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New UK Housing: Housebuilding News

UK Residential Property Expansion + Housebuilding Issues: new home buyer searches data

post updated 13 June 2024

How Labour’s New Policies Echo VELUX’s Commitment to Sustainable Housing

This morning the Labour Party released their party manifesto for the upcoming general election and as the world increasingly turns its attention to sustainability and climate resilience, the recent announcement of Labour’s manifesto has brought renewed focus on housing and environmental policies.

VELUX are pleased to see Labour’s dedication to these critical issues, particularly their ambitious goals for achieving net zero emissions, plans to build more sustainable homes and creating places that increase climate resilience and improving housing standards. The alignment of Labour’s policies with VELUX’s vision is a promising development, but it also highlights the urgent need for continuous action and innovation.

Alex O’Dell, Vice President of VELUX GB&I has stated:
“The UK’s buildings are, on average, old, inefficient and not particularly healthy. The next Parliamentary term brings the chance to overhaul the UK’s housing sector and create homes that are suitable for the next generation of homeowners and residents.

VELUX welcomes Labour’s proposed plans to promote the building of 1.5 million high-quality, sustainable and affordable homes. We also welcome the Conservatives’ plans for ‘brownfield presumption’ to accelerate planning permission at councils where housebuilding targets have not been achieved.
VELUX also welcomes Labour’s proposed plans to ensure buildings are well-designed and that sustainable housing is created to better meet the needs to become climate resilient.

Whichever political party wins the election, we urge the next housing secretary to devise a strategy that not only stipulates the number and locations of homes to be built, but also factors in the need for properties to enhance householders’ physical and mental well-being. By prioritising building design and renovation that improves ventilation, indoor air quality and natural daylight, UK residents’ quality of life can be significantly elevated, leading to better physical health and mental well-being.

At VELUX we strongly believe that all buildings should address climate goals and foster a healthy indoor environment. Our annual research into Europe’s building stock shows how policymakers and the building sector more broadly must re-think their approach to building to create a better future for all.”

post updated 21 May 2024

RIBA welcomes Labour measures to deliver new homes

UK Housing Plan by Labour

The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has today (Tuesday 21st of May 2024) responded to the UK Labour Party’s proposed measures to deliver new housing if it wins the upcoming general election. Angela Rayner MP, Labour’s Deputy Leader and Shadow Housing Secretary, made the announcement in a speech at the UKREiiF conference in Leeds today.

RIBA President Muyiwa Oki said:
“Given the scale and complexity of the housing crisis, commitments to deliver new well-designed, high quality and sustainable homes and places at scale are welcome.

Architects stand ready to design the millions of high quality affordable new homes required and, as today’s announcement acknowledges, we will prioritise access to green spaces, transport, and social infrastructure such as schools and hospitals – all vital for people and places to thrive.

Delays in the planning system have held up necessary development for too long. Measures to unlock brownfield and grey belt land and work alongside local leaders, to speed up delivery of homes where they are needed most, is a vital step.

But to make this happen, the Government must comprehensively resource local planning departments with the skills and expertise needed to ensure all new homes are up to standard.

Today’s plan outlines some positive first steps. We will work with whomever forms the next Government to deliver the homes we deserve.”

United Kingdom Housing Market Plan by the Labour Party

Today’s speech by Angela Rayner sets out Labour’s plan for the UK’s housing market if they are elected to Government at the next general election. As she sets out to rightly emphasise, the UK faces a critical need for high-quality, sustainable housing solutions that address both environmental concerns as well as the well-being of their residents.

VELUX, has been advocating for these changes for many years through their Healthy Homes Barometer. The needs for homes that not only protect the outdoor environment but also create a healthy indoor environment cannot be overstated and any Government should make this a key priority.

Alex O’Dell, Vice President GB&I for VELUX, having seen Angela’s speech has stated:
“VELUX welcomes Labour’s proposed plans to promote the building of high-quality, well-designed and sustainable affordable housing as announced today. This initiative aligns with our Healthy Buildings Barometer, which emphasises the importance of creating living spaces that enhance both physical and mental well-being. VELUX strongly advocates that it’s time we start planning more homes and buildings that not only enhance the external environment but also foster a healthier indoor environment. By prioritising housing designs that improve ventilation, indoor air quality and natural daylight, we can significantly elevate the quality of life for residents, leading to better physical health and enhanced mental well-being.”

post updated 16 April 2024

UK Housing Market Faces Further Uncertainty as Stamp Duty Reform Sparks Concern Amongst Property Experts.

Abolition of Multiple Dwellings Relief Could Prevent the Construction of 13,000 to 25,000 Homes, Jeopardising Up to 60,000 Associated Jobs.

The abolition of Multiple Dwellings Relief restored a historical injustice in Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT).

UK Housing Stamp Duty Reform

The UK’s housing market faces more turbulence as Jeremy Hunt announces his Stamp Duty reforms by eliminating multiple dwellings relief. Whilst the Treasury anticipates a revenue boost of £385 million annually by 2028-29, property experts argue that the move will stifle the construction of 13,000 to 25,000 homes, threatening 60,000 associated jobs and exacerbating the UK’s housing crisis.

Property buyers in the UK will now have to pay an increased amount of tax, with investors now having to purchase six or more units to reap the benefits of SDLT relief. David Hannah, Group Chairman of Cornerstone Tax, asserts that the UK government has generated another block to stop the property market from making a recovery.

Currently, a property buyer purchasing three apartments from a developer at £350,000 each, would have to pay £46,500. However, once MDR is abolished in June, that same investor will have to pay £77,750. Property buyers in the UK who are eager to buy six units and pay the 5% rate of SDLT, will in effect have to pay £47,250 each which is less than the £77,750 they were being asked for, only slightly more than the £46,500 that they would have paid for under MDR. In reality, had the price been £400,000 each, the six units would have been cheaper than MDR.

The chart below shows the benefit that can be obtained by applying the rule of six on multiple purchases, as well as how the effect increases dramatically as the average price per dwelling increases.

UK housing Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) 2024 chart:
UK housing Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) 2024

As a result of this, purchasers of multiple units will either have to increase their minimum purchase quantity to six or, conceivably team up with other multiple purchasers into buying groups. This will enable them to buy six units collectively and to ensure that they receive the benefits of the non-residential rate and pay no surcharges whatsoever. The consequences of the abolishment of MDR, is that the Chancellor has, therefore, restored a historical injustice in Stamp Duty Land Tax. The UK’s Treasury and HMRC may well not see an increase in tax take but in fact a decrease, once these perfectly valid commercial arrangements become mainstream.

David Hannah comments:

“Multiple Dwellings Relief was first implemented as means to incentivise bulk purchases and provided developers with a suitable avenue for delivering low-cost homes. At a time when demand for affordable housing has skyrocketed, the government should look to create fresh incentives for developers, instead of abolishing old ones.

“The decision by the Chancellor to increase the tax that developers are forced to pay from 1-2% to 5% will have a seismic shift across Britain’s construction sector, leading to project abandonment and further increases to asking prices as supply continues to lag behind an overwhelming demand for affordable housing. Don’t be fooled, this is a stealth tax increase with a paper-thin justification laced over the top of it.

“The Chancellor could have used this opportunity to reform the private rental sector, measures including the abolition of the second home surcharge from rental sector investors and reinstating full relief on mortgage interest payments would have both reduced the costs of purchase, whilst also allowing landlords to freeze, or potentially cut, rents.”

Previously on e-architect:

26 March 2024

Critical insights into UK’s housing delivery highlighted in new report

UK Housing Delivery Report

UK Housing Delivery Report

Key insights into the current state of the housing landscape are covered in the third edition of national planning and development consultancy Lichfields’ industry-leading housing delivery analytics report, Start to Finish.

The latest edition of Start to Finish highlights key trends in the changing dynamics of housing delivery across England and Wales and shows how this has been impacted by the end of Help to Buy loans and an uptick in mortgage rates.

With the chronic housing crisis and the forthcoming general election, the discussion around accelerating housing delivery is more pertinent than ever – especially if the Government’s target of 300,000 new homes per year is to be achieved.

