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Housing market outlook more positive for 2024

The reduction in rates from the mortgage lenders has brought a cautionary optimism to the outlook for the housing market in 2024.

The Halifax announced a reduction of 0.83% for its 2, 5 and 10 year fixed rate products increasing to 0.92 per cent for existing customers.

Housing market outlook more positive for 2024

The Halifax also confirmed it will be reducing its remortgage rates by up to 0.32% on selected 3-year fixed rates from Friday, 5th January 2024. This mid range fixed rate is not offered by many lenders and is often seen as good middle ground for those looking to remortgage.

All this activity looks likely to prompt other lenders to follow suit.

With inflation falling faster than expected pressure is on the Bank of England to reduce interest rates and encourage further falls in mortgage rates.

Competition amongst lenders is fierce with in a smaller market place – first time buyers with a mortgage fell to a 10-year-low of just 290,000 in 2023.

Despite market indicators still showing a negative trend, sales expectations are looking positive for the first time in three months with a rise of 6% expected and looking toward the future, a 24% increase in sales is forecast in the next twelve months, the most positive outlook since January 2022.
According to Rightmove the number of homes being listed by estate agents on Boxing Day 2023 has nearly tripled (+173%) since pre-pandemic 2019.
Although house prices still look set to continue in decline the rate of decline is slowing.

According to Simon Rubinsohn, RICS chief economist, “The latest RICS Residential Market Survey provides further evidence that sentiment is a little less negative than previously was the case with, critically, the new buyers enquiries indicator finally beginning to stabilise.

“This is being aided by increased confidence that the interest rate cycle has peaked which is reflected in somewhat more competitive mortgage products coming to the market.

“However, with the cost of money likely to remain elevated for some time to come and the economic outlook still downbeat, it is not surprising that the overall tone to the anecdotal remarks from survey respondents is still quite cautious.”

Granite Building Warranties are specialist independent brokers of building warranties for the construction industry and for a quote or further information please contact Ed or Kelly on Tel: 01284 365345 or email ed@granitebw.co.uk / kelly@granitebw.co.uk

Blue Chip Developers Will Fall Short of Building Targets in 2024

  • Forecasts from Peel Hunt show the 10 stock market listed developers are expected to build only 69,300 new residential dwellings in 2024.
  • This falls far below the 85,000 completed in 2022 and is still less than the 71,000 completed in 2023.
  • This significant reduction seriously jeopardises Government targets of 300,000 new homes being built each year by all developers by mid-2020’s.
  • Companies blame withdrawal of Help to Buy, planning red tape, Brexit and lack of skilled labour as significant reasons for lack of homes being built – the environment is increasingly anti-development.
  • Other causes for the shortfall include cost of living crisis, mortgage rate rises, falling house prices and shortage of housing stock.
Blue Chip Developers Will Fall Short of Building Targets in 2024

Granite Building Warranties are specialist independent brokers of building warranties for the construction industry and for a quote or further information please contact Ed or Kelly on Tel: 01284 365345 or email ed@granitebw.co.uk / kelly@granitebw.co.uk

Loft conversions – do they still make financial sense?

When looking to increase space in your home one of the most popular choices has often been to go upwards into the loft, but with soaring building and timber costs does this still represent value for money?

Average building costs are around £250-£300/sq ft so a couple of bedrooms and a bathroom could cost around £120,000 but could add around £150,000 to the value of the home thereby making this a good investment.

Adding an extra bedroom and bathroom to a smaller house will be more likely to increase its value as you are widening its appeal to a larger market sector. However, adding too many bedrooms and having not enough living space to accommodate everyone or ending up with an unbalanced home or overdeveloped plot will not be attractive to buyers, even if it works for you.

In the current market, with falling house prices, a loft conversion in some areas is unlikely to add value in the short term but stay put for a few years and a well-balanced conversion is likely to give you a good return on your investment.

