Posts with tag: Ascend Properties

Majority of UK tenants are now interested in long-term tenancies

Published On: July 28, 2021 at 8:08 am


Categories: Lettings News,Tenant News

Tags: ,

An overwhelming majority of tenants want long-term tenancies, reports build to rent specialists Ascend Properties.

In their survey of over one thousand UK tenants, 93% of those asked think that tenancies longer than 12 months should be more widely available within the UK rental market.

81% also stated that the pandemic and the turbulent rental landscape it caused have made them more likely to rent a property for longer than 12 months.

The security provided by longer-term tenancies is what most appeals to renters. Wider lifestyle choices also ranked high, with many wanting the opportunity to make a rental home feel more like their home.

Ged McPartlin, Managing Director of Ascend Properties, comments: “It’s clear to see why the build to rent sector is growing so rapidly as it clearly appeals to the needs of the modern-day tenant far more so than a traditional rental property.

“The ability to rent the same home for a far longer period of time is an integral part of this lifestyle shift and it’s clear that it not only offers a greater sense of security, but also the opportunity to lay strong roots within a particular area without having to opt for the route of homeownership.

“Whether the Government will do more to offer long-term tenancies across the board remains to be seen, but certainly for the time being, the build to rent sector continues to pick up the slack and provide the rental accommodation that residents want, rather than having little other choice but to inhabit.”

Results of Ascend Properties’ survey

Do you think tenancies longer than 12 months should be more widely available when renting?
What appeals to you about a longer-term tenancy agreement? (Tick all that apply)
A greater level of security32%
More opportunity to make a rental property feel like a home22%
A better ability to plan for the future18%
A better foundation for personal life13%
A greater sense of being part of a community9%
A better foundation for professional life6%
Has the pandemic made you more or less likely to rent a property for longer than 12 months?
Much more likely63%
Somewhat more likely18%
Much less likely14%
Somewhat less likely5%

Latest government UK House Price Index shows growth continues

The latest government UK House Price Index has been released, showing that house prices have increased by 10% in the year to May 2021.

The average price of a UK property during May was £254,624 and there was a monthly price change of 0.9%, the report states.

Marc von Grundherr, Director of Benham and Reeves, comments: “It’s clear that the extension of the Stamp Duty holiday caused the market to rebound immediately from the decline in market performance seen as a result of the original deadline. 

“Of course, it’s simply irresponsible to measure the health of the market based on a metric as erratic as the monthly rate of house price growth and anyone who seeks to do so would do well to retire their crystal ball to the cupboard from which it came. 

“The real proof in the pudding is the extremely strong performance seen on an annual basis and one that continues to defy expectation despite fears the market could soon run out of steam. 

“While London continues to trail the rest of the market in this respect, we’re beginning to see the cogs start to turn, driven by a return to the workplace and pre-emptive demand from foreign buyers in anticipation of a move later in the year. As a result, the London property market will continue to build momentum long after the carrot of a Stamp Duty reprieve has been removed.”

James Forrester, Managing Director of Barrows and Forrester, comments: “The property market continues to move forward at an alarming pace, powered by a full tank of buyer demand and a shortage of housing stock to satisfy this hunger for homeownership. While the end of the Stamp Duty holiday may well act as a slight bump in the road, it will take far more than a marginal decline in homebuyer sentiment to cause the wheels to fall off.”

Matthew Cooper, Founder & Managing Director of Yes Homebuyers, comments: “It’s abundantly clear that the market came to a shuddering halt due to the original Stamp Duty deadline and while we may now see transactions and house price growth yo-yo due to the double-pronged extension, there’s no hiding the fact that a correction is on its way.

“While the government may claim they have successfully kept the market afloat during the pandemic, the reality couldn’t be more different. House price affordability has spiralled and is now even further out of reach for the average homebuyer. Those lucky enough to secure a purchase remain bogged down in lengthy market delays and rather than build more homes, the government continues to feed the furnace to keep property values artificially inflated.

“It’s a real mess and one that will take some time to clean up once it does inevitably hit the fan.”

