-million pound public construction projects. The process of ?providing a cover?, is when estimators or quantity surveyors swap prices between competitors and provide each other with ?cover prices?. One company who do not wish to provide a genuine tender would rather provide a ?cover price?, provided to them by a competitor, than been seen by clients not to offer a tender.
They defended their actions by saying they were forced to use ?covers?, rather than potentially lose future contracts. The office of fare trading argued that this caused collusion and the potential for price fixing. These fines have come at a bad time for many construction industry companies, as even though we are thought to be out of the recession they are still suffering from the down turn. The office of fare trading has given some up to 3 years to pay the fines imposed.

Property rents set to rise?

It is widely agreed that the number of properties coming to market for rent is reducing and this in turn is enabling landlords to increase rents.
Increases in rents, have been just a distant memory for most of the UK landlords but this reduction in supply will naturally lead to increases in rent. These will not only have the effect of cheering many of the sober faces around the tables of small landlord association meetings and those who manage commercial property portfolios; it will also increase rental yields. So rental yields have increased because of the reductions in property values and are now set to increase as rents improve to meet the reduced supply of rental property to market.
This could explain some of the activity by large property companies and investment funds who are rumoured to be circling commercial properties as a safer and potentially more profitable home for their funds. Will we look back at 2009 as the bottom of the commercial property price cycle? Recent times have shown no one can predict the future, and some will look back at 2009 with regret, will it be those who chose not to expand their portfolios?

Home sellers confidence increases

September 2009 UK home sellers confidence and prices grow.
There are several factors affecting the grow of confidence in the UK housing market; the efforts of the Bank of England have had a very positive effect. This weeks announcement that the UK interest rates will remain at their current low levels, combined with the many recent positive news items has all helped to increase confidence in the UK housing market.
Slightly improved mortgage availability coupled with improved ratios of loan to value is only one facet of the positive sentiment. There is a genuine feeling that even though it will take time to return to larger annual gains, most commentators believe at the very least we are ?though the worst of it?. Several local agents in the midlands are far more positive with some taking on additional staff.
The positive news form the UK housing market has been a surprise to many that study the UK economy; other data on unemployment has also been a pleasant surprise. So as we start to leave one of the worst recessions for a generation, many will closely watch the next UK interest rate decisions scheduled for Oct. 8.

Country homes

Your dream house in the country?
Many of us dream of a wonderful country residence, unfortunately for most, the price tag may be prohibitive, but there is still a way to enjoy the country dream.
In recent years there have been a number of sites in rural locations developed to provide either holiday or second homes. These small properties often referred to as lodges are usually set in great rural locations. They form a great base for leisure activities, like cycling walking or simply enjoying the wildlife and time with family and friends.
These properties usually benefit from central heating, and all home comforts but because they are normally single story to meet the requirements of the local planning officers. This means that most are open plan with Kitchen, dining, and living in one space. This is ideal for families with young children and helps the residence enjoy a more relaxed style of living even if it is just a few weeks of the year.
So if you are considering a weekend away, or are fortunate enough to be looking for a second home why not consider a slightly less imposing country residence.

Caught red handed?

W4W Building Limited, announces they were successful in their bid to become an approved installer and re-seller of Redweb Security products in the Midlands Region.

Mike (Operations Manger) said, ?Our experience of managing national installation contracts for blue chips without a doubt helped us to win this?.

?This is a really great opportunity for both companies, Redweb have ground breaking products which are sure to take a lead in the market. Redweb recognised that with our existing network of contacts within the contracting and property sectors we were ideally placed to increase their sales.?

Peter of Redweb : ? It?s great to get you guys on board, I am already impressed with your rapid action and some of the great contacts you have?.