Week commencing 14 December 2015

In today's bulletin

• Cost of renting to skyrocket as home ownership falls
• Government extends plug-in car grant until March 2018

• Solar subsidy cuts lower than expected
• First fracking licenses awarded

Property, Planning and Regeneration

Cost of renting to skyrocket as home ownership falls

Research published last week estimates that average house prices will increase by 50 per cent the next decade, causing a seven per cent drop in home ownership. The figures, released jointly by the Association of Letting Agents and the National Association of Estate Agents, also predict a 27 per
cent increase in the cost of renting. To combat the sharp rise in costs the groups recommend a complete policy overhaul, suggesting measures such as reducing the Green Belt and incentivising construction firms to offer more apprenticeships.

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Demand for homes outweighs supply

House sellers are on average asking for £20,000 more than at the beginning of 2015, according to Rightmove. The website predicts asking prices will increase by another £17,000 by the end of next
year as the “stark imbalance” between supply and demand continues to force property values to more record highs.

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Liverpool Waterfront: England’s Greatest Place

Liverpool Waterfront has won England’s Great Places award, a competition held by the Royal Town Planning Institute to showcase the places planners and the planning system have created, protected
and enhanced for communities. Over 11,000 people voted for the ten finalists, with Liverpool Waterfront emerging as the most popular place.

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Lending still strong despite November drop

Gross mortgage lending dropped by £2bn in November, with figures from the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) showing that it is at £19.9bn compared to October’s £21.9bn. This nine per cent decrease still puts lending 23 per cent higher than it was at this stage last year and the CML says
lending is set to finish the year stronger than it started. The Council has given the credit for the rise to improvements in the labour market and competitive mortgage agreements.

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New home registration continues to rise

The number of new homes registered in the UK continued to rise during November, with the 11,390 new registrations a four per cent increase from November 2014 levels. Figures released by the National House Building Council (NHBC) also showed a twelve per cent increase in public sector
registration compared to the same period last year, but the Council warned that although the figures are encouraging, the UK is still building far fewer homes than it needs.

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Government extends plug-in car grant until March 2018

On Thursday, the Government announced an extension to the plug-in car grant, which saves buyers money on electric vehicles, and extended the scheme to March 2018 at earliest.
The move is backed by a £400 million investment intended to treble the number of ultra low emission vehicles in the UK.

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ORR release station usage statistics

Data has been published by the Office of Rail and Road (ORR) showing the estimated useage of railway stations around the UK. The figures show that train stations in London were still the most
heavily used during 2014-2015. Stratford Station was a new entry to the top 10, thanks to a record 30 million passenger entries and exits.

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Energy and environment

Solar subsidy cuts lower than expected

Subsidies paid to households that generate solar power have been cut by less than expected. Earlier this year the Government announced it was intending to cut the feed in tariff by 85 per cent, but that
was reduced to 64 per cent when the final decision was announced this week.

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Wales tops Home Nations recycling table

Wales is recycling more household waste than England, Scotland and Northern Ireland, according to figures published by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs this week. The Welsh
Assembly Government’s Natural Resources Minister Carl Sargeant said the principality’s approach of setting statutory targets was paying dividends.

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First fracking licenses awarded

Regulators have awarded licenses that allow exclusive rights for companies to frack under 159 areas of the UK. The Oil and Gas Authority announced the agreements this week, prompting Energy
Minister Andrea Leadsom to reaffirm the Government’s position that gas will play a vital part in a low-carbon future.

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Other News

Business confidence at its lowest over the year

Businesses are predicting a gloomy six months ahead, with confidence in the future of the UK economy at its lowest in over a year, according to accountancy and business advisory firm BDO. In its December Business Trends Report,
BDO found that businesses were anticipating a slowdown in the rate of economic growth in 2016 as global economic problems start to impact UK demand.

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