Ged McPartlin, Managing Director of Ascend Properties, comments: “House prices continue to boom, with the North West sitting on pole and driving market performance in this respect.

“It’s clear that the north-south divide has never been wider and while this momentous rate of price growth must inevitably slow at some point, we expect this vast difference in property pedigree to remain as buyers in the North continue to benefit from a far more affordable market, with, or without the benefit of a Stamp Duty saving.”

Lucy Pendletonproperty expert at independent estate agents James Pendleton, says: “The latest UK HPI figures reflect sales that completed in May when buyers were still enjoying the full Stamp Duty holiday. At that time, the atmosphere was frenzied as buyers sprinted to complete sales before the end of June.

“Price growth has cooled a little since the deadline has passed, but the cliff-edge scenario many were predicting hasn’t played out. Prices haven’t collapsed, very few transactions have fallen through and we are seeing a healthy level of new instructions.

“This can be attributed to a number of factors. The race for space in many areas of the country hasn’t abated and demand remains at levels we were seeing several months ago.

“There’s still a lack of good quality stock coming onto the market, which means buyers are less worried about missing out on the full tax benefit as they are on a particular property. If anything, it’s a minor inconvenience for buyers, and not critical enough to derail transactions.

“The Stamp Duty break tapering off, rather than being cut off immediately at the end of June, has also avoided the prospect of a wave of transactions collapsing near the finishing line.

“Buyers don’t feel under pressure to complete and sellers feel more comfortable about listing knowing transactions aren’t likely to fail, and I don’t see that changing even as we approach the end of September, when the tapered relief ends.

“We are also expecting to see a buoyant market over the summer, when typically, activity drops off. With the majority of families holidaying at home this year, and many choosing to delay their holidays, more people will take this opportunity to push through house sales and purchases.

“London may have seen the slowest growth of any area over the past year, but there are also positive signs it’s finally waking from its slumber, as more restrictions have been lifted.

“And while the legacy of the pandemic is likely to see many businesses adopting flexible working policies, and fewer people having to commute into work full-time, the bright lights of the big city, and what it has to offer, still has a tremendous appeal.

“As soon as the Capital opens fully again, we are confident the property market will burst back into life.”

Iain McKenzie, CEO of The Guild of Property Professionals, says: “All good things must come to an end, and these figures capture the final frenzy to make the most of Government incentives to buy in the month before the Stamp Duty holiday began to be scaled back.

“However, several indicators show the enthusiasm is still thrumming through the property market, with mortgage approvals higher in May than they were in April.

“London has seen the slowest growth in house prices, partly owing to an already inflated market and large numbers of people who have moved out of the capital during the pandemic.

“Meanwhile, the North West has seen the largest jump in house prices as home-movers look for more space and value for money.

“There could be some fluctuation in the months ahead, but we are still anticipating prices to remain high. Lifestyle changes mean high demand will outlast the final closure of the Stamp Duty holiday at the beginning of October.”

Nicky StevensonManaging Director at national estate agent group Fine & Country, says: “The housing market has been running much hotter and faster than anyone expected, and despite a slight softening last month, today’s data shows there’s plenty of momentum still left.

“Low borrowing costs, reduced supply and an insatiable demand for bigger homes has spurred bidding wars and a spike in house values across the country.

“And while we may see growth start to decelerate slightly later in the year as the Stamp Duty holiday is phased out, the dizzying boom we are currently enjoying shows no sign of dipping.

“The remainder of the summer promises more breath-taking annual gains, with price growth in the North West continuing to set the pace.

“While the Stamp Duty holiday helped power the rally, momentum is now so strong that a phased return to full rates shouldn’t signal the beginning of a slump.

“And though growth in London remains the lowest in the country, it too is starting to pick up steam.

“Expect the tail of this boom to go on and on.”

Record house price growth in Wales and the north as London stands still

Rightmove’s May 2021 House Price Index reports that the average asking price for UK properties has increased by 1.8% since the previous month.

