So, here we are! At last, we have come to the end of the final week before our much-anticipated “Freedom Day” on Monday 19th July.
It is impossible to ignore the change in the atmosphere as we all look forward to seeing what life will be like on the flip side of this strange coin. It will be a new taste of freedom for many, and if we’re very lucky, could mark the beginning of the end of this unprecedented chapter in our world history.
Now, let’s take a look at all the headlines that caught our attention this week. I always try to summarise the links to save you having to click through.
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- Average Rents Hit Record £1,000 Per Month – Data released by Rightmove has revealed that the average National asking price for rent in areas outside London is now over £1,000 pcm. With asking rents rising 2.6% higher from Q1 2021 and 6.2% higher than July last year, this increase is the biggest ever recorded by Rightmove. London is the only area not to have experienced growth, with asking prices still less than last year on average, though growth this quarter does suggest the beginnings of an upward climb. City suburbs, commuter towns and coastal locations have all shown the highest rental increases, with some of these seeing a boost of over 25%. Across Britain, low stock and record rents in many areas are putting house-hunters under increasing pressure. Combined with the imminent lifting of lockdown restrictions, it is likely that major cities will all experience renewed interest from would-be tenants who are looking for an affordable and stable place to call home.
Rise in Development Lending to Boost New-Build Sector – Small housebuilders across the UK could be in line to build 70,000 extra homes every year over the next decade as a result of backing from the development finance market, which has seen an increase of more than 50% in the past 5 years. In this time, 40 lenders have reportedly started to offer development finance for refurbishment and development projects.Most of the new lenders are focussing on developers aiming to build a small batch of properties on an area of land as opposed to hundreds, which is fantastic news for smaller housebuilders and those looking to invest in them. Rising competition between lenders results in developers benefitting from more competitive deals than were previously accessible. This shift is bound to have a major impact on the number of new homes built in the next two years. Over the past 15 years, smaller site builders have had a really hard time getting the finance they need, despite being “consistently efficient in their delivery of new homes”. This issue of funding is no longer the barrier it once was, which is excellent news for both smaller development businesses and for tenants crying out for more suitable housing options.
Women now make up almost half of UK landlords – London estate agent Ludlow Thompson has reported that 48% of the 2.6million UK buy-to-let landlords are now women. It seems that women’s involvement in BTL assets is increasing steadily, particularly in contrast to investments such as stocks and shares and cryptocurrency, where men are still holding the majority of interest. The total income generated from buy-to-let assets has also increased much faster for women than for men in recent years – 27% for women in the past five years alone, and currently sitting at £16.1billion. In comparison, buy-to-let income has only risen by 15% for men. The rise in female landlords not being reflected in an equal increase in other investment areas may be due to the buy-to-let market reputation for generating stable returns and long-term growth, with less overall volatility.
- 1.8m homes pushed into higher stamp duty bands – While the housing market boom has been incredible for those wishing to pull money out of their current homes or sell their property, it has had the opposite effect for those looking to buy. House prices have increased by over £10,000 in the past year and had a domino effect on stamp duty land tax, which is calculated based on a property’s price. The result is that an estimated 1.8 million homes have now been pushed into higher tiers for tax payment. Although first-time buyers often side-step this issue, being exempt for the first £300,000 of their property ownership, increasing house prices may still put pressure on their potential for deposit saving and mortgage affordability