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Boris can lead a Conservative council housing revolution

With Boris Johnson now undisputed world king of the post-Brexit scene, the only relevant policy debates are those going on inside the government itself. These are yielding unusual fruit.

Esther McVey, a deep-dyed Thatcherite and an advocate of blue-collar Conservatism, has been arguing for more council housing. The housing minister wants to help those “left behind” voters who broke Labour’s red northern heart.

However, she has reportedly clashed with her boss, housing and communities secretary Robert Jenrick, who is in the more conventional Tory “property-owning-democracy” mould.

But McVey is right — it is time for another look at council housing, and this Conservative government is ideally placed to do it.

Johnson is enthused by regional regeneration, infrastructure projects, and levelling up the UK. His chief aide Dominic Cummings, meanwhile, is deeply interested in applying scientific research and development to solve big problems and create new industries.

If they combine their enthusiasms, Johnson and Cummings could realise a once-in-a-century opportunity to solve the UK’s housing crisis. To do it, they need to revive the One Nation Conservative party tradition of mass council house building, and use it to make the UK a world-leading location for green modular house building. That way, the housing crisis gets fixed, and the country gets a new high-tech industry.

No UK housing shortage has ever been cured without a mass council house building programme. From 1945 to 1979, all British governments knew this and invested heavily in (mostly) good and plentiful council homes.

Unlike private house builders, who are bound by their duty to shareholders, the state can invest to solve housing shortages, not solely to make a profit from them.

Government borrowing costs are currently at an all time low, and the north of the country is lacking both infrastructure and housing. The Prime Minister therefore has a historic chance to borrow both to build council housing and to construct transport links within and between towns and cities across the Midlands and the north.

The new houses could be called “Boris Homes”, to remind tenants of their benefactor. A project like this, which breaks decisively with the “austerity” of the last two Tory Prime Ministers, could help cement Johnson as the long-term electoral friend of Workington man. The “Boris” branding would deal with George Osborne’s old fear that council housing only creates Labour voters.

Of course, governments used to rely on local authorities to build council homes, but that was before the centralising force of Thatcherism forced them to slash their construction capabilities. Most UK local authorities, even if asked, no longer have the resources, experience and manpower to launch a transformative council house building programme.

So the government should set up a platform of all the major UK institutions, working closely with regional mayors and local authorities, to create Council Housing 2.0: a giant joint venture corporation to build 150,000 new council homes a year.

The government could incentivise and match institutional investment to build the homes, and then share (along with the regional authorities) in their long-term rents.

Now that we are definitely leaving the EU — in just one week — the government should also cut the utterly tedious procurement rules that bed-block big projects.

These council houses need to be built quickly, cost-effectively, and sustainably. Cummings has plans to create R&D centres of excellence in the north. To combine that need and his ambition, the government should invest heavily in a campus for the research, development and manufacture of modular housing.

A modern modular factory can build a semi-detached, highly-energy efficient house — that will last 100 years — in 14 days for less than £70,000.

If the government gets this modular R&D cluster right and attracts global investment and talent, it will solve the UK’s housing crisis and incubate a new British modular export industry that can help other countries solve theirs.

For too long, UK housing policy has been held back by prejudice and party politics. Council housing was a dirty word for generations of Conservative politicians. But it is one of our country’s great civilising projects, providing shelter for the poor and vulnerable.

If Johnson is brave, council housing can become an engine for levelling up whole regions and making the UK the global leader in a cutting-edge technological field.

You have ridden a Boris Bike — get ready to live in a Boris Home.

By Bruce Dear

Source: City AM

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Total value of UK housing stock stands at record £7.39 trillion

The total value of the UK housing stock has increased by £2.74 trillion over the past decade, according to analysis.

Property agents Savills, which made the findings, said London and the South of England accounted for nearly three-quarters (73%), or £2 trillion, of the gains.

Across the UK, the combined value of the UK’s housing stock in 2019 was calculated to be a record high of £7.39 trillion after increasing by £101.8 billion over the previous year.

Home owners without a mortgage now account for £2.63 trillion in housing value, or 36% of the total.

The number has grown as older home owners clear their mortgage debt, Savills said.

