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Where are the slowest moving property markets in the UK…..and in Teignbridge??

The latest research  has found that more than a quarter of properties in Wolverhampton, Liverpool and Bradford have been on the market for longer than 6 months, and one in ten properties for sale in Wolverhampton and Bradford have been on the market for at least a year.

Rightmove data was analysed, for 50 major UK towns and cities. The figures revealed that 15% of properties in Sunderland have been on the market for a year or more, while in neighbouring Newcastle, 8% of homes have been on the market for more than 12 months.

Also, seven out of 10 towns, with the highest percentage of properties that haven’t sold after more than a year on the market, are in the north of England. With only one town in the south – Bournemouth – in the Top 10 slowest-moving property markets. At the other end of the spectrum, there are no properties currently in Northampton that have been on the market longer than 12 months, and just 4.2% that have been advertised for 6 months or more.

Locally, the top three slowest moving properties are in:

Teignmouth where a property has been on the market for 181 weeks (!); and

Bishopsteignton where a home has been for sale for a more modest 95 weeks; and

Abbotskerswell where a property has been available for 85 weeks…….

none of these properties are for sale with Chamberlains.

The following table shows the slowest-moving property markets in the UK, ranked in order of towns/cities with the highest percentage of properties still on the market after a year or more:

% of properties on the market 1 year+
% of properties on the market 6 months+
Oldest property on the market

In London, 14% of properties have been on the market for six months or longer, with four boroughs; Tower Hamlets (21.5%), City of Westminster (22.6%), Southwark (20.2%) and Newham (20.7%), struggling to shift a fifth of their property stock more than six months after it was initially listed.

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Wifi all important to FTB’s

A new survey by Principality Building Society has revealed first time buyers would prioritise hooking up their WiFi and TV when moving into their new home…before even having a sofa to sit on.

We’ve fast become a screen-obsessed nation always on the lookout for WiFi access whenever we’re on the move, and Principality’s research has shown that the majority of Brits follow the same habits when moving into their first home.

In a survey polling 2,000 first time buyers across England and Wales, results showed that nearly three quarters of us (70%) would prioritise setting up a WiFi connection or plugging in their TV when they first move into their new home, when compared against other priorities, over having a sofa to sit on while watching it (40%).

Once they’ve moved all their belongings into their new home, the survey also showed that, rather than calling on the help of mum and dad, just over a quarter (26%) of first time buyers would turn to online how-to guides or books for DIY tips, compared to other sources of information. Nearly 30% of new homeowners would go straight to an expert if something malfunctioned in their house, seeking professional help from the likes of plumbers or electricians, but over half (56%) would be happy to don their overalls and strip wallpaper themselves in their new home.

However, once they’ve moved in and put their feet up, 23% of first time buyers – named ‘first time triers’ by the UK’s 6th biggest building society – admit it could take them a year or more to tackle any DIY in their new place.

Speaking about the survey findings, Principality Building Society’s Customer Director Julie-Ann Haines said: “As a nation, we’re are so interested in getting online and that can often be the first thing on our minds when we’re working, travelling or even when we’ve just moved into a new home, picking technology over getting the house actually feeling like our own.

And once we’re hooked up to the web, online tutorials are changing the way we do our houses up, with first time buyers turning to digital guides over their DIY dads. But ultimately, purchasing your first home is a really exciting milestone and first time buyers across the country can now start to make their house feel like a home.”

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Surge in house prices see fastest rise in 12 months

Latest data reveals that house prices grew at their fastest pace for 12 months in February, with average prices increasing 0.6% – double the rate in January

According to the report, strong performance in the East of England, new peak prices in Merseyside and Birmingham, and a return of growth in high value London property pushed average prices up to £297,832.

Despite this boost, annual house price inflation continued to fall for the twelfth consecutive month, dropping to 2.4%, the lowest annual rate since 2013. Estimated transactions in England and Wales in February, at 62,000, are also down 0.4% on January, but year-to-date remains higher than in 2015 and 2013.

