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19 December 2007

"Moderate housing growth" says NHBC

A total of 44,316  new homes were completed in three months August to October a 5% increase on the corresponding period in 2006 according to NHBC statistics.

This comprised of 37,093 private sector homes, a 3% increase on 2006 and 7,223 Housing Association completions for the same period an increase of 20% on  2006.

The year-to-October completions total 149,127, up just 1% on 2006 (147,082).

22 November 2007

The Callcutt Review of Housebuilding Delivery was published today

The purpose of the Review was:

1) To examine how the supply of new homes is influenced by the nature and structure of the housebuilding industry, the business  and the supply of land, materials and skilled labour.

2) To consider how these factors influence the delivery of new homes to achieve the Government's target of 200,000 new homes per year, meeting housebuyers' needs and expectations, achieving high standards of energy efficiency and sustainability as set out in the Code for Sustainable Homes, and progressing to a zero carbon standard; and

3) To make recommendations.

To download a PDF of the review publication go to:

Callcutt Review of House Building November 2007  HBF Submission

22 November 2007

Home information packs extended to all homes from 14th December 2007

All homes marketed for sale from 14 December 2007 in England and Wales will now need a Home Information Pack (HIP).  This includes 11 and 2 bedroom homes which had been previously exempt.

The NHBC sought clarification from the Department for Communities & Local Government that new homes properties being built to 2006 Part L Building Regs will NOT require a HIP from housebuilders until 6 April 2008.

8 November 2007

House Prices continue to tumble

The Halifax House Price Index showed house prices down for the second month running. Last month prices dropped 0.5% compared to a 0.6% monthly fall in September. The report says “this continues the steady downward trend experienced since the end of 2006

Activity is also declining with mortgage approvals falling by 6% in September. The new buyer interest in purchasing a new home fell for the tenth month in a row, further evidence that buyers are more cautious in the slowing market.

To see the full report click here

26 October 2007

Energy performance Requirement for new homes put back!

Is this Hips all over again?  Just after the announcement was made for the requirement of individual energy assessment on completion; for all newly-built homes in England and Wales which was due to come into effect on 1 January 2008, an announcement has just been made by CLG that the implementation of the EPBD for 'On Construction' will be postponed until 6 April 2008, along with other changes!

Could this be because 1 January is too close to the majority of house builder’s end of year?

20 October 2007

Energy Performance Requirement for new homes

Currently, the Building Regulations require energy ratings for new dwellings to be assessed on a worst case basis. From 1 January 2008, there will be a requirement for every new home to be individually assessed when physically completed, and an Energy Performance Certificate must be given to the homeowner, with evidence provided to the building control body. This change comes as a result of the Government's implementation of the European Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD), which applies to all dwellings completed from 1 January 2008, irrespective of Building Regulations used.

14 September 2007

Northern Rock bailed out by Bank of England

The country’s fifth largest bank was given an unconditional loan facility by the Bank of England to offset liquidity problems it is experiencing due to the recent turmoil on the international money markets.  However this has led to a lack of confidence amongst the bank’s savers, who formed long queues to withdraw their savings. At midday on 15 September customers had withdrawn over £1 billion.  The share price dropped 32% yesterday and is now considered a takeover target.

10 September 2007

HIPS extended to include three Bedroom houses

From 10 September, all homes with three bedrooms or more will now require the controversial Home Information Pack or HIP.  Hamptons the estate agents, are offering to organise and prepare a home information pack, for free however,  you are tied to a sole agency agreement for up to twelve months.

30 June 2007

Channel 4 Dispatches Programme on new homes

It was claimed on a recent Dispatches programme that house builders manipulated the planning process and  influenced British politics. The new PPS3 which came in force in April this year, requires all Councils to follow the guidelines when making planning decisions. However, it was claimed that the House Builders Federation lobbied against the affordable homes provision and the social housing requirement and these were subsequently dropped and reduced.

It was also claimed that a builder in London falsified letters to the local Council "in favour of the development" for a site at Imperial Wharf in London. Peoples  identities were used after a door to door survey by the builders lobbyist.

The programme also stated that there were records of at least nine instances where planning permission was given to a developer who had paid money to the political party that controlled the planning decisions,  just prior to the planning application were considered.

It was claimed that the house builders are sitting on a landbank of 225,000 new homes and restrict development to maintain property price levels.

27 June 2007

Is a house price crash coming soon?

With many of the two year fixed-rate mortgage deals coming to a end and new deals likely to be 2% higher with larger arrangement fees of up to £2000 or higher, it is likely that up to two million homeowners will face increases in their repayments, by up to 30% by the end of this year.

