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Property News 2006 (latest month at top, scroll down for earlier reports)

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Dublin Port Tunnel opens in Ireland - 20th December 2006

The Taoiseach - Prime Minister of Ireland Bertie Ahern has opened €751 million Dublin Port Tunnel.The Port Tunnel is the longest urban motorway tunnel in Europe and largest ever civil engineering project in Ireland, stretching 4.5km in both directions under the city. Initially, it is expected to carry over 6,300 vehicles and buses a day from Dublin Port to the M1 and M50 in six minutes. The project employed more than 5,000 people worked eight million man hours during the course of the project, which started in June 2001.Much of the tunnel is between 21 and 23 metres — seven storeys deep — below ground level through hard limestone using two tunnel boring machines named Gráinne and Megan.

Numerous properties in Drumcondra and Marino - Fairview have had to have repair work carried out following the excavation and repair work still continues.The properties will be monitored for many years to come.The effected residents were very well informed of progress and were given a tour of the works in the early stages. On Sunday 17th December they were given a tour of the tunnel and afterwards a buffet lunch complete with wine. The week earlierThe Port Tunnel Race was held. A 10K running race in aid o fDEBRA Ireland. (DEBRA Ireland is a charity researching cures and providing support for people with Epidermolysis Bullosa (EB), a rare genetic disorder that means skin and other internal linings are so fragile they blister or tear at the slightest touch). December 2006 Back to top


BUPA to pull out of Ireland

Health insurer BUPA Ireland announced that as from the 14th December 2006, it has no option but to commence its withdrawal from the market. The company will no longer accept new members and current members will not be renewed. This is the first step in the closure of the business. The company would be required to pay €161 million in Risk Equalisation payments over the next three years to the dominant market insurer, the VHI. This would be far in excess of its estimated surplus of €64 million in this period. The High Court recently noted that there are anti-competitive aspects to the Risk Equalisation Scheme and that when applied BUPA Ireland would be operating at a loss. BUPA Ireland currently employs 300 people, between Fermoy and Dublin. It has475,000 customers in the Republic.

The Taoiseach - Prime Minister Bertie Ahern has criticised BUPA over the insurance for the elderley. He said "What we were being asked by Bupa - and let's not put a tooth in this - was that people who are all well and healthy can pay cheap insurance while old people then get screwed. I am not going to do that whle they get greater profits. I'll look after the people who need looking after. If insurance is all about going out and getting 100 people who are unlikely to get sick for the next 10 years so they make greater profits, that's great, that's marvellous. And I am meant to be impressed by that argument? And then you get 100 people who are like myself and half crocked and we have to pay far more for it. That's fair? Market forces? Competition? Who are the codding? Without community rating health insurance would probably not be affordable by many of those who need it most".December 2006 Back to top


Air Madrid Líneas Aéreas S.A.suspends all flights and leaves thousands of passengers standed

Low-cost Spanish carrier Air Madrid Líneas Aéreas S.A.s an airline based in Madrid in Spain operating services to South and Central America and Romania hast suspended its operations on December 15, 2006, leaving more than 100,000 passengers stranded in Latin America and Spain. It was established in 2003 and was a cheap way of travelling to South America by Europeans who would fly to and from Madrid to connect to the airline. Air Madrid said in a statement that it was giving a list of ticket-holders to the civil aviation authority, which falls under the Development Ministry, for it to “adopt whatever measures it might deem appropriate to compensate them for the damage its conduct has caused.”The statement said the company was suspending operations. It made no mention of going out of business altogether, but said nothing either about when it might start flying again. December 2006 Back to top


RTÉ Ireland Prime Time Programe investigate - Buyer beware

RTÉ televsion showed a Prime Time report on some of the unregulated world of estate agents and property developers in Ireland on the 11th December. The report by Oonagh Smyth portrayed false bids, ghost bidders gazumping and the under pricing of property. Building developments were also featured were roads had not been completed thus making life for residents difficult and hard of they wanted to sell on. The investigation also looked at management companies for blocks of apartments who were not doing the job they were being paid for. The progamme highlighted the fact that regulation is needed now.December 2006 Back to top


Marseille to be France's first airport dedicated to cut price air travel

Marseille is to be France's first airport dedicated to low cost airlines with one million passengers expected to pass through the airport in 2007. A new terminal, MP2 ( short for Marseille Provence 2) will be located next to the existing buildings. This will be able to deal with six flights at any time. It will deal with 3.5 million passengers per year. The new facility will boost traffic at France's fourth largest airport. December 2006 Back to top


Irish Budget December 2006

The Minister for Finance Brian Cowen presnted the Budget in Ireland on the 7th December. For property: Stamp duty thresholds have been left unchanged but the ceiling on mortgage interest relief for first time byers doubled to 8,000 for a single person and  16,000 for a couple or widowed person.This is double to what it was before. It will apply to all first time buyers for the first seven years of their mortgage. An estimated 125,000 people with first homes are set to benefit from this. The Minister is also raising the ceiling on interest relief for non first time buyers from  2,540 to  3,000 for a single buyer and from  5,800 to  6,000 for a married mortgage holder.

Commenting on the Budget Declan Cassidy the Managing Director of Gunne Residential said "The increase in mortgage interest relief for first time buyers will improve affordability without artificially driving house prices to higher levels as was witnessed when the Government made changes to the stamp duty thresholds in the past". The changes are expected to give a significant boost to the new homes market which in 2006 will produce over 90,000 new homes.December 2006 Back to top


UK Budget Forecast December 2006

The Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown has delivered his Pre-Budget Report - promising more cash for education and defence, and announcing a hike in fuel duty. Listed below are some of the points

Tax on air passengers to be doubled from February 1, 2007, increasing the levy from £5 to £10 for most flights.

Free central heating and insulation for low income pensioners homes, affecting 300,000 households.

New low carbon homes to be exempted from stamp duty for limited time as Britain aims to become the first country to make every new home a zero carbon home by 2017 December 2006 Back to top


Immigrants boost Rental Market in Ireland

Figure recently released state that the Dublin rentals market is now bouncing back since it fell into a decline in 2002. From September 2005 to September 2006 rents have increased by 10 per cent. This has been largely due to the steady inflow of immigrants into Dublin. Workers come from Poland, China abnd other major countries. The average rent for a one bedroom property in Dublin cit centre is  1,031 per month. There is also rental businness from corporate employees being relocated to Dublin. December 2006 Back to top



The National Approved Letting Scheme (NALS) has welcomed the much-awaited announcement from the Government over the awarding of contracts to operate the new Tenancy Deposit Schemes coming into effect in April 2007. NALS has reassured member firms of their strong position in terms of being able to access an insurance based scheme and continue to hold deposits if they choose to do so.

NALS chair Caroline Pickering said: “Firms which have recognised the long term benefits of being part of a Government backed accreditation scheme will now be able to access the statutory Tenancy Deposit Schemes. We are currently in discussions with The Dispute Service Ltd1, which has been awarded a contract, on the review we are undertaking of NALS Client Money Protection arrangements, to ensure our cover for accredited firms fully meets their requirements. We will also be interested to learn more about the scheme operated by the National Landlords Association (NLA)2 which we understand agents can also access. With the legislation coming into effect in April 2007, agents who are not part of NALS or a professional body should be looking at the way in which they operate their business if they wish to continue to hold deposits." For more information - Click Here November 2006 Back to top


NLA Wins Contract to Run Tenancy Deposit Protection Scheme-UK

The National Landlords Association (NLA) is delighted to announce that, in partnership with Hamilton Fraser Insurance (HFIS plc), it has been awarded a government contract to operate an insurance-based tenancy deposit protection scheme. The NLA will sponsor the scheme which Hamilton Fraser will administer it. For more information - Click Here November 2006 Back to top


500 jobs to be created in Dublin by Google Ireland

Google has anounced the creation of 500 jobs in its Barrow Street offices, Dublin.This was anounced by John Herlihy Google's European Director of online sales of Google Ireland. The Google Ireland operation serves customers in 35 countries and is the second largest Google operation, the largest is in Mountain View California, USA. The Irish office was established in 2003 and the new jobs to be created will be in sales, customer support, IT and management. The Irish operation currently has some 800 employees - mostly in their 20's and early 30's. There are other offices in New York and India.

Above: Google's Eureopean Headquarters at Barrow Street, Dublin

November 2006 Back to top


Rise in housing starts again in Canada

The pace of new home construction in Canada has come back from September's two year low. The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp has revealed that the seasonally adjusted annual rate of housing starts rose to 223,200 units from 209,000 units in September November 2006 Back to top


9th November 2006 - Interest rates in the UK rise to 5%

Mortgage repayments are to cost more as The Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee today voted to raise the official Bank Rate paid on commercial bank reserves by 0.25 percentage points to 5.0%.This is a five-year high.The previous change in Bank Rate was an increase of 0.25 percentage points to 4.75% on 3 August 2006.The Bank of England states "The UK economy has recorded its fourth consecutive quarter of firm growth. Household spending has been volatile, but the underlying picture appears to be one of moderate expansion. The recovery in business investment has been maintained. The outlook for growth in the United Kingdom’s main export markets remains positive. Credit and broad money growth remain rapid, and asset prices have continued to rise.

Although unemployment has continued to edge up, the margin of spare capacity within businesses appears limited. Oil prices have dropped back, but there are signs that other pricing pressures have picked up. CPI inflation was 2.4% in September. It is likely that inflation will rise further above the target in the near term, but then fall back as energy and import price inflation abate. Against that background, the Committee judged that an increase in Bank Rate of 0.25 percentage points to 5.0% was necessary to bring CPI inflation back to the target in the medium term." November 2006 Back to top



Following the Bank of England decision to raise interest rates from 4.75% to 5% today, the National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA) believes that it could be a rise too far for a significant number of areas in the UK where the housing market is under performing. Peter Bolton King, Chief Executive of the NAEA says: “The national picture for the residential property market appears to be extremely strong and buoyant. There are, however, vast regional differences with some areas significantly out performing others. The high prices and high pace of activity that is being reported particularly in the South East is not reflective of all areas, with some agents reporting a relatively flat market in their respective regions. This further rate rise could have a detrimental effect on these areas.”November 2006 Back to top


Australian buyers hit hard by third interest rate rise in 2006

The Real Estate Institute of Australia (REIA) acknowledges that the decision by the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) to raise interest rates for the third time this year was not taken lightly. Indeed, with inflation in Australia still increasing, and businesses and consumers still showing a healthy appetite for borrowing, raising rates must have seemed a necessary step.But REIA points out that homebuyers, particularly first homebuyers, will be paying a tough price for this rate rise in the months ahead. The rate rise will be another deterrent for investors, thereby retarding the supply of rental accommodation and continuing the significant upward pressure on rents, says REIA President Tony Brasier.

He predicts that the interest rate rise will be tough on younger homebuyers. "First home buyers and young people in particular are going to be thinking long and hard before buying in an interest rate environment where there has been three upward movements in six months," he said. "They are already cautious about buying, with their share of dwellings financed well down on long-term averages." November 2006 Back to top


Spain starts to become a market for first time UK buyers

UK residents buying a home in Spain, has for the most part, been a second-home or retirement purchase. But an international report points to an increasing number of under 25s getting on the property ladder aboard, while they can’t yet purchase a house at home.The gap between the ground and that first step onto the property ladder is so great in the UK that most under 30’s are to stay at home or rent for longer today than ever before. According to a recent survey the number of under 25’s who own their own home has decreased from 35% to 22%, the lowest in two decades, house prices are almost five times higher than that of 20 years ago. Spain is the most popular choice to own a second home making it a land of opportunities for those new to the property market. A survey commissioned by Atlas International confirmed that 22% of those aged 16-24 years were considering purchasing property abroad as their long-term aspiration. With property prices starting from £65,000 on the south coast there is more to Spain than sun, sea and sangria.November 2006 Back to top


NAEA launches new lettings report (UK)

The National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA) has launched its new quarterly lettings survey today, which will regularly report on movements within the residential lettings market. With buy to let currently booming in the UK and a raft of new legislation being put in place the sector has seen considerable growth recently.NAEA lettings agents revealed that the rental market in the third quarter of 2006 was buoyant and strong. The increase in property prices that consistently acts as a barrier to first time buyers, matched with the influx of Eastern European immigrants is continuing to fuel this sector of the property market.

