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ROOF Blog archive

Displaying ROOF Blog articles from April 2007

Lunchtime news April 25


Posted by:
Julian Birch

Papers including the Mail interpret comments by Mervyn King yesterday as a signal that the property boom may be over – though the Bank of England governor also said inflation is set to fall.

But leading buy-to-let lender Bradford and Bingley sees no signs of a slowdown thanks to immigration and students, reports the Financial Times.

The chances of a Lords revolt on home information packs grew after criticism from a select committee, according to the Mail.

The Guardian profiles Debbie Crew, housing advisor and ROOF contributor, who has won a Sheila McKechnie Foundation award for campaign against abuses by private landlords.

The property market in Spain, where UK citizens own up to 250,000 homes, is about to implode, according to economists from Lombard Street Research.

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Lunchtime news April 24


Posted by:
Julian Birch

In its response to the Calcutt review of housebuilding, the Council of Mortgage Lenders [downloads PDF] has called for more consultation to avoid mortgagebility problems caused by modern methods of construction and an over-supply of new flats in some areas.

Home loan demand may be slowing down, according to British Bankers Association showing mortgage approvals below the monthly average of the last six months. But the Council of Mortgage Lenders said lending reached another new record in March and was 10% higher than in March 2006. Today’s papers, including The Guardian, see the data as a signal that the housing market is reaching its peak.

The average home costs its owner £11,000 a year to run in mortgage and other essential bills – a 12% rise in the last two years, according to Sainsbury’s Bank reserach reported in the Daily Mail.

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Luncthime news April 23


Posted by:
Julian Birch

Papers including the Daily Mail cover research from the Halifax showing average house prices are now more than £100,000 even in the cheapest towns in England.

The Mail also reports a forecast from the respected Ernst & Young Item Club that interest rates will stay ‘painfully high’ until at least 2011.

Young people leaving care are being placed in unsuitable accommodation where they are harrassed and bullied by other tenants, according to research by the charity Rainer reported in The Guardian.

Former home secretary David Blunkett says council homes should be given first to Britons on the waiting list to help tackle angle about immigrants jumping the queue, reports The Observer.

The Observer also reports on cold-calling canvassers persuading tenants to take on huge right-to-buy loans.

The Financial Services Authority has warned banks they are taking on ‘substantial risks’ with sub-prime mortgages, reports Saturday’s Financial Times.

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Lunchtime news April 19


Posted by:
Julian Birch

The Mirror reports on the scandal of ’buy to leave’ – rented property left empty by speculators – and quotes Yvette Cooper calling for action by local authorities.

Lenders are withdrawing their fixed rate mortgages ahead of an expected rate rise, reports the Guardian. Is a property crash on the way?

Leading housebuilder Taylor Woodrow has been forced to hand back its affordable housing allocation from the Housing Corporation, reports Inside Housing.

Many councils have vastly underestimated the amount of refurbishment work required to meet the 2010 decent homes target, reports Inside Housing.

Inside Housing also reports on Tony Blair’s legacy for social housing – it will make better reading for the prime minister than much of his recent press – and priorities for his successor.

The new issue of ROOF is published today, with stories including our exclusive affordability index already getting coverage elsewhere. Go here, and here for more. Other features include Britain’s hottest property (it’s a council house), exclusive research into repossessions by sub-prime lenders, Nick Raynsford and John Hills reaction to the Hills review of social housing and contributors including Richard Ingrams and Jake Arnott. Go here to subscribe.

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Lunchtime news April 17


Posted by:
Julian Birch

Today’s papers are full of yesterday’s increase in inflation and some are now predicting two more increases in interest rates.

According to The Guardian, Shaks Ghosh, the former head of Crisis, is to become chief executive of the Private Equity Foundation, a charity set up by the controversial private equity industry with £20m to invest in organisations tackling social exclusion.

Defend Council Housing has launched an online petition [628 signatures so far] on the Downing Street website demanding that the government implements the fourth option of direct investment in council housing.

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Lunchtime news April 16


Posted by:
Julian Birch

The Liberal Democrats have launched a campaign to cut carbon emissions from housing. Climate Change Starts at Home includes a proposal for energy mortgages funding improvements to existing stock and repayable through energy bills.

The Residential Landlords Association is advising its members to pull out of the housing benefit market because benefit will be paid direct to tenants under the local housing allowance.

House prices rose 12.1% in the year to February, according to the DCLG, but prices fell back slightly in February from January.

Key worker housing policy is perverse, says an editorial in the Financial Times. It boosts demand by subsidising rents and mortgages and restricts supply by making housebuilding less profitable. In the short term, increase their wages. In the long term, increase housing supply.

