With Christmas – and New Year’s Eve – just days away, now seems a good time to take stock of all the drama of 2019. We won’t just be closing the door on one year, though – 1 January will see us saying goodbye to the 2010s – a decade which brought us smartphones, memes, President Donald Trump and … Brexit.

The B-word certainly dominated 2019, with first Theresa May, then Boris Johnson, repeatedly seeking to push a Brexit deal through parliament. The year ended with a rare winter election and a substantial win for the Conservative party, giving Mr Johnson his mandate to ‘get Brexit done’.

In the property world, ongoing political instability meant a sluggish housing market, with falling prices in many London boroughs. The year was also characterised by a growing awareness of the impact of climate change with a realisation, among politicians and the public, that action is needed on global warming.

To find out what exactly was happening in the property world during 2019, read our review of the year, month by month.


Halifax predicts house price stability in 2019

House prices are set to remain stable this year – as long as Britain exits the European Union with a deal – according to leading lender the Halifax.

The bank’s end of year report predicts that prices will grow by between 2% and 4%. However, it warns that the biggest long-term issue for the housing market is addressing the challenges faced by ‘generation rent.’

The report asserts that the UK housing market performed in line with expectations in 2018, in spite of continued uncertainty over Brexit. It claims that prices will remain stable in 2019, with the on-going shortage of homes for sale, and low levels of house building, continuing to support high prices.

However, the Halifax warns that stability will be dependent on the final outcome of Brexit negotiations, as its predications were made on the basis that the UK exits the European Union with a withdrawal agreement and managed transition period.

To read our full article – please click here


Revealed – 2019’s most unusual property trends

Property Trends

Raffling £multi-million homes, interiors untouched by modernity and ‘try before you buy’ deals are some of the stranger housing trends tipped by the Evening Standard Homes & Property to be big in 2019.

Luck of the draw

As a gimmick to generate interest in hard-to-sell homes, property raffles have been around for a while – many took place after the crash of 2008. But, according to Homes & Property, 2018 was the year that saw them really take off.

Examples range from a £1m Angel conversion flat to a six-bedroom new-build property in Hampshire. Raffle tickets for the various draws start at £2, rising to £25 for a Maida Vale mansion block apartment. Former F1 boss Eddie Jordan also got in on the act, raffling his Tooting flat through a spot the ball competition.

It’s hard to say whether the stunts will pay off, but some raffle holders have encountered problems; failing to sell enough tickets and struggling with gambling regulation and payment platforms.

Life’s a beach

The cost of beach huts at trendy seaside retreats has long been a talking point. However, 2018 saw a Dorset beach hut, with no electricity or toilet, sell for a record-breaking £300,000. Meanwhile, in Margate, a beachside toilet sold for £400,000. The loo came with planning permission to convert it to a beach house, in the hip seaside town within easy reach of London.

To read our full article – please click here



New 100% mortgage deal for ‘bank of mum and dad’ buyers

Lloyds Bank

Lloyds Bank has announced a new 100% mortgage for first-time buyers – as long as they have a family member to bolster the loan.

Buyers will be able to borrow up to £500,000, with no deposit, thanks to the bank’s three-year ‘Lend a Hand’ deal. The mortgage is part of a £30 billion commitment by Lloyds to helping first-time buyers.

Research by Lloyds found that buying a home remains the number one goal for people under 35. But, for half of the people surveyed, saving for a deposit is the biggest obstacle to achieving their dream.

In addition, 41% of parents want to help their children onto the property ladder but are concerned that they may need their cash in later life.

The 2.99% fixed-rate deal requires a parent, grandparent or other relative to pay 10% of the property’s value into a Lloyds savings account. Lloyds will pay interest at 2.5% on the money deposited, but the family member will be required to leave it in the account during the three-year period of the mortgage.

To read our full article – please click here



Is the 25-year mortgage a thing of the past?


More people than ever before will be paying off their mortgage long after retirement, according to new figures, which reveal a rise in the number of 40-year mortgages on offer. But while the new 40-year terms make buying more affordable, they may cost you more in the long run.

House prices, growing life-expectancy and people working for longer have all contributed to the trend. A rise in the age at which people have children and higher student debt commitments are also thought to be factors.

The research, from financial data website Moneyfacts, reveals that 51% of mortgages currently on sale have a standard maximum term of up to 40 years. This is a rise from 36% five years ago.

The average first-time buyer in the UK is aged over 30, meaning that with a 40-year mortgage, most would be into their 70s before becoming mortgage-free.