Rightmove also states:

  • Average London house prices are 2.9 times higher than prices in the norther areas of Great Britain. Although still large, this is the smallest ratio recorded by Rightmove since 2013
  • Wales has seen the most growth since the first lockdown at 13%
  • The north has seen a greater imbalance between demand and supply than London, with people more likely to move locally and some more able to afford to upsize

The full report can be read here.

Marc von Grundherr, Director of Benham and Reeves, comments: “A 0.8% rise in monthly price rises, whilst slower in pace than in recent months, is still almost 10% annually if such a trend were to continue. That’s colossal growth and even more so at the top end of the market where homes are seeing over 12% rises in value despite the fact they may soon miss out on the maximum stamp duty holiday saving of £15,000. This bodes well and may confound the doomsayers that have been forecasting a cliff edge come the end of June.”

Ged McPartlin, Managing Director of Ascend Properties, comments: “Despite some southern regions finally starting to stir, the North continues to lead much of the market where annual house price growth is concerned. It’s probably not accurate to say that cash-rich relocators from southern cities are driving this northern resurgence and this strong performance has been very much built on a foundation of localised demand, from buyers keen to take advantage of record-low interest rates while they can.”

James Forrester, Managing Director of Barrows and Forrester, comments: “Home sellers and their acting agents have never had it so good. Not only are transactions climbing along with house prices, but the speed at which properties are selling is extremely fast. Just 41 days to sell a home is close to an all-time best and means that at some extremes, listings have been selling before the ink is dry on the sales particulars.

“Certainly, in the West Midlands, we’re seeing contracts agreed within a week of listing and although it’s unclear as to how much longer the market can perform at this rate, there’s certainly no sign of it letting up anytime soon.”

Matthew Cooper, Founder & Managing Director of Yes Homebuyers, comments: “Property stock is evaporating at an alarming rate due to huge levels of buyer demand and this severe imbalance is causing an artificial property price boom. Great for sellers who can justify overpricing their home but not so great for the wider market that is already groaning under the pressure.”

House price growth begins to slow in latest government House Price Index

The latest government UK House Price Index reports that average house prices have increased by 8.9% over the year to April 2021. This is down from 9.9% in March 2021.

The highlights of the report also include:

  • The average price of a UK property in April 2021 was £250,772
  • At the country level, the largest annual house price growth in the year to April 2021 was recorded in Wales, where house prices increased by 15.6%
  • Scotland saw house prices increase by 6.3% in the year to April 2021
  • England saw house prices increase by 8.9% in the year to April 2021
  • Northern Ireland saw house prices increase by 6.0% over the year to Q1 (January to March) 2021

Ged McPartlin, Managing Director of Ascend Properties, comments: “Despite a cooling in the monthly rate of house price growth the northern property powerhouse continues to steam ahead, registering some extremely impressive gains on an annual basis.

“This should continue for the remainder of the year, albeit at a less ferocious rate once a Stamp Duty saving is no longer on the cards, as buyers continue to take advantage of low mortgage rates and the newly available 95% mortgage.”

James Forrester, Managing Director of Barrows and Forrester, comments: “There’s no doubt that this monthly decline in house price growth is the markets lagged response to the original Stamp Duty deadline, as buyers and sellers renegotiated terms under the impression a saving was no longer on the table.

“However, it’s far from the market cliff edge that many naysayers had predicted and so it’s fair to say we can put any fears of a market crash in the wake of the extended deadlines to bed.”

Marc von Grundherr, Director of Benham and Reeves, comments: “London has been slowly simmering in comparison to the rest of the UK market having been hit hardest by pandemic uncertainty and a reduction in foreign homebuyer demand, in particular.

“However, the tide is slowly starting to turn and while there’s a very real chance that the wider UK market will come off the boil by the end of the year, London will continue to bubble.”

Matthew Cooper, Founder & Managing Director of Yes Homebuyers, comments: “Almost a full house of regional monthly house price declines in the wake of the original Stamp Duty holiday deadline gives a good indication of what awaits the market at the backend of this year.

“A correction is on the way and we can expect to see a weary market start to show signs of house price fatigue as early as next month, following the initial wind down of the Stamp Duty holiday.”

