Weekly Summary: 8th January 2021

DATA: Halifax report house prices rose 6.0% in 2020

The annual growth rate fell slightly from November (7.6%) but still hit a record high.

DATA: Nationwide report house prices rose 7.3% in 2020

This was the highest growth in six years, up from 6.5% in November. They also reported high price growth for detached houses than flats.

DATA: Bank of England report a big rise in mortgage approvals for purchase

The number of mortgage approvals for house purchase in November 2020 was 61% higher than the same month in 2019. See Chart of the Week for more information.

DATA: Bank of England data suggests a peak in high LTV mortgage rates

Average mortgage rates fell slightly across most loan-to-value ratios but remain higher than before the pandemic.

POLICY: MHCLG announces “Government reforms make it easier and cheaper for leaseholders to buy  their homes”

The government announcement suggests that “Millions of leaseholders will be given a new right to extend their lease by 990 years” with no ground rent. They also announced they will be “reducing ground rents to zero for all new retirement properties”.

POLICY: Housing market remains open for business during lockdown

In theory the market remains open but businesses will be under pressure to ensure they are taking appropriate precautions which could prove a limit on activity.

REPORT: The Health Foundation: “Better housing is crucial for our health and the COVID-19 recovery”

The long read highlights the links between poor housing and health, and the need to “ensure that housing starts to make a positive contribution to health for more people”.

NEWS: NRLA: “Ministers need to get a grip of the rent debt crisis”

The joint statement with other campaign groups highlights the challenges faced by both landlords and tenants due to the pandemic. It urges government to help renters pay off arrears and avoid mass evictions when the pandemic ends.

Chart of the Week

The Bank of England reported data for November showing the highest number of mortgage approvals for house purchase since August 2007. This reflects the large number of sales agreed since the summer starting to reach completion and the next few months are likely to see continued high numbers. The data now means mortgage approvals in the year to November were just 2.4% lower than the same period in 2019. It is possible that when the December data is reported, total mortgage approvals over the whole of 2020 were the same or even higher than 2019, despite the shutdown in the housing market.