NEWS: Rates up, finances down?
Do you believe the results of surveys and polls? After the chaos at the General Election, you'd be forgiven if you didn't. Still, one new survey, released at the end of August, showed that 78 per cent of UK households expect interest rates to rise within 12 months, which is economic food for thought. That said, the dramatic falls of the FTSE in late August — as stock markets across the US and Europe plunged due to fears of a Chinese economic slowdown — should delay any interest rate rises.
Yet another survey, from Markit, found that UK households have suffered their sharpest deterioration in finances so far this year in August. Even so, Tim Moore, senior economist at Markit, thought that the “improving economic fundamentals and gradually rising income from employment should continue to support household finances through the remainder of this year.”
In other news, the Government has now given details about how it would (controversially) force landlords to evict known illegal migrants from privately rented properties — or face jail if they don't...
NEWS: George's summer surprise
Before the general election in April, potential house buyers were taking a cautious 'wait and see' attitude and the property market stagnated as a result. Yet post-election figures show that property is back on track once again, with sales up by 4.7%. Confidence has returned, it seems.
The really big news of the last few weeks, however, has been George Osborne's summer budget. There was no ignoring it, particularly if you're a landlord (more of which below) — although property owners also got a surprise, too: from April 2017, married couples and civil partners will be able to pass on family homes worth up to £1million to children or grandchildren without being hit by inheritance tax. Just two days later, Osborne followed this up with a series of sweeping planning proposals, including automatic planning permissions for brownfield sites in order to kickstart “an urban planning revolution.”
It was a busy week for Her Majesty's Government...
NEWS: Recovery position
Are banks and building societies making it easier for people to borrow? It certainly looks that way at first glance with experts predicting a "gentle recovery" in housing market activity, based on recent news reports. Before you get too excited, it should be noted that new figures show lending rising only slightly (by 2 per cent, in fact). Still it is going in the right direction. On the other hand, even if mortgages are more readily available, the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (Rics) points out that the UK is still facing an acute shortage of housing supply.
Meanwhile, important news for landlords is that after the cut off date in late June, they must now be meeting official deposit protection rules, or risk heavy fines. Are you covered?