Latest Property Market Update: December 2023

Mortgage rates continue to fall, the best cities for investment returns have been revealed, and the UK’s 10 happiest places to live have been announced. Plus, we wrap up 2023 Spotify-style! Read on to find out more.

Two-year Mortgage Rates Fall Below 6%
Mortgage rates are continuing to head in the right direction for buyers and homeowners whose deals are due for renewal, with average two-year fixed deals falling below 6%.

The drop in rates follows confirmation from the Bank of England that the base interest rate is being held at 5.25% – the second straight freeze – and competition between the UK’s major lenders has intensified as they battle to keep existing customers and attract the small pool of new homeowners who are coming into the market.

10 Happiest Places to Live Revealed
A survey by property website Rightmove has revealed the UK’s 10 best places to live, as voted for by residents. The company’s Happy at Home Index has been running for 12 years, and for the first time, it’s a London area that’s taken the top spot.

Richmond upon Thames took the crown from last year’s winner, St Ives in Cornwall, which dropped down to 9th. Winchester in Hampshire took the runners-up spot, while Monmouth in Wales finished in third.

The survey asked more than 26,000 people to rank things in their area, from community spirit and a sense of belonging to public transport connections and essential local services.

Click here for the complete top 10

Top 10 Cities for Rental Yields Revealed
If becoming a landlord is on your list of New Year’s resolutions for 2024, you might want to check out the findings of a study by property website, Zoopla.

In it, they’ve revealed the top 10 cities and large towns in the UK for buy-to-let returns. The average gross rental yield in the UK is currently 5.49%, but Zoopla’s list of towns and cities smashes that figure, and could be a good indicator of where to invest your money in the new year if you’re looking to buy a second property.

Top of the list is Sunderland in the North East, where the average gross rental yield is a very impressive 8.5%. Not far behind is Dundee in Scotland, which also passes the 8% mark at 8.07%, while Burnley in Lancashire takes third place, with a return of 7.96%.

All of the top 10 are in Scotland and the north of England, and they all return more than 7% each year.

Click here for the full list.

2023 in Review
With 2023 drawing to a close, it’s the perfect time to take a look back at the year that was. Thanks to the statisticians at Zoopla, we can now share some of the key stats from the past 12 months:

One million homes were sold, and house prices fell 1.2% on average across the UK. The biggest falls were seen in the East of England and the South East, at -2.6% and -2.4% respectively. Scotland and Northern Ireland were the only regions in the UK where prices have risen over the past 12 months.

The most popular types of homes to be sold were terraced houses, with 140,000 changing hands in 2023, followed closely by semi-detached houses. 130,000 of these were sold over the past year. 148 farms and 57 houseboats were sold too.

The Bank of England raised the base interest rate five times across the year. When we saw in 2023, the interest rate was 3.5%, and as we close the year out, it sits at 5.25%.

This led to a huge knock-on effect on mortgage rates, which peaked at an average of 6.44% for a two-year fixed rate in July and 6.37% for a five-year fixed rate in early August. Both are now below 6%, and it’s hoped they’ve seen their peak.

As for standard variable rate mortgages, these went from an average of 6.61% at the start of the year to a whopping 8.74% at the end of 2023.

At the start of the year, selling a house took 36 days on average, and as 2023 draws to a close, it’s only slightly increased to 38 days. It dipped briefly in April to 29 days but has crept back up in line with rising inflation and mortgage rates.

And lastly, what about renters? It’s been a difficult year for tenants, with new lets rising by at least 10% for the past 20 months in a row. However, demand hasn’t suffered – it’s remained at 51% above the five-year average for most of 2023.

We are delighted to bring you our monthly property market updates. If you are thinking of buying or selling a property in Gloucestershire please get in touch with us on 01452 300822 or email rachel@tgres.co.uk.

Latest Property Market Update: November 2023

This month, we pick out the key points that affect the housing market from the chancellor’s Autumn Statement. There’s also been an increase in homeowners slipping into mortgage arrears, rents remain on the rise for new lets, and we reveal the best places to buy to avoid stamp duty for first-time buyers.
Read on to find out more.

Autumn Statement – Key housing market points

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt has made his Autumn Statement , and while there were no major surprises, a handful of the announcements will have a direct impact on the property market.

Firstly, the Mortgage Guarantee Scheme has been extended until the end of June 2025. The scheme, which was first introduced in 2021 and was due to end in December 2023, was designed to encourage lenders to offer more 95% loan-to-value mortgages to buyers with a 5% deposit. If a buyer defaults on their mortgage payment, the government steps in to cover some of the shortfall.

Whilst the scheme hasn’t been used extensively – with around 5% of first-time buyers using it since it was introduced – it has opened the door for more people to get onto the property ladder, and mortgage rates for buyers with a 5% deposit have dropped slightly in November, to 6.03% on average.

