Housing & mortgage round up_istockphotoA busy week for housing news as the Halifax release their latest house price data, news that repossessions are on the rise, whilst there is a warning for all buy to let landlords.

House prices rise

The latest figures from the Halifax show house prices rose in April by 1.1%.

According to the UK’s largest mortgage lender, house prices also rose by 2% over the past year and by 1.3% over the last three months, taking the value of the average home to £166,094.

Commenting on the figures, Martin Ellis, Housing Economist at the Halifax, said: “Market activity, however, remains subdued by historical standards with the number of mortgage approvals for house purchases, a leading indicator of completed house sales, easing slightly in the first quarter of 2013, according to the latest industry-wide figures.”

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Looking forward to the rest of the year, Ellis said: “Weak income growth and continuing below-trend economic growth are likely to remain significant constraints on housing demand during the remainder of 2013.”

Repossessions rise slightly

New figures show the number of repossessions over the past quarter have risen slightly, compared to the previous three months, but are still lower than the same time last year.

According to the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) 8,000 homes were repossessed in the first quarter of 2013, up slightly on the 7,700 homes taken back by lenders in the last three months of 2012. The slight rise follows normal season trends and is below the levels seen at the same time last year.

The CML has previously predicted 35,000 homes would be repossessed in 2013 and at present are not planning to revise that estimate, despite lower than expected repossessions in the first three months of 2013.

Arrears rates are also stable. At the end of the first quarter, approximately 1.4% of all mortgages were in arrears, unchanged from the previous three months and the same time last year.

Commenting on the figures, Pail Smee, Director General of the CML said: “Mortgage arrears and repossessions have stabilised at levels lower than many anticipated when the economic downturn started. Low interest rates, continuing employment, lender forbearance and tactical public policy support have combined to ensure that repossession really is a last resort.”

“Anyone who is worried about their mortgage can be assured that, as long as they take steps early to address them, most problems can be contained. Lenders very much want to enable people to stay in their homes wherever they have sustainable prospects of getting their mortgage back on track.”

1 in 10 reveals landlords not getting gas safety check

In other news, a new safety campaign has been introduced, to urge landlords and letting agents to follow the law and get an annual gas safety check. In a survey conducted for both the housing charity, Shelter, and utility supplier, British Gas, 1 in 10 respondents revealed their landlords haven’t proceeded with regulations to get a gas safety check.

A yearly gas safety check is a requirement by law and is the responsibility of the landlord, not the tenant. Landlords could face prosecution, should a serious fault occur with the gas instillation without it being checked.

Experts say neglecting to have a gas safety check could make a house a ticking time bomb. As these checks will pick up on a range of potentially life threatening gas defects, some of which include faulty boilers, gas leaks, and carbon monoxide poisoning.

Campbell Robb, Chief Executive of Shelter, said: “It is shocking to think that in thousands of households across the country there are accidents waiting to happen because a simple safety check has not taken place,” said Campbell Robb, chief executive of Shelter.

Robb continued: “For households with children, this is an even bigger concern. Renters have a right to know that the property they are living in is safe.”

Our mortgage adviser, Linda Wood, is here to help you. If you would like advice on your options or you are affected by any of the stories in this week’s housing round up please call Linda today on 0115 933 8433, alternatively enquire online or email linda.wood@investmentsense.co.uk

Your home may be repossessed if you do not keep up repayments on your mortgage.

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