UKPT

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  1. The average price of a home in Portugal increased by 5.4% in the second quarter of 2016 when compared to the same period last year, according to the data to be published.Property prices rose across most regions of Portugal during the quarter taking the national average to €1,187 per square meter. The data from online property information platform Idealista also shows that growth was led by gains in Lisbon where the average property rose in value by 6% year on year to an average €1,451 per square meter. It means that Lisbon still has the most expensive property in Portugal with prices in the centre up 9.1% to an average of €2,716 per square meter. Prices in the Algarve, which is popular with overseas buyers increased by 4% year on year to an average of €1,361 per square meter. The data also shows that in the north of the country prices increased by 2% to €907 per square meter an in Centro they were up by 1.9% to €948 per square meter. However property prices fell in Alentejo and Madeira, down by an average of 3.3% over the same period. But in Madeira, an archipelago in the north Atlantic that is part of Portugal, prices are the third highest at €1,102 per square meter, followed by the Alentejo at €1,101 per square meter. View the full article
  2. House prices in the UK increased by 0.6% in August and are now 5.6% above a year ago, according to the latest index figures to be published.This continued growth takes the average price of a home to £206,145, the data from the Nationwide shows, indicating that an expected fall due to Brexit has not yet materialised. The pick up in price growth is somewhat at odds with signs that housing market activity has slowed in recent months, according to Robert Gardner, Nationwide's chief economist, saying that this includes a softening of new buyer enquiries to the introduction of additional stamp duty on second homes in April and the uncertainty surrounding the EU referendum. Meanwhile, the number of mortgages approved for house purchase fell to an 18 month low in July. ‘However, the decline in demand appears to have been matched by weakness on the supply side of the market. Surveyors report that instructions to sell have also declined and the stock of properties on the market remains close to 30 year lows,’ Gardner explained. ‘This helps to explain why the pace of house price growth has remained broadly stable. What happens next on the demand side will be determined, to a large extent, by the outlook for the labour market and confidence amongst prospective buyers,’ he pointed out. He believes that it is encouraging that the unemployment rate remained at a 10 year low in the three months to June, though labour market trends tend to lag developments in the wider economy and it is also positive that retail sales increased at a healthy rate in July, up almost 6% compared to the previous year, even though consumer confidence fell sharply during the month. ‘However, business surveys suggest that the manufacturing, services and construction sectors all slowed sharply in July, and, if sustained, this is likely to have a negative impact on the labour market and household confidence,’ he said. ‘Most forecasters, including the Bank of England, expect the economy to show little growth over the remainder of the year. Indeed, these concerns prompted the Bank’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) to implement a range of stimulus measures at the start of August, which will provide support to economic activity and the housing market. Monetary policy measures will provide some support for households and the housing market,’ Gardner commented. ‘The MPC’s decision to lower UK interest rates from 0.5% to a new low of 0.25% will provide an immediate benefit to many mortgage borrowers, though for most the boost will be fairly modest. The MPC’s stimulus measures will also provide indirect support to the housing market, and not just by boosting wider economic activity,’ he added. According to Nicholas Finn, executive director of Garrington Property Finders, the data reveals a property market that is still unsettled rather than upbeat. ‘On the front line we’re seeing some strong intent but a lack of clarity among buyers. The cut in interest rates and resilient... View the full article
  3. Monthly gross remortgage lending in the UK was at its highest level for almost eight years in July, reaching £7.1 billion, according to the latest data to be published. Conditions for remortgaging were boosted by the decision in June to leave the European Union, says the accompanying report from outsourced property services provider LMS. This monthly figure for July is up by 27% from £5.6 billion in June and is the largest amount since October 2008 and 42% higher than July last year when £5 billion of loans were made. The number of remortgage loans also increased by 27% from 32,400 in June to 41,157 in July, the most since January 2009. The July total was up by 36% year on year. Rising house prices, declining swap rates and speculation about an imminent base rate change at the Bank of England have all contributed to a favourable outlook for the remortgage market, the report says. LMS data also shows that home owners are remortgaging more frequently and keen to capitalise on the competitive rates currently available. The term of the average loan that was remortgaged fell by 15% or nine months from five years in June to four years and three months in July, the lowest since October 2009. This was also 18% or 11 months lower than the average for July 2015. As the average remortgage loan size increased to £172,184 in July, up 9% from £157,557 in June, the average LTV also increased from 54% in June to 58% in July. LMS data suggests that more home owners are remortgaging to fund home improvements and pay off debt and this is a sign of consumer confidence, despite widespread speculation about the effects of the UK’s vote to leave the EU. The surge in remortgaging meant the total amount of housing equity withdrawn via this route in July rose 27% from £951.8 million to £1.2 billion. This was the greatest amount for more than eight years, since £1.4 billion was withdrawn in April 2008. ‘The aftermath of the UK’s vote to leave the EU has not overshadowed an environment that is ripe for remortgaging as product rates plummeted to new lows. Home owners have been quick to capitalise on this and there’s little sign that incentives to remortgage will disappear any time soon,’ said Andy Knee, chief executive of LMS. ‘People who remortgaged in July did so more frequently than they have for more than six years, no doubt to take advantage of low rates in many cases and reduce their outgoings. Feedback suggests almost two thirds remortgaged in July to take advantage of competitive rates, highlighting that significant savings are ripe for the taking,’ he explained. ‘Although there is little for home owners to fear in terms of a base rate rise over coming months, many could seek stability by remortgaging and fixing now, and we expect... View the full article
  4. This year looks like being a record for new home building in Australia but the outlook for 2017 is not buoyant with predictions that it could be very different as new homes sales are falling.The monthly survey of Australia’s largest volume builders by the Housing Industry Association (HIA) reveals that total seasonally adjusted new home sales fell by 9.7% in July 2016 following an increase of 8.2% the previous month. HIA chief economist Harley Dale said that the overall trend decline in new home sales is accelerating, signalling a relatively sharp drop from a record high in new dwelling commencements from 2017. ‘New home construction has been the kingmaker of the Australia economy, but the cycle has peaked. In all likelihood we will experience sharper falls in new home construction in both 2017 and 2018,’ he explained. ‘The magnitude of decline in new home construction in coming years will of course be exaggerated by where we are coming from and that is record levels of medium/high density construction and historically healthy levels of detached/semi-detached dwelling construction,’ he pointed out. ‘There will no doubt be a tendency to sensationalise any negative results for new housing as the trajectory of the down cycle unfolds. We would do well to remember that this down cycle