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UK property news recap

This week started off sluggish before building to a crescendo of information on interest rates and transaction data. Sensing property news was slow, Halifax, Rightmove and Zoopla competed for coverage by bringing out fresh data on buyers habits and numbers, before the Bank of England top trumped them, with mortgage approval numbers. Welcome to another week of political gaming and number crunching, in this your UK Property News Recap.

PM Rishi Sunak Comeback Slap Down

After a crushing defeat last week, PM Rishi Sunak decided to come back fighting. To enable his 140,000 new homes to be built he is tinkering with legislation around nutrient neutrality to then pull  “primacy” over the House of Lords to get it through. 

At the same time his attempt to win support by announcing a 50% increase to the boiler upgrade scheme last week,  backfired when the Telegraph spotted the scheme’s £150m funds remained unchanged. This meant instead of enabling more people to make the change, 10,000 fewer people would benefit. Isn’t maths fluency great Rishi?


Lib Dem Party Conference

Down in Bournemouth the Lib Dems were laying out their stall for next year’s election. During this there was a debate over housing targets, with party bosses wanting to shelve their own 2021 Housing target of 380,000 homes, in favour of “independently assessed” targets for local authorities, which are “appropriate for the specific areas’ needs.” 

The upshot – younger activists argued that Labour would use this u-turn as “a stick to beat us with.” So targets are in, along with, to name but a few: a 10 year emergency programme to insulate homes, developers ear pulling on infrastructure (which they already pay for in 106 contributions), abolishing leaseholds, new powers for local authorities over second homes…. and 10 new garden cities in unspecified locations.



The Chinese Government managed to stop Evergrande from issuing notes due to an investigation of its mainland business, Hengda Real Estate, for a “suspected” breach of information disclosure rules. By the end of the week, suspicion resulted in the arrest of Evergrande chairman, Hui Ka Yan…I expect this financial doom ladened beast of a story to run and run.  


Halifax – First time buyers

Halifax pulled some first time buyer stats demonstrating that due to affordability issues caused by increased interest rates, first time transactions were down 22% on last year.

However, they still made up just over half of all the loans agreed in the first 8 months of this year which is similar to 2021 levels.

For those looking to buy on their own in London, the average deposit of £113,000, is unrealistic without additional financial help. This has meant the capital is the only UK region with fewer first-time buyers than a decade ago.



Over at the property market stall, Rightmove. They choose to release a breakdown of what generated the most enquiries for sales and rentals. In at No 1 for sales was the fixer upper which was listed 8% cheaper than the average asking price. Apparently, this property type is appealing to first timers looking to renovate over time, save on stamp duty and interest rates once done. For renters, double glazing came in at the top spot, beating smart tech and proximity to a station. 


Zoopla HPI

Then came Zoopla with its latest house price index, revealing that on average UK House prices fell by – 0.5% in August 2023, marking the first decline in prices for over a decade. However the country remains divided by affordability issues, with southern sellers feeling the pinch more acutely than northerners that are still experiencing growth. 


It also disclosed; buyers don’t feel the need to compromise on space whilst waiting on either house price or rate falls. So whilst sales volumes are set to be 20% lower this year and 28% lower for those buying with a mortgage. It doesn’t stop buyers positioning themselves, should the right property, at the right price come along hence a 12% increase in enquiries since the August bank holiday. 


Bank of England – Money and credit August 2023

Lastly the Bank of England came in with net mortgage approval numbers for house purchases which fell 4,500 to 45,400, the lowest level in 6 months. As a result of this, expect lenders to further trim the fat of rates in pursuit of business. 

And that concludes this week’s UK property news recap, as ever, please feel free to leave comments or further observations here.