Andy Sommerville, Director at Search Acumen, comments: “This latest data indicates the new build premium shows no signs of abating.

“This is despite the monthly drop off, which is likely due to an inflation of March’s growth as people rushed to meet the first anticipated Stamp Duty deadline. Demand in April continued to outstrip the availability of housing stock, contributing to one of the biggest gaps seen in years between the price of new builds and existing properties.

“Our national housing supply squeeze looks set to continue for the foreseeable future, pushing up prices further still. The beneficiaries on the building side are the developers of homes with access to gardens, given that working from home and more flexible working practices are likely to continue in the coming months, driving people to move into bigger homes with access to green space.

“The Stamp Duty stampede is piling pressure onto property professionals who are charged with helping new buyers access homes as quickly as possible. Too often, lawyers are seen as those slowing down the moving process, but many are handicapped by legacy practices that weren’t designed for current volumes of demand or with modern consumer needs in mind. Data can provide an antidote to smooth transaction processes, so lawyers can better advise prospective buyers on the risks involved in their purchase at an earlier stage and clear the path towards completion.”

Nicky Stevenson, Managing Director at national estate agent group Fine & Country, comments: “If there’s anything that underlines changing property shopping habits, it’s the eye-watering growth rate recorded in the North East. It has eclipsed all regions bar Wales, which is another favourite destination for those escaping to the country. A leap of 16.9% in 12 months is staggering.

“By next year we’ll be looking back at a figure like this with some awe but the way the market cools from this point doesn’t have to match the rally for excitement.

“If the government’s financial support packages have worked, and employment prospects remain strong, then a gentle long tail that avoids outright falls in prices over the medium term is still likely as we head towards the end of the year and into 2022.

“It’s worth noting that the annual growth readout for the previous month of March has also been revised down, which means it didn’t actually exceed the psychologically important 10% level after all. That said, the market is still overheating, despite a slight softening in the shadow of the original Stamp Duty holiday deadline.”

Lucy Pendleton, property expert at independent estate agents James Pendleton, comments: “We’re getting so used to growth rates this high that it’s easy to forget that they are actually as rare as hen’s teeth. First-time buyers will be hoping this star fades fast, and fade it must because the market is punching the top of the dial by historic standards.

“A dose of economic reality is going to start featuring in our lives over the next few months in a way that has been largely absent since early last year. The patient is going to be slowly weaned off the government support that has masked the brutal ructions that would otherwise have played havoc with jobs, house prices and the economy.

“That all begins at the end of the month with the tapering of not just Stamp Duty relief but the furlough scheme too. As it becomes clear how bullet proof the jobs market really is, we’ll get a better understanding of how the economy — on the cusp of fully unlocking — will endure this return to fiscal normality.

“London remains at the back of the pack but started from a higher base and could yet surprise with relatively strong growth as people start returning to the capital in greater numbers. London is likely to be more immune from any slowdown in growth later this year, as it hasn’t been performing the same kinds of heroics seen in other regions.”

Survey looks at desirability of integrated smart technology in rental homes

Published On: June 10, 2021 at 8:11 am


Categories: Lettings News

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Build to rent specialist Ascend Properties has researched whether a rental home with integrated smart tech is more or less likely to attract tenants in the UK.

Ascend Properties states that although it’s fair to say the build to rent sector is the future of renting, when it comes to smart tech integration, residents are less worried.

In a survey of 1,427 UK tenants, only a third responded that they would be more likely to rent a home purely because it had smart tech integration. In addition, 74% also stated they would be unlikely to pay more for a rental property simply because it was smart tech-enabled, and just 2% would be willing to pay much more than the market rate.

Of the smart tech integration benefits listed in the survey, the ability to save money through features such as utility management and smart metres held the greatest appeal.

Ged McPartlin, Managing Director of Ascend Properties, commented: “It’s fair to say that while smart tech is a great addition to the home, residents aren’t quite ready to pay above the odds for the privilege of a fully automated home of the future. In fact, it’s important to get the basics right and provide the fundamentals such as good WIFI, or a well-maintained outdoor space, before you start to add the additional bells and whistles.

