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Estate Agents & Letting Agents in Leeds

Here you will find the latest Hudson Moody Wass and property news.

Allsop raise 62.8m at first residential auction of the year

Allsop raised £62.8m at its first residential auction of 2017, selling 80% of the 247 lots on offer.

A high number of property investors attended the auction, attracted by the wide array of properties on offer, both geographically and by property type, with the average lot size hitting £330,000.

The day continued as it started, with large crowds descending on the sale room at the Cumberland Hotel.

Auctioneer Gary Murphy had to call for bidders to come to the front of the hall to make room for those who could not get in through the doors at the rear.

Murphy said: “This was one of the largest crowds we have seen in our sale room for some time. In particular, there were far more new faces than we remember in recent sales. Many were there for one lot only and were obviously new to the auction method.

“It would seem that the market, for auction stock at least, has overcome the jitters that were evident during the latter half of last year.

“The stamp duty increases that have hit buyers of investments and second homes have now become an accepted, if unwelcome, cost. Life goes on.”

The sale included one of the largest lots to be offered by the residential auction team – Stoner House in Crawley, West Sussex, a 43,700 sq ft office building in the town centre with permitted development rights (PDR) for 111 self-contained flats. This lot was sold prior to auction for substantially more than its guide price of £7m.

Murphy added: “This sale demonstrates the continued demand for permitted development opportunities. For example, a particularly strong result was achieved in the room for a 9,000 sq ft office in Bagshot, Surrey with PDR for 12 flats.  Guided at £1.3m, it was sold for £1.98m. It’s encouraging to see this market looking so healthy and, in our experience, the majority of PD buyers are developing for rent.”

The most valuable lot to sell under the hammer was a four-bedroom penthouse on the ninth and tenth floor of Consort Rise House in Westminster. The vacant 2,442 sq ft apartment was knocked down on behalf of mortgagees for £2.1m.

You can view the results from the auction by clicking here.

Allsop’s next residential sale will be held on 30 March.  


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Why buy-to-let is still going strong

Over the past two years we have seen a drastic shake up in the buy-to-let sector.

Starting with rental tax changes announced in 2016, which are due to take effect this coming April, whereby landlords’ entire rental incomes will be taxable.

Under the current system, landlords pay tax on the difference between their rental amount and their monthly interest payment, so it’s a big change, especially for those with a portfolio of buy-to-let properties.

In 2016, we also saw the stamp duty hike for landlords who are now required to pay an additional 3% stamp duty to the standard residential price, which is applied to the entire purchase price of the property. This change was coupled with the scrapping of the wear and tear, restricting landlords on what they can claim for.

These announcements are enough to make anyone cautious about the profitability of the buy-to-let market. However, despite the amendments to the buy-to-let market, there are a number of reasons landlords are optimistic about its continued buoyancy.

Rental income

UK rental income is showing no signs of slowing down, meaning there is money to be made. According to the Association of residential Letting Agents, eight in 10 letting agents expect rents to rise in 2018.

Supply and demand

The population of the UK is growing, and according to the Office of National Statistics it is expected to reach 71 million by 2030. Plus, a growing student population supports the demand for buy-to-let landlords.

Lack of social housing

The total population of the rental market sits at 4.9 million and is the second largest housing tenure after ownership. With the lack of social housing and new private housing developments, the rental market looks to remain strong.

House prices are rising

Towards the latter end of 2016, house price inflation slowed, with Brexit being the catalyst. Despite the political unrest and prices plateauing, many experts are actually predicting a price rise. The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) are predicting a 3% rise across each region of the UK. RICS also state that with growing foreign investment due to the weaker exchange rate, London prices will stabilise after recent declines.

Mortgage rates

Due to a slow housing market and the new rules set to buy-to-let mortgages, lenders are reducing their rates in order to entice landlords to purchase property. The Mortgage Works, and Accord have slashed their fixed-rate deals, whilst Nationwide is offering its lowest ever two-year 65% loan-to-value fixed-rate deal. With buy-to-let mortgage rates at an all-time low, now is the perfect time to snap up a great deal.

