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Friday 31 October 2014

"The market's lost momentum" says Nationwide

Annual UK-wide house price inflation is still running at nine per cent but that figure is down 0.4 per cent and shows the market “has lost momentum” according to the Nationwide.
Average prices actually rose 0.5 per cent through October according to the building society but the underlying trend is for a softening in prices and activity.

“A variety of indicators suggest that the market has lost momentum. The number of mortgages approved for house purchase in September was almost 20 per cent below the level prevailing at the start of the year. Some forward looking indicators, such as new buyer enquiries, suggest that activity may soften further in the near term, especially in London” warns Nationwide’s chief economist, Robert Gardner.

The society warns that the majority of mortgages held on residential properties - around 60 per cent - is now on variable interest rates. This is a marked shift from the pre-crisis period where the proportion of mortgages on variable rates was 38 per cent. 

And even those mortgages which are fixed are, in many cases, fixed only for relatively short time periods - 62 per cent are for two years and around 30 per cent for five years.

This means the market may be susceptible to interest rate rises, when they come, and this may in turn act as a deterrent to house moving for existing owners or the decisions of first time buyers to commit to purchase.

“Nevertheless, the market should be able to cope with higher interest rates, provided the increase is gradual and the economy and the labour market remain in good shape” suggests Gardner. 

Guidance from the Bank of England suggests that the increase in interest rates is likely to be gradual, and that they are expected to settle at a level somewhat below the average prevailing before the financial crisis, which should help ensure borrowing costs remain manageable, he says.

Thursday 30 October 2014

Nice 1 bed in Portswood which could yield close to 7% - tempting

This top floor split level 1 bed duplex flat that is conveniently situated in Portswood and could service both Southampton Universaties.It will also be attractive to the professional market and will attract a large tenant pool.The property is bright and spacious and in good order with the added benefit of parking. It will rent at £625pcm which will give a Gross Yield of 6.25%, but it has been on the market since July and given current market conditions an initial yield of closer to 7% could be achievable.

Do Southampton students feel powerless against their landlords?

As scores of students begin university this month a new report reveals that 1.7 million students (74%) have experienced problems with their accommodation or utility suppliers.
Ombudsman Services, one of the three mandatory ombudsman schemes regulating lettings agents, says many students admit not knowing where to turn to for help should they have a complaint or become involved in a dispute with a landlord or utilities provider.
Of the 1.7million students experiencing problems, accommodation related issues top the list with 60% of students encountering a housing-related complaint.
Damp, faulty fridges, broken boilers, leakages and vermin top the list of gripes – yet half of affected students were forced to complain several times to their landlord before any action was taken. More worryingly, 5% of students reported that their landlord had become threatening or abusive in response to a complaint and a third struggle to make contact with their landlord.
Meanwhile, taking out utility contracts can also be confusing to the uninitiated with almost a third (31%) of students experiencing problems with their telecoms supplier. Half of students experiencing telecoms issues battle with poor coverage, while a further quarter (26%) are affected by slow broadband connection speeds, despite internet access being crucial to their studies.
And things don’t get much better when it comes to the basics like heating and hot water as a quarter of students report experiencing problems with their energy supplier. Billing discrepancies are the cause of most disputes – and almost one in 10 (8%) students have had to pay bills owed by a previous tenant. While an alternative option of having bills included in the rent is available for many student digs, that doesn’t appear to be problem-free either as almost one in 20 students have never seen a breakdown of the bills.
As a result, more than a quarter (27%) of students, who often have little experience of entering long-term contracts, are left feeling powerless against their landlord. Living independently for the first time, and being unaware of their rights, can potentially leave students vulnerable to living in undesirable conditions – and in some cases paying more than necessary.
Chief Ombudsman Lewis Shand Smith said: “Starting university is an exciting milestone in every student’s life and for many it also means living away from home for the first time. While flying the nest has many attractions it can also be a daunting time and sadly this can result in some students having to deal with situations they may be unaccustomed to.
“As a student, the last thing you want is to become involved in a dispute over the very basics, such as having somewhere to live and access to broadband and heating. Far from being powerless, being a student doesn’t mean having to put up with poor quality accommodation, slow broadband connection speeds or shoddy customer service.
“With many students unaware of their rights or where to seek help and advice, we’re releasing a guide containing everything students need to know to prepare for a smooth transition into life away from home.”
To make life easier for students heading off to university, Ombudsman Services has released its Know Your Rights Guide containing tips and advice as well as a directory of who to contact for help.

