Monday, 20 January 2014

Payday loans helping pay mortgage or rent

Research commissioned by Shelter has found that nearly one in five rent or mortgage-payers has borrowed money to cover their housing costs.
The charity says 2% – the equivalent of nearly a million people in Britain – have taken out a payday loan to help pay the rent or mortgage.
In the past year, the number of people going to Shelter because they can’t pay their rent or mortgage has risen by almost a third. But the charity’s advisers are warning that for every person seeking help, many will be keeping their problems hidden.
The survey found that as many as one in four people would feel too ashamed to ask for help if they couldn’t cover their housing costs – and even more wouldn’t admit their problems to family or friends.
Liz Clare, a helpline adviser for Shelter, stressed that there is no shame in struggling with your rent or mortgage:
“These days, we could all find ourselves at risk of losing our home. Falling behind with the rent or mortgage can happen to any of us and it’s nothing to be ashamed of. Anyone at the school gates, in the supermarket or at work could be silently struggling.
“Times are tough, and we often hear from people who’ve reached crisis point because they haven’t felt able to ask for help earlier. Making the first step to ask for help is difficult, but advice from an expert early on can make the difference between losing your home and keeping it.”
Shelter is urging people to get advice early through its website, helpline or face-to-face services for the best chance of keeping their home. Advice can range from negotiating ‘mortgage holidays’ with lenders to helping with realistic repayment plans for rent arrears.
Campbell Robb, chief executive of Shelter, said: “Sky-high housing costs, stagnating wages and the high cost of living have taken their toll. The economy as a whole might be on the up, but losing our home could now be a frighteningly real prospect for any one of us.

Thursday, 16 January 2014

How many house hunters logged onto @Rightmove on Christmas Day

New data from Rightmove reveals a 20% increase in people looking for their dream home eetween Christmas Eve and New Year’s Day compared with 2012.

On Christmas Day there were nearly 14 million page views and over 10,000 people took time out from the festivities to send emails to agents.
On Boxing Day it got even busier, with page views jumping to over 25 million, up 21% on 2012. Views peaked on New Year’s Day, at over 38 million page views.
Those who unwrapped new smartphones or tablets at Christmas were eager to house hunt too – there were over 26,000 downloads of the Rightmove app across the various platforms between Christmas Eve and Boxing Day.
Matthew James, Head of Communications at Rightmove, comments: 
“Whether it was people waiting for Santa to come, having a look post-Christmas dinner, or trying out the app on their new device, people clearly took advantage of some free time over the holiday season to look for a new home.  Many will have been those thinking about making changes in the New Year or potential sellers may have been having a look at asking prices or sold prices of other similar properties to their own.  But it wasn’t just people browsing the site as thousands of house-hunters registered their interest in properties they wanted to view, showing that there are a large number of active buyers out there.
“The market really picked up in the second half of 2013, and this increased interest from Rightmove users looking for a home compared to last year, added to the number of first-time buyers being at a three year high, increased lending and the government’s phase two of Help to Buy, all made for a very busy start for agents in 2014.”
Property searching on a mobile device has been growing steadily over the past few years and now accounts for over one third (37%) of all page views to Rightmove. Rightmove’s mobile site has recently been updated to include bigger images for people to browse, as pictures are one of the most important aspects of a listing that people want to look at before viewing a property.  New apps have also been launched for iPhoneiPadAndroidKindle and Windows Phonein recent months, including a new Windows tablet app just before Christmas.

Number of UK house sales doubles

(Source BBC)The number of UK homes sold per surveyor has more than doubled since the depth of the housing market downturn, a survey suggests.
Just over 21 sales per estate agency branch were recorded in the final three months of 2013, the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (Rics) said.
This was the highest number since March 2008, and up from 9.8 in January 2009.
The survey found surveyors expected prices and sales to keep rising.
Supply shortage
Rising prices - which have been a feature of recent months - have mainly been the result of more buyers chasing the relatively few homes on the market.
"Unless we see a marked increase in the number of homes coming up for sale we could well be looking at a price rises becoming unsustainable in some areas," said Peter Bolton King, global residential director at Rics.
A number of commentators have predicted average price rises of between 4% and 8% in the UK in 2014.
The latest house price survey from the Office for National Statistics showed that year-on-year property price growth stood at 5.4% in the UK in November.
Excluding London and the south east of England, the ONS said prices were up by 3.1%.
The Bank of England has recently pulled back from offering cheaper funds for lenders to hand on in mortgages through the Funding for Lending scheme.