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Following research from Post Office Money it has been revealed that many first-time buyers are now looking elsewhere to find their first home with many willing to travel an average of 26 minutes from their ideal location.

Brighton property value has soared by 8% over the past 12 months from an average property price of £352,303 in 2016, meaning that just 2% of properties in the city are affordable to first time buyers, down from 9% in 2015. Despite huge financial pressure however, many first-time buyers (44%) still find the idea of owning their own property exciting with many happy to make a compromise where possible. 

Just 1 in 6 buyers were said to be “frustrated and stressed” due to borrowing money from family and friends to achieve home ownership and almost a quarter of first-time buyers were caught out by unexpected costs during the purchase process, such as legal fees and stamp duty.

Post Office Money have labelled Brighton the least affordable city in the UK however Southampton was found to be one of the most affordable in the south. 

More than half of homes were out of reach to first-time buyers in four of the 14 cities included in the study. We will have to wait and see if any of the government initiatives employed will alter this. Will enough new affordable property get built or will more property come onto the market as a response to tax changes on landlords coupled with more strict legislation? We will have to wait and see.

 

Coventry building society are now the most recent lender to tighten their BTL (buy-to-let) lending criteria ahead of a rules change being brought in by the PRA (Prudential Regulation Authority). 

From the 14th September, applicants who own four or more properties, or are in the process of buying a fourth will now only be offered a maximum of 65% loan to value ratio with a minimum income coverage ratio of 125% against the national stress test rate of 5.5% across their entire portfolio. 

Other requirements include a period of more than 2 years between the requested purchase and when they acquired their first BTL investment and not purchasing more than three BTL properties within the past 12 months. 

Borrowers must also demonstrate they are not over-exposed to risk with lenders now being required to consider a portfolio as a whole. This means that applicants will be required to:
- Give information on their property investment experience
- Provide all details on other mortgages
- Reveal assets, liabilities, including tax
- Provide details of all historical and future cash flow from the portfolio
- Provide information on all forms of income

Coventry Building Society is the most recent lender after Accord Buy To Let and Paragon. All lenders must have the new standards implemented by the 30th September.

 

 

A landlord faces jail time and a potential fine of almost £135,000 after letting out a property without any planning permission. 

The landlord, from Walthamstow in North London, who converted his three bedroom family home in Barking into two separate flats: a one-bed flat and a two-bed flat. He failed to apply for and obtain planning permission or meet both the buildings and fire regulations to make sure the property was safe. 

The enforcement and community safety councillor, Laila Butt, told local paper the Barking and Dagenham Post that this was “blatant exploitation” by the landlord as he made an astonishing £129,755.15 in rent before he was finally stopped by authorities. 

Councillor Butt said the landlord “demonstrated a flagrant disregard for the law” and went on to say “We have procedures in place to protect people and ensure that all work meets fire regulations and safety measures.”

“The majority of landlords in our borough are responsible but we will not hesitate to take action against the few who think they can put profit ahead of people”.

The landlord in question has been fined £5,000 under Section 179 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 as well as being ordered to hand over £129,755.15 he received as unidentified cash into his bank account. He was given 3 months to repay the money or face a year behind bars.

The council were able to discover these activities due to Barking and Dagenham Council and they have said the money will be “reinvested into efforts to tackle such rogue landlords”.

 

A major deal has moved a step closer to bring 600 new homes and an Ikea store to Sussex after the club’s subsidiary, New Monks Farm Development, signed a deal with upmarket housebuilder CALA Homes (South Home Counties) to develop on the site in Lancing.

The next stage will be the submission of a planning application which could finally bring the Swedish furniture retailer to Sussex by 2019. The scheme will provide one sixth of the homes required by the Adur local plan which runs until 2032 and the deal has a commitment that 30% of the homes built will need to be affordable.

CALA currently have five ongoing sites in Sussex with property prices ranging from £299,500 to £635,000 and recently completed Schemes in Crawley and Midhurst where prices start from £975,000. Talks between Albion and CALA, which describes itself as the “most upmarket major housebuilder”, have been going on for several months.

The development will contribute £11 million to the local economy, create over 1,000 jobs, and bring £40 million of transport and road improvements. Also included in the plans is a 28 Hectare country park to keep a gap between Shoreham and Lancing and Albion are forming a company to manage flood risk issues at the site

The director of New Monks Farm Development, Martin Perry, said: “We are delighted to be working in partnership with CALA Homes to deliver new homes on this site.”

“New Monks Farm is of strategic importance to Adur District Council because it contains the largest allocation of new homes in their emerging Local Plan.”

“We have been impressed by the quality of housing that CALA intend to provide and their development will provide greatly needed high quality new homes in the Lancing area.”

 

UCAS has published it's undergraduate full time application figures from January 2017 and they have dropped to 564,190 applications. This is around 5% down on last years figures. 

Across the UK, the number applying to higher education has fallen: from England by 6%, from Northern Ireland by 5%, from Scotland by 2% and from Wales by 7%.

The figures show that the largest decreases are for older applicants from England and Wales. In England the number of 19 year old applicants has fallen by 9%, 20 year olds by 9%, 21-24 by 15%, and 25 and over by 23%.

The number of first time applicants has decreased by 4%, whilst the total re-applying to higher education has decreased by 10%. 

So how will this affect the student market? We are seeing caps on the university places become more relaxed although the caps on HMO regulations becoming stricter year on year. Brighton especially appears to have saturated the available limit for new HMO's with refusals on new HMO applications becoming frequent in most areas due to change of use planning.

With new luxury student accommodation being built around the Vogue Gyratory on Lewes Road nearly complete and more planned closer to the universities, landlords can be forgiven for being a little nervous that they will struggle to fill their property. 

Following discussions with Harry Hillary of Brighton University Accommodation department, they’ve been asked to house more tenants for the next academic year than ever before.  In spite of the national figures being down on university applications Brighton attracts a wealth of Students for a wide variety of reasons and usually fall outside of the national averages.  

Both Brighton and Sussex universities attract huge numbers of international students which is not taken into account with these figures. MTM have been invited once again to attend Brighton house hunting events at Brighton University to help house the hundreds of students who are booking on to attend so we’re not worried about our ability to help landlords find the right tenants.

Furthermore UCAS have published that demand is ever increasing for 18 year old applicants and they expect there are likely to be around 10,000 more applicants for the 2017 cycle of education before September.