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.
London’s future is sky-high. A new survey has revealed that a record 76 new skyscrapers will be completed in 2019 alone, reshaping the capital’s skyline.
The London Tall Buildings Survey says this year will see three times as many buildings of 20 storeys or more erected than last year.
The highest concentration will be in Tower Hamlets, which includes the famed East End districts of Mile End, Whitechapel and Bethnal Green. There 18 new tall buildings will now stand where rows of terraced brick homes once did.
In Lambeth, 11 tall buildings are expected to be completed by developers in 2019, while the boroughs of Camden, Barnet and Hounslow will see their first-ever skycrapers open for business this year.
The survey findings are compiled annually by New London Architecture and GL Hearn. The number of skyscrapers hit a record high of 541 in 2018. The latest survey reveals that there are 121 tall buildings currently being constructed across the capital with 76 expected to be ready for use by the end of the year.
Stuart Baillie, head of planning in London and the south-east for GL Hearn, said: “The projected completion of 76 tall buildings during 2019 is quite staggering compared to previous years’ completions being less than 30 per annum.”
A third of all £1 million-plus properties for sale in the UK are located in just five London boroughs.
New research by online estate agent housesimple.com shows there are currently more than 20,000 properties on the market with a seven-figure or greater price tag, and more than 6,700 of those are in the capital.
The study looked at the areas that host the most expensive property in the country and also revealed the types of property that attract the highest prices.
Within London, the City of Westminster has 2,595 £1m-plus properties for sale; in neighbouring Kensington & Chelsea, there are 1,701; Camden has 969; Wadsworth 964; and 536 in Southwark.
Of those seven-figure-plus properties in Westminster, 84 percent are flats; 69 percent of those on sale in Kensington & Chelsea are also flats.
Housesimple.com revealed that 77 percent of the 21,484 properties on the market with an asking price of £1m upwards are in London or the Home Counties.
Further north, Cheshire (341), Greater Manchester (206) and North Yorkshire (133) are the next highest regions.
Outside of England, Edinburgh has 33 multi-million homes for sale, while Pembrokeshire has 23.
Sam Mitchell, housesimple.com’s CEO, said: “The capital remains a global city with property values to match. But for buyers who are lucky enough to have a budget of £1m plus, this is the market where you could negotiate a healthy discount.
“By looking beyond London and the south-east, wealthy buyers can maximise on space and special features, especially those looking to move from the city to the countryside … prices are still rising in counties like Yorkshire, so bargains in traditionally affluent areas such as Harrogate will be harder to come by.”
The 10 counties with the highest number of £1m-plus properties are:
Greater London 11,404
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.
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.”
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.”
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.
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).
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).
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.”