1500 new homes to be built on London Olympic site

Homes England is to help fund the creation of two new neighbourhoods on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in London.

More than 1,500 new homes will be built in the two communities, to be known as East Wick and Sweetwater. The development will include 450 affordable homes.

Also included in the project will be schools, green spaces, business and creative space, leisure and community facilities.

Government backing private enterprise

Homes England is providing a loan of £78 million to finance the scheme’s first four phases. It’s part of a joint venture with Balfour Beatty Investments and Places for People on land owned by the London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC).

The Government has put  4.5 billion into a Home Building Fund to provide development and infrastructure finance to home builders, and the Homes England finance has come from this fund.

Housing Minister Kit Malthouse announced the funding, saying: “We have not built enough homes in the capital over the last 30 years, and it’s ordinary Londoners who are paying the price.

“Brick by brick we are turning that around, and this investment in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park will help get more than 1,500 properties built.”

Affordable homes included

The first phase of the East Wick and Sweetwater development is expected to be completed in summer 2021 and the whole project done by 2028.
Work has already started and will include 130 new affordable homes and 105 for private rental.

Sir Edward Lister, chairman of Homes England, said: “Homes England is committed to helping ambitious partners build quality homes at pace in the areas of greatest need.

“We’re delighted to be supporting Balfour Beatty Investments and Places for People to create the homes and neighbourhoods people in London deserve.”

London’s top 10 most affordable boroughs revealed

Peter Fitzgerald, Richtom80 [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Peter Fitzgerald

The 10 most affordable London boroughs for those looking to buy a property have been revealed.

Topping the list is Barking and Dagenham in east London, according to analysis of the sold prices for property recorded by the Office for National Statistics.

The east London borough is the cheapest in the capital with its property up to a third cheaper than other boroughs. The average price there is £300,518, up 4 percent on the year. This district is also expected to be boosted by another 11,000 new homes created on the Olympic legacy sites.

Crossrail will bring benefits

At No.2 on the most affordable list is Bexley in south-east London, with average property prices of £341,784, up 1.8 percent on the year. The town will benefit when a Crossrail station eventually opens and directly connects the area with the centre of the city.

Newham, again in east London, takes the third spot on the most affordable list, followed by Croydon in fourth place. Newham’s average property price is £365,182 (down 0.8 percent), while Croydon’s is £365,931 (down 2.6 percent).

Rest of the top 10

The rest of the top 10 is: 5. Havering, average property price, £375,014 (down 2.1 percent); 6. Sutton, average property price £382,607 (up 0.3 percent); 7. Hounslow, average property price £395,734 (down 0.4 percent); 8. Enfield, average property price £396,908 (down 0.5 percent); 9. Hillingdon, average property price £399,639 (down 4.5 percent); 10. Greenwich, average property price £411,492 (up 2.9 percent).

Capital Conveyancing’s holiday opening hours


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The festive season is upon us, but at Homeward Legal, we know the hunt for a new home or the urge to sell your property doesn’t wane with the holidays!

So we’re open over the holidays, meaning you can kickstart your conveyancing and ensure your sale or purchase is underway.

Here are our opening hours over the next two weeks:

Friday, December 21, 9 am until 6pm

Saturday, December 22, 10 am until 4pm

Sunday, December 23-Wednesday, December 26, closed

Thursday, December 27, 10 am until 4pm

Friday, December 28, 10 am until 4pm

Saturday, December 29, 10 am until 4pm

Sunday, December 30, 10 am until 4pm

Monday, December 31, 10 am until 4pm

Tuesday, January 1, closed

Wednesday, January 2, normal hours resume.

We wish all Capital Conveyancing clients, old and new, the compliments of the season.

The £2m London apartment that’s a prize draw

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You could become the proud owner of a £2 million London apartment in a prize draw that costs just a tenner a ticket.

Gatsby Property is raffling off a luxury renovated flat on Exhibition Road in South Kensington, with entries expected to close in June 2019.

The two founders of Gatsby Property – Harry Dee and Jonny Jackson – have been developing properties in London for five years.

Gap in the market

With sales in the capital starting to stutter thanks to a glut of properties on the market and affordability issues for potential buyers, the duo decided to take a different approach to offloading their latest project.

Jonny Jackson told the Evening Standard: “We felt like there was a real gap in the market at the top end, and our aim was to put our money where our mouth is and raffle off one of our own newly refurbished apartments in one of the capital’s most sought-after locations.”

Tickets are expected to go on sale imminently on Gatsby Property‘s dedicated payment platform Cadivus, priced at £10.

