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Main Feature: Main Feature; A long HOT Summer!
SALES; Current Local Statistics
Cautious Optimism!
LETTINGS; Landlords Require More Advice
July 2013 Rental Index Regional Map
MORTGAGE NEWS - 95% Mortgages Now Available!

A long HOT Summer!

Phew...did we actually have a Summer this year, I’m still wondering if it was all a dream? So, whilst we've basked outside, narrowly avoided heatstroke in our offices and cars, and nearly had a heart attack when Andy Murray threw away three match points at Wimbledon before giving the nation the result that it craved, the good news is that it's not just been the weather that's been hot: the property market has been scorching as well. For more about why this has been, and what this might mean for you, read on...

Normally we'd expect that July would cool down a bit for us. July usually sees a bit of a seasonal dip in the property market as people head off on their holidays or stay at home looking after a house full of children. That usually leads to a bit of a surge and bounce-back in late August, but in the summer months estate agents traditionally put their feet up, kick back and stare at the phone. This year has been a bit different, to say the least. The phones have been ringing like a Justin Bieber Complaint Line after an ill-advised signing session.

What's been happening in the Press coverage of the property market this month?

The reasons behind any perceived surge in the property market are fairly clear when you look at the reports coming out of the Council of Mortgage Lenders this month, which reported a rise of 26% year-on-year in gross mortgage lending (June 2013 compared with June 2012):

The report also showed that gross lending for the second quarter of 2013 is estimated to have hit £42 billion, a 24 per cent rise on the previous three months, according to the CML.

Obviously, it is imperative for a healthy property market in the UK that there is also available finance for property buyers. Not only was the figure up on June of 2012, but the figure was also up on the previous month of 2013. We have already been seeing a rise in availability of good mortgage deals this year but it's encouraging to see that this is also translating into better borrowing figures which put money in the hands of people who want to buy properties.

There are lies, damned lies and statistics of course, and there are various ways of interpreting these figures. However, after a long, long time of property prices stagnating and buyers being unable to move through lack of available funding, the way that I would interpret them is that they demonstrate a property market that at the very least we should be allowed to have a little bit of cautious optimism about.

What have we seen happening in the property market this past month?

I was not exaggerating about it being a busy month, and not just by the usual standards of July. We recruited an extra member of staff to allow our advisers the time to spend on the phones with potential viewers, people making offers and also potential property sellers. There has been steam coming out of the ears and off the fingers of our team in the offices in a way that we haven't seen for many-a-month.
The range of properties selling, and the areas in which they are selling, is the most encouraging thing for me: from First Time Buyer properties right through to top-end, premium locations and house types. To me this demonstrates a general health in the market that we've not seen for a few years now.

Now...a word of caution...I have almost given up trying to track housing market trends (I say almost...I still try!) in recent years because my expectations are confounded so easily by trends that seem to have no apparent reason, so I am only cautiously optimistic. However it's possible to question things a bit too much at times. After a few years of negative Press, negative sentiment and negative lending positions of the major mortgage lenders, it's nice to see that things appear, just perhaps, to be turning the corner for the longer term. In the meantime though, it's great just to take a bit of a deep breath and, like the summer sun, enjoy it for what it is!


Current Local Statistics
Average Sold House Price in North Lanarkshire: £110,254
Average Sold House Price in Scotland: £148,174
North Lanarkshire Annual House Price Change: 4.9%
Scottish Annual House Price Change: - 0.4%


Airdrie £107,101
Bellshill £89,730
Coatbridge £95,209
Motherwell £122,065
Shotts £77,680
Wishaw £96,510


Cautious Optimism!!!

Recent reports are adding a weight of evidence that the property market in the UK, and indeed in Scotland, might have turned the corner.

According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS) (reported here in The Guardian:, house prices across the UK, in all measured regions, rose on a year-on-year basis in May 2013 (in other words, prices were higher than at this point last year).  London continues to lead the way with house price rises that would put 2007, the last year that the rest of the UK saw significant rises in prices, to shame.  However, even when you strip-out the London figures, the rest of the UK still stood 1.9% higher.  Scotland was 0.8% up on the same time last year.

There have been little pockets of good news and certain regions outperforming averages in the past couple of years in particular, but Scotland has tended to lag behind most of the UK.  Of course, considering 'Scotland' (or indeed the North of England) as a 'region' is slightly laughable given the variations in house prices and the property market that you can find in a 20 mile radius, but the important thing to take from this is that it's the first time I've seen the Scottish region's house prices come out of one of these surveys looking at all healthy for a while.