To read our full article – please click here



Accidental landlords warned of 2020 tax changes

Accidental landlords warned of 2020 tax changes

So called ‘accidental’ landlords are warned that they face a big tax bill should they wish to sell their property a year from now.

More than half a million people could be hit with the capital gains tax bill, following government proposals to scrap relief for landlords who decide to sell a property that was previously their main home.

The proposals, which would come into force in April 2020, are expected to raise £470 million for the Treasury and experts warn that they could lead to a rush of house sales over the course of this year.

The new charge would mainly hit accidental landlords. These are people who never intended to rent out property but found themselves with a home to let as a result of an inheritance, being unable to sell or moving in with a partner.

The change will be a particular issue for landlords who wish to sell but are currently tied into a fixed rate mortgage.

To read our full article – please click here



Relaxed rules on extensions made permanent

Relaxed rules on extensions made permanent

Temporary rules, allowing homeowners to build single-storey rear extensions without submitting a full planning application, have been made permanent, the government has announced.

Housing minister Kit Malthouse said the change meant homeowners could improve their properties without too much bureaucracy. He said: “These measures will help families extend their properties without battling through time-consuming red tape.”

More than 110,000 people have taken advantage of the temporary relaxed rules since they were introduced in 2013. The change allows terraced and semi-detached homes to be extended by 6m, and detached houses by up to 8m. It doubled the size limits on extensions without the need of planning permission, speeding up a process, which previously could have taken many months.

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Buyers head back to Islington, Hackney and Camden

Earth: Hackney Arts Centre unveils new name for state-of-the-art revamp of old Savoy Cinema

The central London boroughs of Islington, Hackney and Camden are at the heart of a drift back to the capital, according to the Evening Standard.

The newspaper’s Homes & Property section reports increased offers and viewings over the past three months as part of a trend, which has seen more people moving to zones 1 to 3.

Says Homes & Property: “The number of offers made in the second quarter of this year was the highest three-month figure for 10 years.”

This increased activity follows a slow period in the central London housing market, blamed on political uncertainty, increased stamp duty and high prices.

But data from the capital’s think tank, the Centre for London, has shown that more people are now moving into the capital than leaving it. This is partly the result of foreign nationals taking advantage of a fall in the value of the pound, and fewer people leaving London to live abroad in the wake of the Brexit referendum.

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£95 million fund will help turn historic buildings into homes

turn historic buildings into homes

Could the answer to the crisis on the English High Street lie in our wealth of heritage buildings? Possibly, according to the government. It has announced a plan to restore historic properties on 69 high streets, turning them into housing as well as shops, community centres and businesses.

The failing fortunes of UK town centres has been well-documented with many ideas touted for reviving them – among them the need to shift them away from retail to living and leisure spaces. The new proposals bring together two government departments and the National Lottery Heritage Fund, with each pledging millions of pounds.

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport will contribute £40 million to the fund. Culture Secretary, Nicky Morgan said: “Our nation’s heritage is one of our great calling cards to the world, attracting millions of visitors to beautiful historic buildings that sit at the heart of our communities. It is right that we ensure these buildings are preserved for future generations, but it is important that we make them work for the modern world.”

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Are 40-year mortgages becoming the norm?

40-year mortgages norm

Today’s first-time buyers could be paying for their homes well into their seventies according to a new study, which found that more than half of mortgages now come with a 40-year maximum term.

The data, from comparison site Moneyfacts.co.uk, found that 57% of home loans have a standard maximum term of 40 years – up from 36% five years ago.

Paying off a mortgage over a longer term can help buyers struggling to get on the housing ladder, because monthly repayments are lower. However, buying over a 40-year period is likely to cost you more in the long term.

Moneyfacts gives the example of a £250,000 repayment mortgage at an interest rate of 2.50%. Over 25 years, the monthly repayments would be £1,121.54 with the total interest payable equalling £86,463. The same mortgage spread over 40 years would attract monthly repayments of £824.45, but increase the total interest to £145,733, an additional £59,270.

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Feeling unsure about your new home? Just give it time

Feeling unsure about your new home

If moving into your new home doesn’t live up to your expectations, relax. A new study has shown that more than a quarter of house movers take up to two years to feel at home in their new pad.

The research, from Sainsbury’s Bank, also found that the majority of movers will spend at least £5,000 making the new place a home.

The survey of Sainsbury’s shoppers revealed that more than a third (35%) of respondents felt at home in a new property straight away. However, 26% took between six months and two years to settle in properly.

While the survey revealed that 29% of people spend £5,000 or more on their properties in the first year, 8% said they spent less than £500.

To read our full article – please click here