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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A new company is created to oversee the UK’s largest self-build housing project.

A new company is to be created to oversee a self-build development of 1,900 homes

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The Graven Hill Village Holding Company will be responsible for providing housing at the former Ministry of Defence (MoD) site, near Bicester.

The company will be owned by Cherwell District Council and its subsidiary, the Graven Hill Village Development Company.

The council will be allowed to lawfully carry out commercial trading activity via them whilst retaining control of the site instead of selling it to a private developer.

The 187 hectare site will provides enough space for 1,900 self build homes, creating up to 2,000 new jobs and apprenticeships, a primary school, pub/restaurant and local shops.

Contracts exchanged with the MoD have allowed for the council to purchase the site which following completion, will be transferred to the development company.

Cherwell District Council leader, Barry Wood, said:

“Under the Localism Act 2011, local authorities can only carry out commercial trading activity through a company.

“As such, we had to consider numerous options including selling to a private developer, appointing a partner or forming our own company.

“After putting together an extensive business case, councillors have agreed the latter is the best option to ensure our vision is achieved.

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NFB and RIBA respond to Budget 2014

Following on from the Budget statement 2014 which took place yesterday, here is a summary of the responses from both RIBA and the National Federation of Builders.

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The National Federation of Builders (NFB) welcomed the chancellor’s continued recognition of construction and house building in the 2014 Budget statement. The £500 million Builders Finance Fund aimed at unblocking finance for small developers should help support existing government measures to boost small business finance such as the British Business Bank and help small builders to build.

The extension of Help to Buy, new measures to support self-build and the announcement that Ebbsfleet is set to be the first modern garden city are positive signs that government is supporting the construction industry and therefore the wider economy. However, the chancellor shied away from taking bolder steps to get Britain building such as including major housing projects under the Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects (NSIPs) planning regime.

Continued positive economic growth, as highlighted in the OBR forecasts, should help unlock further private investment and ensure a sustainable recovery in the construction industry but further planning reform and measures to boost retrofit were missed opportunities. The NFB hopes that all political parties will recognise the value of construction to the economy as they prepare their 2015 manifestos as it is a sector that generates £2.84 for every £1 invested.

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