Lawrence Bowles, senior research analyst at Savills, said: “Established homeowners have been the among the greatest beneficiaries of house price growth over the last decade, many of whom have paid down their borrowing.

“The value of unmortgaged owner-occupied homes has risen 67% over the last 10 years.

“This leaves an unprecedented 46% of home owner wealth in the hands of the over-65s.”

Savills also found some changing trends in what is behind the growing value of the UK’s housing stock.

New-build homes are accounting for a growing chunk of the increase in the value of the stock.

This is because house price growth has weakened in recent years while house building levels have increased.

Over the past decade, existing homes have accounted for 87% of the value uplift in the UK’s housing stock.

But, more recently, as housing development has accelerated and house price inflation has slowed, the balance has shifted – with new homes accounting for 40% of the value uplift in 2019.

There has also been a shift towards the North in terms of the parts of the country driving growth.

While London and the South of England accounted for 73% of the housing stock value gains over the past decade, in 2019 90% of the total housing value gains came from outside London and the South.

The Midlands and North of England accounted for nearly two-thirds (64%) of the value uplift, with a further 26% from Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland combined.

Mr Bowles continued: “London and the South account for almost two-thirds (63%) of the nation’s housing value.

“But the rest of the country is catching up. The North and Midlands accounted for the majority of growth in the value of housing stock last year, thanks to faster house price growth and more development.”

Here are the total values of housing stock across the UK in 2019 and the one-year gain followed by the gain over the past decade, according to Savills Research:

– London, £1.774 trillion, £5 billion, £862 billion
– South East, £1.382 trillion, minus £5 billion, £555 billion
– East, £813 billion, £3 billion, £346 billion
– South West, £679 billion, £8 billion, £236 billion
– North West, £553 billion, £23 billion, £145 billion
– West Midlands, £482 billion, £14 billion, £154 billion
– Scotland, £412 billion, £12 billion, £110 billion
– East Midlands, £401 billion, £12 billion, £142 billion
– Yorkshire & the Humber, £395 billion, £13 billion, £99 billion
– Wales, £236 billion, £9 billion, £61 billion
– North East, £156 billion, £3 billion, £23 billion
– Northern Ireland, £106 billion, £6 billion, £11 billion
– UK, £7.388 trillion, £102 billion, £2.743 trillion

By Vicky Shaw

Source: Yahoo Finance UK

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What next for the housing market?

After three years of political deadlock, December’s General Election result brought greater clarity in the government’s Brexit position and decisive domestic policy.

But with less than a year to agree the UK’s future trading relationship with the EU, scattered clouds of uncertainty continue to hang over the housing market.

UK house prices in November 2019 were just 0.8 per cent higher than 12 months before, according to Nationwide Building Society. Its latest regional indices show values falling in London and the south east. The strongest growth was in Wales and the north west.

A clear parliamentary majority could provide the foundation for accelerated housing market activity in the coming months.

But we also face a backdrop of suppressed gross domestic product and wage growth.

Ongoing uncertainty over the UK’s trading relationship with the EU during the transition period and the impact of a slowing global economy means potential home movers will remain cautious about their household finances, particularly in the second half of the year.

We predict average UK house price growth will remain subdued at 1 per cent in 2020, and house price growth to increase once we have greater clarity over our relationship with the EU in 2021.

Greater certainty should translate into higher growth in wages and GDP, acting as a stimulus for housing demand, while interest rates remain low.

We forecast 4.5 per cent UK house price growth in 2021.

Beyond 2021, continued wage growth will help to support housing demand, while rising interest rates act as a drag on affordability at the point of getting a mortgage. Our forecast is for 3 per cent house price growth in 2022, 2023 and 2024.

Accounting for compound interest, that means we are predicting 15.3 per cent growth in UK house prices by 2024. That is against the context of 15.6 per cent income growth.

This story will vary widely across the UK and different parts of the market, as we see a rebalancing between regions.

In London, affordability is still highly constrained for those buying with a mortgage. We expect just 4 per cent price growth for mainstream properties over the next five years.

