Category Archive Conveyancing

ByMichael Morrison

London’s Hot £1bn Office Buying Frenzy

There’s a red hot property market prevailing in London at the moment according to commercial conveyancing solicitors with pressure on for completions before Christmas.

The Gherkin was speedily bought recently by Joseph Safra for £726 million according to industry insiders.

The strength of the capital’s economy and the reasonably high returns on investment are proving to be a sweet temptation for purchasers of London’s commercial buildings.  Such transactions include the purchase of Bow Bells House near St Paul’s for £300 million by Fubon Life the insurance megalith from Taiwan; it also has recently added neighbouring One Carter Lane to its portfolio for £139 million.

Other hot purchases are Milton Gate, Vintners Place, Thames Court and Cannon Bridge House which are expected to achieve in excess of £800 million.

The Abu Dhabi-backed flats developer Northacre is the suspected purchaser of Victoria’s New Scotland Yard, home of the Metropolitan Police, for £300 million and a takeover bid for the Canary Wharf developer by Qatari and Canadian Investors has been tabled.

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ByMichael Morrison

Commercial Conveyancing Boom in London Surburbs

London suburbs such as Bromley and Brentford are enjoying a commercial property boom as buyers priced out of the centre of the capital look to snap up offices, property firm CLS said today.

The company, around half of whose £1.2 billion portfolio is centred on London, owns a clutch of properties in locations which include New Malden, Acton, Bromley and Brentford.

But CLS, which has spent more than £40 million on suburban offices in the past two years, said a “significant increase in competition” from both foreign and domestic buyers as well as more readily available bank credit had pushed up prices in the outskirts of London.

The business’s chief financial officer John Whiteley said: “There are far fewer bargains about. We’ve bid on £90 million of property in the past six months and looked seriously at around three times that, but we’ve not bought any.

“We don’t want to overspend on any of them, we’ve been a bit greedy.”

Demand for space in cheaper areas of the capital has pushed rental values up almost 9% in the past six months.

Our service has become known as a reliable recommendation source for commercial businesses.

The UK’s biggest listed property company, Land Securities, continued its recent run of wheeler-dealing in shopping centres today as it sold its 50% stake in Bristol’s Cabot Circus to AXA Real Estate for £267.8 million. The company recently spent £656 million on a stake in Kent’s Bluewater shopping destination.

Original reporting by the London Evening Standard 13/8/14

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ByMichael Morrison

First Time Buyers Loans Hit 7-Year High

More first-time buyers are getting onto the housing ladder than at  any time since 2007, mortgage lenders said today.

Mortgage lenders made 28,600 first-time buyer loans in June, 7% more than the previous month and the highest since November 2007, according to the Council of Mortgage Lenders. By value, banks and building societies lent £4.2 billion to those taking their first step on the ladder, the highest amount since August 2007.

Loans to other homebuyers also grew over the month but at a slower rate, increasing by 4% to 31,900 as the market cooled slightly in response to tighter mortgage restrictions introduced at the end of April, as well as higher anticipation of interest rate rises from the Bank of England.

CML director general Paul Smee said: “For the second month running since new rules took effect, lending characteristics remain similar to the market beforehand.

“We now feel confident that, as we would hope, the mortgage market review effect is more gentle dampener than hard brake.”

The CML’s figures showed affordability for first-time buyers little changed with buyers borrowing  3.47 times their income. They borrowed an average £123,865 in June, up from £121,500 in May. Record low interest rates meant payment burdens remained relatively low in June, at 19.3% of gross income. Over the second quarter as a whole, there were 79,900 first-time buyer loans — 24% up on the same period a year earlier.

Mark Harris, chief executive of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients, said: “The lending market remains strong, suggesting that the impact of the mortgage market review has not been detrimental.”

To paraphrase Harold Macmillan, the former Prime Minister “Conveyancing solicitors in London have never had it so good!”

Original reporting by the London Evening Standard 11/8/14

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ByMichael Morrison

House Prices Rise at Fastest Rate Since 2007

House prices are rising at their fastest rate since the run on Northern Rock in 2007 after a stellar July for the property market, lender Halifax said today.

The cost of the average UK property rose at an annual rate of 10.2% in the three months to July according to the bank’s latest house-price index after a faster-than-expected 1.4% surge last month alone.

The double-digit annual rise is the quickest since September 2007 when Northern Rock — eventually nationalised — was at the centre of the UK’s first bank run in over a century.

The increase — much stronger than registered by Nationwide — is sure to provoke more speculation of interest-rate rises from the Bank of England.

