Asking prices up in England and Wales but down in London

Asking prices in England and Wales have reached a record high despite the looming vote on the future of the UK in the European Union, the latest index report shows.

Housing market momentum continues to push up the price of property coming on to the market up with a rise of 0.8% or £2,320 to new high of £310,471, according to the June report from property portal Rightmove.

Desire to buy and lack of supply is affecting the market with the time to sell falling to 57 days, the fastest ever measured by Rightmove.

But there is some signs of referendum associated uncertainty with fewer new sellers coming to market as new properties for sale were down 5.3% compared to average at this time of year with the most reluctant being owners of larger homes with four or more bedrooms who have dropped by 6.6%.

A breakdown of the figures show that in the North East asking prices increased by 0.1% month on month and 3.1% year on year to an average of £148,662 while in the North West they were up 2.2% month on month and 4.2% year on year to £183,482.


New home lending in Australia recorded solid growth in April

New home lending to owner occupiers in Australia saw solid growth during April, up 4% month on month but still 5.9% lower than a year ago.

The figures, published by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, also show that loans for building new homes increased by 4.4% and for buying new homes there was a 3.3% rise.

The official figures confirm that demand for new home purchase across Australia remains very strong, according to Housing Industry Association, the voice of the residential building industry.

‘Even though the amount of new home lending for owner occupiers peaked over a year ago, current loan volumes remain elevated by historic standards. This means that activity on the ground over the remainder of 2016 will be healthy,’ said HIA senior economist Shane Garrett.

He pointed out that May’s interest rate reduction is likely to provide some impetus to new home lending over the coming months. The HIA believes that 2016 will be another remarkably strong year overall.


Sales and prices falling in Hong Kong, latest analysis report shows

Residential sales increased by 2% month on month in Hong Kong in May, but transactions are down 11% year on year, the latest Land Registry figures show.

But with developers offering deeper discounts and more incentives, a number of primary projects received a positive market response, according to the latest market analysis from international real estate firm Knight Frank.

It points out that prices have dropped for seven consecutive months by a cumulative 11%, according to provisional figures from the Rating and Valuation Department. Mass residential prices led the decline, losing 11% in the period, while luxury residential prices dipped 8%.

The report suggests that clouded by a potential US interest rate rise in June and abundant upcoming supply, residential land prices continued to edge down. A domestic site in Pak Shek Kok, Tai Po was sold last month for an accommodation value of HK$3,620 per square foot, down about 20% from eight months ago when the adjacent site was sold.

However, the super luxury sector remained strong, indicated by a Shenzhen buyer’s acquisition of a 9,212 square foot luxury house at Gough Hill Road on The Peak for a reported HK$2.1 billion approximately, a record price for the city.

Knight Frank expects more mainland buyers to return to the market in the future and points out that a number of primary projects are scheduled for release in June, hoping to reach the market before a possible US interest rate rise.


Number of retired people renting in UK soars in last four years

The number of people living in private rented accommodation in retirement in the UK has soared by more than 200,000 in the last four years, according to a new poll.

Overall, the survey from the National Landlords Association (NLA) shows that the proportion of retired private renters has grown by 13% since 2012 as more and more people turn to the private rented sector.

Some 17% of the retired private renting population live in the South East, the area with the highest proportion across the UK. However, just 3% live in London which is the area with the smallest proportion area across England and Wales for renting in retirement.

There are almost four times as many retired renters in the North West at 15% compared to the North East at 4% and twice as many retirees rent property in the West Midlands at 8% compared to the East Midlands at 4%.


Tax change boosts home sales in Scotland

Property tax change had boosted Scottish home sales with a rise in transactions of 11% year on year but prices are down 7.8% compared to 12 months ago, the latest index shows.

The index report from estate agents Your Move suggests that prices are down due to a lack of higher value homes on the market with the average house price now £170,667.

Prices have increased in Edinburgh and Clackmannanshire but have fallen in the majority of areas throughout Scotland.

The index also shows that month on month prices are unchanged despite the new 3% surcharge on additional home sales.

‘After a year of the Land and Buildings Transaction Tax (LBTT), it’s now possible to see its impact across the Scottish housing market. By cutting the cost of purchasing cheaper homes, LBTT has led to an 11% increase in sales over the last year,’ said Christine Campbell, Your Move managing director in Scotland.

