Category Archives for Conveyancing Solicitor

London’s newest property hotspots identified

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Estate agent Knight Frank has identified eight property hotspots in London. And the good news for those keen to buy in the capital is that affordability is high among the reasons for those areas being chosen.

In its third Hotspots report, Knight Frank looked at several factors that make an area a target for buyers. They include upgrades to transport infrastructure, regeneration and areas where prices are lower than nearby neighbourhoods.

The eight hotspots are: Southall/Hayes; Camden Town; Wood Green; Lisson Grove; Canada Water; West Ham; Leyton; and Hackney Wick.

According to Knight Frank, London’s development landscape has changed in the two years since its last report, adding: “These changes have been triggered by political, economic and policy events – not least the vote to leave the EU and additional stamp duty.

“The new development hotspots identified feature a wider geographical spread than previous reports.

“In terms of values, the majority are localities where new-build developments are priced at sub-£800 psf [price per square foot] and most are also outside zone 1. This emphasises the changing landscape for development in London, with a greater focus on affordability.”

Crossrail expected to boost prices and development

The timeframe for the areas to become hotspots is 2018-21, which will cover the opening of Crossrail, the high-speed rail link that will improve London’s link with the south-east.

In Southall and Hayes, the current price per square foot is £600, forecast to be £750 psf by 2021. Crossrail trains will be running there by next year and developments are in the pipeline to take advantage of the new rail link.

Wood Green‘s current psf is £650, forecast to be £800 by 2021. More than £3 billion has been set aside for development in the area by Haringey council, including 7,700 new homes.

One of London’s hippest areas, Camden Town‘s current psf of £1,100 reflects its popularity. That psf is forecast to reach £1,500 in three years’ time. Redevelopment plans there include the Camden Lock Village, boosted by investment from the Mayor’s Regeneration Fund and Camden Council.

Lisson Grove‘s proximity to Regent’s Park and St John’s Wood has marked it out as a property hotspot. Currently its psf is £1,400, potentially rising to £1,850 by 2021. Westminster Council is investing £1.2 billion over 20 years as part of its regeneration blueprint.

Regeneration plans already in place

South of the river, Canada Water will be boosted by the £2 billion Canada Water Masterplan that will include 3,500 new homes. The psf is £900 at the moment, rising to £1,250 in 2021 say Knight Frank.

In West Ham, the psf is present £700, estimated to hit £950 in the next three years. West Ham has been rezoned by Transport for London to Zone 2, saving commuters hundreds of pounds annually on fares. Its transport options include the Underground, Overground and DLR, while Crossrail will run from Stratford from next year.

Nearby Leyton has a psf of £675, forecast to rise to £800 by 2021. Its proximity to areas that have already been regenerated, including Westfield and the Olympic Park, make it the next area to be prioritised for population growth in Waltham Forest.

Also close to the Olympic Park, Hackney Wick is currently being regenerated as part of the London Legacy Development Corporation’s work. Its £700 psf in 2018 is predicted to be £850 in 2021. Its overground train station, connecting the area to Canary Wharf and the West End, will be transformed by a £25 million facelift.

London house price growth at lowest rate in a decade

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London’s house prices have slowed to their lowest annual growth rate in almost a decade. The capital’s sluggish property market is bucking the upward trend seen across the rest of the UK.

At just 1.0 annual price growth in the year to February 2018, London’s growth rate is the lowest since September 2009 when it was a negative 3.2 percent at the height of the credit crunch.

The latest figures from the UK House Price Index compiled by the Office for National Statistics and the Land Registry showed that average house prices in the UK rose by 4.4 percent in the year to February, down from 4.7 percent on January. The average house now costs £225,000 ­– £242,000 in England, £153,000 in Wales, £144,000 in Scotland and £130,000 in Northern Ireland.

However, London house prices dropped by 1.0 percent in the year to February, a slowdown that began in mid-2016 and one that means the average home in the capital now costs ££471,986, down more than £16,000 from its July 2017 high of £488,247.

Capital outstripped by other regions

While London house prices are on average much higher than elsewhere in England and indeed the rest of the UK, the fall in its house price growth is in marked contrast to other regions. The West Midlands registered the UK’s highest annual growth, prices rising in the area by 7.3 percent in the 12 months to February 2018. The east Midlands were just behind with house price growth of 6.3 percent.