As is the case with all significant building projects, you will need a structural warranty. Please contact Granite Building Warranties are specialist independent brokers of building warranties for the construction industry and for a quote or further information please contact Ed or Kelly on Tel: 01284 365345 or email ed@granitebw.co.uk / kelly@granitebw.co.uk

Your basement transformation journey has reached its exciting final phase! With the construction complete, it’s time to bring your vision to life by equipping this newfound space with all the essentials. From cosy furnishings and innovative lighting to the latest in insulation and heating solutions, we’re here to guide you through the finishing touches that will turn your basement into a functional, comfortable, and vibrant extension of your home

Optimising Basement Flooring

Consider your options carefully if dealing with an uneven basement floor. A standard solution is adding screeds, or concrete layers, atop the floor slab. Screeds offer a solid base for various finishes but can increase floor height. Alternatively, floating timber floors, constructed from tongue and groove boards over a waterproof membrane and insulation, offer a practical solution. Incorporate underfloor heating for added comfort and efficiency.

Insulating Your Basement for Comfort and Efficiency

Insulation is key to a welcoming, energy-efficient basement. Focus on interior wall insulation, as exterior insulation is typically part of the initial construction process. Affordable options include:

  • Blanket Insulation: Fiberglass insulation with a vapour barrier, but beware of moisture sensitivity.
  • Foam Board Insulation: Excellent for water resistance, attaches well to cavity drainage membranes.
  • Loose-fill Insulation: A cost-effective alternative.
  • Sprayed Foam Insulation: Ideal for finished basements.
  • Remember, proper vapour control is essential to prevent humidity and mould. Install a vapour control layer on the insulation’s warm side to stop condensation. Waterproofing systems are crucial to protect the insulation from water damage. Note the U values (lower values indicate better insulation) to gauge heat loss efficiency.

Ensuring Proper Ventilation

Proper ventilation is critical in basements to replace stale air and control humidity. Utilise windows, open staircases, extractor fans, and ventilation units effectively. Also ensure the basement is waterproof.

Basement Heating Options

A cosy basement needs adequate heating. Options include:

  • Underfloor Heating: Efficient and evenly distributed; often installed in screeds.
  • Radiators: A traditional heating choice.
  • Electric and Oil Heaters: Good for short-term heating but consider cost-effectiveness.

Lighting Solutions for a Bright Basement

Basements often lack natural light, so creative lighting is essential. Avoid pendant lights in low-ceiling basements, opting instead for:

  • Recessed Miniature Spotlights: Ideal for low ceilings.
  • Spotlights and Track Lighting: Attach to ceiling beams for focused illumination.
  • Wall Sconces: For ambient light.
  • Maximise natural light by keeping windows unobstructed. Consider installing or enlarging windows or adding a lightwell, subject to planning permissions. Glass doors and innovative options like mirror shafts can also introduce more light.
  1. Natural Light: Basements often have limited natural light. If your basement has windows, maximize this natural light. Consider using light window treatments and strategically placing mirrors to reflect natural light.
  2. Artificial Lighting Types:
    • Ambient Lighting: This is the general, overall light in the room. Recessed lighting, flush-mount ceiling fixtures, or even wall sconces can provide good ambient light.
    • Task Lighting: For areas where specific activities occur (like reading, working, or playing games), additional lighting like table lamps, floor lamps, or under-cabinet lights can be used.
    • Accent Lighting: This is used to highlight architectural features, artwork, or other points of interest. Track lighting or spotlights can be effective for this purpose.
  3. Ceiling Height: Lower ceilings in basements may not accommodate certain types of fixtures. Flush-mount or recessed lighting can be a good choice in these areas.
  4. Color Temperature: Warmer light (2700K to 3000K) often works well in basements to create a cozy and inviting atmosphere. Cooler light might be preferred in work or utility areas.
  5. Energy Efficiency: LED lighting is a popular choice for basements due to its energy efficiency and long lifespan. It also produces less heat, which is a plus in a confined space.
  6. Brightness: Basements often need more light than other rooms due to the lack of natural light. Ensure your lighting plan includes enough lumens to adequately brighten the space.
  7. Flexibility: Dimmer switches can be a great addition to control the lighting mood and intensity. Adjustable lights or track lighting offer flexibility to change the direction of light as needed.
  8. Safety and Building Codes: Make sure your lighting plan complies with local building codes, especially regarding electrical wiring and fixture installation.
  9. Decor and Style: The lighting should complement the overall decor and style of your basement. Choose fixtures that enhance the aesthetic you’re aiming for, whether it’s modern, rustic, industrial, etc.
  10. Budget: Consider the cost not just of the fixtures themselves, but also of installation and long-term energy usage.