Buyers in the prime, central parts of London tend to be less reliant on mortgage finance, however. Prime central London now looks relatively good value, particularly from an international perspective: in September 2019, the effective discount peaked at 42 per cent below its 2014 peak in US dollar terms. Here we expect to see much stronger growth, even in the face of a potential 3 per cent stamp duty surcharge for foreign buyers, promised in the Conservative manifesto.

We predict the north west will see the fastest house price growth over the next five years: 24 per cent. High levels of infrastructure investment and employment growth will support housing demand there, and mortgage affordability is far less stretched than in London and the south.

We also predict strong growth across the rest of the north and midlands, where affordability is less of a constraint and where rental yields are higher, attracting investors. These are also expected to be the strongest performing prime regional markets, with growth at approximately 20.5 per cent.

Historically, rental growth has followed income growth, which drives our prediction of 15.4 per cent UK rental growth over the next five years.

On balance we expect housing transactions to remain stable over the next five years at 1.2m a year. But there will be a shift among buyer types: falls in investor purchase as mortgaged buy-to-let tax rules tighten, and stronger growth for mortgaged home movers.

The number of first-time buyers, however, will remain highly reliant on the detail of government’s plans to support them post-Help to Buy.

By Lawrence Bowles

Source: FT Adviser

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What the new government may mean for housing

As the dust settles on the General Election and the Queen’s Speech that quickly followed we’re all keen to find out what the new government will mean for us, writes Wayne Gethings, Group Chief Executive of The Wrekin Housing Group.

As individuals we all have interests and issues that we’d like to see the government prioritise or push forward in some way, and one thing we can all relate to is housing; we all need a place to live.

Demand for housing is not going away. The new government’s approach to housing will impact many thousands of people across the West Midlands.

So, what direction can we expect housing policy to move in? There seem to be three main areas of focus. The supply of affordable housing, the promotion of the tenant voice and the main focus of the new government, as outlined in the Queen’s Speech, is going to be around the promotion of home ownership with several measures put forward to support this ambition.

The government would like to see funds generated from planning conditions, known as Section 106 contributions, used to fund discounted homes for sale. The First Homes programme, which will be consulted on in the New Year, will covenant properties, locking in their discount for local buyers and key workers, such as nurses, forever. Discounts of up to 30 per cent on market value will be offered.

At Wrekin we would like to see whether existing homes can be included in the programme. This would have three key benefits, providing a discounted home for local buyers, funding the building of a new home for affordable rent all fuelling the local economy and providing opportunities for people.

Solution

The new government is keen to promote shared ownership as a route to home ownership. In their manifesto they committed to investigating how shared ownership can be simplified, creating a single standard for all housing associations to use across the country and making it easier for buyers to make the right purchase for them.

This was reinforced in the Queen’s Speech where the government confirmed it will introduce a reformed model that will be more transparent, enabling buyers to progress to full ownership.

There had been a suggestion that a ‘right’ to shared ownership might be offered but I’m pleased to see this wasn’t included.

Instead, there a proposal in the manifesto to further pilot the Voluntary Right to Buy scheme which ran in the Midlands in 2018 and saw 33 Wrekin tenants purchase their properties from us. We use the funds generated by these sales to build new properties, providing much-needed family homes at affordable rents. This proposal doesn’t seem to have made it through to the Queen’s Speech, so it remains to be seen if the proposal will be rekindled later in the lifetime of this Parliament.

It is important for us to remember that, as a housing association with properties to rent, we should also be part of the solution, enabling people to purchase homes, if that is what they want to do.

At Wrekin, we provide over 12,500 homes for social and affordable rent and we’re keen to do more of this so I welcome the commitment to supporting the continued supply of social housing. We welcome the renewal of the Affordable Homes Programme, this gives us the confidence to continue investing in building new properties and our existing properties. We will build 500 new properties each year up to 2025, growing our overall housing stock to 16,000.

Proud

We also welcome the announcement of a new £10 billion Single Housing Infrastructure Fund that will provide funding for roads, schools and doctors surgeries to support the expansion of communities.

The government has also signalled its intent to end rough sleeping by the end of this Parliament. We pride ourselves on engaging those at risk of homelessness and those who are already homeless through local charities. We work with them to find the most appropriate accommodation for the individual.

