25% of PRS landlords looking to sell

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A quarter of private rented sector (PRS) landlords are looking to sell at least one property in the next year, a survey has revealed.

According to The Residential Landlords Association’s (RLA) quizzing of 2,500 landlords, over 25% are keen to offload property – the highest amount since way, way back in…2016.

The RLA’s research also found that 23% of the landlords have seen an increase in rental property demand over the last three months, while 57% noted no change.

David Smith, RLA policy director, said: ‘All the talk of longer tenancies will mean nothing if the homes to rent on not there in the first place.

‘The government’s tax increases on the sector are already making it difficult for tenants to find a place to live, with many landlords not renewing tenancies. If rushed and not thought through, planned changes to the way landlords can repossess properties risk making the situation even worse.

‘Action is needed to stimulate supply with pro-growth taxation and a process for repossessing homes that is fair to all.’

 

Large Energy Performance Certificate rise in England and Wales

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I’ve got the last quarter’s domestic Energy Performance Certificate (EPCs) figures – but I’m not going to tell you what they are.

Only joking! Between January and March this year, an impressive 396,000 EPCs were lodged in Wales and England  – 85% (337,000) of which were for the sale and letting of existing dwellings, an increase of 36% on the same quarter last year.

Valid for 10 years, EPCs were introduced ‘using a phased approach,’ or so this government release says, with ‘the requirement fully implemented for domestic properties by autumn 2008’.

The government speculates that the large increase in numbers ‘may reflect EPCs issued before 2009 being renewed when a dwelling was let or sold in 2019’.

Anyhow, 15% (60,000) of the quarter’s certificates were for new builds and conversions – up 13% on 2018’s first quarter.

In summary, in the year ending March 2019:

253,000 EPCs were lodged for new build dwellings and conversions, up 13% on the previous year and the largest annual total for new properties since 2008 when records began.

Most EPCs (245,000, up 13% on the previous year) were for new builds and conversions in England (probably because it’s bigger and has more houses and people in it), with the remaining 8,500 (up 7%) were lodged in Wales (probably because it’s smaller and has less people and houses in it).

Universal credit slammed as ‘Orwellian’ by judge

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Much-troubled Universal Credit (UC) has now been described as ‘Orwellian’, as hopes that anyone will ever say anything nice about it continue to fade.

According to high court judge Sir Stephen Sedley, the government’s flagship reform of the benefits system tends to make life miserable for claimants while simultaneously implying that it will rescue them from poverty.

The judge’s harsh comments have been delivered along with a report that reveals hundreds of people risked tumbling into greater debt because floundering old UC miscalculated their payments.

The report, by charity Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG), cites the plight of a working mother who lost £400 a month because the bungling UC system somehow failed to include the child element for her daughter or a work allowance.

Judge Sedley said: ‘People in need are left to guess at and grope for things which should be clear and tangible. The consequences are not limited to over- or underpayment. They feed into the stress and worry that so many people managing on low incomes experience, which in turn can affect family life for children growing up in these environments.

‘There is something Orwellian about a system which is intended to alleviate hardship yet is administered in ways which generate and aggravate human misery. Whether this is happening by accident or by design is an argument for another time and place.’

And the government still want this thing rolled out across the entire country by 2024.

Anyhow CPAG’s chief executive, Alison Garnham, said: ‘The DWP must improve the information it provides so that universal credit claimants are not floundering in the dark about their award. Clear and accessible information on how decisions are made and your right to appeal is the bare minimum we should expect from a modern benefit.’

Over 200,000 properties bought with Help to Buy

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I’ve got the latest Help to Buy figures: I hope you enjoy them.

According to the government’s numbers, between its April 2013 launch and December 2018, 210,964 properties were purchased with the Help to Buy: Equity Loan scheme.

The total value of these loans? An impressive £11.71 billion (if you’re impressed by large amounts of money, of course, which many of us are), while the total value of the homes
sold under the scheme hits an even more impressive £54.48bn.

Now then, most of the purchases were made by first time buyers, who accounted for 171,053 (81%) of sales.

The mean purchase price of a property bought under the scheme was £258,223, with buyers using a mean equity loan of £55,498.

Meanwhile, in expensive London village the maximum equity loan was increased from
20% to 40% in February 2016 – which led to 12,511 completions up till 31 December 2018, of which 10,635 were made with an equity loan higher than 20%.

Here’s the government’s massively long and detailed report if you fancy it.

Government spent £1.46bn on decent homes in 5 years

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Would you like to know how much the government spent on bringing homes up to a decent standard between 2011 and 2016?

Well, according to housing minister James Brokenshire MP, it was £1.46 billion, spread across 45 councils, but you will already know that if you read the headline.

Prompted by a question from Labour’s shadow housing minister, John Healy MP, Brokenshire said the cash helped bring over 158,000 properties up to the Decent Homes Standard.

Furthermore, according to the housing minister, the number of social housing units that failed to meet the standard fell by 32% between 2010 and 2017.

So, hope you enjoyed that.

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