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Gas boilers, private sector rents, house values, interest rates, and other UK property news

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UK property news remains a hot topic across media outlets still, with particular emphasis on the remarkable bounce-back and runaway increases in average house prices in recent years, and the effect on private sector rents.

Let’s take a closer look …

Government will ban all gas boilers in 2035 

Part of the Government’s proposed Heat and Buildings Strategy is expected to be the outright ban on the installation of any new gas-fired boiler with effect from 2035, revealed the Daily Mail on the 15th of October.

Since the alternatives to conventional gas boilers are likely to cost upwards of £20,000, the Government further proposes to sugar coat the pill for the millions of affected homeowners by offering grants of £5,000.

The enforced switch to alternative sources of home heating – such as heat pumps, hydrogen boilers, and biomass boilers – is part of the ambitious plans that are billed as a Green Industrial Revolution that will propel the country towards its net-zero targets.

Critics of the plans announced so far question whether they are realistic – in terms of affordability for householders, the availability of skilled tradesmen to fit so many alternatives to conventional gas boilers, and the efficiency of the replacement heat sources.

Private rent debts double during the pandemic

The recent series of pandemic lockdowns has seen a concerning increase in the number of tenants in the private rented sector falling into rent arrears, said the National Residential Landlords Association (NRLA) in a report last week.

The study indicates that during the period from April to May of 2021 7% of tenants – some 780,000 – had fallen into arrears with their rent. This compares with just 3% of all tenants in 2019 and 2020.

A further 9% of tenants are expected to fall behind with their rent in the 12 months ahead.

Value of British homes soars by 20% in 5 years

According to statistics compiled by online listings website Zoopla on the 14th of October, in the five years since 2016, the total value of all homes in the UK has rocketed by an estimated 20% (some £1.6 trillion).

As a result, the value of the country’s housing stock now stands at a grand total of £9.2 trillion – equivalent to four times the value of the UK’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

During this five-year period, a home in the UK has risen in value by an average of £49,257.

Rightmove warns it is “highly likely” interest rates will rise

An increase in the Bank of England’s base interest rate may be on the cards – and that could prove good news for the housing market, says a report by Estate Agent Today this week.

The story explains that buyers and sellers are likely to feel a particular incentive to complete any transaction before interest rates go up – so, news of the increase could spark an immediate effect on the market.

In the longer term, rising house prices have been fuelled by an upsurge in demand – sales in September were 15.2% higher than at pre-pandemic rates at the same time in 2019 – while supply continues to lag behind the seemingly relentless demand from buyers.

Any increase in interest rates is expected to produce a temporary slowing of activity in the market but the current balance between supply and demand is likely to stimulate renewed momentum before too long.

What to avoid when planning a kitchen

As we mentioned in our news round-up on the 21st of July, kitchen upgrades and improvements can be a way to increase the value of your home.

Before you set to work doing just that, however, you might want to bear in mind some of the most common errors – spotted by Property Wire in an article on the 13th of October – made when planning a kitchen upgrade:

  • maintain a focal point – in colour-coordinated fittings, a feature island, or even an eye-catching splashback;
  • cutlery drawers – keep one for cooking utensils and a separate drawer for tableware;
  • plan to leave space enough for two people to pass each other around work areas;
  • ensure that fitted cupboards – especially those designed to hang on the wall – are correctly proportioned in relation to ceiling height and the overall space in the kitchen;
  • remember that it’s your kitchen, to suit your lifestyle - so avoid the temptation of simply copying an attractive random style from a magazine; and
  • storage – make sure that there’s enough room for all your cookware, tableware, and crockery since there’s likely to be far more than you first reckoned.

Your new bespoke kitchen will be intended to serve you for many a long year. It’s worth spending extra time ensuring that you have planned it all down to the last detail.