After many months of runaway increases in the price of the average home, the leading headlines making present property news all point to a marked slowing down of a market impacted by the rising cost of living.
Other UK property news stories feature a renewed push to extend Right to Buy legislation, a peculiarly British fascination with the humble beach hut, and the size of the deposit currently required by the first-time buyer.
UK house price growth slows as cost of living crisis starts to hit market
Although April marked the ninth consecutive month of increases in the average house price in the UK, that growth is beginning to slow, according to a story in the Guardian newspaper on the 29th of April.
The increase for the month was a modest 0.3% – taking the overall average across the UK to a record £267,620. This was the smallest monthly increase since September last year and compared with the 1.1% increase in March.
House prices are now up by 12.1% on the year – reflecting a decline from the annual figure of 14.3% recorded in March. The spate of increases also reflected a surge in demand from house hunters eager to find bigger homes and gardens yet the market’s failure to supply sufficient properties to meet that demand.
As inflation, the rising cost of living, and more expensive mortgages begin to impact household budgets, house prices appear to be growing less quickly.
Government considers giving more tenants the Right to Buy
First introduced by Margaret Thatcher for council tenants more than 40 years ago, the present government is now considering extending the Right to Buy to all tenants, including those in the private rented sector, according to Landlord Today on the 3rd of May.
As a first step, the extended scheme would see a Right to Buy extended to housing association tenants – currently some 2.5 million households.
An alternative idea under consideration by the government is to encourage recipients of Universal Credit benefit payments to use that money to secure a mortgage on a home of their own.
Beach hut owners in Essex town under fire for ‘customising’ their luxury wooden sheds
Britain’s peculiar love affair with the humble beach hut might have hit the rocks if a story in the Daily Mail on the 2nd of May is anything to go by.
The story recounts criticism and threats by the council to withdraw beach hut licences if owners at Frinton-on-Sea, in Essex, fail to abide by the rules governing the “improvement” or “customisation” of their huts.
Some owners have been found to have extended their beach hut, added a veranda, or built a patio alongside – all without the required authorisation by the local council. The council also reserves the right to determine exactly what colour any beach hut is painted.
By flouting the council’s rules, owners have been warned that they could face losing their licence to occupy the beach hut – and with it, the loss of the potential £80,000 premium for which those licences currently change hands.
First-time buyer deposits soar more than 50% in a decade
The average first-time buyer needs to find a deposit of £45,569 research by the online listings website Zoopla reports on the 26th of April.
This represents an increase of a staggering 54% on the £23,625 which was the average first-time buyer’s deposit just ten years ago.
It is not only the absolute value of the deposit that has increased but also its percentage of the total purchase price of a home. Ten years ago, first-time buyers put down an average of 17% of the home’s purchase price as a deposit. Today, that percentage is 20%.