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First time buyers have helped to boost property growth in the UK over the summer months, according to surveyors...

The total number of valuations carried out in July 2014 was 14% higher than in July 2013, according to a monthly report. This is despite a seasonal slowdown of 21% compared to June and in line with an average 22% dip between each June and July since 2007.

Annual increases are led by first time buyer activity which is up 23% since July 2013, and with first time buyers showing the smallest seasonal drop off, at 17% from June to July.

A motoring economy is bringing with it renewed consumer confidence and emphasis on first time buyers from lenders, partly due to government schemes, and it appears to be getting people on to the property ladder!

There will be more clarification to come on the long term impact of various potential speed bumps, but the limiter could be interest rate rises or the fundamental squeeze on affordability for many would be buyers. With consistent double digit annual growth in activity, there is now a growing sense that the housing market is running more smoothly.

Overall the report claimed that the number of valuations for those already on the property ladder has been more sedate. Home mover valuations number 12% more than in July last year, or around half the annual growth in activity among new buyers. On a monthly basis, the number of home mover valuations dipped by 19% between June and July.

Further up the chain the market is more muted. Plenty of householders are content to sit on an appreciating asset, often sticking with a mortgage they know. Jumping in the deep end just before interest rates change direction feels like a leap of faith. Despite this, some home owners, taking advantage of strong property prices, have used their added value to upsize.

Remortgaging activity in July was up 11% from July 2013. On a monthly basis the number of valuations for remortgaging purposes fell 25% since June, faster than the overall monthly drop. Due to this, remortgaging as a proportion of all activity has normalised, returning to the average 26% level of the last year, from 28% of all valuations in June.

Buy to Let valuations activity increased 3% on an annual basis but between June and July it saw a 26% fall. This is in line with the average seasonal fall of 17% between June and July since 2007.

Buy to let activity often sees sharper seasonal dips than the rest of the market. Particularly over the summer, landlords are starting to concentrate on the upcoming busiest time of year for new lettings, rather than buying or selling properties. However, as annual increases attest, buy to let investors are taking advantage of the capital gains they have garnered and are still growing their portfolios on average.

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Highlighting the importance of a house survey

Not having a house survey can be a false economy! Some families have historically shunned full building surveys so they can raise enough cash to buy a home.

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) warns that they risk huge repair costs after finding nasty surprises later. One in five of those who did not bother with a survey later uncovered faults, according to research involving more than 1,000 buyers conducted by ComRes for RICS.

Remedial work cost £5,750 on average. RICS said 17% of new owners ended up paying more than £12,000 to make their homes habitable.

A full building survey costs as much as £1500 Even the briefer homebuyer report, at up to £750 should pick up serious problems. But many buyers simply rely on only a mortgage provider's valuation. Estate agents say it is a growing problem, the result of family budgets coming under pressure.

Valuations do not include a full inspection. In fact, some are done from a desk miles away or after a drive past the property. A third of the sample of buyers questioned by ComRes had failed to commission a survey. Of those, nearly 20% found faults in their new property.

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First time buyers have helped to boost property growth in the UK over the summer months, according to surveyors.

The total number of valuations carried out in July 2014 was 14% higher than in July 2013, according to a monthly report. This is despite a seasonal slowdown of 21% compared to June and in line with an average 22% dip between each June and July since 2007.

Annual increases are led by first time buyer activity which is up 23% since July 2013, and with first time buyers showing the smallest seasonal drop off, at 17% from June to July.

A motoring economy is bringing with it renewed consumer confidence and emphasis on first time buyers from lenders, partly due to government schemes, and it appears to be getting people on to the property ladder!

There will be more clarification to come on the long term impact of various potential speed bumps, but the limiter could be interest rate rises or the fundamental squeeze on affordability for many would be buyers. With consistent double digit annual growth in activity, there is now a growing sense that the housing market is running more smoothly.

More...

Beware the hidden problems, warns Winchester property surveyor Trinity Rose

WHEN buying a property, it’s easy to be impressed by shiny new kitchens and bathrooms - and fail to spot the leaky roof or broken boiler.

Research by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) has revealed many buyers are setting themselves up for an average £5,750 in repair bills on their new home due to hidden problems such as rot and subsidence.

It’s really important to get independent, expert advice, said Mark Davis, a RICS surveyor and valuer and director of Trinity Rose in Basingstoke Road, Kings Worthy.

Mr Davis said: “A lot of the issues are to do with the roof, gutters and chimney stacks. A leaking roof or blocked gutters can lead to damp-related problems, including rot.”

It’s important to use a qualified surveyor. It may also be a good idea to go for someone local as they will be familiar with the area and typical property problems.

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