Weekly Round-Up: 14th December 2018

Charged housing

House SellingAccording to the latest UK Residential Housing Survey by the Royal Institute for Chartered Surveyors (RICS), ongoing uncertainties surrounding how the Brexit process plays out is taking its toll on the housing market. Highlighting little choice for new buyers and fewer people interested in moving, RICS have suggested that Brexit is impacting sentiment in almost all areas of the UK.

It is evident that both buyers and sellers are playing a cautious game, and, where deals are being done, they are taking longer to reach completion. RICS shares the resounding sentiment of frustration from their surveyors who complete the research and are not surprised by this month’s outcome. Brexit was identified early as having a very politically charged debate, but it is felt that the current style of politics and continuing level of political uncertainty is significantly impacting the housing market and build environment.

Prior to the referendum, RICS research indicated that Brexit would only impact the higher end of the residential market, as the lower and middle market areas are domestically driven. Now, however, it appears that those looking to buy and sell homes across the price spectrum, as well as those looking to invest in the UK’s residential sector, are putting off decisions until there is more certainty.

Off the SVR

shutterstock_636552890smlIn their latest analysis of the mortgage market, UK Finance, the trade body representing major high street lenders in the UK, have said that remortgaging has reached its highest level in almost a decade, as homeowners take advantage of a competitive market and lock into attractive deals. This also reflects the large number of fixed rate mortgages coming to an end, which is expected to continue into 2019.

There has also been relatively strong growth in the number of first-time buyers, with schemes such as Help to Buy providing vital support to those getting a foot on the housing ladder. Meanwhile the buy-to-let market has seen a continued increase in remortgaging and a softening in home purchase activity, in line with ongoing trends in recent months.

There were 50,500 new homeowner remortgages completed in the month, some 23.2 per cent more than in the same month a year earlier. That’s £9.2bn of remortgaging in the month which was 22.7 per cent more year-on-year. And in Buy to Let, There were 15,700 new remortgages completed in the month, some 5.4 per cent more than in the same month a year earlier. By value this was £2.5bn of lending in the month, 4.2 per cent more year-on-year.

Christmas criminals

Christmas thiefFestive thieves are gearing up for a busy festive period of easy pickings warns the Association of British Insurers (ABI). Last December, insurers dealt with the equivalent of 435 domestic burglary claims every day, paying £30 million to customers who were the victims of Christmas crime. That worked out at nearly £2,250 for every domestic burglary.

Easy seasonal pickings for criminals include Christmas gifts left in unattended vehicles, and presents under the Christmas tree invitingly in full view from the outside. The ABI’s advice to beat the Christmas criminals include avoid leaving presents in full view in unattended vehicles, if you cannot take them with you, put them in a locked boot. When putting presents under the Christmas tree, make sure that they are not easily visible from the outside and think twice about what you post on social media. Avoid details of expensive presents like jewellery, and do not advertise if you are going away of the festive period, so leaving your home unoccupied.

If you are going away over the period, make sure your home is left secure. If possible, ask a trusted neighbour or friend to keep an eye out for anything suspicious. Even if only popping round to the neighbours for a festive tipple, always lock your front door and secure any outbuildings or sheds, especially as they may store implements that can be used to break into your home. And remember when out Christmas shopping, be aware of pickpockets, as they love crowds.

Bah Humbug

Chirstmas Dog_300x200pxNew research from Barclays has revealed the British Christmas present run-down, and it’s bad news for grandparents who are set to receive fewer presents than four-legged members of the family. In fact, family pets can expect four per cent more presents that the nation’s grandfathers this year. Over a third (34 per cent) of pet owners admitted they will splash out on Christmas presents for their furry friends, compared to 11 per cent saying they will be buying for grandparents.

While the youngest child is often accused of being the most spoiled in the family, the research shows that it is in fact the eldest child who can expect to do the best out of Christmas this year. Not only will they receive more gifts than any other family member, but they will have the most spent on them – an average of £70.13.

Barclay’s research indicates that the average Brit will purchase 27 presents for their family and friends, typically spending £37 per gift. 65 per cent of Brits say they enjoy buying presents for their loved ones but nearly a third (32 per cent) admit to getting carried away at Christmas. As a result, a huge 68 per cent admit to worrying about their finances around the festive period – unsurprising when research has predicted that Brits will spend £17 billion on presents this Christmas.

The research also revealed that the top five worst presents to receive at Christmas were batteries, underwear, socks, a tie and soap. Nearly a quarter (24 per cent) of Brits have returned an unwanted gift

And 78 per cent of the Baby Boomer generation say children today get far more presents than they did when they were young.

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