The chancellor used his Autumn Statement to promise investment of more than £110m to build 40,000 new homes over the next year. £32m has also been earmarked to beat a planning backlog and develop new housing in cities such as Cambridge, Leeds, and London.

In some good news for renters, the Local Housing Allowance rate has been increased. The rate, which affects how much help you get when renting from a private landlord, has been frozen since 2020, but the new increase will give 1.6m households an average of £800 support next year.

Mortgage arrears on the rise

The number of property owners falling behind on their mortgage payments rose sharply over the summer months, with UK landlords hit particularly hard.

Figures from UK Finance show that 87,930 homeowners were in arrears between June and September – an 18% increase on the same period in 2022. For landlords, it’s even worse, with the number in arrears having doubled in the past 12 months.

Whilst the sharp increase of homeowners in arrears may seem alarming, it still represents just 1% of the UK’s 8.8m outstanding mortgages. However, with an estimated 1.6m mortgage deals due to expire next year, the number of homeowners is set to increase further.

Already in 2023, the number of people in arrears jumped 7% in July to September compared with the previous quarter, although a slowdown in rising mortgage rates will hopefully keep mortgage defaults low.

Average rents for new lets continue to rise

The average rent for a new let has increased by more than 10% over the past year. It now stands at £1,166 per month according to property website, Zoopla. This in part has been caused by rising interest rates and cost of living.

But with demand for rental properties currently running at 27% above the 5-year average, many landlords now see multiple applicants per property with competition high. Average annual rents are £14,000, compared to £12,700 a year ago. The increases are much lower for existing renters, who have seen their annual rent increase by 5.7% on average.

First-Time Buyers: Best places to buy to avoid stamp duty

Stamp duty can add several thousand pounds to the cost of a property, and it’s a particularly unwelcome expense for buyers taking their first steps on the property ladder.

In England and Northern Ireland, stamp duty is payable on any property over £425,000 for first-time buyers, but one leading property website has revealed the areas where buyers are least likely to be affected.

According to Zoopla, the top places to buy for first-time buyers looking to avoid stamp duty are:

  • Hull
  • Blackpool
  • Middlesbrough
  • Hartlepool

Here, 98% of homes are for sale at less than the threshold.

Stoke-on-Trent isn’t far behind either, with 96% of properties falling below the £425,000 mark.

By region, the best place to buy is the North East, where 93% of properties are priced under £425,000, while at the opposite end of the scale, it’s no surprise to see that London is the most affected area for stamp duty, with just 27% of properties under the threshold.

It’s not all bad for first-time buyers in the capital though. If you’re looking to avoid stamp duty, then Barking and Dagenham are areas with the most properties priced under the threshold, with 69% of homes in the area available for less than £425,000.

We are delighted to bring you monthly property market updates. If you are thinking of buying or selling please get in touch with us.

What’s Happening in the UK Property Market: September 2023

Interest rates have finally been frozen, rental costs have hit new highs and sadly mortgage arrears are on the rise. Read on to find out the latest on all this and more.

UK Interest Rates Frozen

After 14 straight increases, the Bank of England has announced a freeze on their base interest rate, which remains at 5.25%.

The surprising move has already had a positive impact on property buyers and homeowners who will be remortgaging in the coming months. Nationwide was the first major lender to reveal a reduction in mortgage rates, with other lenders expected to follow suit in the coming weeks.

The surprising move by the Bank to freeze rates, comes after inflation was revealed to have slowed to 6.7% in August – a far bigger fall than was expected, but still a long way above the Bank’s 2% target.

Rental Prices Hit New Highs

The Telegraph reports that the growth in rental prices hit a new record high as the national rental crisis deepens, official data shows. Rents in London rose by 5.9pc year-on-year, the fastest pace since records began in 2006, according to the Office for National Statistics.

Across the UK, rent growth hit a new high for the sixteenth month in a row, with costs climbing by 5.5pc. The jump in rental costs has been so great, that the increase in the past 12 months is higher than the increase over the four years from 2015 to 2019. 

Several factors have contributed to the sharp increase, including higher mortgage rates for landlords, which have been passed on to tenants, as well as demand for rental properties continuing to far outweigh the supply available.

Value of UK Mortgage Arrears Jumps by a Third

The Bank of England has revealed that mortgage arrears across the UK climbed by almost a third in the period from April to June this year, when compared with the same period in 2022.

Their figures have revealed that outstanding mortgage debt in the UK is now £16.9bn, the highest since 2016.

Mortgage rates have risen sharply in the past 12 months, with the typical rate on a fixed mortgage deal currently hovering around the 6% mark, although the freeze in the Bank of England’s base interest rate should see that figure come down slightly.

