Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Government Attempts To Tackle Growing Rent Arrears Under Universal Credit

In response to a parliamentary written question last Friday, Damian Hinds, DWP minster, said in order to “address the issue of rent arrears in Universal Credit” DWP will roll out two initiatives that have recently been piloted – the Trusted Partner scheme and the landlord portal. More landlords will be included in the schemes from October, starting with the largest landlord groups “in order to ensure the highest possible number of tenants are able to benefit from the schemes, as early as possible”, Mr Hinds said. Read more on Inside Housing.

Housing Money Wasted 'Propping Up Rents'

Taxpayers' money is being wasted on "propping up rents" in a "failing housing market", a report says. The National Housing Federation report highlights how money spent on housing benefit rose from £16.6bn in the mid-1990s to £25.1bn in 2015-16. It added that since 2011, no government money has been made available to build homes in England for low paid people to rent. The government said building more homes was its absolute priority. Read more on the NHF website.

Survey Reveals Housing ‘Crash’ Fears

New research reveals wavering public confidence in the housing market with fears of a crash coming within the next five years – if not sooner. An online survey of over 2,000 British adults found that while just over one in four respondents  had faith in the stability of the market, with a substantial proportion less convinced on the ability of the market to avoid another boom and bust cycle. Two thirds of respondents predicted a crash within the next decade, but many feared a  crash was even more imminent, with one in four saying there will be a crash within just two years – and 6% saying it could happen in the next 12 months. Read more on 24housing.

UK Rents Continue To Rise In August

Rents in the UK rose by an average of 2.4% during August, the highest rate of annual growth seen in the private rental sector this year. The average rent agreed on a new tenancy signed last month was £939 according to the August HomeLet Rental Index, compared to £916 in the same month of 2016. August’s increase in average rents was partly driven by a return to inflation in the London market, where rents agreed on new tenancies last month were 2.4% higher than in August 2016. Last month’s increase took the average rent in the capital to £1,609 – the first time rents in London have been above £1,600. Read more on the Homelet website.

Universal Credit Sends Rent Arrears Soaring

Ministers are coming under intense pressure to put the brakes on the government’s flagship welfare reform programme, following damning new evidence that it is leaving thousands of low-paid workers unable to pay their rent and at risk of homelessness. Figures show that half of all council tenants across 105 local authorities who receive the housing element of universal credit are at least a month behind on their rent, with 30% two months behind. The Peabody Group said the rate of rent arrears among its tenants on universal credit was three times greater than those not on the new benefit. It said the average level of arrears for those on universal credit was £1,400 per household. Read more on the Observer website.

Better-Off Areas Asked To Build Up To 40% More Homes

Areas where house prices far outstrip what people earn would be asked to build up to 40% more homes than planned, under government proposals. MPs were told it would mean some areas in England "would deliver large numbers well beyond what communities previously agreed as part of their local plans". The communities secretary said a new formula for determining housing need was needed to address the nation's housing crisis. But it is likely to face resistance from some local authorities. Read more on the BBC website.

Consultation On Rent Policy Due “Very, Very Soon”

Secretary of State Sajid Javid is reported as saying that housing associations and councils can expect consultations the government's rent policy post 2020 "very, very soon". The government's previous 10 year social rent policy introduced in May 2014 was scrapped by George Osborne in the Summer Budget of 2015 and there has been a huge reduction in rental income as a result of the 4 years of mandatory year on year 1% rent reductions up to 2020 imposed by the Welfare Reform & Work Act 2016 with ongoing uncertainty about future rent policy. However the government's Housing White Paper promised to set out a rent policy for housing associations and local authorities for the period beyond 2020. Read more on the ARCH website.

Housing For Older People Inquiry

The newly appointed Commons CLG Committee will continue the work of its predecessor on housing for older people in England. Renewed, the inquiry will examine whether the housing on offer for this group of people is sufficiently available and suitable for their needs and, in doing so, consider how older people wish to live. The committee will take into account the context of significant housing shortages, rising numbers of older people and pressures on health and social care – with public evidence sessions set to start next month. Read more on 24housing.

