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Under the skin of the letting market

Here we share news and views on both the local letting market in & around Oxfordshire and all planned and recent legislation.


Our Media Man Frank on BBC Oxford


Our Director, Frank Webster, appeared on Phil Mercer’s show on BBC Oxford yesterday afternoon for his monthly chat about property.

Topics covered included:

  • RICS report: The latest RICS report suggested that the sun is bringing house buyers out. We would say that, traditionally, spring is a time when people get out and start looking at property and wanting to buy. The weather, coupled with the odd bank holiday weekends, certainly lead to a busy three days from a rental point of view, as we reported last week.
  • Mini-boom for estate agents: We have spoken to some local, county-wide agents who are reporting that they have quite a healthy stock of property on their books. There are people out there who are looking to buy and who can afford to buy. First time buyers are still relying on the Bank of Mum and Dad, but others are ‘considered’ buyers – those who have been planning for some time and have the deposit and mortgage finance arranged.
  • Buy-to-let mortgages on the up: Mortgage finance will be key to what happens in the next few months. Moneyfacts has announced this week that buy-to-let mortgages have hit their highest level since October 2008. We have seen (and estate agents have reported) that there are people out there who are buying for investment purposes, perhaps thinking that they can get a good deal. Our advice would be that now is not necessarily the right time to seek a deal, but it is more about where to put your money at the moment. With interest rates remaining very low, if you do have the money then you are probably best to put it in to property.
  • 12-month planning application limit: Grant Schapps has announced a 12-month guarantee on planning decisions as an attempt to cut down on bureaucracy. We think this is good because we do need more new-build property coming in to the mix. This announcement is good news for the developers/builders, or someone with a large garden, but not necessarily good for those who object. We need to wait for more information regarding the penalties – if any – for not sticking to the 12 months, what will happen if a decision isn’t reached in that time, at what point the clock starts ticking etc.
  • House prices falling: Halifax statistics released last week stated that house prices had fallen by 1.4%. This is a country-wide figure and we know that, as a whole, the economy is not looking that good. We have talked about the spring market hotting up, but this is possibly just a quick phase. The market is still quite precarious. As we move from spring to traditional holiday time we may see the sales market slow down, and we might find that prices continue to drop a little more, although we are only talking small percentage drops.

Listen to the 4-minute chat on the iPlayer anytime for the next week (Frank was on approximately 18 minutes in to the show).

If you would like to read more about investing in property in Oxfordshire then click here. If you would like to talk to Frank Webster about investing, please call 01865 311011.