Consultation on Definitive House Price Index

Office For National Statistics

Office For National Statistics

The Office for National Statistics has launched a consultation seeking input from “users” on the proposal of developing a single definitive house price index.

As I have blogged about previously, there is not a precise house price index as all of the current indexes source their data differently.

The move to a single, UK-wide, index would help end the confusion caused by the contrasting data thrown up by the current indexes.

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Another Successful RESI

Cathy Fuller, Head Of Events at Property Week

Cathy Fuller, Head Of Events at Property Week

On September 10th the property industry’s best and brightest descended upon the Welsh countryside to attend the UK’s biggest property event, RESI 2014.

Once again we had more than 1,000 delegates in attendance networking, discussing the current state of the residential property sector and enjoying a full conference programme of opinion and debate, Chaired by Mark Eason, the BBC’s Home Editor.

Leading developers, researchers, financiers and politicians took to the stage to talk about the key issues facing the sector and I have collated some of the biggest talking points to come out of this year’s conference.

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Can You Trust House Price Index Data?

Can you trust House Price Index stats?

Can you trust House Price Index stats?

A House Price Index… is it worth the paper it’s written on?

It seems that every month the property industry, and the general public, is bombarded with another statistic relating to average house prices. The headlines usually heap a lot of importance on these statistics, either stating that it highlights the impending burst of the “property bubble”, its continued inflation or using it to show people are being priced out of the market.

But each House Price Index uses different measurements and covers different sample sizes, areas and date ranges. Many can indicate a national average property price that varies greatly from the consumers experience.

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Changes to Capital Gains Tax Target Non-Resident Sellers

Peter Sarney, Director, Felton Pumphrey

Peter Sarney, Director, Felton Pumphrey

The imposition of Capital Gains Tax (CGT) on the disposal of UK residential property for non-residents came as a surprise to many people as the UK government seeks to level the playing field between those who are tax residents in the UK and those who are not.

Unlike many other countries, that tax gains on the disposal of residential property situated in their jurisdiction, the UK has not generally charged CGT on gains made by non-residents. The result of this is that a gain would either be fully taxable in the country of residence or escape taxation entirely.

The UK government considers this to be unfair and has proposed legislation to tax the gains on residential property of those who are non-resident in the same way as gains made by those who are resident.

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Number of Amateur Landlords on the Increase

Rajiv Mehta, Asset Manager – Investment, Young Group

Rajiv Mehta, Asset Manager – Investment, Young Group

According to a new report the level of amateur (part time) landlords, those who use their investment property to supplement their other income, have reached the highest ever levels.

The National Landlords Association (NLA) claims that amateur landlords now make up more than 70% of the Private Rented Sector and that they typically own around four properties.

Due to the current strength of returns seen in the rental market 25% of these amateur landlords are intending to add to their property portfolio with 40% planning to use buy-to-let financing to fund their lettings portfolio.

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Spring/Summer 2014: Sometimes It’s Not What You Know…

David Mackenzie, Director of Asset Management, Young Group

David Mackenzie, Director of Asset Management, Young Group

Currently, articles abound, enthusing about how companies, family offices and individuals are getting into the business of investing in the Private Rented Sector (PRS) in the UK.

Whilst there is usually a lot of excitement around the physical product and getting it to completion, it can sometimes seem that the huge piece of work and pre-thought that needs to happen in setting up the ‘operator’ side of the investment, in a nutshell the Asset Management of the PRS portfolio, is forgotten.

This encompasses everything from algorithmic based pricing, to marketing, release phasing and mix, through to lettings, property management and back office technical support.

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What does the future hold for the Private Rented Sector?

David Lawrenson, Director, LettingFocus.com

David Lawrenson, Director, LettingFocus.com

The Private Rented Sector (PRS) is in a constant state of flux and it is impossible to tell, with an absolute certainty, what is in store for our sector, especially with a general election looming on the horizon.

No doubt there will be many Think Tanks producing reports to pontificate on the sector! But, on a serious note, I am sure we will see a step towards more regulation and I do not believe all of it will be for the betterment of the sector!

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National house building statistics

National house building statistics

National house building statistics

The latest national statistics on house building in England (March quarter 2014) have been released.

The data shows that house building starts are on the increase and are nearly a third higher than this time last year, although they are remain nearly a quarter below their 2007 peak.

While this can be seen as a positive it is still far short of the number of houses that need to be built in England to be to keep up with housing demands from population growth.

