UK property news – what’s hot? Let’s lift the curtain and look behind some of the latest headlines.
There’s a mixed bag of media stories to grab the attention of owner-occupiers, landlords, and tenants alike. Average house prices continue to fall, and many tenants are struggling to pay the rent. Incomes from commercial rents have also taken a dive. Here is a quick recap …
Many tenants struggle to the pay rent – claim
Rising rents leave many tenants struggling to keep up claimed a story in Landlord Today on the 11th of April.
Citing a recent survey by the Deposit Protection Service, the article claimed that:
- more than half (51%) of the tenants it asked are worried about meeting the demand for rent
- around a third of those tenants have faced rent increases in the past year
- 27% said they now had to pay more than an additional quarter in the value of rent paid a year ago.
The study also revealed that nearly two-thirds (64%) of the tenants surveyed said they’d had to take financial losses just to meet the new rents demanded. Of those moving into a new let, 62% said they are facing a significantly higher rent than they had anticipated.
Almost a third (30%) of those taking up new tenancies said they’d had to take on additional work or even another job to earn enough to pay the rent.
House prices record seventh consecutive monthly decline in March
The Nationwide building society has published its house price index for March.
This revealed that – for the seventh month in a row – average house prices continued to fall. Prices fell by 0.8% in March – after a month in which they had already fallen by 0.3%.
The result is that, in the 12 months ending in March, average house prices have fallen by an annual 3.1% - the biggest drop in prices since the summer of 2009.
Every region of the UK recorded a decline in the rate of growth of prices, with the majority experiencing a decline from one year to another.
House prices remained firmest in the West Midlands; they proved the weakest north of the border in Scotland.
UK commercial rent collection dips for first time in two years
After encouraging signs that commercial rents had begun their recovery post-Covid, a story in the Financial Times on the 9th of April suggested that the picture is not quite so rosy.
Returns on commercial rents fell during the first quarter of this year – dispelling an earlier air of optimism. This was the first time in two years that rents in the commercial sector have taken such a hit.
Roughly 63% of commercial rents due in the second quarter of this year had been collected by landlords by the end of March. This compares unfavourably with the 67% and 69% of rents collected by the same date in the previous two years.
The decline in rental returns comes at a time when rising rates of borrowing and the turmoil spreading through the banking systems of Europe and the United States have already depressed the valuation of commercial properties.
The areas where properties sell the fastest
A story in the Mail Online on the 6th of April brought good news for homeowners looking for a quick sale of their property.
The newspaper listed those hotspots around the country where homes are selling the fastest. In the most active areas, buyers can be found within as short a time as just 22 days, for instance – although the nationwide average is 55 days in which to attract a buyer and a further 165 days to complete the transaction.
In a ranking of places where buyers are found quickly, towns and cities in Scotland stole seven of the top ten places. Homes in London take the longest in which to attract a buyer.
In some areas, it is taking longer to find a buyer than it did a year ago. These include locations a short distance from the coast – such as Heysham in Lancashire, Ferndown in Dorset, and Brixham in Devon.
By contrast, in some of the popular commuter belts, homes are selling more quickly – notably, Cowley near Oxford, Knaphill in Surrey, and Windsor in Berkshire.
UK housing market conditions exceed expectations
A story in Property Industry Eye on the 5th of April illustrated an unexpected surge in speed with which buyers are completing the purchase of their homes.
Overall, the housing market is weak. Prices are falling. Sellers are having to reduce the asking price. But – in a surprising trend – buyers are nevertheless completing their purchases faster than ever.
This could be a function of recent reductions in mortgage borrowing rates and the continued strength of the labour market. Although overall demand is lower than it was this time last year, it has climbed higher than at any time since last October.