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Video round up 27.02.15 - Watch the weekly news from Estate Agent Today  27 Feb 15

Watch the latest weekly video roundup of news from Estate Agent Today and Letting Agent Today, featuring stories on US agency Keller Williams' entrance into the UK, Liverpool City Council's confirmation of the largest landlord licensing scheme in the country and a rather mysterious weight restriction on tenants' pets in Hyde Park One.Estate Agent TodayWeekly Round UpVideo]]>

Rightmove consolidates number one portal role  27 Feb 15

Rightmove’s traffic grew 10 per cent in 2014 to 15.4 billion pages and its leads to agents grew 19 per cent to 42.8m according to its annual results out this morning. The portal’s revenue is up 19 per cent and its operating profit up 20 per cent as it hammers home its position as the country’s dominant property portal.    It also says its number of estate agency and new homes advertisers is up 5.0 per cent to 19,304 - up from 18,425 a year earlier.   Shareholders are to receive a total dividend of 35p for the year, up a quarter from the previous year’s 28p.    Rightmove says it has lost only 260 branches to OnTheMarket, a rival portal launched last month. Chief executive Nick McKittrick says: “We are delighted that nearly every agent in the UK has chosen to remain on Rightmove following the recent launch of a new entrant, OnTheMarket.com, cementing Rightmove as the best property advertising option in the UK. As at the end of February customer numbers were unchanged from our record year end position."   He also claims that his portal's popularity with the British home moving public "has gone from strength to strength as more home movers visited more often and spent more time on Rightmove than ever in 2014" adding that "the trend continues with a record 100 million visits and 1.5 billion pages of property viewed in January as more home movers visit the only place with one million properties in the UK.”         rightmovePortalsInternet]]>

OTM senior agents still on more than one other portal  27 Feb 15

Research by Estate Agent Today has revealed that many of the leading agents behind OnTheMarket are continuing to advertise properties on more than one other portal. As of yesterday, Carter Jonas, Douglas & Gordon, Gascoigne Halman, Jackson-Stops & Staff, Kinleigh Folkard & Hayward, Knight Frank, Savills, SpicerHaart, Webbers and Winkworth have at least some of the inventories on home.co.uk as well as OnTheMarket and one of the big two portals, Rightmove or Zoopla.   In addition, Gascoigne Halman and Spicerhaart also have properties on mouseprice.co.uk.    It still remains unclear how OnTheMarket’s contoversial one other portal ruling will be policed, if at all, or whether founding agents or those with representatives on the board of Agents’ Mutual may be exempted.    As we reported earlier this month, OTM temporarily ‘rested’ properties listed by Statons, an agency with six offices in Hertfordshire and north London, after an Estate Agent Today story said the agency had tweeted that it was not going to abide by the portal rule. Earlier this week at least one office of Winkworth pulled its listings from OnTheMarket and returned to Zoopla after it was discovered that it was listing on three portals in defiance of the OTM ruling. Winkworth says around 20 per cent of its offices are not with OTM.   OnTheMarketPortalsWinkworth]]>

75% of sales in January below asking price - NAEA  27 Feb 15

Nearly three quarters of houses in January were sold at less than asking price according to the National Association of Estate Agents. NAEA member agents found that 73 per cent of homes were sold for less than asking price in January, 17 per cent more than the same month last year.    An average of eight houses were sold per branch in January, compared to the seasonally low five in December.   “The stamp duty reforms have already created movement. Following this, sellers may have hiked up prices to take advantage of buyers’ increased budgets. But it seems buyers are counter-acting this by negotiating prices back down” says Mark Hayward, the association’s managing director.    Supply and demand were both down at the start of the year, indicating that the market is cooling off.    Supply was down to 44 properties available per member branch, compared to an average 47 for the whole year in 2014 and 45 in December. Demand saw a two per cent jump too, with the number of potential buyers registered per branch falling from 360 in December to 353 in January.    “The housing market is based solely on sentiment and so if consumers feel an ounce of uncertainty, this will result in a temporary lull” predicts Hayward.   NAEAasking priceshousing market]]>