The new study assesses what has happened on the ground in respect of 297 sites delivering a combined 387,000 dwellings. It provides a detailed look into the delivery of large-scale housing sites, including 179 sites each yielding 500 dwellings or more.

UK Housing Delivery news 2024

Key findings from the report demonstrate the nuanced landscape of strategic housing development:

• Smaller sites of fewer than 100 units typically start to deliver new homes within a five-year timeline from the submission of the first planning application, while larger sites demonstrate extended planning and pre-commencement phases beyond five years.

• Compared to the previous versions of Start to Finish, the new research points towards a slight decrease in annual build-out rates across sites of all sizes, a forecast echoed by the Office for Budget Responsibility’s (OBR) predictions for 2024 with the phasing out of Help to Buy and climbing mortgage rates.

• Local demand for housing is a key driver for build-out rates, with areas of higher affordability ratios witnessing greater build-out rates.

• The variety of housing, including a higher percentage of affordable housing and the presence of multiple outlets, also contributes towards enhanced build-out rates.

• Large-scale apartment schemes on brownfield land show potential for high annual build-out rates; however, their delivery is subject to market fluctuations and often encounter extended planning-to-delivery periods. Their delivery can also be more ‘lumpy’ than conventional housing schemes because entire blocks of flats are typically recorded as having been completed on the same day.

Rachel Clements:
Rachel Clements England, United Kingdom

Rachel Clements, Associate Director at Lichfields said: “In the current climate, the housing market faces fresh challenges and the urgency for housing delivery is undisputed. The findings in this third edition capture the nuanced realities of strategic housing delivery, presenting significant, on the ground evidence, crucial to inform realistic plan making and decision-taking outcomes.”

The first two editions of Lichfields Start to Finish report are the primary reference points for industry professionals and continue to inform numerous Examination in Public (EiPs), inquiries, and the formulation of local authority Five-Year Supply (5YS) assessments. Lichfields is committed to leading the conversation on housing delivery with the third edition of Start to Finish.

The full report can be viewed here https://lichfields.uk/content/insights/start-to-finish-3

Previously on e-architect:

19 February 2024

Housebuilders call for Jeremy Hunt to cut stamp duty ahead of Spring Budget

Prospective buyers continue to find themselves priced out of the market amidst an ongoing affordability crisis

David Hannah, Group Chairman of Cornerstone Tax, joins the call for stamp duty reform – emphasising a need to overhaul the current ‘outdated’ thresholds in a bid to boost transactions:

Three of Britain’s biggest housebuilders, including Taylor Wimpey, Barratt Developments and The Berkley Group, have each called upon Jeremy Hunt to reform stamp duty ahead of the Spring Budget on March 6th. Pressures ranging from the ongoing cost-of-living crisis, record interest rates and crippling deposit requirements have continued to weaken the UK’s housing market, dissuading would-be first-time buyers from making that big purchase amidst what many are calling a crisis of affordability. A cut to the rate of stamp duty for lower-priced properties and a reduced levy for sellers over the age of 60 looking to downsize would purportedly encourage market activity and rejuvenate a market that’s long been at a standstill. According to David Hannah, Group Chairman of Cornerstone Tax, the UK’s leading property tax consultancy, the chancellor should use the Spring Budget as an opportunity to overhaul the current SDLT regime and reform the current ‘outdated’ thresholds in a bid to reinvigorate the market from the bottom-up.

Ahead of the Spring Budget, MPs have urged the chancellor to prioritise SDLT reform as a means to generate new incentives within the market. One such proposal includes a prospective stamp duty cut for energy efficient homes, whilst others echo a report sponsored by Lords Mandelson and Heseltine which asserts that elderly homeowners should be exempt from stamp duty outright in a bid to encourage top-down movement via downsizing. All the whole, SDLT revenue has taken a significant hit in recent months as transaction numbers continue to fall year-on-year.

According to David Hannah, one easy fix for policymakers would be to reassess the current thresholds for stamp duty payment, homes that are valued at £250,000 or less are currently exempt, with a 5% levy charged on any valuation between £250,000 and £675,000. However, with the current price of a UK home standing at almost £290,000, it’s clear that SDLT payment bands are long overdue an overhaul. This problem is exacerbated in the capital, particularly amongst first-time buyers as the increased £450,000 threshold continues to decouple from the rising cost of starter homes, with prices leaping by over a fifth in just five years across certain boroughs, according to the Land Registry’s data. Index-linking payment thresholds to house-price inflation would, according to David Hannah, have the knock-on effect of encouraging those looking to move-up the housing ladder to sell their lower-end properties, stimulating demand amongst an overcrowded demographic and generating momentum within Britain’s frozen housing market.

David Hannah, Group Chairman of Cornerstone Tax, comments:

“SDLT payment bands have long been due for an overhaul as they have never been index-linked to house price inflation. An increase to these thresholds would stimulate market activity as the lower end of the property market and allow first-time buyers to reduce the amount they need to borrow, thus improving their affordability calculations.

“As we all know, a rising tide lifts all boats, those looking to purchase properties on the mid-to-high end of the market will now have a chance to sell their low end properties as a result of the increased demand from perspective buyers, contributing to further momentum within the housing market.”

13 February 2024

As Michael Gove looks to relax property planning laws, focus shouldn’t just be on new builds

UK Property Planning Laws Relaxation

By Daniel Austin, CEO and co-founder at ASK Partners

13th February 2024 – The UK has a widely reported and growing housing shortfall as a result of under building since the 1950s. A broken planning system and local objections have been blamed and aside from the human cost, this has become a major economic problem. It is very hard to increase growth without being able to provide homes, and the associated infrastructure, for workers in high growth sectors such as life sciences, pharma and tech.

We have recently seen a number of planning decisions referred to the Secretary of State which can delay the delivery of schemes by years and create such uncertainty that developers are reluctant to take the risk. With an election on the immediate horizon both political parties are making promises to fix the planning system, but with political agendas becoming ever more populist, the question is whether either party can come up with plans that will genuinely accelerate growth without losing them votes; which is the exact reason why central and local government should not be involved in the planning process at all as they cannot be impartial in controversial decisions which have a major impact on their electorate.

An often overlooked and relatively new aspect of the potential for housebuilding growth in the UK is adaptive reuse. This process, which involves repurposing existing structures for new functions has become a popular development strategy since the Covid pandemic, with developers actively seeking out those assets which will benefit from being re-positioned to take advantage of the shift in occupier demand, such as office to residential conversions. These projects are easier to obtain financing for as loans can be secured against a fixed asset rather than a piece of land. Construction risks are reduced and critically in an inflationary environment, costs are also lower.

It is also a more sustainable approach, emitting less carbon than demolition or ground up development. Crucially, it can skirt planning hurdles altogether. In some cases, conversions can be carried out under permitted development rules. One such example is an office building in Solihull which was converted into 181 apartments under permitted development and with minimal changes to the core structure of the main buildings. The project was completed on time and on budget given the lower construction risks.

Permitted development projects are not always possible but where full planning permission is required, conversions of existing buildings are far less likely to receive local objections. Locals tend to be in favour of breathing new life into unattractive disused buildings and boarded up shops to bring back a vibrancy to the local area and economy. An example in this case is the Z Hotels group, which has acquired a number of central London sites for conversion into its now well-known compact luxury hotels. ASK recently financed the acquisition of a vacant office block in Leicester Square which the group now has planning to convert into a further hotel in its portfolio.

Furthermore, research carried out by the homeless charity, Crisis, found that there are currently 250,000 homes sitting empty and in disrepair in the UK. Not repurposing them is clearly a missed opportunity to provide genuinely affordable housing for those in need and proof that it’s not all about new builds; it just requires a change of mindset. The repurposing approach also unlocks development opportunities for small and medium sized (SME) developers.

As a specialist real estate debt provider, these are the kind of creative property developers we want to support and who can contribute to creating a resilient, sustainable, and vibrant real estate sector that aligns with the diverse needs of communities and the ever-evolving landscape of the UK. As such, we offer bespoke lending solutions, in many cases at the pre-planning stage, based on our flexible underwriting process which enables us to evaluate projects factoring in location, underlying land value and potential. So, whilst the planning system remains a huge hurdle in the UK, there are huge numbers of existing buildings ripe for refurbishment and conversion which just require creative strategies that align with the changing demand for the built environment to help them become the much-needed homes we require, and in a less controversial and more sustainable way.

