Monthly Archives: September 2016


The village building homes for young families

Residents of a picturesque village in Suffolk are going against the adage of “not in my back yard” by unanimously voting for a new housing development to be built in the desirable area. There is just one important proviso – at least a third of the houses must be affordable homes for young families.

For Lavenham’s many visitors the village looks like a film set, with its hundreds of half-timbered, attractively crooked 15th and 16th Century houses, all lovingly restored.

“It’s stunning,” says one tourist. “Wonderful” and “very charming”, says another.

Over at the village school, parents agree but feel there is something the visitors are missing.

“I think there’s a perception that it’s not a real place; that it’s a bit of a toytown,” says mum Justine Paul. “But it’s not – it’s

Could bad buildings damage your mental health?

Research has shown city dwellers are more likely to suffer from anxiety and depression – but could individual buildings have a negative impact on wellbeing?

Screaming sirens, overcrowding, traffic; life in the city isn’t always relaxing.

These stressors aren’t simply inconvenient or irritating, though; research has suggested that urban living has a significant impact on mental health. One meta-analysis found that those living in cities were 21% more likely to experience an anxiety disorder – mood disorders were even higher, at 39%. People who grew up in a city are twice as likely to develop schizophrenia as those who grew up in the countryside, with a 2005 study suggesting this link may even be causal.

Urban stressors appear to have a biological impact, too. A 2011 study from the Central Institute of Mental Health at the University of Heidelberg

Two and three-bed buy-to-lets ‘will become unviable’

Two and three-bed buy-to-let properties will become more difficult to buy under lenders’ plans to apply far tougher checks on landlords, new analysis suggests.

Landlords with traditional 25pc deposits will be unable to buy property in 91pc of areas if all lenders go ahead with plans to increase the amount of rent which is required to cover their mortgage payments.

The analysis also suggests that more than half of landlords who bought three years ago with a 25pc deposit will be unable to remortgage under the new tougher conditions – forcing them to sell, pay down the debt or increase rents.

Lenders including Barclays and Nationwide have already tightened requirements for buy-to-let borrowers, motivated by the Bank of England’s consultation in March, which made income checks more stringent.

From next April, a tax change will begin to be

More tenants in UK believe they can own their own home, survey finds

British tenants are feeling more optimistic about their finances and regard buying their own home as a more realistic prospect due to being able to save for a deposit, according to new research.

In 2013 some 67% of tenants surveyed said they rent because they can’t buy, and didn’t expect that to change. This year that figure has fallen to 44% per cent, as four in 10 tenants, equal to 1.7 million, say they expect to get off the rental market within five years.

The research from AXA also shows that the number of tenants saving for a deposit has doubled to 25%, up from just 13% in 2013. It suggests that this optimism is largely limited to tenants in the under 35 category, however, and the average tenant still expects to

Energy efficient homes will ‘boost economy’

More government investment in home energy efficiency programmes could help tackle climate change and create up to 9,000 jobs, economists have said.

Researchers said increased spending could boost economic activity across Scotland and reduce fuel poverty.

They have called for a national infrastructure programme to improve the efficiency of Scotland’s homes.

The Scottish government said 40% of Scottish homes were now in the top three energy efficiency ratings.

Economists at the University of Strathclyde and London School of Economics were backing calls from the Existing Homes Alliance to “transform” Scotland’s existing housing stock by making it more energy efficient.

The alliance is a coalition of housing, environmental, fuel poverty and industry organisations.

‘Lasting boost’

The economists said investment in energy efficiency would be an economic “shot in the arm” and one of the best ways to

Average UK house prices up 8.3% year on year, official index data shows

Average house prices in the UK increased by 8.3% in the year to July 2016, down from 9.7% in June 2016, continuing the strong growth seen since the end of 2013, according to the latest index data.

The average UK house price was £217,000 in July 2016, some £17,000 higher than in July 2015 and £1,000 higher than June, the index from the Office of National Statistics shows.

The main contribution to the increase in UK house prices came from England, where house prices increased by 9.1% over the year to July 2016, with the average price in England now £233,000.

Wales saw house prices increase by 4% over the last 12 months to stand at £145,000. In Scotland, the average price increased by 3.4% over the year to stand at £144,000 and

3 Signs of Positive Momentum in the UK Property Market

Despite the last few months of uncertainty caused by the EU referendum results. There are some clear signs of positivity in the UK property market.

1 . Early reports show minimal impact (and growth) from the EU referendum 

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors reported during August, 12% more respondents nationally reported an increase in prices, up from +5% in July. Suggesting to many that the fears over “brexit fallout” may have be overestimated.

“There are clear signs that the housing market is settling down after the initial surprise of the outcome to the EU referendum. It is likely the swift response from the Bank of England, both in terms of the lowering of the capital buffer and the cut in interest rates, has played a role in helping to support confidence.”  Simon Rubisohn, chief economist at RICS

Other reports