UK House Prices Up 13%

UK house prices in June rose 13.2 per cent on the previous year and 4.5 per cent up on May’s figures, according to the latest figures from the Office of National Statistics.

The average house price is £265,668.

Detached houses had the highest annual price growth of 15.6 per cent, bringing the average price to £410,054. Flats and maisonettes experienced the lowest growth of 8.4 per cent at an average price to £221,211. 

New-build properties showed a 14.4 per cent annual price growth with an average price of £337,377 compared to £246,310 for resold properties (up 9.1 per cent).

First-time buyers paid an average £222,712 (up 12.7 per cent).

The north west recorded the strongest annual growth at 18.6 per cent while London showed the weakest growth at 6.3 per cent. The UK’s second-largest mortgage lender Nationwide Building Society reported similar annual house price growth of 13.4 per cent in June - the highest level since November 2004. The lender’s figures in July fell back to an annual increase of 10.5 per cent.

1 September 2021

Busy time for architects

Architects remain buoyant despite a slight decline in their workloads on the previous month, according to the latest Future Trends index published by the Royal Institute of British Architects.

In July the overall figure remained positive, returning a balance figure of +27, four points down on the previous month but 12 per cent up on a year ago. More than a third of practices expect workloads to grow in the coming three months, while just over half expect them to remain the same. Fewer than 10 per cent expect a decrease. 

RIBA members have been reporting concerns about the impact on projects caused by delays in the planning process, while obtaining affordable and comprehensive professional indemnity insurance along with product availability and costs have presented significant ongoing challenges.

25 August 2021

Bacon recommendations for self-build sector

Conservative MP and self-build champion Richard Bacon says that new housing in the UK is considered by communities as a form of pollution, creating a monoculture in villages and towns, and adds that commissioning a new bespoke home should be no more difficult that ordering a new car.

“Most customers have almost no clout when it comes to buying a home,” he states in his independent review of self and custom build, which was commissioned by the Prime Minister in April. The self-build sector was a ‘missing market’ which could add up to 40,000 new homes a year if more land was made available.

“Those who have managed to commission or build their own dwelling see a result that is to their own taste – greener, better built and more welcomed by local communities. 

“The solution is to provide conditions in which customers are treated as if they matter the most, rather than – for the most part - scarcely mattering at all. And this is what happens when people themselves commission the houses they would like to see.”

In the review, Bacon states that Homes England has a key role to play in kickstarting the market, including providing land and investment and helping to streamline planning.

A core recommendation is that a custom- and self-build delivery unit should be established with a mandate to deliver the required changes, staffed by skilled professionals with deep experience of delivering custom- and self-build projects for customers across all tenures.

The review has been welcomed by the National Custom and Self Build Association. NaCSBA CEO Andrew Baddeley-Chappell said: “The recommendations in this report have the capacity to positively transform our country’s relationship with the new homes market.”

The review’s recommendations:

Greater role for Homes England

The Government should create a new custom- and self-build housing delivery unit within Homes England to enable the creation of serviced building plots on small and large sites and support the delivery of custom- and self-build housing at scale across the country.

Raise Awareness of the Right to Build

The Government, working through Homes England in partnership with the custom- and self-build industry, should create a custom- and self-build housing show park and should strengthen existing legislation to mandate the wider publicity of self-build and custom housebuilding registers and the sharing of key data between willing landowners and people on registers.

Support community-led housing, diversity of supply and levelling up

The Government should reignite the successful Community Housing Fund; create accessible opportunities for communities to help themselves by introducing a self-help housing programme and introduce a plot to rent scheme.

Promote greener homes and more use of advanced manufacturing

The Government should recognise and support the pathfinding role of the custom- and self-build housing sector in advanced manufacturing and in greener homes to accelerate the delivery of its wider modern methods of construction and net zero housing ambitions.

Support custom- and self-build housebuilding through the planning reforms

The Government should ensure that the planning reforms in its White Paper Planning for the future maximise the opportunities for access to permissioned land for custom and self build across all tenures, including making focused changes to the Right to Build legislation to ensure that it achieves its objectives.

Iron out any tax creases

The Government should investigate the perceived disadvantages in the tax system between the custom- and self-build delivery model and other forms of housing, identifying specific actions where necessary to neutralise them.

Independent review into scaling up self-build and custom housebuilding: report

23 August 2021

Free Net Zero Toolkit

A net zero toolkit has been developed by Cotswold, Forest of Dean and West Oxfordshire district councils for homeowners looking to boost the green credentials of their property.

Funded by the Local Government Association Housing Advisers Programme, the online kit offers guidance on low-carbon, low-energy homes. It covers everything from pre-planning, design and construction, down to products and materials.

The guide also includes where carbon and energy gains can be made through retrofitting a range of measures to existing properties, such as switching to low-carbon heating systems, wall insulation, triple glazing and investing in a renewable energy option like solar panels.

The toolkit has been written by Etude, the Passivhaus Trust, Levitt Bernstein and Elementa Consulting.

3 August 2021

Modest fallback in house prices

Annual house price growth slowed to 10.5 per cent in July, from the 17-year high of 13.4 per cent recorded the previous month. In month-on-month terms, house prices fell by 0.5 per cent, after taking account of seasonal effects, following a 0.7 per cent rise in June.

Commenting on the latest figures from the Nationwide Price Index, the building society’s chief economist, Robert Gardner, said: “The modest fallback in July was unsurprising given the significant gains recorded in recent months. Indeed, house prices increased by an average of 1.6 per cent a month over the April to June period – more than six times the average monthly gain recorded in the five years before the pandemic.”

The tapering of stamp duty relief in England is also likely to have taken some of the heat out of the market. The nil rate band threshold decreased from £500,000 to £250,000 at the end of June, and will revert to the original figure of £125,000 at the end of September. 

“This provided a strong incentive to complete house purchases before the end of June, especially for higher priced properties,” Mr Gardener said. For those purchasing a property above £250,000, the maximum stamp duty saving reduced from £15,000 to £2,500 after the end of June.

The stamp duty changes drove the number of housing market transactions to a record high of almost 200,000 in June as home buyers rushed to beat the deadline. This was around twice the number of transactions recorded in a typical month before the pandemic and eight per cent above the previous peak seen in March.

30 July, 2021

£5bn flood protection

Thousands of homes and businesses are expected to be better protected from flooding and coastal erosion as a result of a £5.2bn government investment. 

A total of £860m will be spent in 2021-2022 to boost design and construction of more than 1,000 schemes across England as part of the Environment Agency’s annual capital programme.

The money and the programme are part of the Flood and Coastal Erosion Investment Plan, published by the government. It sets out how new flood and coastal schemes are aimed at providing better flood protection for 336,000 properties by 2027. This, the government says, will help to avoid £32bn in wider economic damage.

The investment plan comes after the Environment Agency delivered a government investment of £2.6bn between 2015 and 2021 in protecting 314,000 homes from flooding.

Germany and Belgium have experienced heavy floods, while the UK State of the Climate report warns the UK is already undergoing changes to the climate, such as increased rainfall.

29 July, 2021