Weekly Summary: 9th April 2021

DATA: Halifax reported slightly faster house price rises in March

They reported an annual change of 6.5%, higher than the 5.2% reported in February.

DATA: Nationwide reported slightly slower house price rises in March

They reported an annual change of 5.7%, lower than the 6.9% reported in February.

DATA: Bank of England reported a 10% fall in mortgage approvals in Feb

Despite the 10% monthly fall in number of mortgage approvals for house purchase, there were still 20% more approvals for house purchase than the same month in 2020. Approvals for remortgaging are still 34% lower than last year.

DATA: Bank of England reported a fall in mortgage rates in March

Quoted rates across all loan-to-value ratios fell in March with the exception of those at 95% LTV which, at 4.14%, remain near their pandemic high.

DATA: HMRC reported 2019-20 Annual Tax on Enveloped Dwellings stats

ATED is an “annually recurring tax on UK residential dwellings which are held in a ‘corporate envelope’ (e.g. a company)”. They reported total ATED receipts were £128m, down 8%.

DATA: MHCLG reported on Energy Performance Certificates in Q4 2020

The data is a useful leading indicator for new housing supply and reported 216,577 EPCs on new build dwellings in 2020. The data has been delayed in recent quarters as MHCLG have taken control of the database. A further update is expected at the end of April.

DATA: RICS residential market survey reported rise in sales market activity

The survey reported “Buyer enquiries and agreed sales gain significant impetus following stamp duty holiday extension” and “House prices continue to move higher across the UK”.

POLICY: Government announces “package of measures to revitalise England’s cherished high streets and town centres”

They include a new planning law that “enables unused commercial buildings to be changed into homes” and introduces “a new fast track for extending public service buildings”.

POLICY: Government response to First Homes proposals and Small Sites exception for affordable housing

Alongside the government’s response to the consultation of First Homes was the news that the they will not be extending the affordable housing exemption to larger sites (40-50 homes). This is not surprising given the robust recovery of the housing market.

POLICY: National welcome for Hong Kong arrivals

MHCLG have set out a package of support for British National (Overseas) families moving to the UK from Hong Kong. The release notes that “As of 19 March 2021, approximately 27,000 BN(O) status holders and their family members have applied for a visa since January” with around 123,000 to 153,000 expected in the first year.

REPORT: Lichfields on On/Off Site Affordable Housing Delivery

The report investigates off-site affordable housing provisions in Local Plans and the advantages/disadvantages of off-site delivery.

REPORT: LSE on “The Pandemic and the housing market: a British story”

The report makes use of HM Land Registry data to look at the impact of the pandemic on the housing market. Unfortunately, it appears the researchers are not aware that the longer lag in sales being registered during the pandemic makes it difficult to do meaningful analysis using this data and it appears they have failed to factor this into their findings.

Chart of the Week

This week’s chart looks at the distribution of prices for homes sold during 2020. As noted above, this data is still not complete but offers a reasonable sample when considered across the whole year. It highlights how much more expensive London house prices are when compared to even to the South East, the next most expensive region. For example, around 1/3rd of sales in London were under £400,000 while this covered nearly 2/3rds in the South East. Meanwhile, 95% of sales in the North East were for £400,000 or less.

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