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Latest News

Housing starts
10.03.08 Housing starts set to fall further Falling levels of house building mean there is no end in sight to the affordability problems facing the housing market, and there is a growing likelihood that in five years time we could be building fewer homes than we are today, according to a new research report by Hometrack, the housing intelligence business. The report highlights how new housing starts in England have already fallen by ten per c...
10.03.08 Review of HRA subsidy system launched Yvette Cooper, Chief Secretary to the Treasury, and Caroline Flint, Minister for Housing and Planning, have formally launched the review of the housing revenue account (HRA) subsidy system. Cooper, when she herself was Minister for Housing and Planning, announced the review in December 2007 as part of a wide ranging package of measures designed both to deliver new homes and making existing homes ...
PRS survey
10.03.08 Supply in the PRS must rise Average rents in the private rented sector (PRS) have risen by an average of four per cent for houses and two per cent for flats in the three months to the end of February, according to the Association of Residential Letting Agents? (ARLA) quarterly lettings survey. These averages have been boosted by a nine per cent rise in prime central London and a five per cent rise away from the South East. In the Sou...
07.03.08 BANANAs vs development A public survey for countryside campaigners, the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE), has found little appetite among the public for the government?s house building plans. The survey, conducted by ICM, demonstrates the public (53 per cent) oppose the government?s policy of building three million new homes by 2020, believe that so many extra homes will have a negative impact on communities (46 per cent), an...
Prison break
06.03.08 Breaking the prison to homelessness cycle In the last year 12,000 prisoners have been released with no homes to go to, despite research that shows homeless ex-prisoners are more likely to re-offend. The Conservative Party has called on the government to do more to ensure that people coming out of prison are not released into homelessness only then to commit so called ?bed and breakfast crime?, that is, ex-prisoners re-offend in order...
HIP trials
06.03.08 Are HIPs working or not? Results from research by Ipsos MORI into the home information pack (HIP) area trials last year have been released. The research shows: ? 72 per cent of sellers were satisfied with the HIP; ? 79 per cent agreed that it contained everything expected; ? 81 per cent understood the documents, including their energy rating (from A-G) in the energy performance certificate (EPC); ? three quarters of selle...
Lettings survey
06.03.08 Yields up but mortgages scarce Demand for rental properties continued to grow as landlords saw their yields increase, says the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) Lettings Survey, but access to the buy to let market became harder for would-be-landlords as mortgage products became scarce. Demand for family homes still remains stronger than for flats due to an oversupply of new build. New landlord instructions (an i...
All party report
05.03.08 Get to grips with practical difficulties say MPs A new report reveals that the government?s target of three million homes by 2020 is under threat unless councils and private sector investors take a front seat in building and managing these new homes. The inquiry report ?Delivering Urban Homes: the role of the public and private sector? from the All Party Urban Development Group of MPs and Peers looked at what needs to be done ? by bo...
Winter blues
05.03.08 Winter blues hit Euro housing boom The majority of housing markets slowed sharply or slid backwards across Europe during the second half of 2007 in response to inflation-induced interest rate rises, according to the European Housing Review 2008 published by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors. The prime cause, according to the report, has been the general rise in mortgage interest rates over the past 18 months. The knock-on...
Second homes
05.03.08 PM urged to act on second homes West Cornwall MP, Andrew George, has presented the Prime Minister with his three point plan on second homes. The plan proposes: ? increases in capital gains tax on second homes; ? new planning powers to restrict the purchase of second homes; ? the introduction of a local impact charge on second home owners to fund affordable housing. West Cornwall has one of the highest levels of second...
Safety net
05.03.08 New safety net recommended A report published by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) recommends implementation of the sustainable home ownership partnership (SHOP) scheme - a partnership between government, lenders and borrowers - providing a much cheaper form of insurance than similar private insurance products currently available. The growing number of home owners at risk of repossession could be helped by the new form of insuranc...
Eco spin
04.03.08 Eco towns or eco spin? The government?s eco town policy could turn out to be nothing more than eco spin, according to new research carried out by Shadow Housing Minister, Grant Shapps. A study of some of the 60 applications currently under ministerial consideration reveals that many of the proposals are simply previously failed applications, rehashed with a green tint. The research reveals that a 12,500 home eco town application i...
Take note
04.03.08 Developers take note New research by Co-operative Bank Mortgages has revealed that if you are looking to sell your house quickly the most appealing colour to paint your door is white.  The research (from a sample of 2,000 adults) shows that almost a third of people (29 per cent) prefer white front doors, whilst a fifth favoured red (20 per cent) and one in six would be tempted by blue (16 per cent). At the bottom of the popularity s...
04.03.08 Unacceptable performance by refurbishment sector Work on thirty per cent of inspected refurbishment sites was stopped by health and safety inspectors during February. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) carried out over 1,000 spot checks of refurbishment sites across Great Britain during the month as part of its rolling inspection programme targeting poor performing sectors in the construction industry. Inspectors served 395 enfor...
04.03.08 Half of new dwellings are flats Figures released by Conservative Shadow Housing Minister, Grant Shapps, reveals that almost half of all properties built last year were flats compared to just one in five in 2001. ?The government have invented an arbitary target of three million homes by 2020 and, fearful of missing their target, have imposed density targets meaning that one and two bed flats are being crammed on top of each other thro...
Skills gap
04.03.08 Action needed to tackle skills gap A new national strategy designed to increase the number of regeneration professionals, and improve brownfield skills levels in support of government aspirations to build three million new homes, has been launched for public consultation by English Partnerships and the Academy for Sustainable Communities (ASC). The national brownfield skills strategy calls for cross sector support and action to addre...


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