London’s population overtook New York’s in 2014 and last year surpassed its pre-World War II peak for the first time ever. Yet there are increasingly news stories about how the UK’s capital is becoming a place where people work but don’t live, or how sharply rising house prices are forcing out the poor, the young or those with families.
What is actually happening? How to square the anecdotal evidence with the fact that London adds as many people as the entire city of Bath (>100,000) to its population every single year?
The UK’s ‘two speed’ housing market is not a novel concept, but new figures highlight the regional and political split like never before.
Use our interactive graphic to explore how geography and politics divide fortunes in Britain’s property market. Read more
Are you a wealth accumulator, making good progress or burdened by debt? New research from think-tank the Smith Institute attempts to put a human face on all those distributional graphs of wealth inequality.
The report, published on Wednesday, calculates that property ownership in the UK, having risen dramatically in the last century, has peaked at 67 per cent of households and is likely to fall to 60 per cent by 2025. Read more
Members of the professional middle class in England and Wales have seen a rapid decline in their options when looking for a place to buy a house. The number of electoral wards where the average property price is above the affordability threshold has risen from just 101 (1.1 per cent) in 1995 to 489 (5.7 per cent) in 2012.
Aberdeen’s economy is booming. The gateway to Britain’s offshore oil and gas reserves, it has long helped to buoy up Scotland’s economy. And now with a wider economic recovery kicking in, it’s acting like Viagra on the area’s house prices.
Property values in Aberdeen and the surrounding area grew faster than anywhere else in the UK in 2013, according to new data produced by estate agents Savills exclusively for the FT.
Aberdeen has even outpaced last year’s hotspot, Elmbridge in Surrey. Read more
House prices in Britain may be booming once more.
But unlike the bubble of the last decade, this one is very narrowly focused. In fact, it’s really only London that’s seen any growth since the previous national average house price peak in 2008.
Good news for Londoners. But they should put down the champagne: in fact, most of them haven’t benefited that much at all.
Most areas have seen some price growth since 2008. But there are just a handful of stand-out winners. And – yes, even in London – some people have actually seen their house prices fall.
The clearest winners are the two historic cities: London and Westminster. Yes, prices there really have soared since 2008. The average house price in Westminster topped £1m for the first time last year and is now at £1.3m; up from £746,000 five years earlier.
Perhaps more surprisingly, two rather more down-at-heel boroughs, Southwark and Hackney, are also seeing booming prices. They’ve even managed to push perhaps the most desirable borough of them all, Kensington & Chelsea, into fifth place. Read more
by Claire Jones and Kate Allen
As today’s FT reports, the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors’ latest poll of their members shows that the industry is very optimistic. They believe that activity in the housing market will rise dramatically in the coming months.
But how confident should we be that the surveyors have got it right? Read more
The UK’s main house price indices have been diverging noticeably in recent years, as this blog pointed out last week. A look at the trends in housing sales helps explain why.
Here are some useful charts from housing data firm Hometrack. Read more
An interesting picture of the changing face of the UK housing market is provided by an analysis of census data by estate agency Savills, given exclusively to the FT.
The private rented sector is the main success story – it’s the only part of the market to have increased in value since the recession, and now makes up 17 per cent of the UK’s housing stock by units and 18 per cent by value, Savills found.
How much do parents value a safe environment, green spaces and a good education for their children? Such things are priceless – except that, of course, they are not. The best things in life may be free, but buying a house in the vicinity of the best things in life is expensive.
Economic researchers use house prices like a movie jewel-thief uses an aerosol spray. The aerosol isn’t important by itself, but it reveals the otherwise invisible laser beams that will trigger the alarm. The house prices aren’t necessarily of much direct interest, but indirectly they reveal our willingness to pay for anything from a neighbourhood free of known sex offenders to the more familiar example of a popular school. Read more
The number of housing benefit claimants is rising, and thus so is the cost to the Treasury, data from the Department for Work and Pensions shows. The number of people claiming housing benefit has increased by a startling 780,000 since the beginning of 2009 to 5 million.
There are a couple of small rays of light for the government.
Firstly, the rate of increase in claimants has slowed since the general election in May 2010.
Buy-to-let properties have bucked the housing market trend in recent years, seeing steady growth in lending.
Partly this is because new finance to owner-occupiers has dropped off so much since the credit crunch: the lack of mortgage availability, particularly for first-time buyers, has fuelled a booming rental market. Demand is pushing up the cost to tenants: average rents are up 4.3% year-on-year.
All this makes buy-to-let an exciting prospect for investors.
- New buy-to-let lending, £m (source: CML)
But buy-to-let mortgages are looking increasingly risky, according to detailed new data from the Council of Mortgage Lenders. Read more