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UK house prices hit £200,000 average record

The average cost of properties in the UK has exceeded £200,000 for the first time, according to the Halifax.

UK house prices hit £200,000 average recordHalifax said house prices jumped by 1.7% in June compared with the previous month, marking their fourth consecutive monthly rise.

Annual price inflation also rose significantly, from 8.6% in May to 9.6% in June.

It brings the average price of a UK house or flat to £200,280, the highest amount recorded by the Halifax measure.

However the figures are in stark contrast to those produced by rival lender, Nationwide.

Last week it said that house price inflation had fallen to 3.3% a year, bringing the average price to £195,055.

Halifax said the rise was being driven by tight supply with the number of homes for sale now at a record low.

Halifax’s housing economist Martin Ellis said there were now signs of a recent “modest pick up in demand”.

“Economic growth, higher employment, increasing real earnings growth and very low mortgage rates are all supporting housing demand,” he added.

The lender, which uses data from its own mortgage lending, said average house prices per square metre had risen by 18% since 2010, with prices in Greater London seeing the fastest growth.

UK construction output accelerates new survey finds

Activity in the UK’s construction industry grew last month at its fastest pace since February according to a new survey.

UK construction output accelerates new survey findsResidential house building remained the fastest growing area, the survey found

The Markit/CIPS Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) for the sector rose to 58.1 in June from 55.9 in May. A reading above 50 indicates expansion.

Markit added that confidence in the sector about the coming 12 months was at its highest for 11 years.

Residential house building remained the fastest growing area in the construction sector.

Looking ahead, nearly two-thirds of construction firms expect to see a rise in their activity as a result of increased investment spending among developers and robust demand for new residential projects.

Construction firms are also hiring staff at the fastest pace in six months the survey found.

Tim Moore, senior economist at Markit said the extent of the recent rise in construction optimism was “partly down to relief that pre-election uncertainty has now passed”.

He added that the rise in output also suggested firms were confident that underlying demand would continue to recover.

Earlier in the week, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) revised UK economic growth for the three months to March up to 0.4% from an original estimate of 0.3%, based on stronger than previously calculated activity in the construction industry.

The upbeat construction survey contrasts with the Markit/CIPS PMI reading for the manufacturing sector, which indicated growth slowed to its lowest pace in more than two years in June.

The manufacturing PMI reading fell to 51.4 in June from 51.9 the month before.

UK housing market growth continues to slow

Activity in the UK housing market activity sees gentle rise.

\"ActivityMortgage experts are predicting a \”gentle recovery\” in activity in the UK housing market as new figures show lending rose slightly.

Gross mortgage lending rose by 2% in May compared with April to £16.2 billion, according to the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML).

This, and economic indicators, signalled a \”limited\” increase in activity in the coming months, it said. However, it pointed out that lending was 3% lower than in May last year.

Mortgage rates are currently at very low levels as lenders aim to entice buyers to enter the market.

But brokers say there remains a shortage of properties being put on the market.

UK house price growth eased in the year to April, partly due to a slowdown in London, official figures have shown.

Prices rose by 5.5% – compared with a 9.6% rise in the year to March – the slowest annual price growth since December 2013, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said.

\”The pace of annual house price growth fell across the majority of the UK in April 2015,\” the ONS said.

Prices in London rose 4.3%, the lowest growth rate in two-and-a-half years.

Last week, a survey published by property services group LSL suggested that house prices in the smartest parts of London have fallen by up to 22% since last autumn.

In the year to April, Northern Ireland saw house prices increase at the fastest pace in the UK, rising 8.8%. Prices in England were up 5.8%, in Scotland 2.2% and in Wales 1.3%.

On a monthly basis, UK prices fell by 1.3% from March, with the average house price standing at £271,000.

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Building on greenbelt land has increased over five years

The number of new homes being approved on greenbelt land in England has increased five fold in the last five years.

\"BuildingIn 2009-10 planning permission was granted for 2,258 homes, while in 2014-15 the figure rose to 11,977.

In the last year alone the number of approvals on green land has doubled.

The government insists greenbelt development is a matter for local planning authorities.

Green belts were created to prevent urban sprawl and stop neighbouring towns merging into one another.

England has 14 green belts, covering 13% of total land.

Government policy states that the greenbelt should only be built on in \”exceptional circumstances\”. But local authorities, hard pressed to supply land for development, are turning to green belt sites to try to satisfy housing demand.

However many estimates suggest that 250,000 homes need to be built each year to solve the housing crisis in the UK.

Areas feeling the most pressure include Hertfordshire, where the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) says sites for 34,000 homes have already been proposed, with another 10,000 waiting in the wings.

In 2009/10, 2,258 homes were approved. In 2013/2014, the number had risen to 5,607. By the following year, 2014/2015, it had more than doubled to 11,977.