Thursday, 14 September 2017

Councils Have ‘Urgent’ Concerns Over Homelessness Reduction Act Delays

Sir Steve Bullock, executive member for housing at London Councils and mayor of Lewisham Council, said in a letter to homelessness minister Marcus Jones that with only seven months until the Homelessness Reduction Act comes into force, councils are still waiting for “much delayed information”. This includes a promised code of guidance from government and “detailed” funding allocations, he said. London Councils has said if the guidance and allocations are not published soon, the act should be delayed until September 2018. Read more on Inside Housing.

Rent Rises Ahead As Landlords Pull Out Of UK Housing

Landlords are likely to pull out of the UK housing sector in the coming year owing to policy changes, surveyors say. Nearly two-thirds of surveyors asked by their trade body said more landlords would exit the market than join it in the coming year. Investors have been hit by changes such as a stamp duty surcharge. As a result, private rent rises were likely to outpace house prices in the next five years, the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) found. Read more on the BBC.

Planning For The Right Homes In The Right Places - Consultation

This consultation sets out a number of proposals to reform the planning system to increase the supply of new homes and increase local authority capacity to manage growth. Proposals include:
·         a standard method for calculating local authorities’ housing need
·         how neighbourhood planning groups can have greater certainty on the level of housing need to plan for
·         a statement of common ground to improve how local authorities work together to meet housing and other needs across boundaries
·         making the use of viability assessments simpler, quicker and more transparent
·         increased planning application fees in those areas where local planning authorities are delivering the homes their communities need

Download the consultation from the GovUK website.

Universal Credit – Parliamentary Written Answer

Debbie Abrahams: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what estimate his Department has made of the number of people receiving tax credits who will be receiving universal credit at the completion of full service roll-out.
Damian Hinds: [Holding answer 12 September 2017]: Based on the existing tax credit data and take-up we estimate that around 5.8 million people receiving Tax Credits will be receiving Universal Credit at the completion of Full Service roll-out.

Universal Credit Forcing PRS Tenants Into Rent Arrears

More than a third of private landlords with tenants receiving Universal Credit say they are owed rent, up by over 10 percentage points since last year. According to a recent RLA survey of almost 3,000 landlords, of those with Universal Credit claimants as tenants, 38 per cent reported experiencing tenants going into rent arrears. In February 2016 that figure was 27 per cent. The RLA’s research has found that the average amount owed in rent arrears by Universal Credit tenants to private sector landlords is now £1,150. Read more on the RLA website.

How Homes Have Got Less – And More – Affordable Since The Financial Crisis

Ten years ago, the financial crisis upended the housing market. Prices went into freefall, and many areas of the country have still not recovered – while others have seen prices soar. In the intervening years the gap between the least and most affordable areas of Britain has almost doubled, according to new research by the Yorkshire Building Society. Perhaps more surprisingly, homes in 54pc of local authorities in Britain are now more affordable than they were in 2007. This is despite the fact that the average house price in Britain has risen 21pc in the same period. Read more on the Daily Telegraph website.

80% Of Government Housing Funding Is On Private Housing

Analysis of government figures by the CIH shows projected government investment through to 2020/21 will funnel £32bn into private programmes and £8bn into programmes for shared ownership and sub-market rent. The largest investment in private housing is the £12.5bn bill for the Help to Buy: Equity Loan scheme. Help to Buy ISAs, the Help to Buy guarantee scheme, and private rented sector guarantees cash make up the remainder of the funding. This investment is in the form of loans and guaranteed debt, rather than direct government spending. Its investment in affordable housing comprises mainly £4.3bn of grant under the Affordable Homes Programme. Read more on Inside Housing.

