Resolving rental and buy price problems right across England and Wales

As far as building an estimated 100,000 or more new houses each year for social housing to rent is concerned, there are perceivable downsides to throwing money into this. This is a laudable policy of The Labour Party currently but for the reasons I am about to argue, it would be a difficult one to put into practical effect quickly. I would naturally welcome their spokesperson’s thoughts on this counterargument for further discussion however.

In the Thatcher era, it was generally understood that the existing council estates around Britain were tending to degenerate towards becoming urban ghettos or concentrations with poorer class-distinctions and lesser prospects and opportunities being available to those from within them.

In the 70’s the then Conservative government, as well as simply selling off individual council houses to newly aspiring home-owner residents (by using ‘Right To Buy’ as it became known), knew that the twin effect would be to slowly start to break up the localised concentration of social housing for rent.

It may now clearly be seen that to have allowed the capital raised from these sales to be used to build more council estates would simply have recreated the original societal problem once again.
A more creative solution would be needed and whilst no such solution was forthcoming at the time, it was understandably more prudent simply to sit on the cash raised instead.

The question was (and still is) if upwards of 100,000 new houses were to be needed for social rent all around Britain each year and for a decade or more to come, how could that be achieved without creating places tending towards becoming urban ghettos once again?

The only answer surfacing right now is to turn the problem of housing these families over to more private landlords.

In the process of bringing private investors into the business of managing both single and multiple tenancies in locations across the whole country, it soon became clear that this could only be achieved if the tenants under this model were given practically no security of tenure. Without that, the private landlords simply would not invest. The Assured Shorthold Tenancy was conceived.

The result has been quite a success from the point of view of actually housing lots of people and families in large numbers of locations across the whole country.
It is also clear that the reduction in concentrations of people living in social housing estates has had a number of advantages and the mix of council and privately owned houses brings a worthwhile added variation.

The question still remains however – what is the best forward?

Attempts have been made to force the developers of new housing estates to incorporate a proportion of low cost housing within all new developments but this has not turned out to be a great success but the provision rate of such affordable houses has dwindled recently.

If we look at the available evidence critically, some exciting new options start becoming clear.
First though, we need to rule out the options that won’t work. For example:

  1. As explained above, building more large scale social housing estates would not solve the societal problems resulting from doing that.
  2. Giving tenants of the private landlords more security of tenure, would alienate the private investors whom are risking their capital by providing housing for those people in their need.
  3. Rents over the past decade or so have increased beyond expected levels, partly owing to the degree of scarcity of available houses to rent.

So, what we are left with is there’s one thing and only one thing to be done.

It is restricting the degree of profit which may be made by private landlords and when seriously considered, this must be the best way forward. To do this effectively however would require a big, bold and extensive new set of policies and agency regulations to be set up by a truly responsible government.

To a smaller extent this may be partly achieved by forcing landlords to properly maintain the structure of their let properties in fully satisfactory condition. This is already now happening but that is not the final answer..

The main way of restricting the degree of profit which may be made, both by private landlords and by owner occupiers too, would be to bring in such new regulatory methods for the marketing, purchasing and renting of residential property using the procedures proposed under The House Price Virtuoso Solution already set out elsewhere in these pages.

For all the details about what this is and how it could inexpensively be fully and quickly implemented throughout England and Wales, please go to the main page covering this:

The House Price Virtuoso Solution.

Posted by: Peter Hendry, Housing Valuation Consultant
Author:– The House Price Virtuoso Solution

How to get the British housing markets back up and running without waiting for Brexit to be resolved

Here is my analysis of how to cure any stagnation developing within our housing markets:

The downturn for most local housing markets across England and Wales actually started to manifest before the Brexit uncertainties themselves began to take effect.

The best way to avoid cyclical downturns in housing markets is to lessen them by making sure the prices being quoted are as genuine, fair and as fully transparent as possible. That’s something that clearly isn’t happening and cannot happen whilst the agents negotiating each transaction are acting primarily for sellers with unrealistic expectations coupled with a percentage to be extracted by the agent on completion.