A strong start to the year for house prices isn’t yet reflected in annual figures, which suffer from comparison to price spikes ahead of the last April’s stamp duty hike. When these drop out of the calculation in a couple of months, though, we hope to see the more positive trend.

As the recent English Housing Survey shows, the market is supported by increasing numbers of first time buyers and rising transactions in the last year. The increasing contribution of a strong North Western market centred on Manchester, meanwhile, gives hope for more balanced, if modest, price growth going forward.

Reversing the story of the last few months, the 11 most expensive of London’s 33 boroughs registered an average increase of 0.8% in prices over January (double the average for London as a whole), rising by £7,473.

By contrast, inflation in the cheapest third of boroughs, which drove growth for much of last year, was subdued. Only Havering (1.7%) and the cheapest borough Barking and Dagenham (up 1.1%), recorded growth above 1%. The latter has still posted double- digit annual growth (11.8%), though, as have Waltham Forest (10.1%) and Redbridge (10.3%).

The Greater London market still faces challenges, and from January 2016 to January 2017 average prices are up only 2.1% – the lowest rise in almost five years. Every borough has also seen a reduction in transactions for the three months to the end of January, compared to a year before, and London has seen the largest drop in transactions in the country (down 22%).

Despite a slow down, with prices up just 0.1% over the month, the East of England continues to top the table for annual growth, up 5.9%. The London commuter hotspots of Luton (growing 10.4% in the last year) and Essex (6%) both set new peak prices in the month.

In fact, with the exception of London, Southern regions are once again driving price inflation in England and Wales. The South East (up 0.6% monthly and 5.2% annually) and the South West (0.6% and 4.7%) are both closing the gap on the East

It’s not a simple North South divide, however. The North West, where prices grew 4.1% annually, is an increasingly important part of the market. Growth in property sales in Greater Manchester over the three years to the end of 2016 against the three before, (36%) is only marginally above the average for the region as a whole, but six times the sales growth in Greater London. Average prices, meanwhile, are up 7.2% annually.

It’s not just Manchester contributing to the emergence of a Northern Powerhouse, either. Merseyside set a new peak price in January, with average prices up 0.5%. Heavy demand for apartments in Liverpool from both young professionals and buy to let investors renting to students has seen prices rise in Merseyside by 5% in the last year.

Among the other large cities, only Birmingham in the West Midlands set a new peak in the month. Ongoing regeneration of the city centre, good connections by rail and road, and expansion of a number of large employers is giving the city renewed confidence. Prices in the area were up 0.4% monthly and 6.2% on the year.

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Professional and friendly

Steve was friendly and professional throughout the process of taking out a tenancy on a property. I would recommend Steve to both landlords and tenants, he is easy to deal with and made the whole process quick and easy.

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9 Ways to Declutter and Organise While You Spring Clean

If you’re planning a big freshen up in time for National Spring Cleaning Week, how about doing some organising at the same time? As you move from room to room with cleaning caddy in hand, stop to consider what can go from each room and how you can better organise what remains. By putting in the effort now, you’ll reap the rewards later with a faster regular cleaning routine and a home that looks as good as new.
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Tenants say broadband more important than heating

Whether for work, study or entertainment reasons, a reliable and affordable broadband connection is likely to be one of the first services that prospective tenants look for in a new home, as it is one thing most people simply cannot live without.

According to a new survey of 3,000 Brits, slow broadband speed at peak-times has been cited as the number one unexpected home-mover bugbear, with many respondents insisting that they would not have moved at all had they known the broadband would be inadequate.

The study suggests that sub-standard broadband connectivity can have an adverse impact on rental values as it can make it harder to attract, and indeed, retain tenants.

Almost half of renters – 48% – surveyed said that they would have avoided a property entirely if they had known that it had poor broadband speeds at peak-time.