Government Has ‘Not Evaluated’ The Impact Of Its Reforms On Homelessness

Government has not evaluated the impact of its welfare reforms on homelessness, or the impact of the mitigations that it has put in place, according to the National Audit Office (NAO). An NAO report says the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) does not have a published cross-government strategy to prevent and tackle homelessness – despite acknowledging the scale of the challenge and plans to improve the data the government holds on homelessness. Download the report from the NAO website.

Landlord Numbers Down But Portfolio Sizes Are Up

The number of landlords has fallen over the last two years despite a rise in supply of homes available to rent, meaning the typical buy to let investor now has a larger portfolio than ever before.  Countrywide estimates that the number of landlords peaked at 3.72m in 2015 when there were some 171,000 fewer rented homes than today.  In 2017 there are just over 154,000 fewer landlords (3.56m in total) but the number of rented homes has increased from 4.9m in 2015 to 5.1m today.   Fewer landlords and more rental properties means the size of the average landlord’s portfolio is the biggest since Countrywide first recorded such information in 2005.  Read more on Letting Agent Today.

Help to Buy Scheme – Parliamentary Written Answer

Royston Smith: To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, what the cost has been to the public purse of the Help to Buy ISA policy since the introduction of that scheme.
Royston Smith: To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, what the cost has been to the public purse of the Help to Buy policy since the introduction of that scheme.

Stephen Barclay: From the introduction of the Help to Buy: ISA on 1 December 2015 to 31 March 2017, the total value of bonuses paid was £54m. Between the launch of the Help to Buy: Equity Loan scheme on 1 April 2013 to 31March 2017, the total value of equity loans provided through scheme was £5.86bn.

Universal Credit Expansion Is 'A Disaster Waiting To Happen'

Citizens Advice is warning that the expansion of Universal Credit is 'a disaster waiting to happen', as new findings show it is pushing people further into debt. Citizens Advice analysed over 50,000 cases where it has helped people with their debt problems and found that for those on Universal Credit:
·         79% have priority debts such a rent or council tax, putting them at greater risk of eviction, visits from bailiffs, being cut off from energy supplies and even prison - compared to (69%) on legacy benefits such as Jobseekers Allowance or Housing Benefit. 
·         2 in 5 (41%) have no money available to pay creditors as their monthly spend on essential living costs is more than their income.
·         Typically people on Universal Credit only have around £3 a month left to pay creditors.

Read more on the CAB website.

Housing Benefit: Private Rented Housing – Parliamentary Written Answer

Mr David Lammy: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what estimate he has made of the total sum of housing benefit payable to households living in the private rented sector in 2017-18.

Caroline Dinenage: Expenditure on Housing Benefit for households living in the private rented sector in 2017/18 is forecast to be £8.8 billion. This includes the Housing Benefit that would have been paid to households who are instead receiving housing support through Universal Credit.

Government Buying Into Affordable Homes

The Government has bought into affordable housing to win over young voters. Chancellor Philip Hammond asked a private meeting of Tory backbench 1922 committee for ideas to bridge the widening  gap between voting generations. Housing emerging as an obvious issue upon which ground could be gained where young voters were concerned as to their prospects. The government was reinforced by a visit from Lord Willetts, a former Tory cabinet minister who chairs the Resolution Foundation – a think-tank focused on improving living standards – to Downing Street and meeting with head of policy James Marshall. Read more on 24housing.

Even Tenants Think The Buy-To-Let Crackdown Will Reduce Housing Supply.

One in five renters believes that the removal of mortgage interest tax relief on buy-to-let homes will reduce the supply of rented properties in their area. The research, commissioned by GoCompare Mortgages, also revealed that some tenants were concerned that they will face rent hikes as buy-to-let landlords pass on the higher costs, with 6% saying they had already seen a rise. According to the study, the housing crisis has got so bad that nearly a third (31%) of all people renting believe they will never own a home. Read more on the what Mortgage website.

