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Clean Heat Grants, EPC challenge for landlords, how much did you pay for your home, a fall in average house prices, and other property news

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Headlines across the property news sections of the media underscore lively and re-emerging economic activity among homeowners, landlords, and property owners now engaged in the staycation hospitality industry.

Let’s take a closer look at some of these stories.

Homeowners to be offered £7k to help replace gas boilers

Homeowners will be offered grants of £7,000 or more as incentives for scrapping old and environmentally damaging gas boilers in favour of greener alternatives, according to a story in the Mail Online on the 14th of August.

The scheme is due to be launched next April, according to the newspaper report, under the Clean Heat Grants banner.

The scheme aims to finance the purchase of around 60,000 eco-friendly heat pumps – which cost approximately £10,000 to install compared with the £1,000 or so for a conventional gas-fired boiler.

Compared to those conventional sources of warmth in the home, heat pumps consume markedly less electricity, generating more heat than the energy consumed.

The government has been concerned about the costs of meeting net-zero carbon emission targets by switching from gas to alternative forms of power. As we reported in our news roundup of the 5th of August, the deadline for banning new installations of domestic gas boilers was recently put back five years from 2035 to 2040.

Landlords must spend thousands to meet EPC standards

Another story about the costs of switching to more sustainable energy consumption also appeared in Landlord Today on the 16th of August.

The cause of concern in this instance is the feared costs to landlords in meeting the new Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) introduced by the government with the longer-term aim of achieving at least a C energy efficiency rating for all housing – even though more houses in the private rented sector currently lag behind such targets.

Any increase from the current minimum E EPC rating to a new bar of at least C is too big a step, warns the article, which estimates that some 2.9 million homes would need to be upgraded to meet those targets, with an average cost of almost £10,000 per home and a total bill for this housing sector of £29 billion.

Majority of Brits have looked up how much colleagues, family and even potential partners paid for their home

Are you curious about how much family members – or even soon-to-be family members – paid for their home? According to the online listings website Zoopla on the 11th of August, you are in good company – six out of every ten people are looking up exactly those facts.

It’s not only family members and potential partners that are the subjects of such snooping, but friends and neighbours too. Some have used the information they’ve gained about a work colleague’s home to try and estimate how much they are being paid.

While six in ten may be snooping on the value of their relations’, friends’, and neighbours’ homes, one in five still think to come right out and ask someone how much their home is worth amounts to unacceptably rude behaviour.      

House prices fall for first time this year

Although buyer demand seems to be as strong as ever, house prices have fallen for the first time this year, according to reports by the BBC on the 16th of August.

The average price of a home listed for sale in August has dropped by £1,076, to £337,371 – a fall of 0.3% - according to the story.

August is typically a quieter month for activity in the housing market, which is also experiencing the withdrawal of the Stamp Duty holiday and an associated reduction in demand for larger homes.

Nevertheless, there remains strong demand for those more modest houses and flats wanted by first-time buyers and so-called “second-steppers”.

Staycation prices – which region has the most expensive UK holiday lets?

With so much uncertainty continuing to surround foreign travel, staycations have become the preferred escape route for holidaying Britons.

An article by Property Investor Today on the 16th of August sought to identify those parts of the UK enjoying the keenest competition for accommodation – and, therefore, the highest rental yields.

Unsurprisingly, the cost of a staycation depends very much on the season. Currently, based on the average purchase price of a holiday home of £423,537, average rental yields across the whole of the UK are recorded as £795 in low season, £1,107 in mid-season, and £1,556 in high season.

There are regional variations, of course, reflected in the average cost of a staycation in each of them as follows:

  • Southeast England – £1,910;
  • South-west of England – £1,769;
  • East of England – £1,569;
  • Wales – £1,418; and
  • Northwest of England – £1,302.

It remains to be seen just how much these prices change as more holidaymakers are able to return to i