Kensal Rise & Queens Park, 69 Chamberlayne Road, London, NW10 3ND
Kensal Rise & Queens Park, 69 Chamberlayne Road, London, NW10 3ND
estate agents

Chain-free homes command asking price premiums of 3.9% over homes on sale with buyer-chains - and in one location at least, the premium is over 7%.

Upfront information provider Home Sale Pack has analysed asking price data for chain-free and non-chain-free homes on the market in 10 major English cities.

The research shows that the average price for a chain-free home on sale currently is £259,791.

This is some £9,739 more expensive than the wider average asking price of £250,053, creating a premium of 3.9%.

This rises as high as 7.2% in Bradford, West Yorkshire, where the average asking price for a chain-free home is £186,472 against the non-chain-free norm of £174,016.

Liverpool’s chain-free asking price of £200,836 is 7% compared to the city’s wider average asking price, and in Manchester the premium hits 6.5%

The smallest premiums were found in Bristol (1%), Sheffield (1.2%), and Birmingham (1.5%).

A spokesperson for Home Sale Pack says: “Property chains are the stuff of buyer and seller nightmares. They take an already complex and stressful sales process and put control of one person’s fate into the hands of another person, or even another ten people.

“So it’s little wonder that homes free of a chain have an increased desirability and can often command a higher asking price. But, for the most part, chains are unavoidable.

“There’s no way of changing the fact that your typical house buyer needs to sell their current home in order to fund the purchase of a new home. So if we can’t get rid of chains, the only option is to improve the homebuying process so that it is faster, more efficient, and more reliable, thus reducing the chances that a sale somewhere in the chain will collapse and have a devastating domino effect for so many others.”

Agents remain typically optimistic about the property market after interest rates were been held at their 16-year high of 5.25% by the Bank of England (BoE) yesterday.

It is the sixth consecutive monetary policy committee (MPC) where rates have remained frozen, but there is some hope of a cut in the coming months after two of the nine policymakers backed a reduction.

Lucian Cook, head of residential research at Savills, said: “The Bank of England’s decision to hold interest rates at 5.25% won’t come as surprise, as inflation remains high and uncertainty in the Middle East continues.

“This is in line with our forecast expectations that we are unlikely to see a further meaningful fall in mortgage rates this year, despite an improved overall outlook, with the potential for short term fluctuations in the cost of debt and house prices.

“However, the highly competitive nature of the mortgage market has meant that mortgage costs have already nudged down this year, and have been much less volatile. Combined with an improved outlook for economic growth, and increased buyer confidence, we can now expect modest house price growth this year.”

He added: “The Bank of England’s hawkish approach may not be headline grabbing, but at least it isn’t a distraction for buyers or sellers who want to press on with their sales and searches. While everyone in need of a mortgage would prefer rates to fall significantly, interest rates of around 5% are not high by historic standards.

“It’s important to keep in mind that, while the past 18 months have been a time of economic headwinds, the exceedingly low rates that became the norm in the 2010s were the exception and not the rule.

“A pivot towards lower rates in June, even if only minor, would help to ease affordability constraints at the lower end of the housing market and help to ensure chains don’t break down once sales have been agreed.

“For now, the ‘hold’ should help to maintain the fragile momentum we've seen building in the housing market recently. Across the Jackson-Stops network in April we have seen a year-on-year uptick in viewings, new instructions and new buyer enquiries, which bodes well for a busier second half of the year.”

Nathan Emerson, chief executive of Propertymark, said: “As interest rates continue to remain the same in order to combat levels of inflation this country has not witnessed for decades, Propertymark is optimistic that buyers will continue to adapt to these new market conditions. 

“Our own Housing Insight Report discovered that there has been a 4% increase in the number of potential buyers registered, and an 8% increase in the number of available properties to rent, which shows that there are some reasons to remain optimistic that the housing market is recovering from shock economic factors from the past three years.” 

