It’s all systems go on the property front and some of the latest developments are making the news – here is a brief selection of some of the headlines.
Young investors taking advantage of stamp duty holiday
The recently announced stamp duty holiday has been a particular attraction for younger investors.
An article in Property Wire on the 20th of August revealed that 43% of investors between the ages of 18 and 34 plan to add to their property portfolios thanks to the stamp duty savings that can be made on the purchase of houses under £500,000 before the holiday ends next March.
The 43% falls to a more modest 24% when all property investors are taken into account.
The surge in property investments comes at a time when it is reported that more than half (54%) of those surveyed said they had lost faith in PM Boris Johnson’s handling of the pandemic and the failure to provide adequate financial support for failing businesses.
Top universities for buy-to-let revealed
Although the nature of the tuition offered by universities and colleges has undergone significant changes, many landlords are gearing up for the start of the new academic year and the return of students in search of private rented accommodation reported Landlord Today on the 18th of August.
The article revealed that rental yields in university cities in Scotland are likely to be especially welcomed by landlords:
- Dundee is the leading hotspot, with average yields in some parts of the city of 7.2%;
- areas around the University of Aberdeen are currently achieving 6.8%; and
- the University of Strathclyde generates rental yields of 6.6% in some parts of the city.
Outside of Scotland, the University of Leicester is the best-performing English city, where some postcodes are returning yields of 6.6%.
Proposed reforms will give greater control to leaseholders
Hope is on the horizon for beleaguered leasehold property homeowners thanks to a report by the Law Commission on the 1st of July.
The Law Commission has proposed a package of reforms to make life easier for the estimated 4.3 million existing leaseholders and the creation of a new system in which leasehold tenure is replaced by the more widespread use of commonhold (the indefinite freehold tenure of a single unit within a multiple-occupancy building).
The Commission’s three main proposals are:
- the more widespread use of commonhold for new flats – and easier conversion of existing leaseholds to freehold;
- simpler and cheaper extensions of existing leaseholds; and
- greater encouragement of collective management – through the Right to Manage, for example.
We spoke about the many issues and problems faced by leaseholders in an article published on the 4th of July 2019.
The latest house price index figures
Building Society Nationwide has published a commentary on the official House Price Index for July.
The annual increase in house prices to July 2020 registered 1.5%, with a 1.7% increase in July from the previous month – which itself reverses a -1.6% decline in June 2020.
During the past year, therefore, average house prices have risen from £216,403 in June last year to the present £220,936.
Such a positive bounce-back was largely unexpected, comments Nationwide, and maybe down to several factors:
- pent up demand has been released with the lifting of the recent lockdown;
- homeowners are rethinking their housing needs in the light of their experiences during the lockdown;
- social distancing habits may have taken root, but do not seem to have had such a dampening effect on the housing market as might have been expected; and
- the stamp duty holiday recently announced by the Chancellor and in place until next March is also stimulating a certain level of renewed activity.
For all the positive signs, however, the building society also warns against seeing too much of a false dawn.
Feng shui, Lagom, and Hygge: Tweaking your home's energy for better wellbeing
The pandemic has prompted many firms to encourage employees’ working from home and on the 14th of August, Property Reporter carried some tips and suggestions about improving your wellbeing while doing just that.
An organised, well-lit, and relaxing workspace may increase your productivity while nurturing your wellbeing through features of interior design that draw on:
- the ancient Eastern concept of feng shui recognises and respects the natural energy that surrounds us and breathes life into people, animals, and plant life;
- maintaining an uncluttered order in your home, with clear sightlines, furniture you can move around, and sensitive use of colour may all encourage positive feng shui;
- the Danish concept of hygge has enjoyed something of a viral moment recently;
- key features for the atmosphere you want to create in your home include candlelit cosiness, a warm welcome for guests, the use of natural fibres and textures – all to maximise that sense of wellbeing;
- another leaf taken from the Scandinavian book is that of lagom – not too much, not too little, but just right;
- keep things simple, let in natural light, think practically, and decorate your home with plants and flowers.
Whatever the word, whatever your particular style, that consciousness of wellbeing needs to spread throughout your home.