House prices slumped for a third month in May as coronavirus lockdown put transactions on hold, according to lender Halifax. Average house prices across the UK fell 0.2pc, according to its index, less than the monthly falls of 0.6pc it recorded in April and 0.3pc in March. May's Read more »
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No holiday on the horizon? No problem. Lidl is giving you the chance to transform your garden space into a resort-worthy outdoor oasis.With some of the hottest few months on record, the British summertime is doing wonders to relieve our Covid-related vacation blues. There is just one thing missing from the scorching days - the ability to dunk into a cold, refreshing pool.
The majority of its sales centres and construction sites are now up and running in England as lockdown rules have eased.
The average house price fell for the third month in a row in May.Across the UK, a 0.2% month-on-month decline in property values in May took the average house price to £237,808, Halifax said.
Thousands of UK tenants face losing home when eviction ban endsCampaigners warn that people who have not paid rent during lockdown have received landlord warning notices * Coronavirus – latest updates * See all our coronavirus coverage
London property developer Helical on Thursday became the latest landlord to insist there will still be demand for new offices, despite the popularity of the current working from home model.There have been industry concerns about whether companies will still want new headquarters in the future, due to how well many employees have worked from home during the lockdown.
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Homeowners stuck in a property tax trap because of coronavirus have been offered a reprieve by the Government after Telegraph Money highlighted the loophole. HMRC has pushed back the deadline for additional stamp duty refunds for house sales that were delayed because of the property market freeze. The extension will be a particular lifeline for people who had spent time building a new home for themselves before selling their old one. One couple in West Yorkshire told Telegraph Money they spent three years building their dream house and faced an extra stamp duty bill of £40,000 if they could not sell their old property by June. The tax trap was inadvertently created by the property market being frozen. In April 2016, the Government introduced an extra 3pc stamp duty surcharge on properties purchased in addition to a main residence. Buyers could apply for a refund of the extra tax they paid while purchasing a second home if they sold their old property within three years, and the new one became their primary home. This refund model was thrown into chaos when the Government froze the housing market because of lockdown on March 27. Buyers were forced to delay transactions unless they were legally bound to proceed and a new completion date could not be negotiated. Now, anyone whose three-year deadline was from January 2020 onwards will be granted an extension if they write to HMRC, outlining a valid reason for how coronavirus delayed the sale. Extensions will also be granted if a public authority has taken an action that delayed the sale. Since the market reopened after a seven-week pause on May 13, many sales cannot be picked up where they left off. Buyers are spooked by forecasts of house price falls and are trying to renegotiate. According to a Zoopla survey, 41pc are shelving their plans altogether due to the new uncertainty. If a sale has fallen through, it can take several months to find a new buyer and complete a sale. Even those that can still go ahead will face delays as surveyors and valuers grapple with a seven-week backlog of work. Laura Suter, of investment platform AJ Bell, said: “Considering the extraordinary circumstances at the moment and the unprecedented impact on the housing market, it’s sensible that the Government has given these homeowners some breathing space to sell their homes.” However, the guidance on what constitutes a valid reason is vague. There are no explicit notes or examples of what the Government will consider a delay caused by coronavirus. Ms Suter added: “This could leave the door open to confusion about what constitutes a valid reason. Hopefully more clarity will come from the Government on this to help homeowners who don’t have a clear-cut situation.”
Lockdown measures have proved once and for all that large-scale working from home is possible. Many of us may continue to do so even as offices reopen and the working world adjusts to a new normal.You may have rezoned the kitchen table as your desk or jammed a table in an unused alcove for the time being, but if you’re planning to work from home more often you may want to set up a more dedicated workspace.
The Covid-19 lockdown has forced a number of businesses to adapt to, and embrace, a working from home model. That could have implications for future office demand in London, as companies look at rents and whether they still want and need headquarters in the capital.The Evening Standard spoke to property experts about what demand for London offices might look like as the lockdown eases.
Forget last summer’s rush on inflatable pink flamingos for the paddling pool. This year’s perfect storm of lockdown, heatwave and a total lack of holidays on the horizon is seeing wealthy homeowners really splash out and call in the pool designers. Those in the poshest parts of the Home Counties, however, shouldn’t bank on splicing through their own aquamarine waters any time soon. Swimming pool contractors are reportedly rushed off their feet for the next few months. “We’re unbelievably busy,” says a slightly frantic-sounding spokeswoman at Falcon Pools in Surrey, earlier this week. The company is telling anyone who calls wanting a pool to expect an October start. Pool designer Guncast also reports “a huge rise in interest” in home swimming pools in recent weeks - with a notable shift in favour of outdoor pools. “With customers now unable to visit their favourite boutique hotels, luxury spas and members clubs, more and more are wanting to bring these wellness facilities into their homes,” comments Guncast’s design and commercial director, Andy Carr.
