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Google drops property listing service

[ Posted January 30th, 2011 ]

At a time when interest rates and mortgage rates are continuing to raise it seems that Google’s interest in mortgages is down as the global internet giant has announced that they will be shelving their brief foray into the real estate market.  This weekend Google announced that they will not be placing property listings on their Google map service anymore as of February 10th after two years of trying to break into the property business.  UK mortgage companies however welcomed the news as listings sites online saw an increase in their traffic as a result of the news.

Google claims that they are dropping the property listings service because they faced too many challenges in trying to overtake yet another online search venue.  According to the company, the fact that there were already suburb property queue tools online combined with the actually challenge of integrating the property listings into their maps made it too hard for them to create a profitable property platform.  Of course, adding to their dilemma was the fact that instead of simply targeting an area, as many commercial mortgage real estate brokers do online, Google jumped ahead and attempted to target the global market all at once.

In response to the news, Shares of Rightmove which is the largest property listing site for those that live in the UK saw an increase of four percent in the amount of traffic it received Friday which it reported was a record for the website.  Google allowed both individuals and agents to upload their property listings to Google maps for free which was a threat to many brokers and real estate companies as the search engine simply pulled listings from website listings which threatened the very basis for exclusive listings from top notch property companies.

A spokesman from Rightmove however said that the company did not notice any negative side effects from the Google site listings and in fact said they saw a record in their site views since the Google Maps property service launched.  This may be potentially due to the fact that many commercial mortgage property websites choose to place Google Map apps on their website and used the tool to direct traffic their way as interested parties looked into properties.  Google may be the web giant, but it seems that even the ruling ecommerce business cannot help aid the crumbling real estate market.

Million pound property sales down for second year in a row

[ Posted January 28th, 2011 ]

It seems that even millionaires are tightening their budgets a bit as new research from the Investec Specialist Private Bank in conjunction with many mortgage brokers and real estate agents in the million pound property market have found that there are fewer buyers interested in purchasing homes valued at £1 million in more.  The results however are varied given the fact that some brokers claim a house worth this amount can be secured in a month while other lenders will take buyers through a four month process, although in four months a lot can happen with mortgage rates which could be part of the reason.

According to developers who work with commercial mortgage complexes and high end brokers and estate agents there are three major reasons why million pound properties are not selling anymore: fear that the GDP decrease may in fact signal a double dip recession, lack of stock, and of course the general truth that finance is not as easy to obtain as it once was.  In fact, about half of the high end real estate property market specialists stated that the amount of people who have sufficient credit to purchase a property worth at least a million is very low with 45% remarking that the credit financing needed to purchase a high end home is either very poor or at least poor.

A representative from Investec Specialist Private Bank, Jack Jones, stated that while there is a great deal of stock still open and available on the market, properties that are priced in the million pound range have fallen in sales over the past two years with the competition for such houses remaining quite stale even with the last year of growth in the real estate market.  He added that their findings suggest that the reason is simply because credit is not available or banks are not willing to work with flexible lending solutions by offering any best mortgage rates offers to interested consumers.

The only good news to come out of this report is that the widening middle class can at least take some comfort in knowing that even the rich are having trouble securing mortgages in the ace of the recession making it the blow truly felt around the world.

Landlords see more hardship ahead

[ Posted January 23rd, 2011 ]

The financial situation for landlords of private tenants worsened last month. Out of all rent, 12% went unaccounted for. This was higher than November’s arrears at 10%, according to a survey conducted monthly by the LSL property firm.

Rent in arrears has now reached its peak at £276m, a record since December 2009. The company feared rent arrears could become more severe, since tenants were seeing their finances stretched from unemployment rises.

“Since mid autumn rent arrears having been on the rise as we are watching the cutbacks in the public sector’s budget across the country,” reported David Newnes of LSL.

“We anticipate unemployment to continue on the up this year and rental prices to also balloon through the Spring. As a consequence, there will be more tenants risking failure to pay rent.”

“Although private landlords did cut back their rent last month, which had not happened since January last year, it is probably going to bounce back up with fierce teeth by Spring.” –David NewnesLSL

The Buy-to-let index for rentals b y LSL indicated a 1.2% reduction in the average rent price last month. That calculates to £684. With the uncomfortably cold weather, some tenants were not very eager to search for houses or flats.

It is easy to account for the reduction in rental prices when considering that landlords were trying to lure in tenants for the Christmas holidays.

“Landlords are eager to get tenants in during the holidays to keep the apartments full. So they drop prices,” David Newnes explained.

“Consider that when a landlord cuts the rent by a mere 5% and gets someone in, he will rescue £275 from the year, instead of miss out on a whole month’s rent. ”Regardless, the mortgage financing situation is bleak for first-time buyers and potential landlords. This will be the force that drives up the rents by Spring,” he continues.

LSL, who owns their own rental agencies, said that the rents are 3.8% above what they were January 2010, in spite of the drop last month.

Fewer homes repossessed in the summer

[ Posted January 21st, 2011 ]

In the last three months leading up to the close of September only 9,145 homes were repossessed which is the lowest the property repossession rate has been in the last three years.

Figures released by the FSA (Financial Services Authority) also suggest that there are less people behind on their mortgages.  It is estimate that about 345,600 mortgage owners are now in arrears out of which 8% have made an agreement with their lender that approves lower repayment or the temporary suspension of repayments for valid reasons.

Another 16,000 homeowners face an additional total of £44m that has been added onto their outstanding balance over the third quarter which has helped them get back towards a healthy mortgage lending agreement.

Due to Government support schemes, lowered interest rates, and lending flexibility the amount of repossession has remained less than expected throughout the credit crunch recession. FSA figures also show that the mortgage market may have improved slightly throughout the third quarter with net lending at its highest peak since 2008 totalling out at £8.3b without repayments and redemptions figured in.

While the figure is approximately 27% higher than it was during the third quarter of 2009, it is unlikely that it will stay up given the stalled housing market and tight credit restrictions that potential mortgage owners and purchasers will face next year.

During November the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RCIS) reported that new mortgage inquires fell again reached the lowest level seen since June of 2009 down to just 15 inquiries per mortgage surveyor last month.

Ian Perry, spokesman for the RICS, stated that even though the economy is starting to look better impending spending cuts will still hurt the job market and is influencing the minds of potential mortgage owners who are choosing to wait until next year to move forward with any major purchases. aims to provide every client with cheap, affordable and best mortgage loans in the UK market, however the actual mortgage rate available will depend on client's financial circumstances and credit history. Although, has made every effort to ensure that the mortgage rates listed are correct, it bears no responsibility in case of an error. 
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