Homebuyers and sellers have told by the government to delay transactions due to the coronavirus outbreak, effectively putting the housing market on ice. The move came after talks between ministers and lenders, with banks wanting a full suspension of the market amid concerns about the impact of coronavirus and about granting credit. Bankers have also told ministers that surveying properties had become difficult in the current situation. Mortgage lenders agreed on Thursday night to extend all house purchase loan offers by three months to give borrowers more time to complete transactions.
The Daily Telegraph (27/03/2020) Financial Times (27/03/2020) The Times (27/03/2020)
Galliard Homes says that the majority of its Orchard Wharf development, off Silvocea Way in Canning Town, has secured 78% forward sales ahead of completion. Due to launch in the third quarter of 2021, the 288,000 sq ft project will eventually provide 338 apartments. David Galman, sales director of Galliard Homes commented: “Orchard Wharf provides the best value starter homes in London’s Docklands, so the sales success at the development comes as no surprise to our team. We anticipate continued success at Orchard Wharf, and are excited to see the finished development once construction is complete.”
Howard Archer, chief economic adviser to the EY Item Club, has warned that the coronavirus outbreak will bring UK house prices to a “juddering halt” in the coming months. He was speaking after data from the ONS showed that UK house prices fell by 1.1% between December and January, although they were up 1.3% on the previous year. Average UK house prices increased 1.1% over the year in England to £247,000. In Wales, they rose 2% to £162,000. And they were 1.6% up in Scotland to £152,000, and 2.5% higher in Northern Ireland to £140,000.
City AM (25/03/2020)
Housing lawyers and the charity Shelter have called for home repossession cases heard in county courts to be postponed until after the COVID-19 crisis. They say people are still being summoned in block bookings to sit together in courts waiting for judges to decide on claims, despite government promise that renters and mortgage borrowers would be protected from eviction. Sue James, an expert on housing law, said: “The lord chief justice has advised that it is now inappropriate to continue to list cases in this way. Yet they are still continuing in some courts. It makes no sense for the possession cases and evictions to continue - and it is against government guidance.”
The Guardian (23/03/2020)
Mortgage Advice Bureau has launched a Mortgage Information Support Service to help homeowners who are worried about their finances as a result of the coronavirus outbreak. Homeowners can call 0808 296 3562 to speak to a qualified mortgage adviser via the support service. Mortgage Advice Bureau has also created an online resource of FAQs on the topic. This will be updated daily as more queries are raised.
The I (20/03/2020)
The Royal Docks regeneration district, consisting of Royal Albert Dock, Royal Victoria Dock, and King George V Dock, is set to become the heartland of the new East End within a decade. It will bring a new business district to rival the City, along with new high streets, and at least seven new residential quarters. On the south side of the docks, across the water from Charlton, Royal Wharf will deliver 3,385 homes with 40 acres of green space, including at John Cabot House, with Help to Buy, which is due to complete after Easter. Prices there start from £588,000 for a two-bedroom flat. At the other end of The Royals is Royal Albert Wharf, a 1,500-home scheme to include 100,000sq ft of workspace, artists’ studios, a café and a community centre. Forty per cent of the homes will be lower cost, with one-bedroom flats starting from £350,000. Finally, Lend Lease is working to transform Millennium Mills, once London’s largest flour mill, into 7m sq ft of residential and commercial space and parks. Phase one will offer 1,000 homes. The Refinery, towards the old Tate & Lyle factory, offers shared ownership, from £119,700 for 35% of a one-bedroom flat and £165,375 for 35% of a three-bedroom flat.
Evening Standard (13/03/2020)