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Pet-friendly rentals, anti-social behaviour proposals, London property market, and the latest house price index

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UK property news reveals a housing market that is still vibrant – if beginning to reflect the current downturn in the underlying economic climate.

Headlines focus on a pet-friendly rental housing scheme, proposals for ways in which landlords can deal with anti-social behaviour, the impact of spiralling interest rates on London property, a fall in interest rates on fixed-rate mortgages, and the latest house price index.

Let’s take a look behind those headlines.

“Pet-friendly” 100-unit Build to Rent scheme in Manchester launched

Housebuilders the Northern Group are to build 100 rental homes in The Quarters district of central Manchester and every tenant will have the right to keep a pet on the premises, according to Landlord Today on the 17th of November.

In an especially pet-friendly development, the scheme will dedicate the rooftop where dogs can socialise, there will be an introductory offer to a canine centre in New Islington, Manchester, and every new tenant will receive a dog bowl and bin.

According to a spokesman for the developers, three out of every four prospective tenants are already looking for just these kinds of facilities while half of all those currently granted a tenancy will be bringing a pet into the housing scheme.

Government accepts NRLA proposal on anti-social behaviour

In a press release on the 15th of November, the National Residential Landlords Association (NRLA) welcomed the apparent agreement by the government about its proposals for managing the anti-social behaviour of some tenants.

If the government proceeds with its planned abolition of Section 21 of the Housing Act – the provisions for so-called “no-fault” evictions – the NRLA wants to see serious discussions about alternative methods for managing the problem of landlords with anti-social tenants.

The NRLA has asked the government to arrange a meeting of the key stakeholders in managing the problem – stakeholders such as local authorities, the police, and other organisations, along with landlords and tenants themselves.

Soaring mortgage rates take the heat out of the London property market

London’s Evening Standard on the 16th of November carried a story explaining how the recent upsurge in mortgage borrowing rates is responsible for slowing down the capital’s property market.

Citing official figures from the Land Registry, the newspaper revealed that the average price of a home in the capital had fallen by 0.6% – to £544,113 – last month. This represents the biggest drop in average prices since July 2021.

As a result, September’s figures have reduced the annual increase in prices from 7.3% to 6.9%. But that still leaves a home in the capital only an average of £3,000 less than the record of £547,319 that was reached at the height of this summer.

What has prevented a major slump in average prices is the relative shortage in the supply of homes to buy and the rush among house hunters to buy before mortgage rates have climbed too steeply.

Interest on fixed-rate mortgage deals falls

The cost of fixed-rate mortgage borrowing is on the decline thanks to reductions by major lenders, according to a story by the online listings website Zoopla on the 11th of November.

Zoopla pointed out the recent reductions in fixed-rate mortgage deals offered by lenders the Royal Bank of Scotland and NatWest banks which have cut the rate on their fixed-rate deals by as much as 0.75%.

The country’s biggest building society Halifax has also reduced its fixed-rate deals by 0.24% and Barclays Bank has cut its rates by as much as 0.4%.

This leaves the typical two-year fixed-rate mortgage at an average rate of 6.35% – an overall reduction of 0.11% and five-year fixed-rate mortgages at an average of 6.12% (down by around 0.18%).

UK House Price Index for September 2022

In a statement on the 16th of November, HM Land Registry released its September house price index (HPI) for residential property in England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland.

The house price index maintained by the Land Registry suggests that there has been no change in average house prices across the whole of the UK since August this year. In the past 12 months, average prices have risen by 9.5% - taking the value of the average home to £294,559.

Looking at the HPI for England alone, there has again been no change since August while the annual increase in prices has registered an average of 9.6% – taking the average price of a home in England to £314,278.

The picture is slightly different for Wales, where average house prices have increased by 2% since August. Here the increase in average prices during the past 12 months has been 12.9% - with the price of a home in the Principality reaching an average of £223,798.