Docklands News

London housing growth outpaces rest of country

The Mirror reports on analysis showing that London's housing stock has grown by 8% since mayor Sadiq Khan took office in 2016, compared to 6% growth for the rest of England. If the rest of the country had matched London's rate of growth, the paper notes, "it would have meant a 300,000 increase across the country - equal to the Government’s housing target for an entire year". Affordable housing providers have urged the Government to adopt recent recommendations from London's Housing Delivery Taskforce, including increased investment in council home-building and clarifying confusion over fire safety rules that is stalling development. 

The Mirror (11/11/2023)  

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Homeowners ditch open-plan living for ‘single function' spaces

The pandemic has caused a shift in homeowner preferences, with open-plan living being abandoned in favor of "single function" spaces. Homeowners are reinstating walls, adding partitions, and building extensions to create private spaces that are sheltered from distractions. Research suggests that dividing up a property can increase its value, with a dedicated home office adding 4% to the home's value, according to insurer Direct Line's analysis of UK property listings. Interior designers and architects have observed a demand for private spaces due to the cohabitation and long-term adoption of working from home. The shift towards "single function" spaces reflects the evolving needs of families and the desire for privacy and focus in a post-pandemic world. 

The Daily Telegraph (13/11/2023)  

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Knight Dragon to begin work on Greenwich Peninsula towers in 2024

Knight Dragon says it will begin work on the construction of two Greenwich Peninsula tower blocks with no "affordable" accommodation in 2024, after plans for the buildings were rubber-stamped by Greenwich Council earlier this week. Vacant land between the Millennium Way roundabout, outside the O2, and the River Thames, will play host to two blocks of 36 and 20 storeys, along with commercial units and a three-storey cycle storage unit, forming the first phase of the Meridian Quays neighbourhood, which will eventually host 17,500 new homes.

The Greenwich Wire (08/11/2023)  

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House prices register their first monthly increase since March

Halifax has reported that house prices rose 1.1% between September and October, ending a run of six consecutive monthly falls. However, they were still down 3.2% compared with October last year. It means the average UK property prices rose to £281,974 last month, an increase of nearly £3,000. This is down £11,000 from the August 2022 peak but still £42,600 above the level in February 2020, before the pandemic. Halifax also reported an annual decline of 2.4% in prices for first-time buyers. Kim Kinnaird, director at Halifax Mortgages, said: "Prospective sellers appear to be taking a cautious attitude, leading to a low supply of homes for sale. This is likely to have strengthened prices in the short term, rather than prices being driven by buyer demand, which remains weak overall. While many people will have seen their income grow through wage rises, higher interest rates and wider affordability pressures continue to be challenges for buyers".

Financial Times (07/11/2023)   I (07/11/2023)   The Times (07/11/2023)  

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Steep falls in housebuilding drive contraction in UK construction

UK construction activity contracted in October, although slightly less so than in September, according to the S&P Global/CIPS UK construction PMI. The ongoing downturn has been driven by a sharp contraction in housebuilding on the back of higher borrowing costs. CIPS chief economist John Glen said: “High interest rates and low consumer demand for new homes continue to drag down the UK construction sector, with a lack of new tender opportunities and a cutback of existing projects being reported across the housebuilding industry.”  

Financial Times (06/11/2023)   Mortgage Strategy (06/11/2023)  

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UK mortgage lenders to ramp up competition for business

UK homeowners and buyers can expect a rash of mortgage deals with eye-catching rates as home loan providers compete to entice borrowers and hit their lending targets. Mortgage costs have been reducing since late July, with the average new five-year fixed mortgage rate down to 5.87% from 6.37% at the start of August. Nicholas Mendes of the broker John Charcol, suspects lenders will have to do more to galvanise the market, with one option being to use a higher fee to push down the headline rate of a new mortgage deal. Chris Sykes, technical director at the broker Private Finance, believes there is “not going to be much major movement on mortgage rates until the base rate starts coming down, or inflation is low enough to predict that the base rate will soon come down”. 

The Guardian (04/11/2023)  

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