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Property news roundup – 18/01/2013

Alex Johnson

cc7c161ac13300b83f101dba58e130a8df75ba0f 300x191 Property news roundup   18/01/2013The latest figures from the Association of Residential Lettings Agents (ARLA) has revealed a rise in landlord investment over the past 12 months. The average number of buy-to-let properties owned by landlords peaked at eight in the last three months of 2012, up from seven at the beginning of the year while 29 per cent of landlords said they have bought a property in the past year compared to 25 per cent at the start of 2012.

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Rents in December fell to August 2012 levels as landlords tried to avoid empty properties, according to LSL Property Services, whose figures show that the average rent in England and Wales fell by 0.9% in December to £734 per month. Rents in December were 3.2% higher than a year ago.

Seven regions saw rents decrease in December compared to November. The joint-largest falls were in the East of England and North East, where rents dropped by 1.7%. These were closely followed by London where rents fell 1.5% and the South East with a 1.3% fall. Three regions saw monthly increases; the fastest rise was in the West Midlands, where rents rose 1.3%. Next was the South West, with a monthly rise of 0.9%, while rents in Wales were up by 0.4%.

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Increased activity by first-time buyers contributed to a 6% rise in the number of loans for house purchase in November according to new data from the Council of Mortgage Lenders. The number of loans taken out by first-time buyers reached the largest monthly total since the end of 2009 (except for March when the end of the stamp duty holiday boosted activity). A total of 21,700 loans were advanced to first-time buyers in November, worth £2.7 billion, representing an 8% rise compared to October and up by 24% on November last year. For the second consecutive month, loans to first-time buyers accounted for 41% of all house purchase loans, higher than the usual proportion of around 38%.

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Hamptons International has reported a six per cent increase in properties for sale at the beginning of January when compared with the same time last year. They say the figures show that sellers are capitalizing on the apparent increase in confidence within the market, particularly in commuter belt areas outside London.

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