For over a third – 36% – flaky mobile signal would have also been a deal breaker, followed by an unresponsive landlord (33%), noisy neighbours (32%) and loud road noise (26%).

When asked what information they would most like to know about a property, which is not readily available from an agent or the website, 34% of respondents to the poll said they wanted to know what broadband speeds they would receive at peak times, another key concern expressed by 28% was the responsiveness of the landlord.

The reliability of the mobile phone signal was important to 18% but not living next to noisy neighbours surprisingly came in at the bottom of the list with just 6% of Brits saying that it would be their top concern.

Steve Holford, chief customer officer at Hyperoptic, the full fibre provider, which commissioned the research, said: “We are hitting one of the busiest times of the year for moving home, but ironically for many the speed of the market won’t be matched by the speed at which they can connect to the Internet when they get into a new property.

“The average property broadband speed that is given from a property website is basically misleading since it does not factor in how much a Fibre-to-the-Cabinet broadband service can reduce at peak times.

“It is time that the property sector woke up to the fact that broadband is not just a standard property amenity – it has the power to turn off a prospective renter and buyer altogether. Brits want and deserve to know how their broadband will perform at the time they need it most.”

Separate research from Broadband recently found that many Brits now consider internet connection to be more important than heating.

The study by the comparison site revealed that 76% of British adults view broadband as an essential utility, with around a third – 36% – saying they could not live without it.

The study also uncovered how broadband has become a deal breaker when it comes to property, with one in five saying they would not buy a house if it had a poor internet connection.

Younger adults aged 18-24 were most likely to forgo heating in favour of broadband, with 23% of people in this age group willing to go without heating for a week and 15% happy to be left in the cold for a month. However, it was the over 65s who valued the internet the most, with 81% saying they thought it was an essential utility.

Ben Wilson, from Broadband, said: “These figures highlight just how important the internet has become in our daily lives, with the majority of people now considering it an essential utility, like energy or water.”

“The internet has quietly become a vital part in many people’s day-to-day lives and as such it’s now more important than ever to make sure you’re with the right provider at the right price,” he added.

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Housing shortage set to drive up rents

Rental prices look set to increase in the coming months on the back of a growing supply-demand imbalance, the latest Private Rented Sector (PRS) report from the Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA) Propertymark suggests.

Fresh figures show that demand for rental accommodation rose by 31% between December and January 2017, while the number of available homes in the PRS increased by just 3%.

Letting agents report that a ‘seasonal lull’ was to blame for the shortage of rental accommodation available between December and January, although the report added that both demand and supply had increased sharply over the previous 12 months.

On an annual basis, the prospective number of tenants rose by 10% in January, with an average of 34 prospective renters registered at each ARLA approved letting agent, up from 31 in the same month last year.

Meanwhile, the volume of homes available on the market increased by 12% over the corresponding period, with an average of 193 per branch in January 2017, up from 173 a year earlier.

David Cox, chief executive at ARLA Propertymark, said: “As expected, the New Year brought with it a flurry of activity in the rental market. While supply of rental stock rose slightly, the number of prospective tenants increased by a much bigger margin.

“When supply and demand are out of kilter, as they have been for so long now, the market isn’t balanced and fair for tenants, and rent prices will just continue to rise.”

Almost a quarter – 23% – of agents surveyed witnessed rent hikes in January, but this was down from 30% in January 2016.

Cox warned that the government’s plans to implement an out-right ban on letting agent fees will make the situation worse for tenants.

He added: “The costs of the vital services letting agent fees cover will need to be recouped, and this will get passed on to renters in inflated rental prices.

“This, combined with new landlords’ tax, particularly the upcoming changes to mortgage interest release, means the rental market is far from reaching equilibrium.”

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Survey reveals tenants’ shocking lack of knowledge about renting

A survey of 1,000 tenants and landlords has provided evidence of what many agents already know – that the growing complexity of the private rental sector is proving challenging for many tenants and landlords alike to understand.