Previously on e-architect:

27 January 2024

Make UK Modular response to Built Environment Committee letter to Secretary of State

Daniel Paterson, Director of Government Affairs, Make UK Modular said:

This report is heartening and recognises the important role that Category 1 modular is already playing in solving Britain’s homes crisis, with global leading projects currently delivering thousands of homes.

The Committee is right to point to a need for greater clarity around policy which, if it is got right, will ensure a stimulated market at a critical time for homeowners and renters alike. Unblocking the delivery of the 300,000 homes our country needs every year is key, and Category 1 modular can help deliver affordable homes which are economic to run in an ever-tightening labour market.

The current Future Homes Standard consultation aims to make sure all new homes are built to a higher standard from 2025. Make UK Modular encourages the government to use this as an opportunity to listen to innovators in the construction sector on the importance of high fabric standards as a critically important method of increasing sustainability in our future homes.

By doing so, the Government can develop a solid long-term strategy prioritising the most innovative forms of building that are already delivering tangible value for the UK while ensuring that innovators within industry do not face penalties for challenging outdated methods of working.

25 January 2024

New JELD-WEN whitepaper highlights social housing security concerns

Doorsets interior housing UK building

New UK Housing Security

• In partnership with Secured by Design (SBD), the whitepaper calls for dual certification of entrance doorsets as standard within all multi-occupancy properties

• It follows research that found social housing tenants are concerned that their home does not offer adequate security against break ins, despite also feeling that crime is on the rise

25th of January 2024 – The UK’s leading door manufacturer, JELD-WEN, has published a new whitepaper that calls for dual certification of doorsets to become a legal requirement within all multi-occupancy developments.

The whitepaper, titled “Turning the Key Towards Better Security” has been published in partnership with Secured by Design (SBD), the official UK police initiative that helps to deter and reduce crime, to explore the critical role that secure front entrance doorset design can play in helping to keep multi-occupancy properties secure and prevent burglars from breaking in.

It sets out the purpose and effectiveness of secure doorset design, assesses current regulations and accreditation within the industry, and considers the wider factors impacting levels of crime, such as cost-of-living, neighbourhood deprivation and technology.

Contents of the whitepaper also address research1 conducted by JELD-WEN, which explored how secure those living within social housing felt within their homes.

It found that tenants believe the level of security offered by their landlord falls short, with a quarter (23%) of those living in multi-occupancy properties having experienced a security breach over the last 12 months (rising to 35% in London).

Almost half of all respondents believed that crime was increasing in their area, and a quarter (24%) felt that their front door wasn’t secure. This has led to many residents taking matters into their own hands, as 47% have purchased additional home security devices, such as CCTV, recording doorbells and security lights.

Despite the government’s commitment to ensuring landlords engage with their tenants and help to make sure they feel safe and secure in their home, two thirds (66%) of social housing tenants reported that they had never received communications from their landlord about ways they can achieve better security in their building.

Unsurprisingly then, almost a third (32%) of respondents admitted to leaving their front door unlocked overnight, and 57% said they would leave it unlocked during the day – even though this is the most common timeframe of opportunity for thieves.

Commenting on the whitepaper, Glyn Hauser, R&D Senior Group Manager at JELD-WEN, said: “It is worrying that a third of social housing tenants (33%) do not feel adequately protected from the risk of a break-in, particularly as the ongoing cost of living crisis presents a potential surge in crime over winter.
“We’re also concerned that many break-ins can be attributed to entrance doors that have been left open, which is a clear indication that there is a huge awareness task in terms of educating residents about how they can improve the security of their home.”

The research found that an overwhelming majority of residents asserted that security from break-ins (80%) and fire protection (48%) are the most important functions of a front door, which JELD-WEN believes supports the growing case for dual-certification as standard practice.

Glyn continues: “Ultimately, a secure entrance doorset is one of the most effective ways of deterring and preventing a burglar breaking in, but only when it is installed and maintained correctly. However, there is still no legal requirement for this critical security product to be installed by a person with any professional qualification, or reviewed and maintained in the same way that Fire Safety (England) Regulations require.

“As such, and in response to our research findings, we believe the opportunity to apply dual-certification, which is already a SBD stipulation, could help build better traceability, accountability and trust throughout a door’s lifecycle.

“It is our hope that this whitepaper, along with its recommendations, proves a valuable resource and helps to inspire some of the progressive action needed to raise security standards.”

Jon Cole, Chief Operating Officer at Police CPI, who own and administer the Secured by Design (SBD) initiative, commented: “Turning the Key Towards Better Security is an important whitepaper, which investigates how to elevate standards for door security across the board.

“Naturally, this aligns with the work that SBD has done and continues to deliver to improve the security of buildings and their immediate surroundings to provide safe places to live, work, shop and visit.

“The consistently high reductions in burglary rates and anti-social behaviour which SBD developments and properties have seen over the years is based on the use of certificated products, rather than those that are just tested to the relevant standard. This highlights the importance of doorset manufacturers like JELD-WEN, who are investing in the future to ensure safe and secure buildings that promote cohesive and sustainable communities for generations to come.”

‘Turning the Key Towards Better Security’ is now available for free to download at https://www.jeld-wen.co.uk/contact/security-white-paper. Visit www.jeld-wen.co.uk for more information.

1 One Poll survey of 1,000 social housing tenants, conducted September 2023

Previously on e-architect:

19 December 2023

New EPC energy ratings on the way as government consultation opens

e-architect report on a new United Kingdom government consultation on the methodology used to rate the energy performance of UK homes

Please see below commentary that you may like to include in your article from Daniel Särefjord, CEO, Aira UK.

“At Aira, we welcome the government’s response to the surging national interest in renewables. The current method for reviewing the efficiency of our homes in the UK is outdated and does not accurately reflect the clean technologies that are available to help decarbonise our housing stock.

For example, by installing a heat pump, a household can cut their domestic CO2 emissions by 75%, rising to 100% if that installation is powered by solar panels. The transition to renewables will lessen the UK’s dependence on importing expensive fossil fuels, such as gas, and help the nation reach our net zero targets.

“Sadly, the benefits of installing a heat pump are not accurately reflected in Energy Performance Certificates, which are used by many to assess the running costs of their potential new home. Much like car buyers, consumers are keen to access a reliable source of information on what their future home energy expenditure will look like. That’s why this consultation is an important step toward delivering net zero homes that are fit for the future.”

The UK government consultation, ‘Home Energy Model: Future Homes Standard assessment’ is available to read here: https://energygovuk.citizenspace.com/heat/home-energy-model-future-homes-standard/

UK Housebuilding Inflation News

1 October 2023

Housebuilding inflation eases but pressures continue to mount on the housing sector, cautions BCIS.

Whilst property prices have dropped again, for the fifth consecutive month, the average British property is still worth £45,000 more than it was before the pandemic.

David Hannah, Chairman of Cornerstone Group International, discusses Britain’s property market inflation:

Annual housebuilding cost inflation continued to ease in 2Q 2023, according to new data published by the Building Cost Information Service (BCIS).

An update to the Private Housing Construction Price Index (PHCPI) shows annual growth of 6.5% in the second quarter, down from 9.7% in 1Q 2023.

Quarterly growth has also slowed, standing at 0.7% in 2Q 2023 compared with 1Q 2023. The last time quarterly growth was below 1% was 3Q2020 (0.4%).

In total 38% of PHCPI respondents pointed to an increase in subcontractor costs as the main driver of change in costs, and a quarter of respondents cited an increase in materials costs. For the third consecutive quarter, a small share of respondents reported a decrease in materials costs (6%).

Looking to 3Q 2023, the housebuilders surveyed said they expected to see an average 1% increase in costs.

Construction output figures, which have been declining since 4Q 2022, clearly demonstrate the continued pressure on the private housing sector.

In 2Q 2023, private new housing output was down 9.3% on the same quarter a year earlier.