With the Bank of England also likely to increase the base rate by a further 0.25% to 0.5% in the near future, many market commentators are forecasting a property price reversal of up to 30% if the base rate rises a further 1%.

Many borrowers have taken out 100% or higher mortgages and there is the distinct prospect of increasing negative equity - where a borrower’s home is valued less than their mortgage.

22 June 2007

The Office of Fair Trading announces "groundbreaking study into UK house building market"

The OFT is launching a market study into the £20bn a year UK housebuilding industry. The study will allow the OFT to consider the potential competition and consumer concerns within the market and will focus on two principal areas:

The delivery of housing - whether land which is suitable for development is being effectively brought through to the planning approval stage and whether land with planning permission is being converted effectively into homes, and

Customer satisfaction - the homebuyer’s satisfaction with the properties available.

The OFT has been monitoring the sector and is concerned that it may not be working well for consumers.  Recent  press coverage reported that it was believed that the larger housebuilders were sitting on large land banks in effect, waiting for property prices to rise further and, as a consequence, reducing the supply of available new homes, with the resultant shortage underpinning higher price levels.

This is the first in depth study of competition and consumer issues in the new homes industry and the study is due to be completed in summer 2008.

Click to download OFT Housebuilding - reasons for market study

28 May 2007

The new Consumers, Estate Agents and Redress Bill

This will only refer to sales of residential properties and not lettings. The Bill forces all 12,000 Estate Agents to belong to a recognised ombudsman scheme which will make rulings on disputes and force rogue agents to compensate victims. However, this will not apply to complaints against estate agents acting for landlords, or for landlords against an agent managing their property. Complaints by landlords has been increasing at the fastest rate, following the boom in by-to-let sales. The bill also does not apply to developers selling direct to homebuyers.

23 May 2007

Home Information Packs delayed!

The controversial introduction of Home Information Packs (HIPS) has been delayed until 1st August 2007.  Even then, it will only apply to homes with four bedrooms or larger. The government intends a gradual  introduction of the requirement for smaller homes, but has, as yet, not given any timetable for this.  

Until the end of this year, sellers of four bedroom homes can market  their properties without a HIP; provided they have “commissioned” one and it is no longer required on the first day the home is marketed.

Following the earlier scrapping of the requirement for a Home Condition report, this is yet a further climbdown, due this time to a national shortage of Energy Performance Assessors. Only 520 have been trained with a  further 1500  currently being trained and experts believe over 2000 will be required to make HIPS work.  

The ongoing delay and changes to the requirements will only serve to further confuse and for those who have already been trained, this delay will leave them out of work and out of pocket.

13 May 2007

Plans for Eco-Towns

Gordon Brown will announce plans to build up to five new “eco- towns” each providing 100,000 new homes. The new houses will be powered by wind and solar power, using recycled building materials and hi tech insulation and will be built on “brownfield sites”. Trees will be planted to offset any “carbon footprint” and public transport access will be designed to keep car use to a minimum. Buyers will  benefit in reduced energy bills and will also not have to pay Stamp Duty.

The first development is planned for Oakington Barracks in Cambridgeshire with around 400,00 eco-homes build across the country. Gordon Brown says he will change planning rules to greatly restrict developments on “greenfield sites”.  It is intended that all new developments will be on disused “brownfield” land. As part of this plan there will be more shared equity schemes and an increase in social housing.

1 May 2007

Home Information Packs

On 1st June 2007 house sellers will be required to compile a Home Information Pack (HIP) for potential buyers before they put their homes on the market. Compulsory documents to be included are:

Energy Performance Certificate : Sale statement  : Standard searches and

Evidence of title and additional information for leasehold and commonhold sales, where appropriate.

It is thought that there is a national shortage of trained accredited Energy Assessors to complete the energy performance  certificate, a detailed report on how energy efficient a property is and recommendations to make it more energy efficient.

For further information on HIPS visit:

1 May 2007

House Prices on the rise

The Halifax report that house prices have risen 10.9% during the year to 30 April 2007. The average house price is now £196,740.  The Land Registry report price rise of 8.3% and average price of £178,423, with the Nationwide reporting an annual rise of 10.2% and an average house price of £180,314

28 April 2007

NHBC statistics show sales on increase

Recently released statistics for the three months from December 2006 to February 2007 reveal the average number of new homes sold each day in the UK was 724, an increase of 27% on the same period a year ago (568).

