The Mortgage Valuation

January 21, 2015

It never ceases to amaze me how something as seemingly benign as a valuation can be the cause of so much frustration.  I’ve come to learn over the years that it is the most critical part of the financing process.  It would seem that all kinds of legal uncertainties can be airbrushed away with an indemnity policy.  But if the valuer says the property is worth less than you would hope or its condition makes it unfit as lending security, then you can kiss goodbye to your loan application – and your application [...]

UK House Prices In 2015

January 2, 2015

Average UK house prices rose by 7.2% in 2014 according to Nationwide.  Throughout the year, it has been a North South divide story, prices have risen 17.8% in London, 10.6% in the South East and 9.8% in East Anglia.  This compares with more modest rises of between 1 and 7% in Wales, the Midlands, the North and Scotland, where in many cases prices have still not recovered from their pre-2008 credit crunch levels.
Predictions for 2015 vary considerably.  The most optimistic are The Office for Budget Responsibility which suggests an [...]

Is It Time For A National Landlord Register?

November 17, 2014

It is busy on the landlord meetings circuit in London at the moment,  I’ve been doing the rounds across the East London boroughs I look after for the NLA.  Two weeks ago, I was at a very positive meeting in Hackney where cabinet member for housing, Cllr Phillip Glanville attended the whole meeting.  He is sensible and approachable and in our obligatory licensing chat,  he assured me it was an option, no definitive decision had been taken and we should meet to discuss further.
Not so at Redbridge, the Chief Housing Officer had asked [...]

Licensing In Fashion: Enfield & Southwark

October 25, 2014

No London borough is complete without its landlord licensing scheme, it would seem.  Politicians, keen to look like they’re sorting out landlords, are following a fashion.  Get your staff to look at the feasibility of licensing.  Even though the fees can only be used to fund the scheme, the extra millions maintain departments in a time of extensive cuts.
Is selective licensing the best way to improve standards in the PRS?  We have no idea because none of the boroughs have been patient enough to carry out a proper evaluation of Newham’s first borough [...]

Mansion Tax On London

October 18, 2014

Ed Balls announcement of a mansion tax at the Labour party conference in September was widely expected.  Little is known about the detail, only that properties valued over £2 million will face an annual tax with the aim of raising £1.2 billion in revenue to the Exchequer.  Estimates of how many properties will be affected depend on your source: Savills suggest 97,000, Zoopla 108,000 and Knight Frank 110,000. One thing is certain, the vast majority of these properties will be in London – 87% according to BBC London, with 67% in just three [...]