The Observer highlights fears that borrowers struggling with credit cards and personal loans could lose their homes when they take out consolidation loans.

Saturday’s Financial Times highlighted fears that the introduction of home information packs could lead to a hiatus in the housing market as sellers rush on to the market before June.

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Lunchtime news April 13


Posted by:
Julian Birch

Key workers can’t afford homes in seven out of ten UK towns, according to Halifax research reported in papers including The Independent.

The National Audit Office is investigating housing market renewal pathfinders to see if they offer value for money, reports Inside Housing.

A report for the Commission for Racial Equality says racial tension is greatest in areas of most housing need, says Inside Housing.

Boom or crash? The Independent debates the big question.

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Lunchtime news April 10


Posted by:
Julian Birch

Papers including the Guardian and Telegraph cover plans for ‘sin bins’ for anti-social families in yesterday’s launch of the government’s network of family intervention projects.

The Financial Times reports on contrasting indicators for the housing market: the latest RICS survey showing that the house price bubble is still growing and a report from Datamonitor that says it may be about to burst.

The Housing Corporation has announced extra incentives to tenants buying under the struggling social homebuy scheme. Tenants who part-buy will get a discount when they staircase up as well as when they buy their intitial share.

Leading UK sub-prime lender Kensington has issued its second profit warning in three weeks, according to the Evening Standard.

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Lunchtime news April 4


Posted by:
Julian Birch

An independent affordability review in Northern Ireland has called for an extra 10,000 social rented homes to be built and 9,500 empty homes to be brought back into use over the next five years. The Semple report [downloads PDF] also called for fast-tracking of planning applications for new homes.

Not before time: the Nationwide says house prices in Northern Ireland are rising at their fastest since records began in 1973 while the Halifax [downloads PDF] says that in the last two years prices have overaken everywhere except London, the South East and the South West.

The Housing Corporation has put AmicusHorizon group under supervision and has made three statutory appointment to the board of the housing association that manages 27,000 homes in London and the South East. It said it acted ‘because of concerns about its governance and management, arising from on-going poor operational performance within the group’s subsidiary SLFHA’.

As the election campaign hots up in Scotland, the Herald has a major feature on the housing crisis in Glasgow in the wake of the stock transfer, house price boom and buy to let.

House prices rose by 1% in March, according to the Halifax [downloads PDF]. The annual rate rose to 11.1% but the bank said the increase was for ‘purely arithmetical reasons’ to do with the strength of the market in early 2006 and house price inflation should slow down in the coming months.

The Bank of England held interest rates at 5.25% this morning but according to the Financial Times most economists expect another 0.25% rise in May.

The statutory tenancy deposit scheme in the private rented sector starts tomorrow. Communities secretary Ruth Kelly at the launch: ‘The new rules will inject greater fairness into the rental market and mean that when a tenant sticks to the rules, the landlord/agent must too.’

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Lunchtime news April 3


Posted by:
Julian Birch

Scottish Conservatives want to scrap Communities Scotland and stage a major expansion of shared ownership through affordable housing trusts. Their chances of winning the Scottish elections are close to zero but could the plans be a signal of national policy? The Scotsman covers the issues in detail.

The Welsh assembly government has launched a new protocol aimed at releasing more surplus land for housing.

Papers including The Guardian report a big increase in mortgage equity withdrawal in the last quarter of 2006, taking the total for the year to almost £50bn.

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Lunchtime news April 2


Posted by:
Julian Birch

New research for the DCLG into loans for vulnerable home owners concludes there is room for expansion if more choices are developed.

Councils will be allowed to build and deliver their own housing under a plan to be put to the Labour party conference in the autumn, reports Inside Housing. The compromise plan follows conference defeats for the leadership on the fourth option.

The housing market is heading for a fall, according to research for the Telegraph that says homes are less affordable than at any time since the 1991 crash.

Also in the Telegraph, Roger Bootle analyses the difference between the US and UK markets and concludes a crash here is unlikely – so long as house prices keep rising. However, Bootle’s firm Capital Economics has predicted price falls before and been wrong.

Sunday’s Independent also analysed the chances of a US-style crash.

Financial advisors interviewed in Saturday’s Guardian are sceptical about the Nationwide’s 25-year fixed rate mortgage.

The DCLG has published new guidance [downloads PDF] for non-excellent authorities in England on supporting people and new grant conditions for 2007/08.

The Housing Corporation has published guidance on new legal powers for housing associations to tackle anti-social behaviour.

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