In the social housing sector, we have been waiting for the publication of a new white paper for social housing for almost 12 months so we welcome the Government’s commitment to bringing this forward. We expect it to focus on the supply of housing and on tenant empowerment.

At Wrekin we have signed up to the National Housing Federation’s Together with Tenants initiative putting us at the forefront of working with customers to involve them in how we are run. We are very proud that our involved tenants and group board work together directly to shape the services that we provide to make a difference to people’s lives.

A key commitment around tenant empowerment and building safety is the full implementation of recommendations from the Hackitt Review and the first phase of the Grenfell Inquiry. The government will introduce specific legislation around fire safety and building safety. It’s something we will be watching closely to ensure we are, as a minimum, in line with the new legislation.

Source: Shropshire Star

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The city Brits most want to move to outside London

Bristol is the most sought-after area in the UK among potential buyers and renters looking for homes outside the capital on Rightmove, new figures suggest.

Data from the property listing site shows the city in south-west England was searched for more than anywhere else outside the capital in 2019.

York, Glasgow, Edinburgh, and Sheffield made up the rest of the top five among prospective buyers. Manchester, Liverpool, Cambridge and Glasgow were the most popular for potential renters, according to the data published on Tuesday.

The most searched-for areas of London were leafy Wimbledon in the south-west of the capital for would-be buyers, and the business district of Canary Wharf to the east for renters.

Separate analysis by Zoopla earlier this month showed the most affordable cities, such as Glasgow, Liverpool, and Belfast, had seen growth twice as fast as the UK average over the past decade.

The past three years have seen a slowdown in the housing market, particularly in the capital and the south-east as Brexit uncertainty, stamp duty changes, and a weaker economy have curbed growth.

Why is Bristol getting more popular and pricey?

The average property in Bristol now sells for £316,410, according to Rightmove.

Asking prices have grown by 2.3% over the past year, far higher than nationwide growth of 0.8%. Properties sell more quickly than anywhere else in the south-west, typically spending 50 days on the market before being sold.

“There’s high demand for suitable housing in Bristol and the surrounding area, as it’s a vibrant regional centre with a strong local economy,” said Miles Shipside, director of Rightmove.

The city’s economy has grown faster than average in recent years, with employment levels generally higher than in other large cities.

It has seen some of the highest rates of business startups, with creative industries booming and strong banking, insurance, and professional services sectors.

But the local council says economic growth has put a strain on housing in a city of almost half a million people, as well as increasing congestion and pollution.

“Though this is good news for those already on the property ladder, it makes it harder for first-time buyers to get onto it,” said Shipside, who predicts price trends will continue.

“Historically, there has not been enough new house building to cope with the shortage of homes, resulting in prices rising at a faster pace than many other cities in the UK,” he added.

Bristol’s population has increased by 11.7% since 2008, faster than the national average.

Its population is expected to rise by a further 21% by 2041 from 2016 levels, also far higher than the national average.

The average home cost more than nine times average local earnings in 2018, according to Bristol council, the highest of any of England’s so-called ‘core cities.’

Average property prices increased by £118,000 in the decade to 2019, analysis by the council suggests. That marked a 74% increase, versus an average of 47% in England and Wales.

The most popular cities to buy outside London

  1. Bristol
  2. York
  3. Glasgow
  4. Edinburgh
  5. Sheffield
  6. Cambridge
  7. Manchester
  8. Norwich
  9. Birmingham
  10. Nottingham

The most popular cities to rent outside London

  1. Bristol
  2. Manchester
  3. Liverpool
  4. Cambridge
  5. Glasgow
  6. Leeds
  7. Nottingham
  8. Birmingham
  9. Edinburgh
  10. Sheffield

By Tom Belger

Source: Yahoo Finance UK

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Brexit and house prices: ‘Boris bounce’ will not lift the stagnant housing market

Brexit and house prices: many home owners are continuing to worry about the state of the property market following the Brexit vote and the continuing uncertainty about what kind of a deal we’ll have when we do leave the European Union.

