Docklands News

Record demand for mortgages ahead of rate rises

The number of buyers and home owners searching for a mortgage hit a record high in March, according to analysis by Twenty7Tec, a mortgage data firm. It recorded almost 1.6m mortgage searches last month, 60,000 more than at the time of the original stamp duty tax break deadline in March 2021. Almost 60% of borrowers searching for a loan were buyers, while the remainder were remortgaging. Nathan Reilly, of Twenty7Tec, said: "Inflation-driven rate rises are driving remortgage search volumes higher than predicted at the start of the year... Even the purchase market remains buoyant in the face of wider macro economic uncertainty." Mortgage searches grew fastest in the £250,000 to £500,000 range in March, up 14.6% month-on-month, according to Twenty7Tec. But house price inflation has meant more demand for mortgages to buy properties priced at £1m and above. Almost one in 20 mortgage searches is now for a house valued above £1m. 

The Daily Telegraph (09/04/2022)  

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Service charge code could be revised to help housing association tenants

Housing association tenants of long leasehold flats in England are to be brought into a revised service charge management code, under proposals being consulted on by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (Rics). The code sets out best practice for the management of leasehold residential blocks and estates and is used by the courts to settle disputes about service charges. In the past it has only applied to leaseholders within privately-owned developments. The proposals would not stop landlords from potentially increasing charges, but they would require them to set out the rationale behind setting service charges, Rics added. “Proposed enhancements to the code will improve consistency within the industry and transparency for leaseholders in relation to service charges, agents fees, long term planned preventative maintenance plans and reserve funds," Rics said. 

The Independent (09/04/2022)  

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Canary Wharf: Cuba Street apartment block wins approval

A 52-floor tower block is set to be added to the Canary Wharf skyline after being approved by councillors. An application by developer Ballymore for the 174-metre high skyscraper, in Cuba Street, has been given the green light by Tower Hamlets Council's strategic development committee. The plans had been due for debate earlier this year but a decision was delayed after issues were raised by the London Fire Brigade (LFB). The original proposals included only one fire escape staircase. In an updated consultation response, LFB said it "appreciated" the developer's amended design, "in particular the inclusion of two staircases". The proposal includes 421 flats, of which 100 are classed as "affordable". It features a new 1,630 square metre public park, which Ballymore claims would be the biggest open public space brought to the Docklands in 20 years. features a new 1,630 sq m public park, which Ballymore claims would be the biggest open public space brought to the Docklands in 20 years.

Building (04/04/2022)   East London Advertiser (05/04/2022)  

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London house prices up £40,000 since start of pandemic

London property prices are now more than £40,000 higher on average than they were at the start of the pandemic, latest figures reveal today. The market continued its relentless rise at the start of the year with prices in the capital hitting a new high of £534,977 by March, according to data from leading lender Halifax. At the start of the first COVID lockdown in March 2020, the average London home cost £493,626 but prices have risen £41,351, or 8.4%, since then. Across the South-East, the market has been even stronger through the pandemic with prices going up £54,634, or 16.5%, from £331,156 to £385,790. 

Evening Standard (07/04/2022)  

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Londoners fret about housing and work situation

Londoners are more worried about their work and housing situation than those living in any other region of the UK, according to a recent poll. Although those living in the capital are confident in their health and believe they have enough savings to last them into old age, they have significant concerns around work and housing as they look towards their futures, according to polling from Phoenix. The figures come as more people living in London than in any other UK region said their savings situation had improved during the pandemic, as 25% of Londoners said Covid had led to them feeling more confident about their savings. However, Londoners also face the UK’s most expensive property market, with house prices averaging £667,000. 

City AM (01/04/2022)  

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New-build prices rise twice as fast as older homes cost

The cost of a new-build home soared by 25.4% last year, reaching £367,219 in November 2021, according to the latest Land Registry data. Meanwhile, existing homes increased in cost by 8.6%. The housing market has seen sustained growth since the coronavirus struck, largely due to an imbalance between supply and demand. But the data shows that new-build homes are outstripping existing properties when it comes to price - despite several controversies in recent years. Millions of homeowners were trapped in leasehold contracts with expensive ground rents that made their properties unsellable, for example, while many were also covered in unsafe fire cladding which meant the value of the properties plummeted. 

The Independent (05/04/2022)  

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