She pointed out that with 104,344 home sales in the last 12 months, the market has outdone the previous year’s 93,601 sales. ‘These figures confirm that lower purchase taxes for property can significantly boost activity in the housing market, while also making it more affordable for first time buyers to get a foot on the ladder,’ Campbell explained.


Buy to let landlords face paying more for a mortgage in the UK, it is claimed

Buy to let investors could face paying an extra £10,000 to get a mortgage after a crackdown on dangerous debts by UK lenders.

Watchdog the Prudential Regulation Authority is concerned that some landlords are overstretching themselves and will face difficulties when interest rates rise and it is expected that the banks and building societies will start making new hefty charges from September 2016.

As a result, it is forcing lenders to run stricter tests to see whether an investor can afford the loan. Currently, investors have to prove they would earn enough from the rent to cover their repayments, but the new plan demands proof they would still be covered if rates rose by at least 2%.

Under the new tests, banks and building societies will want evidence of a yield of at least 5.2% to qualify for a 25% deposit loan. This would mean earning £7,800 a year from rent on a £150,000 home before paying the mortgage.


Research reveals the housing market winners to mark first games of Euro football cup

With the European Championship football tournament underway new research shows which countries have done best in terms of house prices since the last cup four years ago.

The price of mainstream homes have increases in more than 74% of the countries competing in the tournament, according to the study from international real estate agent Knight Frank.

Turkey topped the rankings with an increase of 65.6%, followed by the Republic of Ireland with price growth of 34.3% and Sweden up 32%.

In fourth place is Iceland with house prices up by 30.6%, followed closely by England where prices are up 29.7%, Germany up 19.7%, Austria up 16.5%, Northern Ireland up by 15.6% and Russia up 15.2%.


Asia Property Bond Market Enjoys Strong Momentum from Stock Market Volatility

Chinese Developers Delay Bond Maturity, Debt to Peak in 2020

According to CBRE’s second-edition of Four Quadrants Asia Pacific, a report that provides a comparative review on the ‘four quadrants’ of private equity, public equity, private debt and public debt, as several interest rate cuts were recorded across the region, debt financing turned more active while the equity funding market slowed down.

After a record-year of bond issuance by real estate companies in Asia Pacific–reaching $55.7 billion in 2015–the strong momentum continued in the first five months of 2016, registering $24.2 billion, 43% of the total full-year figure in 2015.


French Alps ski property market reviving thanks to low mortgages and new infrastructure

The French ski property market is recovering with new build apartments, rather than chalets, are leading the way and interest boosted by new infrastructure projects, new research shows.

Those choosing to buy in key Alpine resorts will also find far more facilities available such as the €36 million mini-resort Mille8 in Les Arcs, a family friendly resort within a resort with new nursery slopes, tobogganing runs, a swimming pool, spa, gym and Courchevel’s €63 million waterpark and spa Aquamotion.

La Compagnie du Mont Blanc announced recently that it would spend €477 million over 40 years on new lifts and pistes in Chamonix while Val d’Isère has just spent €16 million renewing lifts, pistes and restaurants on La Tête de Solaise, immediately above the town.


House prices and sales rising in New Zealand due to chronic lack of supply

A chronic lack of supply is fuelling a regional growth in house prices and sales volumes in New Zealand, according to the latest monthly index report.

Sales volumes hit new levels and median house prices reached new record highs across more regions of New Zealand than ever before, according to the latest figures from the Real Estate Institution of New Zealand.

Record median prices were reached in Waikato/Bay of Plenty, Taranaki, Canterbury/Westland and Otago. The report explains that this shows the growing halo effect of rising prices around New Zealand is strengthening in the regions where it is already present, and moving on to new regions, driven by a chronic lack of supply.

On a seasonally adjusted basis the number of dwellings sold in April 2016 rose by 12.8% compared to March, indicating that the normally expected drop in sales between March and April was far smaller than usual. And compared to April 2015, all regions recorded increases in sales volume.

At the same time, the availability of properties for sale has fallen by over one third over the past 12 months, with a number of regions seeing declines of more than half. Days to sell, another measure of demand has also fallen by more than 20% over the past 12 months in nine of the 12 regions.