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Record HMO licensing scheme, UK house prices, added value to your home, and other property news

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The buoyant state of the UK property market ensured that there were headlines for everyone in the last few days – from homeowners to landlords, and from tenants to those looking to get that crucial first step on the housing ladder.

Here are just a few of the latest property news stories that seemed to stand out.

£700+ fee for UK’s largest-ever HMO licensing scheme

Westminster City Council has adopted the country’s largest-ever HMO licensing scheme, revealed a report by Landlord Today on the 2nd of September.

The London borough’s HMO scheme incorporates more than 9,000 HMOs of all sizes across this central part of the capital. Moreover, in order to participate in the scheme, landlords of regular HMOs – of just three or more tenants – will also require the local authority’s operating licence and not just the large HMOs of more than five tenants.

A further record-breaking aspect of the scheme is the high cost of entry. An initial application fee of £705 is charged for landlords interested in participating in the scheme, with a further £270 payable once that application is approved. Applicants prepared to pay both parts of the fee at the same time are eligible for a discounted price of £795 for the two.

UK house price rises accelerate

Despite the end of the principal savings available from the recent Stamp Duty holiday, August saw yet further increases in average house prices in the UK, reported the BBC on the 1st of September.

With the average price of a house now standing at £248,857, this represents an 11% increase in the year to the end of August and a 13% increase on prices pre-pandemic.

Comparing August with July, average prices increased by 2.1% in one month alone – the second-highest rate of growth in some 15 years.

The remnants of the Stamp Duty holiday remain in place for homes costing less than £250,000 – and this seems likely to continue to fuel purchases in that price bracket until the end of September when normal rates of Stamp Duty on all purchases of homes for more than £125,000 come into effect.

How to add £40k to your home’s value

In an article on the 2nd of September, Property Wire offered several tips and suggestions for those planning to sell their home – and add a total of £40,000 to the asking price:

The devil’s in the detail

  • a lot of your work – which could raise a combined total of more than £18,000 on the value of your home – is likely to lie in your attention to details;
  • one of the simplest fixes is to fill in all the cracks that might have opened up across internal walls and around window frames;

A la mode

  • a lick of paint and a spot of decorating is always likely to lift the appearance of your home – just make sure that the styles and colours you use are those most fashionable at the time;

The garden

  • many buyers are likely to have made access to a garden or other outside space a priority – so make sure you are showing yours off to its fullest advantage;
  • mow the lawn and weed the flower beds and you could add a further 5% to the asking price for your home;

Clean and tidy

  • first impressions of a clean and tidy home probably count for more than you imagined, with 61% of house hunters saying they would lower their initial bid on a property if it was less than clean or in disarray when they viewed it.

Government to spend £8.6bn on 119,000 affordable homes

A government initiative, worth £8.6 billion, is expected to pay for the development of up to 119,000 more affordable homes, according to a report by online listings website Zoopla on the 31st of August.

The majority of the new homes – 57,000 of them – will be for purchase, a further 29,600 will be for social rent, and 6,250 have been specifically designated as affordable homes in rural areas.

The initiative is part of the government’s Affordable Housing Programme, which was established for the creation of up to a total of 180,000 new affordable homes.

The 5 places in Surrey everyone is desperate to move to

Ever one of the most sought-after locations, the Home County of Surrey has seen an upsurge of renewed interest from house hunters, according to a story in Surrey Live on the 30th of August.

The report identified the 5 hotspots revealed by the increase in searches recorded since this time last year:

  • Onslow Village, Guildford: searches have increased by 43%;
  • South Nutfield, Redhill: 26%;
  • Deepcut, Camberley: 22%;
  • South Godstone, Godstone: 17%; and
  • Hambledon, Godalming: 14%.

The county has seen increases in property transactions across the board during April and June – from the £7.4 million paid for a luxurious home in Virginia Water to £67,800 paid for a flat in Horley.