• The Government’s Social Housing Green Paper is out. The consensus: positive change, but not enough. Key proposals include improving the complaints process by providing access to effective dispute resolution; new reforms to make it easier to progress into home ownership, including allowing tenants to purchase 1% of the property per year; strengthening social housing regulator; and, the introduction of performance indicators and leagues tables for landlords. Conspicuously missing is any commitment to further funding, because this, apparently, isn’t a problem deserving of a fiscal commitment. DevelopmentFinanceToday.
  • Société Générale’s Global Strategist thinks our housing market is another bubble. A decade of loose monetary policy and the Help to Buy scheme has over-inflated our already astronomical house prices. Unlike the US, whose market corrected in the aftermath of the 2008 crash, our market is now 12% over-valued and resembles “a bubble on top of an existing bubble.” Double bubble, toil and trouble – fitting because our housing market is about as tragic as Shakespeare’s Macbeth. IndustryEYE.
  • David Cameron’s “higher value asset levy” on Councils – forcing them to sell their most valuable homes – is to be scrapped amidst a raft of changes precipitated by the new Social Housing Green Paper. InsideHousing.
  • Is the Tenancy Deposit system broken? Research by ‘Which?’ found that almost 55% of renters don’t receive their deposit back in full, whilst one-in-three renters who move property are forced to pay their new deposit before having received their old deposit. Worse still, two-in-five are using credit, overdraft, or borrowed money to cover the costs of their new deposits. The system is fraught with delays that inflate the cost of moving for renters. IndustryEYE.
  • First-time buyers are now paying +21% more to get on the housing ladder than they were ten years ago. Additionally, their deposits have shot up +71% in the same period to an average of £33,000. Despite these figures, the number of first-time buyers has risen to a ten-year high and they now account for 51% of transactions. IndustryEYE.
  • An extra £76m allocated for the development of specialised housing in England. The government is making a firm commitment to expand the stock of housing designed for those with disabilities, mental health issues, and the elderly over the next three years. Most of this allocation will be deployed via adaptive measures, i.e., adding equipment and assistive technology to existing homes. PropWire.
  • House prices have grown steadily over the past twelve-months according to LSL Property Services’ latest data. The index found the average price now sits at £302,251, some +1.6% higher than July of last year. However, there was a -0.2% fall month-on-month. Although positive, the rate of growth is minimal and LSL has attributed this to the lacklustre market which is seeing -2% less transactions than this time last year. PropWire.
  • Development Land prices are booming across the country, except for Prime London. Greenfield development land has risen at an average of +4.6% over the last year, while urban development land prices rose +5.5% annually. The data from Knight Frank’s Residential Development Land index also found some areas of prime central London has seen prices fall by -1.4%. Much of the price growth has occurred in the Midlands and South Western regions of England.PropWire.
  • The Buy-to-Let sector is haemorrhaging landlords. Despite rising tenancy demand across the UK, RICS has reported the eighth consecutive quarter of reduced new rental instructions. Comments from its respondents speak of a desertion by small landlords from the market due to tax changes instituted by George Osborne. Consequently, we can expect rent rises of up to +2% over the next year and +15% of the next five-years. IndustryEYE.
  • Could declining homeownership have an insidious effect on political participation? Research done in North America shows that owning a home makes an individual more likely to vote in local elections. It would be interesting to see the research replicated in the UK, and compared with the German housing market where homeownership rates are some of the lowest in Europe. Twitter.