The UK’s main house price indices have been diverging noticeably in recent years, as this blog pointed out last week. A look at the trends in housing sales helps explain why.
Here are some useful charts from housing data firm Hometrack. Read more
An interesting picture of the changing face of the UK housing market is provided by an analysis of census data by estate agency Savills, given exclusively to the FT.
The private rented sector is the main success story – it’s the only part of the market to have increased in value since the recession, and now makes up 17 per cent of the UK’s housing stock by units and 18 per cent by value, Savills found.
How much do parents value a safe environment, green spaces and a good education for their children? Such things are priceless – except that, of course, they are not. The best things in life may be free, but buying a house in the vicinity of the best things in life is expensive.
Economic researchers use house prices like a movie jewel-thief uses an aerosol spray. The aerosol isn’t important by itself, but it reveals the otherwise invisible laser beams that will trigger the alarm. The house prices aren’t necessarily of much direct interest, but indirectly they reveal our willingness to pay for anything from a neighbourhood free of known sex offenders to the more familiar example of a popular school. Read more
The number of housing benefit claimants is rising, and thus so is the cost to the Treasury, data from the Department for Work and Pensions shows. The number of people claiming housing benefit has increased by a startling 780,000 since the beginning of 2009 to 5 million.
There are a couple of small rays of light for the government.
Firstly, the rate of increase in claimants has slowed since the general election in May 2010.
Buy-to-let properties have bucked the housing market trend in recent years, seeing steady growth in lending.
Partly this is because new finance to owner-occupiers has dropped off so much since the credit crunch: the lack of mortgage availability, particularly for first-time buyers, has fuelled a booming rental market. Demand is pushing up the cost to tenants: average rents are up 4.3% year-on-year.
All this makes buy-to-let an exciting prospect for investors.
- New buy-to-let lending, £m (source: CML)
But buy-to-let mortgages are looking increasingly risky, according to detailed new data from the Council of Mortgage Lenders. Read more