is following a record high that is some 24% higher than the previous peak in 1994 and that there is an unprecedented degree of uncertainty this time around as to how the next few years of new home building unfold,’ he added. A breakdown of the figures shows that detached house sales fell in all five mainland states in July after rising everywhere in June. Sales dropped by 12.6% in South Australia and were down by 8.7% in Queensland, by 8.2% in Western Australia, by 6.2% in New South Wales, and by 6% in Victoria. Dale also explained that the current new home building boom is unlike any other that has come before it. It is the longest and largest in Australia’s history but he added that it is marked by substantial regional divergences in the levels of activity in various markets around the country and the mix of dwelling types being built has changed dramatically. ‘As the down cycle in new home building unfolds, the record pipeline of medium/high density dwellings in particular creates considerable uncertainty as to the timing and magnitude of the decline in construction,’ he concluded. HIA’s forecasts are for a peak of over 232,500 new dwelling commencements to have been reached in 2015/2016, which will be followed by three consecutive years of decline. New dwelling commencements are forecast to bottom out at a level of around 166,500 in 2018/2019. View the full article
  5. A new report reveals that a third of tenants in the UK have paid for energy efficiency improvements despite recent Government legislation that requires landlords to do so.Currently landlords are required to bring their property up to the minimum Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating E. Under the legislation, which came into force on 01 April 2016, if a tenant requests a more efficient home and the landlord fails to comply, the landlord could ultimately be forced to pay a penalty notice. However, the study conducted by online letting agent PropertyLetByUs, shows that one in six tenants have paid for roof insulation, 7% have paid for double glazing and 92% have paid for draft excluders for windows and doors. A further 71% have paid for their boiler to be repaired. The research also shows that 88% of tenants want their landlord to install a more fuel efficient boiler, while 78% want their draughty front door replaced, 72% want more loft insurance and 48% want double glazed windows fitted. Properties with EPC ratings of F and G will be progressively banned from the market, starting with rental homes with new tenancies. That will become the legal minimum for private rented properties when new regulations come into force in England and Wales from 2018. The Residential Landlords Association estimates that a total of 330,000 rental homes in England and Wales are likely to be affected. Though Government officials have estimated it could cost landlords between £1,800 and £5,000 to bring energy-inefficient properties up to an E rating, according to PropertyLetByUs it could be tenants that have to fund the improvements. ‘Our research shows that is falling on tenants to pay for energy improvements to their rented properties which is simply unacceptable. Many tenants are finding that their landlords are refusing to make improvements to the property, leaving tenants no choice but to dip into their own pockets,’ said a spokesman. ‘Tenants should not have to pay for roof insulation and repairs to old boilers, when it is the landlord’s responsibility. Landlords should comply with the current legislation that requires them to make energy efficiency improvements and they also should start improving their properties, if they have an EPC rating of F or G, so they are brought up to the required standard by 2018,’ the spokesman added. The Government has recently given guidelines on the costs with a typical package of measures for a small semidetached house. Gas central heating and low energy lighting is estimated at £4,000, loft insulation at £300 and cavity wall insulation at about £500. The firm also pointed out that the Government will need to put measures in place to ensure that landlords are compliant or it fears that the financial burden on tenants could be even greater. View the full article
  6. Conveyancing activity in the UK residential housing market increased in the second quarter of 2016 with changes to stamp duty pushing up transactions by 24% year on year, the latest data shows.Sales jumped from 230,430 to 286,425 as completions were registered following the rush to beat the Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) changes for buy to let properties and second homes in April 2016, according to the latest edition of the Conveyancing Market Tracker from Search Acumen, the search provider. Completions recorded in the second quarter of 2016 were some 30% higher than two years ago and 59% higher than three years previously and compared with the first quarter of 2016 the three months preceding the SDLT reform there was a rise of 4% as conveyancers dealt with the reverberations across the housing market and the rush of transactions were logged as completed by Land Registry. The tracker report, which uses Land Registry data to examine competitive pressures in the conveyancing market, shows the top five firms led the way in terms of growth compared to the rest of the market, with completed activity rising 17% over the quarter and 41% over the year to reach an average of 3,523 transactions per firm over the three month period. However, outside the top five, the most significant quarterly growth was seen among those firms ranked 501 or lower. In the second quarter their average volume of transactions rose by 5% from the previous quarter. Year on year, those firms ranked 501 to 1,000 experienced 23% growth while those outside the top 1,000 recorded 19% growth. A combination of the SDLT aftershock and pre-Brexit activity meant that conveyancers experienced a rollercoaster ride from month to month during the second quarter. April saw the largest number of businesses responsible for completed transactions at Land Registry in any month since September 2014. The total of 4,374 was 4% higher than a year earlier, when 4,201 firms were active, and suggests the stamp duty rush brought more occasional players back to the market. Volumes of completed conveyancing transactions were also at their highest in April since monthly records began five years earlier in April 2011. Over the month, activity jumped 26% to 114,425 in April from 90,476 in March. Despite an inevitable slowdown the following month, both May and June also saw year on year rises of 14% with firms completing 81,583 and 90,477 transactions respectively, as activity picked up again despite the uncertainty ahead of the UK’s referendum on its EU membership. ‘Few sectors have been left untouched by the tumultuous events of the past few months, and the impact of the EU referendum on the political and economic landscape. Our analysis shows the conveyancing industry has been tried and tested in recent months, and the pressure shows no sign of easing as our country begins to work out what... View the full article
  7. The number of rental properties on letting agents’ books in the UK is at its highest level this year so far as demand for properties fell marginally in July, according to the latest research.But the private rental sector market is in positive shape following the decision in June to leave the European Union with the majority of agents reporting no change to rent prices. The July rental sector report from the Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA) shows that there were 184 rental properties on agents’ books, up 5% from the previous month. However, year on year supply is down as there were 189 properties per agent in July 2015, some 3% higher than July this year. Demand from prospective tenants for rental accommodation fell slightly, from 37 house hunters per branch in June, to 36 in July. Following the Brexit vote some 71% of agents witnessed no change in rents and 62% saw no movement in supply while 61% recorded no change in demand. As in June, last month 38% of letting agents saw no sign of a market wobble following Brexit. Where there is uncertainty though, it comes from those looking to let properties, with 44% of agents reporting signs of uncertainty from landlords ‘Despite reports that the housing market is spiralling out of control post-Brexit, our results paint a very different picture, and indicate that the future is bright for the rental market,’ said David Cox, ARLA managing director. ‘Supply is up, as we’d expect at this time of year, and the number of tenants experiencing rent hikes hasn’t changed in three months. While we obviously need new houses to balance the growing gap between supply and demand, what’s positive is that the situation isn’t worsening as a direct result of June’s Brexit result,’ he added. View the full article