As buyers are being ‘turned off’ more and more because of over optimistic asking prices, sellers are simply failing to sell and so the markets are forced into stagnation.

Eventually, sellers have to lower their prices when they are forced to find buyers, because they need to move and cannot wait any longer. It’s an uncomfortable situation for both parties by this time. The one redeeming aspect of all this is that having just sold, the newly created buyer will be able to negotiate to a similar degree with the sellers of the next house they decide to buy!

This set of circumstances happens in almost predictable cycles across all housing markets and it has been doing so for many decades past.

It’s time to move to resolve this cycle of crises for the sake of everyone involved.

The ONE way this may be accomplished would be to change the way houses are marketed by using agents to assist buyers in searching for and purchasing their next house to live in and no longer use agents acting solely for vendors or sellers.

For more information about how this may be accomplished, please read the following series of articles on this blog, especially the one found on the link below – The House Price Virtuoso Solution. It gives full details of my proposals for resolving this issue and explains the method to improve the workings of all housing markets across England and Wales:

The House Price Virtuoso Solution otherwise known as The Hendry Solution

Posted by: Peter Hendry, Housing Valuation Consultant
Author:– The House Price Virtuoso Solution.

The primary justifications for sales and marketing reform in all housing markets across the UK

The cause of the failure of large numbers of buyers to be able to continue to afford to get onto the housing ladder is primarily on account of government banking and finance policy.

10 years have past since the 2008 financial crash and the effects of using quantitative easing (QE) are, at last, beginning to reveal themselves.

Virtually all capital assets have increased in value against sterling, whilst savings have simultaneously experienced a decrease in value – in real terms.  This situation, as everyone will now undoubtedly realise, does include significant price increases right across the housing markets.

The effect of this policy has resulted in a majority of millennials (i.e. people coming-of-age around the turn of the millennium) becoming unable to afford to buy houses.  Instead they will have to accept becoming long life tenants as being the only viable alternative to having to stay with their respective parents into middle age.

In my opinion, along with many others, this is a sufficiently bad effect to warrant a complete re-think of the way monetary policy is managed both by government and equally as importantly, by the separate institution of The Bank of England itself.

Here is the brief reason for this conclusion:

10 years ago (2008), the government was faced with coming up with a rescue plan to deal with the global financial crisis which was seriously affecting Britain as well as the currency markets in America and other major nations’ currency markets.  The required decisions were extremely time critical.

As a response, the government decided to authorise The Bank of England to issue digital money to purchase government bonds as loans for use to fund public borrowing by financial institutions.

The effect of this (which was well known at the time) would be to reduce the yields on such bonds owing to the increased demand for them.  The secondary effect (which would also have been known at the time), was that we were going to have to accept permanently lower interest rates across all financial markets.

This would result in banks everywhere having access to more funds to lend but (and this is a big but), they would then need to lend more money in order to earn enough from the lower rates of interest able to be earned from it.

The scale of QE engaged upon following the crisis was huge and at unprecedented levels.  Indeed such a course of action had never been tried to such a massive extent previously, even though it was deemed essential and the only plausible course to take.

Knowing that this was about to happen in the USA our government decided, along with The Bank of England, to follow suit.

The effect was going to be that suddenly, practically everyone in employment would start to have more borrowing ability and hence more purchasing power.  This was intended to help the economy to recover and save it from diving into a full blown recession.

The policy however would, at the same time, adversely affect those with savings to the extent that the interest earned on all such savings would no longer keep pace with the erosion of the value of their savings both by the risk of inflation as well as the severely reduced interest rates expected to be obtainable.

What the government was perhaps understandably somewhat coy about however was, knowing the only way to counteract the resultant inflationary pressures following the severe dose of QE which was about to be prescribed, they would have to simultaneously engage in a severe program of austerity cuts.  This they did with a determination that suggested their lives (or at least their appointments) depended upon it!

