Connect with us

Current

A shore bet: Beachfront homes will reap healthy returns

Voice Of EU

Published

on

Estate agents are falling over themselves to talk up the growing demand for beach houses. 

Sheltered among the sand dunes and the marram grass, they are some of the most sought-after homes on the market.

‘I recently had a client with £3 million to spend on one,’ says estate agent Jason Stubbs, whose company covers the coast between East Sussex and Kent.

At a premium: Homes on Iona in the Inner Hebrides. Beach house lettings get eye-watering returns, especially post Covid

At a premium: Homes on Iona in the Inner Hebrides. Beach house lettings get eye-watering returns, especially post Covid

‘When I told him there were none for sale, he said he’d go to £6 million, just to have a beach-top position.’

Stubbs believes the lockdowns have done much to enhance the value of beach houses. Now used to Zoom calls, London businessmen and women have discovered they can work from the beach.

Beach houses undoubtedly attract their share of eccentrics. The artist, Michael B. White — who describes himself as a bohemian and a hedonist — used to own Nepenthe, an oak-and-mahogany converted look-out post half way up the cliff at Cliff End Cove between Rye and Hastings.

Then there was the 40-something international banker who earned a fortune, but one day decided that he could no longer waste his life in airports and boardrooms.

He bought a beach house at Camber Sands to spend his time with his girlfriend, playing acoustic guitar and kite-surfing. To refill the coffers, he let out the house for odd days to film companies.

Sir Paul McCartney filmed a promo video there.

It is nostalgia that brings most buyers to the sandhills in search of a home.

Sarah Rugg, 47, fell in love with Sennen Cove in Cornwall as a child and later holidayed there with her own family for 25 years.

Her ambition was to live in the area but prices had always been beyond her budget. Then she discovered that Nest Seekers International was taking offers for a rather dated house perched high above the dunes.

‘It’s those views across the beach and down the coast to Cape Cornwall that sold it to me,’ says Sarah, who works as a self-employed small business adviser in Chester. ‘I’m going to knock this place down and build a five-bedroom upside down house with a top-floor balcony.’

Although beach houses are undeniably expensive, letting during the high season is one way of taking the sting out of the mortgage payments.

Sarah is anticipating her new home costing in excess of £800,000. However, by letting to holidaymakers, she should be able to charge £6,500 a week during high season.

‘At first, I’ll be letting most of the summer,’ says Sarah. ‘I’ll move here to work from home full-time in a few years, after I have paid back some of my loans.’

Beach house lettings get eye-watering returns on the Cornish coast, especially post Covid, with the county full of ‘staycationers’. Lower Saltings is a single bedroom, ground-floor apartment overlooking Porthmeor Beach, a short walk from St Ives harbour.

It is for sale for £930,000 and generates £40,000 a year net profit as a holiday let (knightfrank.co.uk).

Other areas are not quite so fashionable, yet the beach houses are equally impressive. At Pagham, near Bognor Regis in West Sussex there is a three-bedroom modernist beach house for sale for £1.15 million.

It has a roof garden and a terrace that leads right onto Pagham Beach (hamptons.co.uk).

You get more house for your pound in Scotland. Fishery House, Dumfriesshire, is a modern, five-bedroom home with a cinema room, gym and sauna.

The property, which has direct access to the shores of the Solway Firth, is on sale for £585,000 (finestproperties.co.uk).

There are also drawbacks to owning a beach house. Being open to winter storms, maintenance is an on-going chore. 

Their situation often means being a fair distance from the nearest amenities. Gardeners will not get much joy from the sandy soil.

Most seriously, the house may be vulnerable to coastal erosion. It would be wise to have a survey carried out before buying.

Yet none of this will deter the true beach house aficionados.

‘These properties are sensational and rare as hen’s teeth,’ says Jo Ashby, a director with John Bray estate agents, who claims to have one of the most dramatic beach houses in Cornwall about to come on the market. ‘Buyers want a new lifestyle and nothing else will do.’

On the market… By the seaside

Source link

Current

House sales shoot up a THIRD in September amid fears of mortgage rate hike

Voice Of EU

Published

on

The number of homes bought and sold in Britain rose by two thirds in September compared to August, with experts believing buyers are seeking to get ahead of a potential rise in mortgage rates. 