So as you can see, it’s always wise to take doom and gloom headlines with a pinch of salt. There are ups and downs and a certain unpredictability to any investment, but with current high supply, rising rents and low mortgage rates, the buy-to-let market continues to offer an attractive return on investment.

Pete Muglestonis is the managing director of Online Mortgage Advisor


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Shanghai replaces Tokyo as most attractive property market in Asia

The Chinese city of Shanghai has become the number one destination for property investment in Asia Pacific, replacing Tokyo in top spot in the final quarter of last year, new figures show.

According to the latest figures from JLL, the strong performance of the property market in Shanghai was fuelled primarily by large transactions including ARA Asset Management’s US$2.9bn (£2.3bn) investment in the Century Link complex last October. It was also the biggest single-asset property transaction in the Asia-Pacific region in 2016.

Other high profile deals included the SCPG Holdings Properties portfolio that purchased by China Vanke from the Blackstone Group for $1.9bn (£1.5bn).

Zhou Zhifeng, JLL's head of research for China, commented: “Domestic capital was the main driver of real estate transaction volumes in 2016, with domestic investors often outbidding foreign investors in many transactions.

Globally, Shanghai was the fifth destination for property investment, after New York, London, Los Angeles and Paris, last year.

JLL report that the overall number of property transactions in Asia-Pacific region in the Q4 2016 increased by 21% year-on-year, while the total volume of property transactions rose 5% y-o-y in 2016.

The total volume of property transactions in Q4 was $15.5bn (£12.5bn) in China, surpassing $7.4bn (£6bn) in South Korea and $7.2bn (£5.8bn) in Japan.

“We believe that China - particularly Tier 1 cities - remains attractive to foreign investors as the market matures,” Zhifeng added. 


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Demand for Sharia-compliant finance continues to grow

Demand for UK property from Sharia-conscious investors continued to soar last month, fresh figures show.

Al Rayan Bank, the wholly Sharia-compliant retail bank, said that there was a 228% surge in home finance - home purchase plan (HPP) and buy-to-let purchase plan (BTLPP) - completions in January compared with the same month in 2016, reflecting general growth in consumer applications for Islamic finance in this country.

The surge follows a 9% rise in applications to the bank in 2016, marking a 99% increase over the past five years.

As an Islamic bank Al Rayan Bank does not use any interest-bearing products to finance customers’ properties, but rather uses the savings deposits from its customers, managed in accordance with ethical, Sharia principles.

Buy-to-let landlords turning to Al Rayan Bank for finance will acquire property in the Islamic finance principle of co-ownership (Musharaka), purchasing the property together with the Bank, as partners, rather than in the form of a loan which is repayable with interest.

Keith Leach, chief commercial officer at Al Rayan, said: “The UK market for Sharia-compliant home finance continues to be buoyant and – as these impressive enquiry and completion figures show – it is growing at a rapid pace in 2017.

“Over the last year, Al Rayan Bank has reduced the rental rates on its home finance products to make them more affordable than ever before, at the same time we have improved internal processes to speed up customers’ waiting times from offer to completion.

“These factors – combined with increasing acceptance of Islamic banking as a parallel form of banking in the UK – have helped drive the recent growth in demand.”


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Plans approved for 270 new homes as part of wider regeneration plans

More than 270 flats will be built in North Liverpool after plans for the scheme were given the go-ahead this week.

The development will be built near to the Project Jennifer regeneration area, a £150m renewal project on Great Homer Street being delivered by St. Modwen in partnership with Liverpool City Council.

Developer The Soller Group was given planning consent permission to move forward with the housing development at Liverpool City Council’s planning committee meeting on Tuesday.

The project, designed by architect Falconer Chester Hall, will feature 277 apartments across two blocks alongside communal roof terraces, cycle storage and basement car parking for 120 vehicles.

