New Scottish Government plans for housing are to deny thousands of families the chance to buy their council house as Ministers want to scrap the right to buy that tenants currently have. The proposal has had mixed reviews with the Tory’s describing it as ‘political vandalism’ while charities welcomed the change in legislation as part of a new Housing Bill.
The right to buy was introduced by Margaret Thatcher and has no doubt helped hundreds of thousands of Scottish residents get on the housing ladder. Under the current legislation, tenants who have been in a council owned property for more than 5 years are able to buy it at a reduced price.
Affordable housing is at a premium in the UK, with the population at it’s highest point since records began and pressure from environmentalists to leave green spaces alone. A tough situation for those thousands of young families and individuals looking for a roof over their head.
But there are thousands more people making money, illegally, from this situation, as tenants of council houses sub-let their property for a higher price, often while claiming benefits. Thankfully, the law is closing in on these criminals and many have already been prosecuted as this article from the London Evening Standard describes, read more…
After reports last week that over 1 million UK homeowners have used a credit card to make mortgage payments, we weren’t the only ones to raise concerns. Co-owner of the Homeowners Advice Centre, Chris Jenkins has made it clear that using plastic to stop repossession is a losing battle as unless you take action to change your situation, your credit will run out and repossession will still be a possibility.
The stats on this were released by housing charity Shelter which are urging people not to go down this road as in the long term, paying a mortgage by credit card can only leave you with even more debt and more financial problems.
The housing market in the UK is still a sorry state of affairs, despite the fact that mortgage lenders are now starting to offer more competitive packages. The truth remains that until the market has been fully brought back to life, homeowners will no doubt look at all other means of getting a quick house sale.
There are a few options available, including the relatively new idea of house swapping where you can match your house to a buyers needs and take out the middleman. Another possible route is an auction where you can be guaranteed of a sale but the price you achieve will invariably be less than if you sold yourself. A third option is a sale and rent back scheme, these are aimed at homeowners that are facing repossession or need to free up cash but stay in the area. Remember to always look into all the options when considering a fast house sale and seek impartial advice from the CAB and other trusted sources.
A bit of construction industry news for you now – Housing Developer Balfour Beatty has boosted its affordable housing arm by acquiring Strata Construction who specialise in low cost developments. The move is no doubt a reaction to the current market which has seen an increase in sell and rent back deals and a wholesale move towards low priced property as people struggle to get a mortgage.
The price tag on Strata was £10.3m and was purchased primarily to increase exposure to the affordable housing market in Yorkshire. With Balfour being one of the biggest constructors in the UK, their business is a good indication of the industry as a whole and their recent announcement of contracts worth more than £206m with QinetiQ can only be a good thing.
The latest research by RICS (the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors) says that the number of houses for sale in the UK will rise throughout 2010 as the market picks up. However, demand from buyers will be so high that even a sharp rise in properties for sale will not cater for everyone in need of a home.
This supply and demand issue will of course increase prices but the RICS say this is only likely to be 1 to 2% on top of the current national average. The good news for those thinking: “I’d like to sell my house fast” is that this will become more likely in 2010. The RICS reckons that increased prices and lending will see the average volume of transactions rise from 50,000 to 70,000 by the end of the year.
After our post on Saturday about the lack of housing causing the property boom, we can now see the further affects of poor housing plans and insufficient developments. A contoversial housing development has been given the green light in Ryedale, North Yorkshire that will see a development crammed onto a site despite claims from residents that it will result in dangerous road conditions.
Sites such as this, where locals are resistant to development, are a result of potential green belt and preferred locations going unutilised. Planners have approved 15 new homes on the site with the aim of providing affordable housing for residents.
If you’re looking for a house in the UK, a recent announcement from the Housing Charity Shelter may not be what you want hear. They had a look at the Havering Council waiting list and revealed that it will take 15 years to house everyone waiting for a property.
In total, more than 9000 people are waiting for accommodation which is a lot and when you consider that only 600 homes were let by the council last year. Based on these figures, anyone hoping for a property soon may well be in for a wait as all 9000 residents would take 15 years to re-home. This is further magnified when you consider that the national average is 7 years.
We’re now in the lowest of lows the housing market has ever seen with the average price the same as it was 6 years ago before the boom. This catastophic dip is only here because of the massive high we all experienced, but how did prices get so high?
Some believe it was the doing of TV property shows as they encouraged home owners to knock down a wall and charge twice as much. Others think prices achieved unpresidented levels because there was insufficient planning and use of green belt locations for new developments. Either way, the days when mortgages were given out in cereal boxes and a quick house sale was the norm are gone and house prices have regained some normality.
The rather worrying results of the Joseph Rowntree Report were released this week and show that poverty has been rising in the UK since 2004. According to their figures, it is now at the same level as it was in 2000.
Interestingly, the report also highlights that even before the recession, people were stuggling to find work and avoid repossession, which only got worse when the downturn hit. They put the actual turning point (from decreasing to rising poverty) around 2004-05 as this was when both unemployment and property repossessions began to increase. Let’s just hope we can find some of that good old fashioned British Spirit and combine it with Government support to get things looking rosy again.