  8. National home values in the United States increased to an average of $187,300 in July, the 48th month in row of appreciating values, the latest index data shows.Home values have risen by 5% over the past year and have been consistently climbing since August 2012, but still remain 4.7% below the peak of April 2007 when the median home value was $196,600. The index report from real estate firm Zillow shows that Portland, Dallas and Denver reported the highest year on year home value appreciation among the 35 largest metros across the country. In Portland, home values rose almost 15% to a median value of $334,900 while in Dallas and Denver prices were up 11.9% and 11.3% respectively. In notoriously expensive San Francisco, however, home values have been slowing down since the beginning of the year. In January, home values were up almost 12% year on year and are now appreciating at about half that pace, up 6.6% over the last 12 months. ‘The consistent rise in home values that we've been seeing for the past four years masks a number of region specific trends that have taken place over the past few months,’ said Zillow chief economist Svenja Gudell. ‘In most areas, the market is being driven mainly by a strong labour market and tight supply, especially among entry level homes that first time buyers are after. But some markets, especially the red-hot Pacific Northwest, are adding more jobs and attracting more residents, putting the pressure on home values and rents,’ she explained. ‘The Bay Area and Southern California are still growing at a faster pace than the nation as a whole, but growth rates have come back to earth a bit after several years of rapid growth. And markets in other regions, like the Northeast, keep steadily chugging along. All housing is local, and as the local economies in individual metros ebb and flow, housing will follow suit,’ she added. She also pointed out that more than at any time since the boom and bust, the US housing market is being driven by local fundamentals, and not by national trends. Zillow’s latest figures also shows that rents across the country have increased by 2% over the past year to $1,408 per month and have now increased for 47 months in a row. Of the 35 largest US metros, Seattle, Portland and San Francisco reported the highest year on year rent appreciation. In Seattle rents rose almost 10% to a median of $2,052 per month, while rents in Portland rose just over 8%. In San Francisco, the median rent price rose to $3,407 per month, the second highest of all metros, right after San Jose in California while rents in San Francisco appreciated 6% over the past year. View the full article
  9. The appetite amongst people in the UK to own their home has risen steadily over the past four years but ownership levels have also been falling, new research shows. Some 73% of non-home owners now say they would like to own their home compared to 69% last year, 68% in 2014 and 65% in 2013, according to the annual survey from the consumers group the HomeOwners Alliance. But despite more people wanting to own the roof over their heads, home ownership levels have been declining for the past decade after peaking in 2002 at 69.7% and the report says this is because the high demand for homes is pushing house prices to unaffordable levels. It explains that the mismatch between house prices and wages is worsening, average house prices have risen five times more than wages in the last five years and this is exacerbated by an inadequate supply of new homes. It also points out that despite a series of measures announced by the government aimed at supporting first time buyers, such as the Starter Homes Initiative, extension of the Help to Buy loan scheme and introduction of a new Help to Buy ISA there are still difficulties in first time buyers finding affordable homes. One issues is that in dealing with the housing crisis, much of the focus has been on helping first time buyers, but there is growing recognition that solutions need to go further, it suggests, adding that with availability of homes for sale at a record low, last time buyers in under occupied homes have become a focus for freeing up housing stock for younger families. ‘Despite a blizzard of government initiatives aimed at helping homeowners, the housing crisis is deepening across the country, with ever more non-homeowners wanting their own home, and ever greater concern about the lack of housing,’ said Paula Higgins, chief executive of the HomeOwners Alliance. ‘Many government policies have boosted demand for homes, but what this survey shows is that the real problem is the desperate shortage of houses. Until the government tackles the fundamental issue that we just don’t have enough good quality homes, the housing crisis will continue to deepen and a generation will continue to have their dreams of home ownership crushed,’ she added. It explains that so-called last time buyers, could help ease the housing crisis in the UK freeing up under occupied properties. There are an estimated 11.4 million home owners age 55 and over and 10% of them have considered a move in the past two years but did not. Some 23% of home owners aged 55 or over who considered moving say lack of suitable housing was the main reason they did not do so, this equates to more than 500,000 home owners. Stress and upheaval of moving is also more likely to be a barrier for those moving later in life with 30% saying so compared to 21% of home owners... View the full article
  10. The Mayor of London has released the first details of his plans to set up what he describes as a powerful Homes for Londoners team at City Hall to oversee home building in the capital and boost the delivery of new and affordable homes.As a first step Sadiq Khan has begun recruiting new experts to scrutinise 'viability assessments', the financial details that lie behind how much affordable housing new developments include. The experts, who will be drawn from finance surveyors and property consultant experts and be based at City Hall, will support housing delivery by making planning decisions faster and more consistent, and by ensuring new developments include the maximum amount of affordable housing. Khan will also lead a new Homes for Londoners board, formed of London Boroughs, housing associations, and developers. The board will oversee delivery, land assembly and investment decisions, and will draw on expertise from across the housing and property sectors to help develop new policy for the capital. ‘Home ownership has been slipping increasingly out of reach for more and more Londoners, and rents have been getting harder and harder to afford. I want to be honest with Londoners from the start that it will take time to turn things around,’ he said. ‘I am determined that Londoners get the same opportunities this great city gave me. That is why I am setting up my Homes for Londoners team to speed up home building and to move towards 50% of new homes in London being genuinely affordable to rent and buy,’ he added. A review of capacity and skills across the GLA will now get underway. Its aim is to ensure the Homes for Londoners team can play a more active role in the delivery of housing, particularly in bringing forward public land in London, and speeding up the planning process. This may also lead to additional expertise and support being recruited into the team in due course. David Montague, chair of the g15, said that Homes for Londoners will bring together the GLA, housing associations, local authorities and house builders to tackle the capital's housing crisis. ‘The priority now must be to build a long term pipeline of clean serviced and consented land. With this we can guarantee apprenticeships, jobs, economic growth, thriving communities and affordable homes. Without it, London will lose out in the competition for investment and growth,’ he pointed out. Baroness Jo Valentine, chief executive London First, which has published a major report on Homes for Londoners, described the move as an important and encouraging step towards solving the capital's housing crisis. ‘We want it to have a relentless focus on delivery, including getting more public land into the market,’ she added. According to Steve Bullock, executive member for housing, London Councils, believes that it will help all key agencies work closer together towards building the thousands of extra homes London urgently needs. View the full article
