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Garden Bridge saga comes to an end

Garden Bridge saga comes to an end

14 August 2017

The Garden Bridge Trust has announced that it is winding up its operations, after it was unable to secure alternative guarantees for ongoing maintenance costs. The Mayor of London declined to underwrite these costs following an independent project review by MP Margaret Hodge, which highlighted a funding gap of £70m and spiralling construction costs.

 

£37.4m of public money has already been spent on the project, with a final bill of up to £46.7m likely after cancellation costs.

 

 

London private rental growth back on the rise as supply drops

London private rental growth back on the rise as supply drops

14 August 2017

According to Countrywide data, London's rental growth increased by 2.2% between June to July 2017 following eight consecutive months of falls. This has been attributed to the decline in rental purchases by private landlords following the stamp duty increase in 2016, which has led to an 18% year on year decrease in available rental properties in London.

 

The supply of rental homes in Great Britain overall continues to grow, however, as the stamp duty acts as less of a disincentive in less expensive areas of the country, where people are also more likely to buy.  Read more here >

 

 

Permitted Development Rights applications slow down

Permitted Development Rights applications slow down

11 August 2017

The latest Department for Communities and Local Government data  shows that the number of permitted development rights (PDR) applications submitted to convert offices to residential has decreased in the last three years, since the initiative was introduced.  In England the total number of PDR applications fell c 28% from 3,980 in year ending March 2015 to 2,858 in the year ending March 2017. 

 

The decrease is set to continue, as several local authorities have cited the safety concerns following the Grenfell tragedy. 

 

 

Industry backing for BTR plans

Industry backing for BTR plans

3 August 2017

Housing minister Alok Sharma has received support from the British Property Federatino and RICS for plans to boost the build to rent sector (BTR) introduced in Housing White Paper earlier this year.  The plans included measures that enable councils to plan for BTR provision, allow private sector to offer affordable rents in lieu of other types of affordable housing, and introduce longer tenancies.

 

It is estimated that BTR sector could provide up to 240,000 additional homes by 2030.

 

 

 

Key issue for 2017 General Elections: Brexit

Key issue for 2017 General Elections: Brexit

3 August 2017

According to the British Election Study (BES), which tracked the political views and choices for the same 30,000 voters over the past three years, Brexit was considered "the single most important issue facing the country" throughout the campaign. This was surpassed briefly by terrorism in wake of the attacks in Manchester and London. (Read more here >)

 

The study showed that c. 19% of voters switched party allegiances between April / May and the election broadly along their views on "hard-" and "soft-" Brexit, with more than half of the switchers going to Labour ("soft") and just under 20% voting Tory ("hard"). (Read more here>)

Rising costs squeeze SME margins

Rising costs squeeze SME margins

1 August 2017

Research by the Federation of Master Builders (FMB) reports that the rising cost of materials following the depreciation of the pound sterling have led to losses for one in ten small builders, while 32% reported squeezed margins and 22% have had to pass the costs onto their customers.  The materials where prices have increased the most include timber, insulation, bricks and blocks.

 

Read more here >

 

 

Government announces review of building regulations

Government announces review of building regulations

31 July 2017

The Government has launched an independent review of building and fire safety regulations following the Grenfell Tower tragedy. With focus on tall residential buildings, the review will cover design, construction, and maintenance, as well as compliance and enforcement regimes.

 

The review will be led by Dame Judith Hackitt, who served as the chair of the Health and Safety Executive from 2007 to 2016.  An interim report is expected at the end of the year. 

Construction industry growth slows in Q2

Construction industry growth slows in Q2

20 July 2017

The RICS UK Construction and Infrastructure Survey for Q2 2017 shows a slow down in total workload growth, as compared to the previous quarter which had accelerated at the strongest pace since the referendum result last year. 

 

The primary factor for the slow down was financial constraint, caused by the uncertainty of Brexit and the Elections, access to finance, and cashflow and fluidity challenges. Private commercial and industrial sectors were most affected.

 

See the report here >

 

 

Stirling Prize shortlist announced

Stirling Prize shortlist announced

20 July 2017

This year's Stirling Prize shortlist includes Barratt's Grove in Stoke Newington, London by Groupwork and Amin Taha; The British Museum World Conservation and Exhibitions Centre, London by Rogers Stirk Harbour & Partners; Command of the Oceans in Chatham, Kent by Baynes and Mitchell Architects, City of Glasgow College - City Campus, by Reiach & Hall Architects and Michael Laird Architects; Hastings Pier, East Success by dRMM; and Photography Studio for Juergen Teller, Ladbroke Grove, London by 6a architects.

