Halifaxhas reported that pent-up demand and the stamp duty holiday have seen UK house prices reach a record high in August, with managing director Russell Galley stating: “A surge in market activity has driven up house prices through the post-lockdown summer period”. He noted however that “The macroeconomic picture in the UK should become clearer over the next few months as various Government support measures come to an end.” The price of the average UK house now stands at £245,747, with Andrew Burrell of Capital Economics noting: “Pent-up demand will soon be expended. A weak economy, cautious lenders and the end of the stamp duty cut will weigh on prices” .
The Daily Telegraph (07/09/2020) The Guardian (07/09/2020) City AM (07/09/2020)
Barclays has cut how much it will lend via mortgages to new customers and those already part way through the application process. Experts said lenders have become increasingly nervous about unemployment – fearing a sharp rise in redundancies and a fall in wages when the Government's furlough scheme comes to an end in October. As a result, Barclays has slashed how much money it will lend to a mortgage applicant as a multiple of their income. Buyers can now only get a mortgage 4.49 times their annual salary, down from 5.5 times. Meanwhile, HSBC has pulled its mortgages for first-time buyers with small deposits because it could not cope with demand. It was the only big lender to offer 10% deposit mortgages throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Daily Telegraph (04/09/2020) The Times (04/09/2020)
The Prime Minister has proposed that London could be given a partial exemption from new planning laws as he seeks to gain support for the changes. Boris Johnson is understood to have said that the capital could be offered a “carve-out” from some measures after warnings that the reforms risked “destroying suburbia”. Mr Johnson had suggested London could be exempted from the new measures that will allow people to build two-storey extensions without full planning permission. Downing Street sources denied that any explicit offer of a “carve-out” had been made but acknowledged there had been a discussion around the issue.
The Times (05/09/2020)
Aspen at Consort Place, a so-called vertical village of 496 homes, has been designed to be inviting to families who may otherwise be deterred by Canary Wharf’s image as a business district bereft of child-friendly amenities. The main 65-storey tower – an elegant three-petal design that creates six corners and gives the apartments stunning double-aspect views – includes a games room and play areas on the first floor, while below at ground-level is a health centre, education space, and community hall, along with shops, restaurants and cafés. Further up the tower is a spa, gym, pool and sky bar, along with business suite, screening room and private dining room. Prices start from £554,500.
Evening Standard (28/08/2020)