Time taken to let decreases: The time taken to let a property steadily declined over the last quarter with the average for the quarter at 12.2 days. This compares to an average of 13.2 in the first quarter and 13 in the second. The third quarter is traditionally the busiest time for lettings agents with many people aiming to occupy new homes before the start of the school year and many students returning to their studies. July and August were steady with the average reported at 12.6 days, pace increased in September with an average of 11.6 days.

Increase in vacant properties: Further evidence of an expanding buy to let market is the number of reported empty dwellings in the third quarter of 2006 compared with the same quarter last year. The last year has seen a significant increase in the number of landlords entering the market as more and more people choose to cash in on the booming property market. The average number of vacant properties reported per agent in the third quarter of 2006 was 14, compared with 6 empty properties per agent in the third quarter of 2005, yet the average time to let has decreased from 14 days in 2005 to 12 in 2006. A greater number of properties coupled with the increase in speed taken to let, indicates a strong sector.

First time buyers: The first time buyer segment of the market accounted for just 11.9% for the third quarter. Industry professionals would hope to see this at a much higher level of 25%. The rental market is benefiting from the many affordability barriers effecting potential first time buyers, as buy to let investors compete for the traditional first time buyer properties.

Rents increase: Agents reported that rents increased by an average of 1.45% per month in the third quarter. This is a dramatic increase of pace in comparison to the same period last year where a 0.87% increase was reported for September. An increase in demand for rental property plus rising house prices and the introduction of HMO licensing have all contributed to the hike in rental prices. Jan Bartlett, lettings expert at the National Association of Estate Agents comments: “The lettings market has seen many significant changes in the last twelve months. The introduction of licensing of houses of multiple occupation, tenancy deposit schemes and the housing health and safety rating system, have and will have significant impacts upon the market. “On the whole the sector is performing well with many agents reporting significant improvements in business. The mass influx of Eastern European immigrants has boosted the market and of course, the ever increasing average age of the first time buyer has assisted in an increase of buy to let investments.” November 2006 Back to top


New fire safety rules affecting all non-domestic premises in England and Wales came into force on 1 October 2006

The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) (England & Wales) Order 2005 came into force on the 1st October. PainSmith Solicitors have produced the following fact sheet - Click Here: They are a niche practice specialising in Landlord and Tenant Law. Based in Medstead in Hampshire, they are ideally situated to provide an efficient service to clients nationwide as well as those based in Central London and the Home Counties October 2006 Back to top


Rental Scams are now being targeted at UK Letting agent and Landlords

Uk Letting agents appear to be the latest subject for people trying to set up a rental scam. A letting agent in the South of England received such an email on the 19th October. The sender made out he was from Amsterdam and as per the popular holiday home rental scams the idea is to send the property owner / agent funds thar in excess of what should be sent. Beforte the payment clears the sender demand immediate reimbursement and if this happens will find the original overpayment is bogus. For more information - Click Here October 2006 Back to top


Ikea gets go ahead to develop at Ballymun north Dublin, Ireland

Fingal County Council has granted planning permission for a 30,000sq m Ikea store at Ballymun in north Dublin off the M50 motorway. A spokesman for the company said the the store could be open by the summer of 2007 if there are no objections to An Bord Pleanála. If there are objections it would be unlikely that it could be opened before the spring of 2008. This will be the first Ikea store in the Republic, the second in Ireland as the first one is expected to open in Belfast in late October - November 2007. October 2006 Back to top


Housing affordability declines across Canada

Canada's housing affordability deteriorated for a third consecutive quarter, according to the latest Housing Affordability Index recently released by RBC Economics. Western Canada is bearing the brunt of the market heat. According to RBC, Alberta and British Columbia had the sharpest erosions in affordability driven largely by double-digit annual price gains. Vancouver is now entering uncharted waters as it sets new records for poor housing affordability in two out of four classes. However, despite rapidly rising prices, overall affordability in Alberta remains below the stress points of the past as well as other hotspots in the country; housing in Calgary and Edmonton continues to be more affordable than in Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver relative to incomes. "Faster growth in house prices, the weakest annual growth in household incomes since the first quarter of 2005 and slightly higher interest rates have all combined to erode housing affordability in Canada," said Derek Holt, assistant chief economist, RBC. October 2006 Back to top


Irish Property Market - Houses as selling but not at Auction

Is the property market in Ireland slowing down? Expensive and mid range properties have suffered from a lack of interest. Many properties have traditionally been sold by Auction over the years.In Dublin in early October 68 properties were being auctioned. 7 were sold at auction, 43 withdrawn, 7 sold under negotiation, 10 sold after auction and 1 sold prior to auction. Meanwhile the owner of a five bedroom Georgian house in Dun Laoghaire south of Dublin has decided to put the property on the rental market after several weeks of poor auction sales.October 2006 Back to top


HOUSING MARKET STEADY IN SEPTEMBER (UK)National Association of Estate Agents - Press information


The property market in September slowed after a phenomenally strong August according to the National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA) today. Buyers and sellers on estate agents books’ were down from levels reported last month and marginally less than the same period last year, despite this sales were encouragingly up from September 2005. The widely reported plan to increase interest rates further in the coming months could be deterring people from attempting to move up the property ladder. The market seems to have absorbed the August quarter per cent rise, but a further rise could have a negative impact on the market as buyers and sellers are demonstrating caution.

Sales down from an impressive August Sales were down in September by 6.6% from the previous month, with NAEA members reporting an average of 14 sales compared to an average of 15 the previous month. It is clear that the market is in good shape and has recovered from the downturn seen in 2005 with sales up by 7.7% from the same period last year when agents reported an average of just 13 sales.

Figure 1 – The average number of sales agreed per agent Housing stock decreases in line with buyers on books The number of people looking to buy property decreased in September by 13% from a high in August of 398 buyers per agent to 346 in September. This is 7% down on the same time last year. The prospect of a further interest rate rise could further deter buyers from the market. The number of people looking to sell property also fell in September at a similar pace as potential buyers, with a 12% drop reported. The consistent ratio between buyers and sellers is a positive indication of a steady market. However demand clearly continues to outstrip supply with just 61 properties for sale per agent.

Figure 2 – number of properties on estate agents books First time buyers still struggling to claim their share of the market First time buyers accounted for 11.1% of the market in September, consistent to the 11% reported in September 2005. A further increase in interest rates will inevitably deter the foundation level of the market, taking property ownership further out of grasp.

Time to Sell.The time taken to sell decreased slightly in September to an average of 16.5 weeks from instruction to exchange of contracts, down from 16.9 reported in August. Also on the decrease was the difference between asking price and selling price, from 3.3% to 3.1% from August to September. This is an encouraging sign that people are being more realistic in their asking prices, perhaps contributing to the decrease in time to sell.

Figure 3 – The time taken to sell in weeks during 2006. Students reoccupy rental properties The rental market continued to perform well in September with time taken to let decreasing from 12.6 days on average to 11.6. The number of vacant properties also decreased from 6 in August to 4 in September as many students returned to their studies. Wait and see tactic employed by consumers re interest rates NAEA President, Charles Smailes, comments: “September is typically a busy month in estate agency and although this September saw fewer house sales than last year, it should be remembered that September 2005 was exceptionally busy following a reduction in interest rates. There are currently fewer buyers and sellers registered with estate agents than the same time last year, I suspect a wait and see situation regarding the speculated rise in interest rates. “The survey on the whole is encouraging and stability is positive to see. I am pleased to see asking prices come back to a more realistic level and hope to see this continue. “The first time buyer share of the market continues to be a concern and I would once again like to take the opportunity to call upon the Government to do more to assist this vulnerable sector of the market. Affordable housing schemes need to increase and stamp duty needs to be brought in line with the pace of house price inflation. I would hope to see this sector claim around 25% of the market.”

The NAEA housing market survey uses figures gathered from the Association’s members on average asking prices. The figures are adjusted to ensure the average price accurately reflects the market. Source NAEA Press Release October 2006 Back to top


Homes boost as new key worker scheme launched in UK

A new shared equity mortgage to help an extra 20,000 people buy their own home was launched today by Housing Minister Yvette Cooper. Currently, a family on a combined income of £35,000 could typically obtain a mortgage of just £122,500. But if eligible for the new scheme Open Market HomeBuy, they could potentially buy a home worth over £160,000. Although mortgage rates are still low, rising house prices have put pressure on first time buyers. Almost half of home buyers in their twenties now rely on help from family or friends to get started.

Yvette Cooper said on TV that ultimately the solution to the first-time buyer problem is to build more homes but that in the short-term the government think that it is right to help first-time buyers in this way. But in the meantime, she said, “…this new mortgage deal will help thousands of families into a home of their own." Open Market HomeBuy will allow house hunters to apply for a regular mortgage topped up with equity loans, funded by government and one of the four lenders so far teamed up for the scheme, Nationwide, Yorkshire Building Society, Advantage - a Morgan Stanley company, and Bank of Scotland. The scheme banks and building societies will provide the borrower with a 12.5% equity loan, which, when combined with an equivalent loan from the government, will make up a 25% deposit for each property. As such, would-be homeowners only have to be able to afford a mortgage of 75% of the property value - repayments on the two equity loans do not need to be made for the first five years.

On selling the home the government and lender are entitled to a 12.5% share of the increase in the value of the property. Monthly repayments will start at around 20% less than buying without assistance, because lenders and government would expect to benefit from any increase in the value of their equity share in the property. The scheme is available to key public sector workers, social tenants or those on a council waiting list and other priority first time buyers. Applicants will need to contact a HomeBuy agent - a one stop shop providing affordable housing options across the UK. The National Housing Federation has welcomed the launch, saying it will help thousands more people buy their own home. However, the federation warned that to solve the housing crisis the government must match this initiative with increased funding to build new affordable homes. October 2006 Back to top


Britons now own £4.6billion of property in France

Britons have bought some 51,000 properties in France sonce 2000. The last French census in 2004 recorded a 50 per cent increase over five years in the number of Britons who live permanently in France to 100,000 and there are about 500,000 who spend more than six weeks a year there. The country is the favoured place for retirement with 37 per cent wishing to retire there according to an ICM survey as opposed to 30 per cent opting to stay in Britain. At the same time the survey found that if given the choice of nationality, just over half of Britons under 50 would retain their passport, but 22 per cent would opt to become French instead. October 2006 Back to top


The Commission for Racial Equality has launched its new statutory code of practice on racial equality in housing

"Building racial equality in Britain's housing market"

The Commission for Racial Equality launched its new statutory code of practice on racial equality in housing on the 2nd October 2006 - a toolkit to eliminate racism from the housing market.

