Halifax expects house price growth to remain subdued at between 1% and 3% in 2020, saying that increases will remain low in a market where young buyers are held back by large deposit requirements. Halifax’s forecast for 2019 had suggested prices would rise by 2% and 4%, with prices subsequently climbing 2.1% over the year to November 2019. Russell Galley, Halifax’s managing director, said 2019 saw modest price growth supported by falling mortgage rates and a low volume of houses for sale, which “helped to underpin a degree of resilience in the market.” Prospects for 2020 appear “a bit brighter”, he added, “with uncertainty in the economy falling back somewhat, transactions volumes anticipated to pick up and further price increases made possible by growth in households’ real incomes”.
The Guardian (19/12/2019) The Times (19/12/2019)
The Grade II*-listed Balfron Tower in Poplar is undergoing a two-year redevelopment by Londonewcastle and award-winning architects Studio Egret West and Ab Rogers Design (ARD), giving the 146 apartments in the Brutalist landmark a modern touch. The nine-storey service tower is having each of its levels converted from utilities and boiler rooms to house recreational facilities, including cooking, yoga, table-tennis, music, a library, a gym and a cinema. A new rooftop garden will provide hydroponic growing towers where residents can produce edible plants, while a public square at ground level is surrounded by landscaped gardens. The apartments themselves have been fitted out with shelving and cabinetry in the kitchen, Corian worktops, Marmoleum flooring and, in some, a high-level breakfast bar-style island. “The greatest challenge was to make the apartments relevant to today’s living without losing the integrity of Goldfinger’s designs”, says ARD’s Ab Rogers. The scheme is due to be completed in summer 2020; prices for a one-bedroom apartment start at £365,000.
Evening Standard (09/12/2019)
A new 25-flat development by Telford Homes at Calders Wharf on the Isle of Dogs offers buyers a view of the scene that inspired Canaletto in the 18th century, as well as the chance to own a collectible copy of one of his most famous masterpieces. The homes look directly across the Thames to Sir Christopher Wren’s Old Royal Naval College, alongside the Cutty Sark – a vista that inspired A View of Greenwich from the River, painted c. 1750-52. Buyers at the scheme will be entered into a prize draw for artist Ken Small’s recreation of the painting, which the developer speculates is a collectable investment. Prices start at £678,000.
Evening Standard (06/12/2019)
UK house prices were 2.1% higher last month than a year ago at an average price of £234,625, according to the Halifax House Price Index. Prices also grew on a monthly basis, rising 1.0% from October. House prices also posted quarterly gains, with the latest quarter 0.2% up on the preceding three months. Halifax managing director Russell Galley said: “Prices are now up by £3,904 since the start of the year. While a degree of uncertainty remains evident, it’s also clear that buyers and sellers are responding to factors such as improved mortgage affordability and the limited supply of available properties.” He added: “Over the medium term we expect the emerging trend of modest gains to continue into next year”.
The Guardian (06/12/2019)
Research by Birmingham City University has analysed past UK elections and how the way we vote has affected house prices since 1960. The academics found that prices rose by 5.36% on average in the year before an election, compared with 1.8% in the 12 months after it, irrespective of who was voted in or out. This could be because politicians introduce positive housing and economic policies in the lead-up to an election, or it might be because they call elections when the economy, and therefore house-price growth, is strong, they suggested.
The Sunday Times (08/12/2019)
Britain’s biggest banks, including RBS, HSBC, TSB and Nationwide, are preparing to sell risky mortgages and loans to freelancers and gig economy workers. The lending push includes launching the first ever mortgages specifically designed for workers in the gig economy and those on zero-hour contracts. According to the Mail on Sunday, the banks are working on new ways to assess the creditworthiness of these customers in order to offer loans safely. Digital bank Tandem also hopes to launch a mortgage designed for the gig economy next year.
The Mail on Sunday (08/12/2019)