RESIDENTIAL PROPERTY REVIEW – December 2017

Buy-to-Let landlords continue to feel the pinch

In their latest ‘UK Cross Sector Outlook’, Savills Research have noted that following the summer budget of 2015, the government’s alterations to Buy-to-Let (BTL) regulations and taxation, have seriously dented the enthusiasm of many potential landlords. Savills report that UK Finance have calculated that the number of BTL mortgages granted in the year to August 2017 was 75,300. This represents a fall of 47% from the year to March 2016. Furthermore, the actual growth in the number of outstanding BTL mortgages is lower still – now standing at 24,800 – which suggests that landlords are divesting in this sector.

October’s data sees a boost to remortgaging

UK Finance have stated in their non-seasonally adjusted data release that loans for remortgaging and for house purchases rose, when compared with the previous month and with the same period in 2016.

Given the current economic climate, both capital and interest payments for new loans are at an all-time low, which reflects the increasingly competitive nature of the mortgage-lending market.

June Deasy, Head of Mortgage Policy at UK Finance said: “Over the last year, the number of loans for remortgaging have been at record levels; this trend looks set to continue further as we head towards the end of 2017 and borrowers seek to take advantage of low interest rates. Mortgage repayments as a percentage of income still remain at, or close to, their historic low point, and despite the recent base rate rise, we can expect monthly mortgage payments to remain affordable for the vast majority of borrowers.

Conflicting data released by the Land Registry

In its latest data release, the UK Land Registry, which collates completion data across the country, has recorded the average residential property price in the UK at £223,807 in October. This represents an annual positive price change of 4.5%, and a slight monthly fall of 0.5%. They stated that the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), whose members they canvass for the data, reported that headline near-term price expectations slipped to -11% from -8% in September and has now been negative in each of the last three months. The Bank of England found that housing market demand has strengthened overall, but with the usual regional divergence

 

HOUSE PRICES HEADLINE STATISTICS

HOUSE PRICE INDEX (OCT 2017)* 117.4*
AVERAGE HOUSE PRICE £223,807
MONTHLY CHANGE -0.5%
ANNUAL CHANGE 4.5%
*(Jan 2015= 100)

  • An annual price increase of 4.5%, which takes the average property value in the UK to £223,807
  • The North West saw the largest monthly fall in value of -2.0%
  • Northern Ireland saw price growth of 3.0% over Q3 2017

 

HOUSE PRICES PRICE CHANGE BY REGION

Region   Monthly Change (%) Annual Change (%) Average Price (£)
England   -0.6 4.7 £240,860
Northern Ireland
(Quarter 3 – 2017)
�� 3.0 6.0 £132,169
Scotland   -0.7 2.8 £143,544
Wales   0.8 4.5 £153,316
East Midlands   0.2 7.0 £184,544
East of England   0.1 6.1 £289,168
London   -0.9 2.1 £481,102
North East   -0.1 2.4 £127,224
North West   -2.0 3.9 £154,056
South East   -0.5 4.6 £322,311
South West   0.2 6.7 £251,376
West Midlands Region   -1.1 5.2 £186,351
Yorkshire & The Humber   -1.1 3.3 £155,281
Source: The Land Registry
Release date: 12/12/2017 Next date release: 16/01/2018

 

UK UNEMPLOYMENT FIGURES

  • There were 32.08 million people in work, 56,000 fewer than for May to July 2017 but 325,000 more than a year earlier
  • 8.86 million people aged 16 to 64 were economically inactive
Jobless total
1.43m
Unemployment rate
4.3%
Source: Office for National Statistics
Release Date: 13/12/2017

 

MORTGAGE ACTIVITY

  • The number and value of loans for remortgaging and for house purchases rose in October
  • First-time buyers borrowed £5.1 billion, up two per cent on the previous month
  • Home movers borrowed £7 billion, up 2.9 per cent on September

Source: UK Finance (formerly Council of Mortgage Lenders)
Release date:
 12/12/2017

 

It is important to take professional advice before making any decision relating to your personal finances. Information within this document is based on our current understanding and can be subject to change without notice and the accuracy and completeness of the information cannot be guaranteed. It does not provide individual tailored investment advice and is for guidance only. Some rules may vary in different parts of the UK. We cannot assume legal liability for any errors or omissions it might contain. Levels and bases of, and reliefs from, taxation are those currently applying or proposed and are subject to change; their value depends on the individual circumstances of the investor. No part of this document may be reproduced in any manner without prior permission.

Cohabiting couples warned of ‘common law marriage’ myths

Couple cooking in kitchen

Millions of unmarried couples who live together could be unaware of their rights if the relationship breaks down, a family law group has warned.

Resolution carried out a survey which found two-thirds of cohabiting couples wrongly believe “common-law marriage” laws exist when dividing up finances.

The number of unmarried couples living together has more than doubled from 1.5 million in 1996 to 3.3 million in 2017.

Resolution chairman Nigel Shepherd said current laws were “behind the times”.

He said: “The government must listen to the public, legal professionals and a growing number of politicians who all agree that we need reform to provide basic rights to cohabiting couples should they separate.”

Mr Shepherd said “society has changed”, as cohabiting couples have become the fastest-growing family type in the UK.

He said, under current law, it was possible to live with someone for decades – and have children together – but not take responsibility for the former partner if the relationship breaks down.

Cohabiting couples can be recognised under Scots Law in some circumstances – and Scottish legislation introduced in 2006 enables a cohabitant to apply to the court for financial provision.


Cohabiting vs marriage: Six ways your rights differ

  1. If one cohabiting partner dies without leaving a will, the surviving partner will not automatically inherit anything – unless the couple jointly own property. A married partner would inherit all or some of the estate
  2. An unmarried partner who stays at home to care for children cannot make any claims in their own right for property, maintenance or pension-sharing
  3. Cohabiting partners cannot access their partner’s bank account if they die – whereas married couples may be allowed to withdraw the balance providing the amount is small
  4. An unmarried couple can separate without going to court, but married couples need to go to a court and get divorced to end the marriage formally
  5. Cohabiting couples are not legally obliged to support each other financially, but married partners have a legal duty to support each other
  6. If you are the unmarried partner of a tenant, you have no rights to stay in the accommodation if you are asked to leave – but each married partner has the right to live in the “matrimonial home”

Source: Citizens Advice


The ComRes poll of 2,000 UK adults, by Resolution, found 84% of people thought the government should take steps to make sure unmarried cohabiting couples knew they did not have the same legal protection as married couples.

Of these respondents, 281 people were in a cohabiting relationship – two-thirds of which thought they were common-law married.

A further four in five cohabitants believed that the legal rights surrounding cohabiting people who separate were “unclear”.

If they have children, each cohabiting partner will still have the legal rights and responsibilities of a parent.

‘Completely unprotected’

Mother-of-five Yvonne, who was with her ex-partner 17 years, said she was “shocked to find out” her legal rights when they ended the relationship.

“I was entitled to nothing,” she said.

“I was no longer just dealing with a break-up – but with the fallout of not being legally entitled to share in any of what I thought were our joint assets.”

Yvonne
Yvonne said she was “devastated” when she realised she lacked financial support

Yvonne, who gave up paid work to look after their children, said she now has to move house – but has no independent funds or a pension.

“I’m devastated to have been left in this situation, and think it’s wrong that the law is unable to provide people like me with any support whatsoever,” she said.

Resolution, which represents 6,500 family practitioners, said it had seen an increase in the number of cases involving cohabiting couples.

Some 98% of Resolution members report having worked with a couple who they say they could not help due to the lack of legal protection.