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S&P rating leads to £45m bond issue

25th May 2016

Cross Keys Homes has regained its AA- credit rating. Credit agency, Standard and Poor’s (S&P) has favourably revised its outlook of the financial position of the business to stable, and have affirmed the rating at AA-. The report determined that Cross Keys Homes had reacted well to both the cuts in rental income and new operating environment. CKH has scaled back its development programme slightly and this resulted in its new business plan being viewed by S&P as more prudent. The r...

What price will the UK pay for foreign investment?

24th May 2016

A new report highlights the UK’s reliance on foreign investment, claiming it is “not risk free”. Investors from China, UAE and elsewhere are being encouraged to invest heavily in the so-called Northern Powerhouse and Midlands Engine. Foreign investment meanwhile continues to flood into London, notably into the booming property market. The presence of overseas investors in London and the regions has financial benefits and is viewed by the government as a cost effective alternative to p...

Rents rise at fastest rate since September

24th May 2016

Rents are now at their highest levels so far this year according to the latest Buy-to-Let Index from Your Move and Reeds Rains. Average rents for homes to let across England & Wales have now reached £793 per month, as of April 2016. On a month-on-month basis this represents an increase of 0.3% – or the fastest monthly rent rises since September 2015. This leaves rents 2.4% higher than at the same point last year – or an extra £19 every month for the average tenant....

Enforcement vital to end property gains by crooks say MPs

17th May 2016

Senior MPs have called on the prime minister to clarify his plans to tackle money laundering in the property market, writes Chris Smith. Labour MPs Frank Field and Margaret Hodge called for clarity after prime minister David Cameron announced plans to introduce a register to identify foreign owners of UK properties. The prime minister’s initiative, likely to be included in the Queen’s Speech, is aimed at tackling the use of property as a way of laundering money gained through crimes s...

MPs call for tougher property ownership rules

12th May 2016

MPs have urged the chancellor to toughen property transparency laws to curb money laundering, writes Chris Smith. Labour MPs Frank Field and Margaret Hodge warned more had to be done to tackle a “big industry” that was enabling criminals to hide their ill-gotten gains and drive up the already over-heating housing market. The call came as the prime minister set out plans to create a new corporate money laundering offence as he opened an international anti-corruption conference in Lo...

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...