Weekly Summary: 18th February 2022

DATA: ONS reported UK house prices rose 10.8% in 2021

The completion-based index was the last of the major indices to report though this figure will probably be revised in future months as more sales are registered with Land Registry.

DATA: DLUHC reported 7,270 Help to Buy equity loan completions in Q3

Housebuilding completions using the scheme were 46% lower than the same quarter in 2020. This partly reflects the change in the scheme which is now limited to first time buyers and subject to regional price caps, and the 2020 rebound following the market reopening.

DATA: ONS reported UK private rents rose 2% in the year to January 2022

The index is based on all rents paid rather than new rents agreed. As such it tends to lag behind other rental indices. ONS are working on a new methodology but actual data is not expected until 2023 at the earliest.

DATA: ONS reported annual inflation (CPI) of 5.5% in January 2022

This was a slight increase compared to the 5.4% reported the previous month. The RPI measure reported annual inflation of 7.8% in January.

DATA: ONS reported a continued recovery in the labour market

Although metrics such as employment and unemployment continue to recover to levels recorded prior to the pandemic, the slow pace of recovery raises concern about the underlying state of the economy prior to pandemic.

POLICY: DLUHC announced new measures to protect leaseholders

The announcements include blocking developers and product manufacturers from the housing market if they don’t contribute to cladding costs, and protections for leaseholders from “exorbitant costs”. The release also include data on the usage of EWS1 forms as per the Chart of the Week below.

REPORT: RIBA reported on the energy efficiency of interwar housing

They urge “the government to focus a new National Retrofit Strategy on updating 3.3m homes in England that were built between 1919 and 1939” and suggest that “by improving their energy efficiency, the Government would not only accelerate progress towards statutory fuel poverty targets, but reduce England’s total carbon emissions by 4%”.

Chart(s) of the Week

DLUHC have obtained data from seven mortgage lenders on the use of EWS1 forms (or their equivalent) on mortgage valuations of flats. The data in the first chart, covering 163,000 flat valuations between April and December 2021, shows just 8% required an EWS1. However, there is a wide variation when the height of the building is accounted for. The second chart is based on a smaller sample of just three lenders and 79,000 valuations. That in itself is concerning if the other lenders don’t have sufficient data to know the height of the buildings they are potentially lending against. The data shows 51% of flats in high-rise buildings (7+ storeys) required an EWS1 while around 28% of mid-rise buildings (5-6 storeys) required one. These figures are perhaps lower than might be expected given the widespread reports of issues but still represent a significant barrier for the market.

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