The code, which came into force on October 1, offers best practice guidance to everybody operating in the housing sector: from housing associations and estate agents to mortgage lenders and building contractors, as well as tenants and private landlords. More information CLICK HERE October 2006 Back to top


Public servants priced out of housing market in Ireland

Key public sectors like nurses, teachers and the gardai (police) are now being priced out of the housing market in four out of five of the State's largest cities. A survey by Halifax [the new name for the retail arm of Bank of Scotland (Ireland)] has found that these workers cannot afford to buy in Dublin, Waterford, Galway or Cork.The criteria for affordability is five times the average annual income.The latest figures from the Central Statistics Office shows the average public sector salary around  45,152 compared with  36,165 in the industrial sector. The average Dublin home now cvosts more than 13 times the average wage for nurses and firefighters. Limerick is the only city where these public sector workers can still reasonably afford to purchase a home. September 2006 Back to top


New homes planned for MarMenor, Murcia Spain

200,000 new properties are planned for the MarMenor area of Murcia to add to the 60,000 presently under construction. There are currently 70,000 already built there.As many as thirty three resorts have been approved by the Murcia Government in south east Spain. September 2006 Back to top


Expansion out to sea at Monaco

The Sovereign Price Albert II has formerly launched his first major project since taking the reins of the Proncipality of Monaco. Tweleve hectares are to be reclaimed from the sea at Le Portier, just west of the Grimaldi Forum. The land is to be developed to offer 300,000 square metres of extra space for housing (40 per cent) and office space, alongside public amenities such as nursery school and crèche. There will also be another shopping centre and additional berths for pleasure boats and a coastal pathway to link Lanvotto to Port Hercule. There are also plans to build a new National Museum here. Work should begin in 2008 and be completed by 2014 and to pay for it - there a budget running into billions of euros. September 2006 Back to top


The Property Challenge for Students

Around 90% of Britain's students will live in private rented accommodation during their time at university, which places new responsibilities on them As the university term begins up and down the country, the nation's students will be enjoying the freedom of living away from their families. While many students are given a room in halls of residence for their first and sometimes subsequent years, an estimated 90% of students will live in private rented accommodation for at least part of their time at university. Finding, paying for and looking after a rented home will be vital to a successful university career.

Student numbers place pressure on housing Huge numbers of students swell the populations of some of the UK's university towns - for example, the students of Bangor University in Wales amount to almost 70% of the residents of the town, while the population of St Andrew's University - which achieved world fame as the place of study of Prince William - augments its size by 50% during term time . John Socha, deputy chairman of the National Landlords Association, comments: "For some smaller towns, such as Bangor or Warwick, St Andrews or Lancaster, the influx of students completely changes the feel and atmosphere of the place. It also places pressure on accommodation in the town, as the students all have to live somewhere: most universities try to accommodate freshers in halls of residence, who then need to find themselves a rented home for second and subsequent years." More information CLICK HERE September 2006 Back to top


Nationwide the UK’s biggest building society in merger deal with Portman Building Society

Nationwide, the UK’s biggest building society is to merger with Portman to create a mutual body with assets of over £150 billion. The enlarged society, which will take the name Nationwide Building Society, will become the UK’s leading mutual organisation. While Nationwide is currently the UK's largest building society, it is the fourth biggest mortgage provider. The merged group will become the UK's second largest mortgage lender, and the second largest retailer savings provider. The merger is expected to become effective by the end of September 2007 after confirmation by the Financial Services Authority and approval by the Office of Fair Trading. Philip Williamson, Nationwide's chief executive said: "This is great news for members of both societies. As a result of the merger, 13 million people will be members of a bigger and even better society, offering market leading products and pricing, underpinned by a strong commitment to mutuality." Nationwide's current group finance director, Graham Beale, will become chief executive of Nationwide next April, replacing Philip Williamson. He will subsequently become chief executive of the enlarged group.September 2006 Back to top


Thames Water withdraws drought order application - South of England

Thames Water thanked its customers for their efforts to reduce water use and appealed to them to continue the good work, as the long-term drought is far from over.The company's Environment Director, Richard Aylard, said: "There is still a drought, but it isn't getting any worse, and we don't need to bring in any more restrictions beyond the existing hosepipe and sprinkler ban. "The situation has changed since we applied for a Drought Order for London on 26 June. We took that decision as a sensible precaution, because there was a possibility that we might need to bring in additional restrictions. We planned on the basis that getting a Drought Order could take up to 12 weeks, and we had to keep in mind that we might receive as little as half the average rainfall over that period. "We said at the time that if we had anything like a normal English summer it was unlikely that we would need these extra restrictions. Since then we have seen close to average rainfall in July and August. September 2006 Back to top


Foreigners numbers increase in property purchasing in Spain

31,342 foreigners purchased property in Spain during the first quarter of 2006. This represnted 13.4% of all property sales during this period. These figures are released by the Spanish Government. The Valencian region where foreigners purchased 8,879 properties during the first quarter proved the most popular region, followed by Catalonia, Andalusia, Madrid, Murcia, The Canaries, The Balearics, Castilla La Mancha, Aragon and Castilla Y León.September 2006 Back to top


House price growth is fastest since early 2005 in the UK

House price inflation continued to increase in August, but the rate increase will signal caution said Nationwide Building Society. It was the third consecutive month that has seen an increase in annual house price inflation. Fionnuala Earley, Nationwide's group economist, said, "House prices are now 6.6% higher than at this time last year. This is the fastest annual rate of growth since April 2005 and almost three times faster than at this time last year. The underlying market remains fairly firm with prices increasing by 0.8% in August." The typical house in the UK now costs £167,721. This is £10,412 higher than August 2005 - the equivalent of a rise of almost £30 per day. The rise in interest rates in August, together with the expectation of another rise before the end of the year, naturally leads to comparisons being drawn between now and the last cycle of interest rate rises. The five increases between November 2003 and August 2004 led to a rapid fall in house price inflation, from over 20% in July 2004, to 2.3% by the time rates were reduced again in August 2005.

Fionnuala Earley went on to say ""There are three main reasons for this. First, current macroeconomic conditions suggest fewer increases in base rates; secondly, fixed mortgage rates have moved more gradually, and thirdly, demand, particularly from the investment sector, is likely to remain fairly supportive." "The rise in rates will undoubtedly have sent a cautionary signal into the market, but inflationary pressures in the economy now are less certain than in the previous cycle." September 2006 Back to top


London property out performs New York

The Quarter 2 report highlights ongoing market buoyancy in the UK, with national house price growth set to reach 7% by the end of the year. Prime residential property in London is priced on average at £1,200 per sq ft. This overtakes a slowing New York market, where average prices currently sit at £1,000 per sq ft. At the very top end of the super-prime scale, an apartment at Candy & Candy's Chesham Place development has set the record for new build with a price of more than £2,800 per sq ft, whilst a second hand property at Chelsea Square sold for approximately £3,000 per sq ft. In contrast, the Penthouse at New York's 15 Central Park West sold for c. £2,300 per sq ft and the triplex penthouse in the Pierre Hotel, one of the most prestigious properties on the New York market, has an asking price of £2,700 per sq ft.

In the UK, CB Richard Ellis Hamptons International say that it is likely London will continue to outperform the rest of the country and a recent RICS report reveals the steepest rise in London prices for six and a half years. Meanwhile, the highest growth rates outside of the capital have been identified in Northern Ireland and Scotland, at 13.2% and 5.8% respectively. Although growth rates in England are less differentiated, East Anglia has the highest growth of 3.7%, whilst the North West is lowest at only 1.4%. September 2006 Back to top


Northern Ireland property prices rise up 25%

Research from the University of Ulster has found that the average price of a house in Northern Ireland has increased twenty five per cent in the last year. According to these figures the average price of a home is now £162,821. The most expensive place to live in is Lisburn where the average price is £194,519. Meanwhile, Norhern Ireland's rental section has enjoyed something of a renaissance over the past ten years according to the CML - Council of Mortgage Lenders.September 2006 Back to top


The new second Dublin airport terminal's cost soars to  395 million

The cost of the second airport terminal at Dublin Airport, Ireland has almost doubled. The DAA - Dublin Airport Authority siaid it intended applying for planning permission for 75,000sq m facility opposaed to the previous estimate of a 50,000 sq m one.The previous cost was in the region of  170 to  200 million. The new terminal will house 58 check in desks. The DAA wants a  7.50 per pasasenger charge to help pay for the development. Aer Lingus will be using the new terminal (2) and Ryanair passengers will be using the existing terminal (1) although they will still be required to pay the additional passenger charges. Meanwhile - Ryanair has recently announced their biggest ever expansion at Dublin.

There is a significant expansion from Ireland's largest airline. From December 2006 Rynair will three new aircraft in Dublin Airport and create over 200 jobs and start services on routes from Dublin to points all over Europe. The new schedule of routes to Spain includes Madrid, Vitoria in the Basque region, Seville and Almerria. The CEO of Ryanair Michael O'Leary said "Move over Aer Lingus! Rynair is now Ireland's national airline and Aer Lingus is just a distant number2....." Ryanair to offer inflight mobile phone calls.

The airline has anounced that it will be the first European airline to allow passengers to use their mobile with a specialist communication system Mobile OnAir by mid 2007 and the remainder of the fleet by 2008. It usses light weight technology via a satellite to a testestrial phone network run by Monaco Telecom. The call rates start at  1.78 /£1.20 per minute. The system has an airborne transmitter with a lightweight GSM pico-cell network located on the aircraft itself and a mobile would go directly to this opposed to going to a normal transmitter mast. August 2006 Back to top


Environment Agency unveils £10m winter works plan for waterways - England

A record £10 million will be spent on vital repairs and improvements on Environment Agency-managed rivers this winter it was announced 25-Aug-2006. More than 100 projects along 1,000km of waterway across southern and eastern England will be worked on, with 60 due for completion, between October and March.

The programme is being funded by the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), who committed £30 million to tackling maintenance on Environment Agency-run rivers for three years from 2005-2007 - a rise of £5 million per year on previous grants. Julia Simpson, the Environment Agency’s Head of Recreation, Navigation and Marine, said: "The extra funding from Defra has enabled us to make real headway in dealing with the worst of the maintenance backlog built up during past decades of under investment on the rivers.

"Last winter, £9 million was poured in to 127 projects ranging from electrifying lock gates along the Nene, in East Anglia, the restoration of Godstow Lock on the Thames and the installation of hi-visibility booms upstream of weirs on the Medway in Kent. "This year we will be building on those achievements and seeing through another programme of much-needed refits and repairs. Of course we still have a long way to go, but we are starting to make definite progress." Source Environment Agency August 2006 Back to top


New "Monte Carlo by the sea" in Dorset, England

The annual Halifax Bank Seaside Town Review found that the average price in Sandbanks, Dorest exceeded £500,000. The five kilometre stretch of beach near Bournemouth and Poole is now full of celebrities. The former Liverpool footballer Jamie Redknapp and his wife Louise have moved in, so has Sol Campbell and Portmouth football clun manager Harry Redknapp. Other cebritiies have also been spotted property hunting. Property in Sandbanks is the fourth most expensive in the world and recently a sale of a garage 15 foot by 12 foot sold for £100,000 and a six bedroom mansion sold for £10 million. The Seaside Review found that towns on the west coast of England saw the stongest growth in property prices over the past five years. Expensive towns being in Cornwall, Dorset and Devon. In Wales Pwlheli on the Lyn Pensinula was the most expensive. The cheapest seaside towns are in North West England and in North Humberside the town of Withernsea the best value with the average property costing £94,119 Looking for a self catering hoiday rental in England ? CLICK HERE August 2006 Back to top


Hamptons International is sold again

In April 2005 Hampton International was sold to Singapore owners Wheelock Properties in a deal which valued the company at £35 million. Sixteen month later it has changed hands again. Dubai based Emaar Properties - one of the world's largest real estate companies has purchased the agents in a deal worth £82 million.This latest deal forms part of Emaar's plan to expand its global operation to include Europe. Emaar recently acquired John Laing Homes in the United States for $1.05 billion. Mohamed Ali Alabbar the Chairman of Emaar Properties said "The acquisition extends our global outreach and will build our international network of offices to over 130 by 2009".August 2006 Back to top


Sales of US homes fall sharply as confidence drops

Sales of homes in the United States fell more sharply than expected in July as the National Association of Realtors has just reported. The data underlined the slow down in the property market and fears over the health of the economy. Homes sold has fallen 3.3 per cent to 6.33 million against an expected decline of 1 per cent. There is a record 7.3 month of sales supply of unsold homes. This is the fourth consecutive monthly decline. Builders' confidence is at a 15 year low and buyers' confidence is at fresh lows. A University of Michigan survey has found consumer confidence was at its lowest levl since Huricane Katrina struck in 2005.August 2006 Back to top


