Ulster Bank Deposit Guarantee Scheme

Property prices on the up as deals help first-time buyers.

Byline: DARREN DEVINE darren.devine@walesonline.co.uk

GOVERNMENT SCHEMES BEGINNING TO HELP MARKET REVIVAL, SAY EXPERTS
PROPERTY prices have risen faster in Wales than in anywhere outside
London prompting hopes of a strengthening recovery, housing market
experts have said.

Prices in Wales grew by 2.5% this month compared to a year ago,
with experts suggesting the Nationwide figures are evidence Government
efforts to revive the market are beginning to work.

And quarterly figures show that in the first three months of the
year, Welsh house prices rose by 1.9% compared to the October to
December period of 2012.

The average price of a Welsh home now stands at PS132,971,

according to

prep.
1. As stated or indicated by; on the authority of:

2. In keeping with:

3.
 the figures from Nationwide.

Over the year to this month, only London, which saw prices rise by
4.6%, experienced faster growth.

Although UK month-on-month prices were flat, an average annual
increase of 0.8% represented the first rise in more than a year.

Spokesman for the
Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors

 (
RICS

RICS Return Inventory and Classification System
RICS Range Instrumentation Control System
)
in Wales Tony Filice said the renewed activity has been concentrated at
the
first-time buyer
 npersona que compra su primera vivienda

 npersonne achetant une maison ou un appartement pour la première fois

 
 end of the market.

Mr Filice, who is director of Cardiff estate agents Kelvin Francis,
said: “I think it might filter throughout all the price bands in
the next six to nine months.

“But I think the way to interpret this report is that the
increase in Wales has been at the lower levels because they’ve now
become affordable.”

Mr Filice said increased availability of 95% mortgages from banks
and building societies has been key in unlocking “latent”
demand from first-time buyers.

Barclays, Nationwide, Yorkshire, Newbury,
Lloyds TSB

 and – in Wales
– the Principality and the Monmouthshire building societies are all now
offering 95% deals. And in a further sign of the healthier credit
climate in
Northern Ireland
 see Ireland, Northern.


Northern Ireland

Part of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland occupying the northeastern portion of the island of Ireland. Area: 5,461 sq mi (14,144 sq km). Population (2001): 1,685,267.
, where prices fell by 8.2% at the end of
2012, the Ulster Bank is offering 100% mortgages.

The Government’s key initiative to revive the housing market
has been its Funding for Lending Scheme (
FLS

FLS Fire Life Safety
FLS Fatty Liver Syndrome
FLS Foreign Language School
).

Launched last August, FLS makes PS70bn available to banks at
reduced interest rates, but only if they guarantee to lend it on to the
UK’s small and medium-sized businesses and individuals.

But the evidence on whether FLS is working is unclear – earlier
this month it emerged the number of loans offered by banks has continued
to fall in spite of the scheme.

Net lending fell by PS2.4bn in the final quarter of last year
compared with the previous three months.

But the Treasury say this should not be read as failure, because
lending may have fallen further without the initiative.

Cardiff University

 economist professor Patrick Minford, a one time
sceptic over FLS, believes it is one of several factors, including a
more expensive rental market and a buoyant buy-to-let sector, now having
an impact.

The academic, who was an advisor to former Tory Prime Minister
Margaret Thatcher, believes the Nationwide data may point to the
beginnings of a sustained recovery.

Prof Minford said: “It will start building going and it will
start the furniture market and all those associated markets so it could
be the first sign of a more serious upturn.”

House prices are likely to get a further boost from a
multi-billion-pound scheme called Help to Buy, which was unveiled in the
Budget to help more people get on the property ladder or move up it with
a 5% deposit.

But north-west Wales estate agent Dafydd Hardy fears schemes like
Funding for Lending and Help to Buy risk delivering an artificial
stimulus to the economy that quickly dissipates once they end.

Funding for Lending ends this December, while one element of Help
to Buy will be withdrawn in 2017.

Mr Hardy, whose firm operates on Anglesey and in Gwynedd, said:
“I think we need to just reflect a bit and look at the figures in
say six months time to see what these Government incentives are really
doing to the market.”

> YOUR VOTE PAGE 21

2.5% the extent to which prices rose in Wales this month compared
to a year agoPS132,971 the average price of a house in Wales0.8% average
rise UK house prices this month compared to a year ago

CAPTION(S):

Property prices in Wales grew by 2.5% this month compared to a year
ago, with the average price of a Welsh home now standing at PS132,971