While some experts are forecasting mortgage defaults to rise further, many point to the fact that the number of homeowners who are unable to repay still remains relatively low. 

According to the Bank, 16% of mortgages in arrears between April and June were new cases, which is a similar figure to the number from the first three months of the year. 

Average House Prices Fall by £14,000 in a Year

Last month saw the fastest annual rate fall in 14 years according to major lender, Halifax, with prices dropping by 4.6% in the 12 months to August.

The drop, which knocked around £14,000 off the average house price, was the biggest decline since 2009, as rising mortgage rates continue to have a major impact on buyers. 

The lender is expecting the falls to continue for the rest of the year, with prices having dropped 1.9% between July and August alone.

And it’s not just Halifax who have reported a major fall in prices. Fellow major lender, Nationwide, also revealed their biggest fall since 2009, but their figures represent an even bigger percentage decrease, of 5.3% over the same 12-month period to August.

The Cheapest Places to Rent a Home Revealed

With rental costs reaching new highs, a study by property portal, Zoopla, has revealed the cheapest areas in the UK to rent a home.

The North East came out on top, where average rents are £649 per month, followed by Northern Ireland, where it’s £749 per month. 

Unsurprisingly, London came bottom of the list. Average rents in the capital have climbed to £2,053 per month – the only part of the UK where rent is more than £2,000 per month. For context, the next highest part of the country to rent in is the South East, where the average cost is £1,254 –  around £800 cheaper than the capital. 

However, while London leads the way for rental costs, it’s actually Scotland that saw the biggest increase over the past 12 months. Prices there rose 12.7% over the past year, but with average rents of £748 per month, it’s still some way behind the capital in monetary terms.

For more local property market news and updates and a more detailed overview of the Gloucestershire area, get in touch with TG Sales & Lettings. We are your local property experts. Call us on 01452 300822 or email rachel@tgres.co.uk.

What’s Happening In The UK Property Market: August 2023

Interest rates have risen for a 14th consecutive time, with further increases expected. Average asking prices have fallen sharply, and rent is now cheaper than a first-time mortgage across most of the country. Read on to find out the latest property market news.

Interest Rates Rise Again

It’s bad news for homeowners as the Bank of England has raised the base interest rate for a 14th consecutive time to a 15-year high of 5.25%.

The increase will directly affect homeowners with variable and tracker mortgages, meaning an increased monthly payment.

In more negative news for homeowners, the Bank of England boss, Andrew Bailey, confirmed for the first time that interest rates are likely to remain higher for longer to curb rising inflation.

The next interest rate announcement will be made on the 21st September, when many economists expect another increase to 5.5% – a figure they’re predicting will remain in place for the next 12 months.

Asking Prices For UK Homes Falls at Sharpest Rate Since 2018

August saw its sharpest drop in asking prices for five years. This is a sign that the property market is continuing to slow.

The average asking price for a property new to the market is now £364,895. That’s 1.9% less than the previous in July, and £7,012 less in monetary terms.

While August is traditionally a slower month for property sales, the drop off is more than double the usual 0.9% fall in prices that are typical during the summer.

It’s not all bad news for sellers though. Average house prices remain 20% higher than they were this time four years ago.

Mortgage Rates Cut – But Don’t Expect it to Last!

In some welcome news for buyers and homeowners whose mortgages are coming up for renewal, the ‘big six’ lenders have continued to cut their mortgage rates since July’s peak. 

According to property website Rightmove, the average five-year fixed rate deal is now 5.81%, down from 6.08% last month.

While the rate cuts are undoubtedly positive for customers, it’s not expected to last. Many economists expect the price wars between the major lenders to end soon amid increasing interest rates and a high inflation rate showing no signs of dropping significantly.

Renting Is Now Cheaper Than First-Time Mortgages

In other property market news, figures released by property website Zoopla have revealed that monthly rents are now cheaper than first-time mortgages. These statistics haven’t been seen since 2010!

An increase in mortgage rates has seen interest soar to more than 6% in recent months, and according to Zoopla’s data, the average monthly mortgage payment for a first-time buyer with a 15% deposit now stands at £1,285. As for renters, their average monthly payment is £1,163. A difference of £122 per month or £1464 per year.

London and the South East are the worst affected areas. In fact, in the capital, average rents are £493 per month less than average mortgage payments – significantly less than the national difference.

Some areas of the UK buck the trend, including Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, but renting is currently the cheaper option for most of England. 

More Than 4 In 10 Adults Have Given Up On Owning A Property

In a survey of more than 2,000 adults aged 18-39, sadly 42% have given up on the idea of buying a property in the next ten years. 

The survey, commissioned by property website Zoopla, also revealed that a significant number of people earning more than £60,000 per year have also given up on owning a property in the next decade, with 38% feeling that it’s beyond reach.