2006 is the worst time to buy a first home in the UK since 1986

Couples wanting to buy a property and take their first steps on the UK property ladder must first save three quarters of their joint take home pay a survey has revealed. It shows that the cost of housing hasd rocketed to its highest point in more than 20 years.The Royal Insitute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) expects house prices to rise 7 per cent in 2006 - this is nearly twice as fast as its previous prediction. The survey has calculated that it would take a couple buying their first home nearly sevenand a half years to save up the £29,200 needed to cover the deposit. August 2006 Back to top


Great Southern Hotels in Ireland sale is confirmed

The DAA (Dublin Airport Authority) will be confirming the sale of its eight hotels for more than  250 million. Galway Business man Gerry Barrett is buying three of these - Galway, and Killarney. Six of the hotels are four star establishments and the other two are three star. The sale of the Great Southern Hotel Group comes after five years of rapid growth in the Republic's hotel industry. During this time the number of bedrooms has increased by more than 50 per cent to over 40,000. Looking for a hotel or self catering accommodation or car hire in Ireland? CLICK HERE August 2006 Back to top


John Lewis has long term plans for the Republic of Ireland

The British department store retailer John Lewis Partnership has declared long term plans to enter the retail market in the Irish Republic. Speculation in Dublin has suggested that they might take over Clerys' in O'Connell Street, but a sokeperson for John Lewis said that this was not on their agenda.This is after Debenhams in August purchased nine Roches Stores. The company says it will only move into the republic after it opens a  58.68 million store outside Belfast. August 2006 Back to top


First use of Housing Act 2004 powers - England

A council in the north-east has become the first authority in the country to use new powers, which began this month, to crack down of rogue landlords.South Tyneside MBC took control of a rented house after a landlord tried to evict his tenants rather than license the property. Under the Housing Act 2004, high-risk houses in multiple occupation must be licensed. Landlords are not allowed to evict people in order to escape licensing. Environmental Health Officers discovered the landlord was trying to throw out his tenants when one contacted the council to ask for rehousing because he had been asked to leave within four days.

The officers took control of the house with an interim management order as they couldn’t trace the owner. ‘It is good that the different services in the council are working together to protect some of the most vulnerable residents in the borough,’ said the cabinet member for environment Michael Clare. The power to prosecute landlords who fail to license high risk houses in multiple occupation came into force last week. Landlords who fail to license HMOs face fines up to £20,000. Source Chartered Institute of Environmental Health August 2006 Back to top


Irish investing  7 million in Beijing, China apartments

More than fifty Irish people have invested a combined  7 million in residenial properties in the Chinese capital Beijing so far in 2006. Yesterday a sokesperson for Investors in Asia (IIA) a company set up to advise the Irish on buying property in China said that it had assisted more than 50 Irish people buying property in the world's fastest growing economy.Beijing is at a height of building boom as it is holding the Olympics in 2008. High quality property starts around  120,000 to  140,000 for one bedroom apartments and the value is growing at the rate of 15 per cent to 20 per cent a year according to the IIA. Investors are largely private individuals who have already bought property overseas. Property prices in China are growing so rapidly that the government has taken a number of steps to cool the market. August 2006 Back to top


Major airlines are suffering heavy losses as a result of new security measures at British airports.

BAA (British Airports Authority) now owned by the Spanish company Ferrovial has faced a lot of criticm from airline bosses following the security measures introduced on the 8th August. Willy Walsh of British Airways and Michael O'Leary of Ryanair have been very vocal in their complaints, accusing BAA of failing to deal with the crisis effectively. As a result of cancelled flights, British Airways has estimated losses of £50 million from London airports Heathrow and Gatwick, Virgin £15 million, £10 million easyJet and A simmilar figure for Ryanair. On top of this is the loss\of revenue coming into the tourism industry to date.August 2006 Back to top


Market forces more effective than outdated rent controls - Northern Ireland

Following an article in UK Landlord it has now been confirmed that Market forces rather than rent controls will be used to reduce rents in Northern Ireland, Minister of State at the Northern Ireland Office David Hanson told the Commons. The recently passed Private Tenancies (Northern Ireland) Order 2006, due to come into effect early next year, will stimulate an increase in the number of rental properties available and increase competition in the sector, he argued. The new Order replaces the ‘complex and cumbersome’ Rent (Northern Ireland) Order 1978 imbuing controlled tenants with significant rights. This, admitted Lord Rooker when presenting its replacement to the Lords in June, had driven down rents so low that the landlords now had no incentive to improve or even repair their properties August 2006 Back to top


HIPS update Home Information Packs - UK

National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA) Press Release: Peter Bolton King, Chief Executive at the National Association of Estate Agents, is calling on the Government to abolish the introduction of Home Information Packs (HIPs) by repealing part 5 of the Housing Act. He calls on the Government to recognise that what is left of HIPs is unworkable now the Home Condition Report (HCR) is not mandatory, and work with the Association to find other ways of improving the property buying and selling process.

He recommends all aspects of HIPs apart from the energy rating certificate, which is a requirement of European legislation, should be revoked. Peter Bolton King comments: "Whatever anyone might think about the whole concept of HIPs, it is nonsense to make only part voluntary. The majority of the remaining compulsory documents are, at best, often unnecessary before a sale is agreed and, at worst, unintelligible without legal interpretation or likely to become out of date. "In any case the advent of quick E Conveyancing removes much of the need for the legal part of a HIP anyway.

The Government should now take the bull by the horns and make the decision to repeal the introduction of HIPs and return to the drawing board."The Association remains totally committed to work with Government to improve the buying and selling process for the benefit of consumers. I would again ask the Government to sit down with us and consider how this can be achieved." August 2006 Back to top


Property Boom in France

Property investors are receiving an average 92 per cent return on their investments in property in France. Property investments in France are outperforming those in the UK, Spain and Florida-USA according to a study by property investment specialist Assetz. Florida was second with 81 per cent. The UK stands at just 35 per cent. August 2006 Back to top


Bank of England orders rise in interest rates.

Bank interest rate rose to 4.75% on the 3rd August.This was unexpected in the market place. The Bank said strong economic growth combined with rising inflation and a recent surge in house prices and mortgage lending had put its inflation target under threat. The rise in the base rate from 4.5 per cent to 4.75 per cent will add to the financial burden faced by householders already struggling to meet soaring utility and tax bills.

RATE RISE SHOULD NOT AFFECT MARKET, SAYS NAEA 3 / Aug / 2006 The National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA) believes that the residential property market can absorb today’s quarter percentage point rise in interest rates. Peter Bolton King, Chief Executive of the NAEA, says; “Clearly the bank of England is trying to lightly touch the brake pedal with regard to inflation, and while a rate rise is not what we would like to see ideally, it does not come unexpectedly. “There has been speculation about a rate rise this Autumn for most of the year, so this is not a total surprise. As interest rates are still at low levels compared with past averages, we believe that the property market can absorb a 0.25 per cent rise this time. However, further rises could well create a slowdown in housing market activity.” August 2006 Back to top


July is a very busy month for Homelet Tenancy Referencing in the UK

July has been a tremendously busy month for us here at Hanover Park. The referencing business continues to thrive and grow at a fair rate. This summer is already proving to be one of our busiest on record! In Customer Services - Staffing: In order to cope with the high levels of business Homelet have recently increased their r headcount in referencing by 12% and are confident of hitting their service level agreements for the remainder of the summer and beyond. August 2006 Back to top


Aer Lingus will be charging for carrying luggage

The Irish airline Aer Lingus has followed Ryanair and FlyBe in announcing that it will charge passengers extra for baggage it carries in the aircraft hold. This will be from the 17th January 2007. They will levy a fee 8.00 / £5.50 for each bag carried for short haul flights or half if it is booked on line in advance. This fee policy reflects the moves among some low cost airlines like Irish competitor Ryanair to apportion costs for optional services. The company has abolished complimentary catering on its European network. The policy will not affect British Airways passengers who are booked on "code share flights" (EI127 /BA329 for example) that operated from London Heathrow to Dublin, Cork and Shannon. British Airways has negotiated for its passengers to be exempt from the charge August 2006 Back to top


HomeLetRental insurance launch Portfolio Insurance from 10th July 2006 in the UK

HomeLet Property rental insurance that is part of Hanover Park Commercial has launched a new product for owners of more than 2 rental properties. It has been designed for the expanding Buy-to-let market. It is called Homelet Landlords Portfolio Insurance and the company claims the property owner can save up to 45% on their buildings insurance. Keshav Thukaram HomeLet's Marketing Director says that the company is the first in the market place to provide an online quoting facility and quotes over the phone with this multi property product. There will be no restictions on properties unoccupied for up to 90 days and the property owner will be able to add or remove properties covered by the policy mid term. For more information please click on logo July 2006 Back to top


The Disability Discrimination Act 2005 (DDA 2005) -UK Changes the way that landlords and their agents will be required to react to disabled tenants. While much of these changes do little to alter the fundamental requirement for the landlord to respond positively to “reasonable” requests they do shift the burden somewhat in both evidence and monetary terms. For full article Click Here.

Implementation of The Disability Discrimination Act 2005 -UK The Statutory Instruments implementing the Disability Discrimination Act 2005(DDA) in respect of rented accommodation have now been laid before Parliament.The Disability Discrimination (Premises) Regulations 2006 confirm that these provisions will come into force as from 4 December 2006 and provide further clarification of how the Act will be implemented in respect of residential premises. For full article Click Here

Information supplied by PainSmith Solicitors are a niche practice specialising in Landlord and Tenant Law. Based in Medstead in Hampshire, they are ideally situated to provide an efficient service to clients nationwide as well as those based in Central London and the Home Counties. July 2006 Back to top


Delta Air Lines now has a non-stop scheduled flight between Nice, France and Atlanta, USA and Sky Europe starts a service to Prague in the Czech Replublic.

Delta Airlines have announced a new regular service between Nice and Hartsfield Jackson. They can now connect with 145 daily flights to over 130 cities around the world. This development takes place less than fifteen years after the Nice to New York (JFK) service was established. The low cost carrier Sky Europe started a service to Prague in April. There are three flights a week. The company started in 2001. July 2006 Back to top


Hertfordshire, England - Letting Agency Banned from Estate Agecy Work

The OFT has banned Richard McCarthy, owner of former Hertfordshire letting and managing agents McCarthy Woods Ltd from engaging in estate agency work. A prohibition order was issued by the OFT following Mr McCarthy’s conviction of fraudulent trading for failing to pass on rent that he had collected on behalf of landlords. The OFT can prevent a person or company from engaging in estate agency work if they have been convicted of offences involving fraud or other dishonesty or violence. Christine Wade, OFT Director of Consumer Regulation and Enforcement said: ‘Whether buying or letting a property, when consumers give money to an agent, it is essential that they can rely on the trustworthiness of that agent. If an agent engages in any form of fraudulent conduct, the OFT will not hesitate to take action to prevent them from working as an estate agent.’ McCarthy Woods Ltd’s trading address was 110 Leavesden Road, Watford, Hertfordshire. July 2006 Back to top


Northern Ireland Planning Service

The Northern Ireland Planning Service has published proposals to restrict the number of properties let to two or more households in a number of areas of Belfast. The NLA has made the case for landlords in the Northern Irish media and will be responding to the consultation. Source NATIONAL LANDLORDS ASSOCIATION Representing the interests of more than 100,000 landlords nationwide - UK July 2006 Back to top

Interested in joining the NLA? Click on logo


Energy Performance Certificates in Scotland

From January 2009 all rented property in Scotland will have to have an Energy Performance Certificate showing the energy efficiency rating of the property. These will rate the building and give suggestions for improvements. They are also intended to give potential tenants an indication of likely heating costs for a property. The Scottish Building Standards Agency is still consulting on the scheme and the NLA will be ensuring that the views of landlords are heard. Similar proposals are also currently being discussed for the rest of the UK Source NATIONAL LANDLORDS ASSOCIATION Representing the interests of more than 100,000 landlords nationwide - UK July 2006 Back to top


