Sunday, 30 October 2011


Northern Ireland’s co-ownership housing scheme is to receive further funding, with the Stormont Executive and the building sector joining forces to boost this initiative.

Hopes are high that both the construction sector and the housing market will benefit from the additional £10m allocated to affordable homes schemes this year and each financial year up to 2014-15. With many finding difficulty in getting onto the property ladder, the Executive are keen to give assistance and stimulate activity in the local housing market.

Local banks offering encouragement and support for the initiative include Ulster Bank, Bank of Ireland, Northern Bank, Lloyds/Halifax, First Trust, Progressive, Nationwide, Santander and Barclays. In addition to the £3.25m First Buy pilot scheme, it’s hoped that 2,400 families will be enabled to own their own homes over the budget period.

The current initiative aims to create further jobs, enhance economic activity and revitalise the flagging construction sector, which has suffered considerably during the recession.

Co-ownership Funding to Boost Builders -

Friday, 28 October 2011


September saw a drop in the number of loans approved for house sales, a slight decrease from the previous month, to 33,130.

According to the British Bankers Association (BBA), concerns over family finances and job insecurity have reduced mortgage and unsecured borrowing. There was £8.4bn in gross mortgage lending by the major banks, a slight increase from the month before, and 7% more than September 2010.

However, after a slight rise in August, the level of mortgage approvals dipped. House purchase and remortgaging approvals also fell, at numbers well below the height of the housing market, which saw an average of 130,000 mortgage approvals per month.

The number of first-time buyers coming through is the lowest since November 2010, indicative of current struggles within the market.

In the face of unemployment and domestic financial pressures, households appear to be setting limits on their borrowing.

Job Fear Constrain Borrowing, Says Banks - BBC News

Wednesday, 26 October 2011


A record number of prospective home owners are facing up to a lack of mortgage finance and new building.

Millions of hopefuls trying to get onto the property ladder have been left with little hope of moving out of their rented homes. In England alone, more than 3.35 million households rent from a private landlord, an increase of more than one million since 2004-5. In addition, the past two years have seen a 10% increase in the number of tenants aged between 18-35 who previously lived at home, owing to difficulties in getting hold of a mortgage.

The latest HomeLet Rental Index has concluded that across 55% of England, renting has become unaffordable, calculated as more than one-third of average income being spent on rental costs. High levels of inflation and growing youth unemployment have contributed to current problems with securing a mortgage, but renting may also be too expensive for some younger people, especially those not presently employed.

Their prospects are further decreased by the record shortage of homes to let. An Association of Residential Letting Agents survey shows that there are more tenants than properties, and that tenants are staying in their properties for longer, reluctant to search for new accommodation in the current market.

Generation rent faces crisis as there are not enough properties and fewer mortgages available - Mirror

Monday, 24 October 2011


Research by has revealed that there has been a drop in the average value of UK residential property over the past twelve months.

A 3.2% plunge from last year has seen the average price fall to £219,243. Northampton came out worst, while London and the South East were the only regions where prices rose over the past year. Prices in Scotland remained almost unchanged, with only a 0.05% fall, whereas prices in England have gone down 3.4% from last October, and average fall of £8,320 to £226,788.

London and Aberdeen are the only cities in Britain to see property prices this year, at 1.1% and 0.3% respectively. By contrast, Northampton has weathered a 6% drop.

With increasing difficulty in first-time buyers securing a deposit and mortgage, many predict that these figures are unlikely to improve in the near future.

Average UK property has lost £7,500 in value in the last 12 months - Property Wire

Saturday, 22 October 2011


Figures from have concluded that property is cheaper to buy than to rent in 45 of the 50 largest towns across Britain.

An analysis of the rental and asking prices for all two-bedroom flats on the market has compared the cost of ownership to the rental cost, based on servicing an interest-only mortgage at 5% pa.

With low home prices and interest rates, coupled with high demand for rental property, those able to secure a mortgage have found themselves in a fortunate position. Potential buyers have been presented with a unique opportunity in light of current price reductions in the run-up to Christmas.

Milton Keynes was the location where buying was most significantly cheaper than renting – tenants were estimated to be £2,544 per year worse off, with rental costs more than 39% higher than the cost of owning.

Buying Now Cheaper than Renting Across 90% of Britain -

Thursday, 20 October 2011


FirstBuyNI is a £3.25m pilot scheme designed to help new and returning property buyers purchase newly-built homes.

Recently announced by Nelson McCauseland, the NI Social Development Minister, this initiative aims to help around 100 families. Co-Ownership Housing will provide assistance provided that buyers can obtain a 75% mortgage and have secured a 5% deposit, by financing the 20% shortfall.

The FirstBuyNI pilot includes properties costing up to £175,000, and buyers can increase their equity stake and advance to full ownership as their earnings rise.

Since 1978, the Co-Ownership Scheme has assisted more than 21,000 people. With the current difficulties facing first-time buyers and low levels of mortgage lending, Mr McCauseland is hopeful that the initiative will give many families in Northern Ireland the opportunity to set foot on the property ladder.

Hopes are also high that the construction industry, which has been badly affected by the state of the housing market, will be stimulated by the sale of new-build homes.

Minister Announces £3.25m help for first time buyers - BBC News