What Does a Recession Mean for House Prices?

With rumours growing over recent months surrounding the possibility of another severe recession taking place sometime in the near future, many homeowners are asking how this could affect the value of their home.

What is a recession?

If you have lived through the eighties, nineties and noughties – it’s more than likely that you will have been experienced the consequences of a recession. But what exactly is a recession?

In the UK, a recession takes place when the economy experiences two consecutive months of negative growth¹. Negative growth is when the GDP – or gross domestic product – falls over a six-month phase¹.

Using this definition, it can be shown that over the last 70 years, there have been six clear recessions that have had a negative effect on the UK economy – 1974, 1975, 1980, 1981, 1991 and 2008².

A recession itself can be short-term, but its effects can certainly be felt for years after, especially in areas of moderate to severe deprivation. However, the way a recession affects certain industries often depends on the time during which it occurs.

During the Great Depression in the 1930s, for example, it was recent introduction of the gold standard that caused the most suffering, putting a strain on many financial institutions, and ultimately leading to the UK leaving the gold standard in 1931³.

In the 1970s, the political fallout of the Yom Kippur War led to an embargo on oil products from wealthy Arab nations, almost quadrupling the cost of fuel overnight and leading to many companies in industries that were reliant on a steady flow of the resource to collapse within weeks.⁴

The latest recession that took place in the UK was the 2008 ‘Great Recession’ as a result of the sub-prime mortgage crisis by banks on both sides of the Atlantic and is considered the worst financial crisis since the Second World War. During this time, the unemployment rose by a shocking 8.3%, and manufacturing output fell by 7% – the worst statistics since 1994⁵.

It was during this time, however, that many financial banks and lenders found themselves needing to be bailed out by the government, leaving those who had borrowed money from these lenders for purchases such as housing mortgages in dire straits6.

How does a recession affect property?

The effect that a recession has on property is often dependent on the rate of inflation leading up to the crisis itself.

In the decade leading up to the most the financial crisis, the value of sold house prices grew sharply creating a bubble that enticed many investors and homeowners to place themselves in position of unnecessary risk – buoyed by the confidence of the lenders who were willing to grant those without a sizeable deposit up to 95%-100% contracts7.

For those who bought their homes closer to the turn of the century, the profit they had made through sky-rocketing inflation counter-balanced the fall in house prices that occurred as a result of the crisis. Unfortunately, many who had only bought within the short period of time leading up to the recession – especially those who took high-risk mortgages – found themselves in negative equity with high interest repayments they could not afford.

 

Is a recession a good time to sell a house?

Whether or not selling a house during a recession is a good idea is very dependent on your situation. If you live in a wealthier area such London, then it is more than likely that the value will recover quite quickly once the recession is over. If, however, you live in an area that is less in-demand by buyers, the likelihood is that you could be waiting more than a decade for values to return to normal.

For example, as late as September 2018, while average properties are now 17% above where they were pre-crisis, regional differences paint a different picture. In the capital prices were over 40% higher than they were before the financial crisis, but in Northern Ireland house values were still 40% lower than they were before the recession8. For many people, they would rather lose money on their house than wait another 15 years to sell at a profit.

There will always be certain buildings that demand a premium price and are likely to weather the storm of a financial crises, but these tend to be either listed, or include unique selling points that attract wealthy buyers.

How to sell a house during a recession?

If you need to sell a home fast at a time when the vast majority of the population are struggling to cover their monthly costs – and by proxy cannot save for a deposit that would be accepted by a lender – finding a buyer can be a very difficult task. This is especially true when taking into account that the number of mortgages being approved in 2018 were still 40% lower in volume than before the 2008 crisis.8

Luckily, however, there are alternatives that many potential sellers tend to overlook.

By examining the rate of values as they fall, it’s not hard to see that waiting can often reduce your potential profit further – particularly if you live in a low-income area. In situations such as these, it is advised to sell as soon as possible, as once the recession is over there is no guarantee that your home’s value will recover in the short-term – even to the price that you manage to sell it for during a failing market.

