UK economic recovery plan is Build Build Build

UK PM vowed to “use this moment” to fix longstanding economic problems and promised a £5bn “new deal” to build homes and infrastructure.

In a wide-ranging speech in Dudley, in the West Midlands, Mr Johnson vowed to “build, build, build” to soften the “economic aftershock” of coronavirus.

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He said the government wanted to continue with its plans to “level up” – one of its main slogans of last December’s election – as “too many parts” of the country had been “left behind, neglected, unloved”.

Infrastructure projects in England would be “accelerated” and there would be investment in new academy schools, green buses and new broadband, the PM added.

Projects in the £5bn investment plan include:

  • £1.5bn for hospital maintenance and building, eradicating mental health dormitories and improving A&E capacity – the government said this is “new” money in addition to £1.1bn in its Spring Budget
  • £100m for 29 road projects including bridge repairs in Sandwell and improving the A15 in the Humber region – this money had already been announced
  • Over £1bn for new school buildings, as announced on Monday – this cash comes from the government’s existing infrastructure plan
  • £12bn to help build 180,000 new affordable homes for ownership and rent over the next eight years – brings together three pots of money already announced by previous Tory governments and Mr Johnson’s administration

Other projects announced in the government’s Spring Budget, which will now be accelerated, include:

  • £83m for maintenance of prisons and youth offender facilities, and £60m for temporary prison places.
  • £900m for “shovel ready” local projects in England this year and in 2021
  • £500,000 – £1m for each area in the towns fund to spend on improvements to parks, high street and transport

Source: BBC News

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Covid19: UK Payment Holiday Extended for 3 months

The UK government has told banks to give more time to millions of people struggling with debts owing to the coronavirus crisis.

Credit card, store card, catalogue credit and personal loan customers will be able to defer repayments for another three months.

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The help was first ordered by the City regulator, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), in April.

Anyone taking advantage of the freeze must still pay back the debt at the end of the deferral period.

This has prompted debt charities to warn of the potential for individuals’ financial problems to simply be stored up for a later date.

The FCA said that if borrowers could resume their repayments they should do so, to avoid getting into more serious difficulty in the future. Banks may also be stricter in who qualifies for the payment deferral, and might only agree to a reduction in minimum repayments.

The regulator stressed that using the payment deferral should not affect a borrower’s credit rating. However, it warned that loan providers did have other ways to check on whether payment holidays had been taken, such as asking for bank statements, when making decisions on whether to agree to credit applications.

Although these extensions are currently proposals, banks only have until Monday to comment and the FCA expects the rules to be implemented soon after.

Help for people with car finance, payday loans, rent-to-own deals, pawnbroking, and buy-now-pay-later agreements will be updated by the regulator at a later date.

Most Banks are currently offering interest free overdraft up to a certain amount with reduced interest rate.

Check for details on your banks website. Most application can be done online.

Source: BBC News

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Can blockchain technology double the speed of UK property sale?

The delay in completing a UK property sale several months and has been a big problem in the UK property industry. To solve this problem a blockchain-style platform has promises to double the speed of UK property sales, with the startup behind it announcing a new deal for its widespread use.

The deal with other software firms will give around half of UK estate agents access to new technology designed to tackle typical delays in property sales, according to ‘proptech’ firm Coadjute.

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The firms chief executive Dan Salmons said home sales typically take months because of a lack of joined-up thinking and data-sharing among many stakeholders involved.

Confusion over next steps in a sale is common. Salmons said estate agents need “large armies” of workers merely to check for and pass on updates among parties, while buyers and sellers often have to complete similar forms multiple times.

Some experts say the sector is “ripe for disruption,” and UK government officials are among those who believe blockchain and similar technology could help “revolutionise the buy-sell process.”

Salmons acknowledges his firm is far from the first to promise to speed up sales by better connecting buyers, sellers, estate agents, conveyancers, lenders, government officials and others involved in transactions.

But he said previous efforts hit a wall as they sought to persuade all parties to use a single IT system. This can prove difficult to tailor to everyone’s needs, and poses privacy concerns with all data centralised. “People love new stuff, but they’re not good at giving up old stuff,” he added.

Britain’s Land Registry began exploring such technology in 2018, with trials held involving officials and conveyancers around the world who wished to tackle similar challenges.

The work sparked the launch of Coadjute, initially as Instant Property Network, as a participant in the trials. Salmons joined the startup after first getting involved in the experiments as Royal Bank of Scotland’s director of innovation for home buying.

