A succinct weekly take on the London property market and a roundup of headlines from the PropertyBrain team. Subscribe to the Friday Roundup here: http://pbra.in/pb-signup
Here’s a roundup of what we think are the big news stories this week:
* Britain has bowed to EU demands and agreed to fully honour its financial commitments as identified by Brussels, removing one of the biggest obstacles to a Brexit divorce settlement. According to several diplomats familiar with the talks, the UK would assume EU liabilities worth up to €100bn although net payments, discharged over many decades, could fall to less than half that amount. Prime Minister Theresa May is expected to formally present the breakthrough offer next week, with the UK side pressing for an implied figure of between €40bn and €45bn once UK receipts and other deductions are taken into account. The pound was 0.5% higher at $1.3404 on Wednesday morning, taking its rally against the dollar since the news broke overnight to just over 1%.
* According to data from Nationwide Building Society, House prices increased 2.5% in November from the same month in 2016, weaker than the 2.7% that was forecast by economists in a Reuters poll, and marks a significant decline from the 4.4% pace notched last November. However, it is expected that a lack of homes on the market was providing support to house prices.
* Transport secretary Chris Grayling has confirmed the reinstatement of rail services lost under the Beeching Axe in the 1960s in an attempt to unlock housing development and economic growth across the UK. The first line to be reinstated is the Oxford to Cambridge train line, also known as the East West line. This is in an area the government has identified for the development of up to a million new homes by 2050. The new line could transform the area, helping to double the rate of house-building and deliver the first new towns this country has seen for half a century. With this one of the most economically important parts of the UK, it could add billions of pounds a year to the national economy.
* The UK Government will launch a consultation on “a permitted development right to allow commercial buildings to be demolished and replaced with homes.” Permitted development rights mean that a development may be carried out without the need to apply for full planning permission. Currently, they only apply to commercial buildings which are being redeveloped into residential, rather than demolished. This was one of a series of Budget measures which the government said would help increase housing density in urban areas and ensure brownfield land was used efficiently.
* Grainger, the UK’s largest listed residential landlord, has boosted income as it increases focus on private rented accommodation. net rental income up 8% to £40.4m, as it commits £850m to private rented accommodation over four years as part of a strategic overhaul. The company claimed that the chancellor’s recent stamp duty cut for first time buyers would support future sales.
* The Mayor of London has outlined plans to build more than 250,000 new homes in the capital’s 13 outer suburbs after removing limits on the density of new residential developments within his draft London Plan. An additional ‘green measure’, sees the mayor outline plans for any new housing and office developments near public transport links to be car-free, with no parking other than for disabled people. The consultation on the draft plan ends in March 2018.
* UK residents are paying higher property taxes than anywhere else in the developed world, with receipts soaring past £80bn for the first time. New research by the OECD has revealed that the UK has the highest property taxes in the world both as a percentage of GDP and overall taxation.