The three main reasons for being unable to purchase a property were

The cost of living crisis

Increasing house prices

Higher mortgage rates.

Of the 14% of people who are planning to buy or who are in the process of buying, 85% of them have made financial sacrifices to do so. Typically, 34% have given up holidays and 30% have sacrificed socialising. 

The figures also revealed that 69% of those who are planning to buy or who are in the process of buying have made compromises on the property. Compromises include buying in an alternative area to the one they prefer, purchasing a smaller property than they planned, and choosing a property in need of refurbishment or renovation.

For more local property market news and updates and a more detailed overview of the Gloucestershire area, get in touch with TG Sales & Lettings. We are your local property experts. Call us on 01452 300822 or email rachel@tgres.co.uk.

What’s Happening in the UK Property Market: July 2023

Mortgage rates have seen their first fall in two months, although rents have risen at the fastest pace on record. Meanwhile, a major credit rating agency is predicting a significant downturn in property prices, and we reveal the places where your home is likely to sell the fastest!

Read on to learn about the latest property market news on these topics.

Mortgage rates fall for the first time in two months

Following the news that inflation has slowed slightly in the 12 months to June, mortgage rates have also dropped slightly for the first time in two months.

With inflation slowing to 7.9% and the Bank of England’s next interest rate rise expected to be less steep than previously feared, the fall in mortgage rates will come as welcome relief for the thousands of homeowners who are remortgaging in the next few months.

The average rate on a two-year fixed deal has fallen slightly from 6.81% to 6.79%, and for five-year deals, it’s dropped from 6.33% to 6.31%.

The Bank of England will next meet on Thursday 3rd August, to announce the latest base interest rate, where it’s expected to increase from 5% to 5.25% – a smaller rise than initially expected.

Rents are on the rise

Private rents rose faster in June than at any point since records began back in January 2016.

The cost of renting rose 5.1% in England in the 12 months to June, and in Wales and Scotland, the figures are 5.8% and 5.5%, respectively.

Across England, the figures vary significantly. In the North East, the rise was less steep at 4.4%, but the West Midlands saw the biggest climb, with rents increasing 5.4% over the period.

The increases come against a backdrop of mortgage rate rises, which have doubled in recent months, resulting in landlords passing on the increased cost of borrowing to tenants. There is also a continued surge in demand for rental properties, which far outweighs the number of properties available for rent.

Property prices are predicted to fall by 12%

Economists at one of the world’s leading credit rating agencies forecast a 12% fall in UK property prices, with little rebound prospect.

S&P Global Ratings forecast the double-digit fall to bottom out by the end of 2024, with a decline of 6.6% in 2023 and a further drop of 4.9% in 2024.

Their forecasts predict a stagnant market in 2025 and 2026, with just 1.4% and 3% growth, respectively.

 

The forecasts are based on the fact that interest rates will likely remain higher than they have for the past decade, meaning a potential slowdown in the housing market.

While the figures are concerning for homeowners, they could come as a relief for first-time buyers, although as with any economic predictions, the figures should also be taken with a large pinch of salt!

25 locations where homes sell the fastest

Figures released by property portal Zoopla revealed the locations where properties are selling quickly.

On average, UK properties are selling in 30 days, which matches the five-year average. Twelve months ago, the figure was as low as 19 days due to significantly increased competition in the market, but many of the locations where the property is selling fastest are more in line with that figure than the current national average.

Joint-top of the list is Eden in Cumbria and Newcastle upon Tyne, where properties are selling in 21 days on average. They’re followed closely by Bristol, Carlisle, Knowsley in England’s North West and Waltham Forest in London, which all see average selling times of 22 days.

One of the more surprising findings is that these areas are all spread across England and Wales.

In total, seven of the locations are in the North West, three are in the North East, three are in the South West, three are in the West Midlands, two are in London, two are in Wales, two are in the East of England, and there’s one each in the South East, the East Midlands and Yorkshire.

For the complete list of locations please see below:-

https://www.zoopla.co.uk/discover/property-news/zoopla-data-the-20-uk-locations-where-homes-sell-the-fastest/

The types of properties losing the most value

In a separate study by Zoopla, they revealed the properties that are losing the most value.

In a reversal of the ‘race for space’ trend during the pandemic, detached houses are seeing one of the most significant falls in value, with 43% of them seeing drops of at least 1% in the past six months.

However, it’s bungalows that are seeing the largest fall. 70% have recorded a fall in value over the past six months.

For more property news and updates and a more detailed overview of the property market in Gloucestershire, contact TG Sales & Lettings. We are your local property experts. Call us on 01452 300822 or drop us an email today at rachel@tgres.co.uk.

What’s Happening in the UK Property Market: June 2023

The turbulence in the UK housing market is showing no signs of slowing down, with mortgage rates continuing to rise, which is having a knock-on effect for renters. Read on to find out all the latest UK property market news.