The Land Registry data examines house prices by property type. In London, flats in particular are falling in value, their average price dropping by 3.4 percent. Detached properties and terraced homes rose in value in the 12 months to February, from £887,959 to £915,162 and £482,631 to £489,639, respectively.

While the slowing rate of growth is disappointing for anyone looking to sell, those keen to buy in London will see this as an opportunity they can use to their advantage.

Talk to the experts in conveyancing for London at Capital Conveyancing today on 0207 406 5880 to see how we can help with your purchase or sale.

London’s commuting hotspots moving even further from the capital

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More homeowners are quitting London for towns within commuting distance of the capital. Estate agent Savills has revealed the commuting hotspots that are attracting those for whom the city is increasingly unaffordable along with those who want to take advantage of the value of their London home to buy a bigger one elsewhere.

In its research, Savills revealed that towns with a good transport hub such as a railway station were in the highest demand, particularly those within a 40-minute journey to central London.

Those towns with good rail links, coupled with an increase in new homes, saw the biggest spike in passenger traffic heading towards London. The likes of Aylesbury Vale Parkway in Buckinghamshire and Didcot Parkway in Oxfordshire have seen spikes in house prices fuelled by an influx of commuters.

Knock-on effect on house price growth

House price growth in those areas is 5 percent higher than neighbouring areas over the last five years, according to Savills. And the knock-on effect is that commuting-distance areas with lower-value homes are becoming increasingly popular, particularly those on the HS1 link to Birmingham.

In fact, the commuting distance is now stretching beyond the traditional Home Counties as far Coventry, Rugby and Birmingham itself as people take advantage of regular, fast trains to London without the cost of living in the capital.

Meanwhile, more people than ever before are leaving London, according to figures from the Office for National Statistics. The number of people in their 30s who are moving out of the capital has risen by 27 percent in the last five years with the traditional commuter belt their destination.

Taking equity with them

Savills said 14 percent of its new home buyers are those moving from London with 39 percent of them buying a larger property, demonstrating the financial power of London property.

Its report said: “We expect the ripple effect of Londoners moving to the commuter belt to continue. Searching for more space, they are likely to bring London’s equity with them and will be targeting markets with the quickest links to the capital.

“These include established prime locations and up-and-coming areas that are more affordable than their neighbours.

“Yet we also expect the ripple effect to move beyond London’s commuter zone to markets in the Midlands and the north. These markets have seen house prices rise more in line with wages and therefore remain affordable. They will have the most capacity for growth over the next few years.”

London house prices on the slide

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Property price growth is on the slide in London. New data has revealed that two-fifths of postcodes in the capital showed a fall in annual property prices, down to 1 percent from 4.3 percent a year earlier.

The figures from Hometrack showed that 42 percent of London postcodes actually had negative house price growth, the worst figures seen in a decade.

Hometrack’s monthly house price index said “weak demand” was translating into a fall in house prices in London. Meanwhile, Edinburgh’s house price growth is now at 8.0 percent with Liverpool just behind at 7.8 percent, followed by Birmingham and Leicester at 7.7 percent.

Of the 46 local authorities in London, 15 saw house prices fall in the last year. The biggest drop was in the City of London (7.9 percent), but property hotspot such as Camden (1.9 percent) and Islington (1.4 percent) also registered a decrease.

Factors impacting sales

According to Hometrack, which analyses the UK property market, there are several factors to blame for the drop in London house prices. Its monthly report stated: “This is a result of tax changes impacting overseas and domestic investors and stretched affordability levels for owner occupiers that have been compounded by Brexit uncertainty.

“Sales volumes are first to be hit when demand weakens, and housing turnover across London is down 17 percent since 2014.

“Prices are next to follow, but the scale of current price falls remain modest.”

While sellers may not be achieving the price they hoped for when marketing their property, falling prices are an opportunity for buyers to secure a better deal. Give the expert team at Capital Conveyancing a call on 0207 406 5880 to kickstart your sale or purchase in London.

Easter weekend opening hours for Capital Conveyancing

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Capital Conveyancing’s expert team are available to give you the best service, Bank Holiday weekend or not.

We are open during Easter weekend, waiting to take your calls or answer any queries about your conveyancing.

