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Rents up by 11%, co-habiting homeowners, landlords incorporate, “steady” housing market, hotspot villages

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It’s hardly surprising that the state of the underlying economy forms the backdrop for practically all of this week’s headlines on UK property news.

Here we sum up some of the latest property news stories …

Average rent climbs to £1,162 - up 11% in a year 

The cost of renting in the UK has reached a record high, according to a story in the financial pages of the Daily Mail on the 22nd of October.

The newspaper revealed that – setting aside the capital – average rents in the UK are now £1,162 a month, after what has been an 11% increase in the space of just the past 12 months alone.

Rents in London have grown even faster at 16.1%, producing typical rents in the metropolis of £2,343 – a figure that has risen by 3.8% in the past quarter.

Despite an estimated increase of 9% in the number of rental properties available outside of London, demand has grown at an even greater rate – some 20% in the past year. That imbalance between supply and demand has, of course, contributed significantly to the sharp increase in levels of rent.

The escalating cost of renting can only add to the woes of tenants who are already struggling to keep their heads above the waters of rising inflation and the general cost of living – with a typical basket of food now costing some 14.6% more than at this time last year.

Over a third of Brits who split with a partner they owned a home with are forced to live them afterwards 

Online listings website Zoopla has shone the light on difficulties experienced by couples who have split up yet still have to share a home together.

In a recent news story, Zoopla revealed that one in eight of those couples who had broken up still had to share a bedroom with their former partner. 15% had already started a new relationship, in which the new boyfriend or girlfriend stayed overnight at the couple’s home.

13% of those interviewed were standing their ground and refusing to move out of the home they once shared – although one in five had saved a special “escape fund” specifically for the event that the relationship ended in breaking up.

More than four out of ten of those married couples interviewed said that it was more complicated and took longer to extricate themselves from a joint mortgage than it did to finalise their divorce.

Buy To Let incorporations soar - until Corporation Tax rise

Some landlords may be racing to beat the planned increase of Corporation Tax next April to 25%, suggests a story in Landlord Today on the 26th of October.

The private rented sector has seen a steady conversion of landlords’ buy to let businesses from privately-owned enterprises to incorporated, public liability companies. A principal spur has been the potential savings on the cost of Corporation Tax compared with an individual’s income tax.

As a result, an estimated 300,000 or more incorporations have been made in the past five years. With Corporation Tax now set to rise to 25% and buy to let mortgages – along with all other forms of borrowing – steadily attracting ever-higher rates of interest, landlords may be expected to row back on their enthusiasm to incorporate in the new tax year.

UK housing market remains ‘steady’ despite economic uncertainty

For all the economic uncertainty that has accompanied the political turbulence of recent weeks, Property Industry Eye on the 24th of October reported that the UK housing market appears to be relatively stable.

Official statistics reveal a 37% drop in the number of residential property transactions in the 12 months to September. The total was 103,930. However, this decline can be explained by the rush in the first three quarters of 2021 to complete a house purchase before the end of the Stamp Duty holiday that finally expired in September 2021.

A more realistic comparison, therefore, is with the more normal market conditions of 2019 when the total number of completed transactions was 99,570. On that basis, this year’s activity is 3.9% higher than the comparable period in 2019.

The 20 British villages defying the property market with constant house price rises

The Edinburgh Evening News on the 22nd of October listed the 20 village hotspots across the UK where average house prices have risen steadily in every one of the last 20 years.

Two decades of increasing prices threw up some interesting examples, with the villages of Warkworth in Northumberland, Woodhouse Eaves and Woodhouse in  Leicestershire, and Southrop in Gloucestershire stealing the top three places in the rankings for the biggest and most consistent price increases. Between 2001 and 2021, average prices in these three villages have risen at rates between 233% and 319.5%.

Even at the lower end of this impressive top 20, villages such as Little Chart and Little Chart Forstal in Kent, Finstock near Oxford, and Lacock in Wiltshire still managed price rises of between 397% and 140%.