Mortgage Rates Set To Continue Rising

Borrowers are being warned to brace themselves for further increases in mortgage rates over the coming months as the Bank of England struggles to curb high inflation.

The average interest on a fixed-rate mortgage is currently hovering at around 6%, with lenders withdrawing deals and raising rates relentlessly. To put this figure into context, a year ago, fixed-rate mortgages were available with an interest rate of around 3%.

The Bank of England announced another base interest rate rise on 22nd June, by a half point to 5% which will lead to even bigger mortgage repayments for the estimated 1.5 million homeowners whose fixed rates are coming to an end before the end of the year.

Any further rate increases are also likely to squeeze a number of first-time buyers out of the market as monthly repayments reach unaffordable levels for many.

Renters To Be Hit By Rising Mortgage Rates

It’s not just homeowners feeling the squeeze from rising mortgage rates. Research from one of the UK’s leading estate agents, Savills, has revealed that landlords are making their lowest profits for 16 years, with many looking to leave the sector.

At their peak, some landlords were making profits of as much as 23%, as low interest rates and attractive buy-to-let mortgages kept repayments low. However, many investors are now reporting profits below 4% – the lowest since 2007.

The findings are backed up by the Bank of England, which recently published figures that show the proportion of mortgages advanced to buy-to-let investors is at its lowest level since 2011.

Any influx of properties onto the market could lead to a drop in the number of homes available to rent, and, therefore an increase in rental prices as demand outstrips supply.

House Prices See First Annual Fall In 11 Years

The UK’s largest lender, Halifax, has announced a 1% fall in house prices compared with a year ago – the first drop since 2012.

According to their figures, prices are currently £3,000 lower than 12 months ago, and £7,500 lower than their peak in August, with current average property prices standing at £286,532.

Rival lender, Nationwide, has reported an even more significant drop in prices, with an annual fall of 3.4%, according to their data – the largest drop in 14 years.

While first-time buyers usually welcome a price fall, the continuing rise in interest rates is pushing monthly repayments out of reach for many would-be buyers. This comes at a time when the increased cost of living is also impacting their ability to save for a deposit.

Cheapest Cities For First-Time Buyers Revealed

A study by property website Rightmove has revealed the cheapest cities for first-time buyers to get a foot on the property ladder.

The average UK asking price for a first-time buyer property – a home with two bedrooms or less – is £226,399, and using this figure, they’ve scoured the UK to find the cities that offer the most for your money, with the top five all sitting comfortably less than half the national average.

Top of the pile is the West Yorkshire city of Bradford, where you can pick up a first-time buyer property for £104,643 on average. Carlisle in Cumbria is only marginally behind at £104,784.

The rest of the top 5 comprises Aberdeen, Hull and Dundee, the most expensive at £111,415 – still well below the national average.

Beach Hut On Sale For Eye-Watering Amount

If you’ve ever fancied owning a beach hut, now’s your chance – providing you have a spare £250,000 to hand!

That’s the price tag for an 8m x 3m hut on the sands in the Welsh village of Abersoch, Gwynedd, which will be a record sale for a beach hut in Wales if the asking price is met.

It’s not connected to mains water, and overnight stays are strictly forbidden, but you’ll still need to pay council tax of close to £800 per year!

If you’re looking to buy a place without overnight restrictions, it’s worth noting that the average property price in Wales is currently £214,000 – some £36,000 less than the starting price of the beach hut.

That’s right, £250,000 is the minimum asking price. If you’re interested in buying it, you have until 30th June to submit an offer in writing.

For more local property news and updates and a more detailed overview of the property market in Gloucestershire, get in touch with TG Sales & Lettings. We are your local property experts. Call us on 01452 300822 or email rachel@tgres.co.uk

What’s Happening in the UK Property Market: May 2023

Interest rates have increased again, 100% mortgages have been relaunched, and there’s welcome news for renters. Read on to find out the latest on all this and more.

Interest Rates Rise Again

The Bank of England has raised interest rates to 4.5%. This is the 12th rise in a row and the highest since 2008. The rise marks a 0.25% increase from the previous base rate as the bank looks to slow down inflation. The headline rate has recently fallen from 10.1% to 8.7%, taking it into single digits for the first time in months.

Their latest forecast indicates that inflation is expected to remain higher for longer than previously thought, with predictions that it will be above 5% by the end of the year. This is still way down on the current rate of 8.7% but more than double the bank’s target of 2%.

Renters’ Reform Bill Published

The Government has finally published its renters’ reform bill, which should make renting safer and fairer for tenants.