Enhanced Guide Elements:

  1. Soundproofing: Incorporate acoustic insulation if the basement is used for noise-related activities.
  2. Safety Features: Ensure emergency exits meet building codes. Install smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.
  3. Wall and Ceiling Finishes: Use moisture-resistant materials for walls and ceilings. A drop ceiling can offer easy access to utilities.
  4. Window Treatments: Light-filtering treatments provide privacy and natural light.
  5. Furnishings: Opt for space-efficient furniture, especially in smaller basements.
  6. Wi-Fi and Technology: Consider Wi-Fi extenders and smart home devices for enhanced connectivity and convenience.
  7. Compliance with Regulations: Adhere to local building codes, especially for egress windows and ceiling heights.

By enhancing your basement conversion guide with these additional considerations, you can create a space that is functional and comfortable but also safe and compliant with local regulations.

Transforming Basements into Dry, Welcoming Spaces: The Essentials of Waterproofing

Creating a Habitable and Dry Basement Space

The primary goal of basement conversions is to extend your living space into a welcoming and, most importantly, dry area. The key to achieving this lies in effective basement waterproofing.

Methods of Basement Waterproofing

The process of waterproofing a basement includes blocking water entry. It can be achieved through various techniques such as:

  • External Waterproofing: This method is typically implemented during the basement’s construction and relies on moisture-resistant building materials. However, its effectiveness is often only thoroughly tested once the surrounding soil settles, potentially revealing flaws under hydrostatic pressure.
  • Cementitious Tanking Involves applying a bonded waterproof cement layer to the basement’s walls, floors, and sometimes ceilings. This layer, adhering to the masonry, creates a barrier against water, allowing breathability.
  • Cavity Drain Membranes: These membranes form a gap between the wet wall and the waterproof layer, guiding any water ingress to a sump and pump system for evacuation.

Best Practices for Waterproofing a Basement

The most effective waterproofing approach considers the basement’s intended use and combines various waterproofing systems. Each method has its strengths and should be tailored to suit specific conditions.

Preparing for Waterproofing

Before waterproofing, ensure to:

  • Clear the basement of all items.
  • Thoroughly clean the area, removing debris and dust.
  • Inspect and repair any wall damage.

Choosing a Waterproofing Professional

For optimal results, engage a professional specialising in basement waterproofing. Verify their credentials, focus on the guarantees offered, and consider if they are affiliated with organisations like the British Structural Waterproofing Association.

Enhancing Property Value with a Waterproof Basement

A waterproof basement prevents mould and rot and significantly increases property value. This added living space is particularly appealing in urban, high-value areas, especially London.

The Importance of BS8102 Compliance

All waterproofing systems should comply with the BS8102 guidelines. Familiarise yourself with these standards and the importance of sump pump maintenance and backup systems.

Waterproofing and Housing Considerations

A dry, welcoming basement property is more valuable and appealing to buyers than one with damp issues. Addressing waterproofing effectively can prevent long-term structural problems and make your property more attractive in the housing market.

Interior Drainage Systems

Interior drainage systems are crucial in basement waterproofing, especially in managing and redirecting water infiltration. Here’s an overview of how they work and why they are essential:

1. Functionality of Interior Drainage Systems:

  • Interior drainage systems are designed to capture water that enters the basement, typically where the floor meets the walls, a common entry point for water.
  • These systems consist of a drainage channel installed around the perimeter of the basement floor. The drain collects incoming water and directs it to a collection point, usually a sump pump.

2. Components of the System:

  • Drainage Channel or Perimeter Drain: A trench is dug around the perimeter of the basement, and a drainage pipe or channel is installed. This pipe is perforated to allow water to enter and is often laid in a gravel bed to facilitate drainage.
  • Sump Pump: The collected water is directed to a sump basin. When the water in this basin reaches a certain level, the sump pump activates and pumps the water out of the basement, typically discharging it away from the foundation.
  • Vapour Barrier: Sometimes, a vapour barrier is also installed along the basement walls to direct wall seepage to the drainage channel.