It has since been working on its software and building interest, but Salmons said the pandemic had proved a turning point. The rise of remote working among estate agents, solicitors and others has sparked a “sudden demand for digitisation” in recent months, he said.

Source: Yahoo Finance UK

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Can UK Green Mortgage help climate change?

The UK has set itself a target of net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, but that will be a challenge for the housing market.

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As things stand, domestic housing accounts for nearly 20% of the UK’s carbon emissions. At the same time, there are few ‘green’ mortgage products and even fewer that have been set up to fund making homes more energy efficient.

This matters, because upgrading current buildings will be what helps cut emissions.

According to the UK Green Building Council, around 80% of the buildings that will exist in the UK in 2050 are already constructed.

Few of those are energy efficient. Based on the government’s energy performance certificates (EPC), most of the UK’s housing stock is in the middle, ‘D’, band.

Top of the list in making housing more energy efficient is cutting fuel use. Around 10% of the UK’s carbon footprint comes down to heating – mostly domestic heating.

In principle, green mortgages that help homeowners manage the cost of boosting energy efficiency should be widespread and keenly priced.

In May 2020, the Green Finance Institute published a report on financing energy efficient buildings.

This cited “growing evidence that favourable financing terms can be achieved on securities that have an environmental or social impact label or certification”. 

But only three lenders in the UK currently offer green mortgages – Barclays, Ecology Building Society and Nationwide.

Chris McHugh, our Director of the Centre for Sustainable Finance, describes the UK green mortgage market as “a cautious beginning”.

“The eligible customer base, property types and notional amounts are limited. The price incentives for borrowers appear to be small or non-existent.”

The UK green mortgage market

Indeed you can count the number of green mortgage lenders on the fingers of one hand.

Ecology Building Society and Nationwide both offer lending for green home improvements. Ecology is a very small firm specialising in green finance including sustainable builds. In 2019 it lent £43.5m across 308 sustainable properties and projects.

However, compared to many other mortgage lenders, it’s relatively expensive – with a current standard variable rate of 4.1%.

Nationwide Building Society is a much bigger player with around 12% of the UK market. It  offers preferential rates on green improvements for loans up to £25,000, but only for existing customers.

Barclays has around 8.6% of the UK mortgage market. It does offer green mortgages for “energy-efficient new-build” homes provided by “partner suppliers”. But it doesn’t have any plans to offer mortgages for green home improvements in the near-term.

Lloyds, which has the biggest overall share at nearly 16%, announced in January that it plans to launch green mortgages, but did not give further details.

Right now, lenders may be cautious about broadening their green mortgage offerings as demand is likely to have been hit by the Covid-19 pandemic

“There are far more pressing matters on consumers’ minds,” says John Somerville, our Head of Regulatory Relationships.

“With all green properties and loans, there’s likely to be an extra cost and more underwriting. The appetite to jump through those hoops will be strongly diminished for some time to come.”

Source: The London Institute of Banking and Finance

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UK Property sale hits record low

Residential property sales in the UK in April hit their lowest monthly level since comparable records began in 2005, new figures show.

Houses

There were 38,060 transactions in April, according to provisional numbers from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).

This was less than half the level seen in the same month last year.

Spring is usually a busy period for the property market, but the coronavirus lockdown halted activity.

The government lifted many of these restrictions on the sector in England in mid-May. The total number of UK property sales is slightly less than the previous low when the taps were turned off in the property market at the height of the financial crisis in January 2009.

Source: BBC News

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UK Property market estimated to fall by 13%, Is it the right time to buy?

Economists and housing experts are forecasting UK-wide price falls of up to 13%, with “brutal” declines in some areas, as the property market struggles to rebuild during the coronavirus crisis.

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The range of forecasts from the major researchers is markedly wider than usual. At one end is the Centre for Economics and Business Research, which predicts that 2020 prices will be down by 13% “as a lack of transactions, high uncertainty and falling incomes take their toll”. But the estate agent Savills said the hit to the market could be more like 5%, and a third of valuation surveyors are predicting that price falls may be limited to 4% or less.

The post-lockdown market will be a buyer’s market, said Jonathan Hopper of Garrington Property Finders, as he forecast falls of 10% nationally and 15% in some areas.

“Areas with a more resilient jobs market should see values hold up better, but elsewhere the price correction could be more brutal,” he said.

Knight Frank, in a revised forecast issued this week, said it anticipated a fall of 7% in 2020, more than its earlier forecast of 3%. Its analysis suggested prices had already fallen 5% since March, with a further downtick to come.

