Posts with tag: Ringley

Latest ONS rental prices index shows increases across the UK

Published On: July 17, 2020 at 8:10 am


Categories: Lettings News

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The latest Index of Private Housing Rental Prices has now been released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS). 

The highlights include:

  • Rent prices paid by tenants in the UK have increased by 1.5% in the 12 months to June 2020. This is unchanged since April 2020.
  • Rent prices have increased by 1.5% in England, 1.4% in Wales, and 0.6% in Scotland in the 12 months to June 2020.
  • London rent prices have increased by 1.2% in the 12 months to June 2020.

The ONS report addresses how the COVID-19 outbreak has affected this data: “The Office for National Statistics (ONS) is working to ensure that the UK has the vital information needed to respond to the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic on our economy and society; this includes how we measure the Index of Private Housing Rental Prices (IPHRP). 

“At present, the price collection for this publication has been slightly affected, but this has not impacted the reliability of our estimates. A small change was made to how the data are collected in England; Tenancy Deposit Protection data have been used for less than 1% of the data in June 2020.

“The ONS remains committed to providing the best and most accurate information we can, serving the public good at a time when it is needed the most. As this situation evolves, we are developing several solutions to meet potential scenarios, depending on the amount of data that is able to be collected by our data suppliers, and to consider how we produce forthcoming publications. Users will be informed of any changes to how the data are measured.”

Read the full report here:

Mary-Anne Bowring, group managing director at Ringley and creator of automated lettings platform PlanetRentcomments: “Today’s (15th July) ONS figures highlight the resilience of the UK rental market, with steady rental growth across the board despite a turbulent period due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

“While the ONS stats show more subdued growth than other indices, all regions recorded positive growth throughout June.

“London in particular, recorded steady rental growth, demonstrating the robust nature of the capital’s rental market. 

“For institutional investors such as pension funds and insurers looking to enter the UK rental market in search of steady income streams to match their liabilities, today’s figures are good news. Similarly, for buy-to-let landlords, it shows there is money to still be made in rental property, despite facing a tougher regulatory and tax environment.”

Industry reaction to the July Halifax House Price Index

The latest Halifax House Price Index reports that house prices have fallen for the fourth month in a row. However, there has been a surge in new mortgage enquiries.

The highlights of the Halifax House Price Index include:

  • On a monthly basis, house prices in June were 0.1% lower than in May 
  • In the latest quarter (April to June) house prices were 0.9% lower than in the preceding three months (January to March) 
  • House prices in June were 2.5% higher than in the same month a year earlier 

Russell Galley, Managing Director, Halifax, comments within the report“Average house prices fell by 0.1% in June as the UK property market continued to emerge from lockdown. 

“Though only a small decrease, it is notable as the first time since 2010 – when the housing market was struggling to gain traction following the shock of the global financial crisis – that prices have fallen for four months in a row. 

“Activity levels bounced back strongly in June, which is typically the busiest month for mortgage activity in the UK. New mortgage enquiries were up by 100% compared to May, and with prospective buyers also revisiting purchases previously put on hold, transaction volumes rose sharply compared to previous months. However, whilst encouraging, it remains too early to say if this level of activity will be sustained. 

“The near-term outlook points to a continuation of the recent modest downward trend in prices through the third quarter of the year, with sentiment indicators, based on surveys of both agents and households, currently at or around multi-year lows. 

“Of course, come the autumn, the macroeconomic landscape in the UK should be clearer and the scale of the impact of the pandemic on the labour market more apparent.

“We do expect greater downward pressure on prices in the medium-term, the extent of which will depend on the success of government support measures and the speed at which the economy can recover.” 

Managing Director of Barrows and Forrester, James Forrester, has commented: “Yet another contrasting medical examination of the UK property market and one that shows the impact of an industry-wide lockdown is still lingering with further monthly declines in house price growth.

“However, the positives are that prices remain higher on an annual basis despite the turbulent start to the year. This is a much better indicator of market health and one that should reassure the nation’s home sellers, as well as bolstering the surge of buyer demand that has already flooded the market since lockdown restrictions were eased. 