It comes as figures from banking trade body UK Finance showed a 3% rise in mortgage arrears among homeowners between the end of 2023 and the first quarter of this year.

The overall proportion of mortgages in arrears remains low, at 1.11% of homeowner mortgages and 0.69% of buy-to-let mortgages.

t’s taken eight years but one of London’s highest profile estate agencies says the value of its Under Offer pipeline has at last exceeded the figure at the time of the controversial Brexit referendum in June 2016.

After the vote, interest in London property eased back, worsened during the uncertainty over what Brexit meant, and then exacerbated by the ‘race for space’ during the pandemic.

But now a statement referring to its own business during the first quarter of this year, says: “Sales agreed in the quarter were 31% higher by volume compared to Q1 2023. At the end of March 2024, the value of the under-offer pipeline was 34% higher than 2023 and 12% higher than 2022, the highest value since the 2016 Brexit vote. 

“This under-offer pipeline is expected to support further revenue growth in Q2, supported by an improving sales market backdrop as mortgage availability and rates have both stabilised, alongside good levels of available stock.”

The Brexit information comes in a report to its shareholders on performance in the first three months of 2024. 

It says sales revenue was up 17% to £9.5m (compared to Q1 of 2023 when it was £8.1m) with growth underpinned by a significant increase market share of transactions. Sales shares have grown in four out of the last five quarters, it says.

Lettings revenue was up 5% in the quarter to £24m (Q1 2023: £22.8m) reflecting what Foxtons calls “incremental revenues from the two 2023 portfolio acquisitions and broadly flat revenues on a like-for-like basis. As expected, compared to 2023, the supply and demand dynamic has normalised and rental prices have stabilised accordingly.”

The agency’s Financial Services revenue was up 16% in the quarter to £2.3m (Q1 2023: £2.0m), driven by increased mortgage volumes and levels of cross-selling across.

“This has been a strong start to the year with our revenue growth demonstrating the real momentum we have built across the business. Last year we regained our number one position in London and delivered significant growth in our market share of property instructions across both Lettings and Sales. The business is now focussed on converting these listings to transactions as we deliver results for our clients. 

“Sales revenue was up 17%, reflecting improved market conditions continued growth in market share as the operational improvements we made last year took effect. We entered the second quarter with the highest value under-offer Sales pipeline since the 2016 Brexit vote, giving us optimism for the rest of the year.

“We have made great strides in the past two years, with the business’ foundations rebuilt operating Platform significantly strengthened. We are well placed to continue to unlock value within our business, drive growth, and ultimately deliver against our medium-term adjusted operating profit target.”

A tribunal case has ended with fines imposed on two landlords - Nigel William Harry Hobbs and James Robert Hobbs - following an action brought by Boston council.

The case focused on violations of the Housing Act 2004 and the Management of HMO Regulations 2006.

The original penalties imposed on James Robert Hobbs for managing a HMO in breach of regulations amounted to £5,750, while Nigel William Harry Hobbs faced similar charges with penalties totalling £5,750. Additionally, Nigel William Harry Hobbs incurred a financial penalty of £10,000 for operating a HMO that required a mandatory licence without having one and £1,500 for breaching Management of HMO Regulations 2006.

Appeals against the penalties centered on whether the property was intended to be run as an HMO. Both appellants argued that the property's classification as a HMO was due to the actions of a tenant and that the regulations were not breached.

The court upheld the penalties, highlighting the seriousness of non-compliance with HMOs and their respective management regulations. 

A spokesperson for Boston council says: "We welcome the court's decision to uphold the penalties for violations of HMO and management regulations. These regulations are in place to ensure the safety and well-being of tenants and to maintain standards in property management.

"It is crucial for landlords and property owners to adhere to these rules to protect the interests of residents and the community as a whole. We urge all individuals involved in property management to prioritise compliance with regulations to create safe and healthy living environments for everyone."

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