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The Costs Of Countrywide Property Examined

Feb 15, 2008
No matter what social occasion you find yourself at this week, sooner or later someone's going to bring up the issue of house prices.

It seems to be a national obsession. When they were going up, those who already had a house were rubbing their hands in glee at the thought of all the money they had already made, while those who hadn't yet bought looked on in despair.

And now prices for countrywide property are levelling out a little, homeowners are a bit less smug... while the poor first time buyers just keep scanning local newspapers and property portals, in the vain hope of one day spotting a cheap property.

The reality is that even with prices slowing down, property is incredible expensive in the UK.

A new piece of research released in the last week by RICS, the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, shows that the affordability of property has gone down by a staggering 351 per cent in the last 12 years.

The reality is that affordability problems are at an all time high, affecting countrywide property. A couple who are on a low wage - known as lower quartile where the household income totals 26,595 after tax - currently have to spend an average of 40% of their household income, just to pay the mortgage.

This is just under the record of 47.8% which was set in the first quarter of 1991, but still higher than is comfortable for many families.

And the situation is worse if you are a first time buyer. To get on the property ladder, a lower quartile couple will have to save up to 104% of their joint take home pay.

To make that figure seem more real, that means saving just under 28,000 for the up front costs of buying a house. That includes the deposit, fees and stamp duty.

Of course, this is a national piece of research, and figures will vary across countrywide property depending on the local markets. But it still makes scary reading, especially if you are looking for your first home and only have a few thousand pounds put aside.

Let's take a closer look at the RICS figures for countrywide property across the UK. Unsurprisingly, London is still the hardest place for a low income couple to buy a house. And when you've bought your home, you have to spend just over 50 per cent of your monthly income paying the mortgage, according to the figures.

The situation isn't much better in the south east and south west, where couples still have to save more than 100% of their combined take home pay to buy property.

In the north east the percentage of salary needed to pay the mortgage each month drops down to 29%.

So what effect does this have on countrywide property repossessions? As you would expect, RICS expects them to continue to rise. It believes that throughout 2008, 123 homes a day will be taken back by the lender.

There is one piece of relief on the horizon that could have a positive effect on mortgage payments. It's looking likely that the Bank of England will lower interest rates later this week.

In fact it's virtually guaranteed. The Monetary Policy Committee that looks at all the economic factors each month is due to meet on Thursday.

It made a cut in December. And a Reuters poll of 60 economists last week predicted another cut being "almost certain" this week. It's thought the cuts are necessary to stop an economic slowdown from turning into a proper recession.

Whether you're trying to get your first home or just pay the mortgage on your existing one, that's sure to be a relief.
About the Author
For more info about countrywide property please visit http://www.propertytoday.co.uk/The-costs-of-countrywide-property-examined.11018.3737551.story
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