A rich seam of headlines is mined by recent UK property news outlets, with a focus on the housing market in seaside towns, the impact of a benefits freeze, an end to no-fault evictions and just what it is that buyers want from estate agents.
Let’s take a quick look behind those headlines.
Whitby votes to end second home ownership in North Yorkshire resort
Many local authorities have expressed concerns about second home ownership pricing locals out of the market, but Whitby town council may be the first to do anything about it, according to a story in the Mail Online on the 14th of June.
In an attempt to level the playing field for local homeowners, the council plans to implement a ban on outsiders buying newly-built property and building plots as second homes.
There is also a plan to charge second home owners double the going rate of council tax.
The plans were carried in a local poll by 2,111 votes in favour and just 157 against. While the poll carries no legal weight, the sentiment has been incorporated into the relevant planning objectives for the town.
Most expensive UK seaside towns named - where property is over £500k
If you want to live beside the seaside, your home will come at an average premium of £46,362 more than the equivalent home anywhere else. That is the conclusion of a story in the Express newspaper on the 16th of June.
It may come as no surprise that the most expensive of those coastal retreats are the towns of Salcombe and Padstow in Cornwall. In Salcombe, for instance, you are unlikely to find a home for anything less than £1 million while in Padstow the average price is currently £685,465 – both well above the national average.
Lymington, in Hampshire, Southwold, in Suffolk, and Fowey, in Cornwall, are also coastal towns where the average price of a home is more than double the national average.
Renters and landlords face perfect storm as benefit freeze bites
Housing benefit payments – which for many tenants are now incorporated into their Universal Credit allowance – are failing to keep up with the cost of the monthly rent, warned the National Residential Landlords Association (NRLA) on the 8th of June.
The NRLA referred to official figures on the total number of households in the private rented sector who receive a Local Housing Allowance. An estimated 820,000 (57%) of those households experience a shortfall between the benefits they receive and the rent they must pay.
There are regional differences, of course, in the percentage of tenants affected by such a gap in their financial means – ranging from some 41% in London to as high as 69% in Wales.
The NRLA notes that rents in the private sector are rising less quickly than the current rate of inflation. But it also observes that housing benefits will have risen by a mere 0.1% of GDP by 2025 – the smallest increase during the economic recessions that have occurred since the beginning of the 1980s.
Renting: No-fault evictions to be banned in England
As has been widely anticipated, the government’s intention to ban no-fault evictions in England is included in a White Paper related to the Renters’ Reform Bill currently before Parliament. The Bill will also prevent landlords from rejecting applications for tenancies solely on the basis that they are benefits claimants or have children.
No-fault evictions are already banned in Scotland for any tenancies that began after the 1st of December 2017, the Welsh Senedd has promised to extend the notice required before any no-fault eviction to six months, and similar legislation is currently before the Northern Ireland Assembly.
In its report on the 16th of June, the BBC confirmed the move for England – and it has been warmly welcomed by the housing charity Shelter.
Organisations representing the interests of landlords have urged the government to ensure that the proposals in the Renters’ Reform Bill do not make the current shortage of affordable housing any worse.
What buyers want from their homes and estate agents
It’s a question that might have foxed many people involved in any property transaction. What exactly does a buyer expect from the seller’s estate agent? An article by Estate Agent Today on the 16th of June suggested that the online listings website Zoopla may have found the answer.
A survey by Zoopla found that the speed with which a property transaction is completed is probably the biggest measure of a buyer’s satisfaction.
Where buyers described a transaction completed in 65 days or so as good or very good, when completion took as long as 138 days, buyers described the experience as poor.