Week commencing 22 October 2018

In today's bulletin

• Mayor pledges £1bn for new London council houses
• Average UK rent in decline for the first time since 2009

• Derailed profits for rail companies
• China waste ban impacting council recycling costs

Property, Planning and Regeneration

Mayor pledges £1bn for new London council houses

London mayor Sadiq Khan has announced that 11,000 new council houses will be built across the capital over the next four years.
Announced on Tuesday (23 October), the houses will be funded through distributing more than £1 billion to 26 London boroughs.

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Average UK rent in decline for the first time since 2009

The average cost of rent in the UK has decreased by £14 (1.83 per cent) since the third quarter of 2017, figures from the Deposit Protection Service show. (CIH).
If rent falls again in the last quarter of this year, it will be only the second time there has been a full year of decline since the Rent Index began in 2007.

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Drop in London land values raises housing delivery concerns

Residential land values in central London have fallen by 4.9 per cent in the past six months, according to Savills’ figures released on Wednesday (24 October).
This is 16 per cent below the 2014-15 peak. Savills notes that in Westminster and Kensington & Chelsea, more development sites are now being considered for hotel or office use, rather than housing.

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Household savings decline, latest figures show

Household savings declined in October, according to the latest figures from IHS Markit, with households feeling more pessimistic about property prices than at any time since July 2016.
The survey results released on Monday (22 October) also showed that half of households expect a further rate rise to be announced by the Bank of England in the next six months.

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First time buyers advised to buy ‘fixer uppers’ as a way onto the housing ladder

According to research by Direct Line Home Insurance, so-called ‘fixer upper’ houses that require major structural work can be bought for 17 per cent less than the market average and can be a good way for first time buyers to get on the property ladder.
The research found that 62 per cent of estate agents believe buyers can capitalise on the necessary structural renovations and make a profit.

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Transport

Square Mile Zero Emission Zone not possible by 2022

Plans for the City of London to introduce a Zero Emission Zone by 2022 aren’t feasible, due to the commercial viability of zero emission vehicles, according to the Freight Transport Association (FTA).
The initial proposals in the City of London Transport Strategy, include introducing a 15 mph speed limit, road closures to prioritise pedestrians at key times, and reducing overall traffic by 25 per cent by 2030 and 50 per cent by 2050.

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Derailed profits for rail companies

Rail profits have fallen as much as 80 per cent in the last year, as train operators deal with contract writedowns and spiralling costs, analysis of Companies House records reveal.
The figures show that train companies made an aggregate of £66 million in the last year on £11 billion of actual revenue. Rail leaders have warned that the figures are part of a broader problem with the industry.

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Improve transport links for new housing says RAC

The RAC Foundation has voiced its support for the findings of a Transport for New Homes report into the public transport links to new housing developments. The report, published earlier this year by the Transport for New Homes Project, highlights the inadequate walking, cycling and public transport connections around modern housing developments.
In response to the report, Steve Gooding, Director of the RAC Foundation, said: “Attention needs to be given to designing new housing developments that accommodate a genuine mix of transport options.”

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Electric car sales surge despite grant review

The RAC Foundation says that buyer confidence in electric cars remains strong following an increase in sales. The Foundation argues that figures show electric vehicles remain attractive to buyers despite the cut to purchase grants.
Earlier this month ministers announced that grants for pure battery electric cars (category one) would be cut from £4,500 to £3,500 while grants for plug-in hybrids (categories two and three) would be cut completely from 10 November.

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Touchdown in Sheffield for Boeing’s first European factory

US aerospace giant Boeing has opened its first European manufacturing facility in Sheffield, which will manufacture more than 100 components for Boeing 737 and 767 aircraft and provide high-skilled jobs including 25 apprentices.
At its opening on Thursday (25 October), business secretary, Greg Clark, said the facility “is testament to the reputation of Sheffield as a centre of innovation, advanced manufacturing and the UK’s status as a world-leader in aviation.”

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Energy and environment

China waste ban impacting council recycling costs

The Local Government Association (LGA) has released a snapshot poll showing that at least 20 per cent of councils have felt a direct impact from China’s restrictions on imports of mixed paper and certain types of plastic over the last year.
The poll found that the most affected councils have seen their recycling costs increase by £500,000 on average over the last year because of the restrictions.

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Government launches plan to ban plastic straws, cotton-buds, and stirrers

The government has announced new proposals to ban the distribution and sale of plastic straws, drinks stirrers and cotton buds, in a bid intended to clean up and preserve Britain’s rivers and seas.
The proposals will be subject to a consultation launched by environment secretary, Michael Gove on 22 October, with the government aiming to introduce the ban between October 2019 and 2020.

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Other News

Industrial orders fall through ‘fears of Brexit’

UK manufacturing orders fell at their fastest pace for three years in the three months up to October this year, the results of the latest quarterly Industrial Trends Survey by the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) show.
The CBI says the results could be attributed to the threat of a no-deal Brexit starting to affect the manufacturing industry, as the survey shows business optimism also fell at the fastest rate since the UK voted to leave the EU in 2016.

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