Weekly Summary: 27th July 2020

DATA: HMRC report residential transactions increased 32% in June

Transactions are still 36% below pre-lockdown levels and it will take some time for the recent spike in sales agreed reported by Zoopla and Rightmove to complete.

DATA: MHCLG reported the number of Help-to-Buy Equity Loan completions fell 8.6% in Q1 2020 when compared to Q1 2019

While most of this fall reflects the impact of the lockdown in March, there were already signs that new build completions were levelling off. See the Chart of the Week for more info.

POLICY: MHCLG announce new laws to extend homes upwards and revitalise town centres

“The new rules, which will come into effect by September, will mean full planning applications will not be required to demolish and rebuild unused buildings as homes and commercial and retail properties can be quickly repurposed to help revive our high streets and town centres.” Homeowners will also be able to add up to 2 additional storeys to their home through a fast track approval process.

REPORT: MHCLG funded report into permitted development released

The UCL/University of Liverpool report concludes that “permitted development conversions do seem to create worse quality residential environments than planning permission conversions in relation to a number of factors widely linked to the health, wellbeing and quality of life of future occupiers. These aspects are primarily related to the internal configuration and immediate neighbouring uses of schemes, as opposed to the exterior appearance, access to services or broader neighbourhood location.”

REPORT: Law Commission publish their recommendations to transform home ownership and help leaseholders

They suggest reforms that “would make it easier and cheaper for homeowners to buy the freehold or extend their lease, and to take control of the management of their block of flats or an estate” and “would also improve commonhold to ensure it is the preferred alternative to leasehold as a way of owning home”.

REPORT: HCLG Select Committee says “a social housebuilding programme should be top of the Government’s agenda to rebuild the country”

The reports suggests “there is compelling evidence that England needs at least 90,000 net additional social rent homes a year and it is time for the Government to invest. The sector estimates that £10 billion in extra grant funding will be needed.”

Chart of the Week

The chart of the week shows the annual percentage change in the number of Help-to-Buy equity loan completions. The sharp fall in March 2020 due to lockdown is clear but what is perhaps more surprising in the performance since September 2019. Since then, the number of Help-to-Buy completions has been lower in every month when compared to the same month in 2019. It appears the housebuilding market was slowing even before COVID-19.