Is Southampton City Council as tough on HMO Landlords as Cambridge City Council?

A landlord was successfully prosecuted this week for renting out an unsafe property in Cambridge, the second successful prosecution by Cambridge City Council within the past two weeks.
Maggior Coppola, described as ‘unscrupulous’, had repeatedly refused to repair a property at risk of fire damage .
He was ordered to pay a £10,000 fine after admitting that he had failed to comply with an improvement notice and pleading guilty to four offences under the 2004 Housing Act, as well as a further offence under the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976. He was also ordered to pay full costs of £2,500.
Cambridge City Council’s environmental health officers carried out inspections of the house, which was used for multiple occupancy, and found it was unsafe due to the risk of fire and smoke spreading throughout the property.
Although Coppola was given time to undertake the required maintenance and upgrades, he did not, and was served with an improvement notice requiring him to complete the works by October 2013.
When he failed to comply and persisted in renting out the unsafe property a prosecution was commenced.
Cllr Kevin Price, executive councillor for housing at Cambridge City Council, said: “We want to see all families living in safe and decent accommodation. While the majority of landlords are responsible, there is no place in Cambridge for rogue and unscrupulous landlords.
Two weeks ago, landlord Khalid Malik pleaded guilty to 46 charges relating to four properties in Cambridge, and was fined £30,000.

Tuesday 28 October 2014

Is this the cheapest Southampton City buy 2 let unit at £60,000?

Conveniently located within walking distance to Portswood high street with an array of local shops and restaurants lies this first floor studio apartment. The property would be ideal for students as it is within walking distance of both Southampton and Solent Universities but would also suit young professionals as it is close to the city centre and all bus routes. You will have a good tenant pool to select from, Currently let at £425pcm it shows a Gross Yield of 8.5%. 
One to get you on the Buy 2 Let ladder!

House prices fall accross England how has Southampton fared?

Clouds over houses
Prices have fallen 2.2pc in Yorkshire & Humberside, the Land Registry reports. Photo: Getty Images
Property prices in England fell 0.2pc from August to September as prospective homeowners struggle to access finance. The biggest drop was seen in Yorkshire & Humberside, where monthly prices were down 2.2pc. Further declines were seen in the West Midlands (-1.3pc), followed by a 0.8pc fall in the East Midlands and a 0.7pc drop in London, according to the Government's Land Registry. The only regions to escape house price falls were the East, the South West and Wales. September data from the Land Registry - considered to compile the most accurate house price index based on sale values - showed an annual price increase of 7.2pc, taking the average property in England and Wales to £177,299.

However the monthly fall of 0.2pc echoes a raft of other indicies released last month.
Data from Hometrack and the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors both showed the housing market finally cooling.
This correction follows a year in which values and transactions were buoyed by pent up demand, flowing credit and the Government's Help to Buy scheme.
"This is a big monthly fall for Yorkshire & Humberside which has not seen the same profit as the south of the country and therefore this drop is not easily digestible," said Henry Pryor, private property buyer.
A lack of access to finance following a six month spell of regulatory pressure on lenders and buyers alike has dampened house prices, he explained.
The Mortgage Market Review was introduced in April, enforcing future interest rate stress testing, with reports of three-hour long mortgage application meetings and limited finance for contractors, freelancers and entrepreneurs.
These new, strict rules were followed up Mark Carney's policy to cap high low to value mortgages, which came into play the end of June. However, there are signs this October that the criteria is loosening again (although this will not show in the Land Registry data.)
Talk of interest rate rises and uncertainty ahead of next year's general election, is also having a dampening affect on the housing market as a whole.
London and the South East
The average house price in London increased 20pc in the year to August, according to the Land Registry, with luxury property in the capital's core now deemed the most expensive in the world by square footage.
However, the annual pace of growth in the mainstream market then dropped back to 18.4pc in the 12 months to September, with the monthly rate showing a 0.7pc fall to £460,521.
"These figures show there is still a disconnect between the sellers' and estate agent asking prices and they have to get with the programme. Even those who are bullish about the central London housing market have had to admit a drop in transactions over the last six to eight weeks," Mr Pryor said.