Scheme to Raise Standards in Private Housing Launched _ Wolverhampton England

Wolverhampton City Council and All Saints and Blakenhall Community Development (ABCD) are working together on a new initiative to help improve private rented homes in the city. The council, as part of 'Homestamp', a consortium of Midlands local authorities, landlords, police and fire authorities, is introducing Landlord Accreditation as a means of encouraging, recognising and rewarding good residential landlords Source NATIONAL LANDLORDS ASSOCIATION - NLA Representing the interests of more than 100,000 landlords nationwide - UK July 2006 Back to top


Local Housing Allowance - UK

On Monday 19th June the Government published its response to the consultation on its Green Paper “A New Deal For Welfare: Empowering People To Work”. The Government announced that they intend to press ahead with the introduction of Local housing Allowance (LHA) to replace Housing Benefit in the private rented sector. LHA will be paid direct to tenants and based on average local market rents. Tenants will be able to retain up to £15 per week where their benefits are higher than their rents. LHA is currently being piloted in 18 Pathfinder areas around the UK. The NLA has expressed strong concerns to Government about LHA and was the only membership organisation representing landlords to respond to the consultation.Source NATIONAL LANDLORDS ASSOCIATION - NLA Representing the interests of more than 100,000 landlords nationwide - UK July 2006 Back to top


UN World Urban Forum

The International Union of Property Owners (UIPI) of which NLA Chairman David Salusbury is the UK Vice president participated in the Third World Urban Forum (WUF) in Vancouver between the 19th and 23rd June. UIPI was represented by UIPI President Stratos Paradias, Vice President Friedrich Noszek and President of the Housing Committee Tom Simecek. The WUF was established by the United Nations to examine the most pressing issues facing the world today: rapid urbanisation and its impact on communities, cities, economies and policies. UIPI is a registered member of the forum and participated in a number of events and underlined the importance the private rented sector plays in providing housing for millions of tenants all over the world Source NATIONAL LANDLORDS ASSOCIATION - NLA Representing the interests of more than 100,000 landlords nationwide - UK July 2006 Back to top


Council becomes first in UK to use new 'rogue landlord' powers

South Tyneside Council has become the first authority in the UK to use new powers to crack down on rogue landlords. Environmental health officers from the authority have seized control of a rented property where the landlord tried to evict his tenants, rather than comply with the new Housing Act. The Act states that owners of properties of three or more storeys, which contain five or more people who are not all related to each other, must apply for a mandatory House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) licence. The owner is not allowed to evict tenants in order to reduce the number of occupants to fewer than five to avoid having to get a licence. However, it was discovered that a landlord had tried to do just that when a tenant visited the Homelessness Team to ask for re-housing after he and fellow tenants of a property in the borough had been told to leave within four days. Source NATIONAL LANDLORDS ASSOCIATION - NLA Representing the interests of more than 100,000 landlords nationwide - UK July 2006 Back to top

Interested in joining the NLA? Click on logo


Scamster targets holiday property owners - has heard of a scam that is running around the holiday lettings industry.

An e-mail based scam from what seems to be a professional con-man is doing the rounds aimed at holiday property owners.

Many holiday property owners let out their property via third-party internet advertising firms and one such, is advising its property owners of a scam that’s starts as an enquiry from abroad.

The initial enquiry is fairly straightforward, although slightly tricky in that it purports to come from an agent who claims to have guests for the property. It asks for a ‘grand total’ price for the property for the weeks indicated.

After a while, this is followed by a confirmatory e-mail, thanking you for your assistance saying he has taken payment from the guests and adding a rider that the guests need car hire from a specialist firm. He says he will send you credit card details that will cover the cost of the property and the car hire and asks that you deal with the total sum and send the balance of the money to the car hire firm.

Don’t do it! - Like all scams that ask you to collect money on somebody else’s behalf, you will be left out of pocket (and maybe your bank account details stolen as well) when the original payment does not materialise or is reversed by the bank

These con-men are very clever, and no doubt there are further episodes to this story, but as the scam is going round right now, we at TheMoveChannel are warning to leave this enquiry alone from the start to avoid getting pulled in by the scamsters guile. For more information on similar scames Click Here June 2006 Back to top


Airline tax in France

From 1st July 2006 France will be imposing a taxe de solidarité on airline tickets to contribute to the financing of developing countries. When passengers take flights from France they will pay a maximum of1  for economy class and 10  for business class for inter European flights. If they are non-European flights the tax will be 4  for eceonomy and 40  for businees class. This tax is expected to raise over 200 million euros.June 2006 Back to top


Ryanair chooses Marseille as south of France base and Jetairfly continues it's north - south routes into the winter.

The low cost airline Ryanair plans to make Marseille its 16th "hub" base. It will base aircraft there and operate routes from November 2006 to Dublin, Eindhoven,Brussels Charleroi, Fez in Morocco, Glasgow, London Stanstead, Rome Ciampino and other locations. Meanwhile Jetairfly airlines have announced that due to popular demand they will continue their Brest-Toulon flight into the winter.The service started in April 2006. The company is part of Jetair, Belgium's leading tour operator. It is known in France as Nouvelles Frontières - TUI France and Corsair. June 2006 Back to top


UK Mortgage debt soars through £1 trillion pounds

According to the Bank of England, in May 2006, mortgage debt broke through the £1 trillion barrier.As new net lending surged £9.3 billion in May, outstanding mortgqage debt hit £1,006,796 million. The Bank has warned that the number of people with serious money problems would soon hit half a million.The Consumer Credit Counselling Service described the situation as worsening as the proportion of clients owing more than £100,000 to creditors increased last year to 27 per cent from 1.4 per cent. June 2006 Back to top


House prices in Ireland are rising at triple the 2005 rate

The latest Permanent TSB house price index has revealed that house prices are rising at almost three times the pace of last year.The average price of a home nationally is just under  300,000 - a rise of  38,500 so far this year. The average Dublin property in May cost  394,795 compared to  256,418 for homes outside the capital. Over the past 12 months house prices have jumped by 14.5 per cent compared ro an annual rate of 6.6 per cent at the end of May 2005. June 2006 Back to top


Over 45 per cent of buildings in the City of London, England are foreign owned.

The foreign ownership of buildings in the city of London has jumped from 20 per cent in 1998 to 45 per cent at the start of 2006. German investors own one in five buildings and the second largest international owners are the Americans followed by the Irish and Japanese. Landmark office blocks that are foreign owned include Citypoint, The Gherkin and Woolgate Exchange. At the same time foreign ownership of shares in listed UK companies has increased from less than 5 per cent in 1981 to 33 per cent in 2004 and on the housing market, foreign purchasers of central London homes have jumped from 25 per cent in 2004 to almost 40 per cent in 2005 according to a recent survey by the RICS - Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors. June 2006 Back to top


Banco Halifax Hispania opens new Spanish branches

Banco Halifax Hispania has opened tow new branches - one in Mallorca which is the first branch of the Halifax operation in Spain off the mainland and the other at Playa Flamenca on the Costa Blanca. The bank will open another four additional branches throughout 2006 that will give it a total of 20 by the end of 2006. June 2006 Back to top


Law Society in UK launches dry run HIP Scheme

The Law Society is launching its own version of the Home Information Pack and wants solicitors to give it a dry run. The trial will begin on a phased geographical basis later in June and will pre-empt the Government backed initiative which will become law by this time next year. It will force seller to produce most of the technical information that buyers need to know before a property can go on the market. A recent ICM poll reported that that purchasers would be more likely to trust a pack prepared by a solicitor rather than another source. June 2006 Back to top


Buckinghamshire Building Society in England prepares for centenary and remain cautious on lending.

The Buckinghamshire Building Society that has offices in Chalfont St Peter and Chalfont St Giles in Buckinghamshire increased its assets in 2005 by eight per cent to£134 million and lent more than £18 million. They state that mortgage balances stand at marginally less than £100 million. For the fourth year in a row it was one of the finalists for the Best Value Lender award by What Mortgage Magazine. In 2007 the Society celebrates its centenary year. In the May annual general meeting the Chairman Howard Machin said "There is evidence that the price of houses at the top end of the house market have reduced to more sensible levels, but there are still major problems for the first time buyer market. Even the Government have been forced to take some action over its shared equity schemes and affordable housing for key workers such as nurses and firemen. Fortunately in the middle market where we carry out most of our mortgage lending we continue our policy of prudent lending at sensible loans to value and our excellent record on arrears proves this." June 2006 Back to top


New Code of Practice on Disability Discrimination -UK

A new code of practise from the Disability Rights Commission has been put before parliament for consideration. The Code will give practical guidance on the application of the provisions of the Disability Discrimination act that comes into force in December 2006. The Disability Rights Commission has revised the existing guidance on the Disability Discrimination Act for providers of goods, services and facilities to include the new duties on public authorities, landlords and private members clubs. For more information on the Disability Discrimination Act Click Here June 2006 Back to top


Irish Estate Agents Colliers Jackson-Stops sells sixty per cent of shares

Dublin Estate agents Colliers Jackson-Stops that was established in 1973 has sold 60 per cent of its shares to British agency Colliers Conrad Ritbalt Erdman (CRE) Plc for  4.8 million in cash and shares. Declan Stone, managing director of Colliers Jackson-Stops said that the deal reflected wider trends in the Irish property industry.They employ 40 staffand now expect to create a further ten new jobs by the end of the year. Colliers CRE employs 750 staff and has offices in London, Birmingham, Manchester, Leeds, Bristol, Glasgow and Edinburgh. The current partners of Colliers Jackson-Stops have retained 40 per cent share in the business. Savills aquired HOK (Hamilton Osborne King)earlier this year and Sherry Fitzgerald owns a large percentage of English agents Marsh and Parsons.June 2006 Back to top


Budapest, Hungary set for large Tourism Project

Budapest city council has given Elbit Medical Imaging approval to construct a  1.5bn tourism project on the Island of Obuda. The project involves the construction of eight to ten hotels with 6,000 rooms, a marina for yachts, a 150 table casino, four apartment hotels, a 5,000 seat auditorium, 3,000 seat opera house, 40,000 square metres of cmmercial space and convention halls. The project construction is due to begin by the end of 2006 and last for five to six years. At the end of the day the Elbit Medical Imaging will be constructing a Las Vegas in Hungary.June 2006 Back to top


Dublin Port Tunnel, Ireland

The Dublin Port Tunnel is nearly completed. It is a 5.6 kilometre (4.5 kilometre underground) dual carriageway that has been under construction for the past few years. It will link the M1 Dublin - Belfast and the M50 to Dublin Port. The objective to reduce the number of HGVs on the streets of Dublin by 6,000 per day. The two tunnels are linked every 250 metres by pedestrian cross passages and every 1,000 metres by vehicle cross passages as a safety measure for emergency exit routes. Construction started in 2001.

It will be operated by the NRA (National Roads Authority) who has appointed a French company Transroute International to manage it for the first five years. There will not be any toll charges for heavy goods vehicles and buses with 23 seats or more. All cars and commercial vehicles will have to pay a toll that ranges from €3 to €12 depending on the time of day.

