First-time buyers now need an average deposit of £59,000 to get on the housing ladder - £12,000 more than this time last year, according to the Halifax. The lender compared average first-time buyer deposit sizes in the 12 months to February 2020 with the 12 months to February 2021. In London, the average deposit size being put down by people taking their first step on the property ladder had increased by more than £20,000, with buyers now needing £132,685. “We know that first-time buyers will benefit from steps that make a deposit more attainable and we're committed to lending £10bn to help people buy their first home this year,” commented Andrew Asaam, mortgages director at Halifax.
Official figures from the ONS reveal that the average house price fell by £1,000 in January, from a record high the previous month. The average property value across the country in January stood at £249,000. However, the average house price was still £17,000 higher than in January 2020. UK average house prices increased by 7.5% over the year to January, compared with an 8% increase in December. Average house prices increased over the year in England to £267,000 (a 7.5% annual increase), in Wales to £179,000 (9.6%), in Scotland to £164,000 (6.9%) and in Northern Ireland to £148,000 (5.3%). The North West was the English region with the highest annual growth in average house prices, recording a 12% spike, while the West Midlands had the lowest growth of 4.7%. Prices in London rose 0.1% in January to reach £501,320, representing an annual rate of increase of 5.3%.
Nearly a third of homeowners whose finances have been hit by the pandemic say they are likely to move to their lender's higher standard variable rate rather than re-mortgage, according to research from Legal & General Mortgage Club. Mortgage borrowers hit hardest by the pandemic may find themselves paying out thousands more each year, because they believe the financial fallout has affected their ability to remortgage. “While the coronavirus crisis has undoubtedly affected people's finances in different ways, those who have seen their incomes drop will likely be finding this a particularly challenging time”, says Kevin Roberts, director at L&G. “It's vital they avoid falling onto a reversion rate and paying more, when there are other affordable options available.”
Homeowners fear a mortgage holiday could impact their credit score
Canary Wharf emerged out of the disused East London docklands in the 1990s and gave the capital its second financial centre, but until recently it might not have been the first area to spring to mind when looking for a new home in London. Canary Wharf Group, the privately-owned firm that controls the estate, is now making a concerted effort to shrug off its “all work and no play” reputation, to make it a residential destination rather than the endpoint of a commute. It is pushing to bring in more food and drink operators, to give the area the buzz that is part of the draw of living in London. It recently signed up street food market Mercato Metropolitano, which will open its doors this summer, at George Street in the new Wood Wharf development. Wood Wharf opened to its first tenants in February 2020 and then the pandemic hit demand, with a drop in the number of people moving in and making enquiries. However, says Canary Wharf Group head of residential Brian De’ath, there has also been a shift in the opposite direction. The developer will be looking to use the “benefits” of being a single landlord to recover from Covid-19 and attract new residents and business tenants, he explained, adding it is able to look at the Canary Wharf estate as a whole and control all the elements at play, whether that is residential, commercial, or retail.
City AM (15/03/2021)
The Evening Standard looks at how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected London’s property market over the last 12 months. The paper notes that house prices in the capital have climbed 6.2% since the property market was shut down a year ago, the fastest rise since 2016. While national lockdowns wiped 10% from GDP, property prices in the capital soared in the opposite direction – something highly unusual in recessions and will serve to exacerbate the housing affordability crisis at a time of rising unemployment. By comparison, property prices fell by 17.8% in the aftermath of the global financial crisis of 2008 as indebted households sold their homes quickly and cheaply. Despite financial uncertainty, reports of families leaving London in their droves, and the paralysis of the arts, hospitality and tourism sectors, the total value of property in the capital increased during the pandemic to £1.8trn.
Evening Standard (17/03/2021)