Lunchtime News Monday 31 March 2024

Low cost homes to be built in rural areas are the latest proposals from Gordon Brown to meet his target of three million extra homes. The scheme would be the biggest building programme in the countryside for a generation and would attempt to create thousands of affordable homes in rural areas. Many market towns would see communities built next to them, which would be large enough to have their own pubs, schools and shops. The main aim of the scheme are for teachers, farm workers and craftsmen who live or work in villages to own a home for the first time, while a change in planning rules under s.106 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990, will enable parish councils to identify sites for homes where demand for affordable homes is so high that they can justify ‘exceptional’ planning approval, providing more lower-income families access to affordable homes.

House prices fell for the sixth month in a row, and annual house price growth stalled in March according to the Hometrack house price index. The average cost of a home in England and Wales increased by just 0.4 per cent from this time last year, while prices fell by 0.2 per cent with 29 per cent of postcode districts seeing a reduction of house prices during March. Hometrack expects that there will be a 17 per cent fall in transactions during 2015.

Ken Livingstone aims to seduce first time buyers this week by pledging to make home ownership in the capital cheaper through new shared ownership schemes. This would require buyers to find just a 10 per cent stake in a property. This pledge came about due to warnings that even a property crash would not make the capital affordable for young couples.

Meanwhile in Scotland, the length of time people who are homeless while councils find them accommodation has trebled. The report, by the Homeless Monitoring Group, found that unintentionally homeless people remained in ‘priority need’ for more than four months before being housed, due to a lack of affordable social housing. Scottish Housing Secretary, Stewart Maxwell, said that progress was being made, but there was a ‘way to travel’ and ministers were committed to eradicating homelessness by 2012.

Two year mortgages could be a thing of the past according to analysts. Cheap deals will disappear and be replaced by one expensive standard rate. Nationwide raised rates on its two-year trackers so much that now some are higher than its standard variable rates. Its two-year tracker for new borrowers with a 5 per cent deposit went up from 6.43 per cent to 7 per cent, which is above its SVR at 6.74 per cent. Furthermore the two-year fixed rates has been lifted by 0.2 percentage points.

And finally, forget a tour to the homes of the rich and famous, or the theme parks of Florida. For the latest and most popular tour you need to take a six-hour tour dubbed the ‘foreclosure express’ to view some of the dozens of empty properties already repossessed by lenders. The bus tour, complete with real estate agents, lawyers, mortgage brokers and a property appraiser accompanying would-be buyers, and costing $45 including breakfast and lunch at a fast food restaurant, has proven so popular that further tours are planned for next month.