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Rents stabilise, BTL regeneration hotspots, mis-sold leaseholds, UK’s most expensive villages, and more

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News output is fast catching up with the reawakened property market. New issues are revealed, and progress is made towards resolving favourite talking points.

Here is our collection of some of the latest property news.

Rents stabilise as market settles         

With a return to near-normal for the private rented sector, the market is behaving with greater predictability, according to Landlord Today recently.

The release of pent-up demand and a relative shortage of homes for rent have prompted average rent increases of around 2% during August, with landlords reporting noticeably fewer voids than at this time last year.

As to be expected, London, where average rents have hit more than £1,700 a month, and the South East of England – with an average of slightly more than £1,200 a month – are the most expensive places in the UK to rent.

Although the principality recorded average rent increases as high as 2% during August, Wales nevertheless remains the cheapest place in the UK to rent – with a current monthly average of £685.           

Best areas for BTL regeneration projects

Regeneration is invariably good news for hitherto rundown urban areas – and presents notable opportunities for property investors with a keen and visionary eye on the future.

Although those qualities may be harder to maintain at a time when it is difficult to run a fully profitable buy to let business, an article in Property Wire on the 3rd of September identified several hotspots currently in the throes of regeneration – and some are returning quite impressive rental yields.

On the Dundee Waterfront regeneration scheme, for example, apartments costing around £146,000 are fetching monthly rentals of £881 – a yield of 7.2%.

Liverpool Ten Streets came in at second place in the same poll, with average rental yields of 6.4% while both Tribeca Belfast and Destination Bootle regeneration schemes were the settings for yields of 6%.

“Bored” buyers lead to 20-month high in exchanges

Buyers who are by now thoroughly “bored” by the pandemic simply want to get on with their lives and have spurred a boom in property purchase completions, according to Estate Agent Today on the 7th of September.

As a measure of completed transactions, exchanges of contracts reached 69% higher than the five-year weekly average by August, explained the article.

Not only are completions gaining pace, but most sellers are also achieving their asking price – or obtaining it within a 10% margin.

Although the market is bouncing back, industry sources predict that the total number of completed transactions by the end of the year will be 15% down on the total for 2019.

Competition watchdog launches enforcement action over potential mis-selling of leasehold homes

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) intends to show its teeth in response to alleged mis-selling of leasehold homes, revealed Property Industry Eye on the 7th of September.

The CMA has singled out four major housebuilders – Taylor Wimpey, Persimmon Homes, Countryside Properties, and Barratt Developments – for unfair sales tactics, which included their failure to explain the terms of the associated ground rents and the availability and cost of alternative freehold purchases.

Some contract terms are also considered unfair in that they pave the way for unreasonably escalating ground rents, making subsequent sales of such property far more difficult.

The developers have promised to co-operate with the CMA’s investigation which comes soon after the Law Commission published its proposals for the reform of leasehold tenure – a move we reported in our news roundup on the 28th of August.

Explore the UK’s most expensive villages

On the heels of the recent pandemic, city-dwellers are keen to escape to the quintessentially quiet village life of rural England.

Unveiling some of the most sought-after village boltholes, online listings site Rightmove on the 1st of September revealed that your dream house in any picture-postcard village is unlikely to come cheap:

  • St George’s Hill: an idyllic corner of Surrey that is (just) within the M25 boundary once attracted John Lennon to its peaceful exclusivity – an exclusivity that could be yours if you can afford the average house price of £2,132,924;
  • Sandbanks, Dorset: dubbed Britain’s Palm Beach, this rather crowded strip of sand continues to attract the rich and famous – or, indeed, anyone who has the average £1,272,083 to buy a home;
  • Hale Barns: it’s Greater Manchester, but close to Altringham and the areas favoured by Premier League football players – since it’s one of the most desirable addresses in the North West, house prices currently average £1,080,365;
  • Scarcroft, Yorkshire: north or Leeds and south of Harrogate, the village of Scarcroft is every Yorkshireman’s idea of the perfect English village and houses here cost an average £820,416 – rather more affordable than the cousins further south, but a whole lot higher than the West Yorkshire average of £202,522;
  • Little Aston, West Midlands: a haven of peace and tranquillity that is just 10 miles north of the City of Birmingham, a village where the average property costs £820,415 – 17% more than this time last year.

A dream house in a typical English village might be everyone’s favourite move – though you’ll need to have a healthy bank balance to afford the prices.