Housing and Planning Minister Brandon Lewis said that it was up to local authorities to decide the future of their greenbelt:

\”Greenbelt is something that has been there to give a strategic protection to those green lungs. We have outlined what local areas need to do if they want to go through a review of their greenbelt.

\”It is very much a matter of those local authorities. They are the best placed people locally, democratically accountable locally, to decide where is the right location for any development.\”

However, Housing and Planning Minister Brandon Lewis insists that protection for the countryside is being maintained.

\”I think we\’ve got a system now that trusts local people to make those decisions, and the National Planning Policy Framework is actually very clear.

\”Great weight should be given to conserving landscapes and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

\”Planning permission should be refused for major developments in these except in exceptional circumstances and where it can be demonstrated that it is in the public interest.\”

UK property price rises slowing down

House prices rises across the UK are continuing to slow down, according to figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

\"UKThe annual rate of house price inflation fell to 7.2% in February – down from 8.4% in January, and the lowest rate for more than a year.

However, in the short term, between January and February, prices rose by 0.6% on a seasonally-adjusted basis.

The average house price across the UK is now £268,000, the ONS reported.

Separate figures show that mortgage lending fell significantly in February, according to the Council for Mortgage Lenders (CML).

The number of loans advanced to borrowers during the month was 40,600 – a 1% fall from January, and a 16% fall compared with February 2014.

Paul Smee, the CML\’s director general, said seasonal factors had not helped the market.

\”This typical seasonal trend may also be exacerbated by uncertainty ahead of the general election, but we still expect to see an upturn in the spring and summer months,\” he said.

Semi detached homes drive UK property price rise

Semi detached homes\’ prices rose at the fastest rate of any property type in England and Wales in the year to the end of April.

\"SemiProperty prices have been rising in most areas of the country

The value of semis rose by 5.6% over the year, the Land Registry figures show, ahead of flats (up 5.4%) and detached homes (up 5.1%).

Overall, property prices increased by 5.1% over the year and by 0.9% from March to April so that the average home was valued at £179,817, the Land Registry said.

Prices rose the fastest in London over the year, up 10.9%, and in the South East of England, up 8.8%.

The slowest annual property price growth was in Wales, up 0.3%. Prices in Wales fell by 1.1% in April compared with March.

The pace of property price rises generally has slowed, although the picture features significant regional differences.

The figures come as insurer Legal and General said there was a need for purpose built homes for the older generation.

Nigel Wilson, chief executive of L&G, said that there were more than five million under occupied homes owned by the over 55s.

Two-thirds of them were looking to downsize but there were no appropriate homes for them, he said.

Nationwide warns of natural correction in UK house prices

The Nationwide building society has warned the London housing market may face a \”natural correction\”.

\"NationwideThe mutual\’s chief executive, Graham Beale said there was already a \”slowing down in the market place\”.

It comes as Nationwide reported its best ever year, with a four fold rise in pre tax annual profits to £677 million, against £168 million a year earlier.

Nationwide said it increased mortgage lending by 31% to £28.1 billion in the year to 4 April on the back of the recovery in the housing market.

The mutual said it had also approved 31% of all mortgages advanced within the government\’s Help to Buy scheme, designed to help first-time buyers onto the property ladder.

But it added the number of mortgages it advanced to borrowers with a deposit of 10% or less of a property\’s purchase value – which would account for a majority of first-time buyers – remained low, at 2.4% of its total lending for the year.

The most recent figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed average property values increased by 8% in the year to March to £252,000, down slightly from the 9.2% rise recorded a month earlier.

House prices in London rose 17% in the year to March, according to the ONS.

State backed Lloyds Banking Group recently announced it would restrict lending to four times a borrower\’s income for mortgage applications of £500,000 or more. There has been speculation that Royal Bank of Scotland may soon follow suit.

Nationwide also announced it had achieved the 3% leverage ratio – the difference between a bank or building society\’s total capital versus its loans and other debts – set by the Prudential Regulatory Authority (PRA), a year earlier than expected.

Last year, it missed the 3% target as it did not have sufficient capital and it was given until 2015 to increase its capital base and now has a leverage ratio of 3.3%.

Nationwide\’s position was strengthened by a £4.9bn increase in savers\’ deposits to £130.5bn, equal to a 12.1% share of the total savings market.

Mr Beale, said the mutual continued to offer \”a clear and compelling alternative to the established banks\”.

Underlying pre-tax profits rose 113% to £924m in the year to 4 April from £433m a year earlier.

New and existing customers opened more than 430,000 new current accounts, an 18% increase compared with a year before.

Nationwide said it had increased its overall market share of current account customers to 5.5 million accounts or 6.2% in February – the most recent figures available – up from 5.7% a year earlier, helped by new rules that make it quicker and easier for people to switch their current account to another provider.