RICS UK Residential Market Survey, April 2014
DESPITE a 4th consecutive fall in new property coming onto the market in
April, sales continue to rise, according to the latest RICS Residential Market
Survey. The figures from the Royal Institution of Chartered
Surveyors (RICS) reveal a constrained property market, which continues to be
marred by weak supply and high demand; while respondents across nine UK regions
reported declines in new property for sale coming onto the market, the average
number of homes sold per surveyor hit 23; the highest since February 2008; while
in the North West surveyors sold an average of 27. Nationwide, 26% more
chartered surveyors reported increased agreed sales in March, with 28% reporting
increased sales across the region. In the month that also saw new
lending regulations brought into effect (the Mortgage Market Review),
respondents reported that the average 'perceived' Loan to Value (LTV) ratios
among first time buyers climbed to 86% and potential new buyer demand remained
firm with 20% more chartered surveyors reporting an increase in new enquiries.
Significantly, there does now appear not just a broadening out in the recovery
away from the capital, but also increasingly upbeat responses on the likely
price trend going forward.
In the North West, 62% more chartered surveyors
predict prices over the next 3 months will rise, rather than fall, and in
East Anglia the figure is 57%. By comparison in London, 49% more respondents
conveyed similar expectations (down from 61% in March). In the
rental sector, there continues to be modest growth in tenant demand although
greater mortgage availability and the 'Help to Buy' Scheme have seen the
appetite to rent lose some momentum in recent quarters. Even so, the shortage of
property also continues to be felt in this area, with new landlord instructions
broadly flat and rent prices over the next 12 months expected to increase by
Simon Rubinsohn, Chief Economist RICS, said:-
"House prices in general look set to remain firmly on the upward trend, although
interestingly, there are some tentative signs that the price momentum in the
London market may begin to slow in the second half of the year. The critical
issue for the market remains the lack of second hand supply with our numbers
suggesting that the picture is, if anything, getting worse. It is too early to
conclude whether this will undermine the positive trend in transactions volumes,
but clearly the absence of properties to buy will ultimately be a factor in
influencing the ability of people to move homes. That said, despite the
disappointing trend in instructions, a net balance of 33% of surveyors expect to
see sales levels increase as we head into the summer."
New threat to affordable rural housing
GOVERNMENT proposals threaten to reduce the delivery of much-needed
affordable housing in the countryside, the Rural Services Network has warned.
The network issued the warning in response to a government consultation on a
proposed 10 unit threshold for so called Section 106 affordable housing
contributions. "From a rural perspective, this is a hugely significant issue." said the
The proposal means developers would not be obliged to provide affordable housing
on smaller sites of 10 houses or under.
Network housing spokesman Andy Dean said:- "Rural affordable homes are
difficult to deliver for a variety of reasons and it is critical that existing
routes to deliver such homes are not cut off. Implementing the 10 unit threshold
would significantly impact on the delivery of much needed affordable homes in
the countryside." A large proportion of the delivery of affordable housing in communities of less
than 3,000 population was through Section 106 sites that were 10 units or less,
Mr Dean added.
In the 2008/11 Affordable Housing Programme, for example, 75% of rural homes
were built using this method. Removing it would have a potentially massive
impact on delivery.
At the same time, Section 106 had proved to be an increasingly important
mechanism to ensure that affordable homes were built even though public
resources had reduced. "Introducing the threshold threatens to drastically reduce the provision of
affordable homes in rural areas." concluded Mr Dean.
Twin Girls Write Alzheimer's Charity Single
19 year old twins Mona and Lisa have written and recorded a charity
single for the Alzheimer Society's Awareness week that runs from 18 May to 24
May 2014. Based in Birkdale, the twins are already established
singer/songwriters with a huge internet following across the world, and 2 albums
to their name. They were inspired to write the song after losing their
grandmother to the disease. The single will be released on 19 May 2014, at the
Alzheimer's Awareness event staged at Burnley Football Club and broadcast by the
BBC. Take a look and listen at them on
Leafing through books in the park
A special area designed to be used by children and adults for reading
opens at Croxteth Park in Liverpool on Friday, 9 May 2014. The Reading Space is
the 1st of 5 which it is hoped will be developed in parks across the City, using
the natural environment to encourage children and adults to read outdoors. It
has been designed by students at Myerscough College, with seating made from tree
trunks and is split into a number of distinct areas; the Den, the Lawn, the
Field, the Circle and the Nook. The initiative is part of the City of Readers
campaign, which aims to make Liverpool the foremost reading City in the Country.
Pupils from a number of local primary schools – Wellesbourne, Emmaus and Our
Lady and St Swithin's; will be the 1st to use it this Friday for a special
reading lunch, dubbed a 'booknic'. During the event, children will
be taking part in reading activities led by 6th formers at West Derby and
Broughton Hall High Schools on a special 'reading train'.
Councillor Lana Orr, Mayoral Lead for Reading, said:- "We are fortunate
enough to be blessed with fantastic parks in Liverpool, and this is
a simple and effective way of encouraging old and young alike to use
our open spaces for reading. This is a really great scheme which we
hope will get enable people to come together in a park to share
their love of literature. Reading is a lifelong habit and through
the City of Readers campaign we hope to encourage it at an early age
and get children and parents reading together."
A special reading kit has been devised which will be loaned to schools. It
includes lanterns and other props to help bring literature to life, as well as a
guide to reading outdoors and a journal to record and celebrate activities.
Students from Myerscough College have also launched a lunchtime book club and
will be using the space as well. At the launch, a competition will be held
for pupils to name the new reading space. For more information about City of
Readers, visit their