Should Southampton landlords use their pension pots to invest in buy 2 let?

Thursday 23 October 2014

Southampton Landlords please make sure your letting agent has signed up to a redress scheme

The head of one of the three mandatory redress schemes in the rental sector insists that, contrary to suggestions from some in the industry, “a significant proportion” of letting agents have yet to join.
Sean Hooker, property ombudsman at the Property Redress Scheme – one of the mandatory schemes alongside The Property Ombudsman and Ombudsman Services – says confusion over how many agents have signed up to one or other of the schemes is down to a continuing lack of clarity over who is regarded as an ‘agent’.

“The reason for this discrepancy is that the new law has widened the definition of agent and therefore a large number of different and legitimate models of agency are now encapsulated in this legislation,” Hooker told Landlord Today’s sister site Letting Agent Today.

For this reason, Hooker says, it may be unwise to regulate for mandatory client money protection, although he personally supports it.

“A good example is the growing Rent-to-Rent market, that I believe is captured by this law. We have a complex letting industry. Until we fully understand it, the risk is that regulation will be too simplistic and could end up toothless and without credibility,” he warned.

“We should as an industry line up our ducks and build the tool kit for a safe and professional industry. Redress is a vital component of the equation so shout this from the roof tops and make sure it is an unqualified success,” he insisted.

Hooker also said the perceived lack of public awareness of the new redress regime was surprising given then there has been a decade of redress options available to landlords and tenants with problems, even though they have only just become mandatory.

Some agents, too, were unaware, admits Hooker. “A large number of agents were also totally in the dark as one nameless individual demonstrated when they rang us to ask what this ‘omnibus’ scheme all about...”

Wednesday 22 October 2014

Interesting Southampton Investing opportunity!

The freehold garage property is be sold with vacant possession by auction at the end of the month. It is surrounded by predominantly residential properties and can be found just off Shirley Road. A good supply of local amenities can be found nearby, with Shirley High Street a short distance away and Southampton city centre about a mile away. This could make a great residential site subject to planning permission with a great option to build and hold the units as a long term investment. 1 beds in the area let for £600 and 2 beds £800 - we can help with appraisals, contractors and consultants if required.

Southampton Landlords celebrate 18th birthday of Buy-to-let

The year 1996 was the year that John Major was in power, a little known band called the Spice Girls stormed the charts and just 4% of the UK population had access to something called the internet. It was also the year that buy-to-let was born.
ARLA and a small select panel of lenders including Paragon Mortgages, were instrumental in recognising the growing demand from private landlords for specifically tailored mortgage finance to help meet the rapidly growing demand for private rented property.
Over the past 18 years the buy-to-let market has developed considerably, supporting growth in the UK’s Private Rented Sector (PRS) whilst driving up quality and improving choice and competition. Today the PRS is the second largest housing tenure in the UK – over taking the social housing sector for the first time since 1961 in 2012/2013.
In 1996 there were 2.4 million households in the PRS – 18 years later this has more than doubled to 4.9 million. At the same time the sector has seen the fastest rate of improvement in the quality of accommodation of all three major tenures, and tenant satisfaction in the PRS now exceeds those in the social rented sector.
The profile of tenants living in the PRS has also changed since 1996, with more families living in private rented homes. In 1996, 13% of tenants living in the PRS were families – this has now increased to 20%.
John Heron, managing director of Paragon Mortgages, said: “The buy-to-let market has been a force for good for the wider UK housing market. Before the development of buy-to-let landlords had few options when considering how best to finance a rented property. The finance that was available was expensive and poorly matched to the customer’s needs. It was particularly difficult for new landlords to start to build a portfolio.
“Buy-to-let has changed all this. It enabled landlords to access finance that was better designed to meet the specific needs of the rental market at much more competitive interest rates and thus helped expand quality and choice in the PRS.

Saturday 18 October 2014

Nice studio unit at under £90k close to Southampton Uni yielding 6.3%

Very well located in the centre of Highfiled within a very short walk of Southampton Uni. It is a good size and benefits from off street parking. Asking £90k and let at £475pcm. Will let year in year out to post grads.

