Friday, 26 February 2010

House prices take a fall in the winter snow during February

According to figures released today by Nationwide, the price of a typical UK property fell by a 1% month-on-month in February. This ends the nine month run of gradual increases in house prices.

Commenting on these figures, Martin Gahbauer, Nationwide's Chief Economist, said:

“The price of a typical UK property fell by a seasonally adjusted 1.0% month-on-month (m/m) in February, ending a strong run of nine consecutive monthly increases. The relatively smoother three month on three month rate of inflation remained positive at +1.6%, though this is down from +2.0% in January and a peak of +3.7% in September 2009. The annual rate of price inflation still managed to increase from 8.6% to 9.2% year-on-year, as this month’s fall was smaller than the 1.5% m/m decline recorded in February 2009. The average price of a typical property sold in the UK during February was £161,320."

Key Points:

•Property prices fell by 1.0% month-on-month in February
•The decline could be explained by the expiry of stamp duty holiday and snowy weather
•An increase in the number of properties available for sale has helped to reduce slightly the
imbalance between supply and demand
•Too early to determine whether February’s figures represent the start of a new trend

Source: Nationwide House Price Index

For more information on the house prices, the index methodology, and time series data and archives of housing research see Nationwide

Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Housebuilder Barratt Upbeat About 2010

Over the last three years, housing developers have been bit by a multitude of setbacks. Sharp declines in the value of owned land, decreased numbers of house buyers coupled with increasing material costs, have seen many smaller developers fall by the wayside. However, as the signs of recovery start to appear, the larger, more robust developers are left in a stronger position than ever.

One such developer, Barratt Homes, has just posted reports showing reduced losses for the second half of last year. Indicating a change in fortunes, the developer has issued an upbeat forecast for the next six months.

BBC News 24/02/2010
The company made a pre-tax loss of £178.4m, £129.9m of which related to finance costs, compared with a loss of £594.5m a year earlier.

The builder said it had 27% more orders on its books than this time last year.

"We are expecting to see significant improvements in operating margins in the second half," it added.

Total home completions for the six months to the end of 2009 were 5,053, compared with 6,905 in the same period in 2008.

Revenue came in at £872.4m, compared with £1.26bn a year earlier.

"During the period, the recovery of the UK new housing market continued in terms of customer demand and pricing, albeit mortgage availability remained restricted, particularly in the higher loan to value segment," said Mark Clare, Barratt's chief executive.

He added that the company would continue to invest in new sites and so would not be paying an interim dividend.

Keith Bowman, at Hargreaves Lansdown Stockbrokers, said: "Barratt has been removed from the critical list.

"Forward sales are rebounding, losses have begun to narrow, whilst the company - like rivals - has begun buying what it hopes will prove to be bargain priced land plots".

The upbeat message from Barratt was in contrast to that from builders' merchant Travis Perkins, which reported an 11% drop in profits in 2009 and warned of continued "fragile" trading activity.

Positive news from a major player, such as Barratt will hopefully inspire confidence across the market.

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Skape 3D Aerial Viewer Tool

As mentioned in my first post, I aim to use a variety of sources and tools to detail developments across the UK. One such tool, Skape 3D mapping, caught my attention. This post may be bordering on being a blatant advertisement, but I think this tool holds true potential for planners (and those who are simply interested in having a nose around).

Skape is one of the first 3D mapping tools designed with architects, local authorities planners and surveyors, in mind. Similar to Google Street View, but with the unique aerial views of highly realistic 3D environments, and a level of detail than that surpasses that offered by Google maps.

Currently it only features detailed 3D coverage of major UK cities including central London, Birmingham, Brighton, Bournemouth, Leicester, Nottingham, Southampton, Glasgow, Manchester and Newcastle. However, the developers aim to have covered Leeds, Liverpool, Sheffield, Cardiff and Edinburgh by the end of 2010.

First impressions suggest that it could be a useful tool to accompany other visual based GIS tools. Take a look now here.

Monday, 22 February 2010

New Swindon (Part 1)

The first area covered by New Property UK is Swindon, Wiltshire (map). This town offers a great case study of an area featuring a number new housing developments, combined with a major redevelopment scheme in the town centre. Designated as one of the Government’s Strategically Significant Towns, developers have been assigned growth targets of a staggering 35,000 new homes complimented by an additional 32,000 jobs over the next 20 years. The first stages of this wholesale regeneration of the town centre have already begun, and new housing developments have already come into fruition.

Ideally located on the M4 corridor, Swindon has much to offer those looking for a new home. The town itself has solid economic and communication infrastructures, and is currently undergoing a period of economic renaissance.

As part of the New Swindon £1 billion regeneration scheme, a mixture of retail, commerce and residential developments are to be created. A key aim of which, is to transform the town into a major residential and business hub for the region, whilst ensuring Swindon's rich heritage and character remain intact. Areas such as Union Square, form a flagship examples of this process.

Offering a high quality of living, great transport links, low living costs, and surrounded by stunning countryside, it's not hard to see why Swindon has attracted the interest of several major housing developers. One such developer, Taylor Wimpey, has recognised Swindon's potential, and is offering a wide range of homes throughout the town and surrounding villages.

Located on the southern outskirts of the Swindon conurbation, the Royal Mead development, offers 1 Bedroom Apartments, alongside 3 and 4 Bedroom Townhouses.

Not far from the traditional market town atmosphere of the Old Town, with its picturesque gardens, welcoming bars and restaurants, and within close reach of the town centre and major transport links, this development offers all the advantages of urban living.

Why not take a look for yourself via the NewHomesForSale property portal.

Keep tuned for further updates regarding developments in the Swindon area.

In later posts, I hope to be featuring interviews with Swindon residents, designers, planners and architects, detailing their hopes, aspirations and concerns regarding Swindon's rapidly transforming centre.

Welcome to the New Property UK Blog

Hello, and welcome to New Property UK. I'm a 20-something, recent geography graduate with a keen interest in regeneration and redevelopment schemes throughout the UK. Over the coming months, I aim to utilise a variety of sources to analyse and provide coverage of development and regeneration schemes across the UK.

At the time of writing, the economy is in a state of flux. Whilst certain indicators suggest that a fragile recovery has started, it still remains to be seen whether we've reached the true depth of the recession. In light of this, the present time represents an interesting time to examine the state of development and regeneration around the UK.

As some of you may be aware, the government has set a target to build three million new homes by 2020. This initiative is combined with a series of localised regeneration and redevelopment schemes targeting towns throughout England. However, due the recent economic turmoil, house builder's have delayed and even shelved some new developments, meanwhile decreased availability of mortgages has further hindered home buyers. In turn, these factors have been further compounded by a sharp fall in house and land prices.

That said, it's not all gloom and doom! According to leading property analysts the the tide has begun to turn, and the new developments are starting to appear.

Over the coming months, this blog will feature some of the newest and most exciting property developments in the UK. Featuring a mix of residential and commercial developments, if there's a particular example that you know of, or would like to see covered, I'd love to hear from you.