There were nearly 161,000 property transactions in September on a seasonally-adjusted basis, a 67.5 per cent increase on the previous month, according to latest figures from HMRC. 

They also increased by 68 per cent compared to September 2020, and 63 per cent compared to the ‘normal’ market average in September 2017 to 2019.

The cost of a mortgage could be set to increase, if the Bank of England base rate rises

The cost of a mortgage could be set to increase, if the Bank of England base rate rises

Experts say the sharp rise was only partly a result of the Government’s stamp duty holiday, which has fuelled price growth of around £25,000 in the last year but finally ended on 30 September. 

It initially allowed buyers to save up to £15,000 in taxes as they did not need to pay stamp duty on the portion of their property purchase under £500,000. 

But in September, the tax break would have had a more subdued effect.

In England and Northern Ireland, it was tapered down between July and September so that buyers could only save £2,500.

And the holiday had already expired in Scotland and Wales, on 31 March and 30 June respectively. 

Given that the impact of the stamp duty holiday was lessening, some suggest that other factors have become more important in maintaining high levels of activity in the housing market. 

There are a number of things at play, according to Lawrence Bowles, senior research analyst at Savills.

‘There’s more to this activity than a stamp duty holiday: record-low mortgage rates, desire for more space, and a core of unmet pent up demand all continue to push up transaction volumes,’ he says. 

Although it is one of several reasons why the housing market remains hot, the desire for a cheap mortgage has become more of a pressing issue for buyers in recent days and weeks. 

This is because speculation about a rise in the Bank of England’s base rate has threatened an increase in the current super-low rates.

At the moment, rates are available as low as 0.89 per cent – but they are already rising. At its lowest, the cheapest fixed rate on the market was 0.84 per cent.

Major lenders including NatWest, HSBC and Barclays have all moved to increase rates on some mortgages, after months of sustained falls. 

With a base rate rise being predicted by some for December, experts are suggesting that the threat of mortgage rates going up is the ‘new stamp duty holiday’ and that the rush to complete sales before rates rise is now keeping the housing market buoyant.

Simon Bath, chief executive of technology company iPlace Global which created the property advice app Moveable, says: ‘We have reached another crossroads in which following the stamp duty holiday, there is another potential deadline for Brits to prepare for.

‘It seems likely that house prices will continue to rise before demand slows down, as Brits race to obtain lower mortgage rates.’

Rising costs: Those buying homes have seen the typical sale price increase by £5,000 in the last month alone, according to data from the property platform Rightmove

Rising costs: Those buying homes have seen the typical sale price increase by £5,000 in the last month alone, according to data from the property platform Rightmove 

Early statistics back his price rise theory up. According to Rightmove’s latest house price index, which covers the first half of October, the average house price jumped £5,000 compared to the previous month. 

In addition, every UK region broke asking price records for the first time since March 2007.

The property portal noted in its report: ‘The continued fast turnover of property for sale and a window of opportunity to buy before a potential interest rate rise seem to have overcome the final expiry of all stamp duty incentives and are keeping activity robust.’

This trend is keeping the market buoyant for now, but could it really lead to another buying frenzy? Iain McKenzie, chief executive of The Guild of Property Professionals, says so. 

‘With demand for properties still high, and a potential mortgage rate rise on the horizon, this could be the perfect storm to see another frenzy to buy, so long as the shortage of stock doesn’t continue,’ he says. 

There is also the simple fact that people who were trying to meet the September stamp duty deadline, but failed, are unlikely to abandon their purchases, and will continue to add to the totals over the coming months. 

But others are less sure about talk of another buying boom. With the base rate rise only tipped to be from 0.1 per cent to 0.25 per cent, the difference in people’s mortgage payments may only be a few pounds per month. 

For example, for someone with a £120,000, two-year fixed rate mortgage on a £200,000 home, the difference between a 0.89 per cent rate and a 1.04 per cent rate would be just over £8 a month, or just under £200 across the fixed period. 

Office for National Statistics data showing house price increases over the past 15 years

Office for National Statistics data showing house price increases over the past 15 years

Mark Harris, chief executive of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients, says: ‘People will still move without stamp duty holidays and will continue to refinance their homes, whether mortgage rates are below 1 per cent or around 2 per cent.