In addition,  Housing association completions totalled 8,084 in the three months to the end of February 2007, an increase of 56 per cent on the corresponding period a year ago (5,187).

8 April 2007

New Laws to protect home buyers

The new Consumers, Estate Agents and Redress Bill will force all estate agents to keep their records for six years and force them to  belong to an ombudsman scheme. However there is, at present, no provision or requirement for housebuilders to sign up despite the fact that they sell thousands of new homes every year from sales rooms on development sites.  The House Builders Federation said “We sell in a completely different market situation and we are not aware that this protection is needed.”

25 March 2007

Taylor Woodrow and George Wimpey in £5bn merger deal

It is expected this week, that an announcement will be made of the all-share "merger of equals" to create  Britain’s biggest house builder and propel the new company into the FTSE 100 index.  This deal is set to put the £2bn takeover of Wilson Bowden (David Wilson Homes) by Barratt Developments in the shade.  

The merger of the 3rd and 4th biggest house builders is expected to create millions of pounds in cost savings and boost it’s  landbank.  Wimpey, who  recently lost out on the Wilson Bowden ‘auction’, posted profits last year of £370.9 million on a turnover of £3.15 billion and built 13,616 homes last year.

Taylor Woodrow, announced profits of £406 million (down £5 million on last year) despite a rise in sales to £3.68 billion. They trade under the Bryant name. A company they took over a few years ago building a total of 13,165 new homes in 2006.

Shares in both companies rose last week, Taylor Woodrow up 5.3% to 420.5p and George Wimpey up 12.4% to 635p valuing the companies at £2.45 billion and £2.55 billion respectively.

Over the last 10 years,  22 building companies have been lost to mergers and acquisitions.

It is thought that the increased recent activity  is being fuelled by a general shortage of land with the larger companies being better placed to develop land as it comes on to the market. They are also engaged in long term strategic land acquisitions which they seek to obtain planning permission at a future date.

15 March 2007

New homes petition launched

If you want greater protection when you buy a new home sign the petition at:

It reads: "When you buy a new home, you get a 2 year warranty provided by the builder. If you have a dispute with your builder, the NHBC can step in to arbitrate but they are paid for by the builders (about 10% of your house price goes to them). Houses can be handed over from the builders with hundreds of defects and getting them rectified can take months/years. You have more consumer rights buying a tin of beans from your supermarket. I petition the Government to introduce a government regulator to oversee this industry."

8 March 2007

NHBC statistics show number of new homes up 7% on 2005

The NHBC's statistics reveal that 185,000 new homes were built in 2006. This is  up 7% on 2005 and 25% higher than in 2001.

In the last quarter of 2006, 73% of new homes were sold for more than £150,000 a 4% increase on the same period in 2005.

The 'first time buyers ability to buy index' fell by 9 points at the end of 2006 to 58. This index is based on house prices, income and interest rates. The higher the number, the greater the ability to buy.

5 February 2007

Barratt Developments buys Wilson Bowden

The board of house builder David Wilson Homes, part of the Wilson Bowden plc, has backed a £2.2 billion takeover by Barratt Developments.  Barratt said the purchase would provide a more balanced regional profile, as well as an increased land-bank, representing more than five years worth of supply.

The proposed deal, which still requires the approval of shareholders other than the Wilson family, would create a company with a stock market value equal to Persimmon, currently Britain’s largest house builder and the first house builder to be placed in the FTSE 100 index.

The deal will net Wilson a family fortune of around £700 million in cash and shares.

21 January 2007

Linden in buyout talks

Linden Homes, the south east regional house builder, is in exclusive talks with Galliford Try with a view to a £200 million takeover.  Linden, which last year made a profit of £12.8m on a turnover of £280m builds around 1100 homes a year. HBoS has a 35% stake in Linden following the management buyout in 2000.

21 January 2007

David Wilson Homes In takeover speculation

Wilson Bowden, parent company of David Wilson Homes is the subject of takeover speculation. Scottish Tycoon Sir Tom Hunter and HBoS have joined forces to table a £2 billion-plus cash bid.

Barratt Developments and George Wimpey are also poised to offer up to £2.2 billion. Wilson Bowden shares were up 33p to 2300p at Friday's close (20/1/07)

19 January 2007

Crest Nicholson in take over speculation

Crest Nicholson plc has been approached by the HBoS banking group consortium to take over the company. Last year Crest successfully fought off a bid from Gerald Ronson’s Heron - Crest's largest shareholder at that time.

NEWS from 2006

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