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Expanding mortgage market, help for Welsh landlords, house prices in retreat, and anyone for a £95,000-beach hut?

UK property news describes a housing market in relative retreat. After many months of runaway increases, prices have now stabilised to the point of dropping back several points in the past three months.

And mortgage lenders have responded by expanding the range of deals now available – good news for borrowers.

In a surprise move, the Welsh government has indicated its willingness to help landlords achieve energy-efficiency targets.

Finally, an Essex beach hut is selling for £95,000 …

Mortgage market: Borrowers are benefitting from more deals on offer

There are significantly more mortgage deals on the market than at this time last year, said the Buy Association in a story on the 28th of April.

With some fixed-rate mortgage interest rates falling steadily, lenders have released more deals onto the market – taking the current tally to more than 5,000. This marks the biggest choice in mortgage deals since February 2022. The increased range of deals also reflects a wider choice across the various loan-to-value (LTV) mortgage arrangements currently available.

The Buy Association explained that a wider choice of deals points to a steadily more competitive lending market. That is always a good sign for borrowers, of course.

The Bank of England’s base lending rate is presently 4.25% and a further increase to 4.5% is on the cards – according to a story in the Guardian newspaper on the 20th of April. Even against this background of the increased cost of borrowing, lenders have been able to lower their rates for fixed-rate mortgages.

Surprise as Welsh government backs cash help for landlords to meet EPC targets

The Welsh government has surprised others in the UK by promising financial support for landlords in the principality as national energy-efficiency standards become ever more stringent.

A story in Landlord Today on the 28th of April revealed that the government in Wales recognised the likely financial pressures on private sector landlords there if the government in London presses ahead with plans to require any let property to attain a minimum Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) C rating.

As of the 1st of April this year, the minimum EPC rating for any new tenancy or the renewal of an existing tenancy in the private rented sector in the UK is a D. From the 1st of April 2025 the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) is expected to be further upgraded to an EPC of C.

The Welsh Government has pledged that unless the UK government arranges financial support for landlords to achieve these new standards, then grants or loans from public funds may be necessary to further such improvements.

UK house prices have dropped by an average of £3,006 since the beginning of the year

The recent reversals in the rate of growth of house prices have resulted in homes dropping in value by an average of £3,006 during the first 4 months of the year, according to a story in the Express newspaper on the 26th of April.

In some parts of the country, prices have fallen by as much as £21,000 in one month alone. The biggest falls have been reached in London – where average house prices have dropped by £5,903 – Scotland, the Southeast of England, and the Southwest.

Government figures show that the price of a house in the UK has fallen from £293,673 in January of this year to £290,667 – a fall of £3,006 in that month alone.

The biggest losers have been:

  • London – where average prices fell by £5,903;
  • Scotland – £4,782;
  • Southeast England – £4,664; and
  • The Southwest – £3,873.

Areas least affected – where average prices have only modestly decreased – include Yorkshire and the Humber (a fall of just £86), followed by the East of England (£366), and the West Midlands (£944).

Would you pay £95,000 for a beach hut?

As far as second or holiday homes go, a beach hut is an altogether pretty modest affair. Yet it can still set you back a tidy amount – according to some of the examples highlighted by the Daily Mail on the 20th of April.

The newspaper identified five attractive – but decidedly modest, not to say tiny cabins – in prices ranging from “just” £29,950 to a decidedly impressive £95,000:

  • Thorpe Bay, Essex – offered at a leasehold price of £95,000;
  • Tankerton, Kent – close to the Kentish resort of Whitstable, this beach hut will set you back £65,000;
  • Holland-On-Sea, Essex – for £42,500, you could own a cabin on the shores of the Essex coastline;
  • Hove, East Sussex – you need to be a locally qualified resident to bid for this beach hut at a price of £33,500;
  • Hunstanton, Norfolk – compared with many of the others, this cabin on the Norfolk coast would set you back a relatively modest £29,950.