Latest: property market report
How do you tell if a General Election is on the cards? You monitor the news for announcements that may please the masses. Property has long been an area the Government tinkers with and ministers are already repositioning their offering to win votes in England and Wales.
As a reminder, a General Election has to take place before the end of January 2025 (in Scotland, a Parliamentary election is expected in May 2026). In September, a bid was launched to win the support of landlords. The Prime Minister used a televised press conference to announce the Conservative party was scrapping its proposed new energy efficiency standards for privately rented properties.
Reprieve to save landlords around £8,000
It had wanted new-to-market rentals to have an EPC rating of at least a C by 2025. Subsequently, all properties in the private rental sector would need to meet this minimum standard by 2028. The plan was deemed unpopular by landlords, many of whom would have to spend thousands of pounds to bring their rental properties up to scratch.
Gas and oil ban on the back burner
Mr Sunak also had news for homeowners concerned with how they will heat their properties. Its plan was for older appliances at the end of their natural life to be replaced with low carbon alternatives, such as heat pumps. This was going to be achieved by banning the sale of gas and oil-fired-boilers from 2035.
Instead of a total abolishment, the Prime Minister announced that 20% of properties in England and Wales would be exempt from the gas boiler ban. Exemption details have not been revealed but it is thought this will be means tested. In Scotland, the proposal to ban the sale of gas boilers remains a possibility and the Scottish National Party has not reneged on its pledge to mandate minimum C EPCs for its private rental sector.
We thought there would be more detail about potential property reforms at the Conservative Party Conference. Sadly not. The Housing Secretary, Michael Gove, merely reiterated its pledge to build more new homes and protect greenbelt land. Therefore the Autumn Statement on 22nd November will be of interest.
Landlords did hear from Housing Minister Rachel Maclean at the conference. She ‘guaranteed’ that landlords will be able to repossess properties more quickly through the courts, despite the proposed scrapping of Section 21 notices. Like the heating announcement, no further details were disclosed.
What did happen last month was a freeze to the interest rate. After 14 consecutive hikes, the Bank of England left the rate at 5.25% in September. Together with unexpectedly falling inflation and mortgage rates that dipped below 5%, confidence in the home moving market shows signs of rising.
No change to average house prices
Elsewhere, Nationwide’s September House Price Index showed house prices are stabilising. Values remained the same in September as they did in August. This ended a run of month-on-month decreases. The building society put the new UK average house price at £257,808.
There are also signs that sellers are more positive about prospects. Rightmove’s latest report revealed the average asking price set by new vendors increased marginally in September. The 0.4% rise (+£1,386) takes the average asking price to £366,281.
Back to school kickstarts seller action
The portal also found the number of new properties coming to market was rising. New instructions jumped by 12% in the first week of September, when compared with the average weekly number throughout August. The homes most in demand were properties with two bedrooms or less.
When it comes to the price of renting, costs are still rising. Zoopla found rents in September 2023 were 10.3% higher than noted in September 2022, with Scotland experiencing the highest jump in cost (12.8%). The average new tenancy is now £1,164 per month.
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Latest: property market report
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