  11. Home owners who remortgaged their properties in July lost no time in taking advantage of falling mortgage rates following the UK’s decision to exit the European Union (EU), a new report shows.Some 63% of remortgagers lowered their mortgage rates last month, up by 7% from May and 43% acted to reduce monthly payments as cheaper deals appeared on the market in the wake of the Brexit vote, according to data from LMS. With the exception of two-year variable products at 75% loan to value (LTV), Bank of England data shows average mortgage rates were lower across the board in July than was the case in May before the EU referendum took place with many falling to record lows. The rate cuts meant that more home owners who remortgaged to reduce their payments enjoyed substantial savings. Just 28% of those who took this course of action in May saved £200 or more each month from their new deal. In comparison, 35% who remortgaged to reduce their payments in July reported a monthly saving of £200 or more. The report says that the appetite for securing lower rates and reducing monthly payments in July came despite growing speculation of a base rate cut from the Bank of England, which ultimately occurred in August. For the first time since tracking began in December 2014, LMS data shows that there were higher expectations of rates falling than rising in July. Among the 13% of remortgagers who expected rates would change in July 59% expected rates would fall compared with just 18% who felt this way in May and 29% in June, when the EU vote took place. Despite widespread speculation over the economic impact of the UK’s vote to leave, the July data from LMS also shows little sign of a drop in consumer confidence in the remortgage market. The percentage of remortgagers increasing the size of their loan rose from 26% in May to 28% in July, while the percentage increasing their loan by more than £10,000 was unchanged from May at 19%. Similarly, the percentage remortgaging to pay for home improvements increased slightly from 19% in May to 21% in July, while there was a two percentage point increase in those remortgaging to pay off other debts from 7% to 9%, potentially in a bid to stabilise their finances in the face of an uncertain economic environment. ‘The aftermath of the vote to leave the European Union has seen many mortgage rates tumble to record lows, a fact that has not been lost by home owners as many seek to take advantage of low rates. July’s figures show many people were keen to press ahead with plans to remortgage, regardless of growing speculation that a base rate cut might be on the cards,’ said Andy Knee, chief executive of LMS. ‘The Bank of England’s reduction of the 0.5% base rate to 0.25%... View the full article
  12. Aspiring home owners in the UK believe they will need to save for more than four years in order to afford a deposit for their first home, new research has found.While most will safe for four years and four months some 27% believe that they will never be in a position to buy their own property, according to the report from insurance firm Aviva. Official figures show that the typical first time buyer home in Britain now costs £180,677. In order to save a 10% deposit, aspiring home owners starting from scratch would need to save £347 a month to build this deposit in four years and four months, assuming no interest growth. Despite property ownership becoming more difficult as UK house prices rise, under 45s believe home ownership will only become more important in the next 20 years, the report found. However, a clear distinction emerges between different age groups, with 73% of 16 to 24 year old and 60% of 25 to 34 year olds saying home ownership will grow in importance, compared to just 40% of over 55s. As younger age groups are the next generation of potential homeowners, it is clear that the desire to be a homeowner will continue to be very significant. Younger age groups are prepared to wait to get on the property ladder. Some 81% say that home ownership is perceived as a more important milestone in the UK than other parts of the world. On a personal level, 79% of people in the UK agree becoming a home owner is important to them or was, if they already are home owners. However, younger generations appear to accept that the path to home ownership might require some patience. Some 53% of over 55s say they want or wanted to become a homeowner as quickly as possible compared to 43% of 25 to 34 year olds, a key first time buyer age group. While 24% of over 55s say they don’t or didn’t mind waiting a while to become a home owner, this rises to 40% for 25 to 34 year olds. Despite the importance of getting on the property ladder, many people are failing to protect their possessions as 19% or 10 million UK adults do not have contents insurance if they own a home and 33% of those renting. The research also found that 40% of people don’t know the value of their contents insurance, leaving them at risk of being inadequately covered. In addition, 62% do not know how much their possessions and valuables are worth, potentially resulting in being under or over insured. ‘The UK’s households are changing, not just as the population grows, but as society evolves to include more family types. However, one thing remains constant and that is our desire to get on the property ladder. The next generation of home owners are certain this will... View the full article
  13. House prices will rise in nearly all European markets this year on the back of historically low lending rates but in the UK prices will fall over the next 18 months due to the decision to leave the European Union, says a new analysis report.The German housing market is set to see the strongest growth due to high demand and tight supply of homes for sale but Italy is likely to see prices remain static due to a poor economic outlook, according to the report from S&P Global Ratings. ‘While uncertainties caused by the UK's June 23 referendum decision to leave the EU could dent eurozone growth and, by extension, the housing market recovery over the next few years, we don't expect that it will derail it,’ said Jean-Michel Six, chief economist for Europe, the Middle East, and Africa at S&P Global Ratings. The report forecasts that eurozone real GDP will expand 1.7% this year, and it expects that the European Central Bank's (ECB's) accommodative monetary stance, leading to historically low sovereign bond yields and mortgage interest rates, will spur improvements in Europe's housing markets. The UK is the only housing market for which house price declines are forecast as a result of the Brexit vote, although it points out that strong market gains in the first half of this year should keep full year house price rises at 5%, with the market only likely declining in 2017 by 2%. Although Ireland's economy has tight economic ties with the UK its housing market will continue its robust recovery, with prices growing by 6% this year, aided by the ongoing improvement in the labour market and a housing supply shortage. The forecast says that the Netherlands, also exposed to the UK economy, should also continue to see nominal prices rise by 5% this year on the back of economic improvements and favourable policy measures. Even the French housing market, which has been falling in recent years, is showing some resilience and looks set to grow by 2% in 2016 and in 2017 against a backdrop of low lending rates and modest economic growth. The strongest residential housing market gains this year will be in Germany, where robust economic fundamentals, a shortage of housing that is being further squeezed by the surge of migrants, and historically low lending rates should lead to prices inflating by 7% on last year. Spain and Belgium will each see house price rises of 4% this year. In Spain, economic growth, declining unemployment, and interest from foreign buyers should underpin a continued recovery of house prices the report says. In Belgium, forthcoming changes to fiscal rules and very favourable loan rates are still underpinning demand this year. While economic recovery and price incentives are also continuing to lift house prices in Portugal, a large stock of nonperforming domestic loans is... View the full article
