Property Auctions And Cheap Houses For Sale

If you want to buy at property auctions in the UK, a good starting point is to know which regions have cheap houses for sale. Despite the fact that many houses are now selling for less than their market value, there are still some areas that outsell others in terms of sale prices. I use property auction houses as a sounding board for no other reason than generally that’s where the real bargain are to be found.

As the fiscal year trudges on, despite the fact that things ain’t looking up any time soon ( re the global slump/crunch/recession, call it what you will), the desire for the buying of houses doesn’t appear to be on the wane. I won’t bore you with the figures, as I prefer not to have to wade through quant’s and stats any time I’m reading up on something I’ve little knowledge in but suffice to say that the UK house buyers market remains pretty buoyant.Conwy – North Wales

That’s supposing that you have the readies to do so in the first place. However, some do, that much is clear and the areas that appear to be benefiting from cheap houses for sale at various property auctions and estate agents are:

  • Wales – Conwy
  • Scotland – East Dunbartonshire
  • West Midlands – Dumfries and Galloway
  • South East – Hampshire
  • East Midland – Derbyshire

So, now you now, are you willing to buy a house in any of the above five regions? I guess that would depend on whether you already live there, want to live there or fancy your chances in the rental market. Whatever you think of it, it is good news. It does support the fact that 2011 is a buyer’s market, despite how gloomy the general financial outlook is for most of us.

Nottingham. The Forest to be exact. No cheap houses for sale in the forest,
used gratuitously due to the stunning vista.

Of course buying a house in one of the top five regions isn’t mutually exclusive with finding yourself living in an affordable town or city. Is Conwy cheaper than say the North East? Is the North East cheaper than living in West Wales? That’s a whole other board game. According to the stats (once again) some of the cheaper areas to live in (that don’t meet the cheapest house price list) are places such as:

  • Staffordshire
  • Nottingham
  • Warrington
  • Cumbria
  • Bedford

The above are but a few of a list of ten and of course you can do your own research and find out for yourselves. It’s always worth testing the market way before you drop a huge wedge of cash into anything significant. Scan the property auctions in the UK – there’s plenty of them, and get onto the mailing lists of the estate agents. A couple of phone calls or a shufty on the internet will get you the details.

It’s always worth checking further afield when it comes to wheedling out the bargain properties that currently litter our suburban melting pots. Let’s face it, the way our current Government is going it’s likely that more of us will be handing our homes back to the banks (read: relinquishing ownership under sufferance) than ever before, and we know what that means don’t we? Yup … even more cheap houses for sale.

Pictures: Wikipedia Commons - Users: Dbenbenn, Fuz

House Repossessed? In Debt? Tough Luck!

I got an interesting news letter into my inbox this week, something which may be of interest to those on the verge of a house repossession or for those that are generally in debt and sorely need help and advice.

The Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) is about to go decidedly pear shaped, due to a large funding cut that’s being put as high as 45%. The cut will effectively put an end to a variety of CAB centres around the UK, the knock on effect being that those who need them the most may now find ourselves batting completely alone.

Back in 2010, Gov Inc. stated that they were looking at abolishing around 200 quangos (Quasi-Autonomous Non-Governmental Organisation), as a means of covering some of the monies they were hoping to recoup by way of nation-wide spending cuts.

Three of the quangos that were up for wipe-out were Consumer Direct, OFT and Consumer Focus. Gov Inc decided to sit their caseloads onto the shoulders of the CAB. Presumably someone somewhere figured that the CAB were able to cope.

Oddly, Trading Standards were also roped in to take up the slack along with the CAB. In the interim, Trading Standards have found that they cannot cope with consumer need, and having prioritised, those that are deemed not important enough are simply not dealt with.

Fast forward to the poor, beleaguered CAB 2011 – who have just discovered that, despite all the guff about spending cuts not affecting front line services (etc etc) and the recent announcement that there would be 27m allocated for ‘face to face debt service’, funding’s being cut anyway.

Here’s a very recent little snippet, presumably delivered with pride (real or imagined, I guess it seemed sincere) and delivered with good intentions that does, in fact, mean absolutely nothing in the face of local governments cutting back on CAB funding:

“It’s vitally important that everyone has access to free debt advice, and I am pleased to announce that the Department for Business will provide the £27 million necessary to maintain the programme of face-to-face debt advice” – Vince Cable, Secretary of State for Business, Feb 2011

Oh … ok.