There are, thankfully, companies who keep track of the property market and are willing to buy your house directly, for cash. The benefit of companies such as these is that they revolve around the idea of completing purchase in a much shorter space of time than a normal sale – which is great news if you are a seller and can not afford to wait around.

Furthermore, house-buying companies such as National Homebuyers will buy a house in any condition or situation, providing you with capital that can be used immediately, allowing you to capitalise on the purchasing opportunities available during a weak market, such as the possibility of buying a brand new home for a bargain-basement price from a house-building company who are desperate to shift their portfolio.

How will the housing market look in the next recession?

As of Q3 2019, fears have been growing rapidly regarding the possibility of another recession – partly fuelled by the fears of a stilted economy once the UK leaves the EU as planned9.

Even in a health economy, the ability of younger generations in the modern age to be able to afford their own home – even considering the large number of schemes put forward by the government over the last ten years – is a lost cause for the majority10.

Many analysts believe that the next recession will punish Millennials further11. While this may not seem to be an issue for many older homeowners who wish to sell, it is important to remember that the search for a willing buyer will be exponentially harder if the pool of potential buyers continues to decrease.

This means that many older homeowners who wish to downsize – trading their expensive larger houses for smaller, more affordable ones – may find the process extremely tricky, heavily affecting the status of their wealth into retirement.

It is, at this point, impossible to say how the housing market will look after the next recession. With so many variables in the air, even respected analysts are finding themselves at odds with one another. But as many economists have pointed out, the outlook would be a lot less bleak if the decision to leave the EU is reversed12.

Are you looking to sell your home due to worries about recession? Why not ask National Homebuyers for advice, as we buy any house. Call 08000 443 911 or request a call back to find out how much you could get for your property before it’s too late.

Sources:

¹BBC (Anon) (2008) Q&A: What is a recession? Available: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/7495340.stm. Last accessed 10th Sept. 2019.

²Office for National Statistics. (2013). UK GDP since 1955. Available: https://www.theguardian.com/news/datablog/2009/nov/25/gdp-uk-1948-growth-economy. Last accessed 10th Sept 2019.

³Pettinger, T. (2017). The UK economy in the 1930s. Available: https://www.economicshelp.org/blog/7483/economics/the-uk-economy-in-the-1930s/. Last accessed 10th Sept. 2019.

⁴Smith, Charles D. (2006), Palestine and the Arab–Israeli Conflict, New York: Bedford, p329.

⁵Leaker, D. (2015). LFS: ILO unemployment rate: Great Britain: All: %: SA. Available: https://www.ons.gov.uk/employmentandlabourmarket/peoplenotinwork/unemployment/timeseries/ycno/lms. Last accessed 10th Sept 2019.

6Morrison, C. (2018). How the global financial crisis hit the UK housing market. Available: https://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/analysis-and-features/global-financial-crisis-lehman-brothers-property-house-prices-uk-housing-market-a8538176.html. Last accessed 10th Sept 2019.

7Chu, B. (2018). Financial crisis 2008: How Lehman Brothers helped cause ‘the worst financial crisis in history’. Available: https://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/analysis-and-features/financial-crisis-2008-why-lehman-brothers-what-happened-10-years-anniversary-a8531581.html. Last accessed 10th Sept 2019.

8Bruce, A. (2018). Britain’s lasting scars from the financial crisis. Available: https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-britain-economy-crisis-graphic/britains-lastin-scars-from-the-financial-crisis-idUKKCN1LX0FY. Last accessed 10th Sept 2019.

9Sentance, A & Blanchflower, D. (2019). Recession looms for Britain – two experts on the economic outlook. Available: https://www.theguardian.com/business/2019/aug/28/recession-looms-for-brexit-britain-two-experts-on-the-economic-outlook. Last accessed 10th Sept 2019.

