Tag Archives: sales

House prices rise in Portugal for first time in five years

House prices in Portugal increased in January as the country’s economy expands and the unemployment rate falls, according to the latest monthly market survey from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors. It is the first time that prices have increased since the RICS/Ci survey was launched in 2010 and comes at a time when buyers demand is increasing. RICS says that improving employment is being reflected in rising new buyer demand and for over 12 months now, new buyer enquiries have been in positive territory and national confidence has reached a series high of +32. It also says that the outlook for sales volumes is strengthening and sales expectations are more elevated than at any other point in the survey’s four year history. The Portuguese economy expanded for the first time since 2010, albeit modestly, with average annual GDP growth of 0.9%. After a three year period in which GDP contracted by nearly 6%, a recovery does now appear to be emerging. The rate of unemployment has fallen by nearly 2% over the past 12 months and now stands at 13.4% having reached a peak of 17.7% in early 2013. The report describes the emergence of a recovery in house prices, supported by a consistent rise in confidence but also points out that in the lettings market, rents are still falling for now, although survey respondents’ expectations point to a more stable trend on the horizon. In the sales market, buyer demand continued to increase, with the pace of improvement accelerating slightly over the month. Meanwhile, sales continued to rise, extending an uninterrupted positive run dating back to February 2014. Moreover, respondents’ sales expectations are more elevated than at any other point over the past four years. Looking ahead, prices are expected to continue to rise over the next three months but RICS explains that a sustained run of positive data will be needed before it is in a position to talk about a genuine recovery. At the regional level, prices are now rising in both Lisbon and the Algarve, but remain more or less stable in the Porto market. In the lettings sector, tenant demand continues to rise gradually and the number of new landlord instructions is diminishing. However, rents are still falling for the time being, although respondents do expect a flatter trend to emerge in the coming months. ‘Even though the volume of new credit is still low, it has been reported by several real estate agents that banks are now more positive about the market,’ said Ci spokesman, Ricardo Guimaraes. ‘Some already have commercial campaigns, announcing lower spreads. This might be the element that was missing to broaden out the recovery that was primarily located in Lisbon,’ he added. According to RICS senior economist, Josh Miller, the Portuguese housing market reached an important milestone in January with prices rising for the first time since the country’s bailout programme. ‘Whether this trend can be sustained depends on the broader economic recovery…. Continue reading

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UK agents launch 2015 manifesto for sale and rental housing sectors

Estate and lettings agents in the UK have launched their 2015 housing manifesto calling for better supply, enhanced regulation, and a change to property taxes. The National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA) and Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA) launched the manifesto today at the third consecutive NAEA Conference. During the last six months NAEA and ARLA have met professionals, politicians, experts and campaigners across the UK to understand their hopes and fears for the housing sector. The three main concerns which were identified were the lack of supply, a need for more regulation in lettings and sales, and appropriate taxes across the whole property spectrum. ‘Britain is standing today on the precipice of a crisis in the supply of housing. We are simply not building enough homes to meet burgeoning demand from both the sales and private rented sectors,’ said Mark Hayward, managing director, NAEA. ‘We are growing as a society, and our needs for housing have developed from what they may have been previously. But what still rings true is that everyone has a universal right to a home. And our deep-rooted concern is that government policy on housing, as it currently stands, cannot deliver on this requirement,’ he pointed out. He explained that providing housing, or more importantly homes, requires finance, suitable land, time and skill. ‘Policymakers seem to have forgotten this. Housing cannot be a political football for future governments to use to score points against each other. Ultimately we need to take the politics out of housing. We know this is easier said than done. So instead we ask for all future parliamentarians to maintain a long-term progressive view and to deliver on our manifesto commitments,’ he added. David Cox, ARLA managing director, highlighted the need for greater regulation in the private rented sector. ‘Britain currently maintains a two tier private rented market, consisting of those who operate to professional standards and those that do not,’ he said. ‘Consumers often do not know the difference between the two, thus the onus falls on them to be able to tell the difference. Our agents are already regulated and operate to the highest professional standards. They are fully qualified and we offer tenants and landlords client money protection,’ he explained. ‘The certainty we provide should not be the gold standard, but what every consumer should demand from their agent. It is imperative therefore that letting agents be members of a client money protection scheme, and that regulation be tightened for the entire industry,’ he added. ‘Greater regulation for letting agents in particular will ensure fairness, a level playing field and the removal of those agents who bring the industry into disrepute,’ he concluded. Continue reading

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Prime central London rental market set for a boost in 2015

Rental prices in the prime central London property market are set to grow 2.5% this year with the overall sector remaining robust despite uncertainty in the sales market, it is claimed. The latest data from Strutt & Parker and its retained economic advisors Volterra, show that there were 2,093 lets agreed in the sector in the final quarter of 2014, which although 18% below the five year quarterly average, is far above the level of lets seen in the 2007 peak. ‘In 2015, we hope to see a boost of activity levels and slow but steady growth in prime London lettings. The rental market is calling out for an injection of fresh stock which has started to come to the market, in particular refurbished lateral apartments,’ said Zoë Rose, head of London lettings at Strutt & Parker. ‘As investors continue to convert their assets into properties, we anticipate supply easing, with more properties coming to the rental market and the early signs are that this is already happening. We believe that this trend will continue all year as prime property owners place greater focus towards the rental option,’ she explained. She pointed that rentals were often seen as the last choice, simply a back-up option, which is why there was such a shortage of prime rental stock that came to the market last year. The next few months will determine whether this change is set to continue, with the bonus of giving the niche tenant greater choice in this elite rental sector of the market. She added that there were 12,000 rental transactions in prime central London in 2014, up from just over 10,000 five years ago. ‘So the market is in good shape when you look at historic figures. The number of people out there that enjoy the flexibility of renting at the high end definitely seems to be growing,’ she said. In the sales market, headwinds look set to continue into the first half of 2015, according to the firm. Whilst UK assets remain an attractive position at present, and this looks set to continue as the UK economy continues to grow, uncertainty over taxation change due to the looming election are placing considerable uncertainty on this market. ‘The prime central London sales market is feeling the full impact of buyer caution ahead of the Election, with the strongest activity at the very top end of the market above £5 million and at the other end below £2 million, where the financial impact of a potential mansion tax is less relevant, or indeed irrelevant,’ said Andrew Scott, head of London residential at Strutt & Parker. Continue reading

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