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House prices rose by 2.9 per cent in the year to July, according to Nationwide, as ultra-low mortgage rates and government schemes such as Help to Buy continue to help first-time buyers. Jeremy Leaf, principal of Jeremy Leaf & Co, told The Times: ‘There does seem to be an enthusiasm among serious buyers and sellers to get on with the job in hand.’ He expanded on these comments in The Evening Standard: ‘The current climate is also providing an opportunity for first-time buyers at least to better compete for smaller properties.’ He added in The Daily Telegraph: ‘We would have expected transactions in particular to be higher compared with last year bearing in mind how much quieter the market was 12 months ago following the introduction of the stamp duty surcharge.’
Should you buy property for your child off to university to save on accommodation costs? Jeremy Leaf told The Times: ‘The same rules apply as when buying any property and parents need to be careful. [And there are other things to consider] for example, how will your child cope with regular requests to rectify problems when the washing machine breaks down or the wi-fi fails?’
The UK could be on the brink of a huge property shift as 5.7 million people consider moving to smaller homes, new research suggests, but they could find few suitable homes to move to. Jeremy Leaf told The Independent: ‘Every study about downsizing seems to confirm that there is huge untapped demand from retirees looking to move to smaller homes but the lack of suitable options is proving a deterrent.’
The number of mortgages approved by British banks went up in July for the first time in six months, according to UK Finance. Jeremy Leaf told What Mortgage: ‘These figures are interesting because we are seeing lending fairly steady on all fronts at a time when we might have expected more turmoil in the market, giving the results of the general election and the commencement of formal Brexit negotiations. At the coalface we have seen a continuing determination of first-time buyers in particular to take advantage of landlords being distracted by higher entry costs and stiffer regulation to buy at more competitive rates, underlining their confidence in the long-term future of the market.’ He added in The Daily Express: ‘Looking forward we anticipate much of the same – no rapid improvement or decline but as our customers return from holiday they will hopefully return to home buying and selling mode sooner rather than later.’
A quarter of parents move house to get into a particular catchment areas for their children’s school. Jeremy Leaf told The Independent: ‘A school with a good reputation can cause mayhem in a local property market. Buyers with children of school age will do and pay anything to get their children a place. It is quite normal for buyers to check the local Ofsted reports before they read the particulars for their preferred properties. The education effect on property prices can extend well beyond the school run boundaries.’