Our Bank Holiday weekend opening hours are:

  • Good Friday, March 30, 10am until 4pm
  • Easter Saturday, March 31, 10 am until 4pm
  • Easter Sunday, April 1, 10 am until 4pm
  • Easter Monday, April 2, 10 am until 4pm

Asking prices fall as London property boom falters

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Asking prices for properties in London are dropping, according to figures from home-listing website Rightmove. Its latest report said the sixth consecutive fall in asking prices in the capital suggests London’s boom phase is over.

That means home sellers are becoming more realistic about the price they want for their property, Rightmove said, while those who want a higher price are delaying putting their home on the market, stifling the supply and stopping prices falling even further.

Miles Shipside, director of Rightmove and housing market analyst, said: “End-of-the-boom prices normally readjust more quickly if there is an over-supply of sellers trying to exit their property investments.

“However, the lack of new listings in the typically pricier more central locations indicates that some would-be sellers are holding back, preventing a glut of competition from forcing prices downwards.

“Cash-rich owners are showing that they are able to sit tight instead of coming to market now and await their hoped-for price recovery.”

Capital lags behind rest of the UK

London’s housing market lagged behind the rest of the UK for all of 2017 in asking prices and that pattern has continued into 2017. Only the south-west reported a decrease in asking prices in the latest Rightmove report with the rest of the UK seeing an increase.

Rightmove identified Livingston in West Lothian as the town with the fastest sale agreed time of 17 days, with the Warwickshire towns of Rugby and Nuneaton the quickest English towns to agree sales with 21 days.

Mr Shipside added: “London is a myriad of different markets, under-pinned by a historical shortage of affordable supply. Rapid price rises in recent years have resulted as usual in a readjusting market, with overall year-on-year price falls in new seller asking prices of 1 percent.

“If fewer sellers come to market, then competition and downward price pressure will be less. However, unless you have an extra-special property, you may have to sacrifice some of the substantial price gains of the last few years to attract more buyer interest and effect a speedier sale.”

Rightmove monitored 134,556 asking prices from January 7 to February 10.

UK has more property millionaires than ever before with London leading the way

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There are now more than 750,000 homes in the UK worth more than £1 million, making us a nation of growing property millionaires.

Data from online property specialists Zoopla showed that the number of properties valued at £1m plus stands at 768,553. And the town of Guildford in Surrey has the most property millionaires in the country with 5,889. Meanwhile, nearly half of all homes (49 percent) in the Buckinghamshire town of Beaconsfield are valued at £1m or more, demonstrating that the north-south divide is alive and kicking in the housing market.

Those seven-figure plus homes are only 2.7 percent of the entire UK housing stock. But their number has risen by 143,476 since Zoopla last analysed the data in August 2016.

It’s no surprise that London and the south-east dominates the figures. The capital has an incredible 430,720 homes that are worth more than a million, while there are 180,397 million-plus properties across the south-east.

Wales has the fewest property millionaires. There are just 2,223 homes valued at seven figures and upwards there.

Find out when your home hits the magical mark

Zoopla has also unveiled a new online calculator so users can put in their postcode and find out when their own home might hit that magical million mark.

Lawrence Hall of Zoopla said: “While there might be a greater number of £1 million-plus properties than ever before, the data shows that they still only represent a small fraction of all UK housing stock.

“Our latest tool allows curious homeowners to dream a little and see when their home might hit the million-pound mark.” –

Here are the top 10 UK regions by £1 million-plus properties:

  1. London
  2. South-east England
  3. East of England
  4. South-west England
  5. North-west England
  6. West Midlands
  7. Scotland
  8. East Midlands
  9. North-east England
  10. Yorkshire & the Humber

Land Registry introduces digital conveyancing and e-signatures to replace paper deeds

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A digital revolution in conveyancing could be on the way, starting at the Land Registry after changes to its rules were announced this week.

The organisation, which holds the title of ownership of all land, property and mortgaged property in England and Wales, is to introduce fully digital conveyancing documents with e-signatures. This will eliminate the need to use paper deeds and could potentially speed up the conveyancing process, where land and property is bought and sold.

The Land Registry is a statutory body and anyone buying or selling land and property, or taking out a mortgage, must have that transaction recorded by them. At the moment the Land Registry holds information relating to more than £4 trillion worth of property and land ownership in England and Wales, a figure that includes some £1 trillion worth of mortgages.

