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Archive for February, 2010

Repossession Figures Make For Grim Reading

Sunday, February 28th, 2010

Let’s talk repossession for a bit, the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) figures released recently show that lenders only took 10,200 properties into possession in the 4th quarter of 2009. This figure was 13% lower than in the 3rd quarter but repossessions for the whole of 2009 reached 46,000, a level not seen since 1995.

On the up side, the ’09 repossession figures were significantly lower than the 75,000 predicted at the start of year but on the down side there are 53,000 repossessions and 205,000 arrears cases forecast for 2010. So as is usually the way with an unstable market, we don’t really know what we’ll see in the near future.

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Sale And Rent Back Companies Get A New FSA Rulebook

Friday, February 26th, 2010

New rules are to be introduced by the Financial Services Authority (FSA) governing sale and rent back (SRB), the new restrictions will be implemented on 30th June this year. As part of the new rules, firms will be banned from using high-pressure sales tactics and exploitative advertising in an attempt to keep all the companies on a level-playing field anc keep customers protected.

The FSA’s full regulatory regime for the SRB market will also ban cold calling and letterbox dropping and put a stop to the use of emotive terms such as ‘fast sale’, ‘mortgage rescue’ and ‘cash quickly’. Plus, all risks must be clearly made out, a 14-day cooling-off period will be introduced and the customer will also have a security of tenure for a minimum of 5 years. Game changing and welcomed.

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Quick House Sale Days Could Be Back If We Believe Buffett

Wednesday, February 24th, 2010

Have you heard of Warren Buffett? He’s one of the richest men on the planet and possibly the greatest investor the world has ever seen. But despite his great wealth, his company, Berkshire Hathaway, is based in Nebraska and the 79 year-old billionaire has a plain corner office with no computer.

The reason I’m telling you all this is that he knows a thing or two about markets and in his recent letter to shareholders he said the U.S. residential real estate slump will end within a year. And whatever happens financially in the U.S. usually happens in the UK shortly after meaning a quick house sale could be on the cards. Buffet feels confident that the market will recover by early 2011 because the Government is to reduce new housing developments to a number far below the rate of household formations.

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Repossession and Recession Result In Fewer Young Home Owners

Monday, February 22nd, 2010

Just a quick one today and a shocking eye-opener for anyone considering buying their first home…

The Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) has conducted research that suggests around 80% of all people under 30 need financial help from a relative to buy a house. But get this – before the recession and repossession nightmare, this figure was almost half that, at 45%.

Ultimately, the CML have concluded that the likelihood of a 25-34 year-old buying a property at the moment is around half the level it was 10 years ago.

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More Homes Needed To Meet Demand

Friday, February 19th, 2010

Yesterday we posted about the Council of Mortgage Lender (CML) findings that indicated the drop in home ownership would continue due to low supply and low levels of credit. But just how severe has the drop been so far? Well the Survey of English Housing by the Department of Communities and Local Government revealed that home-ownership was falling as far back as 2005.

The research also said that the housing market is likely to see less home-owners and more tenants, a situation that’s worrying for the the reasons we reported on last week. But what’s even more alarming is that the number of houses built yearly between 1999 and 2009 was around 150,000 but housing charity Shelter suggest an average of 242,000 homes per year is needed to meet current demand.

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Fast House Sale Out Of The Question As Lending Hits Another Low

Wednesday, February 17th, 2010

The latest prediction from the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) is that home ownership will continue to drop due to a combination of repossession, low housing supply and credit problems for first-time buyers.

Although this is likely to boost property prices, it means there are few people who can afford to buy meaning a fast house sale is out of the question for many. To help the situation, the CML has asked HM Government to ease the flow of housing supply and encourage more lending in the market place. Whether the Government have the funds or the budget space to do anything remains to be seen. More on the CML research tomorrow.

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Housing Sector Comes Up Trumps In The Top 100 Companies List

Monday, February 15th, 2010

Ok, drum roll please… And now, it’s time for the biggest award ceremony of all time (maybe not all time) – The Sunday Times 100 Best Companies to Work For: Community Housing Employer

and the top 10 nominees are…

- New Charter Housing Trust
- Calico
- Plus Dane Group
- Gentoo
- Luminus
- L&Q
- Chester & District Housing Trust
- Look Ahead Housing & Care
- Weaver Vale Housing Trust
- Great Places Housing Group

This is by far the most comprehensive survey of workplace opinion in Britain and the winner of this prestigous title in the Community Housing Sector is…

Luminus

Rapturous applause.

In fact, Luminus did so well that they were only bettered by one other company in the overall UK Sunday Times 100 Best Companies to Work For list. The assessment takes into consideration, among other things, workplace culture; personal wellbeing; career development; pay and benefits and community and environment consideration. Well done to all who featured in the Community Housing sector.

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The Sell and Rent Back Option May Increase In Popularity As Rental Properties Dwindle

Friday, February 12th, 2010

The number of people looking to sell and rent back their home may well increase if new research from FindaProperty is anything to go by. Their figures revealed that February saw the number properties available to rent fell to its lowest point since November ’08, resulting in a 1.2% rent rise, talking the national average up to £814pcm.

Ultimately, the rising house prices and falling rental properties creates a gap that leaves the ever-increasing number of people unable to buy without a housing option. On the plus side, those already renting are more likely to stay put as there are few options available for movement, this means a longer-lasting tenant for landlords.

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A Quick House Sale In London May Be Possible… If It's Affordable Housing

Wednesday, February 10th, 2010

If you were here on Friday, you’d have read about Boris Johnson’s plans as Mayor of London to abolish the affordable housing targets for the capitol. Well, there’s more… under his new strategy, it will also be harder for people to qualify for the Government’s Homebuy programme, as he’ll be raising the household income limit from £60,000 to £74,000.

But as a peacemeal gesture, Johnson has said that around 50,000 extra affordable homes would be built over the next 2 years and he urged the point that almost £40m has been spent by London boroughs to bring 1,700 empty homes back into use. Interestingly, London was the only region in England to experience an increase in housing supply during 2008/09, a rise of 3%.

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Those Who Can't Stop Repossession May Have Less Affordable Housing Options

Monday, February 8th, 2010

The Enigmatic Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, has cleared the path of all opposition to his new London Housing Strategy. Johnson plans to scrap affordable housing targets and now Housing Minister John Healey has withdrawn his opposition, Boris may just have his way.

The target set by the previous Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, was to make 50% of new homes in the capital affordable but Johnson’s plans throw out this goal and it seems he has the backing of the voters as well. Under the new plans, only 13,200 homes would be built in London for social renting each year – 2,755 fewer than the target amount and a number that could leave those unable to stop repossession without an affordable housing option. More about this on Monday…

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