Weekly Round-Up: 23rd November 2018

Take time to sell

House SellingIt takes, on average, 102 days to sell a property in the UK according to the latest Post Office Money City Rate of Sale report. The report, developed with the Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr), looks at the average time it takes for a property to sell in 35 major cities across the UK. Overall the amount of time sellers had to wait before receiving an offer was one week more – increasing from 96 days in 2017.

Homeowners in Scottish cities Edinburgh and Glasgow will see their homes sell fastest in the UK, spending 39 and 48 days on the market, respectively. Glasgow’s market also remains particularly competitive with the fastest house price growth of major UK cities. While properties in both cities remain relatively affordable when compared to the rest of the UK, both have also seen strong population growth which has increased demand for houses in areas with an undersupply of homes.

Properties in London and Blackpool take the longest to sell – taking on average 126 and 131 days. Despite London previously having one of the most competitive property markets, its expensive properties fuelled by years of double-digit house price growth, tend to take longer to sell. Properties over £1 million take 171 days on average to sell in the capital, whereas cheaper properties take only 99 days. Meanwhile, Blackpool sits at the other end of the spectrum; properties are extremely affordable, but it has the oldest average population, and therefore, may not be benefiting from the recent rise in first-time buyer sales on the property market.

Affordability hotspots, Belfast and Swansea, have seen the biggest fall in the time properties spend on the market – 17 and 14 days less than last year, respectively. Supply of housing is relatively low at present in Belfast, meaning there is limited availability of housing stock. Houses there are spending less time on the market before being purchased. Swansea, meanwhile, is affordable and an easily commutable distance to Cardiff, which has sustained demand there and led to a fall in time spent on the market.

Today’s the day

ShoppingPeople across the UK are setting out to grab a bargain this week according to the latest Lloyds Bank Spending Power Report. With one in five hoping to save an average of £191 on their Black Friday spending, total savings could reach significant levels by the end of the day.

None are more enthusiastic than Londoners, where 30% will undertake some spending on the day. Those in the North West (22%) and Yorkshire and Humberside (21%) are also looking to take advantage. In the South West, just 13% see themselves splashing the cash, and those in Wales (16%) and the East of England (16%) are also less likely to seek potential bargains.

It’s no surprise that technology is a prime target for spenders, given how expensive these items can often be. Nearly half (45%) said they would buy small electrical goods like mobile phones and laptops, and 34% would be buying larger items such as television. One in four (24%) expect to buy household electrical items such as fridges and washing machines. Items of furniture (13%) and bags and luggage (13%) are also on the pad for savvy shoppers, and some may be weighing up a Christmas proposal with 17% looking for a discount on jewellery.

Black Friday is a fairly recent phenomenon in the UK, and it would seem millennials most likely to take part. 37% of 18-34 year olds plan to make purchases on the day, against just 9% of the over 55s. They are also more eager to make their cash go further and grab a bargain, with the average expected saving reported to be £216, against the £153 over 55s believe they will achieve. Interestingly, youngsters are more likely to be purchasing clothes in the sales (47%).

23 million a day

CarsMotor insurance pay-outs so far this year have reached a record level with over £23 million being paid every day, according to figures out this week (20 November) at the ABI’s Motor Conference. The pay-outs cover theft, own vehicle and third-party property damage, as well as personal injury compensation. Rising repair bills and theft claims are the main driving forces behind the rise.

The ABI’s latest motor claims data collected from its members highlights that, in the first nine months of the year insurers paid out a total of £6.4 billion to private motorists and in compensation to victims of motor crashes, equating to over £23 million every day. This was up 4% on the same period last year, to the highest level since ABI started collecting the data at the start of 2013.

The cost of theft claims, at £271 million, jumped by 32% on the same period last year. The number of claims settled, at 41,000, rose by 11% on last year in part reflecting the widely reported growth in keyless vehicle crime. Repair bills, which at £3 billion so far this year, have risen by 5% on the same period last year. The average repair bill this year currently stands at £2,137 with ever more sophisticated vehicle technology, such as more sensors in bumpers and windscreens, leading to a rise in repair costs.

SME Three

OfficesThe UK’s small and medium-sized businesses have created three times more jobs over the past five years than larger businesses, according to new analysis of the latest ONS data commissioned by Santander Business Banking. While firms employing more than 250 staff added around 650,000 net jobs over the five years from 2013 to 2017 (a 4% increase), those employing less than 250 added 1.7 million (a 14% increase) – underscoring just how central SMEs are to the health of the UK economy and the country’s current record high employment levels.

While larger businesses continue to employ more people in absolute terms – 16.47 million people versus 13.96 million for SMEs – Santander’s analysis suggests SMEs will overtake larger businesses as primary employers by 2030 if the five-year growth trend continues at the same pace. However, separate research commissioned by Santander Business Banking has found that significant numbers of young people are failing to recognise the significant job opportunities that SMEs offer. Just a third (35%) of Generation Z and Millennials leaving full time education say they wish to work for an SME, while an even smaller proportion, just one in six (18%), want to work for a start-up or micro business.

In contrast, the most popular career aspirations are to work for a large firm (51%), the public sector (51%) or a global multinational (49%). This is despite nearly two thirds (64%) of Generation Z and Millennials, equal to around five million young adults in the UK, saying they are concerned about their career opportunities on leaving full time education – suggesting that many are potentially discounting the role that SMEs play in the economy.

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