The unavoidable difficulty in doing this was that more substantial mortgages, to be available to those who could afford to borrow, would cause house prices themselves to increase very substantially.  In some places house prices have actually increased by between 40 and 60% over the past five years alone because of these policies.

As wages were never going to be able to keep pace with such increases, those having to save for a deposit to buy a house were soon finding themselves unable to save enough fast enough to keep up with expected house price increases.

The result of this, as we can now clearly see, is that many hopeful first-time buyers have had to defer and in many cases completely give up the aspiration of ever becoming home owners in their own right.  This is a tragedy for all of them and is now clear for everyone to see.

Owing to the resultant house price increases the direct effect of QE has been to cause a very significant slow-down in the numbers of houses being sold across all housing markets, certainly in England and Wales.  Whilst this is true it has not been very well documented, perhaps for fairly obvious reasons.

A further side-effect is that estate agency is suffering significantly, since they generally get paid after the sales they have actually arranged are completed.  Thus they are suffering a similar fate to other organisations more directly subject to the targeted austerity measures.

The true aftermath of the risky QE approach embarked upon is now becoming clear.  We are destined to be stuck with very low interest rates for years to come and our house prices, like a mirage appearing to stay just out of reach of the thirsty, will remain similarly out of reach of a large proportion of future home-makers or home owners.  There seems to be no easy alternative – now that we have been driven down this particular road for such a great distance and to a large extent, in our own ignorance.

There is however one way in which houses may be priced more competitively and market sales turnover thus restored.  It is what is advocated by The House Price Virtuoso Solution which is explained more fully in the link below.

Implementing this solution would greatly help both the present and future affordability of all houses by improving open market conditions.  This would allow the prices paid, to more closely match peoples’ ability to buy instead of having prices set based largely on the projected financial returns of house builders and developers – as generally happens at present.

The House Price Virtuoso Solution is a new and innovative way to make all housing markets across the land behave more in accordance with what local people can actually afford, by placing less reliance on vendors’ asking prices as being the primary price mark.

In the long run The House Price Virtuoso Solution, if implemented, would begin to restore confidence by enabling successful house purchasing across all areas, both within our towns and in our country.

I therefore strongly suggest that this proposal should receive detailed examination and I would encourage healthy debate in regard to it by all those with genuine knowledge in the housing sector.

To find out how such a significant market improvement could be achieved, please go to:

The House Price Virtuoso Solution: Full details of our proposals for properly reforming all housing markets in England and Wales.

Posted by: Peter Hendry, Housing Valuation Consultant

Supplementary reading:

BBC article on QE

propertyindustryeye article about first-time buyers and the housing market

Further justification for changing the way houses are marketed within the U.K.

Justification 2:
Before much is said about the reasons for the pricing problems perhaps the most important thing to be known and understood, is the fundamental reason why house price rises have been happening recently, despite our general economic trends falling.

Firstly, it is essential to know what distinguishes house sales and purchases from almost all other sales and purchases. It is that houses are capital assets and not chattels. This means that the values of all such assets vary in the market place, dependent upon the current demand for such assets.
In other words, such assets have an ‘intrinsic value’ which can both increase and decrease, depending upon current market conditions whereas things that are not within the class of capital asset, generally only depreciate in value as they age.

For this reason in particular, all those owning houses should treat them as such and not merely regard them as being something which can be marketed by the seller without taking the all-important ‘buyer’ considerations into account.

Justification 3:
It is of fundamental importance that houses should be regarded as having special characteristics in terms of their true current market values. If not, they cannot be bought and sold successfully in the marketplace.

The current way this is done does not have due regard to this aspect and the result is general chaos, with price disparities constantly rippling across the whole of the housing marketplace – generating unnecessary uncertainty.

The frequent delays and transaction failures which happen as a result, are testimony to this and they show that there is a need to substantially revise the way that things are done in these markets.