 

The winner will be announced 31 October.   Find out more here >

 

 

 

London Mayor deal to build 50,000 affordable homes

London Mayor deal to build 50,000 affordable homes

17 July 2017

London Mayor Sadiq Khan has announced a £1.7bn deal to deliver 50,000 affordable homes to rent or buy in the next four years.  Allocations have been made to 44 housing associations and 9 boroughs, to build new homes in every London borough.

 

Of these 17,500 homes will be for social level rent, and c. 32,000 for a combination of shared ownership and the new London Living Rent.

 

Read more here >

 

 

 

 

Signs of life for Crossrail 2

Signs of life for Crossrail 2

12 July 2017

Crossrail 2 has been given a mention in Government plans for the first time since the elections, apearing as one of the responsibilities of the new chief secretary to the Treasury Liz Truss.

 

The industry has warned of delays to the project, which were omitted from the Conservatives manifesto and the Queen's speech. 

 

 

 

Government proposes to relax planning along HS1

Government proposes to relax planning along HS1

7 July 2017

The Government is launching a public consultation on proposals to relax current planning restrictions in relation to "safeguarding" along the HS1 line in Kent. Among the proposed plans is to reduce the safeguarding zone from 60m to 30m, which would help to release c. 14 sq km of land for housebuilding.

 

The consultation will open Monday 10 July.

 

Vehicle Excise Duty to fund local roads improvements

Vehicle Excise Duty to fund local roads improvements

7 July 2017

The Department for Transport has proposed that a £1bn fund will be made available to local authorities to improve or replace A roads in their management.  The amount is shared from the VED-funded roads fund previously allocated for national routes.

Sarah Beale named permanent CEO of CITB board

Sarah Beale named permanent CEO of CITB board

7 July 2017

Beale has served as the interim CEO of the Construction Industry Training Board since December 2016.

 

HSE reports record low in construction fatalities

HSE reports record low in construction fatalities

7 July 2017

There were 30 construction fatalities in the year to March 2017, compared to an annual average of 39 over the past five years. The number of fatalities fluctuate from year to year, but has experienced a general downward trend in the last 20 years.

 

Being struck by a moving vehicle is the most common fatal accident at work across all sectors.

 

Read the report here > 

London is still tops for tech investment

London is still tops for tech investment

5 July 2017

The Mayor of London's official promotion agency, London & Partners, reports that since the referendum in June 2016, London has attracted £1.8bn in venture capital funding in the city's technology firms. This compares to £775m received in Berlin, the next most popular European city for venture capital tech investment.

Q1 2017 UK property funds returns 2.1%

Q1 2017 UK property funds returns 2.1%

4 July 2017

The Association of Real Estate Funds and MSCI's Property Fund Vision Handbook reports that in a survey of 55 of the most traded funds in the UK, the 3 month return for the first quarter rose to 2.1%.  The 12-month total return posted at 3.5%

 

For details, click here >  

Property Industry Alliance identifies most reliable property crash predictor

Property Industry Alliance identifies most reliable property crash predictor

3 July 2017

The two-year research by the Alliance's Debt Group has found that Adjusted Market Value (AMV) has been the most reliable long term value measure for predicting property crashes for nearly 100 years, as compared to investment value (IV) and mortgage lending value (MLV).

 

Read more here > 

 

Total office costs in London 42% greater than regional cities

Total office costs in London 42% greater than regional cities

3 July 2017

According to Lambert Smith Hampton's Total Cost Survey, this represents a decrease in last year's record gap of 45% per workstation as compared to the "big six" cities of Birmingham, Leeds, Bristol, Manchester, Edinburgh and Glasgow.

 

The survey reviews 22 cost factors in over 50 locations. London's West End posted the largest decrease in costs with a fall of 9.6% while remaining the most expensive location in the UK.  The largest factors in the decrease are rents and landlord incentives.  Costs excluding rates and rents have seen a rise of 19.%, reflecting inflationary pressures.  Read more here > 

 

 

 

Liverpool hangs onto "World Heritage in Danger" status

Liverpool hangs onto "World Heritage in Danger" status

20 June 2017

The area between the Three Graces on the Waterfront to St George's Hall and Lime Street Station was granted World Heritage Status in 2004. However, planned waterfront development has placed Liverpool on the "World Heritage in Danger" list since 2012.

 

UNESCO papers have reportedly proposed maintaining status quo this year, but consider its revocation next year.