First time buyer deposits now nearing £30,000  27 Feb 15

First-time buyer deposits have climbed 15 per cent in a year to average almost £30,000 according to agency chains Your Move and Reeds Rains. The average first-time buyer deposit was £29,127 in January, up 7.0 per cent compared to December 2014 and 15.0 per cent higher than £25,314 in January 2014.    First-time buyers are saving the largest amount for their deposit since July 2013, eighteen months ago, as savings from December’s stamp duty changes take effect.   This has also helped drive rising purchase prices for first-time buyer homes, which have climbed to a new record. New buyers paid an average of £160,304 in January, 12 per cent more than £143,343 a year ago.   Revisions to the stamp duty slab system have reduced the upfront costs for many first-time buyers, allowing them to divert that cash into a deposit fund. First-time buyers paying the average purchase price would have been liable for stamp duty fees of around £1,600 before the graduated system was implemented, but this would now have been reduced to £700 – saving them roughly £900.   The agencies claims that simultaneously, as wages start to see a significant pick-up in real terms, growing purchasing power is reflected in the average first-time buyer LTV. Loan-to-value ratios have fallen 1.1 percentage points over the last three months, suggesting deflation and growing wages are allowing first-time buyers to put together slightly larger deposits.  Despite this, the average loan-to-income ratio for first-time buyers has risen on an annual basis. On average, deposits now represent 75.4 per cent of a first-time buyer’s annual income, compared to 70.6 per cent a year ago.  First Time BuyersDepositsReeds Rain]]>

More help for good causes as Agents Do Charity  27 Feb 15

Thanks so much for keeping us informed of good work done by our industry for those who are less fortunate than ourselves.  We’ll gladly publcise your efforts - just let us know what you are doing on press@estateagenttoday.co.uk.   Here are this week’s heroes...   Deposit Protection Service: Charities that received £20,000 in funding from the DPS have announced how the money is helping combat homelessness and support those in need.   It’s now been more than six months since the first round of donations from the DPS saw The Homesavers Charity receive £7,500, The 700 Club receive £7,500 and The Sanctuary Trust receive £5,000.   Funding from the DPS has ensured that The 700 Club in Darlington can help more vulnerable clients gain a tenancy in the private rental sector, particularly the more chaotic ones, and be supported in sustaining it.   In Merseyside, The Homes avers Charity has helped families gain access to private housing and save for their own deposits, including a Liverpool woman given just 28 days to leave her property, ensuring her son no longer had to move schools.   And homeless men in Rochdale cooked a festive feast for managers at the Sanctuary Trust over Christmas after the DPS’s donation paid for personal development training and recreational activities, including cooking classes.   Kevin Firth, Director of The Deposit Protection Service, says: “We’ve been working in the housing sector for seven years, during which we’ve protected over a million deposits, and The Deposit Protection Service’s Charity Donations Fund is designed to give something back to the communities in which we work.   The DPS decides on new awards from the Fund quarterly, and applications for the next round of donations close on March 31.   -   Scope: Six members of the Mishon Mackay team in Brighton have run in the town’s half marathon, raising £2,000 for Scope - some 200 per cent of their target.   All donations are being matched by the company so it’s not too late to chip in - https://www.justgiving.com/Mishon-Mackay1   Timings ranged from 1 hour 41 minutes to 2 hours 20 minutes and the heroic team consisted of director Marc Cox, Damien Dunford, Chris Pearson, Jay Melton- Ball, George Wayne and Mary Jayne Atkins.   Well done!   -   Just Be A Child: Hitchin based online estate agent Hatched is to sponsor Steve McAlinden from Stevenage this month, fundraising for local charity Just Be A Child, which supports young people in the UK and in Kenya. Nominated by a friend, Steve is the latest benefactor of Hatched’s monthly sponsorship of individual fundraisers.   Steve will embark upon a series of personal challenges over the coming months, each with its own individual fundraising target. First up, at £500, is facing his fears by getting snug with a snake, followed by a £1,000 target for tackling his terror of tarantulas. At £2,500, a paraglide will hopefully help him ‘outfly’ his fear of heights, whilst at £4,000, standing up to a skydive will reap the biggest rewards for Steve’s chosen charity.   Adam Day, managing director of Hatched, says: “Our national reach has meant that we have been able to sponsor charities all over the UK in recent months, which is as rewarding for us as it is for those we sponsor. To donate to a charity local to our headquarters in Hitchin is especially exciting for us and we just hope Steve manages to overcome some of his fears whilst also raising these all-important funds for a very worthy cause.”   To sponsor Steve or to nominate a fundraiser for next month, visit Hatched’s blog: www.hatched.co.uk/blog.   -   Help For Heroes: Here’s a message from Andrew Jenkins, general managr at Diamonds Estate Agents in Wales.   “We are raising money for Help for Heroes this year and aim to hit our target of £3,000 by January 2016. Our first event is our team’s climb of Pen Y Fan in the Brecon Beacons which is the highest peak in South Wales. We have raised over £400 already and donations can be made via our Just Giving page:    https://www.justgiving.com/DiamondsEstateAgents/?utm_source=Twitter&utm_medium=fundraisingpage&utm_content=DiamondsEstateAgents&utm_campaign=pfp-tweet”   Good luck!      Agents Do CharityDPSMishon MackayDiamondsHatched]]>