There were decreases of 3.3%, 5.9% and 2.1% in quarterly growth in 2Q 2023, 1Q 2023 and 4Q 2022 respectively.

UK Housebuilding inflation:
UK Housebuilding Inflation
image source: BCIS, ONS

Against a backdrop of continued downturn in private housing output, BCIS forecasts the remainder of this year and the next to be just as challenging for the sector.

BCIS expects new private housing output to contract by 15.9% and 4.3% in 2023 and 2024 respectively, before returning to growth in 2025.

Chief data officer at BCIS, Karl Horton. said: “The pressures on the housing sector, both as a result of a drop in demand and in the cost of resources, are clear to see – from the latest house price indices, which continue to slide, to fewer mortgages being taken out.

“Big housebuilders continue to report decreasing demand. We’ve seen shares in Barratt drop after the firm reported falls in profit and volume, Berkeley Group said its reservations were down by more than a third, and Persimmon reported last month that their estimate for completions this year is significantly less than what they delivered in 2022.

“Further, we expect to see the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee increase the base rate this week, for the fifteenth time in a row. Continued interest rate increases will adversely impact housing affordability and heap more pressure on housebuilders.”

Cost impact of updated Building Regulations

BCIS continues to monitor the impact of updated Building Regulations on housebuilders’ costs. The estimated cost uplift for meeting Part L, as reported by housebuilders in 2Q 2023, stands at 2.8% – unchanged from the last quarter and down from 4.3% as reported in 2Q 2022.

Cost impact of updated UK Building Regulations:
Cost impact of updated UK Building Regulations
image source: BCIS PHCPI survey

More than a quarter of respondents reported a combination of Air Source Heat Pumps (ASHPs) and increased insulation as their chosen solution to meet the requirements of Part L, and one-fifth selected a combination of PV (photovoltaic) and increased insulation. Another fifth selected a combination of gas boilers, PV and insulation, whereas 13% noted a combination of gas boilers and PV. The remaining respondents were split equally, reporting ASHPs, ASHPs and PVs, and gas boilers, PV and ASHPs, as their chosen solutions.

If you are a housebuilder and would like to participate in the BCIS PHCPI quarterly survey, please contact [email protected]

For more information about BCIS, visit the website at www.bcis.co.uk

About BCIS:
The Building Cost Information Service (BCIS) is the leading independent provider of construction data to the built environment and insurance sectors. For some 60 years, BCIS has been collecting, collating, analysing, modelling and interpreting cost information to support built environment professionals, helping them provide cost advice, to have confidence in commercial decision-making and to mitigate risk.
www.bcis.co.uk

post updated 9 August 2023

UK property market expert explains why Britain’s housing market remains resilient

Whilst property prices have dropped for the fourth consecutive month, the average property is still worth £45,000 more than it was before the pandemic.

The Chairman of Cornerstone Group International discusses why he believes Britain’s property market will avoid a crash:

UK housing market price drop

Recent findings from mortgage lender Halifax have revealed that house prices in July had fallen by 0.3%, consequently fuelling speculation that Britain’s housing market will crash in the second half of the year. Despite the doom and gloom from experts, the average property in the UK is still worth £45,000 more than it was before the pandemic. In light of this, Group Chairman of Cornerstone Tax International, David Hannah, discusses why he remains confident in Britain’s property market.

The cost of the average home is now 2.4% lower than it was a year ago in a period that has seen the Bank of England raise interest rates from 1.25% to 5.25%. Despite the difficult rise in the cost of living, Hannah points out that prices have changed little in nominal terms over the past six months and the market and buyers are responding to sharply higher borrowing costs in a predictablemanner. According to Halifax, buyers are opting for smaller properties that they can still afford, fuelling continued activity.

Hannah additionally highlights that factors beyond the scope of the property market are contributing to counteract the idea of a market crash. Notably, robust wage growth, which is maintaining a nearly 7% annual increase. Although the slight increase in unemployment might temper this progress to some extent, it appears unlikely to escalate to levels that could instigate a sudden decline in market conditions.

David Hannah, Chairman at Cornerstone Group International, discusses the effect of rising rates on the property market:

“While there was a marginal decline of 0.3% in house prices for July, it does not mean the market is hurtling towards a dramatic crash. The average UK property continues to hold its ground, reflecting a substantial increase of £45,000 since the start of the pandemic in 2020.

“Amidst the backdrop of economic shifts and fluctuations in interest rates, it’s important to consider the broader context. A 2.4% decrease from the previous year may seem notable, but it’s worth recognising that the interest rates climbed from 1.25% to 5.25%.

“We are seeing continued market growth due to buyers sensibly adjusting their expectations on the size of properties that they can afford to purchase. Nevertheless, certain lenders are reducing mortgage expenses in response to the approaching peak of the bank rate. This suggests that although market sentiment may remain restrained, I hold the belief that the second half of this year will witness an improvement.”

Previously on e-architect:

20 July 2023

Britain’s housing market may still avoid slump due to bigger than expected fall in inflation

The fall in inflation to 7.9% has caused financial markets to no longer expect a sharp increase in interest rates.

David Hannah, Chairman of Cornerstone Group International, UK property tax experts, discusses his predictions for the UK’s housing market:

UK housing market predictions

Market analysts today have stated that Britain’s housing market will avoid a slump, despite a zero-price growth, due to the bigger than expected fall in inflation. The National Office of Statistics (ONS) reported yesterday that inflation had fallen to 7.9%, down from 8.7% in May, now causing analysts to believe that the Bank of England’s future interest hike will not be as severe as once predicted, with predictions of a slight increase of 0.25% rather than 1%. This will now offer the 1.4 million Brits coming to the end of their fixed rate mortgages, a small relief that interest rates mortgages will not see another significant rise. In light of this news, David Hannah, Group Chairman of Cornerstone Group International discusses his prediction for the UK’s housing market.

Recent data from Halifax showed that house prices throughout the UK witnessed their biggest annual fall since 2011. The average price of a home fell by 2.6% year on year last month and by 0.1% in June – the third consecutive monthly decline – now standing at £285,932 which is £8,000 lower than last August. A predominant factor driving the decrease in property prices is the lower level of demand caused by the Bank of England’s repeated interest rate rises, with the average two-year fixed mortgage rates now sitting above 6% according to Moneyfacts, whilst the average five-year fixed rate mortgage has increased to 5.67%.

In Q1 of 2023 forecasters predicted that the market would witness a decline in prices of up to 10% over the year in response to the rise in interest rates to 5%. However, Hannah remains confident that the market will not see such a drastic crash, this comes as the full in the consumer price index in June, will likely dissuade the BoE to further increase in the cost of borrowing.

David Hannah, Group Chairman of Cornerstone Group International, explains further:

“Unsurprisingly, the analysts’ calls for a 10% fall in the UK’s property market has yet come to fruition and the news that inflation has fallen, means there is even less chance of this happening. This unexpected outcome has shifted the financial markets’ outlook, eroding the belief that the Bank of England’s base rate would reach its projected peak of 6.5%.

“Looking ahead, we anticipate another positive response from financial markets when next month’s headline inflation reading is unveiled. This potential outcome opens up an opportunity for individuals planning to refinance their mortgages in the coming months. They may be able to secure more favourable mortgage rates compared to the current offerings.

“If this trend persists and is complemented by potential real wage growth, it could lead to significant changes in the housing market within the next six months. There might be a glimmer of hope for a rebound, painting a different picture for the housing market in the foreseeable future.”

Island Rest Isle of Wight Residence
Design: Strom Architects
Island Rest Isle of Wight property
photos by Nick Hufton, Al Crow

Previously on e-architect:

UK brownfield land for affordable MMC housing

UK Home Insulation News

18 Nov 2022

Reactiion to Autumn Statement from Dr Sukumar Natarajan, University of Bath

New targets to improve home energy efficiency must focus on long-term benefits, University of Bath expert in energy and design of environments says:

In today’s Autumn Statement, the United Kingdom Government proposed targets to cut energy consumption of homes and buildings by 15% by 2030.