The way to resolve this situation correctly, is to alter the existing methods used to market these assets and instead treat them as capital assets in a similar way in which shares are traded on the stock market. I mean by this that buyers are and must be integral in deciding the prices-levels at which such assets ultimately change hands.

The House Price Virtuoso Solution gives the detail of how this may be achieved without excessive cost or delay and I hope you find these new proposals to be both interesting and worthy of consideration.

Justification 4:
In essence, what is required is to reform the methods by which estate agents operate in the housing market and this reform is now long overdue.

The necessary fix cannot simply be about building more houses to try and balance supply and demand, as claimed by many whom I have discussed this with. Instead it must be about making the housing market itself function far more efficiently. This may well (but perhaps understandably), be something which estate agents themselves are currently reluctant to seriously consider.
Nevertheless, this is what is needed, even more than starting to get additional housing units built as soon as possible.

There IS a better and quicker way, besides that of building many more houses which, by any degree of estimation, would have to take nearer ten years than just one if indeed such a proposal should even be capable of any degree of swift implementation somehow? More about that later!

Justification 5:
As stated, the housing market is broken, with prices being forced up beyond most people’s ability to pay.  This is not however solely about supply and demand, as I am keen to explain here.

It is also about money finding its way into the housing market illicitly, without sufficiently rigorous financial checks being made.  It’s essentially about selling agents (the estate agents) having become oblivious to this as well as a number of other issues – since their primary remit is simply to try and get the highest price possible for each property which they manage and sell on behalf of a vendor client.
Yes, estate agents will happily try and maintain that house prices are decided simply by supply and demand but this loose statement does not bear any serious scrutiny. A rudimentary knowledge of economic theory will undoubtedly confirm that.

Consider for a moment:
Dodgy money (or the money that requires laundering) which has caused significant house price inflation recently …
And:
Over-borrowing The rules for ascertaining who should be permitted to borrow, for what reason and exactly how much should be tightened – especially whilst such large sums are able to be borrowed so cheaply.
And:
Lack of valuation knowledge There’s a general lack of adequate valuation knowledge (and experience) possessed by most agents in the property sector currently …
And:
Bias towards vendor negotiations
There is a worrying lack of transparency concerning the way in which estate agents operate nowadays, especially as far as buyers are concerned.
Changes need to be brought in by government as agents themselves would clearly prefer not to do so whilst primarily supporting their clients, the vendors.
And:
Exaggeration
Meaning that lies, deceit and broadcasting misinformation are nowadays pretty rife amongst competing agents, whom are forced to utilise such tactics in their quest to each gain more instructions to sell or let.

It simply cannot be denied that each of these highly unacceptable behaviours are playing too great a part in deciding current-day house prices in England and Wales and that such matters have clearly not been adequately addressed so far by any responsible organisation including our government.

To find out how such a significant market improvement could be achieved, please go to:

The House Price Virtuoso Solution: Full details of our proposals for properly reforming all housing markets in England and Wales.

Posted by: Peter Hendry, Housing Valuation Consultant

There needs to be a sea-change in all housing markets across England and Wales

Why? Because the existing methods of marketing houses across England Wales are a violation of buyers’ rights and the general economic rules for arriving at fair valuations for residential property in the open market.

The methods used by estate agents are aimed at maximising prices for vendors at the expense of and to the disadvantage of buyers whilst also allowing banks to gain substantially by lending more. This is patently wrong and should be stopped.

To resolve this crisis I am asking our ‘government’ to stop the over lending by banks and borrowing institutions, causing house-price escalation in England and Wales currently. It’s time to fully re-assess this predatory and over-used policy.
It’s no good trying to prop up house prices at the expense of genuine open market affordability.

The solution to this crisis is fairly obvious.
It depends upon logical arguments, explaining how to bring about a fair and an inclusive way to buy, sell and to let privately owned houses across the whole of England Wales, especially to benefit the all-important first-time buyers and of course tenants hoping to become buyers.