“We’re expecting to see a further boost in the form of a stamp duty holiday tomorrow, and while this has already drawn its critics, it will only act as a positive stimulus for the market in the long-term.”   

 Managing Director of Enness Global Mortgages, Hugh Wade-Jones, commented: “More positive news for the UK property market and hopefully the first of a double dose of good news this week.

“Unfortunately, it looks as though the top tier of the market will once again be shown the cold shoulder in terms of any stamp duty relief or otherwise. 

“However, we’ve seen a promising increase in market activity in recent months, and this has been driven of late by foreign buyers returning to the top tiers of the market, in particular. 

“While domestic activity remains the backbone of the UK property sector, it is this foreign investment that will help spur the market back to full health.

“Although it might take a little while longer to materialise at the top level, it bodes very well for the remainder of the year where overall house prices are concerned.”

Halifax House Price Index
Industry reaction to the July Halifax House Price Index

Director of Benham and Reeves, Marc von Grundherr, commented: “The potential announcement of a stamp duty holiday by the chancellor tomorrow should help lift market sentiment, certainly where buyer demand is concerned. Of course, some are already forecasting that many buyers will hold off now to benefit later, causing a slump in the market as a result.

“While a valid point, it’s unlikely to send a market that is comfortably shifting through the gears into full reverse. The transaction process can be a long one, and it is doubtful that the average buyer will jeopardise their bricks and mortar aspirations, simply to save a few thousand pounds in stamp duty.

“The flip side to this is that with such demand already returning to the market, postponing a purchase until October could see the price of your chosen property increase in value, exceeding the saving you might have made. So any buyers considering such an idea would be ill-advised to take the risk.”

Lucy Pendleton, property expert at independent estate agents James Pendleton, said: “The typically more bullish Halifax index hasn’t disappointed. People remain confident despite the pandemic but the biggest threat to the market at the moment is the posturing going on in government over a potential Stamp Duty tax break. 

“The market will seize up if this continues. Ministers more intent on teasing than leading either need to introduce it or ditch it. The flying of kites only encourages people to hold off with their move. 

“If they don’t provide clarity, the recovery in the market, which by the Halifax’s reckoning is still powering ahead, will be put in doubt. 

“Two things have so far characterised the residential market since it reopened in mid-May. First, there were the overzealous bargain hunters who came crashing in demanding huge discounts and were quickly beaten back.

“We’re not hearing from that type of buyer anymore. Second, we’ve noticed a lot of buyers and sellers who had been frustrated by the pandemic’s shut down of the country showing huge determination to now get on with their move.

“It just goes to show that moving home is a marathon and not a sprint for most people, a decision often years in the making, and that is underpinning the annual growth still being registered by the Halifax in June.

“This confidence and robust overall demand bodes well for transaction volumes, and sensible offers provide some clue that a broad price correction is not on the cards at the moment.”

Mary-Anne Bowring, group managing director at Ringley and creator of automated lettings platform, PlanetRent, said: “Today’s figures show potential green shoots of recovery with rising mortgage enquiries although it is clear lockdown and prolonged uncertainty are still having their effect and with no clear route out the pandemic yet, the for-sale market is likely to be subdued as buyers and sellers act cautiously and put off major financial decisions. 

“This is why government policies aimed at restimulating the housing market need to look beyond first-time buyers and existing owner-occupiers and tap into new sources of demand like buy to let landlords by scrapping the stamp duty surcharge they face. 

“With only the private sector predicted to keep on growing and the disruption caused by Coronavirus likely to cause a short-term spike in rental demand, the government could kill two birds with one stone by driving activity and meeting a growing housing need.

“Landlords are also an important source of development finance for housebuilders through off-plan sales and so cutting SDLT for buy to let investors could help housebuilding recover too.”

Government announces extension to evictions ban

Published On: June 9, 2020 at 8:13 am


Categories: Law News

Tags: ,,,,,

The Ministry of Housing has announced that the suspension of evictions will be extended until 23rd August. 

