An analysis of all housing developments of at least 10 houses and flats that were approved by London councils in 2015 has found that work had started on only 54% of them within three years. Almost 57,500 homes were given consent that year but by the end of 2018 construction was only under way on 46%, the same proportion as in the previous year. The number of applications fell last year by 17%, although the number of permissions rose. The figures, compiled by Grant Thornton, also show a 30% drop in affordable homes completed last year, despite a threefold rise in planning approvals.
Evening Standard (28/05/2019)
Sam Woods, the deputy governor of the Bank of England, has said that regulators are watching a mortgages price war “like a hawk” and may need to impose stricter minimum capital requirements on lenders. The price war over the past two years may be good news for first-time homebuyers, but it was less good for a bank or building society concentrated in mortgages, Mr Woods warned. The Bank has said “ring-fencing” rules designed to protect high street operations from risks taken in lenders' investment banking had contributed to the increased competition. His comments come after the Bank forced Metro Bank to correct how much capital it was setting aside to cover mortgages after under-reporting the risk from its loan book.
The Times (25/05/2019)
More money entered the UK housing market in April than at any point since 2007, according to industry group UK Finance, with almost £9bn of home purchase mortgages approved for nearly 43,000 such loans. The number of mortgages was up 6% on the month and more than 11% on April 2018, while remortgaging also picked up - with more than 31,000 homeowners shopping around for a new loan in the month. However gross mortgage lending eased back by 1.4% to £20.3bn year-on-year. Howard Archer, chief economic adviser to the EY Item Club, commented: “April’s marked rise in mortgage approvals suggests that housing market activity may well have got at least some temporary support from the avoidance of a disruptive Brexit at the end of March.”
City AM (28/05/2019)
Users of the Help to Buy scheme could be paying up to £4,800 more than necessary for their property – by buying at the wrong time, consumer website MoneySavingExpert says. The scheme offers a five-year interest-free loan, after which homeowners are charged 1.75% in interest, rising each year by one percentage point plus RPI. But interest charges start to accrue the April after the interest-free period expires, meaning those buying at the end of the calendar year will be charged interest more quickly.
The Daily Telegraph (20/05/2019)
Seven new family townhouses in the Docklands, a real rarity amid the gleaming new apartment blocks going up across the area, have gone on the market as part of EcoWorld Ballymore’s Townhouse Collection at London City Island. The new neighbourhood, on the site of a former margarine factory, is being built in a loop of the River Lea as it flows into the Thames close to Canary Wharf. Spread over six storeys connected by a lift, the townhouses - whose prices start from £1.45m - have vibrant red-brick façades, roof terraces, patios, and private parking.
Evening Standard (21/05/2019)
Transport for London’s investment delivery planning director David Hughes has told a London Assembly committee that a public consultation for the new Rotherhithe Crossing has been delayed, so that a value engineering exercise can be carried out to ensure it can be delivered within a £330m budget. The new river crossing for pedestrians and cyclists between Rotherhithe and Canary Wharf aims to relieve existing transport links and support growth in the Canada Water and Isle of Dogs areas. If built, the bridge will be the world’s longest lifting bridge, at 90m high, and spanning 180m across the Thames.
New Civil Engineer (22/05/2019)