There are now clear answers to the problems which such buyers are undeniably facing and these are becoming clearer as time goes by but a certain amount of bravery would be needed to effect the changes necessary to secure a sound housing market providing fair opportunities to those currently trying to buy, sell and rent houses to live in. Also, this would benefit those performing the vital agency work involving marketing and advising particularly buyers but also sellers regarding the sales and purchases which they wish to execute.

Genuine debate at a high level should be held on this.

To find out how this could be done, please go to:

The House Price Virtuoso Solution: Full details of our proposals for properly reforming all housing markets in England and Wales.

Posted by: Peter Hendry, Housing Valuation Consultant

Rough sleeping, or badly maintained privately rented housing and just pay the unaffordable rents?

What a terrible choice!

There was a great piece of journalism published by The Independent in August 2018 about the dilemma faced by rough sleepers.

It explained that the crisis which we were seeing within the UK housing market the was largely to do with polices put into place in the Thatcher era and later.

These anomalies cannot simply be wished away by trying to build thousands of privately owned and new social rented housing units.
The problem is a structural one, not relating to the building of more houses but relating to the way houses themselves are being marketed and financed.

The title of the article is:
Home ownership falls more in UK than any other EU country

The link to it is:

Aug 18 article in The Independent

I’m explaining in my proposed solution it’s no use hurriedly trying to build many more social housing or private properties for rent so that these may be provided to those in desperate need. The time required for that is simply not there even if the amount to be charged for such accommodation could be made truly affordable.

The apparently sane alternative, which is quick build privately rented accommodation, would also be too expensive for those in need, because of the shortage of houses across the whole marketplace irrespective of how many new properties were able to be constructed.

Providing housing is in a crisis because of the policies of past governments and that is why private landlords must be encouraged to provide good quality accommodation at reasonable rents; not discouraged with more and increasingly onerous tenant-centric legislation!

Secondly, those eventually stepping up from privately rented accommodation to become property owners themselves, i.e. first-time buyers, ought to be able to purchase at properly affordable prices to them.

This simply isn’t happening at the present time. The reason is: All housing markets across England and Wales have all the prices skewed in an upwards direction because of the banking and finance interests in lending each individual the sort of money they (the lending institutions) want to have to provide.

It’s time this gross over lending issue was finally confronted. This would, of course, mean confronting the lending institutions themselves!!
The precise way to do this is set out clearly in:
The House Price Virtuoso Solution.

For the complete solution to all of these issues, which could be achieved swiftly and economically, please go to:

The House Price Virtuoso Solution: Full details of our proposals for properly reforming all housing markets in England and Wales.

Posted by: Peter Hendry, Housing Valuation Consultant

Buyers need far better representation in the British housing markets

With estate agents acting primarily for sellers and land owners, buyers get poor advice or representation all too often.
Even though they are the ones raising (and usually borrowing) the money for each transaction, they are often the last ones to be told how things are progressing, especially where chains of other sales are involved. A lot of patching up of interlinked chains is frequently going on behind the scenes which is not necessarily to the advantage of buyers further down the chain.

This is inefficient and ought to changed so that the various local housing markets across England and Wales can begin to function more like perfect marketplaces; as they should.

All this happens because estate agents are primarily motivated to try and obtain the best price they can for whatever asset it is they are selling since they are contracted to act on behalf of the seller. The buyer is often the last person to be told when things are going against them and by then the only remedy remaining is for them is usually to find more cash to feed into the situation!

House prices are now returning to all time highs, but they are also increasing beyond average couples’ annual earning capacities for borrowing requirements. This is a big problem. It’s vital that a more holistic approach is offered to everyone embarking on a house move, especially if it’s a first-time purchase.

The only way this could be done would be to change the way residential property is sold by having agents acting for buyers instead of only for sellers.

What stands in the way of this happening is that existing estate agents are naturally going to be reluctant to consider such a change for as long as they can continue to control sales progress in the way they have done historically, essentially since the 1920s.

