Housing & mortgage round up: House prices fall and Halifax to refund valuation fees


Housing & mortgage round upA round up of housing news wouldn’t be complete without a house price survey; this week it’s the Nationwide’s turn.

We also look at a new initiative from the Halifax, which could see your valuation fee refunded if your house sale falls through and figures showing which area of the country is worst hit by repossessions.

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Nationwide Building Society report fall in house prices

The UK’s largest building society, Nationwide, has reported that house prices fell in June by 0.6%.

Taking into account the fall in June, the Nationwide are showing an annual drop in house prices values of 1.5%; the biggest decrease for three years. The three month average, which is often seen by housing experts as the most reliable measure of house prices, shows a 0.9% fall.

The Nationwide say that the average house in the UK is now worth £165,738

Previous figures from the Nationwide showed that prices actually rose in May but the fall just a month later will come as a blow to the fragile housing market with the weak state of the economy and the end to the government’s Stamp Duty amnesty for first time buyers being blamed.

Looking to the future the Nationwide said the outlook for house prices remained “highly uncertain”, commenting on the figures Robert Gardener, Chief Economist of the Nationwide, said: “Economic conditions are expected to remain challenging over the next twelve months.”

Gardener continued: “However, policymakers’ efforts to bolster the supply of credit to the economy and to help lower the cost should provide support to demand.”

Halifax to refund valuation fees

The Halifax has come up with a unique offer if your house purchase falls through.

The lender has agreed that providing you subsequently go on to buy a home with a Halifax mortgage it will refund the valuation fee on a previous sale which has fallen through.

The offer is available on Halifax mortgages agreed through their branch and also via brokers, but comes with some terms and conditions that borrowers need to be aware of.  For example a refund will only be allowed if the failure is not the buyer’s fault but would be made if a change of circumstances meant the purchase could not complete or the survey revealed faults in the property.

Stephen Noakes, Mortgage Director at Halifax. “By refunding the valuation fee when this happens, it will alleviate some of the extra burden for buyers to fund the valuation fee for their next property purchase. This is another example of Halifax challenging market norms in order to support customers through the home buying process.”

The refund will also only apply to one property and mortgage experts have warned borrowers not to overlook other, more competitive deals, just because the valuation fee might be refunded in the event that the purchase falls through.

Survey reveals the UK’s repossession hotspots

A survey by Shelter, a charity helping the homeless, has revealed the areas of England hit worst by repossessions.

Local Authority Region Repossession claims

per 1,000 homes

Barking & Dagenham London 8.44
Knowsley North West 7.2
Thurrock East of England 6.51
Lewisham London 6.46
Rossendale North West 6.46
Rochdale North West 6.41
Blackburn & Darwen North West 6.16
Burnley North West 6.11
Newham London 6.07
Luton East of England 6
National average England 3.5

The survey looks as mortgage repossession claims, the first step taken by banks or building societies to reclaim a home, in 2011/12 and reveals that Barking & Dagenham, near London, had the worst rate at 8.44 claims per 1,000 homes, more than double the national average of 3.5.

Other than Barking & Dagenham, the worst affected areas were around the North West, North East and certain Central areas of England, with many experts seeing a correlation between high repossession rates and high unemployment.

Looking at the reasons behind high repossession rates Campbell Robb, chief executive of Shelter, said: “Most people think that repossession will never happen to them, but rising unemployment, rising living costs and high house prices mean that many people are living close to the edge already, and risk falling into a spiral of debt and repossession.”

Campbell continued: “The journey from being a homeowner to becoming homeless is frighteningly swift, with just one small thing like a wage cut, a health problem or a job loss meaning that a family can no longer meet their mortgage payments.

Mortgage experts advise people who get into arrears on their mortgage to contact their lender without delay and also consult other experts such as Shelter, the Citizens Advice Bureau and the Consumer Credit Counselling Service.

Our mortgage adviser, Linda Wood, is here to help you. If you would like advice on your mortgage options please call Linda today on 0115 933 8433, alternatively enquire online or email linda.wood@investmentsense.co.uk.

Your property may be repossessed if you do not keep up repayments on your mortgage.

For providing mortgage advice we will charge an application fee of £299 and we may also be paid a fee from the lender, any fee paid by the lender will be disclosed to you. Alternatively we will charge an arrangement fee of 0.5% of the loan and refund to you any payment received by us from the lender.