Property Prices Rise Faster than Salaries in Certain Locations

The popular commuter town of Luton has seen property price growth outpace rises in the average salary by 7.99% over the past year, according to new data from property website Zoopla.

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Homes in Edinburgh in Greatest Demand

New research has revealed that properties listed for sale in Edinburgh receive 145% more interest from prospective buyers than the average property listing in Britain.

The analysis, which was conducted by Zoopla, used the volume of email enquiries sent by house hunters to estate agents listing homes for sale on the website over the past year to create an index, which reveals the areas of the British property market that are the most ‘in demand’.

The increasingly popular commuter town of Croydon apparently came in second place, with 104% more demand than the average property listing in Britain over the past 12 months. Central London and Glasgow are in third and fourth position, with 77% and 67% more interest than the average British property listing.

When it comes to what prospective buyers are looking for in these popular areas, data from the Zoopla Keyword Search tool reveals that buyers in Edinburgh and Croydon are keen on properties with a garage, whereas freehold is the most important keyword criteria for those looking to buy in Central London.

Regionally, Greater London is the most in demand area; properties in and around the capital are the most popular and receive 93% more interest than the national average. This is followed by Scotland with 40% more interest, where house hunters appear to be searching for a waterside property as the most popular Keyword Search term for the region is ‘sea’.

Meanwhile, the North East appears to be the least in demand region, as properties located here receive 51% less interest than the British average.

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SMEs Pressured to Accept Longer Payment Terms

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) across Europe are being pressured into accepting longer payment times from other, often larger, businesses, according to a new report.

The European Payment Report from Intrum Justitia found that more than six out of ten (61%) businesses complain about being asked to accept longer payment terms than they feel comfortable with, a sharp rise from just over four out of ten last year.

The problem seems to create a vicious circle, where businesses that receive late payments are in turn forced themselves to pay their sub-contractors late. Four out of ten (40%) businesses admit they regularly pay late.

This worrying development has led to calls from businesses for tougher payment regulations. Four out of ten (38%) businesses would welcome new legislation, while three out of ten (30%) would prefer new voluntary-based codes of conduct to establish a culture of prompt payment.

In an effort to help SMEs, the EU adopted its Late Payment Directive for commercial transactions in 2011. However, Elzbieta Bienkowska, the EU Commissioner responsible for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs, noted in a revision of the directive last August that, “There is still work to do before a consistent culture of prompt payment becomes a reality”.

The fact that there is a long way to go is borne out by figures that suggest average payment times are moving in the wrong direct. Intrum Justitia’s figures show that the average time for being paid by the public sector has increased from 36 to 41 days in just a year.

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For expert legal advice on late payment and debt recovery, and other areas of commercial law, then contact our specialist commercial lawyers today.

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Analysis Reveals Rise in Data Protection Breaches

New research has highlighted the risks to companies of breaching data protection regulations, after 35 fines totalling £3,245,500 were imposed in 2016 – almost double the total in 2015.

This risk is likely to increase in the future, says PwC, with the introduction of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in just under a year’s time.

PwC analysed data protection enforcement action taken by the UK Information Commissioner’s Office over the past five years, specifically looking at monetary penalties, enforcement notices, prosecutions and legal undertakings. The analysis for 2016 found that that 23 enforcement notices were issued in 2016 – when organisations are required to take steps to ensure compliance after a data breach – a 155% increase on the nine notices issued in 2015.

The UK was apparently one of the most active regions for regulatory enforcement action in Europe last year, along with Italy (€3.3m). But whereas the European pattern has seen comparatively low volumes of regulatory enforcement actions, with low level financial penalties, this is in stark contrast to the US where fines of approximately $250m were served.

PwC’s recent CEO Survey found that 90% of CEOs around the world believe breaches of data privacy and ethics will have a negative impact on stakeholder trust, so the time to put this top of the agenda is now before the GDPR becomes law across the EU from 25th May 2018. From then on, a variety of new compliance obligations will be imposed, including new rules about breach disclosure, data portability, and data use consent. Organisations that fail to comply could face penalties of up to 4% of global turnover, or €20m, depending on which is higher.

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For expert legal advice on these issues, or other areas of business regulation, then contact our specialist commercial lawyers today.

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Election Uncertainty Impacts on Housing Market

The snap General Election appears to have exacerbated a slowing down of the housing market, as buyers and sellers adopt a ‘wait and see’ approach. 

This is the finding of a new survey by RICS, which revealed that in May 25% more respondents cited a decline in fresh listings (compared to those reporting a rise), producing the most negative reading since July 2016. At the same time, new buyer enquiries fell at the national level, having remained stagnant over much of the past six months.

According to RICS, agreed sales continued to decline for a second month running as the national indicator saw 8% more respondents seeing a fall in agreed sales (compared to -9% previously). Going forward, near-term sales expectations imply little change over the coming three months, but over the next twelve months respondents appear slightly more optimistic, with a net balance of 26% anticipating an increase in activity.

“The latest survey suggests that uncertainty related to the General Election may have contributed to what appears to have been a disappointing level of transactions in the housing market over the spring,” explained Simon Rubinsohn, RICS Chief Economist. “Perhaps the most ominous signal emanating from the data released today is that contributors still expect house prices to increase at a faster pace than wages over the medium term despite the difficulty many first-time buyers are clearly having in taking their first steps onto the property ladder.”

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For expert legal advice on buying or selling property in Scotland, then contact our specialist property lawyers today.

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