Some of the key benefits to come out of the bill for renters include:

  • A ban on Section 21 ‘no fault’ evictions, meaning landlords won’t be able to evict renters without a reason. It’s hoped this change will allow renters to challenge bad landlords without fear of losing their homes.
  • An increase to two months’ notice for rent increases. Renters can also challenge their new rent level via a tribunal if they deem it above the market rate.
  • Renters will have a legal right to request a pet in their home. Landlords will have to consider the request and cannot unreasonably refuse it, although they can require renters to take out pet insurance for potential property damage.
  • It will be illegal for landlords to have a blanket ban on renting to tenants with children or people who are receiving benefits.
  • A Private Rented Sector Ombudsman will be set up, and landlords will be required to join it. This is intended to resolve disputes quickly, and it will have the legal power to make landlords take remedial action and pay compensation.
  • The Decent Homes Standard will be introduced to the private rented sector for the first time. This will mean that landlords are forced to ensure their properties meet minimum standards to be fit for occupation.

As for landlords, the new bill will make it easier for them to evict nuisance tenants and reclaim their properties in instances of antisocial behaviour, while the two-month notice period for renters can be reduced for irresponsible renters who breach their tenancy agreement or damage the property.

Deposit-Free Mortgage Relaunched

Skipton Building Society has launched the UK’s first 100% no-deposit mortgage since 2008, in a move that is specifically targeted at renters.

The new initiative will mean that renters won’t require a deposit or a guarantor, but they must show that they’ve been paying rent on time for the past 12 months. They must also meet the lender’s credit score and affordability criteria.

Skipton’s new Track Record Mortgage is currently offered at a fixed interest rate of 5.49% for five years, which is slightly higher than the average five-year fixed rate mortgage deals for buyers with a deposit who can secure a rate of around 5%.

10 UK Towns Where House Prices Are Rising

With house prices dipping slightly in the first few months of the year, data from the Land Registry has revealed the towns where prices are still rising.

Top of the list is Guildford in Surrey. Prices increased by 11.54% between February and March, with the average price climbing from £518,526 to £578,450.

Sevenoaks in Kent was second on the list with a smaller jump of 6.93%, with prices going up from £595,136 to £636,437, while Cheltenham in Gloucestershire was third on the list. Prices there jumped 5.56%, from £327,104 to £345,257.

One of the most striking findings from the data was the wide geographical spread of the towns, with Salford, Rochdale, Harrogate, Truro, Torquay, Swindon and Wirral completing the top 10.

Your Chance to Own a Piece of TV History

Fans of the hit BBC sitcom Gavin and Stacey now have the opportunity to own one of the houses featured in the show, which has recently come to market for £212,000.

The 3-bedroom terraced house on Trinity Street in Barry was used as the home of Uncle Bryn throughout the show’s three seasons between 2007 and 2010, as well as its reappearance in the 2019 Christmas special.

For more local property news and updates and a more detailed overview of the Gloucestershire area, get in touch with TG Sales & Lettings. We are your local property experts. Call us on 01452 300822 or email rachel@tgres.co.uk.

What’s Happening In The UK Property Market: April 2023

Mortgage rates continue to edge down, the number of properties for sale is rising, and the UK’s priciest seaside town has been revealed. Read on to find out the latest property market news.

Mortgage Rates Creeping Down

Despite inflation remaining above 10%, and with interest rates expected to rise again in May, mortgage rates have bucked the trend and continued to edge lower.

Best Buy deals are currently available with rates of less than 4% – a stark contrast to the above 6.5% highs that followed then-chancellor Kwesi Kwarteng’s disastrous mini-budget last October.

The average rate on a two-year fixed-rate mortgage is currently 5.32%, however, some lenders have rates starting at 3.99%, and some five-year fixed-rate mortgages have an even more attractive rate of 3.92%.

Housing Market Bouncing Back as Number of Sellers Increases

The number of properties for sale has reached its highest level in more than two years, according to new figures released by Propertymark.

The organisation, representing more than 18,000 estate agents across the UK, reports that the average estate agent had 35 properties for sale per branch in March – the highest figure since January 2021. To put it into context, a year ago, each branch only had 20 properties on their books.

Propertymark also revealed that the number of house viewings increased in March – up by 21% from February’s figure – and the number of new buyers registering increased by more than 30% on average across each branch.

Frenzied Rental Market Continues to be Fuelled by Property Shortage

The limited number of homes to rent continues to be a major nationwide issue with no sign of letting up, according to the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (Rics).

Fierce competition among tenants for the few properties available is expected to drive rental prices up by an average of 4% over the coming months, adding to the pressure of the rising cost of living.

Rics’ monthly survey shows that growth in demand from renters was at a five-month high in March, and this issue is consistent across the UK, as an increasing number of landlords are deciding to sell their properties when renters move out rather than re-let them.