Dan Wilson Craw, Director of Generation Rent, has commented: “It’s a relief that the Government has listened to renters’ concerns and is extending the ban. Renters who have lost income in the past few months are extremely worried about losing their home as a result. The Government has averted a homelessness crisis – for now. 

“But with holes in the housing safety net and much of the economy still in lockdown, millions of renters will get further behind on rent. Not all of them can rely on their landlord’s goodwill and so need further help with rent, and assurance that they can stay in their homes beyond the summer. 

“The Government must use the time it has bought itself to develop a long-term solution to provide rent relief and end unfair evictions for good.”

Mary-Anne Bowring, group managing director at Ringley, said: “There’s no doubt that thousands of renters that are suffering financial difficulty will be happy to hear the news from the government this afternoon and will now feel more secure in their homes.

“With all of the uncertainty going on at the moment, tenants deserve to be protected by the government from evictions that could be through no fault of their own, and could well be down to financial hardship brought on by being furloughed or losing their job altogether, but this needs to be balanced by proving that their income has gone down. 

“The worry is that many landlords are retired, according to the English Private Landlord Survey, as many as 33% are. These landlords may well not have a mortgage to claim a repayment holiday on, rely on property income and without rent or furlough monies may struggle to survive.

“However, it should be noted as recent research by the National Residential Landlords Association pointed out that the majority of landlords are trying to work with their tenants to resolve any issues such as rent arrears.

“Looking at the long term, the government may need to consider other ways of financially supporting households post-crisis. For example, through higher housing benefit payments as clearly the high cost of the furlough scheme means it cannot last indefinitely. 

“Tenants and landlords should be working together in what is a difficult time for everybody, and should not use the eviction ban as an excuse to mistreat the property they live in or withhold rent if they are not in a genuinely financially difficult situation.

“Some renters may need more financial assistance from the government but cancelling rents as some have suggested or getting the government to pay would be hugely damaging.”

Ben Beadle, Chief Executive of the National Residential Landlords Association (NRLA), commented: “This decision means that some landlords will now be facing five months without receiving any rent as they can take no action against tenants who were not paying before the lockdown started. 

“It also means more misery for tenants and neighbours suffering at the hands of anti-social tenants and will also cause exceptional hardship for a number of landlords, including many who depend on their rental income to live, for which there is no assistance.

“We have every sympathy with tenants who face genuine difficulties because of a loss of income due to the coronavirus crisis and as our survey out tomorrow shows, nearly all landlords are working with tenants who are struggling to keep them in their home.

“It is important that the Government sets out its plans for the market at the end of this one-time extension. A failure to do so will cause serious damage to the private rented sector as a whole. 

“It will ultimately be tenants who suffer as they will find it increasingly difficult to find affordable housing if landlords do not have the confidence that they will get their properties back swiftly in legitimate circumstances.”

Government introduces new regulations to kick-start housing market

New regulations have been introduced by the government to allow buyers and renters to view properties and move homes. 

Estate agents can now open, viewings can be carried out, and removal firms and conveyancers can restart operations.

David Cox, Chief Executive of ARLA Propertymark and Mark Hayward, Chief Executive of NAEA Propertymark comment: “It’s great news for consumers and the industry that the housing market is being opened up and people can let, rent, buy and sell properties again. The new regulations provide clarity to agents and will allow them to deal with pent up demand from consumers. 

“It’s also a step to reinvigorating the housing market and will be a boost to the economy. Safety, of course, will be paramount, and we would encourage everyone to ensure that they follow Government guidelines closely to protect others and themselves.”

Andy Marshall, Chief Commercial Officer, Zoopla, said: “We’re delighted that the Government has recognised the need to restart the property market, permitting estate agents to operate – within the parameters of common sense social distancing. Now is the time to get the market moving and to restore it to full health.

