The government’s target for new home construction looks to be in jeopardy as housebuilding in England has continued to slow amid political uncertainty and skills shortages. In the first three months of 2019, the number of new builds starts declined by 9% compared to the previous three months, and dropped 9% annually, according to the Ministry of Housing, Communities, and Local Government. “The decrease in starts does look like a potential issue in the market. Longer-term it looks like overall delivery has levelled out at about 220,000 net additions a year,” said Neal Hudson, an independent housing market analyst. The government plans to build 300,000 new homes a year by the mid-2020s.
Financial Times (04/07/2019) Mortgage Strategy (04/07/2019) The Times (04/07/2019)
London Mayor Sadiq Khan says he needs several times the current funding level to deliver affordable housing in the capital. According to a new report by the Greater London Authority, £4.9bn is needed each year to give Londoners affordable housing - seven times the £700m City Hall receives via the annual housing grant from central government. The report cites Mr Khan's affordable homes programme, noting that to deliver a similar 10-year programme up until 2032, there needs to be 325,000 new affordable homes over the course of the scheme. City Hall figures show 14,544 affordable homes were started last year, exceeding the target of 14,000 agreed with central government.
City AM (23/06/2019)
Transport for London has cancelled plans to build a tilting pedestrian bridge between Canary Wharf and Rotherhithe. In a letter to the London Assembly’s transport committee, Heidi Alexander, the deputy mayor for transport, said the bridge was now unaffordable in the short to medium term. The cost was originally estimated at £350m, but projections have escalated to nearly £600m. Instead, consultant Beckett Rankine has tabled a design for an electric, self-docking and self-charging ferry service, with three vessels and two new piers providing a crossing every three minutes for less than £30m. Rotherhithe Bridge Action Group co-chair and founder Karryn Beaumont added: “We are delighted TfL is now progressing with the free-to-use, zero emission, electric ferry. This is good for taxpayers, residents and commuters and does not put other Healthy Street projects at risk. With a relatively low entry cost, we hope to see this scheme replicated along the river.”
Construction Enquirer (21/06/2019) New Civil Engineer (25/06/2019)
A number of British cities, including London, have tumbled down the rankings in an annual survey of the world's most expensive places to live. Mercer's 2019 Cost of Living Survey revealed that London had fallen four places to 23rd on the list. "UK cities' fall this year is mainly due to a strengthening of the US dollar”, the report explained. Hong Kong topped the rankings for the second year in a row, followed by Tokyo and Singapore.
The Daily Telegraph (26/06/2019)
Lenders are extending their offer periods for homeowners, who are now enjoying increasing flexibility in the mortgage market. Aaron Strutt of mortgage broker Trinity Financial said several lenders had increased their "offer validity" periods, with those from Nationwide, NatWest, Santander and Virgin Money all now lasting six months, while Barclays has also extended its offer period - from 90 to 150 days for certain existing customers. Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients says he has even seen examples of lenders allowing existing customers to move to a cheaper deal immediately.
The Daily Telegraph (20/06/2019)
In the wake of the 2012 Olympics, the old industrial sites of Bromley-by-Bow were earmarked for regeneration, with plans made for thousands of new homes and amenities. The first major development in the area is Bow River Village, which will eventually provide more than 700 new homes to rent and buy. A shared-ownership home in the village can be had from as little as £131,250 for a 35% share of a one-bedroom flat; outright ownership of a two-bedroom apartment can be had from £512,000, with three-beds starting at £600,000. Bromley-by-Bow tube station and Bow Road DLR are less than five and 10 minutes’ walk respectively, offering easy commutes to the City and Central London, as well as Canary Wharf. A new bridge is planned over the River Lea, giving a more direct walking route to the shops, bars, restaurants and sports facilities at Stratford. Work is underway on the village’s waterfront site, with completion expected by 2021.
Evening Standard (18/06/2019)