3. Installation Process:

  • Installing an interior drainage system typically involves some level of basement excavation. It may require the removal of a section of the basement floor along the perimeter and potentially the lower section of the basement walls.
  • After installing the drainage channel and connecting it to the sump pump, the floor is restored, often with new concrete poured over the drainage system.

4. Advantages:

  • Less Invasive: Compared to exterior waterproofing, interior drainage systems are less invasive and can be more cost-effective, as they don’t require excavating the entire outer perimeter of the house.
  • Effective Water Management: They effectively manage water intrusion, redirecting it away from the basement living space.
  • Reduced Hydrostatic Pressure: By capturing water at the point of entry, these systems help reduce hydrostatic pressure against the basement walls and floor, minimising the risk of structural damage.

5. Maintenance and Considerations:

  • Regular maintenance of the sump pump and cleaning of the drainage channels is essential to ensure the system functions correctly.
  • Battery backup systems for sump pumps are recommended to ensure functionality during power outages, which often accompany heavy storms.

6. Suitability and Limitations:

  • Interior drainage systems are a practical solution for many basements but may only be suitable for some. Factors like the basement’s existing construction, soil conditions, and the water table level need to be considered.
  • In cases of extreme flooding or severe foundational issues, additional waterproofing methods might be necessary.

Interior drainage systems offer an effective way to manage basement water issues, particularly with other waterproofing strategies. However, it’s crucial to assess each situation individually and consult with waterproofing professionals to determine the most appropriate solution for your basement needs. More on basement conversions.

Once the basement is waterproofed then it’s time to finish the basement.

For further information please contact Ed or Kelly on Tel: 01284 365345 or email ed@granitebw.co.uk / kelly@granitebw.co.uk.

The United Kingdom is currently grappling with a significant housing crisis, a situation where a substantial segment of our population lacks access to safe, suitable, and affordable housing. The government’s ambitious target of constructing 300,000 homes annually remains unmet, leaving many to question the root causes and potential solutions to this pressing issue.

Autumn budget pledged 180,000 new and affordable homes annually, however the real figure is in excess of 300,000 homes.

Underlying Causes of the Housing Shortage

Limited Supply of Homes: One of the principal reasons for the housing crisis is the acute shortage of housing. Despite the government’s commitment to building new homes, there’s a marked discrepancy between the number of houses available and the growing demand. This imbalance has escalated house prices and rental costs.

Population Growth: The UK has experienced a steady increase in population over the past decades, intensifying the demand for housing.

Affordability Issues: The high cost of housing, an increase of 34% since targets announced in 2017 compounded by the living cost crisis, has made it increasingly difficult for individuals and families to afford suitable housing. There is a need to build the right sort of houses.

Diminishing Social Housing: The availability of social housing, which offers affordable accommodation to those in need, has declined over the years.

The Impact of the Buy-to-Let Market: The trend of purchasing properties for rental purposes has reduced the number of homes available for purchase, thereby inflating prices and placing additional hurdles for first-time buyers. But many landlords are currently selling up which increases the stock for buyers but puts more pressure on rental market.
Regional Disparities: The crisis is more acute in densely populated areas and cities where job opportunities and economic growth have led to higher housing costs.

Planning

The current planning system is out of date and under resourced. An urgent overhaul is required to speed up the planning process, which will allow sites to move forward more quickly.

Labour

There remains a shortage of skilled trades to build the houses due to Brexit and Covid.

Government’s Challenges in Meeting Housing Targets

The government’s aspiration to build 300,000 homes annually has been declared unachievable by industry experts. Policy changes, including making local housing targets advisory, have led to a projected decline in annual housebuilding. Additionally, only 40% of local planning authorities have up-to-date local plans, with debates over housing numbers causing further delays.