House prices took a £4,000 hit during lockdown, the latest figures showed, as estate agents described the situation for sellers as a “car crash”. The house price index from Nationwide showed that the average house price fell to £218,902 in May, a reduction of 1.7 per cent month-on-month and the biggest drop in 11 years. The market was reopened last month, although potential buyers face strict social distancing measures around viewings and are asked not to touch anything. One estate agent said that empty or new homes have proved popular as they are viewed as safer and advised anyone visiting properties to wear gloves if they wanted to touch things or check the plumbing. Robert Gardner, chief economist at Nationwide, said that before the pandemic the housing market had been gathering momentum, buoyed by a strong job market and low borrowing costs. “But housing market activity has slowed sharply as a result of the measures implemented to control the spread of (coronavirus),” he added. "Indeed, data from HMRC showed that residential property transactions were down 53 per cent in April compared with the same month in 2019." He said that the medium-term outlook for the market is uncertain and will be guided by the performance of the economy as it emerges from the pandemic. He said he hoped that the measures to support jobs and businesses “should set the stage for a rebound”.
Stamp duty should be cut for over-65s who want to move house for the last time to stop them clogging up the property market, a major study has said. Older homeowners are contributing to the housing crisis by staying put in large properties, according to the report by Cass Business School and the Centre for the Study of Financial Innovations – with 15 million "surplus" bedrooms in under-occupied homes. This will rise to 20 million unused bedrooms by 2040 if no action is taken, the groups warned, 13 million of them in family homes occupied by pensioners. Retirees – who typically live alone or in couples – should be lured away with tax breaks, they said. Professor Les Mayhew, of the Cass Business School, said that the best approach would be waiving stamp duty for “last-time buyers” who are moving into a smaller retirement property. This would mean that older buyers are offered the same tax break as first-time buyers, who do not pay any stamp duty on property purchases of up to £300,000. However, the lack of age-appropriate housing such as bungalows means that older people often have few options if they try to move from the family home. Only 2.5pc of the 29 million dwellings in Britain are defined as retirement housing and the number being built has slumped since 1990. About 7,000 new retirement homes are built each year but the number of over-65 households increases by 180,000 every 12 months. Prof Mayhew said councils should be ordered to build more housing suitable for older people as part of a new national framework for construction, with planning permission granted more easily. Many retirement homes have been criticised for charging excessively high fees to residents, which can put off prospective buyers. Cultivating this market and allowing people to live in reasonably priced retirement homes would have wider benefits for society, the report said. Suitable accommodation would reduce Government spending on care and relieve the pressure on the NHS. Prof Mayhew said: “Increasing under-occupation of the housing stock caused by a rapidly ageing population has created a dysfunctional housing market. "First-time buyers find it difficult to get on the housing ladder and families find moving to larger homes expensive.”
Interest in new homes to let has soared in most of the UK, with job losses and working from home also thought to be fuelling demand.
The City regulator has extended the mortgage payment holiday application deadline for customers struggling to meet payments as a closely-watched report charts a "sharp" decline in house prices amid the coronavirus crisis. Nationwide's study registered the biggest monthly fall in house prices for 11 years in May as it warned of an extended slump in both mortgage and housing market activity, despite restrictions on viewings and agents' work being eased last month in England. Its measure of house prices fell by 1.7% in May from April, the biggest decline since February 2009, wiping just over £4,000 from the average value.
UK house prices fell at the sharpest monthly rate since February 2009, after £4,000 was wiped off the average cost of a home in May, according to Nationwide.Transaction numbers plunged 53 per cent after the government shut down much of the property market to help slow the spread of coronavirus.
A UK watchdog said borrowers could apply for a new or second mortgage holiday until 31 October if they face coronavirus-linked financial problems.
The pandemic has brought an abrupt end to the pre-crisis recovery in property prices, with the average price dropping £4,000 between April and May.
