The housing market has enjoyed what some are calling a “Boris bounce” following the result of last month’s general election, with confidence in the market hitting a three-year high, according to a new survey.
Zoopla, in partnership with MonkeySeed, surveyed 6,000 people, and over 650 agents from the sales and lettings landscape across the UK, and found that the housing market is seeing some benefit from the greater clarity provided by the decisive election outcome.
Estate agent confidence levels are up, with more than half – 55% – of those surveyed reporting that they feel either ‘very confident’ or ‘somewhat confident’ in the strength of the market during the next year. This follows a three-year consecutive decline in agent confidence.
From a regional perspective, agents in the north are registering the highest levels of confidence in market performance for 2020 at 57%; meanwhile, agents in the south come in at 53% and demonstrate the highest turnaround in sentiment, up from 46% recorded 12 months prior.
Some 52% of agents expect to see an increase in the supply of stock coming onto the market over the next 12-18 months to start meeting buyer and renter demand.
Additionally, 45% of agents believe that there will be an increase in the number of property transactions that take place across the year ahead, in a further sign of renewed market health.
The economic and political landscape, as well as current stock levels, were cited as immediate market challenges; however, the subsequent election outcome is already starting to reshape market dynamics.
Andy Marshall, chief commercial officer at Zoopla, said: “It comes as little surprise that the so-called ‘Boris Bounce’ has already started to reshape the market in the immediate term – particularly amidst reports of improving consumer confidence following the decisive election outcome.
“Without doubt, appetite to buy and sell property has been pent up since the aftermath of the Brexit vote in 2016, and it would now appear that we have the green shoots of a new cycle in the market.
“While we don’t expect runaway prices – indeed we have forecast a modest 3% growth for 2020 – we are definitely heading in the right direction and agents are rightly benefitting from what we hope will become a new dawn.”
Fresh figures from Howsy has revealed the most in-demand cities to rent property in the United Kingdom, with some surprising findings.
The rental management platform analysed demand across 23 major UK cities as well as each borough of London, based on the proportion of rental listings that had already been snapped up by renters as a percentage of all listings available online.
The study found when it comes to existing demand, Newport is home to the highest level of tenant demand with 35% of all rental homes listed on the major portals already let.
Other highly ranked in-demand cities for rental properties include Bristol at 34%, Nottingham (33%), Cambridge (33%) and Belfast (25%).
Elsewhere, Plymouth (23%), Portsmouth (23%), Bournemouth (23%), Leicester (18%) and Manchester (18%) complete the top 10.
Aberdeen remains the least sought after area for rental properties in the UK with tenant demand at 5% followed by Swansea (8%) and Leeds (9%).
In London, Bexley, Bromley, Sutton and Lewisham are the hottest boroughs for tenants straight off the bat in 2020, with 38% of all rental stock listed online already being snapped up.
Merton (32%), Croydon (31%), Greenwich (30%), Haringey (29%), Enfield (29%) and Kingston (27%) are also amongst the most popular.
The high financial barrier of rental costs is evident at the top end of the ladder with Kensington and Chelsea (7%), Westminster (7%), Camden (11%), the City of London (12%) and Hammersmith and Fulham (13%) all ranking with the lowest number of properties let as a percentage of total properties listed.
Calum Brannan, founder and CEO of Howsy, said: “The buy-to-let sector may have had a rough ride of late but the UK rental market is still heavily relied upon by many in order to put a roof over their head and as a result, many cities still provide a great opportunity for buy-to-let investors due to the lower levels of available stock and consistently high tenant demand.
“When looking to invest, this combination of high demand, an affordable initial cost and a good rental yield should all be considered in order to maximise a return. For those that do their research and tick these boxes, bricks and mortar remains a very sound investment despite attempts to dampen the financial return via stamp duty hikes and changes to tax relief.
“Hopefully, a newly refreshed Government will realise that the buy-to-let landlord is the backbone of the UK rental market and we need to encourage investment into the sector rather than deter it.”
An assembly member has welcomed the introduction of legislation for carbon monoxide detectors in rented homes in Wales.
The Welsh Government says new regulations are to be introduced to tackle the threat of carbon monoxide poisoning.
Around 60 people a year are killed by carbon monoxide poisoning in Wales and thousands are hospitalised.
The regulations will require landlords in Wales and their agents to install working carbon monoxide alarms, smoke alarms and undertake an electrical safety test at least every five years.
The time frame is not clear at this stage, but it would appear that it will be implemented as part of the introduction of Section 91 of the Renting Homes (Wales) Act 2016 and prior to the end of this Assembly term in 2021.
Clwyd West AM Darren Millar previously expressed concerns to the Senedd over the absence of legal requirements for the detectors to be installed in rental properties.
But he has welcomed confirmation that a new section of the Renting Homes (Wales) Act 2016 will include additional requirements for landlords to install working carbon monoxide alarms, smoke alarms and undertake an electrical safety test at least every five years.
He said: “I’m absolutely delighted to hear that new regulations will be coming into force to ensure landlords install carbon monoxide testers in their properties and the Minister is committed to ensuring they are implemented by the end of this Assembly term.”
Many people are at risk of carbon monoxide poisoning, particularly if they do not have a CO alarm in their property.
In the short-term, carbon monoxide poisoning can cause dizziness, sickness, tiredness and stomach pain, while prolonged exposure can lead to loss of consciousness and have a significant impact on an individual’s mental state, coordination and heart health.
Carbon monoxide is a poisonous gas that is produced when fuel does not burn properly – usually from badly fitted or poorly maintained appliances.
Though carbon monoxide is a poisonous gas, it has no smell or taste, so it is not obvious when someone has been exposed to it. Just breathing it in can make somebody very unwell and it can kill if a person is exposed to high levels.
Millar added: Carbon monoxide is a toxic gas, but, being colourless, odourless, tasteless, and initially non-irritating, it is very difficult for people to detect.
“Unfortunately, many people across Wales still do not know enough about its dangers and it continues to claim lives or leave people with long-term chronic health problems.
“Currently 60 people a year are killed by carbon monoxide poisoning and thousands are hospitalised. Hopefully, these new regulations will help to reduce that figure.”
It now takes private landlords across the UK more than five months on average from making a claim to the courts for a property to be repossessed to it actually happening, with the problem most acute in London, new figures show.
The data reveals that the average length of time from a claim from a landlord in London to a court issuing an order for a property to be repossessed for legitimate reasons is currently 30 weeks, up from 23 weeks a year earlier.
Landlords in London have the longest wait in the country followed in second place by those in the North East who have to wait an average of 23.5 weeks.
The findings suggest that a major problem contributing to the backlog is the fact that the courts are unable to cope when landlords look to repossess properties for legitimate reasons.
The Residential Landlords Association (RLA) is warning that without major reform and greater funding for the courts the time taken to process cases will only get worse as Ministers prepare to end Section 21 repossessions.
The RLA is calling on the government to establish a dedicated housing court with a view to improving and speeding up access to justice for landlords and tenants in the minority of cases where something goes wrong.
John Stewart, policy manager for the RLA, commented: “If landlords feel that they might have to wait forever to regain possession of their property where they have good reason, such as tenants committing anti-social behaviour or failing to pay their rent, increasing numbers are going to feel it is not worth the risk of letting the property out in the first place.
“This will just add to the already growing shortage of investment in rented housing which is badly needed to meet a rising demand.
“The RLA was delighted when the government consulted on its proposal for a housing court a year ago but nothing has happened since. It needs to get on and get it set up for the benefit of landlords and tenants alike.”