  14. Although the wider UK property market is yet to suffer any detrimental impact from Brexit, London’s prime market is seeing demand continue to fall, the latest index suggests.In the £1 million plus sector in London demand has fallen by 10%, the lowest level on record and a further drop since demand cooled following April’s changes to stamp duty for buy to let and second homes purchases. The data from the prime central London property index from hybrid estate agent eMoov shows that the five areas where demand is at its lowest are Mayfair at 3%, St Johns Wood, Knightsbridge and Belgravia all at 4% and Fitzrovia at 5%. The index, which records the change in supply and demand for property above £1 million by monitoring the total number of properties sold in comparison to those on sale, shows that some 75% of London’s most prestigious locations have seen demand remain static or drop since the second quarter of the year. Indeed, the only places to have seen a positive uplift in demand for property over the last three months are Holland Park at 44%, Marylebone at 38%, Notting Hill at 17% and Primrose Hill at 9%. Notting Hill is also fourth hottest where demand levels are concerned, currently at 14%. With Belsize Park enjoying the highest demand across the prime central London sector at 18%, followed by Islington at 17%, Chiswick at 15% and Holland Park at 13%. According to Russell Quirk, eMoov chief executive officer this slowdown was always likely to happen as these areas of London rely heavily on high end foreign investment and second home visitors to survive. ‘Whilst the rest of the UK market seems to be ticking along with little impact as of yet, the immediate weakening of the sterling and negative response from the rest of the EU seems to have had an instantaneous knock-on effect on the prime central London market,’ he said. View the full article
  15. Prime central London property prices fell again in the first quarter of 2016 but transaction levels increased marginally, according to the latest index to be published.Overall the market was notably quieter during due to a combination of the uncertainty surrounding the European Union referendum and a slowdown following a boost in the first quarter ahead of stamp duty changes in April. The market has also been influenced by higher stamp duty for high value properties, according to the report from real estate firm JLL which adds that potential buyers adopted a wait and see attitude ahead of the referendum vote. Since the vote to leave the EU, and the subsequent weakening of sterling, several international buyers have been more active although a good deal of uncertainty remains, especially in terms of the medium term outlook, the report says. However, the fact that the vote is now in the past also seems to have encouraged a few more domestic buyers back into the market. The number of properties on the market has increased again during the second quarter as vendors fail to sell or elect not to sell at prices unacceptable to them. This additional choice and bargaining power for purchasers is contributing to both the scale of price falls and the slowdown in transactions. ‘Given recent uncertainty it is unsurprising that prices have weakened again. On average prices have fallen by 3.3% in the year to quarter two, but they have also declined in every quarter since the first quarter of 2015 as a variety of influences have impacted on confidence and switched the balance of power in favour of buyers,’ said Neil Chegwidden, residential research director at JLL. The data also shows that prices slipped by 0.9% in the second quarter of 2016 having fallen by 1.1% in the first quarter and price falls over the past year have been greater for higher value properties although large lateral flats continue to hold their value better than other large apartments or houses. On average prices have declined by 6% over the 18 months to the second quarter of 2016 with higher value property prices down by an average 10% and prices have fallen across all price ranges during quarter two and over the last year. The sub £2 million market continues to be the most resilient. However, prices have fallen in each quarter since the first quarter of 2015. On average prices in the sub £2 million bracket have fallen by 2.6% over the 12 months. Meanwhile, prices in the £2 million to £5 million market have been declining for 18 months now, with prices down 2.9% during the year to the second quarter. Prices in the £5 million to £10 million price bracket and the £10 million plus market have been impacted most notably by the stamp duty changes. Prices have dropped by 4.4% in the year to quarter two in the £5 million to... View the full article
  16. Gross mortgage lending in the UK held steady in July and was an estimated £21.4 billion, similar to June but 1% lower than July last year. The data from the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) is the first full month since the country voted to leave the European Union and it is too soon to see how much of an impact Brexit is having. CML chief economist Bob Pannell explained that the subdued nature of property transactions and mortgage lending in July are consistent with a less positive backdrop for house purchase activity post-referendum. ‘The Bank of England expects stronger economic headwinds to build as we move into 2017, and the Monetary Policy Committee’s package of monetary policy measures represents a spirited effort to lean against these on a timely basis. The MPC has pencilled in a further cut in Bank Rate later this year, but aims to avoid negative interest rate territory,’ he said. ‘The Term Funding Scheme should boost market sentiment a little, by engineering broader cuts to rates for existing mortgage borrowers than would have been the case, but it is not clear how well the Bank’s actions will underpin borrower demand in a more adverse economic climate,’ he added. Steve Bolton, founder of Platinum Property Partners, pointed out that the buy to let market was particularly impacted and purchase activity in June had almost halved compared to a year ago but the buy to let remortgage activity has picked up year on year. ‘Landlords are well positioned to benefit from falling mortgage rates as a result of the recent base rate cut. A mortgage can often be one of the greatest costs for landlords, so swapping to a more affordable deal is well worth the effort,’ he said. ‘Landlords are now operating in an uncertain political and economic environment, and further legislative changes which will phase out the ability to treat mortgage interest payments as a legitimate business cost could lead to many leaving the market or being deterred from expanding their portfolio,’ he explained. ‘This could lead to rising rents for many tenants and less affordable housing provision in the Private Rented Sector. It will therefore be interesting to see how this will have a knock-on effect on mortgage lending,’ he pointed out. ‘However, investing in property has proven to give strong returns when done effectively. It is now more important than ever that amateur landlords ensure they manage their properties professionally to build a profitable long term investment,’ he added. According to John Goodall, chief executive officer of peer to peer platform Landbay, despite some Brexit uncertainty it is clear that the property market, and in turn the mortgage market, is built on strong foundations, so the outlook is optimistic. ‘The UK’s housing shortage will remain a pivotal political and social issue, so we should expect buyer demand and lending levels to bounce back later in the year as the dust settles. In the meantime, it’s... View the full article