So let’s see. Gov Inc said that they wouldn’t cut funding for front line services. But they have. Gov Inc said that they wouldn’t allow bank bosses to pay themselves bonuses that exceeded £2000. But they have.

Gov Inc said they would be abolishing around 200 quangos as a means of saving money. But they haven’t. Crikey. In debt? Facing a house repossession? Worried about the future, your career, your prospects?

So long as you don’t expect Gov Inc to actually help you, so long as you realise that lip service is all you’re ever going to get, all will be well. Not for you. Not for me. But at least those at the top, that don’t need help, that already live in a manner to which most of us don’t even have the time to dream about, will be alright Jack.

You are on your own. Don’t say no one told you.

National Debt And House Repossessions Go Hand In Glove

In the final quarter of 2010, house repossessions levelled out at around 7,900 for the closing period. That’s a drop of around 11% on the previous quarter. Good news. However – if the planned cuts as per the coalition manifesto go ahead it’s unlikely that the numbers will continue on the downward trend.

According to the economics and financial experts – the guys and gals that spend their days watching and analysing various markets, national and global spending and determining mid-term predictions – if inflation kicks in right alongside the spending cuts, more repossessed houses could well be on the cards.

The fact is that inflation will have to rise again at some point. As of today (Feb 14th) the inflation rate remained unchanged at 0.50%. However the likelihood of that staying as is was always an unlikely prospect. In many ways, enjoying a successive 23 months of ‘no change’ – whilst welcome – it’s also beginning to feel a little … frightening.

Of those among us that haven’t yet hit the financial wall – the coming year is going to be nothing short of a trial. Just because we haven’t hit it doesn’t mean we won’t with the slightest tip of the scales. Judging on the coalition’s spending cuts (that are now underway) and the likelihood of a rise in unemployment for those hit by the cuts – the future certainly isn’t orange.

Between what Gov Inc have in store for the UK as a whole, the proposed Big Society (getting off to a great start with Liverpool already backing out of being one of four targeted areas to spearhead the campaign) and the potential for more price hikes, pay freezes and benefits cuts the future of the ordinary working man (and woman) is looking ever narrower.

National and consumer debt is spiralling out of control – currently climbing above and beyond the really scary and likely to morph into the super scary in the next couple of years: 65% GDP as of now – predicted to rise to 79% by 2014 at the current spending rate.

Explaining national debt would make for a really long article and right now is not the time but – the biggest cause of debt in the UK is how our government spend our money. Labour doubled our national debt from 40% in 1997 up to the predicted forecast of 2014.

Unless the coalition stops spending and starts repaying the whole country will eventually go bankrupt. This kind of puts our position as the man at the bottom of the pile into perspective. If Gov Inc raise (nay – demand) ‘x’ amount in taxes – and yet spends double that amount – the money comes from investors.

In 2009/2010 £496.1 billion was raised from taxing the British population. The government spent £671.4 billion. That’s an overspend of £175.3 billion. 2011 isn’t going to get any brighter. So – can we expect to feel the strain even more – will there be rise in house repossessions, despite persistent statements from the experts to the contrary?

The simple answer is – yes. Inflation will rise, probably around May. It should rise (it will need to) at least twice more before the year end. Gov Inc need to spend to withdraw – despite the massive cuts they’re implementing, money will still go out of the pot and foreign investors will need to be repaid this years interest on national debt – as well as borrow more to bridge the gap between taxes raised due to the fiscal policy – and the amount need to keep the UK afloat.

How can you help? By not living beyond your means. Debt is debt – even at the lower end of the scale. The more you tighten your belt now, the quicker you move away from what you want and nearer to what you actually need, the quicker you’ll get a realistic hold on your finances.

How much is your mortgage? How much do you spend month to month? What do you owe on credit cards? Do you live in your overdraft? It really is time to take stock. Denial won’t help, waiting won’t help, and the way that the UK national debt and the banking systems are operating – you may well find that there’s no one left to turn to in a few years time.

Do your bit now. Stop spending what you don’t have. Make positive changes, realistic changes. Take your future into your own hands. The more you understand what’s going on around you – the more you will realise that the quicker you take stock, the less chance there is of losing it all in the future.

House Repossessions And Buy To Let Rental Market

According to the Paragon Group – a mortgage buy-to-let company – the rental market is about to experience an increase in rents.

