Homebuyers looking to take advantage of the Government’s stamp duty holiday have been warned to act quickly as a surge in demand has caused major delays in the property buying process. David Hollingworth of brokers L&C said getting a mortgage was taking about double the usual time as lenders struggled with the volume of business, and needed longer to review some applications. “To get a mortgage offer in normal times you are usually looking at a couple of weeks from the application,” he said, adding: “Now you could be expecting it to take at least a month, or possibly longer.” The high demand is one factor in the delays, but dealing with the coronavirus crisis is having an impact on other parts of the homebuying process. Hollingworth said L&C was already warning people about the end of the stamp duty holiday on 31 March. “Buying a home can take three months at the best of times – if you’re not in the process soon you can’t be banking on completing by the end of March.”
The Observer (08/11//2020)
Notting Hill Genesis says that it has sold almost 30% of its Aspect Apartments development in Canary Wharf. The project consists of 26 one-bedroom apartments, in an area where demand for housing has risen by 42% in the past year. “Situated on the edge of Canary Wharf, the development benefits from being well connected to more central parts of London whilst also enjoying serene settings along the River Thames nearby,” said James Munson, head of marketing at Notting Hill Genesis. “We launched Aspect Apartments earlier this year and it has been fantastic to see how well they have been received, our buyers are really impressed with the layouts, specification and private outside space.”
B Daily (03/11/2020)
London mayor Sadiq Khan has confirmed that the mayoralty and devolved assembly will move from their current base near Tower Bridge to the Crystal building, in the Royal Docks area near London City airport, Newham. Mr Khan commented: “Given our huge budget shortfall, and without the support we should be getting from the government, I simply cannot justify remaining at our current expensive office when I could be investing that money into public transport, the Met police and the London fire brigade.” Mr Khan has said the move will save £61m over five years, and Newham Council has welcomed the move, which it says will spur regeneration in one of the poorest parts of London.
BBC News (03/05/2020) The Guardian (03/05/2020) The Daily Telegraph (03/05/2020)
London has climbed from fourth to second in a league table of European cities with the most attractive property investment and development prospects. The survey, by PwC and the Urban Land Institute, saw London rank behind Berlin as the top city in which to invest. Investors polled said London was boosted by good liquidity and Brexit-related pricing discounts relative to continental markets. Gareth Lewis, real estate director at PwC, said: "It's clear that, at this time of significant uncertainty, investors continue to see Europe's core cities as safer bets and there remains cautious optimism."
The Times (04/11/2020)
Figures from Nationwide show house prices have risen at their fastest pace in almost six years, jumping 5.8% year-on-year in October. This marks the highest rate of growth since January 2015. Month-on-month prices were up 0.8%, with the average house price hitting a new record high of £227,826. Nationwide's chief economist, Robert Gardner, says the outlook remains “highly uncertain”, saying much depends on how the coronavirus pandemic and measures to contain it play out. He also suggested the “efficacy of policy measures implemented to limit the damage to the wider economy” will have an impact. Mr Gardener says activity is “likely to slow” in the coming quarters, “perhaps sharply”, adding that the end of the stamp duty holiday in March 2021 will be a factor.
BBC News (30/10/2020) The Daily Telegraph (30/10/2020) The Times (30/10/2020) The Guardian (30/10/2020)
The number of prospective buyers registered per estate agent branch rose by 33% from 396 in August to 525 in September, NAEA Propertymark’s September Housing Report has found. This is the highest number of house hunters recorded since June 2004, when 581 were recorded per branch. The average number of sales agreed per estate agent branch stood at 14 in September, the highest figure recorded since August 2006, and an increase from 12 sales agreed per branch in August. However the proportion of sales made to first-time buyers stood at just 19% in September, the lowest amount recorded since March 2013. Mark Hayward, chief executive, NAEA Propertymark, said: “The pressure of completing sales ahead of the stamp duty holiday deadline means we’ve seen a large spike in buyers and sellers coming to the market.”
Property Wire (30/10/2020)