10Inman, P. (2015). Young people in UK increasingly giving up on owning a home – Halifax survey. Available: https://www.theguardian.com/money/2015/apr/07/young-people-uk-increasingly-giving-up-owning-home-halifax-survey. Last accessed 10th Sept. 2019.

11Lowrey, A. (2019). The Next Recession Will Destroy Millennials. Available: https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2019/08/millennials-are-screwed-recession/596728/. Last accessed 10th Sept 2019.

12Clark, E. (2019). What will Brexit mean for house prices? Available: https://www.which.co.uk/news/2019/09/what-will-brexit-mean-for-house-prices/. Last accessed 10th Sept 2019.

Are buy-to-let properties a good investment?

For many years, landlords have reaped the rewards of property investment – but are the same opportunities for profit available to those looking to start a buy-to-let investment today?

How do buy to let properties work?

The buy-to-let system allows an investor to purchase a property with the sole intent of profiting from a tenant who pays a monthly fee in exchange for residence or use of the building.

The logic behind such a purchase is that the monthly mortgage repayments the owner of the property needs to make to their lender is less than the fee they receive from the tenant themselves.

Can you get a mortgage for buy-to-let properties?

Similar to a normal residential mortgage, buy-to-let mortgages can legally be applied for at any number of lenders. However, in an effort to prevent the wealthy from simply buying up every available house in the country, the associated fees are often much higher.

Lenders also tend to be stricter with investors during the application process for a buy-to-let mortgage as opposed to a residential mortgage. For example, with a residential mortgage it is common for deposits to fall as low as five per cent, with certain banks often requiring no deposit at all in exchange for higher repayment fees; whereas a buy-to-let application will require a deposit of anywhere between 20-40% of the total value of the property.

Furthermore, the application itself will require the investor to have a better credit rating than if they were applying for a standard residential mortgage, and it is extremely unlikely that a lender would consider an applicant who earns less than £25,000 per year.

There are also age limits on buy-to-let investments. A lender is unlikely to offer a buy-to-let mortgage to an individual who will be over the age of 70-75 once the repayments would be completed.

Are buy to let mortgages a good idea?

In theory, buy-to-let investments are a great idea – especially at a time when rental payments are higher than ever due to a mass shortage of affordable housing for first-time buyers. However, the geographical area in which a buy-to-let investment is made can heavily affect the profit margin potential, and an application can be refused if the projected monthly rental income is less than 25-30% higher than the monthly mortgage repayment.

A buy-to-let property has historically been an excellent way to provide a pension for a landlord once they retire from their work-life – and as time passes, the house can be re-mortgaged or re-evaluated by the lender in order to provide an even greater profit for the owner.

However, it is worth noting that both Capital Gains tax, as well as basic income tax will push the investor into a higher tax bracket, and this can severely limit the aforementioned profit. It is therefore advisable for an investor to provide as higher deposit as possible, to maximise their annual earnings during repayments.

Is it worth buying to let?

Whether a buy-to-let investment is a good idea entirely depends on how savvy the landlord is with regard to personal finance.

Some landlords purchase homes, only to find that they encounter a period where they cannot find a tenant and as a result, cannot afford the necessary repayments during that time. This can often lead to repossession and the loss of the deposit regardless of potential sold house prices.

It’s also important to remember that the profit made from the tenants can not necessarily be spent as soon as it is earnt, as most buy-to-let mortgages are ‘interest-only’. This means that while a landlord only pays for the interest on the property from month-to-month, when they reach the end of their borrowing term, they are expected to pay off the property in full.

Another key point is that a buy-to-let investor can not necessarily sell their house fast to repay the mortgage, as if housing values fall and the investor finds themselves in negative equity, they would still be responsible for the outstanding payments to their lender even after they have offset the money gained from the sale of their property against their debts.

Are you looking to sell your home fast? Why not ask National Homebuyers for advice, as we buy any house. Call 08000 443 911 or request a call back to find out how much you could get for your property.

