Week commencing 15 April 2019

In today's bulletin

  • Government vows to end unfair evictions
  • Expansion of affordable housing supply needed
  • NIC calls for diesel HGV ban
  • UK and Sweden lead the way with new wind farm investment

Property, Planning and Regeneration

Government announces consultation on ‘no-fault’ evictions

Private landlords could be prevented from evicting tenants without good reason and at short notice under plans announced by the Rt Hon James Brokenshire MP, Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government.
The Government announced on 15 April that it intends to consult on the abolition of Section 21 evictions, known as ‘no-fault’ evictions. The consultation will also consider changes to the Section 8 eviction process, giving landlords the ability to regain their home if they decide to sell or move into the property.

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Expansion of affordable housing supply needed to meet homes target

An increase in grant funding for affordable housing is needed to meet the Government target of 300,000 new homes a year in England by the mid-2020s, according to a new report from Savills.
Co-sponsored by the National Housing Federation, the G15 group of housing associations and Homes for the North, the report found that the annual need for affordable housing in England is 2.6 times greater than the supply. Published on 16 April, the report argued that a cooling housing market and the tapering of Help to Buy would undermine private sector delivery.

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London still attracting retailers

International retailers continue to see London as an appealing city for expansion, despite the challenging UK retail climate, according to research from Savills.
The international real estate advisor found that 33 international retailers opened their first stores in London last year, an increase of 27 per cent from 2017. The trend looks set to continue in 2019 with three new stores already opened and a further 11 in the pipeline for the capital.

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Month-on-month house prices receive spring boost

The cost of new-to-the-market homes rose by 1.1 per cent in April 2019, the largest at this time of year since 2016, a new report by Rightmove has revealed.
Published on 15 April the report suggests this could be due to the Brexit delay, which has reduced short-term uncertainty in the housing market. The family home sector is the highest performing, with only a 0.4 per cent drop in year-on-year sales.

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Brexit standoff subduing the market

Demand from house buyers fell for the eighth month in a row in March as Brexit continues to dent the housing market, according to the latest RICS UK Residential Market Survey.
Despite the consistent drop in demand and prices, the survey published on 11 April, found that respondents still envisaged house prices rising in the next 12 months.

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First-time buyer mortgages up 4.1 per cent

The number of new first-time buyer mortgages increased for the fifth consecutive month in February, UK Finance’s latest Mortgage Trends Update has found.
Published on 17 April, the figures show 24,880 completed first-time buyer mortgages across the month, up 4.1 per cent from the corresponding period in 2018. UK Finance also revealed that there were 4,800 new buy-to-let home purchase mortgages completed in February, down 7.7 per cent from the same month in 2018 with the value of the mortgages down by 14.3 per cent.

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Transport

NIC calls for diesel HGV ban

The National Infrastructure Commission (NIC) has called on the Government to ban the sale of diesel HGV lorries by 2040 in a new report published on 17 April.
Better Delivery; the challenge for freight argues that new advances in technology will allow environmentally friendly hydrogen and battery vehicles to be made commercially available in the early 2020s, enabling the replacement of diesel options.

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Transport improvements can improve mental health

A new report from WPI Economics, commissioned by London City Airport, has highlighted the impact of stressful travel on mental health and set out proposals to tackle the issue.
Measures highlighted in the report, published on 17 April, include the improvement of infrastructure to reduce congestion, better design for transport hubs, and the expansion of airport capacity in the south east.

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Energy and environment

UK and Sweden lead the way with new wind farm investment

Europe invested €27 billion in new wind farms in 2018, according to WindEurope’s annual Financing and Investment Trends report.
Published on 18 April, the report found a total of 190 wind farms across 22 European countries reached Final Investment Decision (FID) last year, with the UK and Sweden leading the way as the biggest investors. WindEurope suggested the cost reduction in offshore wind could finance a record 16.7GW of new wind capacity.

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Gas and renewables on the way up as coal declines

Natural gas overtook coal as the leading source of electricity for the first time in member states of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), data published by the International Environment Agency (IEA) reveals.
The figures show that the combination of all renewable sources accounted for 27.4 per cent of supplies globally, with wind generation making up 18 per cent of the UK’s power source.

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Light pollution limiting human health and impacting wildlife, says CPRE

The Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) has urged the Government, local councils and general public to do more to limit the impact of artificial light from streets and buildings.
The call came on 16 April with publication of Star Count 2019, the latest CPRE survey of night skies across the country, which took place in February. According to the countryside charity, only two per cent of participants were able to fully experience a dark sky full of stars, with over half of participants seeing fewer than ten stars.

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Other News

Warmer weather boosts retail footfall

Figures released by the British Retail Consortium and Springboard on 15 April show that retail footfall increased by 1.4 per cent year-on-year in March.
The best results were seen on the high street as footfall increased by 2.5 per cent, compared to a decline of 8.6 per cent in March 2018. This was above the three-month average growth of 0.2 per cent.

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