Should England introduce a sealed bids process to stop gazumping? Property news roundup

Plus, homes with tennis courts, ''accidental' over 50s landlords, equity release rises, and the effect of the independence vote in Edinburgh

A new survey shows two thirds of homehunters in England would prefer a Scottish-type sealed bid process rather than the current system.

Of those surveyed by www.purplebricks.com, 57 per cent had been gazumped at least once and are now nervous of making offers and just under half said they felt it would be good to introduce something along the lines of the Scottish system of sealed bids to prevent being gazumped again.

Around 55 per cent also said that there should be fixed fines and penalties for estate agents who actively encourage gazumping.

"Surging demand and high property prices in recent years has meant that gazumping is real problem across the UK," said Purplebricks CEO Michael Bruce. "It used to be a prevalent issue for sought after locations in London but now, everyone is susceptible to it."

Homes with tennis courts

If Wimbledon has inspired you to buy a home with a tennis court, one of the nicest on the market (and with a grass court to boot) is this five bedroomed detached house in Oxwich, Gower, Swansea, pictured above, on with Savills for £950,000.

Over 50s landlords

Nearly a third of landlords aged over 50 have had tenants who’ve refused to pay rent, according to a new report. More than a quarter said tenants had damaged property and one in 10 have had to take legal action against tenants.

Around half of those surveyed in Northern Ireland by Saga Landlord Insurance had experienced problems with tenants' rent payments, while 17 per cent of over 50s landlords in the North East had taken legal action against tenants.

The research also shows the average over-50s landlord owns two properties, and just under half of them manage the property themselves.  'Accidental landlords' - those who did not plan to become a landlord but did so because of an inheritance or other financial reason - account for more than a fifth of landlords aged over 50. Around 12 per cent of 'accidental landlords' say they expect to inherit more properties in the future.

Equity release rising

The equity release market rose 26 per cent in the first half of 2014 according to Key Retirement Solutions.

Its figures indicate that retired homeowners cashed in more than £641 million in property wealth during the first six months of the year, while the average loan rose by 17 per cent to nearly £65,000.

The report says two thirds of customers use the funds  to pay for home or garden improvements while a third put it towards holidays, and 20 per cent used some or all of the money to pay off mortgages and just under a third to clear credit cards or loans.

Edinburgh property prices

Property prices in Edinburgh rose by one per cent between April and June, up 5.7 per cent on the same time last year and with a third more sales, according to Knight Frank. Edinburgh also accounted for just over half of all £1m+ sales in Scotland in the first three months of the year.

"However, while stock levels have increased and the number of sales has risen, there are indications that some buyers are waiting until after the result of the referendum on Scottish independence is known before considering a purchase," said Edward Douglas-Home, head of Edinburgh City Sales.

"One factor that tends to unsettle the housing market is periods of uncertainty, as individuals defer making long term decisions until the direction of policy is clearer."

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