Week commencing 15 February 2016

In today's bulletin

• Rate of house price growth decreases
• First home ownership rise in a decade

• Transport watchdog sets out keys to success for mayoral candidates
• CfD costing consumers billions, report claims

Property, Planning and Regeneration

Rate of house price growth decreases

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) released its latest House Price Index on Tuesday, showing that UK house prices increased by 6.7 per cent in the year to December 2015. This represented a slowdown from 7.7 per cent
in the year to November 2015. Excluding London and the South East, the increase in UK house prices was 4.6 per cent to December 2015.

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London renter to homeowner ratio to shift

The capital is undergoing a fundamental shift in home ownership, suggests an analysis published by PwC on Tuesday 16 February. While almost 60 per cent of Londoners owned the home they lived in (either outright or with
a mortgage) with 40 per cent renting in 2000, the research suggests this could reversed by 2025. PwC also predicts falling levels of home ownership across the rest of the UK regions.

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First home ownership rise in a decade

A small annual increase in home ownership was recorded in the 2014/15 English Housing Survey, the first rise since 2005.

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London’s mayor needs new powers to solve housing crisis

The Mayor of London should be given the power to seize vacant commercial property from its owners to help solve the housing crisis, says think-tank Policy Exchange. In a report titled The Homes London Needs, published on
Wednesday 17 February, the group argued that empty factories, warehouses, unused shops and car parks in London could provide 21,000 low-cost homes a year if used for housing.

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“Affordable” housing found to be unaffordable

Discounted first homes could still be too expensive for most families in need of affordable housing, according to analysis released by the Local
Government Association on 17 February.

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London could adopt NYC skyline to solve housing woes

The Department for Communities and Local Government has launched a consultation into developing tall buildings as a part of the solution to
increasing housing supply in London, while protecting the green belt.

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Transport watchdog sets out keys to success for mayoral candidates

Transport watchdog London TravelWatch has released a list of 10 key policies the successful London mayoral candidate should adopt to improve transport services. The policies range from finding ways to better manage disruption, to sustaining investment in the network, in addition to a provision that
any 15 minute delay to National Rail services should trigger automatic compensation. The group plans to discuss its suggestions with the candidates before May’s election.

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New roads director appointed at Department for Transport

The new director general of roads, devolution and motoring at the Department for Transport has been named as current aviation director Tricia Hayes. Ms Hayes has been a director at the department since 2007
and has 28 years experience in the civil service. She will replace John Dowie who has been acting head since May last year, in March.

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Water rescue charities given funding boost

Over £900,000 of government funding has been divided between 51 voluntary water rescue charities to help pay for equipment and training. The funding will go to groups around the UK who work on and around inland and inshore waterways. Applications were assessed by a panel of experts before
the successful groups were announced on Thursday. This is part of a five year scheme launched in 2015 with the award of more than £800,000 to 21 charities.

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Energy and environment

EDF delays nuclear site closures but still no announcement on Hinkley Point C

EDF this week announced it was extending the life of four nuclear power stations, easing pressure on the UK’s dwindling energy gap. Sites at Heysham 1 and Hartlepool will now close in 2024 as opposed to 2019 and Heysham 2
and Torness will remain online seven years longer than previously envisaged, until 2030. There was no announcement on the firm’s proposed new plant at Hinkley Point.

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CfD costing consumers billions, report claims

Contracts for Difference (CfD) auctions should be opened up to a wider mix of technologies, saving consumers up to £2 billion, according to a report published this week. The report, commissioned by energy company Drax,
was authored by NERA Economic Consulting and Imperial College. The report criticises the CfD’s focus on intermittent technologies and claims that hidden costs inflate the costs of technologies like solar, wind and biomass.

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