Some of you may have seen the Homeowners’ Survey 2018. This gives the stark warning that as many as 7.5 million Britons are locked out of the housing market. 3 million Britons are unable to move. A million older owners find that they are unable to downsize. We are a nation of homeowners, and three-quarters of those surveyed said they did want their own home but very many of them were prevented from buying because of lack of cash.
In the survey two-thirds of respondents said the prices were too high to enable them to buy. Over half were unable to raise the deposit. A third had difficulties getting a new mortgage. A quarter of those surveyed up to the age of 54 found that stamp duty was a major concerned when people endeavour to buy a second home. Older home owners say they are most often reluctant to move because there is simply a lack of suitable alternative homes. There is no simple solution.
And what about the homeless? A recent report by the charity Crisis in association with PwC indicates that homelessness could be eradicated within 10 years if £10 billion was committed to it. This would mean the building of at least 100,000 social homes each year for up to 15 years. It would also mean limiting rent increases so that such homes would be and remain affordable. The Housing First plan if implemented in full will benefit 18,000 homeless people. The plan would also meet the needs of those on low wages.
And what about second homes? Not only have we been a nation of homeowners, but increasingly we have been a nation of second homeowners. However, the economic uncertainty coupled with a huge hike in stamp duty for second homes have put the brakes on people wanting to buy. The trend now in fact is for people to rent a second home so that they can have a pied-a-terre in other towns or cities. This would bring them closer to work or to schools for the children, or provide a rural or coastal escape. One of the recent Lettings Index estimates that 13,680 properties were rented as second homes in the UK in 2017. This is more than double the number recorded in 2007 when the Index began. You may be interested to know that hotspots include Windsor, Edinburgh, Northumberland, Gloucester, and Kensington & Chelsea.
The housing market appears to remain sluggish. The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors has recently indicated that the average number of properties put up for sale on estate agents’ books is close to an all-time low at 42.5. Demand from buyers has also been relatively weak with the number of new enquiries falling overall. Unsurprisingly, perhaps, there has been increased interest in the South West, which seems to be an ever popular destination for potential homeowners.
The Office for National Statistics have released figures showing house prices have now reached a record high in the UK but property inflation has slowed down and is now at its lowest level since March 2017. Flats and maisonettes have shown the slowest rise in price – a rise of just 1 per cent in the year to April giving an average of £202,052. The average price of semis went up by 5.3 per cent to an average of £315,000. Terraced houses rose 4.7 per cent to an average of £184,300. Detached homes rose by 3.8 per cent to an average of £342,154.
If you need help on any property matter then please get in touch with us here at Busbys on 01288 35 9000. Our Head of Conveyancing is Mrs Temby Parker, and she looks forward to being of assistance to you.
Bude & Holsworthy