As many as 40% of landlords are about to hike up their charges by as much as 8% in various regions around the country. Is this due to the current trend related to house repossessions – or something else?

The truth is it’s related to a combination of factors: there are more students looking for rental properties, there are more and more incidents whereby people cannot secure a mortgage and the influx of migrants are all influencing the trend.

When you also add in the fact that more homes are being repossessed – it’s clear why landlords are in such a strong position – demand is rising at a faster rate than supply. Is this good news for the housing market? That depends on which side of the fence you’re on.

If you’re a landlord, or you’re about to break into the property market by way of buying at property auctions in the UK – then the answer is a resounding yes. If you’re looking to rent a property, then it’s an equally resounding no.

As a matter of fact my sons have just discovered (as they’re about to renew the lease on their jointly shared apartment) that their landlord has hiked up their rent by a whopping 10% … which of course is 2% higher than the predicted national average.

Obviously the decision is not one they want to hear – just because they’re renting does not mean that their bank accounts can cope with the potential increase. In fact – renting and being financially secure are not mutually exclusive. Often it’s quite the opposite.

This is more likely the case in the event that a prospective tenant has just gone through the house repossession process. Losing your home isn’t always cost free. Plus the reasons surrounding the loss are related to an obvious lack of financial stability in the first place. In short – it sucks.

For my son’s part, they’ve only been renting their apartment for 12 months. If their landlord keeps hiking up the rent by 10% a shot, within another two years they’re going to find it really difficult to meet with the increase.

Like most young people their annual income won’t rise even halfway close to 10% increase – over a two year period. What then? Buy? Singularly that’s an unlikely prospect. Together, a stronger one. But – where do they turn to for a mortgage?

Mortgage lenders are growing increasingly cagey about lending. Although the current leaning is for said lenders to deny that they’re tightening up on the lending criteria, those of us on the street aren’t stupid.

Currently, unless your last name is Gates and your dad’s first name is Bill – most people are finding it extremely difficult to secure a realistic mortgage offer. But then – if Bill Gates was your dad, you wouldn’t need a mortgage anyway.

So – whilst the rental price increase may not be strictly due to the house repossessions going on around the UK – it’s certainly an important factor. Landlords are finding themselves in a very strong position – one which it would appear many are exploiting.

And we understand that. They’re running a business and businesses only exist for one reason only – and no … it’s nothing to do with supplying a great product or helping folks’ out – and everything to do with making a profit.

And let’s not forget the fact that the Government is about to start reducing housing benefit. Could things get any worse for the poor, beleaguered ex-house owner to be? I’d like to think not. However looking ahead – I think things are going to get just a little bumpier for all of us.

House repossessions are not going to flatten out anytime soon. Migration levels are unlikely to drop enough to significantly affect the market. Young people are going to continue on their quest for higher education – despite knowing what they’ve got coming re spending cuts (the EMA grant for example) and raised fees once they head into uni – because they’re entitled to want more from life.

But that’s a whole other story.

Stop Repossession – But Don’t Use Your Credit Card

If you’re facing an uncertain future and wish to stop a repossession order – don’t use your credit card. As the New Year came and went new figures were published that showed a frightening (though understandable) tendency for home owners using their credit cards as a means of keeping up with mortgage repayments.

The homeless charitable organisation Shelter found the news to be alarming enough to issue a warning that went along the lines of: don’t use alternative forms of credit as a means of supporting yourself through financial difficulty.

In a nutshell, the use of credit cards is doomed from the outset. By using a different type of available credit – you are staving off the inevitable. If you’re already experiencing financial difficulties then using a credit card will only exacerbate the issue somewhere down the line.

Most credit card arrangements require that you pay the money back at a far higher interest rate than your mortgage lenders will be charging – so it’s pure math that several months of paying your mortgage with your MasterCard is going to increase your outgoings at an exponential growth rate.

The facts – mostly related to the financial situation and/or repossessions in Yorkshire and the Yorkshire region in general:

  • More than 287,000 individuals across the region may be using their credit cards to pay their mortgage or rent
  • Of around 2 million people asked (nationwide) during the survey – of those that said ‘yes – they had been using their credit card/s’ – 7% of that figure were from the Yorkshire region
  • In the November of 2009, the same question brought back a 4% figure that were doing the same in Yorkshire
  • Across the nation, the predicted figure for this year is that it’s almost a 50% increase on the previous year (2010)

As you can see – the figures are frightening.

