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Lords’ amendments could 'stifle' housing delivery

28th April 2016

Small development sites should not be regulated in the same way as major developments, according to the Federation of Master Builders (FMB). House of Lords amendments to the Housing and Planning Bill, which would target small development sites for expensive affordable housing contributions, and increase regulations and taxes on small builders, will stifle the supply of new homes at a time when they are needed most, warns the federation. Brian Berry, chief executive of the FMB said: “We understand the need ...

Gap widens between LHA and rent costs

28th April 2016

Private tenants face a growing gap between help with housing costs and rent. Analysis from the Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH) has found tenants face an increasingly widening gap between the Local Housing Allowance (LHA) they receive to help with their housing costs and the actual rent they pay. Research conducted by CIH - focusing on LHA rates since 2012 - found that in some areas of the UK, people are only able to afford to rent in the bottom 5-10% of the private rented sector (PRS) mar...

Council spending faces ‘a 70-year low’

26th April 2016

Spending by UK local government is headed for a near 70 year low a new report reveals, writes Bill Tanner. Research by APSE (Association for Public Service Excellence) and NPI (New Policy Institute) indicates that low – not seen since 1948 - could be reached within the next five years. Related statistics suggest that if current trends continue, council tax - until recently a minority source of local government finance - will account for at least half the money coming in to all English loca...

Ulster Bank backing major development plan

26th April 2016

Ulster Bank is providing £7m in support to a local housing association for a major programme that will deliver up to 300 new social homes across Northern Ireland over the next three years. 100 units will be provided in 2016-17 as part of the initiative by Ballymoney-headquartered Triangle Housing Association. The organisation’s finance director, Alan Crilly, says that Ulster Bank’s support is crucial to making this happen. “Ulster Bank has been active in the social housi...

Scottish house prices dip – as sales surge

20th April 2016

Scotland has seen its first dip in house prices in eight months despite a surge in sales writes Bill Tanner. New figures from the Your Move Scotland house price index show average property prices in Scotland have fallen 1% from January, the first monthly drop since July 2015. That fall comes despite the strongest February for home sales since 2008, up 19% year-on-year after the buy-to-let flurry. House prices are also down compared to the same time last year, but to observers that is more abo...

Call to ban letting agents’ fees

19th April 2016

Generation Rent is calling on the government to ban letting agents from charging fees to tenants.   Ongoing research of more than 700 agents confirms that fees across the country vary widely, for what are essentially standard services. This indicates that many letting agents are charging disproportionate fees to a captive market.  With the government failing to cater for an ever larger renter population paying ever higher costs, tenants are taking improving the housing ...

Landlords warn of rent increases

14th April 2016

Almost all landlords are considering increasing rents to pay for the higher taxes they now face. According to a survey by the Residential Landlords Association (RLA), 84% of private sector landlords are likely to consider increasing rents following the chancellor’s recent tax assault on the buy to let sector. The survey also found that 78% of landlords felt the changes would deter them from investing in more properties to rent, with half considering getting rid of properties. This is in the face of risin...

Bacs call for local authority council tax campaign

14th April 2016

Tenants are to be encouraged to pay their council tax by Direct Debit. The new national campaign, run by Bacs Payment Schemes Limited (Bacs)  has been launched to help cash-strapped local authorities save time and money simply by encouraging residents to switch their council tax payments to Direct Debit. The initiative has already seen councils from Portsmouth in the South to Pendle in the North coming together to promote Direct Debit as the most cost and time- efficient method of payment for b...

£100 Council Tax cut for greener homes

13th April 2016

Welsh households could receive £100 towards their council tax by going green. Households improving their energy efficiency by two bands would receive a £100-a-year council tax cut for 10 years under plans launched by the Welsh Liberal Democrats. The move, which would incentivise green measures such as insulation, is expected to cost £24m over the course of the next assembly term and improve the energy efficiency of 20% of Wales' housing stock. Speaking ahead of a visit to Rockw...

First-time home prices ‘racing ahead’ of sector averages

12th April 2016

The average price for properties bought by ‘hard-pressed’ first-time buyers increased by 8.0% over the year, writes Bill Tanner. This is up from the increase of 7.7% in the year to January 2016. Over the month, the average price paid for a house by a first-time buyer was £214,000 - and racing ahead faster than for other home buyers - according to new figures released by the Office of National Statistics this week. To the sector the figures reflect robust performance – eve...