High-end refurbishment

The property itself is located opposite the Science Museum in South Kensington, close to Hyde Park and the V&A.

Having been completely refurbished from top to toe, the apartment has an open-plan living/cooking/dining space with a modern, en-suite master bedroom. The fixtures and fittings are from high end manufacturers and designers such as Camerich, Fired Earth, Lefroy Brooks and Buster & Punch.

Legal costs covered

In the prize draw, the developers will pay both stamp duty and legal fees, along with the first year of the service charge. The property is leasehold with 964 years remaining on the lease.

Once the draw is closed on a date yet to be decided, the winner will be drawn at random by compliance service Promo Veritas.

A minimum of 300,000 tickets need to be sold for the draw to go ahead. If that number is not reached, the winner will receive a cash prize instead.

Move to expand commonhold to reform the leasehold system

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Commonhold should become the easy alternative to leasehold ownership property in England and Wales, says the Law Commission.

As part of its review of leasehold, the Law Commission wants to simplify the way in which shared property owners, including flats, terraces and townhouses, can turn their development into commonhold tenure.

Tenure allows outright ownership

There are around 4.2 million leasehold properties in England alone, the majority of which are flats or apartments.

Under leasehold, the property owner must pay a lease for the land on which their home stands. That lease must be extended or renewed to ensure the property remains mortgageable, while the leaseholder must pay annual ground rent and maintenance charges to the landlord or freeholder.

Under commonhold, the property owner will own their home outright. They will form part of a limited company with the other owners in their development, which will raise the finance to maintain and insure the whole development.

That gives homeowners the security of knowing their home remains their own no matter what, while giving them control over costs.

Expert help on hand

At Capital Conveyancing, we work with a nationwide panel of expert conveyancing solicitors who can deal with your leasehold extension or your conversion to commonhold.

Professor Nick Hopkins, the law commissioner leading the review of leasehold, launched a public consultation on the move to simplify commonhold.

He said: “Commonhold provides a once in a generation opportunity to rethink how we own property in England and Wales and offers homeowners an alternative system to leasehold.

“It involves a culture change, moving away from an ‘us and them’ mindset towards ‘us and ourselves’.

“We want to hear what people think of our proposals so we can be sure the commonhold system will work for homeowners and the wider property sector.”

The consultation runs until March 10, allowing interested parties to have their say on leasehold and commonhold.

Law firms follow Capital Conveyancing in offering transparency on prices

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Law firms in England and Wales are to publish their pricing structure for services such as conveyancing and probate from next month.

New rules imposed by the Solicitors Regulation Authority will give prospective clients more information on what services are likely to cost as well as an idea of how long their case should take to process from start to finish.

At Capital Conveyancing, we pride ourselves on always providing price transparency, guaranteeing our clients that there will be no hidden extras or unexpected costs when they instruct a conveyancing solicitor through us.

High standard of customer service

Our high standard of customer service is now being taken up by the SRA and will apply to law firms across England and Wales who are regulated by the SRA – at Capital Conveyancing, we only work with SRA-regulated solicitors.

The new rules will mean law firms must publish pricing for specific services on their website or make that information easily accessible to potential clients where they don’t have a website.

They must also provide a projected timescale for work so clients know how long the legal work is expected to take. Details of the qualifications of the legal staff working on cases will also be published, along with information on how to make a complaint.

Information benefits public

Each law firm will also carry a digital badge on their website to confirm they are regulated by the SRA.

Paul Philip, chief executive of the SRA, said: “Publishing information on price, services and protections will not only benefit the public but will also help those who deliver these services win business and connect with their customers.

“We are providing guidance and support for firms to assist with meeting the new requirements and making the most of the opportunities they bring.”

Property giant aims to build 4k homes across London

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The downturn in the retail sector could mean a boost to London’s housing stock. Landsec, which owns and manages a large number of offices, retail and leisure facilities in the capital, is to build more than 4,000 homes on some of its sites.

The property giant is to submit planning applications for schemes at Finchley Road and Shepherd’s Bush that would include 1,700 homes. There are further plans to add residential property to its site in Lewisham, which includes a shopping centre.

Exploring potential across capital

The Lewisham development would create a new town centre in the south London borough.

Landsec chief executive Robert Noel said: “We are exploring the potential at other locations in London.”

There is increased demand from home buyers for property in London and across the UK. At the same time much of the retail property sector is contracting.