Quarter Of Private-Renting Families Slipping Into 'Bad Debt'

One in four families renting homes in England is falling into hundreds of pounds of “bad debt” due to the cost of moving house, new findings show. Having to pay letting fees, removal van hires, cleaning costs and other requirements that come with moving properties has seen thousands of families taking out debt in the form of credit cards, overdraft, bank loans or payday loans, according to a report by housing charity Shelter. A total of 255,944 private renting families took on such debt the last time they moved, with the cost of moving home amounting to an average of £1,619 across England – and reaching £1,707 in London. Read more on the Independent website.

Tenants Let Down By Lack Of Letting Fee Enforcement

The government needs to do more to better enforce existing regulations designed to improve transparency around letting agent fees before looking to ban them outright. That’s the call being made by the Residential Landlords Association (RLA) as MPs debate plans to ban fees. Figures published earlier this year by the National Approved Letting Scheme found that after two years of the law coming into effect, 93% of councils had failed to issue a single financial penalty to a letting agent for breaching the law. Only three penalty notices had been served across England for failure to display all relevant landlord and tenant fees. Read more on the RLA website.

Help-To-Buy Scheme Aids Some Buyers, But Boosts Builders Even More

Housebuilder Redrow says it’s looking forward to working with government to consider the future of the help-to-buy subsidy scheme beyond 2021. You bet it is. Since former chancellor George Osborne in 2013 committed to helping homebuyers purchase new properties with a deposit of only 5%, Redrow has reported record profits every year. The latest annual numbers – and a share price that has improved threefold since 2013 – shows how wonderful life has become for big housebuilders. Operating margins are running at 19% and return on capital employed has hit 26%. About 40% of its private sales are to help-to-buy purchases, which is typical for the sector. Read more on the Guardian website.

DWP Publishes Universal Credit Guidance

The DWP has published a guidebook for landlords to help them prepare for the roll-out of Universal Credit. The guidance, published today, says: “Social landlords may need to look at how and when they collect their rent, and the level of support some tenants will need to make the transition to a single, direct monthly payment.” It adds that landlords can prepare for Universal Credit’s introduction by:
·         Familiarising themselves with the changes
·         Considering how they might need to adapt their policies and processes
·         Engaging with tenants early, to start assessing needs, making sure they understand their responsibilities and the support available

Download the guidebook from the DWP website.

Majority Of Charity’s Supported Housing Under Threat From LHA Cap

Analysis by Frontier Economics found that if the freeze on Local Housing Allowance (LHA) rates continues into 2020/21 and there is no top-up funding available, 91% of The Salvation Army’s homes would cost more to run than there is funding to cover them. This would mean the charity would be forced to raise income elsewhere. The Salvation Army is calling on the government to delay applying LHA rates to supported housing until April 2022 to allow time for a new solution to be found that “accurately reflects the true costs of safe and secure supported housing”, a spokesperson said. Read more on Inside Housing.

Solar Power Deal Will Lower Social Tenants' Energy Bills

Solar panels are to be installed in 800,000 low-income homes across England and Wales over the next five years, as part of a new government scheme. The Dutch firm, Maas Capital, is investing £160m in the project. The panels, which will be free to tenants, are expected to cut hundreds of pounds from energy bills, according to the UK firm Solarplicity. The first people to benefit from the scheme include residents of a sheltered retirement home in Ealing, west London. Read more on the BBC.

Thursday, 7 September 2017

UK HPI: House Prices Up 5.1%

The latest data and analysis from ONS/Land Registry has revealed that average house prices in the UK have increased by 5.1% in the year to July 2017. The annual growth rate has slowed since mid-2016 but has remained broadly around 5% during 2017. According to the UK HPI, the average UK house price was £226,000 in July 2017. This is £11,000 higher than in July 2016 and £2,000 higher than last month. The main contribution to the increase in UK house prices came from England, where house prices increased by 5.4% over the year to July 2017, with the average price in England now £243,000. Read more on the property reporter website.