“But that’s not to say there isn’t a market for some degree of smart tech and with any investment, it’s about choosing the right additions to compliment the property itself, as well as the wider lifestyle offering you are trying to deliver.

“By doing so, you can appeal to the modern resident without deterring them with a cost of renting that sits far above the expected rate.”

Which of the following benefits of home smart tech integration appeal to you? (Tick all that apply)
Ability to save money (Utilities management etc)23%
Security (Smart locks and surveillance)17%
Entertainment (Smart speakers linked to phone etc)16%
Remote access (Lighting, heating etc)16%
Eco-friendly smart tech14%
Convenience (Voice activation)14%
Would you be more likely to rent a property with smart tech integration?
Somewhat more likely19%
Much more likely10%
How much more would you pay for a rental property with smart tech integration?
Would not pay more74%
A bit more25%
Much more2%

House prices hit another record high in latest Halifax House Price Index

The May 2021 House Price Index from Halifax reports that UK property prices continue to rise in 2021 as we head into the summer.

The highlights from the Halifax report include:

  • Annual house price inflation is now at its strongest level in nearly seven years
  • The average UK property price is £261,743, which is a new record high
  • Wales continues to be the region with the strongest price growth

Nationwide’s May House Price Index also reports house price growth is at the highest level in almost seven years.

George Franks, co-founder of London-based estate agents Radstock Property, comments: “May was a month of two halves. The first half was extremely busy as there was still a chance to purchase before the June Stamp Duty deadline. The second half of May and first week of June have been quieter, perhaps due to sunny weather, half term or everyone fleeing to Portugal. More likely, though, it is because there is no urgency as people have resigned themselves to missing the Stamp Duty deadline.

“Buyers now appear to be waiting to see what happens to the market after the end of June, possibly in the hope that prices will start to fall. This is especially the case in the sub-£800k bracket. It might take a few months to see how things pan out from July onwards. It will not be as simple as reducing asking prices, or indeed offers, by £15,000, as the Stamp Duty holiday was about sentiment as much as money and the fundamentals remain strong. 

“I don’t believe the property market is in a bubble, but it has certainly benefited from Government meddling in the form of the Stamp Duty holiday and mortgage guarantee scheme. We’ve effectively had two years rolled into one due to Government intervention. Looking forward, the fundamentals have not changed, namely money is cheap, it’s still cheaper to own than to rent and there is a profound lack of stock.”

Andrew Montlake, Managing Director of the independent mortgage broker Coreco, comments: “There is talk that the property market will fall flat on its face the moment the Stamp Duty holiday ends. That’s not going to happen. COVID-19 has triggered a socio-corporate shift that will drive transactions for some time yet as people seek more space to work remotely and proximity to the office becomes less important. The future of the property market, in the short to medium term, will be inextricably linked to our post-pandemic lifestyles.

“The pandemic has thrown the ‘location, location, location’ mantra that applied to the property market for so long into the dustbin of history. In the short-term, the Government’s mortgage guarantee scheme will continue to support demand among first-time buyers, and this will ripple up through the market and maintain a certain level of transactions. We’re not expecting a material fall in prices in the short- to medium-term, as supply is so low and money cheap, but a minor correction may be on the cards.”

Ged McPartlin, Managing Director of Ascend Properties, comments: “It’s great to see a changing of the guard in terms of the regions driving current house price performance. While London and the South East have traditionally acted as the predominant indicators of market health, it’s now the turn of Wales and much of the North to take centre stage.

“This regional acceleration has been largely driven by a far more affordable property price and a Stamp Duty saving that has allowed many buyers to increase their purchasing potential.”

James Forrester, Managing Director of Barrows and Forrester, comments: “Despite the prospect of a Stamp Duty saving now unlikely for many homebuyers the market continues to move forward at pace, driven by an appetite for homeownership not seen since before the financial crisis. While the expiry of the Stamp Duty holiday is expected to have some impact, it’s unlikely to derail a market that continues to see buyers enter in their droves, buoyed by low interest rates and 95% mortgage availability.”