‘Borrowers are keen to secure these historically-low mortgage rates but if the right property comes along, they are still likely to buy even if they have to pay say 15 basis points more and won’t qualify for a stamp duty holiday.’

But as the stamp duty holiday proved, the psychological impact of thinking you are saving money can be powerful, even when the actual cash saving is negligible. 

While buyers did indeed ‘save’ up to £15,000 in tax, house price rises during the stamp duty holiday were upwards of £20,000, eclipsing the actual saving.   

The true impact that the mooted rise in mortgage rates will have depends on myraid factors, including whether there is further clarity on if and when the base rate change might actually happen, and how mortgage lenders continue to respond to the situation. 

All eyes will be on the October transaction statistics and house price indices to see whether the market is remaining buoyant. 

Some links in this article may be affiliate links. If you click on them we may earn a small commission. That helps us fund This Is Money, and keep it free to use. We do not write articles to promote products. We do not allow any commercial relationship to affect our editorial independence.

Source link

Continue Reading

Current

Covid grips Europe’s unvaccinated east

Voice Of EU

Published

on

Hospitals are struggling to cope as Covid-19 sweeps through large unvaccinated populations in central and eastern Europe, where low levels of trust impeded acceptance of inoculation programmes.

Austria, Denmark, France, Italy, the Netherlands and others have teamed up to send oxygen supplies, medicines and ventilators to Romania after it appealed for help from the European Union to cope with a crushing fourth wave of the pandemic.

Just 36 per cent of adults are fully vaccinated in the country, according to EU figures, the second-lowest level in the union after Bulgaria, where the rate is just one in four adults, far below the pan-EU rate of 75 per cent.

Both countries are suffering a brutal surge of infections, hospitalisations and deaths. Romania has seen an average of more than 400 deaths a day for the past week, in a population of 19 million, the highest rate in the EU according to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control. In Bulgaria, in a population of seven million, more than 100 people have died on average each day for the past week.

Romania on Monday imposed a night-time curfew, shut schools and introduced mandatory Covid-19 passes for most public venues in a bid to curb the soaring infections as its intensive-care wards ran out of beds.

Reimpose restrictions

Infections are also soaring in the Baltic states of Lithuania and Latvia, which became the first European country to reimpose sweeping restrictions last week by shutting schools and all non-essential shops, and imposing a curfew from 8pm to 5am for a month. Restrictions were also tightened in the Czech Republic and in Slovakia.

In neighbouring Russia, daily Covid-19 infections reached a record high of 37,930 in 24 hours on Monday, and some regions shut workplaces in response.

World Health Organisation director general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus warned that with 50,000 Covid-19 deaths a week the pandemic was “far from over”, but he said it would end “when the world chooses to end it”.

“It is in our hands. We have all the tools we need,” he said. “Unlike so many other health challenges, we can prevent this. Complacency is now as dangerous as the virus.”

 In Austria, where 73 per cent of adults are fully vaccinated, chancellor Alexander Schallenberg warned that restrictions could be placed on the unvaccinated if Covid-19 patients began to take up the country’s ICU capacity.

“The pandemic is not yet in the rear view mirror,” Mr Schallenberg said. “We are about to stumble into a pandemic of the unvaccinated.”

He warned that if Covid-19 patients took up a quarter of national ICU beds, then only the vaccinated or people who had recovered from the virus would be allowed entry into restaurants and hotels. If the percentage reached a third, the unvaccinated would be allowed to leave home only for specific reasons.

Vaccination rates have reached above 90 per cent for those eligible in several countries in western Europe including Ireland, though coverage is lower in some cities and particular populations.

Hospitalisations

This is helping to keep hospitalisations under control, but infections are still rising and many countries have opted to continue with some precautions including mask-wearing, working from home recommendations, and mandatory Covid-19 passes in public settings. Last week, Italy made the passes mandatory for workplaces.

The WHO warned last week that Europe region was the only region in which Covid-19 cases were rising, led by surges in the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland.

Emergencies chief Dr Mike Ryan appealed for the unvaccinated to come forward for jabs, and said the rise in infections came as restrictions were dropped in many countries, coinciding with “the winter period, in which people are moving inside as the cold snaps appear”.