Thursday, 31 August 2017

Grenfell ALMO ‘No Longer Viable’ To Manage Homes

The ALMO at the centre of the Grenfell disaster is “no longer a viable option” to manage housing stock and faces being dissolved. Kensington & Chelsea Tenant Management Organisation (KCTMO) was effectively stripped of its responsibilities for the tower and its surrounding estate earlier this week. Now it looks likely to lose all of its near 10,000 homes in the borough. Kensington & Chelsea Council has confirmed it is in talks with housing providers over alternative management for its social housing portfolio. Read more on 24housing.

No End In Sight To UK’s Housing Shortage

The UK’s housing market showed further signs of weakness in July, as the number of property sales fell as uncertainty and a shortage of supply kept potential purchasers at bay. The number of properties available to buy on agents’ books decreased to just 35 last month - the lowest amount recorded for July since National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA Propertymark) records began 15 years ago. With fewer homes to choose from, there was also a dip in the number of house buyers registered per member branch in March; agents had an average of 347 prospective buyers on their books compared to 384 in June. Read more on Property Investor Today.

Gauke Signals He Will Press On With Universal Credit

The work and pensions secretary has signalled that the government will press ahead with controversial welfare changes, insisting the system of universal credit is “making work pay and transforming lives”. Responding to a letter signed by 30 Labour MPs and the Green co-leader Caroline Lucas, expressing concerns about UC and calling for its implementation to be paused, David Gauke underlined his commitment to the policy. The two-page letter suggests there is little appetite in government for softening planned changes to the welfare system in the wake of the election campaign, which saw Labour focus on the impact of austerity. Read more on the Guardian website.

Associations Pull 85% Of Planned Supported Housing Developments

The National Housing Federation (NHF) said the dramatic drop in development is due to uncertainty over the introduction of the Local Housing Allowance (LHA) cap. The government was meant to publish a Green Paper on the future of supported housing during the spring but this has not yet materialised. The NHF’s survey of 69 housing associations which together provide a third of supported housing revealed they had previously planned to build 8,800 units of supported housing but now had a total pipeline of just 1,350. Those who provided additional detail in the survey said 71 schemes representing 2,185 homes have been postponed, 19 have been cancelled outright, and 25 existing schemes are threatened with closure. Read more on Inside Housing.

NAO To Re-Assess Universal Credit Roll-Out

The roll-out of Universal Credit (UC) is getting a once-over – for a third time. The National Audit Office (NAO) confirmed it is to undertake another assessment of the roll-out plan after two previous reports found poor performance on delivery of an ‘over ambitious’ programme. The new NAO study will examine whether the DWP is on course to deliver UC in accordance with its plans, assessing whether there are early signs that UC is delivering its objectives, and what impact it is having both on claimants and local stakeholders. Two previous NAO reports – in 2013 and 2014 – identified key areas of poor performance hindering progress. Read more on 24housing.

Wednesday, 23 August 2017

DWP Launches New Helpline For Landlords

The DWP has introduced a new helpline for landlords whose Universal Credit tenants will not communicate with them. The new number 0345 600 4272 can be used by landlords who are unable to obtain the tenant’s co-operation to get DWP to supply information when it comes to enquiries about major payments –  such as a direct payment to the landlord. This is a significant change as, before now, landlords were totally dependent on the goodwill of the tenant when it came to accessing information. The new number can only be used by landlords in areas where Universal Credit has been fully rolled out. Read more on the RLA website.

CLG Considering Allowing Shared Ownership For RTB Replacements

Housing minister Alok Sharma is examining the request, submitted by Treasury advisor Arlingclose on behalf of the authorities in June. The proposals call for legislation to be changed to allow councils to spend money raised through Right to Buy sales on purchasing homes from the open market for shared ownership. Councils are supposed to replace homes lost through the Right to Buy with new builds for affordable rent, but are only allowed to spend 30% of receipts on the construction costs. Virtually all the homes sold under the Right to Buy are social rent properties, and the policy move would raise fears over the further depletion of social rented stock. Read more on Inside Housing.