On the ground the property market is definitely looking healthier.  Of course, we don't want to be complacent or glib about this: trends come and go.  However, the most important part of all this is not just a relatively small increase in values in Scotland: it's also hugely important that a healthy proportion of properties that go to the market actual sell and whether there is good movement of properties across the whole spectrum of the market in terms of values, areas and type of buyer (i.e. first time buyer activity, buy-to-let etc).  Increasingly in the last few months we've been seeing a wider range of different values of properties selling and seen properties in areas that weren't terribly buoyant a couple of years ago suddenly going great guns, and with the recent introduction of 95% mortgages by a handful of lenders we hope this will see this trend continue.  These stats back-up the impression that, touch wood, we might just about be out of the woods on the much-touted possibility of house prices dropping again in a way that we saw in 2008.


New Regulations Mean Landlords Need Proper Advice

Landlords across the country are hungry for help and advice according to a survey commissioned by specialist buy-to-let lender Paragon Mortgages.

The Q1 BDRC Landlords Panel has shown that 78% of those surveyed have a significant requirement for advice on landlord matters rising to 89% for those owning more than 11 properties.

According to the report, recent changes to legislation have only fuelled landlords’ desire for more help and advice, with 46% saying they were finding it difficult to keep up with changes to legislation and a further 43% saying they were worried about the impact of Universal Credit on the Private Rented Sector (PRS).
Almost all (90%) of those surveyed said that they believe regulations will make being a landlord tougher in the coming months.

John Heron, Director of Mortgages, said: “It’s interesting to note that although many of the landlords surveyed were greatly experienced, having owned buy-to-let properties for a considerable time, there is still a need across the board for information, help and advice. Of course the buy-to-let landscape never stays the same, and new regulations affect professional landlords just as much as they do those who are relative newcomers to the market”

The tenancy deposit regulations are in force and causing chaos and still most DIY landlords aren’t aware of the regulations or do not know how to implement them or that they are liable to pay the tenant 3 times the rental amount if the deposit is not lodged with a deposit scheme. And believe us, tenants will become wise to this situation and use it to their advantage.

So more than ever Landlords require proper advice from an experienced Agent who is geared to handle the changing regulations and is able to put measures in place to protect it’s clients. We truly believe it is imperative that DIY landlords, or Non-Managed landlords look more closely at having HomeLink manage their property, including our DEPOSIT GUARANTEE. There are too many loopholes built into the regulations that favour the tenant and will make it increasingly difficult for landlords to claim damages incurred by the tenant.

July 2013 Rental Index UK Regional Map

The regional map shows the monthly and annual changes in agreed rental amounts for each region of the UK.


MORTGAGE NEWS: 95% Mortgages Now Available

The housing market has "turned the corner" with the highest monthly lending figure since October 2008 and the second half of the year should be even better.

Total gross mortgage lending in July hit £16.6 billion, up 12% from £14.8 billion in June and 29% on the total of £12.9 billion in July 2012, new CML figures showed.

That is the highest monthly estimate for gross lending since October 2008 at £18.6 billion.

Gross lending figures have now grown consistently for six months. With the Funding for Lending Scheme in its second year, there is a real sense of expectation among lenders that the second half of this year will see even greater activity in the market.

Gross lending for the first six months now stands at over £75 billion. Given the third quarter is typically the strongest we might reasonably expect gross lending for 2013 to exceed £160 billion, sharply up on the £142.5 billion in 2012.

High-LTV lending is at a five-year high, which has unlocked the first-time buyer market and is starting to unleash a ripple of activity further up the housing market. Cheaper mortgages have transformed buying conditions and opened up the market to a wider range of potential buyers.

This has culminated in a handful of lenders now offering 95% mortgages, now exclusively available to HomeLink via the Sesame network of Independent Mortgage Advisors. This is a real positive step and should help further stabilize the market so that we are seeing month on month growth as word spread to buyers that more and more products are becoming available.

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HomeLink Estate and Letting Agents Ltd. Registered in Scotland No. 388657    

Coatbridge Office
18 Main Street
Coatbridge, ML5 3AE.
Tel 01236 700248
Tel (Lettings) 01236 808340
Fax 01236 700291

Motherwell Office
100 Merry Street,
Motherwell, ML1 1NA.
Tel 01698 264422
Fax 01698 264462

Mortgage Office
96 Merry Street
Motherwell, ML1 1NA.
Tel 01698 264430
Cumbernauld Office
2 Spey Walk
Cumbernauld, G67 1DS.
Tel 01236 723399
Fax 01236 700291
Wishaw Office
308 Main Street
Wishaw, ML2 7NL.
Tel 01698 264422
Fax 01698 264422
Opening Hours
MON - FRI: 9am - 5:30pm (voicemail after 5.15pm)
SAT: 10am - 2pm

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