Monday, 28 October 2013
Saturday, 19 October 2013
Here are the 10 most affordable rural local authority districts according to Halifax's findings, with the average house price and the house price to annual local earnings ratio:
1. Copeland, North West, £ 100,791, 2.7
2. Stirling, Scotland, £ 149,838, 3.4
3. East Ayrshire, Scotland, £ 100,382, 3.5
4. Western Isles, Scotland, £ 102,592, 3.7
5. Pendle, North West, £ 101,296, 3.9
6. North Lincolnshire, Yorkshire and the Humber, £ 125,276, 4.0
7. Shetland Islands, Scotland, £ 140,610, 4.3
8. West Lindsey, East Midlands, £ 135,343, 4.4
9. Selby, Yorkshire and the Humber, £ 158,055, 4.4
10. Allerdale, North West, £ 133,364, 4.4
Here are the 10 least affordable rural local authority districts according to Halifax's findings, with the average house price and the house price to annual local earnings ratio:
1. Cotswolds, West Midlands, £ 318,128, 9.4
2. Torridge, South West, £201,076, 8.2
3. North Dorset, South West £215,906, 8.0
4. Chiltern, South East, £407,012, 7.6
5. East Devon, South West, £213,677, 7.5
6. Vale of White Horse, South East, £288,522, 7.4
7. Teignbridge, South West, £202,566, 7.4
8. North Devon, South West, £194,000, 7.4
9. East Dorset, South West, £281,760, 7.3
10. East Hampshire, South East, £291,990, 7.3
The recent wave of first-time buyers into Britain's property market is helping to close the house price gap between urban and rural properties, a study has suggested.
But people buying a home in a rural retreat still pay nearly £24,000 more typically than those purchasing a property in a city, Halifax found.
In the past four years, the gap has been narrowing, with the average price of a home in an urban area rising at five times the rate of one in the countryside, at 10% compared with just 2%.
Halifax said this could reflect a recent increase in first-time buyers coming into the market to snap up properties. First-time buyers account for two-fifths (40%) of house purchases using a mortgage in rural areas, but in towns and cities they make up more than half (52%) of such transactions.
The Government has introduced a string of schemes to improve mortgage access. A mortgage price war was sparked after its Funding for Lending scheme was introduced last year and from this month people with deposits as low as 5% have been able to apply for state-backed mortgages under the Government's flagship Help to Buy scheme.
Lenders have been handing out more mortgages in recent months to first-time buyers than in any other period since the credit crunch started.
Halifax found that a house in a rural area costs £206,423 on average, which is 13% more than the typical cost of a property in an urban area at £182,710.
While a "rural premium" exists in every region across Britain, it ranges from £86,218 in the South East to £11,570 in the North East.
In percentage terms, people living in the West Midlands pay the biggest premium to live in a rural area, at 59%, while those living in the North East pay the least at 9%.
The average house price in the countryside is equivalent to 6.3 times gross annual average earnings, while in urban areas it is lower and therefore potentially more affordable, at 4.9.
Halifax found only five rural areas in Britain where house prices cost less than four times local annual earnings typically, which is the long-term average.
Copeland in Cumbria was named as the most affordable rural area, where the house price-to-earnings ratio was 2.7. This was followed by the Scottish regions of Stirling, where the ratio is 3.4, East Ayrshire where it is 3.5 and the Western Isles, with a ratio of 3.7. Pendle in Lancashire completed the list, with a ratio of 3.9.
At the other end of the scale, the Cotswolds were the least affordable area in rural Britain, with average house prices standing at £318,128 which is 9.4 times the local average income.
First-time buyers account for less than one quarter (23%) of house purchases in the Cotswolds, according to Halifax, marking the smallest proportion in Britain, while Copeland was found to have the biggest percentage share of people taking their first step on the ladder, at 58%.
Martin Ellis, housing economist at Halifax, said: "There is a significant premium on property in the countryside across Great Britain.