Although Boris Johnson’s landslide victory in the recent General Election has spiked hopes of a ‘Boris bounce’ for the UK’s housing market, property experts continue to predict a flat housing market constrained by a lack of supply of new properties. The latest housing forecast by Halifax predicts a two per cent growth countrywide – a better situation for sellers than in 2019, but hardly a surge.

Finding a good mortgage deal might be easier than ever historically, with interest rates remaining low, but sellers remain wary of what 2020 will hold in terms of Brexit negotiations and are holding off putting their properties up for sale.

Simultaneously, first-time buyers continue to be stymied by their inability to put together a deposit. Moreover, the number of rental properties coming onto the market has reduced too, which will mean higher prices for renters, with a three per cent rise predicted in London.

It is clear at this point that the government will need to come up with both short-term and long-term solutions to the housing crisis come the new year – not after Brexit, but as soon as possible.

Managing Director of Halifax Russell Galley points out that something must be done to increase housing affordability, regardless of the outcome of the Brexit negotiations, ‘Prospects for 2020 look a bit brighter, with uncertainty in the economy falling back somewhat, transactions volumes anticipated to pick up and further price increases made possible by growth in households’ real incomes. However, the challenges faced by prospective buyers in raising the necessary deposits may continue to constrain demand.’

RICS also emphasise the need for the government to take housing reform seriously. Head of UK Government Relations & City Strategy Hew Edgar suggests that elevating the Housing Minister to Cabinet level would signal an appropriate level of commitment to fixing the housing crisis – a burning issue that continues to unfold alongside Brexit, ‘For too long, domestic issues – particularly housing – have been side-lined by the Brexit debate, and this has negatively impacted investment and growth in land, property and construction.’

BY ANNA COTTRELL

Source: Real Homes

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General Election result ‘should give confidence boost to housing market’

The Conservatives’ General Election victory could trigger a new burst of housing market activity as confidence flows back into the market, according to estate agents.

Various reports have indicated that housing market activity has been on hold while potential buyers and sellers waited for the political situation to become clearer.

But some property professionals said they now expect to see those who have previously been holding back doing deals before Christmas.

The Tories aim to deliver a million more homes in the next five years.

The party has also promised to introduce “lifetime rental deposits” so down payments can be transferred from one property to the next.

It will also review new ways to support home ownership following the end of the Help to Buy scheme in 2023.

The most important thing for the housing market is that the result brings some stability, albeit short term, at least until we see a clearer timetable for Brexit. This should generate a return of confidence to the market, which is what we have been looking for

Jeremy Leaf, north London estate agent

Jeremy Leaf, a north London estate agent and a former residential chairman of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, said: “The most important thing for the housing market is that the result brings some stability, albeit short term, at least until we see a clearer timetable for Brexit.

“This should generate a return of confidence to the market, which is what we have been looking for.”

He said he now hoped to see more government moves which would go towards increasing the supply of homes, particularly affordable ones to buy and rent.

Mr Leaf continued: “What we really want to see is more supply and transactional activity.

“This is good for the housing market and for the wider economy as it improves social mobility.

“People have been holding back for some time and demand can only remain pent up for so long – people want to get on with their lives.”

Patrick Alvarado, director of Knightsbridge, London, estate agency Nicolas Van Patrick, said: “We expect buyers who are currently under offer and who might have been holding off in exchanging contracts prior to the election, now getting on with it and exchanging prior to Christmas.

“Foreign buyers who might have hoped for a further reduction in prices and the currency should we have woken up to a hung parliament or Jeremy Corbyn victory will realise this is no longer an option and those wishing to buy will also get on with it.”

Mark Manning, managing director of Leeds-based estate agency chain Manning Stainton, which has branches across Leeds, Wakefield and Wetherby, said: “Today’s result is great news for the housing market – we really needed a majority Government who could push Brexit through and end the uncertainty we’ve experienced for the past three years, and that’s what we’ve got.

“There’s so much pent-up buyer demand in the market, caused by potential sellers sitting on their hands and waiting for the result of the election and more clarity on Brexit before making a move.

“I think, now things are clearer, we’ll see lots of movement in the market as those people who’ve been thinking about selling put their homes up for sale.”