This follows a study from a leading estate agent, which claims that around 140,000 landlords sold their properties last year to fund their retirement, increasing the shortfall of rental properties on the market.

Their research also revealed that between 2010 and 2022, the number of landlords retiring each year had doubled. With around 924,000 landlords already aged over 65 and young people unlikely to be able to afford buy-to-let properties, the number of rental properties on the market is expected to continue falling for some time.

UK’s Priciest Seaside Town Revealed

Salcombe has overtaken Sandbanks as the UK’s priciest seaside town, according to figures released by Halifax.

The average house price in the Devon town was £1.2m in 2022, around £300,000 more than second-placed Sandbanks, where average prices were £952,692.

Seven of the top 10 on the list were in Devon and Cornwall, while at the other end of the scale, Greenock in Scotland was the cheapest seaside spot, with average prices of £97,608.

Nine of the 10 cheapest towns were north of the border, with the Northumberland town of Newbiggin-by-the-Sea being the only exception.

10 Fastest Places to Sell a Home Revealed

Leading property website Rightmove has revealed the UK’s top 10 places to sell your home the quickest.

On average, properties take 55 days to sell across the UK, but the Scottish town of Falkirk bucks the trend, with properties taking just 22 days to sell in the Stirlingshire town, which lies between Edinburgh and Glasgow.

Seven of the top 10 places are in Scotland, the fastest place in the UK to sell a property, at an average of 34 days across the country. Surprisingly, the slowest area to sell a property in the UK is currently London, where it takes 65 days on average.

Hall Green in Birmingham and St. George in Bristol are the joint-fastest places to sell a home in England, with an average of just 26 days.

For more local property news and updates and a more detailed overview of the Gloucestershire area, get in touch with TG Sales & Lettings. We are your local property experts. Call us on 01452 300822 or email rachel@tgres.co.uk.

What’s Happening In The UK Property Market? March 2023

House prices have risen this month, buy-to-let mortgage choices are recovering, and there’s welcome news for homeowners in the Chancellor’s Spring Budget. Read on to find out the latest property news!

House Prices on the Rise Again

Figures released by Rightmove show that average property prices have increased in March as the housing market continues to defy predictions that it’s heading for a slump.

Prices rose by 0.8% across the country in March, only a little less than the typical 1% increase seen at this time of year for the past two decades.

The rise takes the average asking price of a property to £365,357 – an increase of nearly £3,000 on the previous month.

While spring is traditionally a buoyant time for the housing market, the increase is also partly down to a fall in mortgage rates in recent months, which soared to around 6% after the government’s mini-budget in September last year. With rates below 5% again, prices could rise modestly as we head towards summer.

Buy-to-let Mortgages Bounce Back

The buy-to-let market shows strong signs of recovery, with the number of different mortgages available at its highest level since before September’s mini-budget.

Around 2,400 buy-to-let mortgage deals are currently available to investors – a figure not seen since July 2022.

A typical two-year fixed rate mortgage can be secured, charging 5.81%, and five-year fixed rates charge a slightly more attractive 5.72%.

While these figures are encouraging for buy-to-let investors, the rates are still significantly higher than in previous years. In March 2021, the average interest rate on a two-year fixed mortgage was 2.14%.

How Does the Spring Budget Affect the Housing Market?

Mid-March saw the government’s Spring Budget revealed, and little was announced that directly impacts the housing market, but a couple of changes will affect homeowners and landlords.

While previous Budgets have seen changes to stamp duty, this year, it was explicitly focused on stimulating the economy and jobs.

For homeowners and renters, there’s some welcome relief with an extension to the support for home energy bills. The government’s previous support was due to end before April, but the extension means that bills will remain capped until the end of June. While customers will no longer receive monthly rebates of £66, the energy cap will stay at £2,500. It was previously due to increase to £3,000 from April.

In a change for landlords, the level of tax-free gains before they pay capital gains tax has been lowered, while stamp duty remains unchanged. First-time buyers are exempt from the tax for purchases under £425,000, while movers will pay no stamp duty on properties under £250,000.

Tenants Being Priced out of Major Cities

Data released by Rightmove has shown a significant rise in the number of renters priced out of major cities by rent and cost of living increases.

The figures reveal that rental prices are up 12% over the past year and that 42% of renters are looking to move out of the city they currently live in, compared with 37% a year ago and 28% in February 2020 before the Covid pandemic.

London is where most renters are being squeezed out, followed by Sheffield and Manchester, while Edinburgh is the city which has seen the most significant rise in rents, with average costs up 19% from 12 months ago.

While an increase in flexible and remote working has undoubtedly allowed some people to move out of major cities, Rightmove has confirmed that the primary drivers are the rising rental costs and increased competition for properties. Many renters are having to compromise on either location or the type of properties they are looking at to stay in the same city.

