Weekly Summary: 15th March 2024

DATA: ONS estimated monthly GDP fell 0.3% in year to Jan 2024

While lots of commentary on the release focussed on the 0.2% monthly growth, the overall picture is one of stagnation – though these figures are likely to be revised in the future.

DATA: ONS published Labour market overview for Mar 2024

They report a quarterly fall in job vacancies, a fall in nominal earnings growth to 5.6% including bonuses, and no change in the unemployment rate – though this last metric should be treated with caution given issues with the Labour Force Survey.

DATA: FCA/BoE published Mortgage lenders & administrators statistics

The FCA and BoE release covers a wide range of mortgage data for Q4 2023, including gross advances (33.8% lower than Q4 2022), new commitments (21.2% lower than Q4 2022), and a 50.3% increase in the value of outstanding mortgage balances with arrears.

DATA: DLUHC published modelling on housing stock condition by LA

The local authority level data provides “sub-regional estimates of housing stock condition” by dwelling type and tenure. The model results appear – at least from viewing the maps – to be much more driven by the region when compared to the previous release.

DATA: BoE published Inflation Attitudes Survey for Feb 2024

The survey shows inflation expectations are easing though “When asked what would be ‘best for you personally’, 23% of respondents said it would be better for them if interest rates were to ‘go up’”.

DATA: BSA published Property Tracker survey for Q1 2024

They report a net 28% of respondents expect house prices to rise over the next twelve months (41% expecting a rise less 14% expecting a fall), compared to -16% in Q1 last year. Despite this, more respondents think now is not a good time to buy than those who do.

DATA: HBF published Housing Pipeline Report for Q4 2023

As already reported in the DLUHC planning release, the number of homes granted planning approval was 231,215 in 2023, a 21% fall compared to the previous year.

POLICY: Scottish Government introduced Land Reform Bill

It “includes measures that will apply to large landholdings of over 1,000 hectares, prohibiting sales in certain cases until Ministers can consider the impact on the local community” and “will also help to empower communities with more opportunities to own land through introducing advance notice of certain sales from large landholdings”.

REPORT(PDF): RICS published February residential market survey

They report “Buyer demand continues to recover modestly alongside a rise in new instructions to sell”. They also report “Sales expected to rise modestly in the near-term and gain further momentum over the year ahead” and “House prices continue to stabilise with twelve-month projections signalling a return to growth”.

REPORT: CMA takes further action on leasehold and responds to DLUHC

 They report “further progress in relation to leases with less than 20-year doubling clauses” and in response to the DLUHC consultation: “welcomes the consideration of further ground rent reforms by the government and continues to consider that statutory intervention may be necessary to protect consumers from ongoing problems associated with expensive ground rents”.

REPORT: HoC Library published briefing on calculating housing need

It “explains how the government expects local authorities to assess and meet housing need. It also sets out recent changes made in December 2023”.

REPORT(PDF): HoC Public Accounts Committee reported on levelling up

It reports local authorities have been able to spend just over 10% of the promised Levelling Up funds and there is a lack of clarity on the status of the projects involved.

REPORT: NEF reported on social housing acquisitions in London

They report on the GLA’s Right to Buy Back scheme and Council Homes Acquisition Programme, and suggest “a national housing conversion fund, backed by significant grant funding, to enable councils across the country to deliver more acquisition”.

REPORT: CaCHE reported on student homelessness in Glasgow

The report covers the experience of students in Glasgow in 2022 when “Reports emerged of students with no accommodation, sofa-surfing, forced and unaffordable short-term solutions, as well as a litany of related and knock-on problems”.

REPORT(PDF): Create Streets reported on changing transport modelling

The have “redesigned the infrastructure, transport interventions and masterplan using the £75m Housing Infrastructure Fund (HIF) road budget, via a range of ‘Big Moves’ using a vision-led transport planning approach” to investigate the impact on housing development in Chippenham – though you have to scroll through a few pages of testimonials first.

CORPORATE: CMA launched Barratt/Redrow merger inquiry

They have issued a “preliminary ‘invitation to comment’ to allow interested parties to submit to the CMA any initial views on the impact that the transaction could have on competition in the UK”,

CORPORATE: Persimmon published Full Year Results

They report “Trading in the southern and eastern counties remains more challenging with weaker pricing, offset by a more robust trading performance in the northern regions. We continue to selectively use incentives, including part exchange, to drive reservations and overall, our net private sales rate per outlet per week was ahead in the first ten weeks of 2024 at 0.59 against 0.54 in the comparable period in 2023. Excluding bulk sales, the net private sales rate was 0.53 per outlet per week, broadly in line with the prior year”.

CORPORATE: Savills published Final Results

On UK residential, they report “Second-hand sales revenue declined by 23% with a reduction in the number of exchanges of 23%” while “Revenue from the sale of new homes reduced 24% year-on-year, reflecting a decrease of 27% in the number of exchanges”.

CORPORATE: Empiric Student Properties published preliminary results

They report “Like for like rental growth of 10.5% for academic year 2023/24, supported by dynamic pricing” and “99% revenue occupancy achieved for academic year 2023/24”. For they 2024/25 year, they have a “Strong bookings launch, with revenue occupancy in excess of 60% currently secured” and “Like for like rental growth in excess of 6% anticipated”.

CORPORATE: Vistry Group published Full Year results

They report “The resilience of the Group’s unique Partnerships model was clearly demonstrated in the year, delivering a total of 16,118 new homes in 2023, down only 5.4% on proforma prior year” and “In the year, 67% of total completions were from Registered Provider, Local Authority and Private Rented Sector (referred to together as Partner Funded) sales and 33% from Open Market sales”.

CORPORATE: Berkeley published Trading Statement

They report “Sales rates during the period have been consistent with the first half of Berkeley’s financial year, remaining around a third lower than the comparative year”.

Chart of the Week

This week features two charts, both based on FOI data (PDF) from Homes England on Help-to-Buy (H2B) equity loan repayments split by whether they were repaid on the sale of a property or not (via staircasing the full loan amount). Inevitably, the data shows a higher proportion of older loans have been repaid but the first chart shows a much higher percentage of pre-pandemic loans were paid off through staircasing rather than the sale of the property. This is probably to be expected given those older loans will have been approaching or past the point when interest was due. However, the second chart suggests that the underlying price growth of the property may also play a part. The chart shows the percentage return on the repaid loans (repaid value/original value). There’s a clear divergence in recent loan repayments, with those repaid via staircasing reporting much lower growth than those repaid via the sale of the property. Unfortunately, we don’t have any further detail that could explain why this is the case.

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