Facts about the Tunnel project;

  • It is the largest road engineering project ever in Ireland. Only the electrification dam on the River Shannon at Ardnacrusha in the 1920's comes near the size of the project.
  • A great deal of the tunnel is between 21 and 23 metres below ground level through hard limestone.
  • During the construction of the cut and cover phase, Fairview Park contained a hole the size of a cathedral and this will be filled in and returned as a park before the project is completed.
  • 4,800 people have worked over 7.5 million man-hours on the project. No night time boring was permitted as this would have disturbed the occupiers of the houses above. There has been an excellent safety record and it has been amongst the safest undertaken in Ireland.
  • The cost of the project has a budget of  752 million although the final costs will be significantly higher.
  • The project installed a crossing under the Dublin-Belfast railway line east of Fairview without interrupting the rail service. It also built three bridges - Shantalla new bridge over the Tolka in East Wall and a new bridge and entrance to Dublin Port. Source Dublin City Council June 2006 Back to top


Poland to cut the construction of houses

The polish government has announced that it is planning to cut its housing construction programme in half and build 1.5 million new apartments over the next eight years. During last years general election campaign, it had stated that it would build 3 million new apartments. The Government stated that approximately 350,000 new apartments should be built as part of new draft legislation assisting families to purchase apartments. 200,000 will be constructed by investors as homes for rental and another 150,000 will be built in the form of social housing. The remaining 800,000 will appear under a developer scheme. At the same time the government is set to bump billions of Euros into its transport network in the next seven year period. Some of the funds are earmarked to improve the highway connecting it to Lithuania and other surrounding countries. Poland aims to invest  16-18 billion into the implementation of transport infrastructure projects between 2007 and 20013.June 2006 Back to top


Irish Retailer Superquinn to open ten stores by 2011

Supermarket chain Superquinn that has 21 stores has started to refurbish it's stores starting with the one at Blanchardstown. Apart from refurbishing the remaining stores they plan to open ten more stores by 2011. They are aimimg to open them in new developments as "anchor stores". According to chief Executive Simon Burke "Developers are very keen to have Superquinn - We have not been in the market for sites for a while." Simon Burke became chief executive in August 2005 after the company was bought from the Quinn family by Select Retail Holdings. June 2006 Back to top


European Estate Agents sign up to an International Code of Practice

There have been more than 40,000 Estate Agents throughout Europe who have chosen to conform to a code of practice that was originally developed by the National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA) and FOPDAC. This is the Federation of Overseas Property Developers Agents and Consultants. It was established over 30 years ago. All members of the European Confederation of Estate Agents (CEI) will now belong to the this new International Code of Practice. This will also include recently joined EU members like Slovokia as well as France, Ireland, Germany, Spain, Portugal Italy, Romania, Holland, Hungary and Austria.June 2006 Back to top


20 year plan for Dublin Airport , Ireland gets approved.

The County Council governing Dublin Airport - Fingal County Council has approved a 20 year development plan for Dublin airport. This will also allow for a third terminal to the west of the existing airport. The plan was put to public consultation in April 2006 and it includes details of the already planned infrastructure up to 2011 that includes the new runway and second terminal. These are projects are due to be operational by 2009. The third terminal will be built to accommodate a growth in passenger numbers from the current 18.5 million a year to a figure around 40 million by 2025. There will be road improvements costing €200 million and The Metro will begin operating in 2012. This long term plan will also include two new hotels. June 2006 Back to top


Property prices rise in Bulgaria

In the first quarter of 2006 average residential properties prices in Bulgaria stood at  413 sqm according to data compiled by the National Statistical Institute. This represents an increase of over  15 sqm compared to the previous quarter. In the capital, Sofia, property prices remain the most expensive and now stand at a record high average of  673 sqm. June 2006 Back to top


National Roads Authority (NRA) in Ireland about to reveal sites for motorway service stations.

The National Roads Authority is close to issuing a call for property developers to build the authority's first motorway service areas. Locations will be about 60 kilometres from Dublin and then nearby towns. These service stations are to be modelled on European ones, however because of the population levels will spread further apart. Proposed locations include the M1 above Drogheda, N11 Arklow by pass, north of Carlow on the proposed M9, M7, M6, on the proposed M3 and N2 east of Kentstown. They also intend to create "rest stops" like the French autoroute Aires - with picnic tables, toilettes but no shops or fuel. June 2006 Back to top


Spanish property prices rise in 2005

Average Spanish property prices rose by 12 per cent over twelve months to the end of March 2006 according to the latest quarterly figures from the Spanish Government. Meanwhile the Presedential administration in Marbella intends to demolish residential projects that have been illegally built on land reserved for public installations or green areas. There are currently three hundred projects under judical review and this move could affect sixty of them. An official decision is set to be made after Marbella's municapal elections in 2007. June 2006 Back to top


Canada smashes sales records in May

Resale home sales activity in Canada’s major markets continued strongly in May, with sales activity breaking all previous records and the average price exceeding $300,000 for the first time ever, Real Estate Marketing reports. The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) has reported that unadjusted home sales via its Multiple Listing Service (MLS) in Canada’s major markets totaled 37,460 units in May 2006. This represented an increase of 4.4 per cent on the previous record set last May. Sales activity for the year-to-date in May was up by 5.0 per cent compared to the first five months of last year. New year-to-date records were set in Calgary, Edmonton, Saskatoon, Winnipeg, Toronto, London, Kitchener, Sudbury, Ottawa, Montreal, Quebec City, and Saint John.

On a seasonally adjusted basis, transactions rose to 28,441 units in May – up 2.4 per cent compared to April. Seasonally adjusted sales surpassed all previous records for the month of May on a national basis, and in a number of major markets including Calgary, Edmonton, Toronto, Sudbury, Quebec City, Saint John, and Halifax.

Actual (unadjusted) new listings also reached the highest level for any month on record in May. New listings numbered 58,794 units in May – a year-over-year rise of 6.3 per cent, and up 3.1 per cent from the previous peak reached in March 2006. Seasonally adjusted MLS residential new listings rose to 46,117 units in May – an increase of 0.9 per cent compared to April, and the highest level since May 1991. The monthly increase in new listings was less than the increase in sales activity, which caused the market to tighten slightly, CREA said. June 2006 Back to top


Law Commission proposes a shake up for rentals in the UK

The Law Commission is proposing a complete shake-up of rental tenancies. Instead of all the different types of tenancies as there are now, there would only be two. There would be a Contract that covers social housing and other long term tenancies and Assured Shorthold for others. Compulsory written contracts would be applicable to all forms of rental agreements.

PRESS RELEASE May 2006 - A Clean-sheet new start for renting homes

Renting homes is big business. Nearly a third of the population rents. The current law is archaic, complex and inflexible. The Law Commission proposes a radical new scheme.

Key features are: Identical contracts for council and housing association tenants. This will increase the security of the nearly 1.5 million housing association tenant households.

Improvements to council and housing association tenants' rights eg better succession rights, the right to apply to add a partner or flatmate to the contract.

Government approved model contracts to make private renting easier, cheaper and more flexible.

Compulsory written contracts for all who rent, clearly setting out the rights and obligations of both landlords and occupiers.

A clear and practical legal framework for supported housing, which provides accommodation for people with drink, drug or mental health problems, women's refuges etc.

Martin Partington, who has been in charge of the review, said: Our recommendations deliver better regulation, giving government new flexibility to provide and deliver social housing. They also make clear the rights and responsibilities of landlords and renters. This is an historic opportunity to deliver a modem legal framework for renting homes.

The recommendations result from one of the largest consultation exercises ever undertaken by the Law Commission: over 70 public events were addressed, and over 400 written responses received to the two consultation papers.

Notes 1. The Law Commission is a non-political independ~nt body, set up by Parliament in 1965 to keep all the law of England and Wales under review, and to recommend reform where it is needed. 2. A third of British citizens rent their homes. These recommendations will potentially apply to over 15 million people. 3. Rented Homes (LC284) was published in November 2003. This gave our key recommendations and proposals. Today's report provides a final Bill and model contracts which we invite ODPM to use. 4. Further info is available from homes.htm May 2006 Back to top


French Property prices rise by 10.3 per cent in 2005

Average property prices in France rose by 10.3 per cent in 2005 according to the French National Association of Estate Agents (FNAIM). The price of property rose strongest in Auvergne, Basse-Normandie, Le Centre, Champagne-Ardene, Franche-Comté, Haute-Normandie, Languedoc-Roussillon and in Lorraine. The East and North also continued to see rising prices. May 2006 Back to top


Prices rise for six months in a row (UK)

In April demand from new home buyers hit record levels according to a survey of Estate Agents. House prices rose for the sixth month in a row in April that was driven by a surge in prices of larger homes the RICS - Royal Insutute of Chartered Surveyors said. Enquiries from new buyers rose for the eleventh month in a row the longest period since 1998. Government figures showed prices of homes jumped 2 per cent in March. The increase has been driven by price rises across all types of properties has pushed the average UK home price up to £186,519 according to the Department for Communities and Local Government.May 2006 Back to top


Advice for UK Landlords by some Letting agents - The best way to fill a new property is to keep the rent low

With so many new developments apperaring nationwide potential property buyers will often visit the show apartment. The sales representative gives illustrations of achievable rental (often provided by local Letting agents) and go ahead and purchase the property. So do numerous other purchasers so for example in a new development a lot of the new owners are "Buy to Let Landlords". The development is finished and the owner has to attract Tenants. (So do all the other owners who are in competition!) The new owner might not get the projected rental income as there just might not be enough "young professional" people to rent.

The answer is to ensure the property is up to the show flat's standards in decoartion and content. (no bare light bulbs - no curtains or blinds - cheap carpet everywhere etc). If your agent recomends furnishing it - furnish it. Not everyone has their own furniture. Ensure there is plenty of storage space and make sure you purchase a property with parking.You might get the occasional tenant who does not have a car, but because of a lack of parking you could loose lets.

Finally reduce your rent agents recomend. Mortgages and other outgoings have to be paid. Some rent in is better than no rent. You will never make up for the rent when it was empty by sticking out for high rents say several agents. For some general Advice about Presentation etc CLICK HERE May 2006 Back to top


Housing Act in the UK affects Mortgage Lending

The Mortgage lender Mortgages for business has warned that the implementation of the 2004 Housing Act is begining to have an adverse effect on residental investment lending. Their spokesperson said " HMOs (Houses in Multiple Occupation) have always been challenging to finance with few lenders having an appertite for the sector. The new HMO regulations contained in the Housing Act seems to further complicated the issue". May 2006 Back to top


Developers await EU decision for Bulgaria

The 16th May 2006 is an important day for investors in the AIM companies specifically set up to cash in the remarkably low property prices in Bulgaria.The European Commission will announce whether the Balkan country will join the EU in January 2007 or 2008. Over the past 18 months development companies have listed on the London junior stock market and raised £180 million. Once Bulgaria joins the EU it is expected to receive billions of pounds of grant aid which could mean a real boost to the local economy and asset prices. May 2006 Back to top


House Price inflation is running at double digit levels in a fifth of London, Boroughs - England

This is due to the number of million pound homes changing hands according to official figures from the Land Registry. A total of 652 properties were sold for a seven figure sum in the capital in the first three months of 2006. This has pushed annual house price inflation in London up to 6.3 per cent from 4.5 per cent in the previous quarter. This has out stripped the 5 per cent for England and Wales. There are variations within the capital with Hounslow having the highest rise at 13.6 per cent. Demand is up more than 40 per cent on the year while the number of homes for sale had fallen 20 per cent one London agent reported. May 2006 Back to top


Asda to start selling Houses in the UK

The supermarket chain Asda - the UK subsidary of the US company Wallmart is to start selling houses and plans to offer free Home Information Packs (HIPS). There will be a six month trial in ten stores in the north west in July and if succesful will be adopted nationwide. Asda was the first supermarket to sell wedding dresses and for selling a property will charge 1 per cent commission. The company says that it hopes to save vendors around £2,000 of charges through its free HIPs and low fees. The brand for selling property will be called Homes@Supermarket. It will work by a seller entering contact details in store on a computer and a surveyor from Homes@Supermarket viewing the property and taking photographs. The details will be on the web and Asda will have touch screen computers in store for prospective purchasers to view. May 2006 Back to top


Spanish authorities checking on Holiday Home lettings

Spanish authorities are no longer going to turn a blind eye to undeclared income from letting holiday home properties. A large number of British who have been letting out their properties have not informed the Spanish Tax authorities. A bill to catch those avoiding tax went before the Spanish Parliament this year. There are around half a million British who have second homes in Spain and the authorities have been searching rental agents' listings, scanning small ads and finding out who does what by talking to local business people.