Brexit Is "Biggest Risk" To Housing Market

Countrywide has issued forecasts for the housing market over the next two years amidst a warning that Brexit volatility is the biggest risk to performance. It says house price growth will slow across all regions over the rest of 2017 and into the first half of 2018; there will be a recovery in growth rates beginning from mid-2018 and continuing into 2019 as wage growth returns. In the immediate term Countrywide warns that average house price growth in Britain will be 1.5 per cent in 2017 compared with 5.0 per cent in 2016.  Read more on Estate Agent Today.

Landlords Urged To Re-Mortgage As Tougher Lending Criteria Begin To Bite

Landlords are being urged to re-mortgage before tougher buy-to-let lending criteria, due to be introduced in September, make it more difficult to obtain finance. The call comes as the proportion of buy-to-let re-mortgage transactions, as a share of the total lending market, has risen over the last few months, and as a diminishing demand for new buy to let loans has driven many lenders to slash mortgage rates. The National Landlords Association (NLA) says the rise in re-mortgages is down to landlords looking to limit their exposure to the new buy to let tax regime. Read more on the NLA website.

Government To Overhaul Homelessness Data

Government is reviewing the Homelessness Code of Guidance as it overhauls how “homelessness data” is collected. In a letter to councils, homelessness minister Marcus Jones MP said changes could be revealed in time for the implementation of the Homelessness Reduction Act. The Code specifies obligations local authorities must adhere to in supporting 16 and 17 year olds. Implementation of the Act is expected from April next year, with £61m government funding behind the bill. Councils can use the funding boost to pay for the series of new responsibilities they must meet under the act. Read more on 24housing.

Countryside Faces ‘Fuel Poverty’ Crisis

People living in rural areas have been left behind by government drives to make homes more energy efficient, charities have warned. This leaves them vulnerable to rising energy prices. Research by National Energy Action and the Campaign to Protect Rural England shows that rural areas are five years behind urban areas in the energy efficiency of homes – and are paying nearly 55% more for their fuel as a result. The charities have called on ministers to establish new energy-efficiency initiatives to help people reduce their energy consumption, particularly those in fuel poverty, who cannot afford to heat their homes. Read more on the Observer website.

Confidence In New Builds Falls

The country has not built enough homes for decades. As a result, existing homes must house more people and last for much longer, which has led to the country spending nearly as much on the repair and maintenance of existing homes as it does building new ones. But analysis reveals that one in 10 new home buyers are dissatisfied with the quality of their new home and one in six would not recommend their house builder to a friend. The research, carried out for the LGA, also reveals most local areas have more homes built before 1930 then from any other period of time, demonstrating the age of much of England’s housing stock. Read more on the LGA website.

Shrinking Buy-To-Let Market Triggers Mortgage Rate War

The rapidly shrinking buy-to-let market is driving lenders to a mortgage price war as they compete for dwindling demand from borrowers. The Post Office is the latest lender to cut rates on a swathe of deals. Its new two-year fixed rate of 1.33pc is the lowest ever offered, according to Moneyfacts, the comparison site. The lender now has the lowest interest rate in four of Moneyfacts seven categories and the joint lowest in another. It follows similar moves by other lenders, including Nationwide Building Society, to sharply reduce rates. Read more on the Daily Telegraph website.

Housing Wealth Will Be Crucial In Plugging The Pensions Gap

The UK is sleepwalking into a retirement income crisis that cannot be averted by pensions alone. The shift towards defined contribution schemes means millions of workers will run out of money in retirement. Those contributing eight per cent into defined contribution schemes throughout their working life will end up with just one fifth of the pension of an identical worker in a defined benefit scheme. While this would lead to an average worker accumulating a pot of £380,000 by the time they reach retirement, this only buys an annuity of £12,000 a year at current rates. What’s more alarming is that most defined contribution savers have not saved enough to even achieve this amount. Read more on the City AM website.