Source: The Guardian 

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Real service

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Pls Comment, like and share
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Dennis Bebo – MSC, BSC, DEA, CeMAP

Covid19 financial difficulty & what UK banks are offering

Many banks are offering help to customers in financial difficulty due to coronavirus, by offering mortgage, loans and credit card payment holidays, increasing limits for overdrafts, credit cards and cash withdrawals, waiving overdraft charges and offering other financial difficulty solutions.

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It is recommended to contact your financial provider or lender, first visit their website to explore the various ways you can get help or support if you are impacted financially by coronavirus and can’t afford to keep up with repayments or manage your finance.

Coronavirus help and support UK major banks are offering:

  • Barclays Bank – See the source imageMortgages; Payment holiday of up to three months. Personal Loan; 3 months repayment holiday. Credit card;  No late payment or cash advance fees for the next 90 days starting from 19 March, and you might be able to increase your credit limit to help you in an emergency. Overdraft; No interest between 27 March and 30 April 2020. You don’t need to do anything – it’ll happen automatically. Savings; No penalty charges for withdrawing your money early. Visit Barclays website here for more information and updates.
  • Natwest Bank – See the source imageMortgages; Payment holidays for up to 3 months. Personal Loans; Payment deferrals of up to 3 months. Credit card; Refunds on request for cash advance fees to access cash in an emergency, and you can apply to increase your credit card limit. No late payment fee from 1st April until 30th June 2020, you don’t need to get in touch, it will be done automatically. Overdraft; From Monday 30th March, for 3 months, if you are a personal Banking customer using your overdraft, you will pay less as overdraft interest will be at current rates (Representative 19.89% APR (variable) for most customers) and you won’t pay any fees or charges. Savings; Close and access cash with no early closure charge from your fixed term savings account. Visit Natwest website here for more information and updates.
  • Lloyds Bank – See the source imageMortgages; 3 month payment holiday. Personal Loans; Repayment holiday of up to 3 months. Credit card; Payment holiday for 3 months. If agreed, you won’t need to make the usual payments to your personal credit card. Apply to increase your existing Credit Card limit using internet banking. Overdraft; Automatic £300 overdraft buffer if you have an existing arranged overdraft on your current account. This buffer will be interest-free from 6th April to 6th July 2020. Apply online for new overdraft and existing overdraft limit increase. Savings; Access your savings held in a fixed term account, charge will be waived. Visit Lloyds website here for more information and updates.
  • HSBC Bank – See the source imageMortgages; Payment holiday of up to 3 months. Personal Loans; 

    You can request to defer your next 3 repayments. This gives you the chance to pause repayments for 3 months. Credit Card; You can request a 3-month payment holiday. Overdraft; From 26 March 2020 until further notice, no interest charges on the first £300 of overdraft borrowing. Savings; Access restrictions and early closure fees waived for the Fixed Rate Saver product if you need to access your money.  Customers can still close their Regular Saver account and withdraw the funds if they need to, as normal. Visit HSBC website here for more information and updates.

  • Santander Bank – See the source imageMortgages; Get up to 3 months holiday from your mortgage payments. Personal Loans; Online application forms for repayment holiday will be available soon. Credit card; From 31 March until 6 July, late payments fees and cash advances will be automatically removed. Online application forms for repayment holiday will be available soon. Overdraft; Automatically waive interest on the first £350 from 6 April until 6 July. If you need to add an overdraft to your account further information on this is being prepared and will be shared next week. Savings; Access your money held in Santander fixed rate bonds and fixed rate ISAs before the end of the fixed term, free of charge. Visit Santander website here for more information and updates.

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TA DenEco Consultancy – www.deneco.co.uk

 

Covid19: EPC still a requirement for UK property sales and lettings

The UK government will not be relaxing requirements on Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) despite movement restrictions put in place as a result of the coronavirus. In guidance published by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) it was made clear that properties put on the market will still be required to obtain an EPC before being sold, let or built.

AssetRating-EPC-Bristol

It added that assessments should only be conducted where the work is essential.

This follows government-issued guidelines last week that urged people to delay or not begin the process of buying or selling a home unless it was absolutely critical.

A valid EPC is legally required when a property is sold, let or constructed and must be completed by an accredited assessor unless an exemption can be applied.

Landlords and sellers have seven days to obtain a valid EPC from the day the property is marketed, with a further 21 days grace period allowed if all reasonable efforts have been made to obtain one, but it has not been possible.

Restriction of movement laws and social distancing practices which have resulted in almost all valuers and surveyors stopping in-person property surveys are likely to have severely hampered EPC assessors as well.

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TA DenEco Consultancy – www.deneco.co.uk