New regime starts in April

There was a public consultation on the proposed changes last year and now the organisation will introduce its digital registration from April 6, 2018. The digital package will speed up the registration process but place a strong focus on ensuring the registry stays safe from cyber-attackers and digital fraud.

Graham Farrant, the chief executive and Chief Land Registrar, said: “Our customers are central to everything we do, and we want to make dealing with us quicker and simpler by providing more services through digital technology.

“These changes are an important enabler for our digital transformation, and I want to thank our customers for their positive responses to the consultation.”

London Mayor rips up planning rules to increase number of affordable homes being built

 

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London’s planning rules are being ripped up to increase the number of affordable homes built in the capital. Mayor Sadiq Khan has announced the density limits will be removed to help meet ambitious targets for more housing in the city.

The rule changes aim to boost the number of homes built near borough centres and transport hubs, with more small sites being developed while the greenbelt remains untouched.

Mr Khan’s draft London Plan was launched on November 29. Abandoning the current planning rules in place for residential development, Mr Khan aims to encourage house builders t develop small sites across London’s 32 boroughs in the belief that up to 24,500 new, affordable homes can be created on those smaller projects. The London Plan aims to build 65,000 new homes in London every year.

Higher-density developments will be encouraged close to rail, Tube and bus links.

'Ineffective constraints' removed

Mr Khan said: “With London’s population expected to increase by 70,000 every year, reaching 10.8 million in 2041, it’s vital we properly plan for growth with new affordable homes in every area of the capital.

“I am using all of the powers at my disposal in my first draft London Plan to tackle the housing crisis head on, removing ineffective constraints on home builders so we can make the most of precious land in the capital to build more homes in areas with the best transport links.

“My London Plan sets out how we are planning for the challenges our great city faces but crucially focuses on my vision of a London that welcomes growth, celebrates its diversity and ensures every Londoner gets the opportunity to fulfil their potential.”

Councils will consider planning applications for the smaller sites on a case-by-case basis, weighing up the value of the development to their area based on the existing infrastructure. That will allow an increase in the number of homes built, typically between one and 25 houses.

Smarter choices on building

Jasmine Whitbread, chief executive of business group, London First, said: “London’s success comes from the people who live and work here and we’ve been failing to build the homes they need for too long. By being smart about how and where we build, making better use of land and setting targets that councils can and must hit, the Mayor will help open a door for the countless people priced out of a place to call home.”

And Brian Berry, chief executive of the Federation of Master Builders said: “Making better use of the many existing small sites that are scattered over the capital is essential if we are to build the number of new homes Londoners need.”

1st-time buyers boosted by abolition of Stamp Duty on properties worth up to £300,000

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First-time buyers attempting to get on the housing ladder in London have been given a boost with the abolition of Stamp Duty on properties worth up to £300,000.

Those buying a home for the first time that’s worth up to £500,000 in London and other expensive areas across England won’t have to pay a penny of Stamp Duty on the first £300,000 of that transaction.

Chancellor Philip Hammond made the announcement on the Stamp Duty changes in the Budget today, telling the House of Commons that 80 percent of first-time buyers will now avoid paying the land tax.

He said: “I want to take action to help young people saving to own a home. With effect from today, for all first-time buyers up to £300,000, I am abolishing Stamp Duty altogether.

To ensure that this relief also helps first time buyers in very high price areas like London, it will also be available on the first £300,000 of the purchase price of properties up to £500,000.”

Updated SDLT tax bands for 1st-time buyers

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Example of stamp duty for 1st-time buyers

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Tax levied on a sliding scale

Stamp Duty reform had been discussed at length before the Budget with property and financial experts united on viewing the tax as a barrier to social mobility and an increased burden on younger buyers.

Stamp Duty Land Tax is paid on all residential property worth £125,000 or more and on commercial properties sold at more than £150,000. It is levied on a sliding scale and raises around £11 billion a year for the Treasury.

There were other measures that focused on the housing market, too. Mr Hammond set a target of 300,000 new homes being built every year in England by the mid-2020s, more than double the average number currently being built. An extra £44 billion will also be spent over the next five years to improve construction skills, encourage small builders to return to the house-building market and free up land for building.

Urban areas, in particular cities and large towns, will be targeted to provide high-quality, high-density housing, while councils and London boroughs will be able to impose the full council tax on empty properties to encourage owners not to leave them vacant.