Dr Sukumar Natarajan, Senior Lecturer in Architecture and Civil Engineering at the University of Bath and Deputy Director of the Centre for Energy and the Design of Environments (EDEn), said:

“If the Government is aiming to improve the energy efficiency of homes, they need to avoid mistakes we’ve made in the past. We’ve barely moved the needle on reducing energy consumption over the last 30 years. The problem is that even the historic investment in retrofitting was myopic as around two-thirds of homes were visited and insulated but not enough insulation was added.

“Retrofits are expensive and disruptive, so we need to make every visit count. We should not repeat the same mistake as before and end up leaving the problem to some other time.

“The potential benefits of a properly considered process to help homes reach, for example, the PassivHaus EnerPHit standard, could be substantial. For example, approximately £1 Billion is said to be spent by the NHS treating people for health conditions caused by cold homes. Much of this would be avoided by a retrofit strategy designed to solve a problem for 30 years and not just until 2030.”

Ghyll House, East Sussex Property
Design: Strom Architects
Ghyll House East Sussex
image : LB Visualisation

18 Nov 2022

Reactiion to Autumn Statement from HKS Architects

Comments to the UK Chancellor’s Autumn Statement from Angus Duguid, Regional Commercial Business Leader and Vice President of HKS Architects:

“It was widely anticipated the Autumn Statement would bring a landslide of capital spending cuts and we are pleased to see that this is not the case and there has in fact been a recommitment to large infrastructure projects including the New Hospital Programme.

It’s also positive to see a keen focus on energy efficiency. It’s now key to ensure funding is directed to make buildings more operationally efficient in terms of their energy usage. This is no mean feat due to the age of much of the UK’s building stock. But it is really is in the government’s interests when it comes to public buildings such as schools and hospitals – as it will reduce the day to day running costs, ultimately benefitting the public purse as well as the environment.”

18 Nov 2022

UK Government insulation program can’t be implemented with current workforce, says architect

Félicie Krikler, director at Assael Architecture, said: “A decade of low levels of insulation installation rates means that energy efficient retrofit of homes needs a boost and today’s promise of funding is a sizeable step in the right direction. However, how can we really afford to delay this until 2025 to address our housing stock’s poor energy efficiency?

In the meantime, cash absolutely needs to be injected into up-skilling and increasing our workforce to make this a success. In 2012, ONS data shows there were just 12,000 vacancies in the construction sector, while today that number hovers near 50,000. A retrofit revolution would cut bills and carbon emissions for households across the country but this can only be achieved if the government solves the skills crisis.

We need funding for developers, architects and builders who are investing in the next generation of workers in the ongoing drive to decarbonise the built environment. The industry also needs to redouble efforts to attract new entrants to the construction sector and offer a greater variety of pathways.”

18 Nov 2022

RICS Comment on UK Government Autumn Statement 2022

“RICS is pleased that the UK Government announced its commitment to energy efficiency and decarbonisation in the Autumn Statement keeping to its promise to reduce final energy consumption from buildings and industry by 15% by 2030. RICS welcomes the announced £6.6 billion investment in energy efficiency for this parliament and a further £6 billion annually committed from 2025. We hope this funding can reach projects as soon as possible.

“Energy costs greatly impact prices throughout the economy, particularly the building sector. Establishing efficient use and low-cost energy production is vital for economic recovery, and this recognition is clear in the statement.

“RICS looks forward to working in partnership with the new Energy Efficiency Taskforce (EETF) and advising it on our recommendations which include radical reforms to the EPC system and the means to track carbon output throughout the built environment.”

Previously on e-architect:

300,000 New UK Homes

30 Oct 2022
Michael Gove commits to 300,000 homes target

UK Housing Secretary Michael Gove has said the government is still committed to a manifesto pledge of building 300,000 homes every year by the mid-2020s, reports the BBC today.

Former PM Liz Truss had thrown doubt on the aim, saying she wanted to scrap “Stalinist” housing targets.

But Michael Gove – who returned to cabinet after Liz Truss’s resignation – told the BBC he wanted to build more homes, both for ownership and to rent.

He added that new developments should have the consent of local communities.

The minister also warned meeting the target would be “difficult” due to the economic circumstances.

“We need to be straight with people: the cost of materials has increased because of the problems with global supply chains and also a very tight labour market means that the capacity to build those homes at the rate we want is constrained,” he said.

post updated 20 October 2022

UK Housing Market – New Prime Minister

20 Oct 2022
Russell Pedley, founder and director, Assael, unpacks the outgoing PM’s impact on private renters and housing in general:

“Liz Truss’ short tenure as PM will be remembered for many reasons, including its impact on housing. Moody’s research shows that thousands of buy-to-let landlords across the country will be driven out of the rental market due to rising interest rates, which have simultaneously pushed an even greater proportion of the nation’s housing stock out of reach of first-time buyers.

Private renters are being battered from all angles, including the cost of living crisis and declining rental stock, while the prospect of buying disappears for many. The incoming PM must act urgently to stabilise interest rates and boost housing supply.”

About Assael Architecture:

Assael is an award-winning, London-based practice that offers a cohesive suite of architecture, interior design and landscape architecture services to a range of developers, investors and local authorities. Established in 1994, Assael has over 25 years of experience in the design and delivery of successful residentially-led mixed-use schemes. They have become one of the leaders in the design of Build to Rent communities and have recently been using this expertise in the design of many co-living developments across London.

Notable buildings designed by Assael include Queen’s Wharf and Riverside Studios in Hammersmith, 21 Young Street in Kensington and Chelsea, Union Wharf in Greenwich, and Garratt Mills in Wandsworth.

5 September 2022
UK Housing Market and the New PM

Please see some comment from James Tucker, CEO at Twenty7Tec, on the hopes for a new PM.

James Tucker, founder and CEO of the UK’s most successful mortgage technology platform, Twenty7Tec, says:

“One thing that I hope that our new PM gets right is the stop treating the housing and mortgage sectors as unrelated industries. MHCLG and Treasury need more joined-up thinking on how they work together.

“There’s a lot of rhetoric about housebuilding, yet even the recent report by the Land Registry into house buying barely touches on the element that makes the market work: mortgages.

“In my view, the Government needs a fully functioning mortgage market in order to continue to deliver a healthy and vibrant housing market which contributes to the nation’s greater wealth.

“We’d love to have clear commitments in relation to how to support First Time Buyers, for example. Without First Time Buyers being able to access the market, then the rest of the chain is possibly overly reliant on Buy To Let landlords at the lower echelons.”

24 July 2022
Bracknell Town Centre Regeneration News, Berkshire, Southern England, UK
Eagle House Bracknell town centre
photo : Eagle House, Bracknell by Stephen Richards, CC BY-SA 2.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Bracknell Town Centre Regeneration
It has been 75 years since the New Town legislation was brought in, we share below some new research by experts from Henley Business School that gets under the skin of Bracknell Town Centre’s regeneration.

Previously on e-architect

9 June 2022

Social Housing and Right to Buy

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson will shortly set out new housing plans. Nathan Reilly, director at mortgage technology provider Twenty7Tec comments on the proposals:

“Whilst at face value this will help some, subject to the finer details, ultimately it doesn’t solve the supply and demand issue that continues to drive house price increases which is impacting the house ownership prospects of the many.”

9 February 2022

New UK Housing Minister News

Stuart Andrew is new UK housing minister

Russell Pedley, co-founder and director at Assael Architecture, comments: “While we welcome Stuart Andrew as Housing Minister in the recent Conservative reshuffle, we’re mindful that this appointment marks the eleventh MP to take the post since 2010.

“Without a chapter defined by long-standing ministerial leadership, and with policy like the planning white paper which hasn’t stuck, we must be careful not to fall back to square one with every new rotation of the revolving door. At a time when the Government’s approach to building safety, housing affordability, and actioning the levelling-up agenda remain remarkably unclear, confidence that the Government has control of the helm will be essential to chart a course through these choppy waters.”

Assael Architecture is an award-winning London-based practice that provides a cohesive suite of architecture, interior design, landscape architecture and visualisation services both in the UK and abroad. They work across a range of sectors, including hospitality, commercial and master planning, and specialise in residentially-led mixed-use schemes.