Friday 17 October 2014

Southampton HMO landlords take note a London based Landlord was fined £30k for letting out a freezing home

An unlicensed landlord whose tenants suffered a freezing winter with no heating or hot water has been ordered to pay more than £30,000 following a council prosecution.
Royston Cooper failed to license a house in Talgarth Road, Hammersmith, which he rented to five architectural students despite it having a broken boiler and a shared toilet that leaked waste.
When Cooper ignored their pleas to fix the boiler, the students complained to H&F Council’s private housing and health service, which investigated and took action at the start of this year.
Officers recognised the tenants were at risk of immediate harm and arranged for a new boiler to be installed and the toilet to be fixed while taking action against the landlord, who had broken the law by failing to license the property as a house in multiple occupation (HMO).
At Hammersmith Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday 7 October, the council’s lawyer argued that a hefty fine was needed to reflect the physical and mental hardship endured by the five tenants, who were left without heating or hot water for four weeks.
Cooper, 47, of Billingshurst in West Sussex, did not appear and was found guilty of four offences under the Housing Act. He was fined £15,000 for failing to license the house as an HMO, £5,000 for failing to maintain the boiler, a further £5,000 for not fixing a leaking soil pipe in the toilet, and another £3,000 for failing to respond to an investigator’s request for information. He was also ordered to pay costs of £2,160 and a victim surcharge of £120. The tenants, who moved out in February, can now apply to have some of their rent returned.
Cllr Lisa Homan, H&F Council’s cabinet member for housing, said: “This is a fantastic result – both for the tenants, who were forced to endure a miserable winter without heating or hot water, and for our private housing and health team, who did not hesitate in taking action when it was needed. We will continue to crack down hard on landlords who think they can get away with allowing their tenants to suffer in sub-standard conditions.”
Landlords must hold a licence for each HMO that they own if it is rented out to five or more people, is at least three storeys high and has a shared toilet, bathroom or kitchen. 

Nice Southampton Buy 2 Let yielding 6% - 6.6% with a little haggling!!

One bed unit for sale less then half a mile to the train station and close to the city centre. Will let well to a varied tenant pool at £550pcm and you should see some rental growth to £575. Price at £110k might be a little rich, £100k looks more on the money. Nice first time buy 2 let.

Thursday 16 October 2014

Average home to cost £780,000 by 2040

The average home will cost nearly £800,000 in just 25 years time, according to calculations by a leading thinktank.
Policy Exchange worked out the figure using a complex Government formula taking into account house price inflation and housing forecasts.
The thinktank has produced the calculation to work out how much a home that costs £244,000 today will cost in 26 years time.
Given that the average age of a first time buyer is 32, Policy Exchange found that a six year old today would be paying £780,000 to buy an average home by 2040.
Policy Exchange produced the figure to support its claims that more new homes should be built in garden cities across the country. 

Millbrook property market ouperforms West End by 75%

I was recently asked whether West End or Millbrook would be a better location for investment
One of the most sought after places to live in is West End on the north eastern side of Southampton. There are 4,748 households here and an impressive 78% of the properties in West End are owner occupied, with only 543 households (or 11%) privately rented. West End has many different types of housing, but the very popular executive detached houses sell for on average £361,700 (although there are some rather more expensive ones in the other parts of West End) and rents are on average £1,360 per calendar month. Millbrook on the other hand is a different story altogether. Only 3,505 of the 6,474 Millbrook households are home owners (54%) and surprising only 1,180 rental properties (18.2%), the rest being made up of local authority housing.
With this in mind, I carried out some further research and found properties in Millbrook have outperformed those in the West End area. This is because a two bedroom apartment in Millbrook can be bought for around £95,600 and the achievable rents can be around £636 per calendar month. The yield which could be achieved from property in Millbrook is therefore around 7.9% per year. When we compare this to the possible 4.5% yield in West End, that yield/return is 75% greater in Millbrook than West End.
We must remember, however, that yield is not the sole consideration when investing in Buy to Let properties. Areas which offer good yields (i.e. Millbrook), normally suffer from poor capital growth (i.e. the properties in the area with good yields don’t go up in value as quick as other areas with lower yields.) Looking at average property values in West End back to 1999, the average property in West End has risen by 115% which is impressive, but there was an even bigger surprise; - all the evidence suggests average values in Millbrook have risen by an impressive 145% in the same time frame.
Nevertheless, even though the rise hasn’t been as great in West End compared to Millbrook, those of you who live in West End shouldn’t despair because in pure pound note terms you are still financially better off. Whilst the headline rate is higher in Millbrook, a person who bought an apartment in Millbrook in1999 would be on average £56,600 better off due to the 145% rise, whilst the 115% value increase for homeowners of detached houses in West End, mean they are actually £176,500 better off! It just goes to show you need to look beyond the statistics and evaluate each property on its own merits.

