A record number of affordable homes have been started in London in the last year, thanks to the financial help of City Hall.
New figures from the London authority have revealed that 14,544 affordable homes were started in the year 2018-19, exceeding the target of 14,000 agreed with the Government and the most in any year since City Hall began controlling housing investment in the capital in 2012.
The figures include the most council homes built in more than 30 years in London.
Housing has been a priority for Mayor Sadiq Khan since he took office three years. He has urged the Government to give him greater powers and resources to deal with the housing situation in the capital.
Mr Khan said: “Not only do these figures beat our own records from last year, but this is more than double the number the previous mayor started in the final year of his term.
“National Government needs to match our ambition and determination to deliver the homes Londoners so urgently need.”
The average prime property in London takes six months to sell, according to the latest data. And sellers are offering an average discount of 12.7 percent on the asking price of those prime homes.
The private bank Coutts analysed the current status of the prime property market in the capital to note that sales are at their lowest level since 2013.
Prime properties are those valued between £1 and £10 million with Coutts noting that prices of in that bracket have fallen since the first quarter of 2018.
Those keen to sell are willing to negotiate on price, too, with the biggest discounts offered on the most expensive homes. Those worth upwards of £10 million are being sold with an average fifth off the asking price at 21 percent.
Katherine O’Shea, of Coutts Real Estate Investment Service, says overseas buyers keen on a London home are quids in.
She said: “The current status of the pound means for that dollar-denominated buyers, prime London property is about 40 percent cheaper than it was in 2014, and for those using euros to make a purchase, it’s about 30 percent cheaper.”
Prime London prices are up by 0.4 percent in the first quarter of 2019 but 17 percent lower than their peak in 2014.
Part of a hospital site in north London is to be developed for affordable housing.
Sadiq Khan, the mayor of London, has invested £12.8 million from the Land Fund he created to buy the 1.4 hectare site in Edmonton in Enfield. The site is part of the North Middlesex University Hospital (NMUH) and is currently home to a car park, offices and hospital testing facilities.
Those facilities are to be relocated to other areas of the hospital site while at least 200 homes are built on the vacated land.
At least 50 percent of the new homes will be social rented or other genuinely affordable housing as part of Mr Khan’s housing strategy.
The redevelopment of the site will start by March 2022.
James Murray, deputy mayor for housing and residential development, announced the purchase, saying: “The mayor and I are determined to do everything within our power to build more social rented and other genuinely affordable homes for Londoners.
“Under Sadiq, City Hall is taking a far more active approach to unlocking sites across the capital.
“We are using the Land Fund he established to buy sites like this one in Enfield, where we will be able to build genuinely affordable homes while protecting healthcare for the local community.”
Maria Kane, chief executive of North Middlesex University Hospital NHS Trust, added: “This investment is a fantastic opportunity to develop the area around NMUH. We’re looking forward to working with the Greater London Authority to make best use of the land so that it better meets the needs of people who use the hospital and benefits our local community.”
Mr Khan has put aside £250 million for a Land Fund that acquires and prepares land for new and affordable housing, working with London’s boroughs and development partners. Any money made from selling the land is then used to buy more land for new homes.
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Best do your sums properly if you plan to move home this year. New research has revealed that buyers will have to find almost £4,000 to pay all the bills associated with moving.
That total covers the cost of conveyancing services, instructing a building survey and other costs of moving, including hiring a removal firm.
Online lender MYJAR quizzed 2,000 people who have moved home in the last 10 years.
Their research showed that buyers now pay on average £230,776 for a home across the UK, but on top of that they will pay out £3,823.88 on additional costs.
More than a third (40 percent) said they were not prepared for that extra expense, while a third ended up borrowing money to settle their bills.
The biggest expense was legal fees, on average more than £1,600. Buying new furniture and furnishings was the next biggest outlay.
Those taking part in the survey were asked for their money-saving moving tips with a third (30 percent) suggesting doing your own removal as the best way of keeping cash in your pocket.
Tom Newwould of MYJAR said: “Every pound adds up, resulting in what is clearly an unanticipated extra amount for homeowners to pay, showing perhaps a lack of knowledge around the true cost of moving.
“Not every buyer will find this extra cost easy to fund so it’s important to plan ahead and ensure you’re not left in a difficult position moneywise. Finances always need careful consideration and planning.”
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Eight new sites for affordable homes in London have been released to small developers.
The sites are part of Mayor Sadiq Khan’s Small Sites, Small Builders programme. The mayor has set a target of delivering 50 percent affordable housing across the city.
The latest eight sites – at Richmond, Ealing, Newham, Bexley, Hounslow, Lambeth and Waltham Forest – are on Transport for London (TfL) land, and they will deliver a total of 90 homes.
The development at Bexley is expected only to deliver affordable homes, while 50 percent of the homes built at Newham and Lambeth will be affordable.
The project was launched as a pilot last year with 10 TfL sites in seven different boroughs, with a great deal of interest from small builders in the capital who wanted to take part.
An £11.2 million partnership between the London Economic Action Partnership and the Mayor of London, Small Sites, Small Builders matches developers with TfL sites across all London boroughs.
James Murray, deputy mayor for housing and residential development, said: “When we launched it last year, the mayor’s Small Sites, Small Builders programme proved very popular with small and medium-sized homebuilders and community-led housing groups.
“In recent years, London has become over-reliant on large developers, and so we are pleased to be able to help more small builders play their part too through this latest batch of TfL sites.”