  17. The annual rate of house growth in key cities in the UK has started to slow after 12 successive months of rising prices, according to the latest index figures to be published.But there is some regional variation and house prices in large regional cities outside southern England continue to grow while those in London have seen a market slowdown, the Hometrack cities index shows. Outside the south house price growth continues to hold steady at 7% to 8% per annum with no sign of an imminent slowdown. Aberdeen is also registering a slower rate of price falls compared to recent months with a decline of 8% compared to 10% the previous month. Overall city house prices increased by 9.5% year on year in July, down from 9.9% in June with Bristol in the south west seeing the strongest growth at 14% followed by London at 11.7%. While quarter on quarter the highest growth was in lower value, higher yielding cities where prices are rising off a lower base such as Glasgow, up 5.2%, Liverpool up 4.4% and Manchester and Nottingham both up 3.4%. Even although it has the second largest annual price growth, London has registered a marked slowdown in house price growth over the last three months. Average growth in the last quarter was 2.1%, the lowest rate for 17 months. The index report suggests this is due to weaker investor demand, affordability pressures and Brexit uncertainty impact demand at the same time as supply has risen. It points out that prices are still well up year on year but the signs are growth will slow further over the coming months. Cambridge saw prices fall by 1% over the last quarter and the report says that prices in the city are more sensitive to weaker demand although the annual rate of growth is still running at 7.1%. The report says that in the absence of adverse economic trends impacting employment and mortgage rates, the near term outlook is for a continued slowdown in London and stable growth rates in regional cities as households’ price record low mortgage rates into city house price where affordability remains attractive. ‘We continue to believe that turnover will register the brunt of the slowdown in London. In the face of lower sales volumes agents will look to re-price stock in line with what buyers are prepared, and can afford, to pay,’ the report explains. ‘Past experience shows that this process can run for as long as six months and relies, in part, in how quickly sellers are willing to adjust to what buyers are prepared to pay,’ it concludes. View the full article
  18. Prices of residential sites in Asia increased by 1.9% in the first half of 2016, down from 2.8% in the preceding six months, put office land increased from 1.9% to 2.2%.Overall development land investment volumes in Asia matched the level registered in the corresponding period last year, according to the Prime Asia Development Land Index from international real estate firm Knight Frank. As compared to the preceding six months, however, they were 40.4% lower and the index report explains that land markets tend to be more active in the second half of the year, which accounts for 60% of the transactions historically. With state owned enterprises purchasing land aggressively, China, which accounts for more than 90% of the deals in Asia, saw a 6% year on year increase in volumes while in Thailand some major deals boosted volumes by 190.4%. However, cross border land investment volumes fell by 11.5% year on year. ‘Part of the reason is that while Chinese developers have previously snatched up land in Hong Kong and Singapore, they now appeared to have joined their local counterparts to become more cautious amid the ongoing correction in housing prices in these markets,’ the report explains. As a result, China bought 88.8% less land year on year in the rest of Asia. In China, among the cities tracked, Shanghai experienced the strongest growth in prime residential land prices. ‘While the government raised the down payment requirement on second and subsequent properties as well as tightened non-locals’ purchase eligibility, shadow banking and peer to peer financing helped home buyers circumvent these rules, although authorities are closing the loopholes,’ it adds. According to the National Bureau of Statistics, residential prices in Beijing, Guangzhou and Shanghai surged by 15.3%, 12.8% and 19.5% respectively in the first half of 2016 and the report says this emboldened developers to bid for land aggressively. In particular, Shanghai saw the average premium over reserve price in residential land auctions soar to 154% in the first six months of the year from 60% in the corresponding period last year. As a result of an overhang of unsold prime housing inventory in Mumbai and New Delhi that requires an estimated four and seven years to clear respectively, the Knight Frank indices registered a decline in prime residential land prices. It adds that strong office leasing demand boosted the prices of prime office development sites in Bengaluru, which grew the fastest in the region. Similarly, prices of commercial land in Mumbai and New Delhi outperformed those of residential sites. Tokyo registered the largest increase and the report says that the negative interest rate introduced by the Bank of Japan has brought mortgage rates down, supporting housing demand. Indeed, recent condominium launches with hefty price tags were met with much enthusiasm from home buyers, with one development in Minato ward even fetching a record high average price of US$33,800 per square meter. Sites for office development in Asia also... View the full article
  19. When buying a home prospective sellers expect the details to be listed correctly but new research has found that 48% of houses in sale across the UK contain rooms that are listed incorrectly.The analysis of estate agent data also found that 36% of single bedrooms rooms are technically too small to be classed as such for anyone aged over 10 and 17% of double rooms are not big enough to be inhabited by two people. Liverpool has the most errors for single rooms with 69% listed not meeting size requirements as set out by the Housing Act 1985 which says that a child under the age of 10 can occupy a room which is less than 50 square feet because they are classed as ‘half a person’, however a single bedroom should have a floor space of between 50 and 70 square feet. Leeds has the most errors for double bedrooms with 14% listed as such not meeting the requirements that double bedrooms for two people should be at least 110 square feet. One property in the city even listed a 69 square foot room as a double bedroom. The city with the least errors is Edinburgh where just 3% if single rooms did not meet the requirement and 4% of double rooms. Estate agents in Manchester and Glasgow were also pretty accurate. The research also found that a further 6% of rooms across the UK are technically uninhabitable, containing rooms smaller than the 50 square feet legally required to be classified as a single bedroom. Estate agents in Sheffield are guiltiest of this, with 15% of single bedrooms rooms advertised being too small to be habitable. When looking at properties overall, estate agents in Bristol are the most inaccurate, as 66% of properties for sale in the city had at least one incorrectly listed bedroom. This is followed by Sheffield at 60%, Liverpool at 57% and Birmingham also at 57%. Estate agents in Edinburgh are by far the most honest overall with only 17% of properties in the Scottish capital containing incorrect room listings. ‘Anyone who has purchased a property knows the marketing literature can often be misleading, but it is concerning to see so many properties across the UK being marketed by estate agents as having single and double bedrooms which technically aren’t fit for purpose,’ said Nick Brabham, head of SELECT Premier Insurance which carried out the research. ‘We urge buyers to check the measurements of bedrooms before putting in an offer on a house; otherwise they may find their double bedroom barely has enough space for a bed. It’s easy to think a room looks big enough when there is no furniture in it so if in doubt, check against the official standards and let estate agents know that they are marketing it incorrectly,’ he added. View the full article