Monday 13 October 2014

Quality 2 bed Southampton apartment for sale with a 6% yield

Really nice 2 bed unit located close to Southampton Central Train Station with a balcony, parking and an ensuite. This development always lets well and we recently secured £875pcm (£10,500p.a.) for a similar unfurnished unit. This unit originally went on the market in July and the price has just been reduced to £180,000, chip it down to £175,000 or lower and you will bag a 6% return!

Is your Southampton letting agent signed up to a redress scheme?

The Property Redress Scheme (PRS) claims it is being actively contacted by local authorities, questioning whether lettings and property management agents in their area have joined up.
The PRS is one of three consumer redress schemes authorised by the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) that offers a free escalated complaints process to customers of Members of the scheme. The other two are The Property Ombudsman and Ombudsman Services Property.
All lettings and property management agents, as defined by legislation, must have joined a government authorised consumer redress scheme by 1 October 2014.
These council enquiries come as the DCLG provides further guidance on exactly which types of property agents are legally required to join a consumer redress scheme.
Following the passing of the 1 October deadline, the PRS has received enquiries from councils including Norfolk County, Staffordshire County and the London Borough of Newham wishing to ensure that known agents in their areas have complied with the new regulation and have become a member. Councils such as Hartlepool Borough and Plymouth City have also written to their agents warning them of their obligations under the new legislation.
Local authority Trading Standards officers can impose a fine of up to £5,000 on non-compliant agents and can even force closure of firms that continue to be in breach of the law. 
The PRS has so far seen over 1,600 agents successfully join its scheme.

Southampton Landlords are your properties safe from CO2 poisoning?

Two Bolton landlords have been fined after a four-month-old baby and both his parents were taken to hospital with carbon monoxide poisoning.

Mehboob Bobat, 47, and Suraiya Bobat, 46, were prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) after an investigation found four gas appliances at a property on Bowness Road were unsafe, and that they had failed to arrange an annual gas safety check as the law requires.
Trafford Magistrates’ Court heard a couple, who have asked not to be identified, began renting the two-bedroom terraced house in February 2013 – three months before their baby was due.
Towards the end of the month, the expectant mum began to suffer headaches, palpitations and had difficulty breathing. She was taken into hospital for several days, with doctors assuming her symptoms were linked to her pregnancy.
Her husband also started to suffer from severe headaches and was given codeine by his GP.
Later in the year, on 21 August, the couple were both at home in the afternoon looking after their four-month-old son. He had been crying all day and they were concerned that he was unwell.
The baby’s father also started to suffer with a really bad headache shortly before his wife began to feel dizzy and collapsed on the kitchen floor. Her husband called for an ambulance and all three members of the family were treated in hospital overnight for high levels of carbon monoxide poisoning.
The HSE investigation found a gas-powered water heater in the kitchen should only have been used for a maximum of five minutes at a time as it did not have a flue. However, it was connected to the washing machine as well as the kitchen sink and had begun to emit high levels of carbon monoxide due to its overuse.
The heater was classified as ‘immediately dangerous’ by a gas engineer, along with a gas heater in the front bedroom. A gas fire in the lounge and gas boiler in the kitchen were also found to be ‘at risk’ of causing carbon monoxide poisoning.
The court was told that Mr and Mrs Bobat were asked to provide a copy of the latest Gas Safety Certificate to prove a registered gas fitter had inspected the property in the past year, but they admitted they did not have one.
The Bobats of St Helens Road in Bolton, were each sentenced to 80 hours of community service with unpaid work  and each ordered to pay prosecution costs of £720 after pleading guilty to two breaches of the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998.  They were also ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £60.
Speaking after the hearing, HSE principal inspector Mike Sebastian said: “A young couple and their baby son were needlessly made ill for several months because Mr and Mrs Bobat failed in their legal duties as landlords to arrange an annual gas safety check.
“It’s shocking that all four of the gas appliances in the property had the potential to cause carbon monoxide poisoning. If the baby’s father hadn’t acted quickly to call an ambulance when he wife collapsed then the effects could easily have been fatal.
“Landlords must take their responsibilities seriously and make sure houses they rent out are safe for their tenants. We will continue to take legal action when landlords ignore the law.”