If you’re one of the above and you can’t see no way round keeping up with your mortgage repayments – are you certain that you haven’t explored all other options that may be available to you?

You can turn to Shelter, the Citizens Advice Bureau, your local Government to check if you’re eligible for their Mortgage Rescue program. Then there’s the mortgage lenders themselves. They are prepared to listen because the bottom line is this: they don’t want your home.

No matter how much it may feel like it, the last thing any bank or large mortgage lender needs is an ever increasing portfolio of homes that they need to deal with. Banks are not property developers – they’re banks.

They’re in the business of making money by way of lending, holding and distributing the green stuff. That’s what they do – that’s what they are. If they end up repossessing a home they are then responsible for it – and they don’t want to be.

Why do you think that there are so many bank owned properties appearing at house auction venues across the UK? They don’t have the time to maintain them, attend to all the minutiae that is part and parcel of home ownership.

It really is in your mortgage lenders best interests to keep your home in your possession – and that’s something worth thinking about. Yes – you can and do come up against jobs-worth employees that make you feel as you you’re a voice in a million but – that’s not the majority.

As an example the Yorkshire Bank has a fantastic dedicated debt solutions department that’s so far doing a great job of talking with its customers as a means of finding agreeable solutions to spiralling debt and the potential of a future house repossession.

The HSBC work with customers on a client-by-client basis – and do their best to find a way forward. Barclays also use a tailored approach and the Halifax Bank – the UK’s biggest mortgage lenders – are the same.

The fact is this: if you need help, ask for it. Don’t wait until the carthorse has well and truly bolted. Using your credit card to pay of your mortgage is simply borrowing from Peter to pay Paul. It’s a fool’s errand and will only result in the worst case scenario – unless you’re incredibly lucky.

To stop house repossession in Yorkshire – or any other region across the UK – pick up the ‘phone and make the call now. You have plenty of avenues available to you providing you don’t bury your head in the sand.

The problem with head burying is this … when you lift your head back up again your world will have tilted too far the wrong way. Don’t lose your home – act now.

The Yorkshire Bank Steps In To Reduce House Repossession Numbers.

If you’re a member of the Yorkshire Bank and you’re facing potential house repossession – you’re in luck. In late December 2010, a report was published in relation to the banks stance regarding reducing the numbers of repossessions across its portfolio of borrowers.

Unlike other banks and lenders, Yorkshire Bank chooses to keep its arrears department in-house, thus avoiding the possibility of more of its borrowers falling through the net. The thinking is that by providing a dedicated section – called the Financial Solutions Unit – the bank can keep on top of those that need financial help and advice the most.

The unit was created back in 2009 and judging by the figures – the system works. As a rule, mortgage lenders tend to spread their debt services around different branches or even subcontract the work – which only works if a high standard of effective communication is in place between the lender, service and users.

In 2009, Yorkshire Bank repossessed 78 homes. In 2010 the figure had climbed to 96 – so does that illustrate that the format works? IN a word – yes. The bank has managed to work with and help in excess of 4,700 customers since the unit’s inception.

Coupled with that is the fact the bank possesses an extensive portfolio of borrowers on its books – plus there’s also the fact that two years into the recession, more and more people were feeling the pinch.

An increase of 23% is still an increase but in light of the facts – the system is working. The FSU not only tackles mortgage arrears, it’s widened its net to accommodate credit card debt, overdrafts and personal loans.

Shoring up the whole debt/financial issue is a great way to help a borrower avoid house repossessions – and the reality of it is that it benefits both the lender and the home owner. Banks don’t want/need houses – they want your money.

It works like this – if you continue to pay your mortgage over the natural course of the pre-agreed time span, the banks make more money in the long term. That’s what investing is all about. Whilst they can and do sell repossessed houses via auction property agents – that’s not the ideal situation and not what they (or you) signed up for.

If that were the case banks would stop being banks and switch to being direct property investors instead. In view of all that, what the Yorkshire Bank is offering is a very sound package of support for those that need it.

Knowing that you can halt the potential of a future repossession is far better than knowing you can’t do a thing about it. The additional stats made public by the Yorkshire Bank speak for themselves:

  • Sept 2010 – total assets that went 90 days overdue were £265 million
  • The previous year the figures were standing at £284 million – which shows that there was a 7% drop

The SFU works by way of referrals from branches around the country. If a borrower falls behind or requests a switch to an interest-only mortgage, the system flags the query or shortfall. You are then approached and offered the opportunity to discuss your finances.