Granite Building Warranties’ Perspective on Solutions

At Granite Building Warranties Ltd, we believe addressing this crisis requires a multifaceted approach:

  • Planning: Improving the planning process, reducing the timeline and incentivising development on underutilised land.
  • Improving Renting Conditions: Implementing stricter regulations for rental properties and enhancing tenant rights. However, this can cause reduction in rental properties as landlords are fed up with increasing regulations and decide sell up.
  • Focusing on Sustainable Housing: Promoting environmentally friendly construction and innovative housing solutions.
  • Prioritising Affordable Housing: Increasing public and private funding for affordable and social housing projects.
  • New Construction Methods: Encouraging construction methods that ill speed up the build process.
  • New Towns/Settlements: Government needs to identify new areas for substantial developments, such as Cambourne and North Stow in Cambridgeshire.
  • Affordability and help for First Time Buyers: Now that Help to Buy is no longer available the Government needs to introduce a new scheme to support first time buyers.

Granite Building Warranties are specialist independent brokers of building warranties for the construction industry and for a quote or further information please contact Ed or Kelly on Tel: 01284 365345 or email ed@granitebw.co.uk / kelly@granitebw.co.uk

Expanding your living space through home extensions is a popular way to adapt your home to changing needs in the dynamic housing market. Whether you’re looking for an extra bedroom, a larger kitchen, or just more living space, understanding the different types of home extensions and their specific requirements is crucial. This guide explores London’s most common types of home extensions, along with insights into insurance and warranty considerations for each.

1. Single-Story Extensions:

Ideal for ground or first-floor expansions, single-story extensions are a cost-effective way to add rooms like bedrooms, bathrooms, or additional living space. They are less complex and generally more budget-friendly.

Insurance and Warranty Considerations:

  • Site Insurance: Essential during construction to protect against risks like theft, damage, or injury on site.
  • Structural Defects Insurance: Important for new construction to cover any structural issues that may arise post-completion.
  • Completed Housing Warranty/New Build Warranty: Applicable for new extensions as a guarantee against defects.
  • Latent Defects Insurance: Provides coverage for hidden defects discovered after completion.
  • Right-of-Lights Insurance: May be necessary if the extension could potentially block a neighbour’s natural light.

2. Two-Story Extensions:

A two-story extension adds considerable room for those needing substantial space by building an additional floor. Perfect for multiple new rooms or expanded living areas.

Insurance and Warranty Considerations:

  • Site Insurance: Essential during construction to protect against risks like theft, damage, or injury on site.
  • Structural Defects Insurance: Important for new construction to cover any structural issues that may arise post-completion.
  • Completed Housing Warranty/New Build Warranty: Applicable for new extensions as a guarantee against defects.
  • Latent Defects Insurance: Provides coverage for hidden defects discovered after completion.
  • Right-of-Lights Insurance: May be necessary if the extension could potentially block a neighbour’s natural light.
Ai generated Wraparound Extension, large rectangle glass structure

Wraparound Extension

3. Wraparound Extensions:

These extensions expand the side and rear of your home, offering a spacious, open-plan area. They are ideal for combining with kitchen extensions but have a higher price tag.

Insurance and Warranty Considerations:

  • Site Insurance: Essential during construction to protect against risks like theft, damage, or injury on site.
  • Structural Defects Insurance: Important for new construction to cover any structural issues that may arise post-completion.
  • Completed Housing Warranty/New Build Warranty: Applicable for new extensions as a guarantee against defects.
  • Latent Defects Insurance: Provides coverage for hidden defects discovered after completion.
  • Right-of-Lights Insurance: May be necessary if the extension could potentially block a neighbour’s natural light.

4. Conservatory Extensions:

Conservatories add a glass-walled living area, usually at the back of the house. Due to energy efficiency concerns, they’re less expensive than traditional extensions but might not be suitable for year-round use.

Insurance and Warranty Considerations:

Basement Extension

5. Basement Extensions:

Transforming your basement into a functional area adds valuable space but can be complex and costly, often requiring structural modifications. However, we take a look at the benefits that could be had by having a basement conversion.

Insurance and Warranty Considerations:

6. Loft Conversions:

Loft conversions are perfect for utilizing unused attic space. They can be complex, possibly requiring structural reinforcement, but effectively add rooms like bedrooms or bathrooms.

Insurance and Warranty Considerations:

7. Garden Living Pods:

Garden living pods are modern, standalone structures that offer an innovative solution for adding functional living space. Ideal for home offices, studios, or guest rooms, these pods provide flexibility and can often be installed with minimal disruption.