Marc von Grundherr, Director of Benham and Reeves, comments: “It’s probably unfair to say London is lagging behind where the current property market boom is concerned, considering it was already streets ahead of the rest, to begin with. The higher price of property in the capital means that any increase is always going to be more measured but to assume the London market is on its knees couldn’t be further from the reality.

“Transactions are starting to climb, bolstered by both a return to the workplace and an influx of foreign buyers, and these influences will only boost the London market further as the year goes on.”

Matthew Cooper, Founder & Managing Director of Yes Homebuyers, comments: “Enjoy the boom while it lasts because if history has taught us anything, a bust is likely to follow. The government’s insistence on artificially fuelling house prices, not only with a Stamp Duty holiday extension but now in the form of 95% mortgages and a rehash of the Help to Buy scheme, is irresponsible, to say the least.

“With the market already buckling under the pressure, it’s only a matter of time before it gives in, bringing property values down with it.”

Lucy Pendleton, property expert at independent estate agents James Pendleton, comments: “House prices have done the treble with a third consecutive month of record highs and the stage is set for a most unusual summer.

“The inability of Britons to go on holiday means there’s no distraction now from executing that ambitious move to a larger home. We’re entering a time of year when school holidays and foreign trips normally force the market to drop to a slightly slower pace.  

“That’s not necessarily going to happen this year and sustained, strong demand over the next few months could have ramifications when the market cools in the autumn, delivering on paper what might look like a more rapid slow down.

“The sluggish figures for London still don’t tell the full story. House price growth in the capital is not exceptional as a whole, but it is still being powered by the same race for space that is driving the national market. Many buyers just can’t get what they want within budget after a relatively strong decade of gains. Location has become less important and space more so. 

“Prices are being routinely bid up on desirable properties and those selling the right home in London are matching the pace of the national market, achieving annual growth of more than 10%. It’s just not happening across the board and homes with as many flaws as ceilings are continuing to struggle. 

“Buyers will pay top dollar but only for the right property, otherwise it’s just not worth moving for many.”

Nicky Stevenson, Managing Director at national estate agent group Fine & Country, comments: “This market is moving so fast that if you blink, it increases in value. It is incredible to watch when desire wrests control away from other factors during periods of exceptionally high demand like this and it could be about to get even busier.

“There are still some nervous homeowners out there who have been waiting for restrictions to ease before making their move, threatening to ratchet up the level of competition even higher over the next couple of months. 

“If the unlocking goes ahead later this month, this new blood, which until now has been cautious due to the pandemic, will enter the market and there will be even more buyers chasing the must-have properties of the year, namely detached homes with plenty of outside space. 

“Stamp Duty relief will be scaled back at the end of June but don’t expect this to have much impact. The behaviour of buyers driving house price growth at the top end nationwide still supports the view that they are solely focused on the horizon and not concerned with saving a relatively small amount of money on a purchase. 

“If the change to the Stamp Duty relief creates even a wrinkle in July that would come as a bit of a surprise.

“The market normally has a lull in the summer months but, now almost all foreign holidays appear to be off, there’s nothing stopping the freight train that is unbridled demand from crashing straight through June, July and August. It would take someone with a lot of courage to bet against this run of records being extended in June and even July.”

Iain McKenzie, CEO of The Guild of Property Professionals, comments: “Britain’s estate agents are almost running out of homes to sell as the moving frenzy continues to gather pace!

“Increased demand coupled with a shortage of properties for sale have caused prices to soar higher than the savings made from the Stamp Duty holiday, meaning many houses are selling for a premium. 

“While you’re enjoying the summer sun, spare a thought for the poor conveyancers who are overwhelmed by an epic backlog of paperwork.

“The slow phasing out of the Stamp Duty holiday is unlikely to calm the market, and house prices are likely to keep rising for the foreseeable future.

“Whatever happens, the rest of the summer has the potential to be a topsy-turvy time for the property market.”