Alastair Shepherd, director at Falconer Chester Hall, said: “When completed this will complement the extensive regeneration currently ongoing along Great Homer Street by making use of what is currently a largely brownfield site.

“It is also another show of investor confidence in the northern edge of the city and adds to the balance of residential accommodation in the area, which includes recently approved student schemes and more traditional housing stock.”

Falconer Chester Hall was also given permission to build 60 new flats on a separate site within the Lark Lane Conservation Area this week. 


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Plans approved for 270 new homes in Liverpool as part of wider regeneration plans

More than 270 flats will be built in North Liverpool after plans for the scheme were given the go-ahead this week.

The development will be built near to the Project Jennifer regeneration area, a £150m renewal project on Great Homer Street being delivered by St. Modwen in partnership with Liverpool City Council.

Developer The Soller Group was given planning consent permission to move forward with the housing development at Liverpool City Council’s planning committee meeting on Tuesday.

The project, designed by architect Falconer Chester Hall, will feature 277 apartments across two blocks alongside communal roof terraces, cycle storage and basement car parking for 120 vehicles.

Alastair Shepherd, director at Falconer Chester Hall, said: “When completed this will complement the extensive regeneration currently ongoing along Great Homer Street by making use of what is currently a largely brownfield site.

“It is also another show of investor confidence in the northern edge of the city and adds to the balance of residential accommodation in the area, which includes recently approved student schemes and more traditional housing stock.”

Falconer Chester Hall was also given permission to build 60 new flats on a separate site within the Lark Lane Conservation Area this week. 


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Rogue landlords handed a hefty fine

Two unscrupulous landlords in Reading have been fined almost £9,000 for poor housing standards and a complete disregard for the welfare of their tenants.

Broken toilets and blocked fire escapes were among the catalogue of health and safety hazards uncovered by council officers when they visited the property on Oxford Road last summer.

Some of the other health and safety hazards identified in the inadequately decorated rental property included faulty fire alarms, damaged plug sockets and dangerous windows on the second floor.

Managers of the property Abdullah Yaqubi and Said Kamel Hashemi, both 42, admitted 14 offences at Reading Magistrates Court and were ordered to pay a £8,800 fine.

Councillor Richard Davies, Reading’s lead member for housing, said: “HMOs are an important part of the housing market in Reading but they are subject to certain regulations for the safety and comfort of tenants.

“Most landlords abide by these rules but those who do not and fail to respond to contact by the Council’s officers can expect to face the consequences.

“This is a good result for Reading’s Private Sector Housing and Legal teams and I hope it makes other property managers and landlords who are tempted to flout the rules sit up and take note.” 


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Vida Homeloans revises its buy-to-let proposition

Vida Homeloans has modified its buy-to-let proposition following the introduction of new underwriting standards by the Prudential Regulatory Authority last month.

The specialist mortgage lender for intermediaries has updated its criteria for the buy-to-let market.

For new build or off-plan buy-to-let properties the initial four month offer period from Vida Homeloans can now be extended for a further four months on the same product and family members can reside in student let buy-to-let properties. 

As far as by-to-let rental cover requirements are concerned, Vida Homeloans’ rental cover is 125% for basic rate UK tax payers and limited companies (top up using surplus income from 115%) and 140% for higher rate UK tax payers (top up using surplus income from 120%).

Other affordability criteria include HMOs from 130% rental cover and trading limited companies/SPV/LLP at 125% cover with top up from 115%.

The announcement follows this month’s housing white paper which set out legislation to improve conditions in the private rented sector for both landlords and tenants.

In addition, Vida Homeloans has announced a fresh wave of updates to its buy-to-let range, including a £500 reduction on its buy-to-let product fees to £1,495 on all loans below £250,000, and a 0.25% reduction to 1.25% on larger loans.

Louisa Sedgwick, director of sales – Mortgages, Vida Homeloans, said: “Vida Homeloans is committed to offering the best value to both residential and buy-to-let customers, and the latest refresh of our buy-to-let rates and fees is part of that commitment.