Assael designs homes across all tenures, from private-for-sale, private-for-rent, including ‘Build to Rent’ through low-cost, shared-equity and social-rented affordable homes. They approach all projects from the environmental, social and economic dimensions of sustainable design and often integrate uses from the leisure, retail and cultural industries to help deliver thriving communities.

One of their best-known projects is Union Wharf, a groundbreaking development purposely designed for rent, providing 249 homes for the Build To Rent sector. Union Wharf is now used as a case study industry-wide and was cited in the government’s Housing White Paper.

9 December 2021

Better, Faster, Greener

Britain’s manufacturers invest more than £500 million to end Britain’s housing crisis – targeting 75,000 sustainable modular homes by end of decade and 50,000 highly skilled jobs across the UK

Make Modular: UK Housing Delivery

17 September 2021

Industry CEO reacts to Government planning reform confusion

Following the Cabinet reshuffle, when Robert Jenrick lost his position as Housing Secretary, planning reforms have been making headlines again. It was revealed today that Michael Gove is currently reviewing the proposed reforms, revising them (while ensuring they stick to the Tory 2019 manifesto pledge) and then “pushing them through”. It comes after reports that the reforms were going to be shelved.

In reaction to this significant news for the property industry, Hugh Gibbs, Co-founder of SearchLand, said:
“The introduction of permitted development rights (PDRs) has shown that measures to simplify the planning application process can have a significant effect on the rate of housebuilding. While it is encouraging that almost 244,000 homes were built in 2019-20, that is still over 50,000 homes a year short of the Government’s self-imposed target – we need that number to keep climbing and reducing the excessive red tape that blights the planning process is a vital step in achieving this.

“As such, it is vital that the new housing secretary presses ahead with the government’s plans to subject the planning system to a serious reform. This is not the time to reverse away from the critical issues the intended reforms sought to address and urgent clarity is needed in the industry, particularly in relation to the government’s stance on permitted development rights. Change is needed and shelving this significant policy issue would only be detrimental to the national housebuilding effort.

“With average property and rent prices climbing, and the population increasing, the housing crisis is only becoming more severe. People need affordable housing, which means that more needs to be done to make planning easier. PDRs have been a positive move, but much more is needed, and the Government must act decisively to address the chronic housing shortage.”

10 September 2021

New home buyers look beyond Greater London for post-pandemic living

Data released today in the WhatHouse? New Homes Index reveals the hottest areas across Britain for new home buyer search with Southeast of England, West Midlands and East Midlands top of the list for August 2021.  A sign that, post pandemic, home buyers are weighing up relocation to areas beyond the traditional Greater London commuter zone and considering a wider range of regions in the hunt for greater space and value for money.

UK new home buyer news

·   In August the national average price of new home property coming to market stayed virtually static at £334,801 (£338,339 in July).

·   Top three new home search areas during August:

1.       Southeast of England has demonstrated the most buyer demand during August 2021, achieving 31,293 new home buyer searches.

2.       West Midlands maintains second position for the second month in a row, achieving 19,921 new home buyer searches during August 2021.

3.       East Midlands has secured a top three search position with 16,760 new home buyer searches during August 2021, representing a 46% increase on July’s figures.

·   During the past six months (March – August 2021) three regions have demonstrated month on month growth in new home search.

1.       East Midlands – 46% growth

2.       Yorkshire & The Humber – 28% growth

3.       Southeast England – 22% growth

Daniel Hill, Managing Director, WhatHouse? comments:

“Whilst buyer’s future new home needs remain uncertain – as many employers are yet to confirm if, or when, the daily commute will return – many continue to consider a move unhindered by the need to be close to traditional transport networks, and with the need for ample home working space in mind.  This all points to buyer interest in new homes remaining strong across the UK, and WhatHouse? predicts higher than average Autumn search activity driven by continued buyer interest in relocation.”

David O’Leary, Policy Director, Home Builders Federation said:

“Buyer interest and appetite for new builds remains high with the clear focus of builders very much on finding a way through a number of thorny supply-side challenges. Materials availability continues to cause headaches and planning delays bring uncertainty and additional expense”.

WhatHouse? New Homes Index

The WhatHouse? New Homes Index is based on data sourced from the WhatHouse? New Homes audience platform.  The Index is compiled using a sample representing approx. 400,000 new home buyer searches across England, Scotland and Wales per year and its findings are reflective of WhatHouse? user experiences and geographic market share.

About WhatHouse?

Whathouse.com is the UK’s leading new home audience platform. For more than 30 years’ its aim has been to inspire UK homebuyer decisions around new property. With a comprehensive directory of over 7,000 new homes, from the UK’s most celebrated housebuilders, WhatHouse? makes it easy for buyers to consider the diverse range of property developments available and to find their perfect new home match.  The annual WhatHouse? Awards started out back in 1980 and is dubbed ‘the Oscars of the housebuilding industry’.

3 August 2021

UK commercial premises conversion to residential property

This week the Government’s new rules have come into effect making it easier for commercial premises to be converted into residential property. While this might seem like a welcome change, will we really see the high street and office blocks converted into flats – it surely won’t be that easy, says Savio D’Costa, Commercial Real Estate Partner at JMW Solicitors:

“With demand clearly outstripping supply for housing, it is extremely sensible to make it easier to convert building usage for different purposes. As shops move online and restaurants and bars struggle to turn a profit, converting those properties to homes will help meet the high demand for residential housing. However, it’s not as straightforward as it might first appear. These rules have overlooked certain basic requirements – such as being able to convert external facades.

“In addition, the juxtaposition of commercial premises coexisting with residential housing such as in office blocks also has its drawbacks and could change the business district environment altogether.”

16 June 2021

UK House Price Rise

ONS House Price Index Rise

Today’s ONS House Price Index shows that the average UK house price rose by 8.9% in the year to April 2021.

Jamie Johnson, CEO of FJP Investment, said: “While today’s ONS’s data reaffirms what most of us already knew, which is that house prices have risen significantly throughout the first half of the year, we have to remember that there is a time delay with this index. We are receiving insight into the state of the market in April, not right now. This is important because, as the stamp duty holiday approaches, we are really waiting to see if the house price growth continues, plateaus or falls across June, July and into summer.

“The rate of growth has slowed slightly according to ONS, and I expect this trend to continue once the initial stamp duty holiday deadline passes on 30 June. However, given the scheme tapers down rather than coming to an immediate end, this should help avoid any shocks in the property market. Ultimately, demand will not disappear overnight, and the pandemic has demonstrated once again that both homebuyers and investors see bricks and mortar as a safe bet during times of economic uncertainty.”

Paresh Raja, CEO of Market Financial Solutions said: “We are in the eye of a perfect storm, with multiple factors contributing to house prices increasing at a remarkable rate. The role of the stamp duty holiday is well documented. But we must also acknowledge that the pandemic has forced homeowners to reconsider their priorities, prompting many to list their properties and look for new homes. At the same time, the Bank of England’s record low base rate makes borrowing more affordable, while we are also seeing more investors gravitating towards real estate as a reliable asset class in the current climate.

“Given these multiple factors, not to mention the backlog of deals still waiting to be completed, there is every reason to believe prices will continue to increase in the second half of 2021, even if the rate of growth eases off, as was seemingly the case in April when compared to March. The stamp duty holiday might be about to begin its taper back to normal levels, but it would be foolish to assume this will reverse the past year’s progress.”

30 Sep 2020

Impact Of Covid-19 on UK Housebuilding

New Figures Show Impact Of Covid-19 On Housebuilding Rates

Quarterly housing starts and completions lowest since 2000

Industry calls for assistance to construction sector

Wednesday 30 September 2020 – The number of new build homes started or completed in England between April and June 2020 fell to their lowest levels since the year 2000as Covid-19 hit the construction industry, according to new figures published today.

The figures also show, despite Covid, a longer-term decline in housing starts and completions, with the number of homes started or completed in the year to June 2020 also showing a sharp fall.

According to the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, the indicators of new housing supply figures should be regarded as a leading indicator of overall supply.