Threadneedle Street is using measures such as restricting high loan-to-income mortgages to cool the market as a first line of defence but loan approvals are recovering from a dip earlier this year.

Rob Wood, chief economist at Berenberg, said: “The housing market is shaking off new mortgage rules. This is important, as the BoE have recently been pointing to the housing market as a good reason for broader economic growth to slow. We look for house prices to gain 10% in 2014 and 2015.”

Our conveyancing solicitors in London are now reporting that their current work volumes are similar to those enjoyed pre recession.

Original reporting by the London Evening Standard 6/8/14


Average house prices in London have surged to within a whisker of breaking the half million pound barrier for the first time, latest official figures show.

They rose by 19.3 per cent to £499,000 – more than 11 times the average full-time London salary of £43,866 – in the year to June, according to the Office for National Statistics.

Despite the sharp rise, there are some signs of the widely anticipated cooling in the market as the rate of increase is down from the 20.1 per cent peak recorded in May. The ONS data tend to lag actual agreed deals by several months. More up to date figures yesterday from the property website Rightmove showed asking prices slumping nearly 6 per cent in August.

Fears about interest rate rises, tougher mortgage approval rules and a strengthening pound that has made London more expensive for foreign buyers are all thought to have taken some of the heat out of the capital’s propperty market.

According to the ONS average price of a newly built home – the section of the market most dominated by foreign buyers – actually fell slightly in June from £408,000 to £398,000.

However, there was little sign of relief for first time buyers with average prices for debut home owners rising from £388,000 to £393,000.

Campbell Robb, chief executive of the housing charity Shelter, said: “Today’s house price hike is yet another blow for people across LOndon desperate to put down roots and create a stable home.

“No matter how hard people work or save, millions are being priced out of a home of their own, caught in the ‘rent trap’ and constantly moving from one expensive property to the next.

“The only solution is for politicians to roll up their sleeves and build the affordable homes we so desperately need. From a new generation of part rent part buy homes, to encouraging smaller builders back into the market, there are ways to fix this country’s housing crisis.”

Original reporting by the London Evening Standard 19/8/14

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ByMichael Morrison

How to Cut the Cost of Moving – Cut Fees Not Corners

SOLICITORS conveyancing fees range dramatically. The Solicitors Information Service (020 7483  4833) provides a list of recommended solicitors.
The Solicitors Information Service says: “it is most important for you to find someone who is competent. Anyone charging less than £400 may not be offering a particularly good service, but very expensive firms are probably not any better than moderately priced ones.”

The Sunday Telegraph (May 1999) and The Times (October 1999)


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ByMichael Morrison

Moving – and Shaking at the Thought of the Cost

In the past, solicitors based their conveyancing fees on a percentage value of the house, but now, because of cut-throat competition, most offer a flat-rate fee . But be careful the cheapest are not necessarily the best, says Michael Morrison, director of the Solicitors Information Service. The service has a database of reliable solicitors and those on whom they receive negative comments are withdrawn from the list there are some firms who offer cut-price conveyancing and are known to you secretaries to do some of the work. They rely on volume and can afford the odd slip up. Just don’t let that slip up be you.

The Daily Telegraph (May 1999)


For a recommended conveyancing solicitor in London contact us at Which Solicitor? – The Solicitors Information Service on 020 7483 4833. formation Service on 020 7483 4833.



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Land Registry – Changes

Land Registry widening its powers and take on local land charge searches

Land Registry is making it easier to register a property in England and Wales.
It is to become the sole registering authority for Local Land Charges (LLC) in England and Wales, leading to a standardised national fee for the first time and an end to the existing ‘postcode lottery’.

The changes will also lead to an improved, standardised and digital service and will result in better access to property information and a more streamlined conveyancing process. Preparatory work will begin from April 15 for a phased migration of the LLC service to begin later that year.


Work will begin on a phased migration of the LLC service to Land Registry from April 2015.

The announcement was made as Land Registry unveiled the results of its consultation into extending its powers and assuming statutory responsibility for a digitised LLC register for England and Wales.Ed Lester, Chief Land Registrar and Chief Executive, said:

“The proposals will provide a “one stop shop” digital LLC search service, which will improve and standardise the service through faster turnaround times. This is consistent with Government’s digital by default agenda and will ease the process of buying property.”

“We have listened to the consultation feedback on LLC and have made a number of changes to the original proposals. For example, the period covered by a LLC official search will not now be limited to 15 years.”


For a recommended conveyancing solicitor in London contact us at Which Solicitor? – The Solicitors Information Service on 020 7483 4833.


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