We expect the housing market to benefit in the year ahead as everyone from first-time buyers to seasoned investors who have otherwise been anxiously waiting to see where we stood as a nation can now get on with their lives

Joshua Elash, MT Finance

Joshua Elash, director of property lender MT Finance, said: “We expect the housing market to benefit in the year ahead as everyone from first-time buyers to seasoned investors who have otherwise been anxiously waiting to see where we stood as a nation can now get on with their lives.

“We expect transactional volumes to increase significantly as certainty has been delivered.”

But Richard Donnell, research director at Zoopla, said the election result does little to change the underlying fundamentals of the housing market.

“The challenges for housing vary across the country and there are no simple, national solutions,” he said.

“Record low mortgage rates have boosted house prices, while affordability challenges remain across southern England.

“At the same time, housing has become less liquid, with the average home-owner moving once every 19 years.

“This is a result of long-run economic factors and demographic changes compounded by stamp duty, which is a major barrier to movement, especially in southern England.

“Housing policy needs to cater to the different challenges across the country and focus on barriers to movement and increasing choice across all tenures.”

Source: Shropshire Star

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UK real estate to rebound by 2024 – Savills

  • The U.K real estate could rebound over the next half a decade
  • According to Savills, the average UK property prices are expected to jump by 15.3%
  • Savills warns that the growth will be slower due to higher taxes and rising interest rates

The UK real estate could be headed for a major bounce back in the next five years, after months of plummeting prices. The crisis, which has now lasted across the country for several quarters, could not-so-long from now come to an end, this is according to a Wednesday report by Savills.

Savills is a brokerage and real estate adviser based in London and its recent report predicts a 15.3% price jump for existing UK homes between the year 2020 and 2024. The report further states that the growth may not be uniform across all regions; the North-West is likely to lead with a 24% growth, while the East and South-East may experience an average growth of 11%.

“We anticipate a continuation of trends seen historically, where London and the South East underperform markets in the Midlands and North,” the head of residential research for Savills, Mr. Lucian Cook stated in the report. “This stage of the cycle appears to have begun in 2016, coinciding with the referendum, when London hit up against the limits of affordability.

The Savills’ report, however, noted that London’s luxury market would undergo a significant upswing; prime central London could rise by 20.5% on average, starting with an increase of 3% within the next year.

“Historically, a recovery in the prime markets has been sparked in prime central London, when the city’s most expensive properties start to look [like a] good value on a world stage,” Mr. Cook said in the report. “Values have been bottoming out over the past year, resulting in a build-up of new buyer registrations over recent months. Both signal that the market is set for a bounce, but this is being held up by uncertainty.”

In areas outside London, prime property prices could rise by about 14.2% by 2024 while luxury homes outside central London are expected to increase by 11.5%, the report indicated.

Scotland could experience a 20% jump in prime property prices, with units in North of England and Midlands expected to hike by 20.5%.

Rental rates are also set to rise within the next five years; in London, renters can expect a spike of about 18.8% even as annual transactions are expected to remain almost constant at 1.2 million.

But Cook warned that the growth could be slower than in the previous periods due to increased taxes and interest rates.

By Damian Wood

Source: Invezz

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London house price boost helps overall growth

UK city house price growth has picked up to 2.9% supported by a 1% increase in London house prices, the October Zoopla UK Cities House Price Index has revealed.

Prices have risen by 1% in London over the past year, the highest rate of growth for two years, following a period of year-on-year price falls.

Richard Donnell, research and insight director at Zoopla, said: “After a three-year repricing process accompanied by a sizable decline in housing sales, the London housing market is finally showing signs of life.

“The shift in momentum is clear, resulting from a lack of supply, increased sales and more realistic pricing, which bode well for higher sales activity in 2020, rather than a pick-up in house price growth.

“While the London housing market has been in the doldrums, market conditions in regional cities have been stronger over the last two years with demand supported by employment growth and attractive housing affordability.

“The rate of growth is slowing, and all cities are registering annual growth of less than 5%.

“The announcement of the General Election has brought forward the usual seasonal slowdown, but the last few weeks of the year pre-Christmas tend to be much quieter than after Boxing Day, when consumer interest in housing springs back to life.”