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Labour defeated in move to ban lettings agency fees

Government

Government

As PRSupdate reported last week, Labour tabled an amendment to the Consumer Rights Bill that would have banned letting agents from charging fees to tenants.

But, after much debate, the motion was defeated in the House of Commons by 53 votes.

Hours prior to the vote the Government had announced it would put forward its own amendment to the Consumer Rights Bill. Details of the Government’s proposed amendment have not been fully revealed, as it has yet to be tabled, although it is known that it will compel letting agents to publish all of their fees on their websites and prominently in their offices.

The requirement would goes a step beyond the current Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) recommendations, including the ability to fine any agents who fail to comply.

The Government said it would plan to monitor the regime for a year and ‘put the industry on notice’ that it would be ready to consider further steps if it deemed necessary.

Young London, Young Group’s operational business, is fully prepared if these new proposals come into force as it already displays all fees on the its website and provides them to every applicant as part of their viewing pack.

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PRSupdate – 100 Not Out

Neil Young, CEO

Neil Young, CEO

From our very first newsletter we wanted the publication to become a source of information, guidance and discussion for those operating in, or looking to enter, the Private Rented Sector (PRS). I am proud to say that PRSupdate has surpassed all of our expectations.

Reaching 100 issues is a testament to the calibre of our guest authors, the knowledge of internal contributors and readers continued appetite for PRS content.

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Mortgage Market Review: What you need to know

Mortgage Market Review: What you need to know

Mortgage Market Review: What you need to know

What was the MMR?

The Mortgage Market Review (MMR) was a comprehensive analysis of the mortgage market. Following on from the MMR new regulations were implemented by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) on April 26.

Why was the MMR needed?

The MMR set out reforms to the current mortgage market to ensure its continued recovery and sustainability in the wake of the credit crunch.

Policy makers believed that the current regulatory framework was ineffective in keeping high-risk lending and borrowing in check. The policies stemming from the MMR will ensure that those who can afford mortgages can access them, while preventing a return to the poor practices of the past.

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Spring/Summer 2014: Stamping Out Poor Practice

Peter Bolton King, Global Residential Director, Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors

Peter Bolton King, Global Residential Director, Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors

Last year, as confidence began to return to the market, more people were looking to sell or let their property. All told, things are beginning to look up for the residential sector with the January RICS Housing Market Survey showing sales demand at a six year high and rental demand holding up well.

However, a pick-up in the market also means that the issue of industry regulation, for sales and lettings, has become more prominent in recent months. For far too long estate and letting agencies have operated without the necessary training or knowledge to properly serve their clients.

There is a need for a greater number of agents to be working to properly enforced standards.

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Operating in the Private Rented Sector: An Introduction

Neil Young, CEO

Neil Young, CEO

Young Group’s latest biannual PRSupdate publication will be landing through letterboxes just in time for the Easter weekend.

The theme of this new PRSupdate publication is Operating In The Private Rented Sector; timely, since over the past six months my fellow Young Group Directors and I have seen a noticeable change in discussions about the Private Rented Sector (PRS).

No longer is the conversation dominated solely by talk of acquisition, whether land or existing stock.

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DCLG’s consultation on property conditions in the PRS

DCLG's consultation on property conditions in the PRS

DCLG’s consultation on property conditions in the PRS

Following the 2013 call for evidence on Private Rented Sector quality, regulation and levels of rent (which Young Group responded to), the DCLG has called for further comment on  its Policy Paper ‘Review of Property Conditions in the PRS’, covering a raft of issues, including:

  • Rights and responsibilities of landlords and tenants
  • Retaliatory evictions
  • Illegal evictions
  • Safety conditions
  • Licensing of rented housing
  • Housing Health and Safety Rating System

As an organisation with a long-standing vested interest in the Private Rented Sector, Young Group wanted to ensure that our experience and views were shared.

Our full response can be found here but we have included a few extracts in this blog post to highlight our stance on the issues raised.

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Capital Gains Tax Targets Overseas Investors

HM Revenue and Customs

HM Revenue and Customs

This article is for information purposes only and in no way constitutes advice.

From April 2015 there will be changes to the current Capital Gains Tax (CGT) rules for overseas sellers. Currently the disposal of UK property by a non-resident individual is not normally subject to UK CGT, while UK residents pay 18% of the profits for basic rate tax payers and 28% for higher rate payers.

However, it is not yet clear exactly how the new rules will be implemented as the Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) have yet to release the consultation documents. Until then, we will not know exactly what is being proposed.

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