Most owners in England now own outright  26 Feb 15

The latest English Housing Survey, just released by the government, gives a startling insight into the housing market - including the revelation that for the first time the majority of owner occupiers own their homes outright, without a mortgage. However, home ownership levels have now fallen to a 29-year low with a particularly shocking collapse of the number of 25-34 year old owner occupiers - only 36 per cent of households in that age category are owner-occupiers, compared to 59 per cent a decade ago.    Owner occupiers remained the biggest sector, with 14.3 million households, or just under two-thirds of the 22.6 million total, owning outright or with a mortgage. For the first time in over 30 years most owner-occupation households are now mortgage-free.    Some 7.4m households were outright owners while 6.9m are mortgagors. The majority of outright owners, 4.5m households, had at least one resident aged 65 and over.   Key facts for 2013-14 include:   - There were an estimated 22.6 million households in England. Overall, 63 per cent or 14.3 million were owner occupiers, of which 33 per cent (7.4m) owned outright and 31 per cent (6.9m) buying with a mortgage. This has changed from 2012-13, when equal proportions were owned outright and with a mortgage.    - The proportion of all households in owner occupation increased steadily from the 1980s to 2003 when it reached a peak of 71 per cent. Since then, there has been a gradual decline in owner occupation to the current 63 per cent.   - Only one per cent of owner occupiers (212,000 households) were overcrowded in 2013-14 compared with six per cent of social renters (236,000) and five per cent of private renters (218,000).    - In contrast, half of all owner occupiers were under-occupying their home, substantially higher than private renters (15 per cent) and social renters (10 per cent).    - There were 6.3m households in England with a head of household of 65 years of age or older in 2013-14. The majority (77 per cent) of these households were owner occupiers. Of these, 4.5m owned their home outright and 334,000 were still paying off a mortgage,    - The proportion of households with at least one resident aged 65 or over, that were outright owners, increased from 65 per cent in 2003-04 to 72 per cent in 2013-14.    - In 2013, 4.8m dwellings (21 per cent) failed to meet the decent homes standard, a reduction of 2.9m homes since 2006, when around a third (35 per cent) of homes failed to meet the decent home standard.      The majority of stats in the survey, and undoubtedly the most startling results, concerned the growth in the private rented sector:   - In 2013-14, 19 per cent (4.4m) of households were renting privately, up from 18 per cent in 2012-13 and 11 per cent in 2003. The proportion of households renting social housing remained steady at 17 per cent (3.9m).   - In 2013-14 almost half (48 per cent) of all households aged 25-34 rented privately, up from 45per cent in 2012-13. The proportion in this age group living in the private rented sector has more than doubled from 21 per cent in 2003-04. Over the same 10 years, owner occupation in this age group dropped from 59 per cent to 36 per cent.    - In 2013-14, average weekly private rents were £281 in London and £145 outside of London. There was a smaller difference between average weekly social rents in London (£125) and outside London (£87).    - In 2013-14, the private rented sector accounted for 4.4m or 19 per cent of households. Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, the proportion of private sector households stayed steady at around 10 per cent. However, the sector has undergone sharp growth since then and has doubled in size since 2002, driven by a number of factors. In the late 1990s rent controls were removed, and assured shorthold tenancies became the standard, giving greater flexibility in the length of tenancies. Lenders also introduced the buy-to-let mortgage at around the same time.    - In London, the proportion of households in the private rented sector increased from 14 per cent to 30 per cent between 2003-04 and 2013-14. Over the same period, the proportion of households in London that were owner occupied, but buying with a mortgage declined from 39 per cent to 27 per cent. In London, the private rented sector became as large as the mortgagor sector in 2013-14.    - The proportion of private rented households with a HRP aged 65 or over remained low (five per cent) over the 10 year period.   - In the private rented sector, households with children increased in both proportion and number between 2003-04 (29 per cent) and 2013-14 (36 per cent). With strong growth in the overall number of private renters over this time, the moderate percentage point increase equates to about one million more households with children. There was no significant change in proportion of social rented households with dependent children between 2003-04 (35 per cent) and 2013-14 (33 per cent).English Housing SurveyOwner OccupiersMortgages]]>

Russians head London's property winners  26 Feb 15

Data from Hometrack shows that Russians have been the big winners in the league table of foreign buyers who have snapped up homes in prime central London in recent years. Hometrack says overseas buyers of PCL property saw capital values rise by 80 per cent over the last five years. The drop in the value of sterling between 2007 and 2009, combined with a 17 per cent fall in property prices, made London appear good value to overseas buyers with extremely strong demand in 2009-2010.   Changes in currencies over the same period delivered even stronger gains and Russian buyers have seen the biggest gains on the weakness in the rouble in the last six months.  “However, rouble backed buyers who do not already own London property will now find it much more expensive to buy which looks set to impact demand and pricing levels with a drop in prime London prices in the last quarter of 2014” according to Richard Donnell, Hometrack’s research director.    “While prime London property prices have grown by 80 per cent in the last six years, changes in currencies can boost the gains for overseas buyers. This is good news for those overseas buyers who already own property but it can make London look less affordable for those who do not own housing” he says.    “Fluctuations in currencies together with tax changes and the threat of a mansion tax are cooling demand for prime London housing and values have started to slip back as result”.      RussiansHometrackRichard Donnell]]>

Mortgages latest sign of London market slowdown  26 Feb 15

There was a 16 per cent drop in the value of mortgage loans for buying in London in the fourth quarter of 2014, compared to the previous three months. The total of 20,800 loans valued at £5.8 billion is also six per cent lower than in the same final quarter of 2013.   "London is a unique market, with equally unique conditions and challenges, which will need a focus on all types of housing tenure going forward. 2014 had the highest annual level of borrowers buying a home in London since 2007, with first-time buyers leading that growth, but there have been recent signs of the market cooling. The dip in the last quarter of the year may suggests that affordability pressures do still persist” according to Paul Smee, director general of the Council of Mortgage Lenders, which released the figures.  Lending in Greater London accounted for 21.5 per cent of all-UK house purchase activity last year, down from 22.6 per cent in 2013. Meanwhile first-time buyers in London were advanced 48,800 loans representing £11.8 billion - actually seven per cent higher by volume compared to 2013 and 18 per cent higher by value.  CMLlondonhousing market]]>

Mortgages lead 25% profits boost for Connells  26 Feb 15

Connells has announced pre-tax profits of £63.2m compared to £50.2m last year, allowing it to claim it is “the most profitable UK estate agency group.” The group puts much of the rise down to investment in its mortgage services division, which recorded a 12.8 per cent uplift in completed mortgages in 2014.   “We focused on investing in the division and growing our capability through infrastructure, boosting mortgage consultant numbers to over 500 - our highest ever head count - and providing extensive training for all advisors” according to Adrian Scott, Connells Group mortgage services director.  The company - which acquired the Peter Alan agency last summer - says mortgage services remains a core focus for Connells in 2015 with further investment and expansion planned. The group says it has strong relationships with its lender partners enabling it to offer exclusive deals due to its highly controlled and robust distribution model.  Connells GroupMortgageshousing market]]>

 
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