January 2019 - Fife Properties
Fife Properties

Home ownership rates for young families rise

After a three-decade-long hiatus during which it became even harder for young families to purchase their own property, official statistics from the Resolution Foundation thinktank have shown that ownership rates amongst this group are now on the rise.

According to the thinktank statistics, 190,000 more young families became homeowners over the course of the past two years with the biggest increases observed in Yorkshire and the Humber, Scotland and the North West, where the proportion of young families who are homeowners has risen by between 4.6% and 8.4%. The thinktank calculated the figures from government surveys dating back to 1961.

The last 30 years have seen a downward trend in ownership rates among young families, due to a variety of factors, including changes in the property market and fiscal instabilities. During the 1980s, homeownership peaked at 51% in 1989; however, this figure had halved to only 25% by 2016, being the lowest level since at least 1961 (the earliest government survey). By the end of 2018, the downward trend was finally bucked, with rates of homeownership increasing to 28%, with the numbers also trending upwards as we move into 2019.

Resolution suggested that the changes in trend are down to differences in mortgage offerings over the past two years, with lower-deposit and more flexible offerings now available as well as the availability of larger mortgages. In addition to changes in lending habits, there is the relative slowdown in house price growth and stamp duty relief for first-time buyers, which have also aided those looking to join the property market.

Daniel Tomlinson, a research and policy analyst at Resolution, said: “Recent conditions in the housing market as we move away from the immediate aftermath of the financial crisis are finally helping more young families to buy a home of their own, but the long-term drivers of lower ownership rates are here to stay.”

For many young families, the opportunities now available to them to help them join the property market are now being made the most of, and therefore we are seeing the upward trend in ownership rates. A willingness to be more flexible in terms of their finances, as well as a willingness to move away from the bigger cities and in to more affordable areas, are helping this group to purchase a family home, however the Institute for Fiscal Studies commented this year that average house prices had risen around seven times faster than the average income in the last 20 years, showing that property ownership is still no mean feat.

Fife Properties Group Office Owner, Jim Parker commented, “It is always great news to hear young families are now beginning to get on the property ladder after so long. Our biggest challenge is getting more houses to sell to accommodate them.” If you are looking to sell in 2019 then please feel free to book your FREE initial consultation by clicking on the following link: https://www.fifeproperties.co.uk/property-valuation/

Five Top Tips for your Kitchen

Whilst the living room is usually considered ‘the heart of any home’ in most UK households, the kitchen plays a much more central role in day-to-day family life. Follow these simple guidelines to achieve kitchen bliss!


Make the most of your space
Finding suitable storage units to house all your pots and pans can be tricky – especially if you are working with a particularly small kitchen. Utensils, appliances, and accessories can certainly clutter up your worktops. Either tuck these items away in cabinets or display them in open shelving to add a decorative and homely feel.

If you are renovating your kitchen from scratch, choose cabinets that have pull-out baskets and drawers for maximum storage space. A recent trend for kitchen redesigns is to contrast worktop colours or textures and to change traditional handles for stylised ones. Although this look is popular right now, that may change by next year, and counters can be costly to modify. Finding a balance between trendy and timeless ensures that your kitchen never seems dated.


Go bold
Even if you’re not renovating your kitchen, there is no rule to say that you’re stuck with your old counters or the ones that a previous owner left behind. Sand and paint the counters yourself, and save having to buy and fit out a completely new kitchen every time you redecorate.

Whilst patterned tiles can make bold statements, don’t overwhelm your kitchen by tiling it from floor to ceiling. When going for bold, try to keep it simple. That may seem contradictory, but having too many bold prints, colours, or patterns in one room will make your kitchen look messy. Tie your room together with colour gradients and make complex patterns look a little subtler.


Lights, candles, atmosphere
Everyone appreciates privacy in their own homes, but rather than choosing to hang heavy curtains, look instead towards using a lighter fabric or blind to highlight any natural light in your kitchen. Likewise, a lighter colour will emphasise the openness of your window whereas a darker material may make the room seem much gloomier.

For the areas of your kitchen where natural light does not reach, put lamps or candles into position for ambience during the evenings. Spotlights or ‘downlights’ attached to the bottom of your cabinets are also an affordable way to improve lighting in your kitchen. These additions will make your room seem bigger, more open, and yet more intimate.


Opt for quirky and personal
Don’t be afraid to style your kitchen according to your own specific tastes, no matter how quirky they may be! By all means, consider hiding your knick-knacks when your property is on the market – as this will encourage potential buyers to envision buying your property – but whilst you are living there, live there! Whether you are a minimalist or a hoarder, showcase your treasures and memories for all to see.


Plants here, there, and everywhere
Having potted plants or herbs in your kitchen will give the room a healthy and natural look. Plant pots can be bought from a wide range of suppliers and you can even paint these for a different and unique finishing touch.

Your kitchen design ‘musts’ should be; appropriate use of space, maximum lighting options (both natural and artificial!) and suitable storing. Once you get these things right, they require very little attention. Unlike colour scheme and accessories, which can have a very dramatic impact and completely revitalise a room in need of some TLC.

