1. 64% of flatshares are multicultural – but Brits still want to share with Brits
According to Easyroommate, almost 50% of flat-sharers currently looking for a room in the UK are foreign, with Brits topping the list of the most desired housemates. Top of the wish list for flatmates was a compatible personality, but British or English nationality also ranked high as a desirable feature. Spanish, American and French were the next top-rated nationalities. British flat-seekers, particularly London-based, turned out to be less than open-minded, preferring as flat sharers fellow Brits who speak the same language. However, the survey results suggested that the market is quite multicultural, since 64% of flatshares are between people with at least two different nationalities.
My thoughts: This kind of survey shows that the rise in rents isn’t just an affordability issue. Things like people wanting mobility and foreign nationals working in the UK is behind much of the rise in the desire to rent.
2. When will rates rise? Most say early to mid-2015
At an insurers’ conference speech last week, Mark Carney, Governor of the Bank of England, said that increase rates could be expected to increase imminently. Howard Archer, at IHS Global Insight, forecasts a rise in February 2015 and says: '…it now looks far from inconceivable that the Bank of England could act before the end of 2014'. Britain’s economy passed its pre-recession peak last year, recovering from the financial crisis set-back nine months earlier than was anticipated, but growth in the first three months of 2014 was sluggish so previous estimates of growth did not change. Both the CEBR and Capital Economics forecast an early 2015 rise, while the IMF suggests an early to mid-2015 rise for the UK. The Bank of England has now placed wage growth on the table as another key decider on when rates should rise, and, according to Mark Carney, ‘increases in Bank Rate, when they come, are likely to be gradual and limited’. Read more at This is Money
My thoughts: Crickey we can’t keep yo-yoing with our interest rate rise predictions, because if we do the public will become immune to the idea that they will rise – and won’t plan accordingly. Clearly the economy is better than it was and it’s time we set a date to raise interest rates, even a little, to help people get used to borrowing costs rising.
3. UK housing bubble drives demand for tradesmen, but buyers are often unhappy
Powered Now’s first annual Home Owner Survey has established that the flourishing UK housing market is fuelling demand for builders, electricians, decorators and other tradesmen. However, over 80% of UK home owners feel that hiring a tradesman is a frustrating experience. Common complaints are that tradesmen don’t present professional-looking quotes, only a fifth are happy with the service they received, and over half would pay faster if they could use credit or debit cards. The biggest gripes focused on general organisation and reliability, while:-
Many home owners confess to paying ‘cash in hand’, and cash appears to be the payment method of choice, in as many as 65% of jobs. Benjamin Dyer, co-founder of Powered Now, comments that ‘Home owners’ expectations are higher than before… we are aiming to provide the tools that make it easy to manage the paperwork and look professional with minimal effort.’ To learn more, go to Powered Now Home Owner Survey 2014
My thoughts: This is a really interesting insight into consumer reaction to trades people and shows that the industry – and consumers – need to both get better at working together.
4. Bank of England overhaul of deposit guarantee protection, good news for buyers and sellers
The Bank of England has said that protection under the Financial Services Compensation Scheme will be raised from a maximum of £85,000 to as much as £1m to cover those briefly holding large amounts in their bank account, such as after house sales or personal injuries pay-outs. The BoE is also introducing new rules to minimise disruption to accounts if a lender goes under. Protection for certain classes of insurance policy holder is to be improved, to cover situations where a provider fails. Andrew Bailey, Head of the Bank of England’s Prudential Regulation Authority, commented that ‘these proposals will allow customers to have continuous access to the money in their account, or receive payment from the FSCS if this is not possible…. policyholders will have greater protection if their insurer fails.’ New measures will include transfer accounts to a healthy lender in case of failure within 24 hours, but will result in higher costs for the industry.
My thoughts: This is great for buyers, sellers and investors, meaning they can temporarily hold large sums without worrying about the impact of a crash.
Read - First time buyer quick guide
5. Six is the magic number
A survey commissioned by EstatesDirect.com has revealed that Londoners are the most demanding buyers and have to tolerate the most viewings, at an average of 7.8, needed before a property is sold, while sellers in Wales only need 5.5 viewings. An average of six viewings across the UK seems to be required before achieving a sale.
My thoughts: Any information that helps sellers know how many viewings it will take to sell their home is useful information. Normally I expect it to take around 10 viewings to sell a property but this latest data suggests as the market is busy, it’s taking a little less.
Read - Selling a Home checklist