It would require the buying public to start seeing the anomalies they are having to contend with when using agents and to expect government to make the necessary improvements to bring about fairer competitive pricing across all residential property markets. Only then could house prices more appropriately track buying power in the locality in which a particular property is located.
This situation does need further in-depth explanation in order for the concept to be fully understood.

For a fully reasoned explanation about this, explaining exactly how this should be achieved please go to:

The House Price Virtuoso Solution: Full details of our proposals for properly reforming the UK housing market..

Posted by: Peter Hendry, Housing Valuation Consultant
Author:– The House Price Virtuoso Solution

Latest government funded research into the crisis within the housing markets across England and Wales

Here’s news (published in February 2018) on the then recent government funded research into the crisis existing within the housing markets across England and Wales.

An awful lot remains to be done to assist those wanting (and needing) to start buying their first houses or flats and thus later to be able to move to better accommodation as and when, and wherever they may require.

The Economic and Social Research Council have funded the recent research on the decline of homeownership among young adults through the Secondary Data Analysis Initiative (grant number ES/N011872/1) and the Centre for the Microeconomic Analysis of Public Policy at the IFS (grant number ES/M010147/1).

The online link to the IFS research is:
https://www.ifs.org.uk/uploads/publications/bns/BN224.pdf
The decline of homeownership among young adults.

The IFS are so right about the decline in home ownership. It’s a societal loss.

Alongside this I have worked on producing a policy designed to resolve the current problems within all housing markets across England and Wales.

My conclusion is that there is only one certain way to resolve this dilemma. My explanation covering this may be found at the following link.

The House Price Virtuoso Solution.
How to Improve all Housing Markets in England and Wales.

Posted by: Peter Hendry, Housing Valuation Consultant
Author:– The House Price Virtuoso Solution

The housing market is desperate for economic reform to bring everything back into line with local affordability.

It’s so obvious that the housing market is desperate for economic reform, to bring everything back into line with local affordability?

Please see:
The state of the UK housing market in five charts: The housing market is desperate for economic reform to bring everything back into line with local affordability.
An especially good article with graphs by Tom Ough – 2nd Sept 16.

My proposal for the way housing in England and Wales should be marketed, is based on changing from vendor-centric estate agencies to buyer-oriented ones as described in The House Price Virtuoso Solution (otherwise known as The Hendry Solution). This would not cost much to implement and would bring massive benefits to all local marketplaces.

To read more about The House Price Virtuoso Solution go to the following link:

Improve The Housing Market.
How to Improve the UK Housing Market.

Posted by: Peter Hendry, Housing Valuation Consultant
Author:– The House Price Virtuoso Solution

Simply building more houses can’t solve the housing crisis

Obviously we need to get more houses built, both for rent and to buy but developing this as a strategy for calming the housing market is not going to remedy the prices uplift which we have recently experienced. It cannot do that simply because building more can’t achieve anything for as long as the considerable time it would take to actually complete the building of the extra housing required.

The market itself is in need of intervention and this does require the involvement of government. A government that can put effective policies into practice faster than the simple but over-quoted ‘build more’ idea.

My solution is to overhaul the way in which houses are marketed, both for sale and to let by changing the way agents themselves operate.

A more market friendly method is required so that house prices can be attuned more towards peoples ability to pay, with less of the speculative pricing by agents, whom currently act only for the vendor legally. It is this which requires urgent attention.

A more transparent housing market would not only take the froth out of asking prices but would have the added effect of calming rent levels too. For more information please go to the link below:

My proposal for the way housing in England and Wales should be marketed, is based on changing from vendor-centric estate agencies to buyer-oriented ones as described in The House Price Virtuoso Solution. This would not cost much to implement and would bring massive benefits to all local marketplaces.

To read more about The House Price Virtuoso Solution (otherwise known as The Hendry Solution) go to the following link:

Improve The Housing Market.
How to Improve the UK Housing Market.

Posted by: Peter Hendry, Housing Valuation Consultant.