Docklands News

Builders warn of 50,000 fewer new homes

Figures from the Home Builders Federation show 110,598 homes were completed in the first half of 2023, marking an 11% decline on 2022 and a 12% fall compared to pre-pandemic levels. The number of new homes receiving planning permission in the three months to June was down 20%, year-on-year. Reflecting on the data, Rico Wojtulewicz of the National Federation of Builders said: “If things continue, we could see up to 50,000 fewer homes being completed over the next 12 months.” He added: “The Government's plan to stop mandatory minimum housing targets, and higher interest rates have slowed housing sales,” going on to describe this as “a perfect storm.”

Daily Mail (25/09/2023)  

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Greenwich Council orders demolition of 'mutant' apartment complex

Greenwich Council has taken what it describes as an "unprecedented" step in planning enforcement, ordering that a two-block 23-storey complex of 204 build-to-rent flats be demolished after planning enforcement officers identified 26 significant deviations from the scheme's original planning permission. The Mast Quay Phase II scheme was developed by Comer Homes Group, which is also acting as landlord. Among the deviations identified included "non-accessible" accessible apartments with steps to their balconies, an unbuilt underground car park, and no roof gardens or children's play areas. Cllr Aidan Smith described the development as a "mutant development that is a blight on the landscape". The developer has 28 days to appeal to the Planning Inspectorate. 

BBC News (27/09/2023)   The Daily Telegraph (28/09/2023)   The Guardian (28/09/2023)   The Times (28/09/2023)  

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House price growth falls

Data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) reveals that house prices in July were only 0.6% higher than the previous year, down from a 1.9% increase in June. This is the weakest reading since September 2012. The average UK house price in July was £290,000, £2,000 more than the previous year but £2,000 below the record set in November. The ONS data shows that prices are falling fastest in Wales, with house values 0.1% lower in July than a year earlier, while annual price growth in Scotland also slowed to 0.1%. Meanwhile in England, prices increased by 0.6% in the 12 months to July, with London being the weakest-performing regional market. However, it has been overtaken by the southwest, where prices fell 1%. Gabriella Dickens, senior UK economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics, said: "Some potential buyers might be emboldened by the recovery in their real incomes in the second half of the year, as wages rise more quickly than prices. But consumers' confidence is still very weak by past standards and expectations of further house price falls remain entrenched." 

The Independent (20/09/2023)   The Times (20/09/2023)  

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Nearly half a million mortgage borrowers face repayment increases

Nearly half a million mortgage borrowers in the UK are set to face sharp increases in their repayments as a wave of fixed-rate deals come to an end. According to the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), 485,000 mortgage borrowers are on fixed deals due to expire in the final three months of 2023. By the end of this year, a record 1.5m people will have remortgaged. The FCA predicts a further spike in remortgages next spring, with over 180,000 homeowners coming off fixed-term rates in April. The value of outstanding mortgage balances in arrears has risen by 28% to £16.9bn, the highest total recorded since 2016. Eric Leenders, a managing director at UK Finance, said that lenders are concerned about forbearance to prevent an increase in repossessions. Ele Clark, at Which?, said: "With more than half a million fixed-rate deals ending in the next few months, it's vital that lenders are offering adequate and fully resourced customer support to help borrowers assess their options." 

Daily Mail (19/09/2023)   Daily Mirror (19/09/2023)   The Daily Telegraph (19/09/2023)   The Independent (19/09/2023)  

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Cheapest mortgage rates fall below 5%

The cheapest mortgage rates in the UK have fallen below 5% for the first time since July, signalling a positive outlook for the economy. Yorkshire Building Society introduced a 4.99% five-year fix, while Coventry Building Society cut its cheapest five-year deal to 5%. Other major lenders, including Barclays, Halifax, and Nationwide Building Society, have also reduced their mortgage rates, bringing hope to the 1.6m homeowners whose existing deals are ending next year, as well as for the property market. The average of the cheapest two-year fixes has dropped from 6.25% to 5.9%, while the average of the cheapest five-year deals has fallen from 5.73% to 5.36%. 

The Times (16/09/2023)  

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Fifty per cent of mortgage borrowers sticking with the same lender

Approximately 50% of mortgage borrowers are choosing to stick with their current lender rather than remortgage to a new one when their deal ends, according to data by broker L&C Mortgages. This is a significant increase compared to the previous year, when only a quarter of borrowers were staying with their current lender. The rising mortgage rates and affordability concerns may be preventing some borrowers from switching to a different lender. However, eligible customers are offered a "product transfer" by their current lender, which allows them to switch to a new deal without going through additional checks and paperwork.

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