Wednesday, 30 May 2007

Housing Planning Applications

Last week the UK government announced plans to modify the planning process in this country. Amongst the key changes mooted, are plans to remove the requirements to get permission for extensions and conservatories; as long as they pass a local impact test. This may well be good news for property investors and home owners alike.

A standard single planning application form is to be created, and the planning process would be streamlined from 16 to a maximum of 8 weeks. The Government is also adamant that changes to proposed plans should not mean that plans have to be resubmitted and thus incur additional planning fees. More funding is being made available for Planning Departments so that these changes can take effect.

UK property investors could benefit greatly from the proposed plans which would make the prospect of undertaking renovation and extending property a much more attractive prospect. Thus easily adding value to the property and allowing greater profits to be secured on sale.

The price of property is still showing very little signs of slowing which as we have discussed is due to the lack of supply of quality housing for rent. Property investors have known for years that an improvement work such as an extension can boost the value of a property significantly.

Thursday, 24 May 2007

House prices on the up

So house prices are still charging northwards according to reports of the state of the housing market during the first quarter of this year – meaning that those of us in the buy to let sector can continue to battle on.

Should house prices begin to go back down, this will not be that bad for property investors, as long as they have done their homework. If you have properly researched your property then they should almost always have people desperate to rent your property. The latest official statistics from the Department of Communities and Local Government (DCLG), suggest that the average house price in the UK is now £206,890 - a figure that has risen more than £2,000 since February. Not bad for a couple of months work.

The Bank of England also appear to be on our side having raised interest rates by an additional 0.25 percent recently. In addition the minutes from that particular meeting suggest that some members would actually have liked to raise the rate by half a percent, so I guess more rate rises are on the cards then.

So which group is hardest hit by this rate rise? Our target market of young professionals and first time buyers of course. Young professionals can very rarely afford to buy their own property, whilst first-time buyers often rent for a period before taking the plunge into the housing market.

Wednesday, 23 May 2007

HIPs u turn

Ok so the title is not very original, but it's true. First of all I read with amusement on the BBC News site that HIPs (Home Information Packs) have basically been stopped by a Judge's ruling.

Ruth Kelly, Communities Secretary announced yesterday to MPs that the packs would be delayed for two months whilst more assessors were being trained. Apparently of the 2000 that are required, only 520 are fully trained. opps!

Then this morning I find out that in fact only houses with four bedrooms or more will have to have the packs initially.....err that would be after the two month delay then :-) Because the number of assessors will still not be up to the figure required.

Dubai property hotspot

I was reading about Dubai Property over at and I remembered a conversation I had with a friend only yesterday. We were talking about Dubai and how their tax laws basically allowed you to pretty much take home what you earn, then we started discussing property investment there.

It seems like a very good place to start looking for property to invest in abroad, especially as a lot of the country's current residents are not property owning citizens. However, i've always been a bit wary of buying something when I don't really have that much information on it; especially if it is a big purchase.

If i'm buying a property in the UK, I can see what the house prices in the street have been for the past couple of years, what the schools are like, is it near a train station, what the current resident demographics are; and maybe that just makes me a bit warey.

Some good news, I'm soon going to be able to release info on opportunity for a few more people to get into the property investment game. The best bit is the rental income is guaranteed. Leave a comment and I can send you the info as soon as it's released.

Tuesday, 22 May 2007

Housing market still boyant?

New figures relaesed today show that mortgage approvals and mortgage lending have dropped finally. Experts claim that this is not in fact a sign of the house prices falling, because the small supply of property that people want is still keeping the market boyant. Gotta love market forces :-)

The fall of 8% in April of mortgage approvals compared with the same time last year was announced by the Building Societies Association.

To be fair, after having been kicked by the last four interest rate rises, thats probably what the Bank of England were expecting to happen. Reports are also circulating taht the Bank of England is planning to raise rates again soon.

Planning application time cut

Ruth Kelly, the UK Communities and Local Government Secretary has released a new white paper which outline splans for a new independent planning commision to make decisions on major building projects such as airports, motorways and power stations.

Kelly cited the example of Heathrow Terminal Five which had to wait seven years for planning approval. A nine month limit on planning applications is set to be imposed, although some projects may stretch this limit. An additional stipulation is that a new legal requirement be put upon developers to consult with the public on big projects.

Although if the state of tendering in this country is anything to go by, then the developers will find ways around any legal thresholds. As it stands at present, many big companies try exceptionally hard to split OJEC projects up into different projects to avoid the economic thresholds.

It should be interesting to watch though.

Friday, 18 May 2007

Skyrocketing UK house prices in May

Skyrocketing UK house prices in May

Your Move, the property people, have released information which appears to be forecasting a 1.65% increase in the exchange price of the average UK property in May 2007.

How is the predictor worked out?

Your Move's agreed sales data (Jan / Feb) which is adjusted to reflect the Land Registry's sales distribution in those months is used to calculate this figure. The predictor anticipates the average house price when it exchanges will rise 1.65% to £179,750 over May 2007, as the market picks up after a slight drop in February.

As agreed prices (the value agreed when a buyer's offer is accepted) continue to rise, this suggests that demand will remain strong in the coming months. Actual agreed prices - typically reached eleven weeks prior to exchange – rose 1.64% on average in April, to £183,761 from £180,803 in March. This follows the same longer term trend of an upward swing in agreed prices, which have risen 7.00% year-on-year.

The data being analysed indicates that agreed prices were also significantly closer to those of sellers' asking prices this month. As a percentage of asking prices, agreed prices were up to 91.83% compared with 91.35% for March 2007.

There is growth in new property coming onto the market, which is believed to be driven by the rush to beat the introduction of HIPs in June. Property agents across the UK are already experiencing an uplift.

The reality is investment in property still seems to remain a very good long term investment.

Tuesday, 15 May 2007

French or Spanish property for sale?

Rightmove, recently released information suggesting that Spain is loosing it’s crown as the place that most British investors are looking to buy property investments. Instead Provincial France is becoming the hot favourite.

Rachael Porter from online property investment house Simple Property Investments commented that “it is interesting to see buyers looking abroad both in Spain and France for high yielding rentals, when the UK still offers some really good investments.”

However given the close proximately of France to the British Isles, many investors are looking for second homes ‘en France’ to provide a holiday home or base for travel to London. Whereas the Spanish market is still primarily for pure investment and rental purposes, rather than leisure.

Friday, 11 May 2007

Property investment rental

Property Investment Rental

I recently read a post from way back in July of last year about the fact that the BBC reported that new laws affecting HMO’s were due to come in.

It was on the 6 July 2004 that new rules which govern the upkeep of large rental property, including but not limited to student houses, in England came into force.

A report stated that residents in houses of multiple occupation (HMO) statistically suffer a higher incidence of injury and death as a result of accidents, than other types of property.

The normal Governmental response was to introduce legislation in the form of the Housing Act 2004 to improve the quality and safety of rental properties.

Now HMOs must meet particularly rigorous fire standards. They require fire doors, emergency lights, alarms in the mains power supply, signs on the walls for the escape routes and door locks will have to be fitted. More details about this can be found on the government website above.

Some types of HMOs will require a licence to be granted by the local authority.

Sceptics will argue that charging a landlord £1100 for a license may not infact make the house safer, but I think good on whoever supported this exceptional piece of legislation.