Week commencing 5 June 2017

In today's bulletin

• UK house price growth slows after period of acceleration
• Rural local authorities missing affordable housing targets

• Tweaks to planning processes required to deliver Britain’s necessary infrastructure
• Renewable sources provide over half of UK electricity for the first time

Property, Planning and Regeneration

UK house price growth slows after period of acceleration

House price growth has slowed to 3.3 per cent in the year to May 2017, compared with 9.2 per cent growth in the year to May 2016, according to Halifax’s latest House Price Index. Published on 7 June 2017 the report did
have a more positive outlook for the months ahead, suggesting that house price growth would be supported by a continuing low supply of homes, low mortgage rates and a high employment rate.

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Less demand for homes as supply falters

Demand for homes and instructions from sellers fell in May, the latest Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) UK Residential Market Survey has revealed. According to RICS, the general election affected the number of new homes coming to market as many decided to wait until after the results to bring forward projects. New buyer enquiries fell nationwide after remaining
flat for six months, and agreed sales continued to fall for the second consecutive month, with 8 per cent more respondents reporting a fall in sales. Price growth slowed from 22 per cent to 17 per cent, the lowest rate since August 2016, with prices in central London particularly affected.

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Rural local authorities missing affordable housing targets

Councils are failing to meet affordable housing targets in rural areas, according to research from the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE), published on 6 June. An analysis of government data revealed that the proportion of affordable homes provided by rural local authorities has halved over the past five years. In 2011-2012, over a third of new properties in the countryside were affordable; in 2015-2016 this had fallen to 16 per cent.
With councils no longer receiving direct funding to build affordable homes, the majority of affordable housing is delivered by private developers through planning permission conditions. However, supply is often constrained when developers use viability assessments to justify building fewer affordable homes.

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Planning ‘vital’ in helping rural estates diversify

Tourism is the best option to unlock economic potential for rural estates, according to planning consultant Lichfields. Its Rural Estates report, published on 26 May 2017, argues that the recent fall in the pound has led to an increase in foreign tourists visiting the UK, as well as British people
increasingly opting for ‘staycations’. This is making it more and more profitable for rural estates to offer hotels and visitor attractions, thus allowing them to reduce their dependence on more traditional sources of income.

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Travel market of the future shaped by different type of tourist

Hotels will still be tourists’ top choice of accommodation by 2030, despite losing ground to alternative options, according to the latest Travel Megatrends report from Savills. The report predicts changes in accommodation type and destination although current popular holiday choices, such as Europe’s
‘gateway cities’, will continue to lead the way. The research, which looks to outline the shape of the travel market in thirteen years’ time, also predicts decreasing room size as well as tourists becoming more environmentally conscious and older on average.

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Tweaks to planning processes required to deliver Britain’s necessary infrastructure

The level of detail required by the NSIP process must be balanced with flexibility, according to research by the National Infrastructure Planning Association (NIPA). Its report released last week – entitled Effective National Infrastructure – aims to show how planning processes can be improved to provide better infrastructure outcomes.
Although NIPA suggests that a fundamental overhaul is not required, it recommends small and focused changes which will collectively address barriers to infrastructure delivery.

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Energy and environment

Renewable sources provide over half of UK electricity for the first time

Power from wind, solar, hydro and wood pellet burning supplied more than half of UK energy (50.7 per cent) for the first time last Wednesday, according to a tweet from National Grid. Renewable sources of energy generated more than coal and gas combined as sunny, windy weather produced
the perfect conditions. The lunchtime data showed solar panels generating 7.6 gigawatts (GW) of electricity, while wind farms made up 9.5GW of Britain’s power. The remainder was produced by 2GW of renewable biomass along with 0.2GW from hydro electricity.

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Britain has huge underused offshore wind farm potential

The UK could expand its offshore wind capacity to nearly five times its current level by the end of the next decade, according to Unleashing Europe’s Offshore Wind Potential, a new report from renewable energy consultant BVG Associates. Published on Tuesday 6 June, the report says that a capacity of 25 gigawatts (GW) could be installed around the UK coastline over the next ten
years, with the potential to power over 75 per cent of UK households. The report also found that the UK is continuing to lead the way with offshore wind, both in terms of energy production and economic attractiveness for investors.

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