Clippings And Musings – January 2019

This is a regular monthly featured article in our Clippings & Musings series by our guest Editor Helen Duval

When it comes to the housing market there is an expectation that this year will prove to be very much like last, – a general trudge that will keep moving slowly.

Divorce and death will prove to be natural causes for properties going onto the market as well as the need to move for work for some people. The continuing strict criteria regarding mortgage loans will once again place a focus on renovation rather than moving for many.

Andrew Burrell, from Capital Economics recently commented, ”In short, the market will continue to tread water.” Hardly an inspiring statement for those looking to either get on the property ladder or upscale.

In terms of prices, these appear to be rising despite difficulties for first time buyers according to The Halifax, which has stated that “property values rose by 1.3% over the course of 2018.”

After a weak November, prices rose in December 2018 by 2.2%. So, with the average property price now £229,729 and the requirement of a substantial deposit required by lenders, things still look fairly bleak for buyers looking at investing in their first home.

Unease over the way the market is heading will continue until clarity about Brexit is achieved. Andrew Montlake, from mortgage broker Coreco, believes that a clear position regarding an EU-UK deal would give a more steady stance regarding the housing market in general.

“Whichever way Brexit goes, the UK is still a stable country compared to many others and an end to all the current uncertainty will make a huge difference,” he commented in a recent BBC interview. “There is also potentially something to be said for buyers to have property investments outside the EU which could then go through a particularly bumpy time.”

Moving from the private sector to social housing, it has recently been stated that there is now a housing crisis, with the need for another three million new social homes to be built in England over the next 20 years to resolve the issue.

Shelter has cited that 1.2 million homes are now required for “younger families who cannot afford to buy”…and that this will cause them to “face a lifetime in expensive and insecure private renting”.

The government has stated that it plans on building 250,000 new social houses by 2022 and that this was a priority.

Initially commissioned because of the Grenfell Tower disaster, Shelter commented that “the disaster must mark a turning point in how we talk about social housing”. Claims that the government would save £60bn over 30 years if renting was made cheaper were also made by the Housing Charity. This would average out at £10.7bn per year according to Capital Economics who were commissioned by Shelter.

Ed Miliband, Baroness Sayeeda Warsi, Baroness Doreen Lawrence, TV architect George Clarke and Grenfell survivor Ed Daffarn recently authored a report on social housing, with the ex-Labour leader commenting on BBC Breakfast that the proposal would “transform the fabric of the country, the lives of millions of people in the country”.

“It is a big sum of money but the problem is, the last labour government didn’t do enough, and neither is the current government doing enough.

“In the years after the Second World War, governments – Labour and Conservative – built about 120,000 social homes and council houses every year.

“In the last 20 years or so – we’ve built 20,000 social homes per year – and that is one of the biggest causes of the housing crisis.”

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