How to avoid repossession of your home

While many consider it a personal dream to own a home, the dream can quickly turn into a nightmare if you are unable to keep up with the repayments. In this article, we’re going to look at the repossession process,  and how to avoid it.

How does a house repossession work?

The term ‘house repossession’ can strike fear into the heart of the bravest of homeowners. After spending years saving for a deposit due to high housing values, it is always undeniably heart-breaking to learn that you have to start again from nothing. However, house repossession laws are there to protect the interests of the mortgage lender as a result of your inability to cover the monthly fees you agreed to pay.

To be fair to lenders, they are often more than willing to give you several opportunities to clear your arrears over several months, and will only allow the courts to get involved if it becomes obvious that you have no intention of paying, or are unable to afford the repayments at any point in the near future.

What happens when your house is repossessed?

All lenders must follow a pre-determined set of rules to before initiating court action. In normal circumstances, a lender will contact you if you miss a payment in order to learn why you have done so. More often than not, if it is simply a case that you have lost your job, or have had an unexpected payment leave your bank account high and dry, they will happily adjust the amount you pay over the proceeding months until the arrears are cleared.

If, however, you have missed multiple payments, the lender may apply for a court order to commence repossession proceedings. If a judge considers their reasoning just, then the courts will schedule a hearing during which the aforementioned judge will hear both sides of the story and decide whether you can keep your home, or if the lender has sufficient reason to repossess your home.

During the hearing, it is entirely possible that you can stop the house repossession. This is, however, up to the discretion of the judge.

How to prevent the repossession of your home?

You are always entitled to discuss the situation with a legal advisor prior to the court date in an effort to prevent repossession, and there are three possible outcomes with which the judge may help you in accordance with house repossession laws:

  • They could rule in your favour, allowing you to continue living in your home without risk of further prosecution.
  • The case could be adjourned, providing you with more time to prepare before returning to court.
  • The judge may issue a suspended possession order which allows you to stay in your home – provided you adhere to the conditions set forth within the order.

Can house repossessions be stopped?

Many people who are facing repossession will take the opportunity to sell their home as fast as possible in order to make the necessary repayments, and still recover a portion of the deposit that they originally paid the lender in order the buy the home. One of the ways to accomplish this that is growing in popularity is to utilise the services of a house-buying company such as National Homebuyers.

Since National Homebuyers are able to complete a sale in as little as two weeks from first point of contact, you can rest assured that you will be able to sell the home and repay the lender before being removed by a bailiff.

Other methods used to avoid a house repossession are as follows:

  • Renting the property out to tenants can be a godsend, as rental payments are almost always more than the monthly mortgage repayments you originally agreed upon. This means that you can move into a separate rented property yourself and cover those costs with your wages, and use all the money earnt from the tenants in the property you own to pay your mortgage, as well as begin to pay back your arrears.
  • If you have mortgage repayment insurance, and the reason for which you are unable to make the repayments are covered by the terms and conditions – for example illness, injury or loss of a job through no fault of your own – then your insurance provider will be able to continue making mortgage repayments on your behalf for however long the policy allows.
  • Consult the citizen’s advice bureau as to whether you qualify for aid from the government as a result of your situation.
  • Simply discuss your situation with the lender before a judge is involved. For many lenders, it is much simpler to work out a repayment plan than to employ house repossession laws and risk losing a case, as well as ending up spending more money in legal fees. Furthermore, in accordance with lending law, a lender must treat you fairly and provide you with ample opportunities to make the necessary repayments.

What happens after a house repossession?

If worst comes to worst, and you do face a house repossession, the following will happen:

  1. You will be given a set amount of time to vacate the property, and if you do not leave within this time then the courts will send a bailiff to forcibly remove you.
  2. The lender will take possession of your home, and list it for sale.
  3. The lender must sell the property in a reasonable amount of time, otherwise they may be seen as trying to capitalise on the situation by taking advantage of rising sold house prices. If you feel that they are doing so, then you are within your rights to complain to the Ombudsman.
  4. The price at which the property is sold will not necessarily be as much as you would have received yourself if you were to sell it, but the price that the property is sold for will be used to cover the following costs:
  • Your outstanding mortgage.
  • Any repair or maintenance fees for damage that could prevent a sale.
  • The legal costs they incurred from taking you to court.
  • The costs involved in the sale of the property such as estate agent fees, solicitor fees, or conveyancing fees.