  20. Office transactions in the UK’s third largest city increased by 8% in the first half of 2016 compared to the same period last year with Manchester becoming a key focus for commercial property investors.Transaction volumes in Manchester’s office investment market totalled £304 million in the first six months of the year, some 3% higher than the five year first half average of £295 million, according to international real estate advisor Savills. The firm’s latest Manchester Office Market Report says that overseas investors showed particularly strong demand for the city’s office assets, accounting for 70% of all transactions with deals worth £212 million. This is well above the long term first half average of 37%, according to Savills. Examples include the £115 million acquisition of 3 and 4 Piccadilly Place by US based Ares Management and the £85 million purchase of XYZ in Spinningfields by Germany’s Union Investment Real Estate. ‘The outcome of the European Union referendum is now sinking in and some office transactions will be inevitably be delayed or renegotiated as investors take stock. However, we expect the increased depth of overseas interest in Manchester to help stabilise the market as foreign buyers take advantage of the weaker sterling and reduced competition,’ said Peter Mallinder, investment director at Savills. Despite the lack of trophy letting deals recorded in the first half of 2016, Savills reports that office take up reached 415,257 square feet, in line with Manchester’s long term average and the third quarter started positively with law firm Freshfields committing to around 80,000 square feet at One New Bailey. A number of other key leasing deals including to Swinton Insurance at 101 Embankment are expected to complete in the third quarter, with take up for the full year reaching one million square feet. This follows a total of 1.3 million square feet in 2015. Savills highlights the diverse nature of Manchester’s office occupier base, which does not overly rely on the public sector or banking and finance, as one its key strengths. The TMT sector has shown particular growth in Manchester and accounted for 21% of all take up in the first half of 2016 with deals totalling 85,307 square feet compared to 17% of deals in the full year of 2015. In terms of size, more than 51% of office space let in the first half of the year was through deals below 5,000 square feet compared to a long term average of 32%, driven in part by the abundance of TMT firms and start-ups moving to the city. ‘Office take up in Manchester has been significantly in excess of the long term average in recent years, which puts the city in a good position going forward and activity levels since the referendum result are encouraging,’ said Richard Lowe, office agency director at Savills. He added that headline Grade A rents have risen from £28.50 per square foot in... View the full article
  21. Existing home sales in the United States lost momentum in July and decreased year on year for the first time since November 2015 with a fall of 3.2%, the latest index data shows.Total existing home sales fell to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.39 million in July from 5.57 million in June and are now 1.6% below a year, only the second time in the last 21 months this has happened. The data from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) also shows that the median existing home price for all housing types increased by 5.3% in July to $244,100, the 53rd consecutive month of year on year gains. Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said that existing sales fell off track in July after steadily climbing the last four months. ‘Severely restrained inventory and the tightening grip it’s putting on affordability is the primary culprit for the considerable sales slump throughout much of the country last month,’ he explained. He pointed out that real estate agents are reporting diminished buyer traffic because of the scarce number of affordable homes on the market, and the lack of supply is stifling the efforts of many prospective buyers attempting to purchase while mortgage rates hover at historical lows. ‘Furthermore, with new condo construction barely budging and currently making up only a small sliver of multi-family construction, sales suffered last month as condo buyers faced even stiffer supply constraints than those looking to purchase a single family home,’ he added. The report also shows that total housing inventory at the end of July inched 0.9% higher to 2.13 million existing homes available for sale, but is still 5.8% lower than a year ago and has now declined year on year for 14 months in a row. Unsold inventory is at a 4.7 month supply at the current sales pace, which is up from 4.5 months in June. ‘Although home sales are still expected to finish the year at their strongest pace since the downturn, thanks to a very strong spring, the housing market is undershooting its full potential because of inadequate existing inventory combined with new home construction failing to catch up with underlying demand,’ said Yun. ‘As a result, sales in all regions are now flat or below a year ago and price growth isn’t slowing to a healthier and sustainable pace,’ he added. The share of first time buyers was 32% in July which is below last month when it was 33% but up from 28% a year ago. First time buyers represented 30% of sales in all of 2015. All-cash sales were 21% of transactions in July, down from 22% in June, 23% a year ago and the lowest share since November 2009 when it was 19%. Individual investors, who account for many cash sales, purchased 11% of homes in July, unchanged from June and down from 13% a year ago while 70% of investors paid in cash in July. Coming in at the... View the full article
  22. The number of newly built homes in the UK has increased 6% in the past year, according to the latest house building data from the government.Some 139,030 new homes were completed in the year to June and have continued to build gradually over the last two years, according to the figures from the Department of Local Government and Communities. The data also shows that more than 144,280 homes were started in the year to June 2016 but the figures are still below the current target of 220,000 that are needed to meet the housing crisis. Communities Secretary Sajid Javid admitted that more needs to be done. ‘We’ve got the country building again with more new homes started and built than this time last year. This is real progress but there is much more to do. That’s why we are going further and increasing our investment in house building to ensure many more people can benefit,’ he explained. A breakdown of the figures show strong regional growth in London, Swindon and Wakefield, which are all experiencing high levels of completions. Delivery in London saw 24% more homes being built in the year to June 2016 than the previous year with local authorities in Greenwich and Waltham Forest seeing completions increase by 126% and 103% respectively over the same period while in Swindon and Wakefield completions were up 104% and 41% respectively. Figures published last year show that the total number of new homes across the country rose by 25% in 2014 to 2015, when taking in to account all homes, including new builds, houses that have been converted into flats and buildings whose use has been changed to residential. Javid pointed out that the government is committed to building the homes the country needs and investing £8 billion to build 400,000 more affordable homes to rent and buy. He also pointed out that the new Housing and Planning Act will help deliver the ambition to build a million more homes by ensuring councils continue to play a key role in delivery, and through new measures that will allow them to deliver more homes more swiftly. On a quarterly basis, house building starts in England were estimated at 36,400 in the latest quarter, a 2% increase compared to the previous three months and 6% up on a year earlier while completions were estimated at 34,920, some 7% higher than the previous quarter but 2% lower than a year ago. Annual housing starts totalled 144,280 in the year to June 2016, up by 2% compared with the year to June 2015. During the same period, completions totalled 139,030, an increase of 6% compared with last year. Private enterprise housing starts were 4% higher in the June quarter 2016 than the previous quarter whereas completions were 3% higher. Starts by housing associations were 6% lower compared to the last quarter and completions 29% higher. All starts are now 112% above the trough in the March quarter of... View the full article
