Monthly Archives: January 2012

House sales halved from 2007

Things are improving slightly up from the record lows of 2009 when only 848,000 properties changed hands. The three most restraining factors on transaction volumes and house prices are the usual suspects a lack of suitable mortgage finance, unemployment and consumer confidence. Both new build and normal sales are subdued because there are limited new houses and a lack of confidence that existing home owners will achieve the sale figures they want. The council of mortgage lenders is predicting further falls in lending this year which ultimately will lead to further falls in transaction volumes.

Move or improve with a home extension

With spring just around the corner and Christmas becoming a distant memory, is now the time to make a decision on if you should move or improve your home. With the continuing mortgage drought and challenging housing market conditions many are choosing to stay put. So how can you improve your current home? Well many home owners traditionally have opted for loft conversions. With ever increasing thermal efficiency to buildings through tighter building regulations often a home extension offers better value. This is a good time of year to start planning your project and applying for the relative permissions. Usually a planning application is required for larger home extensions. All new house extensions require building regulation applications to check they comply with building regulations. So don’t let another year slip by get your home extension project planned for a successful home extension build this summer.

Top ten tips for building a home extension

1. Make sure you know how you want to use the space and design a home extension that fits your needs and your type of property.
2. Chose a design and build company or an architect that specialise in the type of home extension that you are planning.
3. Do not let permitted development rights effect your decisions too much, you could save the planning application fee only to find out that you cannot fit that extra sofa in.
4. Make sure you pay attention to the detail, a well planned project is easier, quicker and cheaper to build than one that needs designing as it is built.
5. When choosing your builder ask to see other examples of their work, do they have references? Do they work with others within the property and construction industry?
6. Make sure you match things like roof tiles, brick types and bonds so that your home extension blends in with the original building.
7. Be prepared for the disruption, there will be skips, dust and delivery wagons, can you plan things so your contractors can have their own access or have the area fenced off? Ask your builder to provide a site toilet so they do not need to walk through your house.
8. Try and get as much of the project controlled and contracted to a main contractor so if there are any issues there is a clearly responsible person.
9. If you chose bespoke lintels or unusual design features be aware they may add time to the project as well as costs.
10. Remember to enjoy your project, chose a contractor who is genuinely excited about your project and does not see it as just another job.

Commercial property set to recover in second half of 2012

Commercial property forecasters are predicting a revival in the commercial property sector later this year. They cite the Eurozone crisis as a delay to many companies expansion plans particularly in the London commercial property market. Many boards and directors are positive about signing new leases but are holding off. These decisions cannot be delayed indefinitely and analysts believe that many have held off expansion plans for as long as possible. Companies that are performing well are looking to be well placed for the recovery and will want properties in place to support their business plans. Some London post codes are seeing annual returns for commercial property of over eleven percent.

Commercial property transaction volumes drop by over 6% from 2010 to 2011

The values of commercial property transactions have dropped from just short of 36 billion to just less than 33 and a half billion. In 2011 there were just over 1700 sold mainly by banks or the customers of banks under pressure to stay within their facility agreements. University research estimates that a quarter of all commercial property has 100% outstanding property loans. They estimate that a further 35% are at 70% or more, this mean that 60% of all commercial property will not be re-financeable at the end of their facility terms. This has the knock on effect that banks cannot clear property backed loans off their balance sheets. So they have little or no appetite for speculative property development and new commercial property loans.

Buy to let mortgages just got easier

Increased competition in the buy to let mortgage arena shows with looser lending criteria. The Yorkshire building society has expanded its range of mortgage products to include properties with a value of less than a £100,000 and for applicants with incomes of £20,000 rather than the £35,000 previous figure. Although house prices have stagnated the growth in rent inflation has encouraged both landlords and banks to place their funds back into the property sector. The Co-operative bank has also pledged to increase funds to the buy to let mortgage sector by another third. All this has lead to triple the number of buy to let mortgage products available to landlords.

£100,000 pounds lost in your garden?

Is your garden a potential development site? Could it be worth tens of thousands of pounds? If so how do you know? Well the answer to most people and even novice property developers is that they do not. So how do you liquidate that cash tied up in a side or rear garden the first step is to obtain the “planning gain”. This is the uplift in value of the site or property when planning permission is granted, the next pocket of cash is the developer’s profit. This is the profit obtained by the developer who takes the site to a saleable finished dwelling or other building. The planning gain can vary massively dependant on many variables. The developers profit can also vary greatly but most developers look to take profits between 12-18 percent dependant on the risk of the build and the saleability of the finished product. The profit is the gross development valve (GDV) minus the build costs, land value and soft costs. So how do you find the profit? You need to find a good planning consultant and a joint venture partner, they will take you through planning and offer you a profit share when the development is completed.

Restoring a period cottage

It is not just about the building to make the most of a period cottage you will need to pay attention to the garden, it makes such a difference to the overall feel of the project.
Make sure that you do your research, read plenty of books on the type and period of property knowledge is power in the world of restoration. Overlooking the correct paint sheen will destroy the appearance of those lovingly restored windows, so don’t be afraid to mayor in the minor!
Pay attention to local variations in the period and style of the property you should be able to find local enthusiasts groups who can share a wealth of knowledge.
Remember how ever passionate you are about period property you do not have to live in a museum, the people who built these wonderful properties would want to see them sympathetically modernised but most defiantly in everyday use, so the legacy of their toil lives on.
With that said please be aware of your legal obligations particularly where listings and the conservation department are involved.
Always go for reclaimed materials where possible and practical, it is so much easier to get the atmosphere of a period building right with well chosen reclaimed items.
Look for a nice mix of antiques and contemporary furniture to compliment your period property interior

Construction industry sees 5,000 firms go to the wall since 2010

The construction industry has seen over 5,000 firms go into liquidation since 2010 and Pwc are expecting 2012 to be a similarly tough year. 2011 saw a 6% rise in insolvencies from 2010 with the final quarter seeing 656 construction firms fail. Many firms have been hit by a double whammy of a massively reduced speculative development and new build demand coupled with a huge slow down in public sector building projects. Interestingly as the market stalls and construction firms suffer from a lack of new tenders arriving at their offices. Other fragments of the construction and property market are seeing some increase in activity. With planning consultants and architects seeing a growth in those sat on land and disused buildings looking to maximise their value or prepare site for sale through value engineering.

HSBC pledges 15 billion to UK mortgages market

Last year the HSBC lent approximately 6.7billion to home owners so this represents a large increase, which could tempt other lenders to compete. The new money to the mortgage market is thought to be enough to help a further 150,000 home buyers. The new funding promise will defy economists who have remained pessimistic about the future of the UK property funding market. It is thought that at least 3billion of this property funding will be reserved for first time buyers. This come at a time when many mortgage brokers are expecting a sizable increase in interest from first time buyers.