House price growth

The increase left the typical UK home costing £205,846, according to Nationwide

What’s the latest?

House price growth sped up in February with property values climbing by 0.6%.

The increase, which followed a 0.2% rise in January, left the typical UK home costing £205,846.

The annual rate at which house prices are increasing also picked up slightly during the month to stand at 4.5%, compared with 4.3% in the year to the end of January, according to Nationwide Building Society.

Why is this happening?

Nationwide said the housing market continued to be supported by the UK economy, which remained relatively strong.

Economic growth accelerated slightly between October and December, while the unemployment rate remained stable at an 11-year low of 4.8%.

But the group warned the outlook was uncertain, and the economy was likely to slow down during 2017, with consumer spending hit by the weaker pound.

Robert Gardner, Nationwide’s chief economist, said: “Nevertheless, in our view a small rise in house prices of around 2% is more likely than a decline over the course of 2017, since low borrowing costs and the dearth of homes on the market will continue to support prices.”

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Home for sale in Ascot.Above: four-bedroom home on Kings Road in Sunninghill near Ascot 

Who does it affect?

The fact that the heat appears to have come out of the property market is good news for those looking to buy a home as it takes off some of the pressure to purchase somewhere quickly.

But the ongoing shortage of homes for sale continues to be an issue as it limits choice for potential buyers.

The fact that house price growth is expected to slow further may also have an impact on stock levels, as homeowners are more likely to put their homes on the market to ‘test the water’ during periods of strong increases in property values.

Sounds interesting. What’s the background?

Nationwide said there had been a significant increase in the proportion of people buying property with cash during the past decade.

It said cash transactions had soared from just 20% of all purchases in 2005/2006 to around 35% now.

But Nationwide said the rise was driven by a decline in mortgage lending, rather than a jump in actual cash transactions.

Even so, the share of cash buyers has not fallen back as the economy has recovered and lending has picked up again.

The level of people buying with cash peaked at 38.9% in the first quarter of 2016 as investors rushed to complete purchases before new higher stamp duty rates came into force in April.

Top 3 takeaways

  • House price growth sped up in February with property values climbing by 0.6%.
  • The increase, which followed a rise of 0.2% in January, left the typical home costing £205,846.
  • The annual rate at which prices are increasing also picked up slightly during the month to stand at 4.5%, compared with 4.3% in the year to the end of January.

Get your home ready for Christmas

With presents to buy, holidays to organise and food to prepare, it’s easy to neglect your home in the run up to Christmas. As always, we’re on hand to help, so here’s a list of quick fixes to get your home sparkling in time for 25th December.

December 15, 2016

home ready for Christmas

Bring Hygge into your home

  • Embracing the Danish concept of hygge doesn’t have to involve great effort or expense – it’s a Danish term for feeling cosy, spending quality time with friends and finding pleasure in ordinary, everyday moments. So lay out some cosy throws, plump up your cushions and enjoy some time with your loved ones
  • Nothing says homely and cosy as much as a fire or wood burning stove, but mess and hassle is the last thing we want at Christmas. Save yourself time and energy with instant lighting and long-burning wrapped logs. They don’t spit, you won’t need firelighters and you’ll have a roaring fire in an instant.
  • Ensure your heating is working properly – no one wants to be sitting in a cold house with no hot water on Christmas Day

home ready for Christmas

Make room to make merry

  • Declutter surfaces to make room for guests drinks glasses and bowls of nibbles. Let’s face it, you aren’t going to touch the fruit bowl for the next few weeks. Downsize to a small bowl of festive satsumas and make space for the mulled wine and mince pies
  • Simple touches like a candle-lit mulled wine warmer will look lovely when guests come round and help spread the gorgeous smells of Christmas around your home
home ready for Christmas

 

“Before-Christmas-itus”

It’s a mild illness that you’re probably still in the throes of; the obsessions to get that job done before Christmas. While it’s now unrealistic to say you could re-decorate the guest bedroom, you could at least replace those lightbulbs that went 6 months ago before visitors arrive…

  • A quick and easy trick to enhance lighting this time of year is the humble fairy light. Plus, they’re a much safer bet than candles if you’re hosting children or elderly relatives
  • Oil squeaky door hinges, wipe paintwork doors and bannisters and clean the windows, because while we’re wishing for a white Christmas, chances are the low winter sun will be glaring in on Christmas day and showing up how good your window cleaning skills are
  • If you’re still committed to getting that job done beforehand – no matter how big or small – then consider getting some extra help and find a home service professional with Plentific

home ready for Christmas

It’s beginning to smell a lot like Christmas…

  • Stock up on some festive scent diffusers
  • Water your Christmas tree! The last thing you want is to be hoovering up pine needles on Christmas morning. Tending to your tree should also ensure it continues to give off that lovely pine aroma
  • Get rid of any dodgy smells – clean pet beds and purge your fridge / cupboards of old food to make way for Christmas dinner!
  • Give your bathtub, sink and shower a good scrub in advance of planned – and the inevitable unexpected – visitors

home ready for Christmas

A welcoming first impression

  • Tidy up the front of your house so it looks just as good as the interior. While these tips are for home sellers, they’re good ideas that we could all use
  • Leave plenty of time to make up spare bedrooms with clean sheets and towels. It always takes longer than you think, so just set aside a block of time
  • Significantly more house fires happen at Christmas time, so make sure you test smoke and carbon dioxide detectors
  • Hang a festive wreath up on the front door

You’re all set, Merry Christmas!

Stamp duty change leads to dramatic 11 per cent surge in house sales

247 Property Agent Ltd.There has been an 11 per cent increase in sales in Scotland over the past year – and one major agency puts that down squarely to the replacement of stamp duty with the more progressive Land and Buildings Transaction Tax. Christine Campbell, Your Move managing director in Scotland, says: “By cutting the cost of purchasing cheaper homes, LBTT has led to an 11 per cent increase in sales over the last year.  These figures confirm that lower purchase taxes for property can significantly boost activity in the housing market, while also making it more affordable for first-time buyers to get a foot on the ladder.” With 104,344 home sales in the last 12 months, the market has outdone the previous year’s 93,601 sales.

Campbell says the Scottish Government should now consider lifting the LBTT bands higher to support Scotland’s fragile property and construction sector however, despite the boost in sales volumes, house prices are still down 7.8 per cent year-on-year according to Your Move data.

“In part, this drop in property values was caused by a spike in high value home sales last year, before the LBTT was introduced, but today’s market hasn’t regained those losses yet” suggests Campbell.

“Most recently, despite the new LBTT surcharge adding an extra three per cent to the cost of second homes and buy to let properties, house prices have remained stable from last month. However, home sales for the first four months of the year are still well ahead on the same point in 2015, with 4,751 additional property purchases so far in 2016.

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