– Central London rents have stabilised, with marginal falls of 1.0 per cent in Q2 2009, compared to considerable falls in the previous two quarters (-6.2 per cent and -6.1 per cent respectively).
– Annually, rents are down -14.1 per cent and have fallen -14.5 per cent from peak values.
– Some of the excess supply in the rental market is dissipating as the sales market improves.
– Landlords have become more confident following improvement in the economic outlook – they are now less willing to accept large discounts on rent.

Source: Cluttons Summer Rental Report

Yesterday David Miles – author of a Government-commissioned report on the mortgage market in 2004 and a new member of the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee – said that “expectations are crucial in the housing market and they look a bit better now than a few months ago … My hunch – and I put it no stronger than that – is that we have seen most of the overall aggregate house price falls.”

The Bank, meanwhile, said that the availability of mortgage credit was expected to rise over the next few months. Earlier this week the Nationwide Building Society’s house price index registered a 0.9 per cent rise in prices during May – three out of the last four months’ figures have shown an increase; the Halifax and other indices agree.

Source: The Independent

Familes are letting out their London home to live in the country, while young executives abandon buying altogether in favour of a more flexible lifestyle.

“There is a definite move towards renting,” says Liam Bailey, head of research at Knight Frank. “It is becoming more middle class. The hiatus in the market has caused people with bigger properties who can’t sell, to rent. There is a lot of it going on with bigger, better-quality family houses available to let.” Thrusting professionals and creatives are opting for it, too.

“If the mortgage market is difficult to access without a big 10 per cent to 25 per cent deposit, buying is only possible for those with large amounts of cash.” He anticipates the rented sector could grow from nine per cent to 25 to 30 per cent of the market.

Source: Daily Telegraph

According to the Nationwide the average house price is up 0.9% and leaving it just 9.3% down on June 2008 However they throw in a curve ball by pointing out that the current stabalisation of prices comes at a time of extremely constricted supply.

– House prices rose by 0.9% in June
– Three month rate of change turns positive for first time since December 2007
– Low supply supporting prices for now, but a sustained recovery still faces risks

Source: Nationwide

Dalston – The New Property Hotspot

Prince Harry and his entourage have been spotted straying from their usual Chelsea haunts recently for a night out in – gasp – east London. Devotees of east London, known for a hipster rather than regal vibe, no doubt wish these toffs would stick to their side of the tracks.

Other recent arrivals are more welcome though: new train stations in Dalston, Hoxton and Shoreditch are set, from next year, to greatly improve the transport links for the area.

Click here to read more: The Independent

HM Revenue and Customs report a 7% rise in the number of residential properties sold in May, bringing the monthly total to its highest since October ’08. This follows yesterday’s report by the British Bankers’ Association, claiming a steady six-month rise in mortgage approvals.

Sources: HMRC, BBA and Rat & Mouse

The Rat and Mouse Property Blog reports a terrific piece in Citywire about how purchasers of £500,000 plus properties can avoid paying Stamp Duty. There are a number of systems, but what they share is a nominal “middle man”… a company that pays “85% of the purchase price”, leases the property to the buyer with an option to transfer the freehold. Because, technically, the property hasn’t actually changed hands, no Stamp Duty is payable. It’s complex, involves lawyers who’ll take up to 50% of the duty saved, but it’s real and according to Citywire, it’s happening.

Sources: Citywire & Rat and Mouse

The Council of Mortgage Lenders figures show a 16% increase in lending for new homes in April, bringing the figure to its highest since October (although still 28% lower than this time 2008).

Take up of fixed-rate products increased further as the interest rate cycle has now reached its floor, according to new data from the Council of Mortgage Lenders. In April, 69% of borrowers took out fixed rate mortgages with an average rate of 4.83%, the highest share since June 2008.

Source: Council of Mortgage Lenders

A Belfast house builder has faked a queue of first-time buyers outside an estate agents, in a bid to stimulate interest in a new development.

The PR agency for Bradkeel Developments, which is building Belfast’s Sugar Walk scheme, sent out a press release entitled ‘Worth the Wait’, with photos of people queueing, one sat in a deckchair and wrapped in a sleeping bag…

Fake Queue!

Fake Queue!

Source: Contract Journal