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Rent increases easing, house asking prices up, record house prices for Wales, tackling anti-social behaviour, and energy cost savings

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UK property news headlines reflect what seems to be a general easing of the recent surge in both rents and house prices. Although there are signs that rents are increasing less steeply, they continue to rise – as do average house prices.

Meanwhile, proposed reforms of the private rental sector are expected to tackle the problems of anti-social behaviour. And save on your energy costs by buying a new-build home.

New data: Rental growth rising as supply shortage starts to ease

On the 18th of July, Landlord Today reported what appear to be signs of an easing in the recent upward surge in rent levels. Although they continue to rise, the growth is beginning to slow down as an increase in the supply of available dwellings to rent picks up.

In the 12 months to the end of June, average rents across the UK rose by 8.8% - a reduction in the annual growth of 11.5% recorded at the end of May. Increases in rent levels have been their strongest in London – but even here they are still significantly below the levels recorded immediately before the pandemic.

One of the reasons for the easing in the growth of rent levels is the gradual increase in the supply of dwellings for rent – a growth of some 10% in the number of homes compared with this time last year.

UK house asking prices rise again, prompting brighter outlook

UK house prices rose for the sixth month in a row reported the American news outlet Bloomberg on the 17th of July.

Asking prices continue to rise steadily, with those for June some 0.4% higher than the month before which were in their turn 0.3% higher than the month before that. The increase in the price of a home in the UK has now taken the average to £369,968 – 26% higher than the same month in 2019.

Overall, prices are expected to have risen by 7% come year’s end – with the continued relative shortage of homes for sale restricting supply and preventing any falling off in the rate of growth.

House prices: Wales average reaches highest-ever figure

The performance of the housing market in Wales was little short of “bonkers” according to an estate agent interviewed by the BBC on the 18th of July.

House prices in the principality rose by some 11.5% during the second quarter of this year compared to the same period the year before – taking the average price of a home there to an all-time record of £240,000.

In some parts of the principality, prices grew even more steeply, with those in Blaenau Gwent, for example, soaring by 20.6%.

A deep dive on anti-social behaviour

With a battle for the leadership of the Conservative Party in full swing, major policy initiatives such as the Renters’ Reform Bill are inevitably delayed, suggested the National Residential Landlords Association (NRLA) on the 15th of July.

While the delay may be inevitable, the NRLA expects reforms to proceed and remains especially concerned about the potential impact of abandoning the so-called “no-fault” evictions of Section 21 of the current Housing Act may have on managing any anti-social behaviour by some tenants.

The NRLA argues that a Section 21 eviction is currently the most effective and speedy way a landlord can tackle anti-social behaviour so as to manage the problem before it grows out of hand. Indeed, an estimated 33% of all repossessions are made because of a landlord’s concern about tenants’ anti-social behaviour.

If Section 21 is repealed, the NRLA insists that landlords must have confidence in any measures that replace it.

High energy costs could equate to £5,000 savings if you buy a new-build

If you are looking to save money on your energy bills, make sure to buy a newly built home rather than an older one. That is the message from research conducted by estate agents Savills and reported by the Buy Association on the 13th of July.

Savills concluded that the owner of the average new-build home could save £4,900 over the following five years compared to the energy costs of a neighbour living in an older home.

The reasoning is not difficult to follow. Because they are built to modern standards and more exacting building regulations, new homes are invariably more energy efficient than older dwellings. The potential for achieving savings in energy expenditure for the home is already having an impact on the respective valuation of such properties.

Those savings take on a still greater attraction, of course, when energy prices are rising – prices rose by between 54% and 96% in April of this year compared with the same month in 2021 and are likely to rise again when the energy price cap is revised upwards in October.

Savills’ research suggests that you could save an average of 55% - almost £1,000 – a year on your energy costs in a new-build home.