Areas Where Homes Are Selling Faster Than a Year Ago Revealed

With the housing market stabilising and buyers taking more time to look at what they can afford, the average time it takes to sell a property has increased to 66 days – an increase from 12 months ago when homes were being snapped up within 42 days on average.

However, Rightmove has released figures to show the areas where homes are bucking the trend and selling more quickly than they were this time last year.

Top of the list is Hoole in Chester, where homes sell in 32 days – more than half the national average.

It’s a similar story in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, where properties in Jesmond and Fenham are selling in just 33 days, along with Ashtead in Surrey.

At the other end of the scale, properties in Witney, Oxford, are selling in 58 days on average, which is still below the national average and much less than 12 months ago, when 75 days was the average selling time for the town.

For more local property news and updates and a more detailed overview of the Gloucestershire area, get in touch with TG Sales & Lettings. We are your local property experts. Call us on 01452 300822 or email rachel@tgres.co.uk.

What’s Happening In The UK Property Market? February 2023

Interest rates have risen yet again, average asking prices have increased by their smallest margin on record for February, and one major online estate agent has put itself on the market.

Read on to find out the latest property market news.

Interest Rates Rise Again

In a move that was widely expected, the Bank of England has raised interest rates from 3.5% to 4% – the highest level since October 2008.

It’s the 10th rise since December 2021, and means an additional £60 per month for homeowners on their repayments for a £200,000 mortgage.

However, it’s not all bad news for homeowners, with mortgage rates currently falling and economists predicting that interest rates will peak between 4.25% and 4.5% later this year before stabilising, while previous forecasts of a two-year recession have been cut in half. The economy is now predicted to contract by 1%, rather than the previously forecast 2.9%, bringing some much-needed respite to homeowners and buyers.

Average Asking Prices Increase in February…by £14

Data released by property website Rightmove has revealed the smallest increase in February property prices since their records began in 2001.

According to their figures, the average asking price of a UK property rose by just £14 for the month to £362,452.

While the increase may be minuscule, it’s a positive sign for the housing market following five straight months of falls.

However, there’s still a way to go before the market can be considered anywhere near normal, as February is traditionally a much stronger month for price growth, as sellers look to get their properties on the market before the busy spring period.

Rents see Record Increase

Figures from the major property website Zoopla have revealed record-high rental increases over the past 12 months, with renters paying an average of £120 more per month than they were at the start of 2022.

Unsurprisingly, the biggest increase was in the capital, where rents have climbed 16.1% over the past year to an average of £1,976 per month – some £270 more per month than 12 months earlier.

Other major cities, including Manchester, Edinburgh and Cardiff, have all seen double-digit growth in their percentages too, while at the opposite end of the scale, Belfast has seen the smallest rise of the UK’s major cities, with an average increase of 6.7%, or £44 per month.

Purplebricks up for Sale

Struggling online estate agent Purplebricks has put itself up for sale after revealing its expected losses for the year and a drop in revenue expectations.

The one-time online giant is forecast to make losses of between £15m and £20m this year – a sharp spiral compared to its previous estimate of £10m.

On top of this, the company’s expected revenue has also been cut to between £60m and £65m – a drop of £7.5m on its previous estimate.

The online-only firm was one of the leading lights in the property market after forming in 2012, but its share price has fallen more than 98% from its peak in August 2017. Back then, shares were trading at 514.5p, but the current price is just 7.3p per share.

Mortgage Products on the Increase

The number of mortgage products available has risen to more than 4,000 – the first time mortgage products have gone above that figure since August 2022.

Fixed rates have also continued to decrease slightly, with buyers who can put down more than 40% on a property seeing rates dropping below 5%.

And it’s not just buyers with big deposits who are seeing the benefit. Even those borrowing 95% of their home’s value can secure a fixed rate of around 5.5% if they take out a five-year product as the mortgage market continues to stabilise.

Work From Home Driving Regional Price Growth

Working from home continues to drive up house sales in various parts of the country, with the West Country seeing a significant surge in buyer demand.

One town that’s proving particularly popular is Swindon, where 40% of buyers are coming from outside the area, according to property website Zoopla, with most relocating from London.

It’s not just the capital seeing an exodus of homeworkers. Bristol is another city which has seen mass departures to smaller towns nearby, with one estate agent in North Somerset reporting that 80% of properties in Weston-Super-Mare and the surrounding areas are sold to Bristolians.

The trend of homeworkers leaving cities and moving to more rural areas was most prevalent during the Covid pandemic, as people looked to find more for their money, but these latest figures are further evidence that the trend has continued long after normality has resumed.

For more local property news and updates and a more detailed overview of the Gloucestershire area, get in touch with TG Sales & Lettings. We are your local property experts. Call us on 01452 300822 or email rachel@tgres.co.uk.