Week commencing 27 February 2017

In today's bulletin

• UK's property industry can help solve key socio-economic challenges
• Housing white paper shows lack of ‘joined-up government’, MP report says

• London’s businesses call for infrastructure improvements
• Huge opportunity for government to change waste and recycling strategy post Brexit

Property, Planning and Regeneration

UK’s property industry can help solve key socio-economic challenges

On 28 February the Chair of the Prime Minister’s Policy Board, George Freeman MP launched a new report from the UK Green Building Council: ‘Building Places That Work for Everyone’. The report profiles ways the construction and property industry can help to solve some of the biggest
social and economical challenges facing Government. This includes: building more homes more quickly; improving public health; bringing down household bills; stimulating economic productivity; providing skilled jobs; and, achieving the UK’s legally binding carbon reduction targets.

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Home ownership remains static

Figures released by the Department of Communities and Local Government (DCLG) last week showed home ownership levels have remained unchanged over the past year. The percentage of owner occupiers in England is currently
at 63 per cent – 14.3 million of 22.8 million households. The rate of ownership has been static since 2013-14, following a steady decline since a peak of 71 per cent in 2003.

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Housing white paper shows lack of ‘joined-up government’, MP report says

A report on industrial strategy written by backbench MPs has claimed the recent Housing White Paper highlights a lack of joined up thinking in the Government’s industrial strategy. The Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Committee called the White Paper a “disappointing and early illustration” of this, noting that “joined-up Government” is an aspiration “that too often is unrealised in practice”.

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Home affordability in cities at its worst since 2008

Figures published by Lloyds Bank on 27 February revealed that the affordability of homes in UK cities is at its worst level since 2008; with Oxford shown as the most expensive and Stirling the cheapest. Home affordability is measured by the ratio between average city house prices and average gross local
earnings. UK city house prices have risen by 32 per cent since 2012 while average annual earnings over the same period have risen by only 7 per cent to £32,796.

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Exeter house prices to rise faster than UK average in next five years

On 27 February property consultancy JLL published research showing the house prices in Exeter will rise faster than the UK average over the next five years.
JLL predicts that Exeter will see an average year on year price rise of 3.9 per cent between 2017 and 2021, compared with 2.5 per cent for the rest of the UK.

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House prices continue to rise

House prices rose by 0.6 per cent in February according to the latest monthly figures from Nationwide, with the annual rate of growth also increasing
slightly from 4.3 to 4.5 per cent. The average house price rose from £205,240 to £205,846 during the period.

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Construction overheads continue to stifle negotiations

Construction input costs are negatively impacting contract negotiations according to industry leaders. This comes after the latest Markit/CIPS survey
found that input costs remained at an eight-and-a-half year high in February.

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Transport

London’s businesses call for infrastructure improvements

Crossrail 2, new river crossings and Heathrow expansion are key to London’s future growth according to the latest CBI/CBRE London Business Survey.
The survey shows that 84 per cent of London’s companies see Crossrail 2 as being central to the capital’s successful expansion.

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Energy and environment

Huge opportunity for government to change waste and recycling strategy post Brexit

The UK government has the chance to develop a new approach to waste and resources policy following Brexit, according to a new report, Going Round in Circles from the Policy Exchange. The report claims that adhering to the EU’s proposed “Circular Economy Package” could cost British businesses and households an extra £2 billion over the next twenty years.
Recommendations will focus on maximising the resource productivity of the UK economy, in line with the Government’s emerging Industrial Strategy. It will also seek to minimise the carbon emissions and wider environmental impacts of waste management and resource use.

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CO2 emissions drop for 19th consecutive year but anti-diesel and SUVs could affect progress

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) revealed in the New Car CO2 Report 2017 that the UK automotive industry exceeded its 2016 CO2 targets. The report showed that on average, new car emissions were down for the 19th consecutive year, and carbon tailpipe emissions hit an all-time low. The progress comes as a result of investing in new advanced engine, fuel
and battery technology, and growing the alternatively fuelled vehicle (AFV) market. However the market share drop for diesel cars in 2016, could stunt progress as diesel vehicles generally emit around 20 per cent less CO2 than their petrol equivalents. The growing consumer trend towards preferring SUVs to smaller vehicles could also stifle progress in CO2 production.

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