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Council tax premiums delayed, help with energy bills, where house prices are cooling, no green improvements, and other UK property news

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What’s been happening on the UK property news front? Let’s take a look behind some of the headlines to get a taste of the major concerns and developments for homeowners, landlords, and tenants.

Delay in council tax premiums imposed on Cornwall second homes

Cornwall Council will have to wait until at least 2024 – and potentially until 2026 – before it can impose the council tax premium it plans for second and holiday homeowners in the county.

Explaining the delay, Landlord Today on the 28th of July said that provision for raising additional council tax on second homes has been made in the government’s Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill. But, that this is now not expected to come into force until 2024 at the earliest and possibly as late as 2026.

As one of the country’s principal hotspots for holiday home ownership, Cornwall Council has been waiting to introduce the council tax premiums on the owners of second homes as a means of discouraging their further spread.

Cost of living: help with energy bills

As the cost of domestic energy bills begins to skyrocket – the price cap is expected to increase to £3,240 come this Autumn, with a further increase scheduled for January next year – many households are worried about slipping into “energy debt”.

In a posting on the 27th of July, the online listings website Zoopla offered some tips and suggestions about ways to reduce those energy bills:

  • if you can afford it, now would be a good time to start putting aside any savings to pay for the higher bills you’ll face come the wintertime;
  • if you are already worried about how you’re going to be able to pay those bills, talk to your energy supplier as soon as possible and aim to come to an agreement on a payment plan you will be able to afford;
  • start doing all that you can to reduce your energy consumption – lower the central heating thermostat, fit energy-saving light bulbs, and put draught excluders around doors and windows; and
  • find out whether you are eligible for the grants offered by some energy suppliers to help with your bills.

House prices: 4 areas where property costs are 'cooling' down

Average house prices across the UK are expected to continue to rise, argued a story in the Express newspaper on the 26th of July. But the paper also identified those regions bucking the trend and where average prices have already shown signs of cooling down – perhaps in response to currently escalating inflations and rising costs of living.

Those parts of the country recording a fall in average house prices in June compared with the previous month are:

  • Wales: a 2.9% fall in average prices over the month – but still a 10.8% increase in the year to the end of June;
  • Southwest England: a 0.6% decrease over the month but a 12.2% increase in average prices compared to the same time last year;
  • Scotland: a 0.7% fall in prices – from £186,738 in June to £185,360 in July; and
  • East Midlands: the smallest fall in prices which were down 0.4% over the month – but still up by 10.1% in the 12 months to the end of June.

Majority of home sellers fail to make green improvements

A lack of access to the full facts, combined with worries about the potential costs, means that many homeowners are failing to take advantage of energy-saving green improvements to their property.

A news story revealed that 6 out of 10 homeowners have failed to make any such improvements because they weren’t aware of what those energy-saving measures are or they were worried about the expense of making them.

60% of homeowners surveyed by the online listings website Rightmove said that they saw no good reason to make any green improvements – despite the potential for saving money on energy bills and the government’s Future Homes and Buildings Standard that will require all newly built homes from 20225 must reduce carbon emissions by 75%-80%.

Next PM must tackle rental supply crisis in Yorkshire and the Humber says NRLA

Faced with a rapidly dwindling supply of let property, rents in Yorkshire and the Humber are escalating – by as much as 3.2% in the year to the end of June.

In a press release dated the 28th of July, the National Residential Landlords Association (NRLA) warned that the falling supply, rising demand, and increase in levels of rent are in danger of thwarting the government’s plans to encourage greater homeownership in the region.

According to research, over a quarter (28%) of landlords in Yorkshire and the Humber plan to cut the number of properties they let in the next 12 months. This is up from the 20% of landlords who said the same a year ago.