Looking to sell your home before it is repossessed? Why not ask National Homebuyers for advice, as we buy any house. Call 08000 443 911 or request a call back to find out how much you could get for your property.

Thousands to lose mortgage support benefit from April 2018

As a result of continued efforts by the government to reduce the national debt, many are finding that it is those living in low-income households who are bearing the brunt of the austerity measures.

Since 1948, those who own a house but struggle to keep up with their mortgage payments have always had a lifeline – the Support for Mortgage Interest scheme. Introduced to prevent thousands of low-income households from losing their homes, the SMI has been a godsend for many older people who, today, still rely on it to ensure that they can keep a roof over their heads.

Thanks to favourable interest terms and a strong economy during the 1960s and 1970s, many buyers took the option of an interest-only mortgage rather than a repayment-based equivalent due to the minimal monthly repayments. But what once appeared to be a sensible idea is, today, beginning to look like a bad decision.

The Tories, in an effort to reduce the national debt, have decided that from April 2018, this benefit will be axed – replaced by the opportunity to take out a ‘loan’ from the government that must be paid back upon sale or relinquishment of ownership.

Consequently, many experts have pointed out that those who need the SMI scheme are hardly in a position to afford a further repayment plan on top of their own mortgage – a mortgage they are already having trouble finding the funds for.

Across the UK, there are currently 124,000 individuals who rely on the benefit, with over half of those in retirement age. This situation is partially due to the fact that pension credit is one of the qualifying criteria for the scheme. However, it isn’t just the retired population who are going to be affected, as many people on income support, as well as those on jobseeker’s allowance will also find their safety net removed in four months’ time.

The government have stated that the current status quo is unsustainable, and that because the repayments will not need to be made until the properties in question are sold or passed on to another individual, it will not have a great effect on those who need the loan in the short-term. Unfortunately, many industry experts are worried that thanks to the addition of interest rates to these ‘loans’, the government will be profiting from those who are most at risk of losing their homes.

“The government needs to make sure people have the help and advice they need to decide whether or not to take out a second mortgage to pay for this,” claimed a spokesperson from mutual insurer Royal London.

“But instead, thousands of people are getting letters that miss crucial details such as the interest rate on the mortgage.”

This situation, combined with the government’s plan to remove the ability of those on the Universal Credit scheme from using their benefits as proof of earnings when applying for a mortgage on a home of any value, it appears that those from low-income backgrounds may be forced into renting for life, which will ultimately reduce the number of people who can afford to buy a home from an owner who needs to sell their house fast.

No offers on your home? Why not ask National Homebuyers for advice, as we buy any house. Call 08000 443 911 or request a call back to find out how much you could get for your property.

Selling a hoarder’s home

While many people enjoy tuning into reality television shows that expose the nightmarish conditions within which many hoarders live, the reality behind the ratings push is often much more morbid.

Many of us know, or have known an individual who lives in a hoarder house, and are more than aware that the problem has its roots in mental illness. For older people who lived through the Second World War, the lack of available provisions and luxury items at the time led to a shift in mentality where the idea of discarding unwanted or unnecessary items could come back to haunt them if they ever faced the same situation. For others, it is an offshoot of obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) and depression – believing that an item they no longer need could be either useful in the future, or has a sentimental value that elevates its status above that of a simple ‘object’.

As hoarding itself is surprising prevalent across the country – albeit at different levels of severity – it often affects not just the hoarder, but their friends and family also. Moreover, hoarders themselves are more likely to suffer from depression, social anxiety, and various other disorders that heavily impact their mental and physical health. And sadly, as a result of these ailments they are far more likely to die earlier, leaving their nearest and dearest with the unpleasant task of selling a loved one’s hoarder home.