They show:

  • The number of dwellings where building work has started on site was 15,930 in April to June 2020 – a 52% decrease when compared to the last quarter.  It also follows a recent trend of a slowdown in growth with six of the last six quarters showing a decrease.  Starts are 67% below their March quarter 2007 peak and are 7% below the previous trough in the March quarter of 2009. It is the lowest quarterly starts figure in the seasonally adjusted time series (which begins in the year 2000).
  • There were 121,630 estimated new build dwellings starts in the year to June 2020, a 26 per cent decrease compared to the year to June 2019.
  • The number of dwellings completed on site was 15,390 in April to June 2020.  This is a 62% decrease compared to the last quarter and 64% below their level in the same quarter a year ago. Completions are now 67% below their peak in the March quarter 2007 and 37% below the previous trough in March quarter 2013. It is the lowest quarterly completions figure in the seasonally adjusted time series (which begins in the year 2000).
  • An estimated 147,180 new build dwellings were completed in the year to June 2020, a decrease of 15 per cent compared to the year to June 2019.

Clive Docwra, managing director of property and construction consultancy McBains said:

“Today’s statistics bear out the huge impact that Covid-19 – and in particular the Spring lockdown – has had on housebuilding rates. 

“The government target of building a million new homes in the new five years was always going to be a steep challenge, but the pandemic has dealt a heavy blow to that ambition.

“The industry is now facing a double-whammy – trying to recover from the impact of Covid but also suffering from the uncertainty over a Brexit deal – with investors holding off putting money into new developments until the picture on a withdrawal agreement becomes clearer.

“The Government will no doubt point to its recent planning White Paper as the answer to building more homes, saying that it will mean ‘permission in principle’ will be given to developments on land designated for renewal to speed-up building, but the uncertainty and resulting fluctuating values driven by Covid and Brexit are reducing the incentive on developers to build in the short term.

“The government could address this by temporarily staggering or deferring Section 106 planning obligations – where developers are asked to provide contributions for community infrastructure – so that developers are encouraged to complete housebuilding projects as soon as possible.”

Recent UK housing news on e-architect:

New UK homes for the North and Midlands

13 August 2020

UK Residential Market News

Rental Sector Strength Comment

We post comment below in response to the RICS monthly residential market survey.

Elisabeth Kohlbach, CEO of Skwire comments:
“Doom and gloom surrounding the news that the UK residential market is set for a ‘bust’ in the coming months overlooks a bright spot in a major segment of the residential market – the rental sector.

“The PRS sector is a growing part of the UK’s housing mix and the demand for this part of the market is not going away. Moreover, with lenders introducing a range of restrictions to cope with the spike in demand for mortgages following the announcement of stamp duty relief, many would-be buyers are struggling to get on the ladder and will no doubt turn to the rental market once again.

“While traditional destinations for BTR investors, such as London, may no longer be as attractive as remote workers flock to towns and cities beyond the capital, investors should look to the regions, which offer an exciting and untapped opportunity. Institutional investors should look beyond the traditional high density city-centre developments and seize the opportunity to tap into a rich pool of existing stock across the UK.”

7 August 2020

UK house prices rise in July

Halifax House Price Index for July 2020

Halifax has this morning released its House Price Index for July, showing that house prices have risen month-on-month and year-on-year in reaction to the Stamp Duty Land Tax holiday introduced earlier in the month.

While this is positive news for the sector, can this momentum be maintained?

Jamie Johnson, CEO of FJP Investment
“Today’s House Price Index shows that the stamp duty holiday is having its desired effect, encouraging buyers and sellers to make a cautious return back to the property market. The release of pent-up demand is driving up house prices, slowly making up for the losses that were incurred at the height of the pandemic.

“The big question now is whether this initial burst in activity can be maintained over the next few months. Will house prices continue to grow; or will the momentum fizzle out? There is no clear answer at present. Nonetheless, today’s House Price Index makes the case for cautious optimism.

“Importantly, I do not believe the coronavirus has dampened investor demand for UK real estate. Property’s resilience and ability to quickly recover any losses in value in times of crises makes it a top asset class for both domestic and overseas buyers. Once there is greater certainty about the future of COVID-19 and the post-pandemic recovery, I anticipate buyer demand to return in full force.”

8 July 2020

UK Stamp Duty Changes

8 July 2020
Chancellor’s ‘mini budget’ for green jobs misses mark on transport and housing, says to CPRE

Commenting on the Chancellors ‘mini budget’, Tom Fyans, campaigns and policy director at CPRE, the countryside charity, said:

‘While we have seen promising starts on energy efficiency and shoring up rural hospitality businesses, the Chancellor has missed major opportunities to begin building back better when it comes to transport and housing investment.’

Read more at UK Summer Statement Response

8 July 2020
RIBA reacts to Chancellor’s ‘Plan for Jobs’

“The RIBA has long advocated for a ‘green’ post-COVID recovery, so I welcome the Chancellor’s efforts to put sustainability front and centre of today’s announcements.”

Read more at RIBA UK News

8 July 2020
UK Stamp Duty Changes

View from Metropolitan Thames Valley Housing on the stamp duty changes:

Kush Rawal, Director of Residential Investment from Metropolitan Thames Valley Housing comments: “We welcome the Chancellor’s stamp duty holiday, which makes shared ownership homes an even more attractive option for people looking to own their own home. Removing stamp duty from almost all initial share purchases means that key workers will be able to buy a shared ownership home with as little as two months of rent as their deposit.”

6 July 2020

Is ‘build build build’ best for England’s planning system?

Alister Scott, Professor of Environmental Geography and an expert in urban planning and infrastructure, writes for The Conversation on proposals to change the UK’s planning system.

English Planning System

18 Jun 2020

Timber Frame: Accommodating The Differential

With sales of timber homes and buildings heading towards £1bn in the next 12 months*, Andy Swift, sales and operations manager, UK & ROI for ISO-Chemie, considers sealant tapes for timber frame structures and accommodating differential movement:

New UK Timber Frame Building

3 Jun 2020

UK Architects welcome landmark ARCO Report

We post comments from Mark Rowe, principal at Penoyre & Prasad and Félicie Krikler, director at Assael Architecture in support of ARCO’s landmark report launched earlier today:

Mark Rowe, principal at Penoyre & Prasad, said: “This research highlights the shift towards a more collective way of living – integrating purpose-built accommodation with access to healthcare and facilities that can help maintain independence.” – read more at:

Too little, Too late? Housing for an ageing population

26 Mar 2020

Housebuilding Rates Fall – Even Before Coronavirus Impacts

Thursday 26th of March 2020 – The number of new build homes started and completed in the last quarter of 2019 fell below government targets, according to new government figures published today – and the industry says the coronavirus pandemic is set to impact these further.

According to the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, the new build dwellings figures should be regarded as a leading indicator of overall housing supply.

Today’s figures show that:

  • On a quarterly basis, new build dwelling starts in England were estimated at 34,260 (seasonally adjusted) in the latest quarter, an 11 per cent decrease compared to the previous 3 months and a 17 per cent decrease on a year earlier. Completions were estimated at 44,980 (seasonally adjusted), a 1 per cent decrease from the previous quarter and 3 per cent higher than a year ago.
  • Annual new build dwelling starts totalled 151,020 in the year to December 2019, a 10 per cent decrease compared with the year to December 2018. During the same period, completions totalled 178,800, an increase of 9 per cent compared with last year
  • All starts between October and December 2019 are now 99 per cent above the trough in the March quarter 2009 and 30 per cent below the March quarter 2007 peak. All completions between October and December 2019 are 78 per cent above the trough in the March quarter 2013 and 7 per cent below the March quarter 2007 peak.

Clive Docwra, Managing Director of leading construction consulting and design agency McBains, said:

“The government’s ambitious housebuilding target – delivering a million homes in the next five years – was always going to be extremely challenging, and the latest statistics bear this out. However, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic will mean this is now virtually impossible.

“Many sites are empty, supply chains have been disrupted and multi-million pounds worth of private investment is on hold for the foreseeable future. That will knock back housebuilding rates months, if not years.

“The government has already announced an unprecedented package of measures to help support business, but once we’ve turned the tide on the virus further help, such as tax incentives, will be needed to get the UK building again.”