Easier to convert retail to residential

Last month the Chancellor Philip Hammond addressed that situation in his Budget, announcing relaxation of planning regulations that will allow easier conversions of retail and commercial units into domestic residences.

The move by Landsec to build homes on their retail sites reflects the direction of travel for that type of land.

How housing types will change in the future

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Future populations will have some interesting types of housing to choose from, according to a new report from estate agent and property specialists Strutt & Parker.

Its 2018 Housing Futures report identifies the housing trends that are likely to influence buyers and sellers in the next few years.

Among them are what it refers to as the Yo-Ho House, a property that is specifically designed to meet the requirements of modern families.

Flexible accommodation

This type of home is flexible enough to accommodate changing circumstances, such as children from previous relationships moving in or older relatives requiring a room. The Yo-Yo House will employ such innovations as moving walls to create different living spaces, easy access to pipes and cables to incorporate new technologies and the ability to divide the property into flats.

Adaptability is the key to a Yo-Ho House, and the property will evolve and change with its occupants over their lifetime stay in the home.

Housing Futures also looks at the “grey pound” – the financially secure older generation of homeowners – and how they are attracted to Platinum Places, mixed-tenure properties embedded in local communities. Platinum Places aren’t only for older people but also attract families, young couples and singletons.

According to the report, Platinum Places are rich in top-class amenities such as gyms and swimming pools, while also having easy access to cultural experiences such as theatres and farmers’ markets. And their attraction for older homeowners is that they can convert their property wealth into useable funds while “rightsizing” from a bigger home into accommodation more suited to their golden years.

Attractive living spaces

Another interesting property type that is expected to grow in popularity in coming years is a Micro Mansion. These tiny living spaces are aimed at people who want to live in the heart of a city but cannot afford typical flats or houses there.

With only 100-125 sq ft on offer, they are not long-term living destinations but attractive to those who are mobile when it comes to work or simply want to experience living in a particular spot.

Leasehold reform will ensure new-build properties sold as freehold

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Major reform is on the way to the leasehold property market in England. The Government is to ensure that the majority of new-build properties are now sold as freehold while also capping ground rent at a nominal sum.

With around 4.2 million leasehold properties in England alone, the new measures will have a wide-ranging effect.

Communities Secretary James Brokenshire says the changes are intended to end the “unjustified selling” of new houses as leasehold.

The new measures will also work to make it faster, fairer and cheaper for leaseholders who want to buy their freehold.

Protecting homeowners

Leaseholders pay on average more than £300 a year in ground rent with some paying up to £700. One proposal from the Government is to cap ground rent at £10 a year.

There will also be support for leaseholders who want to form a tenant association to enforce their rights under the law.

Announcing a consultation on the proposals, Mr Brokenshire said: “The government is committed to making the economy work for everyone by helping people with the cost of living.

“Unfair ground rents can turn a homeowner’s dream into a nightmare by hitting them in the back pocket and making their property harder to sell.

“That’s why I’m taking concrete action to protect homeowners and end those unscrupulous leasehold practices that can cost tenants hundreds of pounds.”

Exhibition showcases modular homes possibilities in London

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The possibility for modular housing to help resolve the crisis of a lack of housing supply in the UK will be at the centre of a three-month exhibition in London.

The exhibition has been put together by New London Architecture (NLA), an independent forum for discussion, debate and information about architecture and construction in London. Accompanying that exhibition, which opens on October 9, is a series of events looking at how factory-made housing could benefit the capital.

NLA research has looked at how factory-made housing could revolutionise attitudes, processes and delivery to provide quality housing in London.

Innovative models of design

Experts in the field of modular housing manufacturing will discuss new and innovative models of design, construction and delivery at a number of events over the next three months. The exhibition itself is in the NLA galleries at the Building Centre in Store Street, central London, until January.

Meanwhile, Birmingham City Council is to launch a pilot scheme to deliver 50 homes that have been manufactured off-site.

The housing scheme will be built using both modular and volumetric solutions – volumetric building involves stacking and joining factory-built modules on site, while modular homes are often completed in a factory setting before being moved to their permanent site.

Birmingham trial project

Birmingham Municipal Trust, which is owned by the council, is to trial this project before a bigger programme of modular homes is rolled out in 2020. Work is expected to start in the spring with contractors invited to tender to build one of five pre-designed homes.

Modular homes are factory built using precision engineering. An entire home can be completed in weeks compared to the months required for traditional construction. Financial giant Legal & General, which is investing in a variety of housing programmes, has established a factory at Selby, near Leeds, with the capacity to build up to 3,000 modular homes every year.

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