“With 373,000 transactions held up in the pipeline, amounting to £82bn in property value and £1bn of agent revenue, the Government’s move is set to be a catalyst for the broader economy. The multiplier effect of estate agency will stimulate cashflow for a network of industries, from removal firms to decorators to solicitors, benefiting the economy at both a local and national level.

Ben Beadle, Chief Executive of the National Residential Landlords Association (NRLA), said: “Tenants will now be able to look for a new home and move into it whilst those landlords who have unexpectedly faced empty properties will be able to put them back on the market.

“It is vital though that all viewings and house moves take place safely and in line with the Government’s guidance. We will continue to work with the Government, landlords and others to ensure that the risks of spreading coronavirus are minimised.”

new regulations to kick-start housing market
Government introduces new regulations to kick-start housing market

Steve Olejnik, managing director of Mortgages for Business, said: “We can’t know exactly what’s going to happen to the market, but we expect a temporary, short-term fall across London and the southeast in the region of about 15%. 

“But there’s no question that if you invest in bricks and mortar now, with a bit of haggling during the process, you are going to see a lot of long-term capital growth. 

“I think values will be back at February 2020 levels by the spring or summer of next year. Landlords who have not asked for a repayment holiday will be well set to snap-up some bargains with the help of lenders who have demonstrated a willingness to lend since the third or fourth week of the pandemic.

“Yields from the various types of property remained pretty steady throughout 2019 and suggest property will offer a better return than many other investments in the future – especially to smart, professional landlords looking outside the box at HMO investments.”

Grant Lipton, co-founder of London-focused developer Great Marlborough Estates, has commented: “The housing market re-starting is obviously positive news, but it will need more than a press release to give buyers and sellers confidence and so the government needs to look at a range of measures to kick-start activity including a Stamp Duty holiday.”

Mary-Anne Bowring, managing director at Ringley Group, comments: “There’s no reason buyers or renters shouldn’t be able to move home if they are able to do so safely in accordance with social distancing guidelines so today’s announcement is welcome news.

“However, we shouldn’t pretend this means the housing market has returned to its pre-coronavirus state. Lockdown is set to continue in some form for an unknown amount of time, the resulting economic disruption will likely weigh down on activity in the for sale market.

“A Stamp Duty holiday proposed by RICS and others would likely see a stampede in transactions while an extended Help to Buy will support some sales and in turn housebuilding.

“Yet the government should think long term and introduce policies to reflect Britain’s changing housing needs. Private renters are a fast-growing part of the housing market and need catering to.

“Yet politicians seem intent in squeezing buy to let landlords out of the rental market and the build to rent sector – a positive emergence – simply isn’t big enough yet to absorb all rental demand.

“If the government cut Stamp Duty surcharge for landlords it could help stimulate the market by encouraging BTL investors to snap up homes to then rent out. Many landlords also help support housebuilding through off plan sales.

“The housing market as whole will also have to get ready for a digital-first approach to transactions as more tasks and jobs are done remotely.”

Dan Wilson Craw, Director of Generation Rent, said: “Lifting restrictions on the lettings market is welcome for thousands of renters who have been stuck in unsuitable homes. But a reopened housing market cannot be an excuse to lift the evictions ban which is in force until late June.

“Despite the furlough and increased housing benefit, 2.6 million private renters are at risk of arrears with no way of paying them off once the economy recovers. Just a third of landlords have offered flexibility on rent payments, so most of these renters will face eviction as soon as the ban is lifted.

“The worry and stress of the pandemic is giving renters sleepless nights. Many have difficult decisions to make right now. If Robert Jenrick is developing a plan that will reassure them, we need to know what it is urgently.”

Make landlords exempt from Stamp Duty surcharge to ‘help breathe life into housing market’

Published On: May 5, 2020 at 8:29 am


Categories: Landlord News

Tags: ,,,,,,

Property management company Ringley believes that making buy-to-let landlords exempt from the Stamp Duty surcharge on second homes will help to kickstart the housing market post-coronavirus.

Mary-Anne Bowring, group managing director at Ringley, believes this could boost transactions and increase the supply of available rental properties at a time of growing demand.