Rebecca Thompson heads CIOB

Rebecca Thompson heads CIOB

19 June 2017

As the new president of the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB), she aims to promote inclusitivity, training and conservation.

 

Ms Thompson launched Thompson Heritage Consultancy in 2016 and is a lecturer of Building Studies at York College.

 

Assuming the role fo senior vice president is Chris Soffe, president and chief executive  of Gleeds America.

 

New member of Monetary Policy Committee appointed

New member of Monetary Policy Committee appointed

19 June 2017

Professor Silvana Tenreyro will commence a three year term on 3 July.  She replaces Kristin Forbes, whose term ends at the end of June.

 

Fed raises interest rates while Bank of England holds

Fed raises interest rates while Bank of England holds

16 June 2017

Citing strength of economic growth and job market, the US Federal reserved raised interest rates by 0.25% to 1.25%, the highest since 2008.

 

While the Bank of England kept the interest rate at 0.25%, two more members of the Monetary Policy Committee favoured a rate rise for a 5-3 vote, due to concern over inflation in recent months.

 

May orders public enquiry into Grenfell Tower fire

May orders public enquiry into Grenfell Tower fire

15 June 2017

The fire engulfed the 24 storey 1970s tower block in the early hours of 14 June, killing at least 17 people.

 

The recently refurbished tower block has reportedly been the subject of safety concern voiced by residents for several years.

 

Alok Sharma named as new housing minister

Alok Sharma named as new housing minister

14 June 2017

The MP for Reading West since 2010, Sharma will work with Sajid Javid, the reappointed Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government.

 

Inflation hits a four year high

Inflation hits a four year high

13 June 2017

The Consumer Price Index (CPI) registered a 12-month inflation of 2.9% in May, the highest since June 2013.  The Office of National Statistics (ONS) cites the rising cost of recreational and cultural goods and services as the biggest contributor to the rise.

 

Meanwhile CPIH (including owner occupier' housing costs) 12-month inflation was 2.7%, and is the highest since April 2012.

 

For ONS details, click here >

1.4m sq ft West End office space under offer in May

1.4m sq ft West End office space under offer in May

13 June 2017

This is the highest level of commercial office space under offer on record. According to CBRE, under offers increased by 6% across Central London to 6.8m sq ft.

Gavin Barwell loses his seat; Michael Gove back in cabinet

Gavin Barwell loses his seat; Michael Gove back in cabinet

12 June 2017

The former Minister of State for Housing and Planning and Minister for London lost his seat in Central Croydon to Labour's Sarah Jones.  Barwell served in the post for less than a year, and was the 14th Housing Minister since 1997.  He has since been appointed Chief of Staff.

 

The cabinet reshuffle also sees the appointment of Michael Gove as Environment Secretary.

 

For more on the new cabinet, click here >

Greystar puchases two plots at Royal Mails' Nine Elms site

Greystar puchases two plots at Royal Mails' Nine Elms site

6 June 2017

Greystar, a US residential developer, plans to introduce 894 build-to-rent apartments with a range of amenities in partnership with Telford Homes.

 

The 2.67 acre site reflects the first two of seven plots on the Royal Mail masterplan, which features a future primary school and a significant portion of the linear park through the Nine Elms area.

 

Read more about the masterplan >

 

 

1 Finsbury Avenue secures planning consent

1 Finsbury Avenue secures planning consent

6 June 2017

The 393,000 sq ft refurbishment of the Grade II listed building renews 287,000 sq ft of Grade A office space, while introducing a range of retail and leisure uses on the ground and basement levels. 

 

The scheme forms the part of the ongoing modernisation programme at Broadgate, owned by British Land and GIC, which has also recently secured planning consent for 2-3 Finsbury Avenue.

 

Read more about Broadgate >

Sale completed for The Leadenhall Building

Sale completed for The Leadenhall Building

26 May 2017

The £1.15 bn sale to CC Land, a Hong Kong listed property and investment group, is the second biggest sale of a single UK building, behind the HSBC tower in 2014.  The 225-m Leadenhall Building was developed and owned by a JV between  British Land and Oxford Properties.  Completed in 2014, the building achieved record rents in the City of London and is fully let with an average remaining lease term of over 10 years to break.

 

Read more on The Leadenhall Building >

 

 

 

 

 

RIBA publishes "Building a Global Britain"

RIBA publishes "Building a Global Britain"

24 May 2017

The manifesto, published in the run up to the General Elections, outlines the RIBA's recommendations to the Government to support sustainable communities and built environment while ensuring the sector continues to thrive post-Brexit.