Previously on e-architect:

24 Nov 2017

UK Housebuilding Policy

UK Government Approach to Housing Shortage – Budget Reaction

The UK Chancellor announced a raft of measures aimed at significantly increasing levels of home building and “reviving the British dream of home ownership”.

Key amongst the Chancellor’s statements were the abolition of Stamp Duty Land Tax on homes under £300k for First Time Buyers, £15.3 billion of new financial support for house building over the next five years (which includes money for the government to buy land as well as delivering supporting infrastructure) and more money to help SME builders.

This is in addition to the £10bn extra funding already announced for the English version of the Help to Buy shared equity scheme.

Some reactions to this week’s UK Budget from key built environment representatives:

“In essence the abolition of Stamp duty is the kind of sweeping move we needed to provide hope at the bottom end of the market and hopefully helping towards the aspirational 300K homes per year. As an employer, seeing younger architects get a foothold on the housing ladder is a strong hope and this is surely a welcome hand-out to bring the youth vote around for the Conservatives.

We would like to see more certainty on how the £44Bn figure to aid housebuilding will actually materialise into capital expenditure from Central or Local Government. The budget won’t solve the disconnect in planning, unless some of that cash is pumped into increasing resources in planning departments.”

Graham Hickson-Smith, Commercial Director, 3DReid

“It’s good to see the government taking the housing crisis seriously with the final quarter of the speech devoted to this one subject, an impressive commitment to extra spending of £44bn over five years and the headline grabbing finale of the reduction in stamp duty. The devil though will, as always be in the detail.

The lifting of HRA caps is good in principle but there are no details at all, while the £34m for skills training sounds like a drop in the ocean when we are faced with a huge likely loss of construction workers post-Brexit. Other measures announced include the review to be chaired by Oliver Letwin which may, helpfully, lay to rest the myth that land banking is a serious problem – most developers being concerned to turn over their capital as fast as possible rather than tie it up in dormant sites.

Finally there is the reduction in stamp duty for first time buyers, which will undoubtedly appeal to younger voters, but the same measure would probably be much more effective, economically, as an incentive to retired people to downsize, releasing under-occupied houses into the market.”

Richard Morton, Richard Morton Architects

“We really welcome the Chancellor’s moves to boost the supply of badly-needed new homes. Policies which aim to lower the cost of land and bring forward more building sites, particularly in urban areas well served by public transport, are good news – and preferable to policies which make it easier for some people to afford high house prices.

But all of this new housing needs to be sustainable, in environmental terms, and here the government’s policies are seriously lacking. It wants five new garden cities, but has said virtually nothing about what defines them.

The Budget has not addressed the critical need for green and low-carbon infrastructure and low-impact homes, not just on green fields, but everywhere. Nor has this budget addressed the need to upgrade and retrofit millions of our existing energy-inefficient homes.”

Sue Riddlestone OBE, Chief Executive of Bioregional

22 Jan 2016

UK Housing Expansion – Homebuilding in Great Britain

The Ministry of Defence has put 12 sites on the block to provide land for up to 15,000 new homes.

Government Defence Minister Mark Lancaster said the land sale was expected to raise £500m, which will be ploughed back into frontline defence budgets, reports www.constructionenquirer.com.

The sale is the first tranche of more ambitious plans to support the government’s ambition to build 160,000 homes by 2020.

The MOD, which owns around 1% of all UK land, plans to slash the size of its built estate by nearly a third, with its current holdings stretching to 452,000 hectares.

As part of that plan, the Ministry has committed to generating £1bn through land sales during this parliament and contributing up to 55,000 homes.

Imber in Wiltshire, on Salisbury Plain, England “was evacuated in 1943. The village, still classed as a civil parish, remains under control of the Ministry of Defence”:
UK MOD site, housing in Imber
photograph © swns.com

Ministry of Defence Estate Sell-off
MoD estate sell-off – tranche 1
12 sites placed on the market:

– Kneller Hall in Twickenham
– Claro and Deverell barracks in Ripon
– RAF sites Molesworth and Alconbury in Cambridgeshire, and Mildenhall in Suffolk.
– Lodge Hill in Kent
– Craigiehall in Edinburgh
– HMS Nelson Wardroom in Portsmouth
– Hullavington Airfield in Wiltshire
– RAF Barnham in Suffolk
– MOD Feltham in London

The MOD will announce further sites in due course, with a full list published in the Footprint Strategy later in 2016.

Link: http://www.constructionenquirer.com/2016/01/19/mod-to-sell-off-a-dozen-major-sites-for-housing/

UK MOD Housing site, Imber
photograph © swns.com

British Houses

UK Government Design Advisory Panel – New Housing Design Quality

Chair of RIBA Housing Group, Andy Von Bradsky, represented RIBA this week on the government’s Design Advisory Panel. The panel was set up under the coalition government and has been re-formed by the current government to advise on key policy issues, reports the RIBA.

The RIBA has welcomed the Prime Minister’s announcement that a Design Advisory Panel is being set up to ‘set the bar on housing design across the country’ and is looking forward to working with other panel members.

David Cameron announced the creation of the panel this week when he confirmed the go ahead for a new Starter Homes scheme, though the panel will inform government policies on housing design nationally.

Fleet Street Hill Housing in London by Peter Barber Architects:
New UK Housing Fleet Street Hill London
image from architect

The DCLG has already confirmed that panel members will include Sir Terry Farrell, classicist Sir Quinlan Terry and philosopher Roger Scruton alongside nominated representatives from the RIBA, RTPI, Design Council and Create Streets.

The panel will be chaired by ministers, so there are high hopes that it will have a genuine influence on policy.
The Government says the panel will act as a sounding board, so that the housing and design industry can discuss policy issues with ministers and senior government officials. Its remit will cover:

Emerging housing and planning policy to ensure that good design is considered and embedded from the outset.
Delivery of housing and planning policy to ensure that good design is achieved through Government’s programmes.
Emerging industry issues and barriers to good design in housing delivery.

Inspiring design of Grand Large Housing Dunkirk:
Grand Large Housing Dunkirk
photo from ANMA/Agence Nicolas Michelin & Associés

‘We welcome the response from Government to the Farrell review and our own recommendation to have more design advice available to Government when shaping policy.’ said RIBA Head of External Affairs Anna Scott-Marshall.

‘It is encouraging that the Government, industry and other professionals will work in collaboration to ensure that we build the right kinds of homes in the right kinds of places.’
Farrell is also enthusiastic and said the panel has the potential to make a real difference.

‘It builds on the recommendations of the Farrell Review (http://www.farrellreview.co.uk/), which highlighted the need for more proactive planning and better placemaking as we attempt to address the housing crisis, with radically higher priority given to landscape, sustainability and the public realm.’

Stadthaus at 24 Murray Grove, London, by Waugh Thistleton – constructed entirely in timber, the nine-storey high-rise is the tallest timber residential building in the world

Stadthaus Murray Grove Housing
Stadthaus photo : Will Pryce
Murray Grove Housing

Interesting link:

Imber village on Salisbury Plain under control of the Ministry of Defence

UK Housing Links:

Housing Crisis

New London Housing

British Homes

British House Designs

English Architecture:

English Architecture Designs – chronological list

Location: UK

Contemporary British Homes

Recent British Home Designs

Black House, Kent, Southeast England
Architect: AR Design Studio
Black House Kent contemporary property - English Houses
image courtesy of architects
Black House in Kent

A House for Essex, Essex, Southeast England
Design: FAT Architecture and Grayson Perry
House for Essex by FAT + Grayson Perry - English Houses
photograph : Jack Hobhouse
A House for Essex

Balancing Barn, Suffolk, Southeast England
Design: MVRDV
Balancing Barn by MVRDV in Suffolk - English Houses
photo : Living Architecture
Balancing Barn Suffolk

Hurst House, Buckinghamshire, Southern England
Design: John Pardey Architects with Ström Architects
Buckinghamshire Property: Hurst House, Bourne End
photo : Andy Matthews
Buckinghamshire Property

swingers in the UK

Contemporary North European Homes

Recent North European Houses

Danish Houses

German Houses

French Houses

Comments / photos for the New UK Housing Shortage – Current British Housebuilding page welcome