Property news roundup: House prices up £1,200 in April

Plus, changing your locks, the future for buy to let landlords, and the MMR effect

In the latest house price index, LSL Property Services estimates that house prices in England and Wales rose £1,200 in April,  a new record making the average house price now £263,113. This figure is £54,000 higher than the recession low point in April 2009. 

The figures suggest that East Anglia is now the third region, after London and the South East, where house prices have risen above their pre-recession peak.

"As the floods and bad weather at the start of the year become a distant memory, sales in April have returned to more normal levels," said David Newnes, director of Reeds Rains and Your Move estate agents, owned by LSL. "Total house sales stand 40 per cent higher than at the same point last year, totalling 72,000 in April. Activity is largely being fuelled by increasing numbers of purchases by first-time buyers and buy-to-let landlords, as consumer confidence sweeps the country.

"Considering the regional picture, while London may be forging the way with 13 per cent annual house price growth, the rest of the country is definitely following the trail. Growth is emanating out from the capital, and prices and activity are progressing steadily across all regions. Lincolnshire, Northamptonshire and Nottingham all witnessed house price inflation above the national average."

Locking up

Figures from The Master Locksmiths Association indicate that the average adult in Britain will move home eight times in their life but that 58 per cent of them do not change any of the locks to their new property. Only around a third of movers change the locks to all external doors, and only 12 per cent install a new lock on the home’s main entrance.

MMR effects?

House purchase lending fell for the third consecutive month in April, according to e.surv chartered surveyor.

There were 63,170 house purchase approvals in April 2014, 6 per cent lower than in March which means that house purchase approvals have fallen 17 per cent over the last three months. However, compared to a year ago, approvals are still more than 15 per cent higher.

Richard Sexton, director of e.surv said: "The new MMR regulations introduced last month have temporarily slowed lending in the market. Borrowers must now prove that they can withstand potential interest rate rises up to seven per cent, as well as answering a host of detailed questions about future finances."

The future for buy to let landlords

New research from specialist lender Precise Mortgages shows that more than a quarter of buy to let landlords plan to keep their portfolio beyond retirement. The report also shows that three in ten people became landlords after inheriting a property and chose to let it out, a fifth moved in with a partner who already owned a home, while one in seven let out a property they were unable to sell.

Alan Cleary, Managing Director of Precise Mortgages, said: "Contrary to popular belief that buy to let landlords are mere 'speculators', many landlords are in it for the long term."