If the Yorkshire cannot come up with an amenable solution, they don’t simply drop you off the deep end – they will instead refer you to an external agency that specialises in debt counselling (C.A.B. for example) and all being well a solution can be reached.

In short – what Yorkshire Bank is offering their customers is a well designed, well-rounded package of customer care. If you’re worried about your finances in any way, or can see the potential of house repossession down the line – talk to them.

It would appear that the Yorkshire Bank is the new listening bank.

Yorkshire Bank – SFU – (opens in new window) this takes you directly to the Yorkshire Bank’s SFU.

Banks Take A Bonus – While House Repossessions Continue To Rise

An interesting article appeared in yesterday’s news – banks are delivering a healthy bonus to their (already) highest paid employees … whilst house repossessions continue to rise. And who’s predominantly responsible for the recession? The banks. Let’s face it (before anyone thinks to disagree) – the economy is in the mess it’s in due to the global banking crash.

That’s all In a nutshell of course but – that’s the top and bottom of it. Tax-payers money has gone a long way to bailing out the banks as a means of trying to avoid a further deepening of the financial crisis. Too much borrowing, shady lending, the list goes on – and those that can afford it the least are left to drown.

There’s something very very wrong here. Whilst I recognise that banking bosses work at high pressure levels, that their jobs entail massive responsibility – not just for the bank they work for but also the economy – to pay themselves massive annual bonuses is morally wrong.

As an example, the Royal Bank of Scotland has just been hit with a whopping £2.8m fine in relation to their appalling customer service record. Nothing to be proud of. And neither is the fact that on the same day the fine was decided upon – the RBS boss Stephen Hester is reported as being in line for an astonishing £3m bonus.

This is over and above his exceedingly high salary. Then there’s the chap reported as being the highest earner in the banking sector – Bob Diamond – who’s in line for an even more astonishing figure … £8 million. Unbelievable.

In fact – what’s more unbelievable is the quote that appeared alongside the news report, relating to some of Bob Diamond’s uttering’s before the Treasury Select Committee on Tuesday of this week, which went along the lines of:

he [Bob Diamond] felt no remorse about paying himself the incredible bonus, and that the time for apologising is over

The thing is – what is it that they’ve done that deserves such a payout? The RBS is in a mess. Of that there’s no doubt. A massive fine, share prices down, tax-payer bail-outs – the £20 billion that the RBS received as a means of keeping it buoyant when the bank crisis peaked … this warrants rewarding?

On top of that, there’s no point in those of feeling the worst effect of the financial mess hoping that our government is going to step in anytime soon:

“If they decide to pay themselves big bonuses when they should be rebuilding balance sheets, they should know we will step in, using the tax system. That is a very clear warning.” – David Cameron, October 2009

Hmmmm. The above quote doesn’t stand alone – a number of other politicians generated the same spin, not least: George Osborne, Nick Clegg and Vince Cable.

The general feeling is that those paying themselves big bonuses when the bank is a shareholder institution and still struggling to regain its equilibrium should not be allowed to do so.

There’s no justifying the sharing of vast bonus pots in comparison to the housing market, the house repossessions, the debt and financial strain that ordinary folk are experiencing.

An interesting side note is the fact that on the Tory website there’s a short report on David Cameron’s opinion of bank bonuses, which was published on the 15th of February 2009. You can read that here (opens in new window).

The horrible truth is this: the UK government really doesn’t care about the status of those that are being hit the hardest. So … your family is experiencing debt, is under immense pressure to stay afloat, may well be facing or has already experienced a house repossession procedure … and?

The worst irony in the entire bank bonus debacle is the fact that Steven Hester’s bonus is performance related. Clearly the RBS is massively under-performing and he’s the boss so … what’s up with that?

One could assume that beneath all the shine that appears to emanate from becoming the boss of a high street bank is the fact that these guys are also experiencing financial uncertainty. Maybe their rather large and no doubt exclusive residences are under threat of property repossession?

Looking at what these guys are paying themselves who knows? If that’s the case – and in light of the fact that Gov Inc are A) not stepping up to the plate re their pre-2011 banking bonus opining and B) showing no sign of sticking to any of the promises they made then perhaps we – the guys on the shop floor – can dig a little deeper.

Why not? Many of us are under threat of losing our homes, of seeing our houses repossessed – what more could possibly go wrong just because our pockets are emptied that little bit more?