Friday 10 October 2014

Should a Southampton Landlord buy a 1 or 2 bed apartment?

Last week, I spoke to one of my landlords and she asked me if the number of bedrooms in a property had any relationship to the return she could get. I did some research and followed up her query – I was actually quite surprised with the results...

Currently in Southampton, the average rent for a one bedroom apartment is around £563 per month with an average property value of £109,700. This means an approximate average return/yield of 6.15% per year. There are one bed apartments on the market for rent at a higher price than some two bed apartments. In fact, some one bed apartments in Southampton can attract rents in the mid- late £800's whilst some converted terraced houses with flats in them can be rented for as little as £395 per month. This means yields on one beds can range between 3% and 8%.

Two bed apartments in Southampton can be priced at £300,000+ in one of the modern upmarket developments around Ocean Village and as low as £60,000 in other areas. Again, rents vary greatly, ranging from over £2,000 per month for some bespoke unique penthouse apartments overlooking the Marina in Southampton to £575 per month in the older parts of Southampton. However, looking at the average rent for a two bed apartment in Southampton, I calculate it to be £748 per month with the average value being £159,600 which gives an average return/yield of 5.62% per year.
Whilst there is a little difference in the yields between 1 and 2 bedroomed units, it is only one of many factors you should consider before buying a property. Whilst two bedrooms are more expensive to buy, they appeal to a larger tenant pool. Do they sell better? Well, 45.3% of the two bed apartments on the market in Southampton at this moment in time are sold stc compared to 37.7% of 1 bed apartments – so quite a bit of difference there. Obviously this does not take account of the split between owner/occupied and rental stock.

It really comes down to the property and type of tenant. Two-beds attract sharers, which brings both advantages and disadvantages to the landlord but one beds have better yields. It depends what you want from your investment. I know the lettings market in Southampton so I can advise you what you can expect to achieve in rent, the size of your tenant pool and how to minimise your voids.

If you would like to discuss my thoughts on the rental market, whether you are an existing landlord or looking to invest for the first time, please feel free to call into our offices at 36 London Road, SO15 2AG or contact me on 023 8001 8222 or email  

Thursday 9 October 2014

Southampton 1 bed for £100k yielding 7.2%

This spacious 1 bed unit has recently come on the market in Shirley. It has recently been refurbished and offers a balcony and car parking. It is well located for the city centre, train station and General Hospital. We have rented a number of units in this location at the £600 mark and this one will let well. Groos yield is good at 7.2% and you could get it to 7.5% if you chip the price. This unit wont be around for long!!

Southampton HMO's need to be properly managed otherwise this could happen!!

Both a landlord and letting agent have been fined £3,000 plus costs, after being found guilty of running an unlicenced HMO where seven people were rescued from a fire.
Owner Wimalendran Jeyaruban and letting agent Chaudry Amir Ijaz did not register the Croydon property, which had five paying tenants at the time of the fire.
During a blaze at the flat earlier this year, seven people were led to safety by firefighters and five others were rescued from a neighbouring property.
A subsequent inspection by council housing enforcement officers found there were five people permanently living at the flat, all of whom paid £150 per month to Ijaz.
Jeyaruban had previously agreed to empty the unlicensed flat in 2012 after the council discovered it was being used as a HMO . However, he decided to ignore the council warnings and let it out to Ijaz, who in turn rented it as a HMO , despite having no HMO licence himself.
In addition to the fines, both were ordered to pay the court £2,500 in costs.

Prices: seasonal slowdown or something bigger and how will Southampton fare?

A series of reports issued within hours of each other suggest the market is at least slowing - but with some fear that it might be in more serious trouble.
Halifax says annual house price growth rate has now peaked at 10 per cent and will grow in future at a considerably slower pace.

Its latest figures - just one snapshot for one month based on the mortgage lender’s data, of course - shows a modest 0.6 per cent price rise on average across the UK in September. The price of the typical property rose to £187,188.

Prices in the three months to September were 2.7 per cent higher than in the preceding quarterbut the Halifax says this marked the second successive decline in the quarterly rate. 