On the other hand, a hoarder may simply be trying to move so that they can fight the illness and make a fresh start, and in these situations, they are hoping to sell their house fast before they have a change of heart.

Obviously, a hoarder home is often unsellable as it stands, and so a number of steps must be taken to make the property seem appealing to those who are in the market to buy. But how do you go about selling a hoarder’s house?

Cleaning a hoarder’s house

An important realisation to make early on in the process is to be aware that you need more than one person to see the task through to completion. Not only is it dangerous to clean a hoarder home by yourself in case of an accident, but also because of the sheer scale of the task. While there are many companies who are happy to be sub-contracted to carry out the cleaning, they are unlikely to have known the hoarder on a personal level, and as a result they may find it hard to differentiate between the accumulated items that bare no value, and those items that are genuinely important or carry a true sentimental value to the ex-resident. By overseeing the project, you can ensure that important memories are kept safe by employing people you trust to help.

In order to put a hoarder house up for sale, it must first be habitable and safe. So, if you find yourself tasked with a hoarding clean up, there are some important rules to be followed.

1) Make the necessary safety arrangements

Due to the sheer number of objects, a hoarder house will have been hard to keep clean. It is, therefore, of paramount importance to wear the right protective clothing in case you run into any issues that could directly affect your health.

2) Hire skips for disposal

It is surprising just how many items can fit inside a home. In many cases, a small two-bedroom house can hold up to several skips worth of refuse, so be sure not to underestimate the situation.

3) Gather your cleaning supplies

Some of the key supplies needed throughout the clean-up will include: heavy-duty leak-proof refuse sacks; receptacles for items you aim to keep; both light and heavy-duty cleaning agents; disposable sponges, mops and cloths; a vacuum cleaner; and commercial carpet-cleaning equipment.

4) Empty the house

For anyone looking at buying a hoarder house, it’s much easier to see the property’s potential if they can see the layout in all its glory – so get your team to start with a single room, separating out items that need to be kept from those that can be disposed of, and start filling the skips. Once the first room is complete, move onto the next.

5) Start cleaning

Using the cleaning supplies, start sponging down walls, windows and windowsills before utilising industrial strength cleaners in rooms such as bathrooms and kitchens to remove any residual bacteria. There are likely to be many things in the house that are unsalvageable such as soiled carpets and curtains, as well as dis-coloured and damaged wallpaper – so prepare yourself for several days of elbow-grease.

It is also important to find the source of any unpleasant smells – if a hoarder has had pets, you may find that certain floorboards are soaked with urine, and they will need to be replaced.

6) Start restoring

Once cleaned, your can start making the home look habitable again. Go for neutral-colours when painting the walls and ceilings, and ensure that any out-dated equipment such as old ovens and microwaves are removed and replaced. It’s also a good idea to check the heating systems, as boilers in a hoarder’s house are unlikely to have been serviced in recent years.

Selling a hoarder’s house

Once you are ready to sell, the majority of the hard work will be behind you. Look for a local agent with prior experience with hoarder homes, but ideally, hire the photographer yourself. A true professional will always know the right angles from which to snap a shot, and through the use of a wide-angle lens make the home itself seem much more spacious.

For those who would prefer to avoid the traditional route of selling a house, you can also try hosting open days where in a preferred time slot, anyone who wants to look inside can come and show their interest.

Alternatively, you can contact National Homebuyers who will offer you a competitive price for the home, with the benefit of a fast sale within two weeks regardless of situation or location. And remember, if you would rather avoid the task of cleaning the house yourself, house buying companies will gladly offer to do the hard work for you once it is purchased.

Are you desperate to sell a hoarder home? Why not ask National Homebuyers for advice, as we buy any house. Call 08000 443 911 or request a call back to find out how much you could get for your property.