The UK private rented sector has grown significantly in size in recent years, jumping from 2.8 million households in 2007 to 4.5 million in 2017, according to the Office for National Statistics. Ringley also highlights that Knight Frank has predicted nearly six million households– approximately a quarter of all households – will be privately renting by the end of 2021.

Despite this demand, the government has introduced regulations that make it more difficult to invest in the private rental sector. High Stamp Duty and reduced mortgage relief are a couple of examples. Now that COVID-19 has caused even more disruption and uncertainty, Mary-Anne warns there will be a spike in rental demand. Households are likely to put off major financial decisions, such as buying a home, and opt to rent for longer, underlining the need for more rental homes.

Mary-Anne of Ringley says the government should encourage BTL investors to return to the rental market to help meet the rising demand for rental homes and drive transaction levels. 

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors has called for a Stamp Duty holiday once lockdown restrictions are eased and a number of volume housebuilders have announced they intend to reopen construction sites.

Mary-Anne says in addition to short-term help such as a Stamp Duty holiday, the government should also consider long-lasting structural reforms that reflect changing housing needs.

Bowring comments: “A stamp duty holiday would no doubt cause a rush of transactions and help breathe life into a housing market that has been put into deep freeze in an effort to battle coronavirus. 

“The government should be looking at long-term solutions as well as short-term sticking plasters when it comes to fixing the UK housing market.

“Millions of Brits were already renting, and that number was predicted to grow anyway with or without coronavirus. The disruption caused by coronavirus will likely see rental demand grow, as banks squeeze potential buyers with tighter lending restrictions and people put off buying or selling a home as it becomes clearer COVID-19 will cause continued uncertainty and disruption in the medium term.

“Eliminating additional stamp duty for buy-to-let investors would help stimulate the supply of rental homes while also driving wider activity in the housing market. Landlords are a crucial source of development finance through off-plan sales and will help support getting Britain building again.”

Government confirms new steps to further reform building safety

Published On: April 6, 2020 at 8:23 am


Categories: Property News

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The government has confirmed that big changes will be made to building safety. New measures include mandatory sprinkle systems and consistent wayfinding signage. This will be in all new high-rise blocks of flats over 11 metres tall.

In his statement, Housing Secretary Rt Hon Robert Jenrick MP said: “The government is bringing about the biggest change in building safety for a generation.

“Today (2nd April 2020) we have made a major step towards this by publishing our response to the Building a Safer Future consultation. This new regime will put residents’ safety at its heart and follows the announcement of the unprecedented £1 billion fund for removing unsafe cladding from high-rise buildings in the Budget.

“Today we are also announcing that the housing industry is designing a website so lenders and leaseholders can access the information needed to proceed with sales and re-mortgaging, and the government stands ready to help to ensure this work is completed at pace.

“Building safety is a priority and the government is supporting industry in ensuring homes are safe at this difficult time.”

Mark Hayward, Chief Executive of NAEA Propertymark, comments: “Public safety is paramount, and we’re pleased the Government is introducing changes to ensure residents are kept safe. 

“The introduction of a website will allow lenders and leaseholders to access information in a timely manner, enable transactions to go through quicker, and help those who have been left unable to sell or remortgage their property to do so.

“Ultimately, these changes will help the housing market get back on its feet once we’ve moved through this period of uncertainty.”

Mary-Anne Bowring, managing director of property management specialist Ringley, comments: “Today’s (2nd April 2020) announcement shows the government is slowly but surely moving in the right direction. 

“The commitment to work with mortgage lenders is particularly welcome as while the housing market is in deep freeze now, with mortgage lenders pulling up the drawbridge and the Prime Minister urging people not to move unless absolutely necessary, this was a reality for many leaseholders before the Coronavirus crisis thanks to a lack of proper documentation about their cladding.

“The reality for the government is they need to be prepared to do more. As the Chancellor said they will do ‘whatever it takes’ to tackling the impact of the Coronavirus, they must have the same attitude to tackling fire safety, especially in residential buildings.”