Property news roundup: May Day marks start of selling season

Plus MMR uncertainty, storm effects on tenants, and housing as an issue

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The Independent Online

The first day of May is the start of  an eight week period in which 10 per cent more properties are sold than at any other time of the year, suggests a new report.

The survey from found that over a quarter of people had in previous years successfully sold properties between the start of May and the end of June. Moreover, nearly two thirds of homes sold at or above the asking price.

The least popular time period to sell a property was January and February.

"With the lighter nights and the brighter weather properties can be more aesthetically pleasing during these months and potential buyers are much more motivated to be the first to view whatever time of the evening," said Purplebricks CEO Michael Bruce.

Lack of MMR knowledge

Many homehunters are still unaware of new mortgage checks, with estate agents reporting delays and some failed tests.

Figures from Rightmove show that just over a third of people looking for a new home were unaware the Mortgage Market Review came into force at the weekend. Of those who have heard about the new rules, one in five say they don’t understand what it could mean for them.

Matthew James, Head of Communications at Rightmove said: "The Mortgage Market Review is designed to keep a tighter rein on borrowing and early reports suggest that it’s already slowing up the application process for lenders and homemovers.

"While the new rules are likely to prevent some prospective buyers from getting a mortgage, we think that the delays we are currently hearing about will ease over the coming months as lenders, advisors and applicants all adapt to the new landscape. However, should MMR continue to affect a large number of applications and drive volumes down, then it could drive buyers out of the market and force sellers to moderate their prices and take some of the heat out of the current demand in some areas."

Storm effect

Letting agents handled almost three times as many calls from tenants reporting property damage and requesting urgent repair work in the first quarter of 2014 compared to the previous quarter as winter storms battered large swathes of the British Isles.

According to figures compiled by property repair reporting specialists, agents in the South West fielded 83 per cent more calls relating to roof damage and 70 per cent more internal wall and ceiling damage than the national average.

The most common issues reported by tenants during that past six months related to the bathroom (15 per cent), kitchen (11 per cent) and heating systems (8 per cent). More than twice as many tenants in London reported problems with mice, rat and insect infestation.

Is 'housing' an issue?

The latest Ipsos Mori poll about 'the issues facing Britain' shows the economy still in the top spot, with 'housing' now equal with 'crime', up two places to eighth. Around 14 per cent of people say it's one of the most important issues at the moment.