Mon 14 Jun 2021
Would you buy a home that used to be an office? Jeremy Leaf, principal of Jeremy Leaf & Co, warned those thinking about it to check out several things beforehand. He told This is Money: ’It is very important to have a survey done, particularly to check out the services. When it comes to insulation and so on, you also need to ensure that the conversion fulfils minimum requirements in terms of heat loss and other issues. Essentially, you need to check that the property is comfortable for your occupation.’
Mortgage borrowing rose by a net £11.8bn in March, according to the Bank of England. Jeremy Leaf told City AM: ‘Although these numbers are a little lower than the previous month, they reinforce what we have been seeing on the ground – buyers are determined to move even though many know the log jam in the system will mean they won’t be able to take advantage of the stamp duty concession before the tapering begins at the end of June.'
If you’re looking for a mooring, an opportunity has just come up in Battersea. Jeremy Leaf told Mail Online: ’House-boat living may once have been regarded as not just a more romantic and flexible but cheaper option, especially for those working in city centres. However, times have changed and the rules of demand and supply being what they are have pushed up prices to crazy levels in some places. Finding a place to park your boat can be prohibitive nowadays as any quick glance at those advertised will reveal. Post-pandemic, whether you live in a house, flat or on a boat, people want the same things – not just flexible living but outside space, the ability to work from home and not to get under each other’s feet. Living on a boat may not tick all those boxes. Before making a decision, all factors must be considered, not just the cost of buying or renting the boat and moorings, but longer-term commuting decisions, accessibility to friends and family to say nothing of its condition, when rising damp can take on a whole new meaning.'
Yet another survey confirms that house prices have soared to record highs, with Halifax reporting that the trend is being fuelled by the stamp duty holiday extension and lack of homes for sale, turning the property market into a frenzy. Jeremy Leaf told The Daily Telegraph that the pace of growth may slow when the tapering of stamp duty begins over the summer but house prices will continue to inch higher: ‘… when you consider the increase in new potential buyers on the ground who have little chance of profiting from the stamp duty holiday which prompted so many earlier moves, as well as buyers using savings they have been able to accumulate during lockdown.'
The cost of upgrading from a flat to a house in London has doubled over the past decade. Jeremy Leaf told The Evening Standard that in north London houses are by far the hottest property ticket. ’They sell much faster than flats,’ he said. ’There is a market for flats but if they don’t have outside space or are not close to a park, then it is much more difficult to sell.'
The average asking price for home for sale is a third of a million pounds, with Rightmove recording the new all-time high of £333,564. Jeremy Leaf told The Daily Mail: ‘These figures confirm what we’ve seen ‘at the sharp end’. Some sellers have taken the opportunity to raise asking prices, making home buying less accessible even for those able to purchase the dwindling stock of properties. On the other hand, we’re finding the faster rollout of the second jab, in particular, is helping to encourage older homeowners to put their homes on the market but not fast enough yet to keep prices in check. We expect the imminent tapering of the stamp duty concession to prompt a reduction in activity and softening rather than a correction in prices as longer-term market sustainability is driven by economic recovery and availability of competitively-priced finance.'