“The recent rapid rise in house prices in some parts of the UK, earnings growth that remains below consumer price inflation and the possibility of an interest rate rise over the coming months, appear to have tempered housing demand” says Martin Ellis, the Halifax’s chief economist and author of its house price index. 

“A moderation in growth looks likely during the remainder of 2014 and into next year as supply and demand become increasingly better balanced.”

Meanwhile homeowner confidence in the continued growth of UK house prices has fallen to a 15-month low according to Zoopla. 

Its latest Housing Market Sentiment Survey of 6,746 homeowners found the proportion expecting prices in their area to increase over the next six months has fallen from 92 per cent three months ago to 88 per cent now - still relatively high, but nonetheless the lowest figure it has recorded since July 2013. 

Homeowners in the East of England are the most bullish with 91 per cent expecting values to increase over the next six months; by contrast the south west’s figure is down from 95 per cent earlier this year to 85 per cent today. 

Following the implementation of stricter affordability criteria for borrowing, 39 per cent of those homeowners surveyed stated that they thought it was more difficult to get a mortgage now than it was three months ago.  

“Market signals are harder to decipher at the moment than they were a few months ago. The coming months will be crucial to determine if the housing market recovery has stalled or simply paused for breath” says the portal’s spokesman Lawrence Hall.

And in its half-yearly World Economic Outlook, the International Monetary Fund has stated that the Bank of England may need to raise interest rates if there are any signs that the UK’s housing market is developing into a bubble.

The IMF - which has long been sceptical of the sustainability of UK house price rises since the end of the downturn - says it has reservations over whether the Mortgage Market Review has done enough to restrict demand and stabilise house prices in the long term.

Monday 6 October 2014

Southampton's Ocean Village 2 bed for acution yielding 7.8% - tempting!!

For auction at the end of the month is a nice 2 bed with balcony, en suite and parking in the Mistral block in Ocean Village. It is a good size at approx 900sq ft and is currently let at £1,100pcm until June 2015 with a guide price of £170k. There is 113 years left on the lease with a ground rent of £250 p.a. It was last sold in Sept 2007 at £185k. Would be a good first time buy or a nice one to add to your portfolio.

Friday 3 October 2014

Quality modern 2 bed apartment for sale yielding 6.2%

Quality 2 bed modern 6th floor apartment with parking in Southampton city centre is on the market at £188,500. It is bright and spacious and benefits from a south facing balcony. It is only a year old and will let well at £975pcm to a professional tenant giving a gross yield of 6.2% on asking price. This is a well managed apartment block that will let well and would make a great buy 2 let, it won't be around for long!!

Southampton Landlords take note: Clapham landlord fined £10,000 for breaking fire safety laws

The London Fire Brigade (LFB) has successfully prosecuted a Clapham landlord who let tenants carry on living in his property despite fire safety inspectors slapping a notice on it to prevent its use due to serious fire safety concerns.
Panayiotis Chrysostomou was hit with a £10,000 fine after pleading guilty at Inner London Crown Court on Friday 26 September to breaking fire safety regulations by failing to comply with the prohibition notice placed on the building on Clapham High Street. He was also ordered to pay £2,000 court costs.
LFB inspectors were alerted to the property, which was divided into eight bedsits, after firefighters called to a blaze in a neighbouring building raised concerns.
When inspectors visited the property on 7 May 2013 they found it had:
• no smoke alarms
• no emergency lighting and no fire doors
• poorly managed cooking equipment in each bedsit
• a single escape route blocked by furniture
• electrics that were unmaintained throughout
• no fire risk assessment.
On 8 May 2013, due to the serious fire safety risks the LFB discovered, a prohibition notice was placed on the property to stop people living there.
Despite this, following a re-inspection in June, inspectors found tenants still living in the first three storeys of the four floor property and that almost nothing had been done to improve fire safety.
Following the sentencing on Friday, LFB deputy head of fire safety regulation Mark Andrews said:
“This property was a potential death trap. The lack of smoke alarms, absence of any fire doors, as well as the blocked escape route would have put the lives of those people living in these bedsits in serious danger if a fire had broken out.
“Landlords have a clear responsibility under fire safety laws to ensure that people living in their premises are safe from the risk of fire and this fine should send a stark warning that if we find landlords are ignoring those responsibilities we won’t hesitate to prosecute.