More than a third of conveyancing solicitors are misleading clients about the costs involved in their property sale or purchase.
A review by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) revealed that initial low quotes for conveyancing services fail to include essential fees and charges that the client must pay to complete their transaction.
Clients who choose to instruct a conveyancing solicitor through Capital Conveyancing will not, unlike those unfortunate buyers and sellers revealed by the SRA, have to pay any unexpected fees because of all our pricing is completely transparent.
We are always up front about the fees and charges involved in conveyancing services, ensuring clients stay informed and on top of their costs at all times.
That is not always the case as the SRA Residential Conveyancing Thematic Review has found. The industry watchdog visited a representative sample of 40 conveyancing firms to analyse 80 property transactions in detail.
The findings reveal that a third (34 percent) of initial quotes failed to include fees for the likes of bank transfers, mortgage administration fees and electronic ID checks.
All of these services are essential to complete a conveyancing transaction successfully, and so their omission from initial quotes was considered misleading by the SRA.
In some cases, the conveyancing solicitors imposed their own fee on top of the bank fee for transferring mortgage funds, in some cases 10 times the bank fee.
The SRA will now monitor how conveyancing solicitors publish their fees to ensure they offer best practice.
London housing associations are to receive an extra £200 million from the city’s mayor to ensure they can still subsidise new affordable homes in the capital.
The extra funding is to be used to offset the impact of any uncertainty caused by Brexit.
Mayor Sadiq Khan is offering the finance to housing associations across London but has called on the Government to protect those providers from any negative impact of the UK’s departure from the European Union.
Housing associations use the money they bring in from selling affordable homes to finance those they rent at social or intermediate rent levels.
However, a slowdown in London’s property market, partly prompted by the ongoing uncertainty over Brexit, means some bodies are not making as much money from sales as they had anticipated, meaning they have less to invest in producing new properties.
With little or no income from central government, that scenario is putting pressure on the finances of many housing associations.
The mayor’s deal means associations will be able to take some of the properties they cannot currently sell off the market and switch them to rental properties. With guaranteed rental income, they are then in a position to cement their future construction plans.
Mr Khan said: “At City Hall, we are building record numbers of new social rented and other genuinely affordable homes. That’s why it is right we push our funding to its very limit to keep housing associations building more affordable housing through the ongoing uncertainty.
“Whatever happens with Brexit, Ministers must at the very least match my support and ensure we can keep building the homes Londoners need over the coming years.”
Two-thirds of UK homeowners say that much of Britain’s housing is not fit for purpose.
And they worry that their own home will become stuck in negative equity.
The results of the annual Homeowners’ Survey from the Homeowners’ Alliance (HOA) revealed that 63 percent of homeowners are concerned about the quality of the UK’s housing stock, while a massive 85 percent put house prices and the stress of saving for a deposit as the biggest issues in housing.
The survey was carried out by YouGov on behalf of the HOA, BLP Insurance and architects resi.co.uk.
According to 63 percent of those quizzed by YouGov, the quality of the homes we live in is a pressing concern. In last year’s survey, 57 percent of people were worried about the quality of our housing stock.
The survey revealed the other issues that keep homeowners awake at night. The leasehold system that operates in England and Wales is a particular concern with 60 percent indicating leasehold is a serious problem, up from 42 percent in 2015.
A recent Commons committee report has called on the Government to implement urgent reform of leasehold, which affects around 4.2 million properties in England alone.
More than a quarter (26 percent) of leaseholders said the high cost of works and management fees were a problem, while 22 percent objected to unfair service charges with 23 percent upset about the lack of control over which major works are done.
Almost half (45 percent) of homeowners, up from 40 percent last year, were worried about the practice of gazundering. This is where a buyer reduces their offer for a property just before contracts are due to be exchanged, leaving sellers either out of pocket or having to find a new buyer at the last minute.
Negative equity, where the value of a property is less than the value of its outstanding mortgage, is also a rising concern for 45 percent of those quizzed for the survey.
Kim Vernau, CEO of BLP Insurance, said: “To restore confidence in a faltering sector, more emphasis needs to be placed on improving quality of build and resisting short-term populist solutions to our deepening housing crisis.”
London is to get two new housing communities with up to 20,000 homes alongside brand-new railway stations.
The sites are at Old Oak Common, near East Acton, in west London and at Brent Cross, in the north west of the capital.
The new stations are part of an expansion of the rail network, including HS2 and Thameslink.
Government funding of £250 million will go towards providing up to 13,000 new homes close to Old Oak Common with £320 million to be spent on the Brent Cross West Thameslink station, which will eventually include 7,500 new properties.
Communities Secretary James Brokenshire announced the investment, saying: “We are working to create homes, opportunities and thriving communities, especially in London, which faces the most severe and unique housing pressures in the country.
“The HS2 station at Old Oak Common will offer a new gateway to London, while a new station in Brent Cross can be the catalyst to build thousands more much-needed homes.
“Together this £570 million package of investments will allow thousands of families the opportunity to realise their dreams of home ownership. It will provide up to 20,000 new homes, support new jobs and benefit from new transport infrastructure.”
The new station at Old Oak Common is expected to be open by 2026 as part of the HS2 project, the high-speed rail link between London and Birmingham. When complete, an estimated 250,000 people per day will travel through the station.
Barnet Council will use the £320 million in funding to provide at least 7,500 homes at Brent Cross Cricklewood as part of the new Brent Cross West railway station on the Thameslink route.
The site will also feature offices and an extension to the Brent Cross shopping centre.