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Reprieve for gas boilers, house prices, energy efficiency support failings, five-figure fine for over-crowding, and Airbnb price hikes

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News from the property market had an impact across all sectors - from homeowners to house hunters, landlords, and even Airbnb hosts and their guests. Let’s take a closer look at just some of the latest property news.

The PM 'puts ban on new gas boilers back by five years to 2040'

The Prime Minister’s “green revolution” has suffered a setback, according to a story in the Mail Online on the 27th of July.

The push towards environmentally friendly “net-zero” emissions comes at a greater cost than perhaps originally anticipated, suggests the story. As a result, the deadline of 2035 for a ban on the sale of gas-fired central heating systems has been knocked back by a further five years to 2040.

The hope is that by granting a longer reprieve for conventional gas boilers and revising the deadline prices of alternative sources such as heat-pumps and new hydrogen, boilers will have fallen in price sufficiently for them to be affordable for millions of households – they currently cost around £11,000 to £14,000 to install in the average home.

House prices at new high as buyers seek more space

The housing market has seen no let-up in the relentless increase in prices – increases that look set to continue well into next year, according to a report by the BBC on the 27th of July.

Referencing the latest statistics published by online listings site Zoopla, the BBC reports that house prices have risen by 7.3% in the past 12 months, reaching a record average of £230,700.

Although prices have risen steeply across all types of housing, the quest for increased space at home has driven up the price of houses more noticeably than for flats. The demand for houses is currently double that usually experienced at this time of year (in the three years from 2017 to 2019), says Zoopla.

The price of the average flat, on the other hand, has increased by only 1.4% during the past 12 months.

The current demand for housing well exceeds the available supply – with the result that prices can be expected to continue to rise until well into 2022.

Energy efficiency support failing to help most in need

The Government’s energy efficiency initiatives were designed to help the most “energy poor”. Much of that effort is missing its intended target, argued a press release by the National Residential Landlords’ Association (NRLA) on the 26th of July.

The NRLA quotes figures from the recent English Housing Survey to show that one in three dwellings in the private rented sector was built before 1919 – housing with the poorest energy efficiency, where 84% of the stock has an energy rating of only category D or worse.

Despite that fact, only 5% of private rented accommodation in England has benefitted from the financial support available from various government schemes to improve the energy efficiency of housing. That compares with 21% of owner-occupied housing, 12% of council housing, and 11% of housing association properties.

Five figure fine for landlord ignoring council warning on overcrowding

Yet another rogue landlord has been punished for profiting from overcrowding in his let property – a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) in the London borough of Brent – and has been fined a total of more than £21,000 as a result.

In its report on the 2nd of August, Landlord Today noted that the landlord had been given numerous warnings about the need to apply for a licence – and he failed to do so.

The magistrate explained the severity of the fine by noting the long time the landlord had persisted in the offences, the vulnerability of the tenants, and the level of profit made by the landlord.

Airbnb hosts ramp up prices by 300% during popular seasons

The online accommodation-sharing platform Airbnb is enjoying a field-day of new business thanks to the boom in staycations by domestic holidaymakers and the recent opening of Britain’s borders to vaccinated visitors from the US and Europe.

That surge in demand – especially during public holidays and near to large-scale events – has seen the owners of some Airbnb properties increase rents by more than three times their standard level, according to a story by Property Investor Today on the 2nd of August.

Citing examples of those events that had attracted crowds of visitors – and inflated rents for the duration – the article highlighted the Cowes Week sailing regatta on the Isle of Wight when rents had risen by 305% and the Open Championship golf tournament in Kent where Airbnb hosts were charging twice as much as normal.