Latest News

Clarity provided for agents in North of England

03 August 2020

On the evening of Thursday 30 July, the UK Government announced a tightening on restrictions for some areas within the North of England in order to protect against the risks to public health arising from Coronavirus. Read More...

Ten new courts unveiled to tackle evictions proceedings backlog

30 July 2020

The Lord Chancellor, Robert Buckland announced on 19 July 2020 the locations for ten ‘Nightingale Courts’ which have been rapidly set up with the aim of tackling the impact of Coronavirus on the justice system. Read More...

Demand from tenants and rental supply highest on record for June

30 July 2020

ARLA Propertymark’s Private Rented Sector (PRS) June report saw the number of new prospective tenants continue to rise, following the Government’s COVID-19 lockdown, with the average branch registering 79 new tenants, compared to 70 on average in May. Read More...

Guidance released for re-opening of housing market in Wales

28 July 2020

Today, 28 July, the Welsh Government has released guidance for the property sector and has updated its amendments to the Health Protection (Coronavirus Restrictions) (Wales) Regulations in light of the re-opening of the housing market from 27 July. Read More...

Welsh Housing market to re-open fully from Monday 27 July 2020

24 July 2020

Today, 24 July, the Welsh Government confirmed that the housing market will fully reopen on Monday 27 July 2020. Read More...

Welsh Government extend Notice Periods to six months with immediate effect

23 July 2020

Today, 23 July 2020, the Welsh Government has temporarily increased the notice period that landlords must provide from three months to six months to end Assured and Assured Shorthold Tenancies. Read More...

Prime Minister promises “Project Speed” will increase home building

Wednesday 01 July 2020

Boris Johnson announced today, 30 June, an ambitious £5bn plan to boost the UK economy with a focus on infrastructure development. The funding will be used for building homes, public services, and transport links, and adds substance to his “build, build, build” pledge to change planning laws to prevent delays in large-scale building projects and deliver greener and faster homes.

Dubbed “Project Speed” the new regulations, planned to take effect from September 2020, will give greater freedom for buildings and land in town centres to change use without planning permission and create new homes from the regeneration of vacant and redundant buildings. 

Under the new rules, existing commercial properties, including newly vacant shops, can be converted into residential housing more easily, in a move to kick start the construction industry and speed up rebuilding. All this will reduce the pressure to build on greenfield land by making brownfield development easier. Developers will still need to adhere to high standards and regulations, just without the unnecessary red tape.

The changes include: 

  • A wider range of commercial buildings will be allowed to change to residential use without the need for a planning application
  • Builders will no longer need a normal planning application to demolish and rebuild vacant and redundant residential and commercial buildings if they are rebuilt as homes
  • Property owners will be able to build additional space above their properties via a fast track approval process, subject to neighbour consultation.

Funding in England

£900m has also been made available for a range of ‘shovel ready’ local growth projects in England over the course of this year and next, as well as £96m to accelerate investment in town centres and high streets through the Towns Fund this year. These announcements come alongside a package of measures to support home building across England, which include:  

  • A £12bn affordable homes programme that will support up to 180,000 new affordable homes for ownership and rent over the next eight years, confirmed today, 30 June 2020.
  • Included in the affordable homes programme will be a 1,500 unit pilot of ‘First Homes’: houses that will be sold to first time buyers at a 30 per cent discount which will remain in perpetuity, keeping them affordable for generations of families to own. 
  • Funds from the £400m Brownfield Land Fund have today been allocated to the West Midlands, Greater Manchester, West Yorkshire, Liverpool City Region, Sheffield City Region, and North of Tyne and Tees Valley to support around 24,000 homes.
  • The Home Builders Fund to help smaller developers access finance for new housing developments will receive an additional £450m boost. This is expected to support the delivery of around 7,200 new homes

Cross-Government strategy

There will also be a new, cross-government strategy to look at how public sector land can be managed and released so it can be put to better use. This would include home building, improving the environment, contributing to net-zero goals and injecting growth opportunities into communities across the country.

Economic recovery

The Prime Minister acknowledged the pressures the COVID-19 crisis had brought to bear on the UK economy and that, while many may be nervous about COVID-19 flare-ups, the measures formed a basis for businesses to plan for the future. He ruled out a return to austerity, and Chancellor Rishi Sunak will make further announcements next week with immediate plans for economic recovery.

Later this year, a local Recovery White Paper will be produced detailing how the UK Government will partner with places across the UK to build a sustainable economic recovery, launch a National Infrastructure Plan and legislate for wider de-regulatory reforms. 

Propertymark will continue to work with the UK Government on the issues that matter to our members, making sure their interests are represented as details of these new projects and funding streams emerge.

Quote mark

Propertymark welcomes the Prime Minister’s ambition to bounce back as we enter the new phase of this pandemic. It is important that we try to reboot the economy by building a greater supply of affordable houses that can rejuvenate urban areas most affected by this crisis.

Simplification of the planning process will ease the pressures caused on the supply of homes and ensure the property market drives the UK’s economic recovery. We look forward to working with Government during its White Paper process later this month to ensure the system has less red tape and is easier to navigate.

Mark Hayward

NAEA Propertymark Chief Executive