UK house prices fall at fastest rate since 2009 amid coronavirus crisisBiggest monthly drop since financial crash as potential buyers delay for six months
A property market shuttered by Covid-19 endured the biggest collapse in mortgage approvals in April, Bank of England figures revealed on Tuesday. Its latest statistics showed just 15,800 loans for house purchases were given the go-ahead over the month - 80pc down on pre-pandemic February and just half the level seen at the nadir of the financial crisis. The dire figures - the worst since the Bank’s records began in 1993 - came as house prices data from Nationwide showed a 1.7pc slide in prices during May. That marked the biggest fall over a single month since 2009. Agents are pinning hopes on a rapid bounce-back after the property market made a cautious reopening last month using socially distanced property viewings, and the industry catches up with an estimated backlog of sales approaching 400,000. Simon Gammon, managing partner at Knight Frank’s finance arm, said: “Mortgage lending fell off a cliff at the onset of the pandemic as surveyors were unable to conduct physical inspections. Thankfully, surveyors are now able to return to work safely and are working their way through a backlog of applications built up over the course of the lockdown.” However, the prospects for property prices look much less certain as the Bank of England’s gloomy scenario for the post-Covid economy pencils in a 16pc slump, as well as unemployment soaring towards 9pc as firms lay off millions of workers.
UK house prices in May saw the largest monthly fall since February 2009 as the Covid-19 crisis hurt the market, according to new figures from lender Nationwide.The mortgage lender said prices fell by 1.7% over the month in May, from April, after taking account of seasonal effects. That is the largest monthly fall since February 2009.
More than 2,000 London tenants whose incomes have been hit by the coronavirus crisis are refusing to pay rent as part of a growing rent strike movement.The “Can’t Pay? Won’t Pay!” campaign, organised by the London Renters Unionc (LRU), comes after hundreds of students across the UK began withholding their rent because of the crisis.
More than 300,000 renters may have fallen behind with monthly payments amid fears that London tenants have been hit hardest by the coronavirus financial crunch. Analysis for Telegraph Money by rental market technology firm Goodlord found that during May, 6.6pc of 16,000 properties surveyed were in arrears of at least one week. This was a sharp increase compared with April's rate of 5.8pc and the typical rate of 4pc. There are 4.6 million private rented households in the country, according to official figures. A 6.6pc arrears rate suggests more than 300,000 tenants are now behind with payments. Widespread late payment can have significant consequences for both tenants and landlords. Renters cannot currently be evicted for missed payments under emergency measures imposed by the Government, but this expires on June 25. Tenants' campaign group Generation Rent has called for the ban to be extended. Late or missed payments can also trigger financial problems for landlords - especially if they have to make mortgage payments or rely on property for an income. The National Residential Landlords Association, which represents property owners, has said that once the eviction ban is over then rent non-payment cases should be among those given priority in court. The battle between tenants and landlords has intensified since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. Goodlord warned there is still confusion among tenants about whether they have to pay rent, with some asking payment breaks even though they have suffered no financial hardship. A separate report by property management firm Belvior suggested tenants and landlords in London have suffered the biggest blow from the crisis. Figures published by the firm showed that across its four brands - Belvoir, Northwood, Newton Fallowell and Lovelle - around 5pc of the 24,000 homes it manages were in rent arrears. This compares a pre-lockdown rate of 2pc. Dorian Gonsalves, of Belvoir, said the situation in London would be worse because the Government's income support policies might not provide enough cover for the city's high rents. She said that most of Belvoir’s business is outside of London area, and average rents across the network are around £800 a month. Average London rents are between £1,500 and £1,600, a rate furloughed workers could struggle to pay.
In March, the British property market shut for lockdown, suspending the moves of 450,000 buyers and renters, and throwing everyone involved in a purchase or sale into a painful financial limbo. Today, the markets in Wales and Northern Ireland are still shut. The Scottish Government expects to give the green light for sales to begin again on June 18. England's property market reopened on May 13 and has been adjusting fast to complex new guidance. The process of buying, selling, renting and investing in property is now radically different. But the biggest shift for the market is likely still ahead, when it will have to grapple with the coming recession and the ends of both the Government's furlough scheme and the mortgage holidays that are currently protecting one in seven households. How will these changes affect you and your property? Next Wednesday 10 June at 6.30pm, The Telegraph's property editor Isabelle Fraser and property correspondent Melissa Lawford will be co-hosting a live Meet The Expert video chat exclusively for subscribers, to help bring you some clarity. If you want to ask about the future of house prices and the buy-to-let market, when you should sell, or how to move house within social distancing guidelines, Isabelle and Melissa will be on hand to answer your questions. When is it? 6.30pm to 7.15pm on Wednesday 10 June. How do I join? The evening is free to all subscribers. Simply go here to reserve a seat. You will receive an email from us before as a reminder. Hit the 'Join' button in the email when it arrives. How do I submit a question for Isabelle and Melissa? If you have a question, fill out this form with your question. Our experts will try to cover all common themes but, depending on timings, may not be able to get round to answering every single question in detail.