Prime Minister Theresa May’s announcement that the government plans to lift the house building “borrowing cap” on councils was widely welcomed by both industry experts and local authorities. Although well received, May’s announcement at the Conservative Party conference was also linked by some to concerns over the impact of Brexit on the labour supply required to deliver on a large-scale demand for increased house building programmes. PropertyWire

Figures have been published showing the geographical areas that are most using and least using the Help-to-Buy schemes. Those having the greatest number of users are London, followed by Greater Manchester, the West Midlands, West Yorkshire, Cheshire and Essex. Those areas showing the least use are Bristol, East Sussex, Herefordshire, Rutland and the Isle of Wight. PropertyWire

Reports citing data from the Halifax suggest a recent fall-back in house prices over a month. From August to September, house prices dropped back around 1.4% according to the publisher’s data. However, the same source showed an increase though to quarter end September of 1.8% over and above the sale period April-June. The forecasts for the year overall remain positive and towards 3%. MortgageStrategy

Ask Real Estate has applied for planning permission to construct a 21-storey skyscraper in Manchester (Deansgate). ConstructionIndex

A study by the association of Fencing Industries (AFI) has shown that the UK fencing business sector is worth an incredible £1.1billion per annum and employs around 60,000 people. That financial figure is split roughly 50-50 by products and installation services. ConstructionIndex

There are reports that a sudden surge of new property build releases has had a negative price impact in the North East of England. Daily Telegraph

A survey has suggested that a downstairs bathroom can reduce the average selling price of a home by £13,500 on average and £27,000 in London. Daily Mail

Construction orders worth nearly £6billion were placed in the month of September. The figure is the highest since August 2017. ConstructionIndex

The National Federation of Builders (NFB) has publically confirmed its view that the government’s stated desire to restrict immigration based on “high skills” criteria may lead to problems for the UK construction industry. They are asking for an exception for the construction industry along with a realisation that “low skills does not equate to low value”. NFB

Balfour Beatty has announced a new seven-year £103million road maintenance contract with Telford Wrekin council. ConstructionNews

Planning permission has been granted for the construction of 241 new homes in three new apartment blocks plus an additional 1500m2 of non-residential space in phase-II of the Gallions Quarter development near the Royal Docks in London. The development will be under the auspices of a joint venture between Galliford Try Partnerships and the housing association Notting Hill Genesis. Building

A government Minister has expressed reservations about the design thinking and quality associated with some new build housing. He is reported to have used the expression “soulless”. This has started some debate within the industry. Building

A new guide has been produced which aims to help SME (Small to Medium-Sized Enterprise) builders to be more successful in their applications for development finance. Building design and Construction

The government’s Housing Secretary, James Brokenshire, has announced a new Homes Ombudsman as part of a wider package of updates and amendments to housing measures and related policies. Housebuilder

It’s reported that the government’s plans to raise Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) for both non-residents and those overseas companies with objectives to invest in London property, has received criticism from some property developers. There are comments that this will hit property developments and prices in the capital. Building design and construction