Building on Floodplains – Can this continue?

With much of the South West underwater, flooding has once again become a hot-topic. We look in one of our monthly articles at the huge range of questions the Government and its agencies much ask themselves if flooding is ever to be nullified as an issue of great concern for British homeowners…

Here’s a few questions we raise:

Britain has a substantial housing shortage – so where do we build? On green belt protected land? Urban sprawl across our green and pleasant land? That wasn’t well received when Nick Boles proposed to relax green belt regulations.

Should innovation be encouraged to create houses that are watertight up to first floor level? Should it be made a planning condition for developments on flood plains with a flood in the last 10 years to construct watertight houses up to a certain standard? What about a government competition for architects and building product designers to come up with the best solution?

Read the whole article and join the debate here.

House prices surge beyond £1m in 43 areas

New report identifies 43 locations where houses now sell for an average of more than £1 million, including several outside London. Compiled by estate agents Savills and analysts Property Database, the document also charts how house prices have risen over the past decade.

Some areas have outstripped the national average of 29.7% over the last 10 years by over 10 times and 34 of the 43 areas averaging over £1m are in Greater London, including Knightsbridge and Belgravia at No. 1.

Cities excelling outside of London include Bath, Oxford and Cambridge.

If you are thinking of investing this sort of money in a property, a report by a Chartered Surveyor will substantially mitigate the risk of your investment and help you manage your new home. Find your local surveyor at www.propertysurveying.co.uk

Half the families in some estates can’t afford to heat their homes

birminghamsurveyors.com  – MORE than half the families in some estates can’t afford to heat their homes, a poll reveals.

54 per cent of households are reportedly too skint to stay warm at Humber and Trent Towers in worst-hit Nechells, Birmingham. Jobless labourer Michael Simpson, 45, lives there on £63 a week — and a quarter of that goes on fuel.

The city’s Wye Cliff Road area has 53.5 per cent of families facing a similar crisis. Nottingham was third on the list, with 52.9 per cent shivering at two high-rise blocks in the Lenton area.

As Energy prices rise more than 10%, can they be justified and what is the solution? Depends on who you ask…

What's behind the energy price hikes?

Consumers have in recent weeks been hit by price rises of up to 11.1 per cent – equating to between £100-200 extra per year on the typical household’s fuel bill. A number of the “Big Six” energy firms have claimed that the increases are because of rising wholesale prices, but recent data doesn’t support this.

Statistics released from Ofgem, the energy regulator, suggests that wholesale prices rose by only 1.7 per cent over the last year – a mere fraction of the levels energy companies are attempting to justify. The figures will undoubtedly prompt fury across the country as homeowners prepare for winter and questions are aksed as to what the real reason is for these rises?

We look into the issues, the real reasons and potential solutios here…

Have you heard about Smart Cities? Set to be a £400bn industry by 2020 and a big part of all urban lives

A new report published in October values the smart cities industry at more than $400 billion globally by 2020, with the UK expected to gain a 10% share ($40 billion). This comes as the Government announces the creation of a Smart Cities Forum.

A smart city uses intelligent technology to enhance our quality of life in urban environments. Cities can use the data in a variety of ways; to save money, minimise waste, measure domestic water usage and manage transport routes. An upcoming computer game – Watchdogs – will explore the possibilities of a software integrated city, with wifi provided free in every location and software programmes operating everything from traffic lights to crime prediction systems.

Read on here

Are you one of the est. 1,400,000 landlords not paying their full tax liability?

HMRC wants property landlords to declare all property income and capital gains and to pay what’s due to the government before the January deadline. For the UK’s 500,000 landlords already registered with HMRC this is business as usual. But estimates put the real number of landlords at between 1.4-1.9 million.

Why the big deficit and what tax mistakes are all too common? Read on here

Foxes, hares and rabbits all in decline – but deers boom

www.PropertySurveying.co.uk

urban foxes - a dying breed?Despite frequent tales of the deviance and destruction wrought by urban foxes and a strong media presence concerned with explaining, educating and protecting against their impact, a new study in the European Journal of Wildlife Research has shown that numbers in the UK are actually down by 20% in the last two decades.

This is despite the hunting ban of 2004 . Deer numbers, on the other hand, are exploding – with 181% growth for Reeve’s muntjac and 89% for fallow deer.

Is nostalgia fast becoming a luxury we cannot afford?

A recent report from London Councils, a body representing all 33 of London’s local authorities, has suggested that only 250,000 new homes will be delivered by 2021 in the nation’s capital – a long way below the target of 800,000 they believe is required to maintain London’s future as a global city.

In which case, do contruction companies need to be incentivised to take a very serious look at alternative technologies and construction techniques – moving towards faster erection times over meeting Design Quality Indicators?

Read the whole article here

Property Price Watch

After a period of relative calm when it comes to property and land prices, new growth and renewed optimism is throwing up stories from across the UK of fresh booms and inflating prices. We look at three items we have selected from land and property in an article published in our monthly newsletter for September.

Read the whole article here