Source link

Continue Reading

Current

Rishi Sunak is to announce cash injection for tens of thousands of new houses on brownfield land

Voice Of EU

Published

on

£2billion to build more homes: Rishi Sunak is to announce cash injection for 160,000 new houses on brownfield land in England

  • Fund to transform developed land equivalent to 2,000 football pitches 
  • He will unveil plans to create more than 100 ‘pocket parks’ in towns and cities 
  • Settlement for Gove’s Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities
  • About 160,000 homes are expected to be built in England as part of the scheme 










Tens of thousands of homes will be built on derelict sites as part of a near-£2billion drive by Rishi Sunak to target brownfield land instead of the countryside for housing.

The Chancellor will announce the fund to transform previously developed land equivalent to 2,000 football pitches in Wednesday’s Budget.

In addition, he will unveil plans to spend millions on creating more than 100 ‘pocket parks’ in towns and cities across the country. 

Tens of thousands of homes will be built on derelict sites as part of a near-£2billion drive by Rishi Sunak to target brownfield land instead of the countryside for housing

Tens of thousands of homes will be built on derelict sites as part of a near-£2billion drive by Rishi Sunak to target brownfield land instead of the countryside for housing

The Budget will focus on ‘looking to the future and building a stronger economy for the British people’, Mr Sunak said last night.

He will also allocate the money available to individual Whitehall departments for the next three years in his Spending Review.

A £1.8billion fund to turn brownfield land into homes will be part of the settlement for Michael Gove’s Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities.

About 160,000 homes are expected to be built in England as part of the scheme.

As well as preparing sites for development, the money will be used to provide transport links, schools and public spaces so they can become thriving communities. 

The Chancellor will announce the fund to transform previously developed land equivalent to 2,000 football pitches in Wednesday¿s Budget

The Chancellor will announce the fund to transform previously developed land equivalent to 2,000 football pitches in Wednesday’s Budget

About £300million will be spent by local authorities and regional mayors.

Alongside this, the Chancellor will announce a £9million Levelling Up Parks Fund that will enable local authorities to transform more than 100 neglected urban spaces into ‘pocket parks’ roughly the size of a tennis court.

These green spaces are aimed at improving the physical and mental health of communities by providing a safe place for children to play in as well as somewhere adults can relax. 

More than 2.5million people in the UK live more than a ten-minute walk from a green space.

Mr Sunak said last night: ‘We are investing in better quality, safer, greener and more affordable homes to create thriving places where people want to live.

‘One of my favourite pastimes is to go for walks in the park with my family, and I want to make sure everyone has green space on their doorstep to enjoy too.

‘Transforming our unloved and neglected urban spaces will help protect our cherished countryside and green spaces, while improving the physical and mental health of our communities.’

Mr Sunak will also confirm a previously announced £11.5billion pot for affordable housing to provide another 180,000 homes, some of which will go on brownfield sites.

The Government has a target of building 300,000 homes a year by the mid-2020s, with 244,000 constructed last year, the highest since 1987.

At the Tory party conference earlier this month, Mr Gove signalled a huge shift on planning policy as he vowed to focus housebuilding efforts on ‘neglected brownfield sites’. 

A £1.8billion fund to turn brownfield land into homes will be part of the settlement for Michael Gove¿s Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities

A £1.8billion fund to turn brownfield land into homes will be part of the settlement for Michael Gove’s Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities

He has also pledged to conduct a review into how a planned shake-up of housebuilding rules can be improved in an attempt to placate Tory MPs.

The Chancellor faces a number of challenges as he prepares his Budget, not least a warning from the Bank of England’s new chief economist that inflation could rise above 5 per cent.

Mr Sunak said yesterday that it would ‘certainly feed into my thinking about what the right approach to the country is’.

He also confirmed public sector workers will discover on Wednesday if they will get a pay rise.

Despite raising national insurance to pay for social care, Mr Sunak said he wanted to be a tax-cutting chancellor – although no major giveaways are expected on Wednesday.

The Daily Mail revealed last week that the Chancellor will use the Budget to slap a tax of between 3 and 5 per cent on the profits of Britain’s biggest housebuilders to recoup some of the costs of fixing the cladding scandal – marking a victory for our campaign on the issue. 

Advertisement

Source link

Continue Reading

Trending

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates 
directly on your inbox.

You have Successfully Subscribed!