  23. Home buyers in London borrowed £5.5 billion in the second quarter of 2016, down 23% compared to the previous quarter and down 3% year on year, the latest data shows.It was first time buyers who kept the market going in London, borrowing 10% more while those remortgaging borrowed less, the figures from the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) shows. They also increased in Scotland and Wales. Overall borrower took out 17,500 loans, down 17% on the previous quarter and 8% compared to the second quarter 2015 but first time buyers borrowed £3 billion, up 3% on the first quarter and 10% compared to the second quarter last year. This equated to 10,800 loans, up 3% quarter on quarter but down 1% year on year. Home movers borrowed £2.5 billion, down 41% on quarter one this year and 14% compared to a year ago. This equated to 6,700 loans, down 37% quarter on quarter and 18% year on year. The figures also show that remortgage activity totalled £4.3 billion, up 6% on the first quarter 2016 and 29% compared to a year ago. This came to 14,200 loans, up 5% quarter on quarter and 19% compared to a year ago. ‘First time buyers have continued to drive mortgage lending in London, with 10% more first time buyer lending in the second quarter than the first. The opposite is true for home movers, probably just reflecting a rebalancing after the very strong first quarter as many buyers sought to complete purchases before changes to stamp duty,’ said Paul Smee, director general of the CML. ‘The second quarter data largely pre-dates the European Union referendum. While it will take time to see how Brexit may affect the market, the London mortgage market clearly remains active and firmly open for business,’ he added. First time buyers were also key in Scotland, borrowing £920 million, up 42% quarter on quarter and 2% year on year, some 8,500 loans, up 39% quarter on quarter and 4% year on year. Home movers borrowed £1.2 billion, up 11% quarter on quarter but down 5% compared to a year ago. This totalled 8,100 loans, up 11% quarter on quarter but down 9% year on year. Remortgage activity totalled £850 million, up 9% both on the first quarter 2016 and the second quarter 2015. This came to 7,100 loans, up 11% quarter on quarter and 4% year on year. Carol Anderson, CML Scotland chair, pointed out that it is the 19th successive quarter of growth in first time buyers compared to a year earlier and the highest quarterly number of first time buyer loans since the middle of 2007. In Wales first time buyers borrowed £420 million, up 31% on the first quarter and 24% on the same period last year. This totalled 3,800 loans, up 31% quarter on quarter and 19% year on year. Home movers borrowed £490 million, down 6% on the first quarter of the year but unchanged compared... View the full article
  24. Rents in the UK’s private rental sector increased by 2.4% in the 12 months to July 2016, unchanged compared with the year to June 2016, according to the latest index data.The figures from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) shows that rental prices grew by 2.6% in England, 0.2% in Scotland and were unchanged in Wales. Rental prices increased in all the English regions over the year to July 2016, with rental prices increasing the most in the South East at 3.5%, up from 3.4% in June 2016, followed by the East of England at 3.1% and London at 3%, both unchanged from June 2016. Annual rental growth in the South East has surpassed that of London since May 2016. Since the beginning of 2012, English rental prices have shown annual increases ranging between 1.4% and 3% year on year, with July 2016 rental prices being 2.6% higher than July 2015 rental prices. Excluding London, England showed an increase of 2.3% for the same period. The lowest annual rental price increases were in the North East, up 0.9% and up from 0.8% in June 2016, the North West up 1.2% and Yorkshire and The Humber up 1.3%, both unchanged when compared with June 2016. But the lack of movement in Wales meant that rents continue to be well below that of England and the average for the country as a whole while rental growth in Scotland has gradually slowed to 0.2% in the year to July 2016, from a high of 2.1% in the year to June 2015. Looking at data from the UK House Price Index over a longer period shows residential house price growth has typically been stronger than rental price growth for a number of years, with an average 12 month rate of house price inflation between January 2013 and June 2016 of 6%, compared with 2.1% for rental prices. Inflation in the rental market is likely to have been caused by demand in the market outpacing supply, says the ONS report which points out that the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) Residential Market Survey reported an increase in demand in the three months to July, while tenant demand increased in June according to the Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA). On the supply side, RICS reported that new landlord instructions were flat in July and ARLA reported that the supply of rental stock bounced back in June 2016, following a sharp drop in May. It points out that rental prices have been growing at a slightly faster rate than real wages in recent months. Regular pay also grew by 2.3% in the three months to June 2016 compared with the same period last year, continuing a revival of real earnings growth. The annual jump in private rental prices is a stark reminder of the struggles that many people living in private rented homes are facing in saving a deposit to buy their first home, according to Richard Connolly,... View the full article
  25. A shortage of bricks is a contributing factor in rising house prices in the UK over the past decade with new research suggesting 1.4 billion are needed to meet demand.With demand for new homes growing it means that the number of bricks, the most used traditional building material in the UK, cannot keep up with development, according to research from the National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA) and the Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr). The UK’s construction sector would require a total of 1.4 billion bricks in order to resolve the housing shortage in the UK, the equivalent of the total amount which would be needed to build all the houses in Leicestershire. The research report says that between 2006 and 2016, the growing UK population triggered exponential growth in demand, and has now outgrown the number of houses being built. Given that in 2016 the average UK home is made up of 5,180 bricks, resolving the housing shortage of 264,000 units would require 1.4 billion bricks. While house prices are impacted by numerous macroeconomic factors, they are fundamentally driven by the supply and demand of housing units. The shortage of homes has led to sharp house price appreciation and prevented many prospective buyers from getting on to the property ladder. The 1.4 billion bricks deficit could in theory build several of the UK’s famous landmarks several times over including 740 Big Bens, 40 Tower Bridges, 3,090 Manchester Town Halls, 4,540 Warwick Castles and 5,830 Conwy Castles. There are concerns that the impact of Brexit could significantly worsen the issue. In 2015 some 85% of all imported clay and cement which are primary brick components, came from the European Union and the report suggests that depending on how trade negotiations develop, Brexit could have a considerable impact on supply. It also explains that the UK’s brick stock steadily declined between 2008 and 2013 and only partially recovered in 2014 and 2015. Two thirds of small and medium sized construction businesses faced a two month wait for new brick orders last year, with almost a quarter waiting for up to four months and 16% waiting six to eight months. This can partially be explained by the slowdown in building following the recession, it adds, but even although new homes are becoming smaller there are still not enough bricks. Over the past 100 years, the size of the average UK home has shrunk significantly. In the 1920s the average dwelling was 153 square meters and now it is approximately half the size at 83 square meter, meaning homes have shrunk by 46% in the last century. This is partly a result of the fact families are generally smaller, so require less space, however the decrease can also be explained by financial restrictions. As house prices have risen by 45% over the past 10 years house buyers have been forced... View the full article