Summer downturn in house prices
Properties coming on to the market in England and Wales between 10 July and 6 August 2016 are 1.2% lower than the previous month, new research has revealed.
The Rightmove House Price Index says that this average drop of £3,602 is in line with the same decrease over the past six years and corresponds with subdued house sales during the summer months – rather than as a result of Brexit. This puts the average asking price at £304,222 at the beginning of August.
The survey also found that larger homes take the longest time to sell and have therefore faced a more significant drop in price, with an average of 74 days from being advertised on Rightmove to be sold subject to contract by estate agents. Larger homes have also seen a larger monthly fall in asking prices from new sellers, down by 2.9%.
In contrast, first-time buyer properties of two bedrooms or fewer and second-stepper properties, which tend to have three bedrooms, are performing better, taking 58 days to sell and witnessing monthly price drops of just 0.5% and 0.4% respectively.
Greater London has seen the largest monthly change in property prices, down by 2.6%, with an average house price in early August of £635,710. Within London, the top borough for house price rises was Enfield, with a monthly change of 4.5% in August and an annual price rise of 13.9%. The worst performing borough was the City of Westminster, which saw monthly prices plummet by 14.5% and an annual drop of 24.1%.
Only two regions in England and Wales showed price rises between July and August – the West Midlands and Yorkshire and Humberside, up 1.1% and 1.2% respectively.
‘A year of two halves’
Rightmove views 2016 as a year of two halves: it says that in the first six months, a buy-to-let surge to beat the 3% stamp duty hike on additional properties boosted property transactions to 12% higher between January and June 2016 than they were during the same period in 2015. However, in July 2016, enquiries to agents dropped by 18% when compared with July 2015.
Miles Shipside, Rightmove director and housing market analyst, says: “Many prospective buyers take a summer break from home-hunting, and those who come to market at this quieter time of year tend to price more aggressively. This summer is also affected by both Brexit uncertainty and the aftermath of the buy-to-let rush in March to beat the stamp duty deadline.
“Most sellers seem to recognise that buyers may want some extra encouragement to get them to put their towel on a property to reserve it as well as on their sunbed!”
Mr Shipside adds: “By autumn, we should get a clearer view of the strength of any post-referendum hangover, though that also depends on buyers’ confidence to turn this interest into action. The latest interest rate cut making already cheap-to-borrow money even cheaper should act as an added boost to confidence.”
A hugely unpopular tax paid on property and share purchases. Stamp duty on property is levied at 1% for purchases over £125,000 (£250,000 for first-time buyers) which then moves up at a tiered rate. For property between £125k and £250k you pay 1%, then 3% from £250k up to £500k and then 4% from £500k to £1m and then 5% for properties over £1m. But unlike income tax, which is “tiered” and different rates kick in at different levels, stamp duty is a “slab” tax where you pay the rate on the whole purchase price of the property. On shares, stamp duty is charged at a flat rate of 0.5% on all share purchases. Figures correct as of May 2011.
Everything you own: all your assets (property, cars, investments, savings, insurance payouts, artwork, furniture etc) minus any liabilities (debts, current bills, payments still owed on assets like cars and houses, credit card balances and other outstanding loans). When you’re alive this is called your wealth; when you’re dead, it becomes your estate.
The catch-all term applied to investors who buy properties with the sole intention of letting them to tenants rather than living in them themselves, with the proceeds from the let usually used for the repayment of the mortgage. Buy-to-let investors have to take out specialised mortgages that carry higher interest rates and require a much bigger deposit than a standard mortgage. Other expenditure can include legal fees, income tax (on the rental profits you make), capital gains tax (if you sell the property) and “void” periods when the property is unlet.