There are two sets of annual taxes for non resident holiday home owners. 1: A wealth tax based on a property's value and levied on a sliding scale starting at 0.2&. 2: Notional annual income tax that should be paid even if a property is not rented out, that is based on a percentage of rateable value.

If a property is rented out a further 25% on actual income should be paid which can be ofset against notional tax with income declared within 30 days of the rental period. If you are subject to UK taxes, you should declare it there as well.May 2006 Back to top


Ikea site is being opposed in the South of France

Plans that have been submitted by the Swedish furnishing store IKea are being opposed. These were unveiled in February to build the the new store near Mougins in the South of France. The Association for the Defense if the Quality of Life of the Inhabitants of the Saint Martin Quarter of Mougins and its Neighbours (ADCV) was formulated on March 7th. Ikea plans a 20,000 square metre store in the Saint Martin ZAC ( Zone d' Aménagement Concerté ) area. The Mayor of Mougins Richard Galy believes that increased traffic will benefit the area financially and supports the project which should create around 500 jobs in the area. The ADCV believe that stote will have a negative effect on the local and regional economies. They say it will cause more traffic polution and lower the quality of life for residents. The nearest Ikea stores to the area are at Toulon and Marseilles. May 2006 Back to top


There are still many investors buying in Spain

Although countries like Bulgaria are becoming very popular with overseas investors, Spain still remains at the top of the list. This is according to a new survey by Foreign currency exchange specialist HIFX. Their researchshows that the country is favoured because a majority of British overesas property buyers see their purchase either as a holiday home or somewhere to retire to. It is close to Britain and Ireland and there are plenty of cheap flights and properties there can be easily rented out and generally plenty of sun. May 2006 Back to top


Landlord Fined £42,000 after Girl's Death

A landlord has been fined a total of £42,000 at Winchester Crown Court for breaches of gas safety legislation. The prosecution followed a Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation into the death of Katie Overton on 29 March 2003. Katie, aged 11, died from carbon monoxide poisoning at a rented house in Oxford Road, Southsea, Hampshire. At the time of her death, Katie's parents were renting the property. The carbon monoxide fumes came from a gas boiler which was found to be in a poor condition. The boiler had not been serviced since 1996 and, although subjected to a number of gas safety checks during the time the house had been let to tenants, these checks had not been carried out within the required 12 month intervals.

On 11 April 2006, The Landlord pleaded guilty at Andover Magistrates' Court to failing to ensure that the boiler was maintained in a safe condition (contrary to Regulation 36(2)(a) of the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998) and also to three charges of not having gas safety checks completed within 12 month intervals (contrary to Regulation 36(3) (a). The case was referred to Winchester Crown Court for sentencing. He was fined £20,000 for the failure to maintain the boiler and a total of £22,000 three failures to have a gas safety check carried out within the required period of time.

He was also ordered to pay £18,000 towards prosecution costs. Speaking after the case, Mike Harrison, Principle Inspector of Health and Safety, said: "Katie's death was a tragic reminder of what can happen when gas boilers aren't maintained properly. Landlords of rented properties should remember that, not only must gas appliances be subject to annual safety checks; they must also be maintained in a safe condition. This means that gas boilers should be serviced in accordance with manufacturers' instructions, usually annually, by a CORGI registered installer as well having annual gas safety checks carried out on them." April 2006 Back to top


Belfast Airport to serve five million passengers in 2006

For years Belfast airport was not much of an "international" airport. The destinations were London, Manchester and Glasgow and the only destination outside the UK and Ireland was Amsterdam. Today that has changed. easyJet's base in Ireland is Belfast and American airlines fly there as well. John Doran who used to work for the smaller Belfast City airport has been it's Managing Director for the past seven months. To expand as the current terminal building is only capable of handling 6 million passengers, a decision will have to be made.

John Doran says " We are fortunate here in that we aren't restricted for space and the environmental constrictions are relatively low. Definitely some of the benefits of Belfast are the ease with which you can approach the airport, the speed with which you move through the terminal and the lack of overcrowding." The plans are to attract travellers from Cavan, Monaghan and Louth. He says " Within an hour's drive from here, there are 1.6 million people and and with an hour and half you're talking maybe 2.5 million". April 2006 Back to top


Dublin Airport Authority is given go-ahead for new runway

Following a sixteen month application process Fingal County Council has granted Dublin Airportplanning permission for a  150 million 3,119 metre runway that will be built 1.6km north and parallel to the existing runway.The airport will have to make extensive road improvements including a new western access route to the airport allowing for further westward expansion and provide a link to the N2.

Left: The crowded departure area "A" at Dublin Airport at Easter 2006 where arriving passengers have to find the main terminal arrivals zone via people anxiousto get on the outgoing flights. April 2006 Back to top


AIB says that prices have hit first time buyers in Ireland

A new report by AIB (Allied Irish Banks) says that a "hot house" property market is pushing the prices of homes beyond the reach of first time buyers. Higher interest rates and house price inflation means that property is becoming less affordable for buyers. The property market remains very buoyant and AIB has been forced to raise its forecasts for property price growth for the second year in a row.The forecast now predicts that house prices will grow by 12 per cent in 2006 slowling slightly to 7 per cent in 2007. AIB Chief economist John Beggs said that the bank was concerned about price developments and would prefer a gradual cooling off to prevent a sharp downturn in demand from first time buyers and investors later.

He said " We don't see a crash coming. The conditions for a crash are not there, but certainly the way in which prices are rising could kill off demand". Total housing completions are predicted to reach 85,000 in 2006. surpassing the 2005 record of 81,000. Mr Beggs also warned that spiralling house prices could have a knock on effect on immigration if investors were forced to bump up rents to cover the costs. He stated that "at some point, Ireland will become too expensive for migrant workers and they will just go somewhere else." April 2006 Back to top


Marks and Spencer plan to expand in Ireland

The UK retailer Marks and Spencer (M & S) that has opened eight new stores in the Republic of Ireland in the last 20 months is planning to continue the expansion. Wheras the operation in mainland Europe was terminated a few years ago, the brand name in Ireland has continued to grow. There are currently 12 stores in the republic and a total of 22 on Ireland overall. On the 12th April, the group reported a 6.8 per cent increase in like for like four quarter sales in the UK. They reported that business in Ireland was growing faster than across in the UK. Left: Marks and Spencer - Grafton Stret, Dublin The company employs 2,000 in the Republic after it had created 1,500 new jobs in the past 20 months. There are no sales for figures for the Republic given out. April 2006 Back to top


Flights now avaible between Nice, Cork, Dublin and Belfast

Starting on the 1st April 2006 Aer Lingus will be flying to Dublin from Nice on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday and to Cork on Friday and Saturday. The frequencies will be increased in the summer. easyJet will have flights to Belfast on Monday, Thurdsay and Saturday

. April 2006 Back to top


ARLA reports the best rental picture in London for years.

According to a new survey by ARLA (The Association of Residential Letting Agents) the rental market in prime areas of central London is starting to thrive again for the first time in years. The low point was 2002 when only five per cent of ARLA agents believed there were more tenants than properties an astonishing 48 per cent report more tenants than properties during the first quarter of 2006. In the last six months, achievable rent levels have also risent significantly. In Primme central London average weekly rents are £602 (£2,610 per month) for a house and £405 (£1,754 a month) for a flat. Adian Turner the chief executive of ARLA welcomed the turnaround and said "Much of this London market is driven by the financial sector, so not only is this a sign of confidence in London but the ripple effect should have a major impact on rental markets away from London".April 2006 Back to top


Regulation is called for after "rogue TV show" in the UK

There jave been widespread calls for better regulation within the estate agency industry following the BBC "Whistleblower" programme om March 21st. In the programme a number of estate agents were caught on cameras indulging in dodgy deeds. The National Association of estate Agents (NAEA) pointed out that only mandatory regulation schemes will completely remove "the rogue element".The NAEA and the Ombudsman for Estate Agents Scheme (OEA) were working hard to that end by ensuring that from April 2006 all NAEA members who are principals, partners and directors of estate agencies are members of the OEA scheme. April 2006 Back to top


Pets in Apartments in France

A correspondent of The Riviera Reporter has written to the magazine saying that under French law a person renting a property has a right to keep a dog. This person ows a time share in Antibes and although other residents are permitted to keep dogs, their time share company refuses consent. The Riviera Reporter has replied that under normal circumstances no one can forbid them from keeping an "animal del compagnie" (domestic pet). According to the law dated July 10th 1970 - you can keep several animals - within "reasonable limits" - except for certain categories of dangerous animals and dogs oulined in the revised law of January 6th and April 27th 1999.

The only types of dogs that can be forbidden outright under the terms of these laws are Pitbulls, American Staffordshire Terriers, Staffordshire Bull Terriers,Boerbulls and Tosa Inus. Under the law you are required to prevent your dog from disrupting the tranquility of your neighbours by barking or foul odours. The dog must not cause any physical damage to the building or gardens and communal areas. April 2006 Back to top


The SIPPs U-Turn has no discernible effect on the UK buy to let market

The U turn by the Chancellor of the Exchequer - Gordon Brown that blocked residential property investments in a SIPP has no discernible effect on the market according to ARLA (The Asscociation of Residential Letting Agents). The latest quarterly review and index from the ARLA Panel of Mortgage Lenders shows no ntable effect on the market. The survey was carried out in February 2006 and shows current investment landlords expect to buy further investment properties in the next 12 months. They then expect to hold onto those properties for an average of 17 years.

April 2006 Back to top


ARLA & NAEA Consultation moves forward in the UK

The Presidents of ARLA (The Associationation of residential Letting Agents - Robert Jordan) and the NAEA (National Association of Estate Agents - Christopher Hall) announced that the report into the options and desirability of a more structured integration of the two professional bodies will be put to their respective memberships. The decision is backed by the exceutives and Council. The next stage is to identify in detail how an amalgamation can be achieved and structured. The consultaion process is expected to take at least three months April 2006 Back to top


Anti-Social Behaviour Act (Scotland) 2004

A new law - Anti-Social Behaviour Act (Scotland) 2004 states that from the 30th April 2006, all Landlords of any private rented accommodation will need to apply to be registered with the Local Authority in which they let. This means that all Landlords letting out accommodation in Scotland will now have to be licensed. The only exceptions will be when the Landlord lives in the same property and holiday lets. (MORE INFORMATION) March 2006 Back to top


New legislation changes the definition of a House in Multiple Occupation - England and Wales

From the 6th April 2006 more properties will fall under this definition. It is aimed at improving standards of student houses and bedsits. Houses with three or more storeys let to five or more unrelated people will need to be licensed by the Local Authority. This is to ensure that the Landlord is a "fit and proper person". Landlords who fail to get a license by the beginning of July 2006 risk a fine of £20,000 for contravening the latest regulations in the 2004 Housing Act governing Houses in Multiple Occupation. (MORE INFORMATION HERE ) March 2006 Back to top


Uk Budget 2006

Stamp duty - While the rates for stamp duty land tax (SDLT) remain unchanged, the threshold for paying SDLT on residential property is increased from £120,000 to £125,000 from the 23rd March 2006 March 2006 Back to top


New Licensing Laws cause Landlords to say no to HMOS - UK

Research from the National Landlords Association (NLA) suggests that, 61% of landlords say they will be less likely to purchase a Home in Multiple Occupancy (HMO) following the introduction of new mandatory licensing laws.

The new regulations, which come into force in April this year, aim to improve conditions for tenants in the private rented sector. Under the new scheme an HMO will be any property shared by more than two unrelated tenants and which is not owned or managed by a public body. Student accommodation owned and managed by educational establishments which have signed up to a Code of Practice is also not classified as an HMO, nor is an owner occupied property with fewer than three lodgers.

Mandatory licensing will come into effect for all HMOs with three or more storeys and if there are five or more tenants in two or more households. HMOs that are not subject to mandatory licensing could nevertheless be liable to additional licensing or selective licensing, which local authorities could introduce in areas of low housing demand or with significant anti-social behaviour. To qualify for a licence HMOs will also have to comply with prescribed amenity standards and will also be subject to inspection under the new Housing Health and Safety Rating System.

