Tuesday, September 27, 2022
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House prices, how landlords can help with energy bills, mortgage affordability tests, and buyers fight to buy in Solihull


Recent property news in the UK continues to focus on the runaway increase in prices post-pandemic. But there are also warnings on the horizon about the rising cost of living and the difficulties faced by many tenants in meeting their energy bills.

Let’s take a closer look at some of the latest UK property news.

House price rise since first lockdown revealed

Since the first in the succession of lockdowns was imposed just over two years ago, the average house price in the UK has gone up by £43,577, according to a story by the BBC on the 7th of April.

That price rise of 18.2% has taken the cost of an average home to £282,753.

The surge in prices has been fuelled by a so-called “race for space” – which is borne out by a 21% increase in a typical detached home during the period in question, compared with just an 11% increase in the price of the average flat.

The market has been inflated still further an imbalance between supply and demand with relatively few homes listed for sale.

Claims that landlords feel they should help tenants offset energy bills

A buy to let management platform, GetGround, claims that more and more landlords are coming around to the view that they should lend practical help to those tenants struggling to pay their energy bills in the face of the rising cost of living and price inflation.

According to the story in Landlord Today on the 11th of April, landlords are hoping to help tenants meet spiralling energy costs by carrying out energy efficiency improvements to their let properties.

Landlords who want to help in this way are turning to energy improvements in homes they already own rather than investing in more modern or energy-efficient properties.

Homebuyers could struggle with mortgages as UK banks tighten affordability tests

Inflation, the rising cost of daily essentials, imminent tax increases, and higher energy bills are all having an impact on the way in which mortgage lenders have to compute the affordability of loans, according to a story published in the Guardian newspaper on the 11th of April.

The rising pressures on household budgets mean that the average borrower will find it more difficult to meet new mortgage commitments.

Financial analysts argue that lenders’ current tightening of affordability rules is probably the most severe since 2009. Interest rates are on the increase while the cost of living is rising at a pace last seen in the 1980s. In the face of those pressures, mortgage lenders are bound to question whether an advance remains affordable – and, if not, will reduce the size of the loan that is offered.

As borrowing becomes more difficult, of course, those same analysts explain that buyers will lower their sights and the housing market, in general, will be expected to slow down.

Shirley in Solihull is new buyer competition hotspot

In some parts of the country, the competition among buyers in the housing market is notably higher than in others, reveals a report conducted by online listings website Rightmove.

The current hotspot – where competition among buyers has grown the fastest – is Solihull in the Midlands where there is now more than twice the number bidding for homes as there were 12 months ago.

Other property hotspots where such competition has more than doubled include Jesmond, in Newcastle-upon-Tyne and Chorlton cum Hardy in Greater Manchester. London boroughs that have also seen double the competition include Balham, Upminster, and Chessington.

In property hotspots such as these, the average price of a home has increased by an average of 11% – a little more than the national average of 10.4%.

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