House prices fall by 0.6%


Land Registry figures show that house prices fell by 0.6% on both a monthly and annual basis in March.  Even London – where the property market has remained relatively strong – saw a 1.8% fall in house prices in March. It seems more than likely that these figures are related to the recent mortgage rate rises introduced by many of the banks as they struggle to balance…

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Housebuilders return to profit


Shares in Britain’s housebuilders are back in demand as all the listed housebuilding companies are in profit once more.  Taylor Wimpey nearly went out of business just three years ago but, last week, announced its first dividend since 2007. Persimmon and Bovis Homes are also in profit and have expressed optimism about their future security, albeit based on a significantly lower level of activity than in the…

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Changes in lending criteria


Stricter rules on lending criteria introduced by many of the UKs major high-street lenders have made it practically impossible for some borrowers with interest-only mortgages to move home and significantly reduced the options of those seeking a first mortgage. Many of the lenders, including the Lloyds Banking Group (which includes Halifax, Bank of Scotland, TSB and Cheltenham & Gloucester) will no longer accept cash savings, such as…

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Rush to avoid stamp duty


On paper, it’s been a promising start to the New Year.  House prices are stable (even going up by a small percentage in some areas) and British Bankers’ Association figures show that the number of mortgages approved in January of this year was 34% higher than in January 2011.  However, these figures are likely to have been distorted by the last minute rush by first-time buyers keen…

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Repossesions hit new low


Recent figures published by the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) suggest that the number of UK home repossessions in 2011 was the lowest since 2007, thanks largely to low interest rates and good arrears management by the banks.   Nevertheless, they warn that the high cost of living coupled with a rise in unemployment is likely to see more homeowners facing serious problems this year. According to the…

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Why do mortgage holders save?


Online bank, First Direct, has just released research indicating that homeowners are more likely to save spare cash rather than using it to pay down their mortgage more quickly. According to the bank, a survey of 1022 UK mortgage holders revealed that 42% are regularly saving with only half that number regularly overpaying on their mortgage.  This is despite the fact that the economic downturn has badly…

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Video helps search engine traffic


Recent research has indicated that properties marketed online with agents who offer the addition of video, receive at least 38% more viewings than those without the new technology. Online search activity continues to increase (in January, Rightmove announced an all-time record of over 34 million pages of traffic in one day) and virtual tours, including photographs and video, help give prospective buyers a real feel for the…

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HSBC impose solicitors on vendors


Up until recently it was a homebuyer’s prerogative to choose which firm of solicitors should represent them in completing the legal formalities relating to their new purchase. However, following warnings over mortgage fraud by the National Fraud Authority, and direction from the Financial Services Authority that lenders need to be more familiar with the firms they work with, lenders have begun to limit the panel of solicitors…

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Buying cheaper than renting?


In an unusual turn around of events, mortgage lender Halifax claims that buying a house is now much cheaper than renting. It calculates that the monthly cost of buying the average three-bedroom home in the UK is now £600; that’s 16% cheaper than the £716 it would cost to rent the same type of property. The anomaly has arisen as a result of would-be first-time buyers’ continued…

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East of Exe selected for pilot


DEVON ESTATE AGENT BACKS PIONEERING HOME SALES SERVICE offers a unique service providing commitment at the point of verbal offer for both sellers and buyers during the sale process A Devon estate agent has become the first in the region to pilot the innovative new scheme that could dramatically reduce the fall-through rates of house sales, a long-standing problem in the UK housing market. Leading Exeter…

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