David Salusbury, Chairman, NLA comments: "Landlords are not averse to the licensing of HMOs but are put off by the heavy and complex regulatory framework. Many landlords are unsure of how the new regulations will affect them and fear the licensing process will be costly and will add to the considerable amount of time they already spend dealing with red tape."

Almost a third of survey respondents currently either own or manage an HMO. Of those, the vast majority (89%) have an HMO which will be subject to mandatory licensing. Over 69% of landlords feel confident that all of their properties requiring a license will be granted one. However, 15% of respondents acknowledge that some of their HMOs may not be given a license, while 13% are still unsure.

David Salusbury comments: "Most landlords are reputable. Regulation is needed to protect private tenants from rogue operators. However, the NLA is concerned that over regulation could lead to a reduction in the number of HMOs available for rent. Our survey shows that nearly 1 in 6 HMO landlords are considering reducing their portfolios following the introduction of HMO licensing. Ultimately this means that private tenants, who the new rules are intended to protect, may end up with reduced availability of affordable accommodation and higher rental costs." Source NATIONAL LANDLORDS ASSOCIATION Representing the interests of more than 100,000 landlords nationwide - UK March 2006 Back to top

Interested in joining the NLA? Click on logo


Europe bans more than 90 airlines from its airports

As part of a plan to to tighten safety and maintenance protection after several air disasters more than 60 airlines have been banned. Regulations from 25 EU countries and Norway and Switzerland agreed to pool information and prevent airlines - most of which are based in Africa from flying to any of their airports. European transport commissioner Jacques Barrot announced the ban. Carriers from Congo, Sierra Leone and Swaziland. One African airline Air Mauritania has been given a "grace" period to meet regulations. Other Countries that have had airlines blacklisted are: Afghanistan, North Korea, Thailand, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyztan. March 2006 Back to top


Many home owners hold onto their old homes in Ireland when they buy another

Irish estate agents are reporting that more and more house buyers are keeping their old property when they trade up. They often switch to an interest only loan in their old home which can be paid by a good rental. As long as house prices move up, then there is no worry if you need to sell. In the short term it is a lot of debt, bit some people have been trying this for a year or so. This means that estate agents are complaining about a shortage of housing stock coming onto the market, particu;arly in the more affordable price bracket.March 2006 Back to top


Budget airlines move into Africa

easyJet has announced that it will be flying daily to Marrakesh in Morocco starting on Friday 3rd March. It will fly brom London Gatwick. The low cost carrier founded in 1995 by Stelios Haji-Joannou will offer flights starting at £30.99. Marrakesh was a popular destination on the hippie trail in the 1960's and now attracts celebreties like Damon Albarn and Sadie Frost. There are now a lot of people buying holiday home accommodation in the area. An easyJet spokeswoman has said that countries outside the EU were becoming enthusiastic about low cost airlines. The airline is also starting flights to Istanbul in Turkey and Rijeka in Croatia. From July 4th 2006, they start a service from Glasgow, Scotland to Marrakech. March 2006 Back to top


Households in Kent, England to have compulsory Water Meters

Folkestone and Dover Water has been given consent by the Department for the Environment, Food and Regional Affairs to force customers to have water meters installed. This is an attempt to combat the effect of the drought in the area. Britain is suffering one of the worst droughts for 100 years after two years of below average rainfall. The decision follows a call last week by the Government's Environment Agency for compulsory metering in southern England. March 2006 Back to top


jml Property Insurance can now offer Holiday home property insurance to many European countries.

jml property insurance has been acting as an agent introducing Landlord and Tenant insurance in the UK since 2002. As the company is heavily involved in self-catering holiday home rentals with, there have been numerous requests for property insurance for owner's holiday homes in mainland Europe as well as the UK. There are now more and more people buying holiday homes overseas and in the it makes sense to deal with a company that can provide a policy written in a language the owner can understand.

jml can now introduce owners in France, Spain, Portugal, Greece, Italy, Ireland, Germany, Belgium, Holland, Denmark, Sweden, Malta, Cyprus and the UK to a policy written in English and underwritten at Lloyds. The premiums are payable in £ sterling and the insurance is arranged via Andrew Copeland (Insurance Consultants) Ltd.

Andrew Copeland are based in London and are authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority in the UK. This is very good news for the owner of that dream holiday home property who is not too fluent in French, Spanish or Portuguese who can now understand the full details of the policy in his or her native tongue.

Further details can be found by going to March 2006 Back to top


Yields Rise as there is a revival in the Buy to Let market in UK

Resisdental rents are rising creating more demand for buy-to-let mortgages. New investors are being warned to act cautiously and not look at property as a quick rich process. The rental yield is the percentage of a property's value and they have started to go up. According to a survey carried out by Mortgage Express rental demand remains strong 89% of landlords think rents will rise in 2006. At the same time a survey from the Homebuyer show found that 91% of property investors felth being a landlord was stressful. When property prices were booming, investors could afford to make more of a risk. If they made a mistake and purchased the wrong property, they were more likely to sell it on and make a profit. The Portman Building Society has recently stopped advancing buy-to-let loans on new builds as they think there is an oversupply of new build flats in city centres.February 2006 Back to top


Unpublished research shows that a majorirty of people in Ireland are opposed to selling homes to pay for care

According to a report in The Irish Times, a significant majority of people are opposed to older people having to sell or remortgage their home to help pay for long term care. Research has been put before the Irish Cabinet. The unpublished research by the ESRI interviewed more than two thouand people. At present the Government favours a national means test system to establish what people should contribute towards their care. At present Government funds 90 per cent of the cost of care in public nursing with individuals asked for 80 per cent pf their old age pension. This compares with funding of 25 per cent for private homes. February 2006 Back to top


Ryanair to offer online check-in and luggage fees.

Passengers travelling on the budget airline Ryanair are to be offered cheaper airfares and the option to check on in the Internet from March 16th 2006. They will also face charges of £5 / €7 for each item of luggage they check in. The company says that it could cut the number of airport queues for its flights by as much as half and will incentivise passengers to travel with only hand baggage.

Any bag that weighs more than 10kg will have to be checked in. There are also restrictions as to what can be carried on board. Ski boots will have to travel in the hold. Under the new system, any passenger travelling with hand luggage who has an EU passport will be able to check in at the company’s website up to three days before their flight.

Passengers will be asked to print up their own boarding card, complete with a pre-arranged barcode. Upon arrival at the airport they can go directly to the security check in, thus avoiding the check in desks. Passengers who also check in their luggage on line will be charged €3.50 for each bag on the flight and will still have to present their bags at the normal check in desks.

Ryanair has beaten easyJet in becoming the first no-frills airline to offer passengers the option of checking in on line and said it was something they were considering. Aer Lingus has confirmed that it also intends to introduce online check-in later this year, but has no plans to charge customers for each piece of luggage checked in. January 2006 Back to top


Docklands in Dublin is being transformed and now it is being described as living in Googleland - Dublin, Ireland

In December 2005 Google announced that it would be adding up to 700 jobs in Ireland at its Barrow Street, Dublin Headquarters. This would s more than double the current employment at the Dublin office that serves Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

The Dublin base is Google's biggest non U.S. office and has a workforce that come from 35 nations and spoke 17 languages. A second building on Barrow Street is being renovated for Google's planned expansion and apart from offices in Docklands there is now a lot of residential accommodation.

Above: Google's Eureopean Headquarters at Barrow Street, Dublin


Below: Traditional Irish housing at the junction with Barrow Street, Dublin

The area begins at Ringsend around Barrow Street and Southwhere the glass panelled Gasworks is rising. Although people have not moved into the Gasworks yet, however the townhouses and apartments located around the base of the famous Dublin landmark are nearly full. The striking metal cylinder of the former gasholder at Barrow Street is the focal point of The Gasworks, an innovative residential development. Once completed there will be 70 apartments in The Clayton building that will comprises a rich mix of large one, two and three bedroom apartments. It is a four to six storey high linear building that forms the central spine of The Gasworks. Each stair core is naturally lit and leads to a maximum of 6 apartments on each level.

Left: The Gasworks

The former Bolands Mills located by the water has yet to be re-developed. There are complaints from some of the residents of the area who have lived there for years. Fears are too much traffic congestion and too many apartments without enough amenities. However close by in Gallery Quay a pharmacy has already opened and there are rumours that a supermarket will open in the basement.

Left: Docklands building - April 2006

The area will soon be home to the Irish Taxation Institute, PFPC and Rescon Developers amongst a few. With business come meal breaks and a wine bar and Italian restaurant are due to move into retail units in Longboat Quay. In the next couple of years Le Meridien Hotel and The Grand Canal Theatre are due to be completed, so Dublin 4 will soon be the place to live, work, visit and stay at - Googleland. January 2006 Back to top


King Juan Carlos alarmed by building on the southern coast of Spain

King Juan Carlos has sounded alarm over the excessive urbanisation of Spain's southern coast, especially the booming resort of La Manga in Murcia that is very popular amoongst British golfing holidaymakers and footballers. Speaking informally with a group of ecolgists, the Spanish Monarch said he had recently flown over the region and was "surprised and very worried" by the extent of building work.

The upmarket tourist development has sprouted a vast cityscape of cranes and scaffolding along the coast. This zone escaped exploitation because of its aridity. January 2006 Back to top


Landlords look to buy

On the the 9th January 2006 the ARLA Review Index and Investor Profiles for fourth quarter of 2005 was published. Whilst most buy-to-let landlords invest in residential ptoperty only 5% invest soley for the rental income. Instead over half the investor landlords are aimimg to create a "nest egg" 15 years ahead for themselves. The remainder look for a mixture of income and capital gain. Nearly two thirds of those landlords questioned said they aimed to increase the size of their property portfolios in 2006. Tenants are now staying in a rental property for an average of 16.8 months the survey showed and it also showed that it is now more common for a landlord to own a property in an area where they live.January 2006 Back to top


Market slumps for buy-to-let flats

A buy-to-let lender is refusing mortgages on new properties amid fears that there is an oversupply of newly built flats. The Portman Building Society (the UK's third biggest buy-to-let lender) will not lend on new flats until the market forces of supply and demand had become more stable. The society offers buy-to-let products through its subsidary - The Mortgage Works. January 2006 Back to top


House prices rise in Scotland

House prices in Scotland rose faster than anywhere else in the UK at the start of the year according to the Bank of Scotland. Research shows that house prices increased by more than 6% between January and March. Over the past year, prices have gone up by almost 23%. The surge in the market has pushed the average Scottish house price past £100,000 for the first time. Scotland is the last part of the UK to reach this six figure landmark. With a recent slowdown of house prices in London, they are still almost two and a half times higher than in Scotland.The strongest housing market is in commuter towns close to Glasgow.January 2006 Back to top


Spain's Iberia to launch a budget airline

Spain's largest ailine Iberia is seeking backing from banks to launch a low cost airline within the next two years. This will be a rival to easyJet and Ryanair and will be based in Barcelona. easyJet and Ryanair both have large hubs in Barcelona.

There are are currently 50 different airlines in in Europe with new arrivals being Spain's Vueling and German's Air Berlin and Germanwings and Poland's Wizz Air. In 2004 Veuling was started and it's main market is Spain and with a turnover of €115 million plans to go public in 2 years. The move by Iberia to lauch a low cost carrier comes a week after it announced to reduce 17 oer cent of domestic routes after the low cost competition was making it very difficult for them.

The Spanish newspaper Expansion has reported that Iberia wants to avoid following the same path as British Airways of taking on all the financial responsibily that it did when it launched Go (later sold to easyJet). Iberia's share of the Spanish market (it's biggest earner) fell 0.4 per cent to 15.6 per cent in 2005. January 2006 Back to top


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The information provided here on The Property News page is given in good faith and should not be relied on for accuracy


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