Can 200,000 starter homes be built by 2020?

The claim: The government will not be able to achieve the manifesto commitment to build 200,000 starter homes by 2020.

The verdict: It currently seems unlikely because money has only been set aside for 60,000 starter homes. Also, the current plan is for 22% of new developments to be starter homes, which would mean one million suitable homes being built by 2020 – that would be a significant acceleration of house building.

The government announced on Tuesday that it had given the go-ahead for the construction of thousands of starter homes.

Starter homes are new homes built for first-time buyers between 23 and 40 years old, sold at least 20% below market value. The maximum price after the discount has been applied is £250,000 outside London and £450,000 in the capital.

The Conservatives made a commitment in their manifesto for the 2015 general election to build 200,000 starter homes – the pledge to do so by 2020 was repeated in the call for expressions of interest in building starter homes that was released last March.

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Home improvements can affect your Home Insurance

Britain is a nation of property nuts and when it comes to home improvements we spend an absolute fortune.

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Recent figures from SAGA show that just over one in three homeowners splash out an average of £2,000 every year on changing their properties. As the price of buying a bigger and better property goes up, and to avoid the hassle and costs that go with moving, the mantra of many has become ‘Improve, don’t move’.

However, what plenty of property owners don’t realise is that they could be invalidating their Home Insurance by making improvements.

If major building work such as converting a loft into an extra bedroom or erecting a conservatory isn’t carried out correctly, following all the relevant permissions and regulations, or the insurer isn’t informed so that policy terms can be amended accordingly, then your cover may become null and void.

As the buildings element of a Home Insurance policy is based on a property at the point the insurance is taken out, it stands to reason that a change to the structure means that any existing cover may no longer apply.

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Housing market ‘settles down’ post-Brexit, says RICS

The price of houses and sales will likely continue to rise in the aftermath of the Brexit vote, with prices predicted to go up by 3.3% a year over the next five years, per the latest poll of surveyors.

BREXIT The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) found that a higher proportion of surveyors expected sales to rise in the next three months than at any time since February.

Simon Rubinsohn, chief economist at RICS, says:

“There are clear signs that the housing market is settling down after the initial surprise of the outcome to the EU referendum.

“Buyer enquiries did dip again in August but only modestly and, more significantly, sales expectations are beginning to edge upwards once again. It is likely the swift response from the Bank of England, both in terms of the lowering of the capital buffer and the cut in interest rates, has played a role in helping to support confidence.”

The poll suggests that both prices and sales are set to rise over both the next three months and 12 months as market activity becomes more stable.

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Structural warranty insurance for basement renovations

Since 2011, there has been a distinct rise in planning applications put forward each year for subterranean extensions. The trend has seen wealthy home owners dig downwards in order to create more space for their premises in which to fit saunas, swimming pools, gyms, cinemas and wine cellars within their properties.

Structural warranty insurance for basement renovations

A whopping 800 applications have been made for basement extensions in the Kensington and Chelsea areas alone, many of which have been passed without hesitation from planning officers.

It is not all plain sailing as far as basement extensions are concerned. The process comes with a degree of risk and in many cases, vast expense. Some cases prove to be more expensive than others. Earlier this year, a £3.5million London townhouse owned by Ex Phones4U boss collapsed after caving in whilst developers were part-way through works to create an extensive basement designed to accommodate a cinema, a wine room and gym.

The basement of the Georgian property in West London was in the process of being renovated when it collapsed causing the property to be reduced to rubble. Luckily no-one was injured during the building collapse.

Homeowners considering renovation projects and any form or self-build schemes need to ensure that they have the correct insurances in place to cover themselves to prepare for such an eventuality.

Whether you are building your ‘Dream Home’ or converting an existing building, Build-Zone’s 10 Year Structural Warranty is the best way to protect you against the effect that a major structural defect could have on what is possibly your largest investment.

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Are Self-Build Homes The Answer To London’s Housing Crisis?

Our city halls, like counterparts in other great cities, are grappling with the scale of globalisation and its demands.  They must deliver housing to satisfy the electorate, outsourcing flagship housing projects to developers to deliver results at scale. Are Self-Build Homes The Answer To London's Housing Crisis?

Developers argue that having taken the risk of readying the site, funded quality accommodation, and met regulations; there is limited scope for the affordable housing or community facilities that people crave.

As a result, London, like many cities, is lumbered with a system for controlling development rather than one that enables building. Demoralised planners operate in a quasi-legal environment, avoiding the opportunity to inspire physical building designs. Our councils are ignoring the exciting potential of both big developments and smaller brownfield locations to deliver viable, multi-purpose building sites.

Our leaders need not exercise this ‘command and control’ over housing. They’ve forgotten that housing was always delivered through the smallest units — a single street, terrace or building.  Communities were built this way over generations without a torrent of planning controls.

Local people will build again if essential conditions are put in place — common networks, agreed design approaches and incentives. These factors result in much wider physical uses for new buildings, a greater sense of place and more sustainable community growth and change.

But European cities haven’t forgotten the lesson of smallness: they’re successfully mixing ‘top down’ and ‘ground up’ approaches to urban renewal.

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