 

Read the manifestor here >

 

Affordable housing starts rise 13% in 2016 but completions dropped 5%

Affordable housing starts rise 13% in 2016 but completions dropped 5%

23 May 2017

The National Housing Federation has cited uncertainty following the rent cuts in April last year as a factor for the drop.

 

The report also notes regional differences in affordable housing delivery, where homes delivered via the S106 mechanism accounted for over 60% in the South East, South West and East, as compared to under 20% in London.  Grants aided 79% of completions in the North West, compared to 48% in London and 43% in the South West.

 

For the full briefing, click here >

Manchester resi construction increases by 400% over the last two years

Manchester resi construction increases by 400% over the last two years

19 May 2017

Research conducted by Manchester Place, an inward investment company set up by Manchester City Council and the HCA, reports that the number of units under construction in the city centre increased from 986 in March 2015 to 4,954 as of March this year.

 

A majority of the units being built are build to rent. The population in the city centre is projected to rise by 5.5% a year.

 

 

 

BL launches branded flexible floorspace at 2 Finsbury Avenue

BL launches branded flexible floorspace at 2 Finsbury Avenue

19 May 2017

British Land is planning to launch its flexible floorspace brand next month, to "capture incremental demand from the increasing number of small businesses taking space in London as well as meeting a growing need amongst our existing occupiers for flexible space for specific projects and teams." 

 

The initial launch will include 80,000 sq ft, including office space at Broadgate and Ealing shopping centre.

 

Find out more about 2 Finsbury Avenue >

 

 

London office construction levels slightly down but completions at 13 year high

London office construction levels slightly down but completions at 13 year high

17 May 2017

According to Deloitte's Crane Survey for London office, which tracks construction activity in seven for the six months to 31 March 2017, the highest level of construction activity is in the City of London with 10 new starts in that period.  Midltown and Southbank recorded biggest increase in office development activity at 9% and 6% respectively.

 

See the survey report here >

Lloyds Bank returned to private ownership

Lloyds Bank returned to private ownership

17 May 2017

The Government has sold remaining shares in the bank, which received a £20bn bailout in 2008.  Lloyd's Bank has said that the Government will see a £21.2bn return.

 

The Royal Bank of Scotland remains 73% owned by taxpayers.

General elections delay decision on Crossrail 2

General elections delay decision on Crossrail 2

15 May 2017

The Strategic Outline Business Case was submitted in March 2017, with the decision anticipated for summer 2017. 

 

The decision will now likely be made in early 2018.

1 Triton Square achieves resolution to grant

1 Triton Square achieves resolution to grant

12 May 2017

The development comprises major refurbishment of 1, 4, 7 Triton Square, including over 170,00 sq ft of addtional office space with a three storey extension, provision of affordable workspace and improvements to the ground level and public realm.

 

The development also incorporates 22 affordable units in the former St Anne's church site.

 

 

 

Dublin most attracive European city for hotel investors

Dublin most attracive European city for hotel investors

12 May 2017

The list compiled by Savills takes into such considerations as value per room, GDP growth, yields and stock. 

 

While London has greater numbers of overseas visitors, buoyed by the weakened pound, it ranks fourth as it remains one of the most expensive markets for hotel investment.

 

Have a look here >

Latest RICS survey shows stagnating residential market

Latest RICS survey shows stagnating residential market

12 May 2017

RICS's April 2017 UK Residential Market survey results indicate a continuing, gradual decline in residential sales, enquiries and listing. However, there is an upward trend in house prices nationally, although certain regions including London, East Anglia and the North have experienced a drop.

 

In the lettings market, demand, instructions and rents have remained relatively unchanged.

 

View the report here >

Services sector grows for ninth month in a row

Services sector grows for ninth month in a row

4 May 2017

April data reported by the Markit/CIPS purchasing managers' index (PMI) has indicated the sharpest rise in UK business activity since December 2016, with job creation at a four month high. The rise has been linked to such factors as strength in business to business demand, new products, and sales to overseas clients.

 

While 47% of those surveyed are optimistic about the business activity outlook, this is moderated by concerns about inflation.

 

Read more here >

MP reports over half of new homes built by eight largest firms

MP reports over half of new homes built by eight largest firms

3 May 2017

The Communities and Local Government committee report said that there is little incentive for these housebuilders to deliver more quickly and more affordably due to the need to recover investment. To speed up housebuildig, the select committee has called for the government to support smaller housebuilders, and for local authorities and housing associations to increase building activities. It has also urged the government to address skills shortage at school level and support modern methods of construction.

 

To read the report, click here >