Second Quarter NHBC statistics show continued growth for housebuilding sector

On Wednesday 29 July, NHBC announced their Q2 housing registration statistics. These statistics cover 80 per cent plus of the market, making them the leading indicator of activity.

  Second Quarter NHBC statistics show continued growth for housebuilding sector

The main headlines for Q2 were that housebuilding continues to steadily climb; figures were up 12 per cent on Q2 2014 with a total of 41,268 registrations – meaning six consecutive quarters of growth reported by the NHBC. The statistics also showed that, while private registrations continue to dominate the market – a total of 30,462 registrations were recorded in the private, sector, up I I per cent on 2014 – public registrations saw the bigger climb on last year, with I 0,806 registrations, an increase of l3 per cent.

However, the most notable headline was the increase in registered retirement properties. So far in 2015, 2,337 retirement properties have been registered – a figure that beats registrations for the whole of 2014, which totalled at 1,919.

While these figures are positive, McCarthy & Stone’s Group Operations Director Mike Jennings explained why the company believe a lack of retirement properties is something the government needs to address.

He explained:

“As the UK’s leading retirement house builder we are encouraged to see a growing number of retirement property registrations. In the  first six months of 2015 we have registered 1,850 new retirement apartments with the NHBC and we will be investing.€2 billion in land and build over the next four years, which will deliver around 12,000 new retirement properties.”

“However, while we welcome the government work to get the housebuilding sector building again, more has to be done to address the needs of later life buyers. There is a chronic undersupply of specialist retirement housing in the UK. ‘We would like to see a national strategy for retirement housing and stronger government policies to support its provision.” An increasing number of buyers are aged over 55, coinciding with the UK’s growing population.

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Interest rate rises will hit British households hard, say economists

The first rise in Bank Rate could be just months away. How will mortgage rates react, and what should borrowers do?

Interest rate rises will hit British households hard, say economists

Mortgage borrowers have been rattled by fears that their interest rate may rise following indications from the Bank of England that the first increase in the official cost of borrowing is only months away. This is becoming a concern for current property owners and first timers, it is also a concern for self-builders who already have to consider structural warranties on new buildings before their mortgage is issued.

The rate at which lenders can access money to lend is the key to what they charge you. They usually get this money either from savers’ deposits or by borrowing from other banks on the money markets.

For fixed-rate mortgages, which are more popular when the cost of borrowing is about to rise, the key rate that determines what banks pay for their funds is called the “swap” rate. Swap rates react to expectations of future interest rates and inflation.

The other major factor is competition for mortgage business. Lenders have been competing fiercely to attract customers in order to meet their lending targets and this has helped to keep mortgage rates at record lows for much of the year.

It’s slightly different for tracker mortgages, which are less popular at the moment. Here, the key wholesale rate is “Libor”, which is currently a little above Bank Rate.

Barclays has increased the rate on its popular five-year mortgage from 2.39pc to 2.59pc. It also increased the rate on its market-leading 10-year loan from 2.99pc to 3.25pc.

Santander withdrew its popular 2.19pc five-year fix and increased the cost of a range of other deals, including two-year fixes, although only by 0.1 of a percentage point.

But amid these price rises other lenders, such as HSBC and Coventry, cut their rates last week in a bid to attract customers.

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If your mortgage is the single biggest expenditure, see the guide to Remortgaging in 2015

If your mortgage is your single biggest expenditure, cutting its cost is likely to be your biggest single money saver.

UK mortgage market

The UK mortgage market is one of the most competitive in the world, yet the number of deals out there makes it hard to know what’s best for you. There may be a deal out there for you, but it’s got tougher. Therefore the aim is to find the best deal for you and to figure out whether you’re eligible for it.

This guide is for anyone who already has a mortgage on their home. A re-mortgage can be for many reasons – maybe you’re coming to the end of your current deal, or your deals no longer right for you. Or maybe you want to try and cut costs, or consolidate debts?

Remortgaging means shifting your mortgage from one lender to another to get yourself a better deal, you don’t even have to move house to do it. There are many reasons why re-mortgaging could make sense for you but the main one is simple, saving money.

A mortgage is the biggest financial commitment for most people, for some; sticking on the standard variable rate (the rate you ended up paying after your introductory offer has ended) is the best option. However, it is always worth challenging your current lender to give you a new offer as it could reduce the fees you pay to get a new deal.

If you feel that it is time to move onto the next provider, remember that although this will save you money in the long run, re-mortgaging comes at a price. Mortgage interest rates have dropped, the fees lenders levy have increased significantly and you may need to pay an exit fee to leave your current lender and, depending on your deal and early repayment charge as well.

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Carillion Igloo Genesis wins contact to build London’s first “floating village”

The Carillion Igloo Genesis consortium has been selected to design and build Britain’s first floating village at London’s Royal Docks.

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 As part of his on-going drive to transform the Royal Docks, the plan for the village was announced by Mayor of London Borris Johnson in February last year.

Carillion Igloo Genesis has now been chosen to transform the 15 acres of water at the Royal Victoria Dock site, sitting directly to the east of the Emirates Airline. The project will create a community with floating homes, restaurants, cafes and bars.

Carillion Igloo Genesis’ submission is 100% floating with the walkways, residential and non-residential units anchored in place using a series of piles located within the dock and connected to the dock by bridges.

Although a new concept for the UK, floating developments are already a popular idea in other places, including schemes at ljburg near Amsterdam and Hafen City in Hamburg.

Included in the winning consortium’s scheme is a custom-build approach for each of the 50 residential homes, enabling prospective occupiers to join in on the design process of their homes. Facilities will include a market square, a multi-purpose events space and cafes, shops and leisure and office space. Other proposals included as part of the bid include plans for additional facilities, such as a floating Lido and an ice rink.

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Residential values saw increase in May

Contract award values within the residential sector in May were considerably higher than last year showing the continued strength of the sector.

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According to the economic and structure and construction review, activity in the residential sector sustained its recent strength in May with the total value of contract awards £1.79 billion, based on a three month rolling average.

This is 10% higher than April and is also a 3% increase compared to April 2013 indicating the rise in activity experienced in the sector over the last 12 months.

The amount of units associated with residential contracts awarded dropped by 1.3% between April and May 2014, based on a three month rolling average, but were 19.2% higher than May 2013, confirming the upturn in the market.

Sector Performance

The latest house price indices for May from Nationwide and Halifax showed that current prices were

11.1% and 8.7% higher than last year. Price rises, which are even more severe in London, are creating fears of a house price bubble and as such calls for controls to be put in place have been made.

Other factors however suggest that the market may be calming down as the Bank of England reports that mortgage approvals fell to a nine month low in April, and RICS reported that new buyer inquiries slowed for the fifth month in a row.

It is however unclear whether or not tighter restrictions in lending set out in the Mortgage Market Review are the cause. There has already been notable shifts from two of the UK’s largest lenders in the last month with RBS and Lloyd’s both cutting back lending on loans with high loan to income multiples.

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