Mortgage Approvals slowing
As mentioned in many of our earlier Assetsure reports, the housing market is now showing signs of cooling down although consumer confidence remains high and people are continuing to spend money. There were 75,098 mortgage approvals for March which is almost 12% down on the same month last year. The net mortgage lending rose to 5.1bn but again, this is down on the recent average of 5.5bn. Recent interest rises now seem to be having an effect and credit card spending is also beginning to show signs of slowing down. Despite the recent news regarding interest rates, many homeowners remain optimistic that the economy will remain strong and continue to spend money. Many have seen excellent equity growth in their homes and this cushion is helping the feel good factor.
Dont forget your Travel Insurance – With the weather still unusually warm for the time of year, it would seem that most people dont expect to it last (unpredictable I think is the best way to describe the UK weather.) Brits have booked almost 15 million holidays since the start of 2007 with Internet booking increasing once more. More and more people are now making their own travel arrangements but as a result of this, often holiday Insurance is overlooked. If you are going on holiday or perhaps to visit your holiday home, Travel Insurance should be considered essential. The cost is relatively cheap and nowadays annual policies offer great value for money. Although many travellers are not really worried about the loss of baggage, travel policies usually provide Medical Insurance and this is vitally important if you are travelling abroad. Whilst it is true that European countries have reciprocal arrangements with the UK, you may not find that every eventuality is covered. Travel Insurance is one way you can help stop you trip turning it to a financial nightmare
Home Buildings News
Vandalism is a growing area of crime that is affecting home owners & holiday home owners. In the last 12 months, crimes in this sector rose by a staggering 11% and now it is estimated that as many as one in ten households have been affected by this type of crime. For homeowners, this type of crime represents a pressing UK social problem, of course if you have home insurance; in most cases your policy will provide a payout. That said anyone that has experienced vandalism a Theft claim will tell you that insurance is small compensation compared with the upset that these incidence can cause. Joining neighbourhood watch schemes and other police initiates can give homeowners a sense that they are actually trying to do something positive but until the social climate changes then home insurance should be maintained. Check you policy cover to make sure you have adequate protection for your needs. Its sad to report that almost 6% of people state that vandalism is a reason for moving abroad to live.
Blame the weather – At the present moment, all the indications are that we are in for a long, hot dry summer. This should start to sound alarm bells for any homeowner whose building is on clay soil that is more likely to shrink during dry spells and cause subsidence problems. In the last 5 years, the number of subsidence claims has increased by 50% and it is essential that you make sure that you have adequate cover against the peril of subsidence. During 2006 the UK insurance industry paid out £302.00 million pounds in subsidence claims. If you are buying a new property, remember to check the survey, is there any history of mining in the area, 15% of claims submitted where from properties with historical mining activity. Perhaps the biggest influence of subsidence is soil type and trees in the immediate location. Many insurers ask about trees within influencing distance of the building, and you should check the gardens for any tree that is within 22ft of your home that is in excess of 10ft tall. Remember shrubs as well as trees also draw moisture from the ground so these should be included as well. Inside the property, there are a number of things to look out for. Diagonal cracks, especially around door and window frames, doors that do not shut properly. If you are worried, ask you surveyor for clarification
Expatriates – House price update
If you are an expatriate living and settled in Spain, you wont be too bothered by the following news, investors and speculators will perhaps be a little more concerned. Spanish house price sales fell by nearly four percent last year along the Mediterranean coast. This statistic was released by the ministry of housing yesterday. This has implications for anyone that has purchased property Off plan as it shows that demand for housing is slowing. Holiday home buyers and would be expatriates have greeted this news as perhaps providing a signal that Spanish property bargains are just around the corner. Second hand House sales from the Costa Brava to the Costa del Sol, dropped from 301,197 to 289,540. The average time to sell a property in Spain now has increased to 30 months further demonstrating that the property market in Spain is cooling slightly. The biggest falls in house price sales were in Cadiz (-10.8% and Barcelona -10.6%.
Assetsure to insure Portuguese Property
Assetsure are pleased to announce that with immediate, effect, they are able to offer buildings and contents insurance for holiday homes in Portugal. Assetsure can also provide insurance for property that is owner occupied by Expatriates. Property prices in Portugal are a little below that in neigh boring Spain but main people are now turning their attention to the region as a place to buy a reasonably priced holiday home. The Expatriate community is growing in the country and Assetsure hope to be able to welcome many new clients.