"Country living remains a widespread aspiration, but relatively high prices put rural homes out of the reach for many. Potential first-time buyers are particularly affected by high property prices, and consequently they account for a smaller proportion of homebuyers in the countryside than in urban areas."
Halifax used official figures and its own house price database to make its findings.
Here are average house prices by region, with the typical price of a rural property in 2013 followed by that of an urban property, and the percentage difference or "premium" in monetary and percentage terms:
:: North East, £137,010, £125,440, £11,570, 9%
:: North West, £ 200,997, £131,938, £69,059, 52%
:: Yorkshire and The Humber, £ 175,466, £127,452, £48,014, 38%
:: East Midlands, £ 179,692, £134,412, £45,280, 34%
:: West Midlands, £ 231,996, £145,801, £86,196, 59%
:: East of England, £ 235,876, £204,863, £31,013, 15%
:: South East, £318,185, £231,968, £86,218, 37%
:: South West, £232,630, £183,048, £49,583, 27%
:: Scotland, £ 160,374, £137,352, £23,022, 17%
:: Wales, £ 154,270, £131,184, £23,086, 18%
:: London (urban only), £ 316,293 n/a
:: Britain, £ 206,423, £182,710, £23,712
Friday, 18 October 2013
Thursday, 10 October 2013
One third of tenants allege they have suffered a ‘retaliatory’ eviction or been threatened with one after making a complaint to their landlords about the condition of a property, or after asking for repairs to be carried out.
The claim comes from a survey carried out by online community The Tenants’ Voice.
While the figure seems very high, it is not clear whether it is disaffected tenants who have had bad experiences and who are drawn to the organisation and its website.
Nor is it clear whether these are tenants of landlords who by and large do not use managing agents: the survey says that 61% of tenants would prefer to talk to the agent through whom they found the property.
The site, which says 2,000 tenants took part in the survey, also claims that 61% of tenants are wary about complaining to their landlords and that damp is the number one complaint from 59% of tenants.
Seven in ten (71%) tenants in the survey claim to have paid for repairs to a rental property out of their own pocket rather than report the problem to their landlords.
Six in ten (61%) tenants polled said they had asked their landlords in the past to make repairs and that the landlords had been difficult or flatly refused to sort the problem out.
As well as damp, tenants said they had complained to their landlords about the general disrepair of the properties, while boilers and electrics were also a common focus for complaints.
Glenn Nickols, director of The Tenants’ Voice, said: “While 86% of tenants have never heard of retaliatory evictions according to our poll, a third of the tenants we surveyed who have been evicted or threatened with eviction have actually fallen foul of this practice.
“If tenants are not comfortable about approaching their landlords, then a good letting agent can be extremely helpful in resolving any problems.”
Tuesday, 8 October 2013
A lack of available properties and "burgeoning" demand among buyers has forced house prices up in Scotland, according to a monthly survey.
The Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (Rics) found house prices increased in September.
Last month, 32% more respondents reported prices rises rather than falls in the Rics survey.
A net balance of 78% more surveyors also reported an increase in new-buyer inquiries.
However, Rics said the lack of homes coming onto the market resulted in the number of new instructions failing to keep pace with the "burgeoning" level of demand.
Looking ahead, more than half of those surveyed expected prices to continue to rise in the next three months.'Big concern'
Responding to the latest survey, Rics director Sarah Speirs said: "It's encouraging that the market is starting to improve in all parts of the country, with more buyers looking to make a move and more sales going through.
"Even so, it's a big concern that the supply of property coming to the market is lagging so far behind demand, particularly with the recent launch of Help to Buy in Scotland.
"This imbalance is likely to result in further upward pressure in prices over the coming months, particularly in popular areas."
The report comes as it was revealed that house prices in and around Aberdeen have more than doubled in the last decade.
Data from the Nationwide Building Society showed that the increase is only matched by Islington and Westminster in London.
The growth in the north east has been largely put down to the expanding oil and gas industry and the workers it attracts to the area.