“Our aim at Vida is to offer landlords innovation and flexibility in securing the best mortgage deal for their client’s needs, while also ensuring the all-important rate works for their portfolio.

“We have made a number of criteria improvements and we’re confident that brokers will see the value in what we’re aiming to achieve with this set of changes and will respond positively.”


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Vida revises its buy-to-let proposition

Vida Homeloans has modified its buy-to-let proposition following the introduction of new underwriting standards by the Prudential Regulatory Authority last month.

The specialist mortgage lender for intermediaries has updated its criteria for the buy-to-let market.

For new build or off-plan buy-to-let properties the initial four month offer period from Vida Homeloans can now be extended for a further four months on the same product and family members can reside in student let buy-to-let properties. 

As far as by-to-let rental cover requirements are concerned, Vida Homeloans’ rental cover is 125% for basic rate UK tax payers and limited companies (top up using surplus income from 115%) and 140% for higher rate UK tax payers (top up using surplus income from 120%).

Other affordability criteria include HMOs from 130% rental cover and trading limited companies/SPV/LLP at 125% cover with top up from 115%.

The announcement follows this month’s housing white paper which set out legislation to improve conditions in the private rented sector for both landlords and tenants.

In addition, Vida Homeloans has announced a fresh wave of updates to its buy-to-let range, including a £500 reduction on its buy-to-let product fees to £1,495 on all loans below £250,000, and a 0.25% reduction to 1.25% on larger loans.

Louisa Sedgwick, director of sales – Mortgages, Vida Homeloans, said: “Vida Homeloans is committed to offering the best value to both residential and buy-to-let customers, and the latest refresh of our buy-to-let rates and fees is part of that commitment.

“Our aim at Vida is to offer landlords innovation and flexibility in securing the best mortgage deal for their client’s needs, while also ensuring the all-important rate works for their portfolio.

“We have made a number of criteria improvements and we’re confident that brokers will see the value in what we’re aiming to achieve with this set of changes and will respond positively.”


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Proportion of landlords looking to sell falls as tenant demand grows

The proportion of landlords who intend to sell their rental properties as a result of the government's draconian tax changes has declined, owed in part to higher demand from tenants seeking accommodation in the private rented sector.

A new survey of private landlords has found that 17% are planning to sell, down from 25% a year ago, following the government’s plans to remove the ability to deduct mortgage interest costs from rental income before calculating the tax bill.

The hardest-hit landlords will be those paying higher rates of tax of 40% or 45% and who have large mortgages.

Instead of being able to deduct mortgage costs, landlords will have a 20% tax credit, which will leave many higher-rate taxpayers with squeezed profits and some making a loss after the change is phased in from April.

The study, by Paragon Mortgages, suggests that more landlords are now willing to develop a ‘hold strategy’ after developing fresh ways to manage the impact of the changes, while the proportion of landlords willing to purchase buy-to-let property in Q1 2017 has grown to 13%, up from a record low of 9% 12 months ago.

Another attractive factor for landlords is the fact that tenant demand for private rented accommodation is continuing to increase, with 94% of the landlords interviewed describing tenant demand as stable or growing, with fewer than one in 30 suggesting a decline.

High tenant demand also continues to impact average void periods, which remain unchanged at 2.7 weeks, with 48% of respondents reporting that their properties stand empty for less than two weeks. Average yields also remained remarkably stable at 6.1%.

John Heron, managing director at Paragon Mortgages, said: “With no material improvement in the supply of new housing against a background of strong population growth and household formation, it is no surprise that landlords are continuing to experience strong rental demand. It is promising therefore that there has been some improvement in landlord buying intentions albeit from a low base.

“Any boost this gives to improving supply to the sector, however, needs to be balanced against the additional upward pressure that we are likely to see in rents as a result of the phased impact of the changes to the taxation of rental income.”


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