Just under half of tenants had never heard of ‘fake landlord’ scams, despite such practices being covered extensively by the media in the last 12 months.

In 2015, rental fraud cases reported to government body Action Fraud rose by 44 per cent on the previous year while the Local Government Association suggests this represents just five per cent of the true number of victims, because the vast majority of such cases go unreported. The government says fake landlord scams lead to £63m being lost by tenants each year.

The survey also uncovered a lack of awareness concerning government-backed initiatives such as mandatory membership by agents of one of three redress schemes as well as localised landlord licensing and accreditation schemes. Some 60 per cent of respondents were unaware of the existence of any of these schemes.

“While the vast majority of private rental sector landlords are providing safe and secure homes for renters across the country we are aware the criminal minority are out there. The Residential Landlords’ Association has always promoted tenant and landlord education to encourage a greater awareness of responsibilities among both landlords and tenants, which in turn improves standards in the sector” says Andrew Goodacre, RLA chief executive.

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A guide to getting your home ready for viewings

Viewings are incredibly important so we’ve put together this checklist to help you get your home ready before potential buyers walk through the door

A picture speaks a thousand words

The first thing that potential buyers see when they enquire about a particular property is the ‘property details’. This is a bespoke document, produced by us. It isn’t just a mundane list of power points, number of radiators and confirmation that you have dado rails; it’s a high-spec brochure designed to really sell your house. We take professional quality photographs, we’re honest and we’ll shout loudly about your home’s best bits.

A guide to getting your home ready for viewings

First impressions really do count

Stand outside your property and try to look at it with a fresh pair of eyes. Does it have ‘kerbside appeal’? Is the lawn mown? Are the flower beds neat? Is the front door grubby? Do the bins need emptying? If you have a communal entrance hall, does the carpet need a hoover? Are there piles of mail making the place look untidy? In the winter, make sure any paths or steps are clear of snow and ice. If you have a doorbell, make sure it works.

Let them see the light

If your viewing’s after dark, think about the lighting so your home looks warm and inviting. Make sure house numbers and names can be seen clearly so your potential buyer can find you. Keep the porch or hall light on. During day time, make sure curtains and blinds are left open to maximise natural light into your home.

Fatal distraction

Your cat or dog might be your best friend and your kids are your pride and joy, but do keep any pets or children quiet or out of the house when you have viewings if you can. Let your potential buyers see your property without any distractions. Turn your music off too.

Spit spot!

Full redecoration is unnecessary, but do give your home the once-over and do any little jobs that might be making the place look more shabby than shabby-chic! Repair any peeling wallpaper, touch up chipped or marked paintwork, dust the skirting boards, clean the kitchen cupboards, wash the floors, replace any light bulbs, thoroughly clean and tidy every room. And please, please, please… clean the windows!

Get a handy person in

If there are other things that are letting your property down (broken sash cords, missing doorknobs, broken tiles, dripping taps, cracked/ missing sockets), then get them sorted. It will be money very well spent.

Kitchens and bathrooms sell homes

This really is true so pay particular attention to these rooms. Put away as many of your items as possible so your potential buyers see clutter-free surfaces. Taps covered in limescale, a stained bath and grubby, cluttered worktops will not create a very good impression, so get your Marigolds on and clean, scrub and polish until these rooms look shiny and inviting!

De-clutter and recycle

Lots of storage space is always popular so do everything you can to maximise what you have. Sort out your attics and basements, make sure any cupboards are tidy and organised, recycle anything you no longer need or want (be honest) and generally have a good clear-out. It’ll be one less thing to do when you do move out.

Crowded house

Potential buyers always feel a bit like they’re intruding so minimise the amount of people in the house when you have viewings. If you are showing a potential buyer your home let them look around at their own pace and give them the option to explore on their own. They will have a great deal to think about and discuss and sometimes that’s easier if you’re not following them from room to room! Suggest that you leave them to it and offer to answer their questions once they’ve had a good look round.