Developers ‘Underestimating Profits’ To Avoid Building Social Housing

Tens of thousands of people in England and Wales are urging their local councils to stop housing developers from purposefully avoiding building affordable housing. The 38 Degrees campaign, started by 27 members across England and Wales, comes after leaked documents revealed developers are deliberately misleading councils on expected profit. Current planning law in England and Wales states that if a developer will not make ‘competitive returns’ – typically assumed to be 20% profit on a new development – they can ignore the council’s regulations about building affordable and social housing. The developers’ leaked documents have shown that the calculations they use to work out their profit margins are purposefully misleading. Read more on 24housing.

Thursday, 17 August 2017

Homelessness Reduction Act To Commence From April Next Year

The government has set aside £61m to distribute between councils to fund the new responsibilities they will face under the act, including intervening at an earlier stage to prevent homelessness and an expected increase in reviews when a person is not deemed to be priority need. But peers and housing experts have warned £61m will not cover the increased costs councils will face. In a letter to councils, homelessness minister Marcus Jones said the formula for how the funding will be distributed is being finalised and allocations will be announced in the autumn with the first payments expected to be made in the winter. Read more on Inside Housing.

Study Shows Social Benefit Of Housing Investment

Research carried out by Housing Plus Group has revealed that local communities benefit by up to £11 for every £1 invested in affordable housing and retirement living accommodation. The group has placed a value on the social return on investment for some of its major development projects, taking into account factors such as increased support for village schools and shops as well as reduced pressure on overstretched health services. Some of the most significant social return on investment was recorded in areas around new Extra Care communities. Read more on the Housing Plus website.

Include Rent Payments in Credit Scores

Rent payments should be included when calculating credit scores to support tenants wanting to buy a home of their own. The Residential Landlords Association (RLA) found that 61 per cent of landlords would support such a move. At present, credit rating agencies do not routinely include rent payment history when calculating credit scores. This means a tenant can find it difficult to access a mortgage, even if they have a long history of rent being paid in full and on time. Including rent payment in this way would also support landlords, providing them with a more accurate assessment of a prospective tenant’s credit and rent payment history. Read more on the RLA website.

First-Time Buyer Activity Continues To Grow In June

On a non-seasonally adjusted basis, UK Finance data shows that mortgage lending in June rose:
  • First-time buyers borrowed £5.9bn, up 26% on the previous month and 9% on June 2016.
  • Home movers borrowed £7.8bn, up 26% on May and 15% year-on-year.
  • Home-owner remortgage activity totalled £6bn, up 5% by value on May and 7% on a year ago.
  • Gross buy-to-let totalled £3.0bn, up 3% on May and up 3% compared to June 2016.

Read more on the UK Finance website.

UK House Price Growth Slows

Growth in UK house prices rose at a slower pace in June, yet remains close to the 5% average rate seen this year, with the slowest increases coming in London and the north-east.  The average UK house price rose by £2,000 in June to £223,000 compared with the previous month, almost £10,000 higher than a year ago, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS). While the annual growth rate has slowed since the middle of last year following the vote to leave the EU, prices are still outstripping increases in inflation and wages, at 4.9% in the year to June, down from 5% in May. Read more on the Guardian website.

Some Right To Buy Owners Now ‘Property Millionaires’

Research shows hundreds of ex-council tenants had the opportunity to become millionaires – at least, those buying at the right time in London had that opportunity. Figures show that the average amount paid for a home in the capital in 1996 was £79,000 but that by 2016 it had soared to almost £489,000. And social housing tenants could receive a discount back then on their purchase depending on how long they had lived in the property – up to 60% for house and 70% for a flat. In a Clarendon Place, Westminster – a three-bedroom flat was bought for £180,000 in 1995 and is still owned by the same person. Similar properties in the block have sold recently for £2.25m and £1.8m. Read more on 24housing.