The latest news

The latest news

10 virtual tours of the world’s most famous landmarks

They’re closed for now but you can still take an interactive online tour of 10 of the world’s most famous landmarks as pulled together here by The Guardian; the perfect opportunity to gaze over the edge of Machu Picchu or marvel at the Pyramids from every angle, all whilst being sat at home.

Click here to read 10 virtual tours of the world’s most famous landmarks.

New Sales Agreed Reach Early March Levels

As the United Kingdom was plunged into lockdown, we saw property portals and online property websites reporting huge numbers of visitors and this online activity is now being translated into sales agreed. Zoopla are reporting a huge spike in sales agreed with current figures now matching those back in early March when the market was booming, showing that the property market in England is experiencing a true resurgence post-lockdown.

In the month following the reopening of the property market, up to 7th June, analysis shows that demand for housing was 54% higher than at the start of March, with new sales agreed having risen by 137% since the market reopened.
Interestingly, the higher the values of the property the greater the increase in the volume of sales agreed when compared to before the Coronavirus crisis. Home sales for properties priced £1m and above are 16% higher than three months earlier – this could be attributed to homeowners looking to trade up in terms of location or property size. The impact of the Coronavirus can be seen on the most searched terms for properties – with home offices and outdoor space now higher in buyers’ priorities.

Zoopla’s Director of Research and Insight commented:

“The rebound in housing demand over the last month is not solely explained by a return of pent-up demand.

“COVID has brought a whole new group of would-be buyers into the housing market.

“Activity has grown across all pricing levels, but the higher the value of a home, the greater the increase in supply and sales as people look to trade up.”

The analysis from Zoopla is supported by Rightmove’s recent data publication which revealed that 40,000 new sales have already been agreed since the market reopened – with the average asking price of properties up by an average of 1.9% compared to pre-lockdown.

Property expert Miles Shipside commented:

“Following the initial shock of the early reopening of the housing market, England is getting moving again with a boom in traffic on Rightmove,” said Shipside.

“There are no signs of panic selling or even a price dip. Some sellers who had agreed a sale before lockdown have been worrying that their buyer may try to re-negotiate with a reduced offer.

“On this evidence buyers may now be trying to exchange quickly, as there are signs of high pent-up demand and upwards price pressure, rather than downwards.”

Continued Growth In The Lettings Market

Since activity resumed in the property market rental demand has continued to rise. According to Rightmove, upon the reopening of the property market rental searches rose by 22% higher than May 2019. With people being able to streamline their searches with virtual viewings, and finally be able to physically view property they are interested in, this has enabled more effective property searches. The private rented sector can work at a much faster pace than sales with less paperwork and planning; further accelerating the activity.

The prop tech firm Goodlord found that the first two weeks of June saw new and completed lettings applications rise above 2019 levels, and they are now maintaining a steady pace similar to that of 2019. Lockdown has caused many changes in people’s lives including possible job changes and lifestyle priorities, leading the intense demand for rental property. Whilst the supply of rental property has also increased, Rightmove’s Miles Shipside believes that a shortage of available rental property to meet demand could push up rent prices and allow landlords to be more selective when choosing tenants – and a rise in prices has already been identified.

The latest figures from the Office of National Statistics has found that rent prices have already crept up, with the average rent price in the private rented sector in England at a new record high of £700 per month! As expected, rental properties with more bedrooms can secure higher rents, with properties only offering single rooms having the lowest monthly rent. The highest rents were found in London compared to any other region, as anticipated.

As an investor, it is unlikely for your property to experience a void period with such high rental demand – reducing the risk to your investment. Tenant demand is soaring across all regions of England (a regional outline is listed below):
Region Lettings Demand Increase Since 2019 (%)
South West 34%
East Midlands 33%
West Midlands 31%
Yorkshire and Humber 28%
East of England 25%
London 23%
North West 21%

First Time Buyers Property Search Guide

Those who have managed to continue saving during the coronavirus pandemic may be thinking of taking their first steps onto the property ladder and purchasing their first dream home. The good news is, mortgage lenders have reintroduced high LTV mortgages back to the market, providing first time buyers with a big boost to help in their property journey.  If you are one of the thousands of people who are looking to get on that first rung of the property ladder, then finding the right home can be a daunting process. However, we’ve included some advice below to guide you through the process so that you could be moving in to your first home in no time at all!

1) Know your limits
Starting your search with a clear idea of what you can afford is a key aspect in terms of finding the right home. Often, first-time buyers are so excited at the thought of starting their property search that they begin with expectations soaring. Knowing your financial limit is key; before you start your search, we would recommend having a mortgage-in-principal approved so that you know exactly what you can afford. In the current climate, a mortgage in principal can be a requirement prior to being able to go on a physical property viewing. This is to help reduce the number of people visiting properties. Starting your hunt by looking at homes twice your actual budget will only end in disappointment and will unduly extend your search – be realistic, set your limits and keep those finances in mind!

2) Mortgage Availability
More mortgage products have been made available in the market allowing first time buyers to consider property purchase with just 5 – 10% deposit. This is known as a high Loan To Value (LTV). Now that physical valuations and surveys can go ahead, more lenders are offering products to cater for first time buyers, such as Virgin Money and Barclays, but providers may restrict the number of applications per day to ensure their services can be maintained. Contact a mortgage adviser to find out your options.

3) Don’t go it alone!
One of the biggest mistakes that first-time buyers make is trying to manage the whole process alone. Finding a good estate agent who will help you not only in the property search, but also during the financial process of buying a property, will be the difference between peace of mind and undue stress. Our sales team are happy to help with any questions you may have and can guide you through the entire process keeping you informed at each stage. Remember, it is the sole purpose of an estate agent to match properties with people, therefore as suitable properties are brought to market which suit your requirements you will be the first to receive property details if you’re registered with us – giving you the edge.

4) The physical viewing
When you are new to the property game, it can seem awkward to spend too long looking around; however, if you are serious about the property, it is important to stay as long as you feel you need to. One of the most difficult things to do when looking for a property, and often cited by even the most seasoned property purchaser as a difficulty, is to look past the current decoration. This can work in two ways; if you view a property with elegant decoration it is easy to fall in love with the aesthetic; however, keep in mind that the chic furniture will all be gone when you move in. The second way in which decoration can put a dampener on your search is that you dislike the taste of the current owners and can’t see through it. If you don’t like the presentation of a property, then try to look past the individual components such as curtains and carpets and instead focus on the bones of the room underneath; looking at the features of the room and the overall size as there could be a fabulous space just waiting to be uncovered.
Check everything around the property and ask plenty of questions about all of its features including electrics, windows, the loft. Having this in-depth look into the property will hone your mind onto the minutiae and take you away from the excitement of wanting to make an offer. If you feel like you still have more to see around the property then arrange another viewings; seeing the property at a different time will give you a better feel for the neighbourhood and your immediate neighbours.

5) Don’t take all of the credit
You have your mortgage-in principal, you’ve worked with an estate agent to find that perfect home within your budget and you have visited the property a couple of times. The dream is practically complete; you have that contract signed and the countdown to completion is on – so now you’re on the home straight to first-time property bliss. How to celebrate? A new car that will look lovely on your new driveway, a large television to adorn your living room wall or an expensive sofa to relax upon? Whatever happens, before your property purchase completes do not take out any other credit lines whatsoever as this could put the property purchase in severe jeopardy. Some mortgage lenders will pull one final credit report before completion in order to ensure that your status has not changed – taking further credit out will endanger this so wait until your purchase completes before splashing out the cash.

Support For NHS Workers

Although the nation is no longer clapping every Thursday evening for our NHS workers, that doesn’t mean the gratitude has ended. There are many ways that support for NHS staff has continued as a thank you for helping our society in these difficult times. Companies across England have advertised NHS staff schemes and discounts to make life that bit easier for our key workers, and to show that their services are very much appreciated. The offers range from food discounts to free parking and have varying access requirements. We have shared some of these NHS offers below:

Supermarket discounts
Most supermarkets are continuing to use the first opening hours of the day to dedicate to NHS and other key workers for shopping so that they can purchase everything they need. As well as priority hours, many stores are offering discounted shopping including:

Morrisons – 10% off and extra points in store. They also offer free food boxes including home delivery (value of the box is £5)

Iceland – 20% store discount

Food Warehouse – 20% discount in store

Transport offers
There are many parking and transport companies offering discounts and free services to NHS workers to support them in travelling to and from work. These include:

NCP – free parking

NHS Trust Parking – free parking

Your Parking Space – free parking

Uber – 25% off all rides

Motorpoint - £300 off all vehicles and free home delivery

Food offers
Many food outlets are giving NHS staff a discount on food purchases. Details of how to claim the discount vary from using a special key worker code, to providing an NHS email address or identification card. The food outlets supporting NHS staff include physical stores as well as take away and delivery services. We have listed a selection of participating companies below:

LEON – 50% off

YO Sushi – 50% off

Hotel Chocolat – 50% off

LAS Iguanas – 50% food

Deliveroo – Deliveroo has delivered 100,000 free meals throughout June and is offering 70,000 £10 discount vouchers to NHS staff who have previously used the service.

We would personally like to thank all of the key workers that have worked tirelessly to help others during such a difficult time. The gratitude is never ending. If you are an NHS worker, please see the company websites for full details of support available to you.