Exploring the divide in house prices between the North and South of the UK.
Rebecca Baines's insight:
The two areas of England have always been notoriously different in their culture and attitudes and now, their house prices. A divide is being increasingly created between the two regions, with Nationwide reporting in May the difference between average house prices moving beyond £100,000.
Value for money
£1.8 million is a large sum of money; but what can it get you in terms of property? Well, in the South that will buy you a 3-bedroom house in Britain’s most expensive area Kensington. In the North however, in the area of East Ayrshire in Scotland, £1.8 million will buy you 25 3-bedroom houses according to Hometrack. What a difference 400 miles makes.
Cities in the North such as Edinburgh, Glasgow, Manchester and Liverpool are five times cheaper than the South, with Liverpool named as the most affordable city in Britain. This is in comparison to the most expensive cities to live in, located in the South, including London, St Albans and Leatherhead.
Why the divide?
The Southern market is driven by cash purchases and interest only mortgages, which are not available to every Tom, Dick and Harry. Analysts also believe that house prices are growing due to governmental property schemes such as Help To Buy, which are seemingly fuelling a property boom. Prices may be marginally increasing, but we haven’t quite reached the peak of the 2007 boom. Another factor in the sharp gulf between house prices is the higher levels on unemployment in the North affecting the economy.
With such a vast different between prices, we are likely to see a decline in those who are hoping to relocate to the south for work. There are approximately x more jobs in the South East region than anywhere else in the UK. However, with the cost of a house, you need a significant pay packet to match the lifestyle.
The price of property is all part of a bigger picture created by millions of staff that work in this area. There are many areas with the property industry that you can venture into if you are ambitious to work in this industry. You could be one of the many faces that help to build the property market. From agents, to valuers to salesman, there are options to suit all. Facilities management recruitment (http://www.deverellsmith.com/sectors/facilities-management/) is an important element in staffing these days; it’s not just about agents and surveyors within the property sector.
Help to Buy burst unexpectedly onto our property market during the 2013 budget announcement by chancellor George Osborne, and has rarely been out of the headlines since. But just how does it impact the housing market?
How it works
With a 5% deposit you can own a property with a mortgage from an approved Help to Buy lender or builder. The scheme is UK-wide, covering both new builds and older houses up to a value of £600,000.
A 75% mortgage is available on new builds, receiving a government-backed equity loan for the remaining 20%. There are no loan fees for 5 years, and you can pay back part or the entire sum at any time, but must importantly, clear the loan after 25 years. If you are buying an older house, you may apply for a 95% mortgage under the scheme, where 15% of the property value is covered by a mortgage guarantee from the government. The scheme is open to first-time buyers and existing homeowners, but properties bought must not be second homes or rented out.
So surely this scheme must be a positive step then for those who are trying to desperately get a foot onto the property ladder?
The government naturally thinks so and David Cameron has been quick to point to the 16% rise in new housing projects since the introduction of the scheme and the 20,000 homeowners who have benefited so far. It’s a straightforward way to ease the lending restrictions of the credit crisis and get your life moving again
Property developers are also seeing an increase in their share prices, typically between 3 and 6%; good news for the building trade and associated services after a prolonged period of stagnation and decline.
What are the experts worried about?
Growing fears around an inflamed housing market are reinforced by new figures showing an 8% year on year rise in house prices at the end of March. This is slightly down on the 9.2% rise recorded to the end of February, but nonetheless a cause for nervousness.
The Bank of England is watching the market closely, ready to respond with an interest rate rise if need be. However, a rate rise could leave thousands of homeowners trapped with unaffordable mortgage payments and a limited range of new deals to move to.
Is it here to stay?
George Osborne has recently announced that the scheme will run until 2020, so for now, it is here for a good while yet. That doesn’t mean unbridled opportunities and there are many voices calling for changes that restrict the scope of the scheme, for example lowering the maximum house price from its current £600,000.
Help to Buy is part of a bigger property picture and if your business involves property make sure your staff are the best in their field, recruiting experts in each element of the property market. Facilities management recruitment (www.deverellsmith.com/sectors/facilities-management/) is an important element in staffing these days; it’s not just about agents and surveyors, even in the residential sector.
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