July property news round-up: most affordable place to rent in the UK, new leasehold reforms and more.

July has seen lots of news in the property market. This month we found that first-time buyers are purchasing bigger homes, what’s going on with the leasehold reforms and much more…

Wales is the most affordable place in the UK to rent a home 

Wales has been named as the most affordable region to rent a home, according to research by online letting agent Howsy. 

The findings are based on the percentage of income people use on their rent, with the UK average currently at 34%, England at 42% and Wales at 30%. London comes in at the highest with an average of 65% of salary being spent on rent alone. 

More specifically, Rhondda Cynon Taf in South Wales is the most affordable for renters, as only 26% of income is spent on rent. Hackney in London saw tenants spending an average of 83% of their salary on rent. 

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House prices in the North and Midlands outperforms national average 

The North West, Yorkshire & the Humber and Wales have reported near-record highs in the price of newly-marketed properties, reveals the latest House Price Index from RightMove. 

An average increase of 0.3% was seen this month – just £91 short of the current record. Sales agreed on properties in the North have fallen by only 1.7% year-on-year, compared to 7.1% in the South.

Miles Shipside, property expert at RightMove, commented: “At £91 below June 2018’s figure of £309,439, it’s within touching distance of the previous high. More buoyant markets in the north and midlands are helping to nudge up prices due to the seemingly relentless strength of buyer demand. Buyers in four regions are seeing higher new seller asking prices on average than ever before.”

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Average price of a flat in the UK has fallen as first-time buyers turn to houses instead

The average price of a flat has fallen by 1.6% to £199,018 as first-time buyers skip straight to the second rung of the property ladder.

Conversely, Land Registry data shows that the average price of all other property types has increased. Detached houses have seen a year-on-year house price boost of 2.7%, while semi-detached and terraced houses increased by 2% and 1.9%, respectively. 

The trend has been happening for the last two years as the average age of the first-time buyer has increased, meaning they need bigger homes as they’re more likely to have a family. 

Leasehold reforms announced by government

The government has published its official response to the recent consultation on leaseholds “Implementing Reforms to the Leasehold System in England.”

In the future, all houses will be sold on a freehold basis, unless there are exceptions where a property requires a leasehold. Ground rents will also be reduced to a peppercorn rent except in the instance of shared ownership. 

Jennifer Gadsdon, Partner of our Leasehold Enfranchisement team, commented: “The government is going to legislate to bring in these changes and there will be no transitional period as they consider their proposals will have been in the public domain long enough to prepare for the changes. There is no timescale yet for the legislation as it will just  be when parliamentary time allows. However, when dealing with either leasehold houses or new leases we still need to consider the responses as it is clear how government intends to progress.”

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