House prices are now registering month-on-month price falls in less than a quarter of London’s housing markets, a huge drop from the 85% of markets registering price falls a year ago.

Over three quarters of London’s homes are in markets registering small month-on-month price increases, which have lifted the overall annual growth rate to 1%.

The shift in London house price momentum is down to a decrease in the number of new properties for sale, which has restricted supply.

This is a trend that has been developing for the last 12 months and has been accelerated by the announcement of the General Election on 12 December.

In addition, there has been a notable increase in the number of sales agreed per agency branch in London.

While this increase is off a low base, it indicates that there is renewed demand for housing in London after a sizable drop in sales volumes over the past three years.

Despite London’s housing market having been through an extended slowdown, accompanied by lower sales, large regional cities are starting to show signs of slower growth.

House price growth since the start of 2017 has exceeded 15% across Edinburgh, Leicester, Manchester and Birmingham, but the pace of growth is slowing.

North of the border, house price growth remains steady in Edinburgh and Glasgow at 4.0% and 2.6% respectively.

By Michael Lloyd

Source: Mortgage Introducer

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Tories pledge to ‘re-balance’ housing market towards home ownership – and Labour to fine bad landlords £100,000

The Tories will help people buy and rent with the market ‘re-balanced’ towards home ownership, the Conservative manifesto declared yesterday. Meanwhile Labour is today set to unveil detailed new policies on the private rented sector.

The Tory policies – all widely leaked beforehand – contained no surprises but confirmed that if re-elected, the Conservatives will abolish ‘no fault’ evictions – a process already under way.

The manifesto, which devotes comparatively little space to housing, says: “This will create a fairer rental market: if you’re a tenant you will be protected from revenge evictions and rogue landlords, and if you’re one of the many good landlords, we will strengthen your rights of possession.”

It goes into no details as to how these would be beefed up. There is also no mention in the manifesto of reversing recent ‘landlord bashing’ moves, such as tax changes.

A new Tory government would also require only “one lifetime deposit” from tenants.

The manifesto will have major implications for the burgeoning deposit replacement market and also for how disputes are resolved at the end of tenancies.

The manifesto does not mention whether there could be a possible ‘topping up’ of lifetime deposits if the tenant’s first rental home was, for example, a studio but if the tenant progressively moved to larger and more expensive rental homes.

The manifesto also promises to encourage a new market in long-term fixed rate mortgages, which “will slash the cost of deposits, opening up a secure path to home ownership for first-time buyers in all parts of the United Kingdom”.

New homes developers will be used via the planning process to discount homes “in perpetuity” for a third of local people who cannot afford to buy in their areas.

The manifesto says that this could be used to prioritise key workers such as police, nurses and teachers.

Right to Buy will be maintained for all council tenants, while it will be “voluntary” for housing associations, with new pilot areas testing out the scheme.

Shared ownership will be reformed, and there will also be reforms to leasehold – all flagged up under the previous Tory administration. The Tories would also bring forward a Stamp Duty surcharge on foreign buyers, again already flagged up. There does not appear to be any other mention of Stamp Duty.

A new Conservative government would deliver at least a million more homes “of all tenures” over its lifetime, and they would be “beautiful, high-quality” properties.

The Green Belt would be protected and self-build encouraged.

tps://assets-global.website-files.com/5da42e2cae7ebd3f8bde353c/5dda924905da587992a064ba_Conservative%202019%20Manifesto.pdf

Labour meanwhile is today due to announce the detail on new policies which will “put bad landlords out of business”.

Jeremy Corbyn and housing spokesman John Healey will announce that all landlords must complete an annual property inspection, with all rental homes compulsorily meeting a decent standard.

It will be illegal to let homes without a rental inspection being completed and passed. Fines of up to £100,000 will be levied for a single offence, with landlords having to repay rent.

Labour would also cap rents in line with inflation.

Corbyn says: “Labour will be on the side of tenants and take on dodgy landlords who have been given free rein for too long.”

Healey says Labour would legislate in its first year.

By ROSALIND RENSHAW

Source: Property Industry Eye