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UK Property news recap Brickweaver

The week before Christmas was full of angst. Michael Gove took on Sadiq Khan, the housing federation took on councils and traders took on the Bank of England. Welcome to another UK property news Recap. 

The Home Builders Federation Report Q3

The Home Builders Federation report for Q3 found that 50,316 housing units were granted planning permission in England during the third quarter of 2023, down 12% on the previous 3 months and 28% lower than in the same period last year. Leaving the 12 month rolling total for permissions, at 245,872 in September.

This made the number of sites granted planning permission in the past 12 months in England; the lowest quarterly figure recorded since the Housing Pipeline Report began in 2006. 


Residential planning approvals 2023 the home building federation


Michael Gove’s Development Plans

On Tuesday, Michael Gove laid down the foundations for future development, fencing off the green belt in favour of brownfield sites whilst telling councils they have 3 months to produce a localised housing plan.  For those who “deny or delay” legitimate applications, they risk forfeiting their responsibilities.


Despite conservative housing targets remaining “aspirational” to suit local housing needs, he focused on two areas for development. Cambridge being the first; unveiling plans to build 150,000 new homes which he said will help Britain “fall back in love with the future.”


Secondly, came London. Turning on the mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, Gove singled him out for heading up the worst performing region (London) in the Government’s Housing Delivery Test 2022. Calling on KC, Christopher Katkowski & Co to draw up a housing plan by January for the Capital, focused on brownfield sites, to service the housing gap.  


Refusing to take this, Khan hit back, insisting London completions had been 20% higher than the rest of the UK, since he was elected in 2016.

ONS December 2023 Rental Index

The ONS December 2023 rental index didn’t deviate from the year’s theme of rental increases.  Private rental prices paid by tenants in the UK rose by 6.2% in the 12 months to November 2023. Regionally prices increased 6.1% in England, 7.3% in Wales & 6.2% in Scotland. Meanwhile London topped the leaderboard, increasing 6.9%, consuming any wage increases this year.  

UK rental prices in December 2023 ONS
UK House Price Index: October 2023

According to the ONS UK average house prices got a touch of frostbite in October 2023, decreasing by 1.2% in the 12 months to October 2023. Reducing the average UK house price by £3,000 to £288,000. However despite increased falls in England (-1.4%) & Wales (-3%), the North East (+0.2%), Scotland (+0.2%) & Northern Ireland (+2.1%) evaded Jack Frost catching some autumn sun. 


Average House Prices October 2023 ONS
National Residential Landlords Association Plea for Help

On Wednesday, the National Residential Landlords Association decided to justify the reasons behind increasing rents. Claiming a quarter of landlords are bracing themselves financially for remortgaging next year. With 82% of buy-to-let landlords on interest only mortgages, rental increases and buy-to-let sales are inevitable; leaving tenants financially squeezed unless tax incentives are reintroduced. OR, dare I say…. the sales market makes a comeback, easing demand.

Zoopla December 2023 HPI

Spurred on by inflation easing, and annual house price inflation down -1.1% from a year ago, confidence to bag a last minute Christmas property bargain has seen above average levels of new sales, increasing 17% on a year ago according to Zoopla’s December 2023 HPI.


zoopla december 2023 hpi


First time buyers remain the most motivated to step off the rental merry-go-round to get a foot on the ladder, whilst up-sizers, eyeing up more space, are keen to step up as soon as rates come down. Meanwhile cash purchasers who made up a third of all transactions this year, are making hay whilst the market remains uncertain.


Buyer requirements zoopla December 2023 zoopla
Interest Rates 

Top of many a Christmas list is for interest rates to come down in 2024. Expectant lenders, keen to scoop up business from their competitors are betting on the Bank of England doing just that. Trimming the fat off current rates; making them more palatable for those who can bag a bargain at the same time.  The Bank of England is insisting rates will need to remain higher for longer but traders aren’t convinced. For many buyers the first cut after a series of property falls will be enough motivation but others will wait for election certainty before reaching for that rung. 


And that concludes another Uk Property News Recap. 


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But for now, I wish you all a very Merry Christmas.