The UK property market has seen a drop in sales, but prices continue to rise. Meanwhile, the happiest place to live in Britain has been named in a survey, and one mortgage lender has launched an extraordinary new fixed-term product.
These are just some of the headlines this month in November’s UK property market update. Read on to find out more.
House Sales Fall 52% In One Month, But Prices Continue To Rise
Figures released by HMRC have shown a significant 52% drop in property transactions across the UK for October, following the end of the government’s stamp duty holiday.
There were just under 77,000 transactions completed as buyers rushed to get their purchases completed before the 30th September. This made it the slowest October since 2012 and signalled a 28% drop in transactions from the same month last year.
Despite the slowdown in sales, prices continued to rise across the UK, with Halifax reporting a 0.9% increase in average property prices, which was the fourth consecutive month they’ve risen. Their data also confirms that the average property price in the UK has crept above £270,000 for the first time, while fellow lender Nationwide also reported an increase of 0.7% on the average price.
40-Year Fixed Rate Mortgage Launched
In a very rare move, one lender has recently launched a fixed-rate mortgage for up to 40 years.
Specialist lender Kensington Mortgages has taken the highly unusual step as they seek to capitalise on growing uncertainty among buyers and homeowners who are anticipating an increase in interest rates.
Although some lenders already offer a 10-year fixed term mortgage, Kensington’s new deal will allow borrowers to sign up for anything from 11 to 40 years.
The interest rate will vary depending on the size of your deposit and the length of the mortgage term, but for those fixing between 36 and 40 years, the rate currently starts at 3.34%.
The Bank of England’s interest rate is currently at a record low of 0.1%, but an increase is expected in the coming months, which will make the prospect of a 40-year fixed term deal attractive to many homeowners.
Rent Increases Hit 13-Year High In Major Cities
Increased demand for rental properties in major cities across the UK has led to the cost of rent reaching its highest point for 13 years.
Some cities have seen demand double in their central zones, squeezing would-be renters out of town and forcing prices up.
According to leading property portal, Zoopla, average rents across the UK have risen by 6% in the past 12 months, with the South West seeing a 9% increase as demand for properties has continued to outstrip supply.
It’s a similar picture across the UK, with only London failing to see the same kind of increases, although prices have still risen 1.6% in the year to September, but they’re 5% lower than they were pre-pandemic.
Britain’s Home-Selling Hotspots Revealed
Research from leading property website Rightmove has revealed the country’s 6 top hotspots for sellers.
Grays in Essex and Mangotsfield, Bristol share the number one spot, with 84% of the homes listed for sale on the website already sold subject to contract.
Following closely behind, Eastleigh in Hampshire and Redditch in Worcestershire both have 83% of properties sold subject to contract, while Yeovil in Somerset and Hythe in Kent complete the top 6, with 82% of properties sold STC.
Perhaps rather tellingly, none of the top 6 are city-centre locations as an increase in remote working since the pandemic has led to employees having more options when it comes to where they live, and buyers are increasingly looking for more bang for their buck.
Britain’s Happiest Place To Live Revealed
Leading property portal Rightmove has released the results of their annual ‘Happy at Home Index’, which reveals that Hexham is the happiest place to live in Britain.
The market town in Northumberland scored highest overall based on factors like the friendliness of neighbours, its sense of belonging, the quality of local amenities, and the availability of open space.
It’s a return to the top spot for the North East town, which was also number 1 in 2019’s survey.
Richmond upon Thames was the happiest place to live in London for the 7th year in a row. The affluent borough in the southwest of the capital, where average house prices are just under £1.2m, came second overall in the standings.
Harrogate in Yorkshire rounded off the top 3, while 2020’s winner, St Ives in Cornwall came 8th.