Fife Properties Group Office Owner, Jim Parker commented, “Some of these top tips can be done at an inexpensive price which can completely revitalise your kitchen so it’s often worth doing when selling to enhance the buyer experience as it often translates to a higher offer” Fife Properties currently offer a FREE initial consultation service which not only provides an idea of the current value of your property but gives extremely useful advice on maximising the value when selling. To book please click the following link: https://www.fifeproperties.co.uk/property-valuation/

What property type has the best rental yield?

With property renting still booming, and the so-called “generation rent” of 25 to 34-year olds still firmly entrenched in the rental market, it would seem that investing in rental property is still a safe bet for consistent returns. If you are thinking of investing or diversifying your investment portfolio, which is the best property type to invest in for the best yields?

Recent research from Yieldit shows that three out of the top five highest-yielding properties are houses with three bedrooms or more, producing net yields of up to 11%. This would indicate that properties which can house multiple tenants or larger families make a smart investment choice, as these properties are more frequently freehold rather than the less desirable leasehold, as well as having no service charges. Research from Mortgages for Business also supports this notion of HMOs (Houses in Multiple Occupation) giving the best rental yield with these properties bringing in the highest rental yield in 2016 and 2017 at 8.9%.

Houses as a property type produced average net yields of 6.4%, followed by studios at 5.3 % and apartments at 4.9%. When looking at investment data for apartments, the Yieldit data showed that for rental yields, apartments with fewer bedrooms actually command a higher net yield – the inverse of houses. The data showed that the average one-bedroom apartment produced a yield of 5.4%, compared to 4% for a two-bedroom apartment.

“Deciding on what type of property to invest in is one of the biggest choices a landlord has to make. Houses suitable for families remain a popular choice, and yields can be significantly higher when you remove costs like ground rent, service charge and self-manage – however, it’s important to note that this type of property might require more work and unexpected maintenance costs could affect annual returns,” says a Yieldit spokesman.

Fife Properties Group Office Owner, Jim Parker commented, “Being a Landlord is not for the fainthearted however I personally have been doing this for over 25 years and Fife Properties has been voted the No.1 Letting Agents in Fife for 8 years at the UK ESTAS awards by their existing landlords. This is a track record that no other agent has replicated plus we have all the experience to navigate a landlord from their purchase decision to full property management while protecting their investment”

To book a FREE Initial Consultation click on the following link: https://www.fifeproperties.co.uk/property-valuation/

“You will not be disappointed.”

What can we expect from the property market in 2019?

2018 has been a year of ups and downs in the property market, with the overriding factor being the imminent break from Europe. As we move in to 2019 and March 29th (the official date of Brexit), there remains a certain level of uncertainty in the market, however this should be tempered with cautious optimism when looking at the gains that property could make in the post-Brexit period.


Interest rate uncertainty

Something which is currently subject to extreme uncertainty throughout 2019 is interest rates, with the Bank of England having already increased rates last year for only the second time in over a decade. On the one hand Mark Carney, governor of the Bank of England, has indicated that the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) will continue to gradually increase the base rate next year. However, Carney has tempered this intended rise in base rates by stipulating that in the event of a disorderly Brexit the MPC would be prepared to similarly cut rates in order to support the economy.

Mark Harris, chief executive of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients, says: “It looks set to be an intriguing year. We expect interest rates to end the year around 1% and mortgage rates will reflect this.”


Competitive mortgage market

During the course of 2018, the competition in the mortgage market has become rife with more offers available and more options to entice buyers into the market than ever before. Looking to 2019, there is no indication that this competition between lenders will subside, making mortgages more accessible to a wider market. Currently, there are 1,459 cashback incentives available on residential mortgages which is nearly two-and-a-half times more on offer than in 2011, according to Moneyfacts.

David Hollingworth, of L&C Mortgages, offered: “This year has been very, very competitive with mortgage lenders pushing hard to attract borrowers. I don’t see a reason why that would change in the new year and it might just be a tighter market with even more intense competition.”


First-time buyers

2018 saw an unprecedented number of first-time buyer transactions in the property market, with numbers reaching an 11-year high. With the news from the Budget that the Help to Buy scheme will be extended a further two years, many potential purchasers should also join the property market in 2019. Often, saving for a deposit is the chief hurdle for those wanting to buy a home, however with the availability of deals for people borrowing 95% of their home’s value soaring to 304 different mortgage options, this hurdle is now being circumvented by the mortgage industry. With more mortgages with lesser deposits available, as well as shared ownerships and purchase schemes offered, we should see first-time buyers once again on the rise throughout the course of the new year.



With lenders in stiff competition with one another and low interest rates still present, many agree that 2018 has been a good year to remortgage and 2019 will continue to offer favourable conditions for those looking to capitalise.

Rachel Springall, finance expert at Moneyfacts, says: “Throughout 2018 the mortgage market has had to absorb the base rate rise back in August, which has inevitably pushed the average standard variable rate to its highest level in almost ten years. This has meant the incentive to remortgage has probably never been greater.”

Fife Properties Group Office Owner, Jim Parker commented, “It is a great time to consider switching mortgage providers by getting a FREE up to date valuation from us and speaking to our mortgage partners who have always provided great deals” To book a FREE valuation and mortgage consultation click on the following link: