Are Property Asking Prices Starting to Fall?

According to the recent reports from Rightmove, asking prices in the UK have fallen for first time in 2021 following a continued period of price rises. There was a drop of just over £1,000 from the average asking price of a home here in the UK.

Although this can seem alarming to those who are looking to sell and maximise the value of their property, analysis from Rightmove shows that the average asking price has only fallen for larger homes, typically those with five or more bedrooms as well as four-bedroom detached houses.

Those looking to buy and sell this type of property have been impacted the most by the recent LBTT/Stamp Duty savings. In addition, as we approached the summer and saw restrictions ease off with a promise of normality returning (with many people still taking a holiday albeit closer to home), they were put off moving home and we saw the typical August quietening of the market.

Across the rest of the property market, first time buyers and second-steppers are seeing the average asking prices of houses and flats with one or two bedrooms, and houses with two, three or four bedrooms reaching record highs again this month, as buyer demand shows no sign of abating. These movers weren’t moving to take advantage of the stamp duty (LBTT) holiday and instead the market was correcting itself following a period of inactivity whereby movers were putting their plans on hold due to the restrictions.

Looking ahead

Rightmove predicts that, given there are a record number of people still looking to move, the autumn will see a buoyant housing market with more sellers listing properties for sale and strong demand pushing asking prices further upwards. With high buyer demand, the number of properties for sale is still currently very low and properties are selling at the fastest pace ever – within an average of 36 days and the fastest selling time here in Glasgow.

However, the number of properties for sale is still at a record low, with buyer demand hoovering up new supply. We’re seeing more properties selling, and quickly.

For those wanting to take advantage of strong selling prices and complete on a new property in time for Christmas, the advice is to sell now. For those looking to buy a home or rental property, you could be facing strong competition so make sure you have everything you need to proceed with a purchase.

Tenant Arrears at Lowest Level in Ten Years

It’s good news for landlords as tenant arrears have fallen to the lowest level in ten years. According to new research, this fall in tenant arrears has been fuelled by landlords providing essential help during the pandemic including rental discounts over the last 18 months, in a bid to provide vital assistance to their tenants. The survey demonstrates the reliability of landlords during the pandemic as they acted quickly to support their tenants during an extremely challenging time.

The report from Paragon Bank found that from April to June this year, the number of renters who fell behind on their rent was 1.3 per landlord – in the first quarter of this year this was 1.6 per landlord. The current rate is the lowest figure in a decade.

Tenants with rent outstanding was 2.1 per landlord between April and June last year when the pandemic started to hit residents’ finances. In the first quarter of this year, the typical tenant owed £2,376, and in the second quarter this was £1,781. The good news is that this figure has been on the decline and the current average amount of outstanding rent is at a four-year low, falling by £595 per tenant over the last three months. This is the lowest amount of rental payments owed to landlords since December 2017. The research also shows that 17% of portfolio landlords missed out on income compared to 12% of single property landlords.

It’s worth noting that the current low arrears levels are a result of landlords providing tenants with rental discounts or payment holidays in a bid to help their finances during a difficult time. A separate survey of landlords and tenants by Shawbrook Bank found that 46% of landlords reduced monthly rent payments at some point during the pandemic. In fact, 28% gave a payment holiday, while 18% gave their tenants a reduction in rent. In addition, 38% of landlords changed their tenants rent and landlords lost an average of £7,500 as a result of payment holidays and £6,500 as a result of rent reductions. Rental payment holidays lasted an average of three months and rent reductions lasted on average four months.

These figures demonstrate the reliability of landlords during the pandemic as they acted quickly to support their tenants during a global crisis.

A good time to invest?

With arrears currently at low levels and requests for financial support on the decline, now could be a good time to invest in rental property. There has been a significant number of landlords exiting the buy to let market over the last few years, but it appears that there are signs of confidence returning to the lettings market. Rents are increasing across the UK (with the exception of London) as demand for rental property increases, and banks are increasing their buy to let mortgage offering with rates as low as 1.9% there has been a relaxation of the tightened lending criteria we saw during the pandemic.

Creating a Calming, Inexpensive Garden for Tenants

Over the last year we have all learned the importance of outside space. We have been through lockdowns which caused anxiety and uncertainty. For some, not having a garden or terrace to retreat to meant that they felt cooped up and the end of lockdown represented a need to find a new home, leading to a busy housing market especially from renters who no longer wanted to be restricted by only having local parks for fresh air. 

If you are considering buying a rental property and want to maximise the appeal, how about a garden that will provide your tenants with the ideal place to calm down, relax and retreat in the sunshine.

A great garden can help you to relax and take stock, away from the stress of the outside world. What’s more it can be more effective and appealing when it’s uncomplicated, simple, and paired back. A simple abundance of flowers and colours using just a few varieties can give the space clean lines and a refreshing simplicity.

One of the key elements of a simple garden is to use fewer types of plants in greater numbers. This works well in gardens of all size – by using pots on balconies, raised beds, and hanging baskets you can create a calm and inviting space especially if you keep a larger garden as simple and as uncluttered as possible.

Ornamental grasses are a great addition to this style of garden. They are natural, easy (and fast) growing. Try Miscanthus and Pampas grasses (Cortaderia) to cover ground. Bamboo is a beautiful plant too – but grow this in pots rather than in the ground so it is easier to control.

Consider healing aromatic plants to boost your wellbeing and create a sense of calm. Lavender, thyme, mint, lemon balm and echinacea are beautifully scented and look beautiful – they grow fast and are inexpensive to plant.

If the garden is overlooked by neighbours you might want to create a shaded area by screening it off with shrubs, hedges, wall panels or even a pergola with a climbing plant over the top.

Finally, choose plants and flowers that will provide a splash of colour. Silver and grey foliage can offset the colour of flowers beautifully including Senecio ‘Angel Wings’ or ‘Brachyglottis ‘Sunshine’ which produces bright yellow, daisy-like flowers which look stunning against grey and silver.

By using lighting to highlight your steps, paths and water features you’ll create a wonderful atmosphere and can highlight your favourite features throughout all of the seasons.

A Zen garden actively encourages wildlife and. Add flowering periennials, use wild flowers to attract bees and butterflies. Consider a bird feeder, nesting box and bird bath to attract different species of birds. You could also install a squirrel feeding box which can’t be opened by birds.

Last but not least, make sure you have a comfortable seating area for your tenants to relax and enjoy your their garden space – and it will look great in marketing photos!