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Right to Build review, BTL exodus, Government schemes for homebuyers on a budget, and rural property hotspots

Male Realtor Looking At House Details In Property 26NJK8R

Life goes on as one wave of the coronavirus begins to wane as another takes off. In a determination to return to at least something approaching normality, the property market does it rounds. Here are some of the latest snippets of news from the world of property …

Government to review Right to Build legislation

New legislation will be aimed at giving greater freedom to those who want to get on the housing ladder by building their own home, disclosed a report in Property Wire earlier this week.

The proposed legislation would require local authorities to keep a register of all those interested in designing and building their own home in the area. Councils should then make enough land available and grant sufficient planning permission to meet the demand for building revealed by the register. The data on self-builds collected by councils would be published annually so that government can monitor how well such schemes are working.

Currently, some 15,000 self-build homes are completed each year – a figure which has grown by 50% in the past two years alone. This illustrates the growing popularity of building a better and more beautiful home than might otherwise be available, said the National Custom & Self Build Association (NaCSBA).

BTL exodus as more landlords sell-up

The exodus of landlords from the buy to let market continues apace, revealed a report in Landlord Today recently.

The article cites figures released by the Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA) which show a significant increase in the proportion of its members selling buy to let property they own. Whereas that proportion was previously an average of four landlord members each month, the proportion has now risen to five members a month.

These alarming figures seem to confirm the trend on which we commented back in March of this year, when we reported that more than 222,500 landlords had been lost to the private rented sector in the previous three years.

Recent investigations by ARLA have also revealed that landlords have been fewer in number and slower to increase rents than at the same time last year.

Home buyers on a budget make their money go further with Government schemes

An article in Homes & Property on the 30th of October described how homebuyers can double their chances of owning their home by taking advantage of two sources of help from the public purse by:

  • the stamp duty holiday – which runs until the end of next year – means that homebuyers can avoid paying stamp duty altogether, and save up to £15,000, on the purchase of a home valued at less than £500,000; and
  • arranging an equity loan of up to 20% of a newly-built home (40% in London) under the government’s Help to Buy scheme – and paying no interest on that loan for the first five years after moving in. Buyers only have to find a minimum deposit of 5% of the purchase price – bringing within their grasp, once the government’s equity loan is also taken into account – the availability of a mortgage for the balance. (This scheme is available in England and Wales only).

The top ten rural hotspots where buyers are flocking to

Lockdowns during the current pandemic have fuelled an exodus of homeowners from the city to relatively uncrowded and certainly more spacious locations out of town. Providing some interesting detail about this trend, online listings site Zoopla on the 26th of October, offered the top ten rural hotspots to which buyers appear to be drawn:

  1. Ryedale, in North Yorkshire emerged as the most popular rural hotspot in Zoopla’s survey, with house sales leaping by 63% during the past 12 months;
  2. the quiet backwaters of Herefordshire along the Welsh border country came in at number 2, with a 46% jump in sales;
  3. an ever-popular destination in the so-called “garden of England”, Sevenoaks in the county of Kent, registered a 44% increase in transactions;
  4. the High Peak area of the Peak District National Park, in Derbyshire, attracted 38% more buyers;
  5. the warm, honey-coloured stone buildings of the Cotswolds saw a 37% increase in homebuyers;
  6. the gentle valleys of North Devon registered a 31% increase in home purchases;
  7. the clement climate, low rainfall, sunny summers, of Breckland and its neighbouring Thetford Forest, in Norfolk, won over 27% more buyers than usual;
  8. another hit for the Welsh border country came in the shape of a 26% increase in home sales in the Malvern Hills;
  9. the sunny Isle of Wight in central southern England scored a 25% increase; and

homes in Horsham, just to the north of the South Downs in Sussex, attracted 25% more buyer