Not surprisingly, the UK property headlines from the last week have a lot of focus on the Chancellor’s Spring Budget on the 15th of March.
In other news, landlords offer their preferences for measures to improve energy efficiency in the private rented sector. The spotlight searches out those areas of the country where house prices were most seriously affected by the financial crash of 2008. And – in an uncertain market – house sellers are urged to exercise patience.
Budget: the Energy Price Guarantee
A further lifeline has been thrown to households struggling to meet rising energy bills, reported the Mail Online in its coverage of the Budget on the 15th of March.
A principal headline of the Chancellor’s statement was the continuation of the Energy Price Guarantee for three more months beyond the previous deadline of the end of March. As a result, the current cap of £2,500 on the average energy bill will continue until at least June of this year.
The government estimates that extending this protection will save the average household some £160 during the three months in question – after which, gas prices are expected to fall.
Before the announcement on the 15th of March, the Energy Price Guarantee was scheduled to rise to £3,000 from the beginning of April.
Budget: NRLA says the Budget “misses opportunity”
In its response to the Budget, the National Residential Landlords Association (NRLA) complains that Chancellor Jeremy Hunt missed a golden opportunity to address the chronic shortage of dwellings for rent in the private sector.
According to the NRLA, there is a serious imbalance between the supply of and demand for private rented accommodation. This is the result of a climate in which landlords seem to be penalised for supplying new homes for tenants to rent. That, in turn, denies tenants access to the quality of housing they deserve.
Until the government launches a comprehensive review of the tax regime for landlords, the imbalance between supply and demand is only likely to get worse, says the NRLA.
Landlords: what is their “go-to” way to make energy more efficient?
Landlords have expressed their preferred measures for making let property more energy efficient, explained a story in Landlord Today on the 16th of March.
Citing a recent survey, the article revealed the following preferences given by landlords for their favourite energy-saving measures:
- double-glazing – this proved the most popular of measures, attracting some 87% of the landlords surveyed;
- roof installation – proved almost as popular a measure as double-glazing the windows;
- wall insulation – although this came in as the third most popular it was rated important by only 31% of those surveyed;
- solar panels – chosen by 19% of those questioned;
- air-source heat pumps – 17%; and
- smart energy meters – 15%.
Areas where house prices feel the impact of the financial crisis of 2008
Some parts of the UK continue to suffer the effects of the financial crisis of 2008, according to a story in Property Reporter on the 14th of March.
The news outlet referenced research showing those areas that have enjoyed better than average growth in house prices and those that have fared worse since 2008.
On a national average, the crude increase in prices has been 81.2%. Adjusting for inflation, this represents an increase in average house prices of £65,990 or 28.9%.
Areas where recovery has been better than average include:
- London – where inflation-adjusted prices have risen by 48.7%;
- the East of England – 45%; and
- Southeast England – 42%.
Areas which have struggled to overcome the setbacks following the crash of 2008 include:
- Aberdeen – has still not recovered from the property crash but has seen inflation-adjusted prices fall by 37.5%;
- Ards and North Down, in Northern Ireland, have also seen prices fall by 17.5%;
- Belfast completes the trio of negative rates of growth with a fall of 16.4%.
Home sellers urged to “be patient”
Many homeowners with houses to sell are simply failing to attract buyers, revealed a story in the Express on the 12th of March.
The newspaper reported that sellers were slashing the asking price in desperation – yet even that was failing to attract sufficient interest.
It cited figures compiled by UK estate agents relating to all the homes that were advertised for sale during February. Of that total, 6,215 had already seen a reduction in the asking price. Yet still only 5.7% of all homes on the market in that month have either been sold subject to offer or remain under offer.