Insurance and Warranty Considerations:

  • It’s essential to check whether your home insurance extends to cover external structures like garden pods.
  • Ensure that the pod has a warranty, particularly on weather resistance and structural durability.

From traditional extensions to innovative garden living pods, expanding your home offers various options to suit different needs and preferences. Remember to factor in the aesthetic and practical aspects, essential insurance adjustments, and warranty protections for your new space. Whether you choose a loft conversion, a basement extension, or a trendy garden pod, thorough planning and professional advice are key to a successful home expansion project.

FAQ

What is the most cost effective way to increase the value of your home when expanding living space?

Answer: Adding Another Bathroom: Affixing a half-bath onto the side of your house or transforming an existing half-bath into a full-size bathroom can be surprisingly affordable and can greatly increase the value of your home

 

What are the legal requirements for building a home extension in the uk?

In the UK, there are specific legal requirements for building a home extension. These include obtaining planning permission and complying with building regulations. Here are the key points to consider:

  • Planning Permission: It is essential to understand the planning permission requirements for home extensions in the UK. This involves confirming compliance with local planning restrictions, considering the impact on neighboring properties and the environment, and obtaining prior approval for larger extensions
  • Building Regulations: All home extensions in the UK must meet building regulations. This ensures that the extension meets safety standards, complies with legal requirements, and maintains the structural integrity of the property. Building regulations cover aspects such as structural integrity, safety, electrical, plumbing, and fire safety requirements
  • Permitted Development: Some home extensions may fall under permitted development rights, allowing them to bypass the traditional planning process. However, there are specific criteria and limitations that must be met to qualify for permitted development
References

The past decade has witnessed notable fluctuations in the UK housing market, with prices experiencing dramatic increases and notable dips. This comprehensive overview explores the factors and specific events that have shaped house prices over the last ten years.

House Prices Trends

Key Drivers of House Price Trends

Supply and Demand Dynamics:

The fundamental driver of house prices is the balance between supply and demand. In recent years, rising population growth, increased household formation, and growing disposable incomes have significantly boosted demand. This, coupled with inadequate supply, has led to a sustained rise in house prices.

Influence of Interest Rates:

Interest rates play a crucial role in housing affordability. Lower interest rates make borrowing cheaper, thus fuelling demand and escalating prices. On the other hand, higher interest rates make mortgages more expensive, dampening demand and slowing price growth.

Impact of Government Policies:

Initiatives like Help to Buy have made homeownership more accessible, stimulating demand and, consequently, prices. These policies often aim to support specific market segments, such as first-time buyers.

Economic Conditions:

The strength of the economy significantly influences house prices. Economic booms encourage spending and investment in housing, while recessions typically lead to cautious spending and stagnation in the housing market.

3 pile of coins getting higher on each stack depicting rising housing costs. Little wooden shaped house at the side of the coins Specific Events Impacting House Prices

  1. 2013: The government introduced the Help to Buy scheme, which made it easier for people to buy homes with a small deposit. This led to increased demand for housing and a rise in prices.
  2. 2015: The government introduced a new stamp duty surcharge for buy-to-let properties and second homes.This was designed to make it more expensive for people to buy second homes and to free up more homes for first-time buyers. However, it had little impact on house prices.
  3. 2016: The UK voted to leave the European Union. This caused uncertainty in the economy and led to a fall in the value of the pound. This made it cheaper for overseas investors to buy property in the UK, which helped to boost demand and prices.
  4. 2017: The government introduced a new stamp duty band for properties valued at over £1 million. This was designed to raise revenue and to make it more expensive for people to buy expensive homes. However, it had little impact on house prices overall.
  5. 2019: The government introduced a number of measures to help first-time buyers, including a new First Homes Fund and a new Help to Buy scheme. These measures were designed to make it easier for first-time buyers to get onto the property ladder.
  6. 2020: The COVID-19 pandemic caused a temporary dip in house prices. This was due to a number of factors,including a fall in consumer confidence, a decline in economic activity, and a temporary halt to the housing market. However, prices have since rebounded and are now higher than they were before the pandemic.
  7. 2021: Stamp Duty Holiday: The government introduced a temporary stamp duty holiday from July 2020 to September 2021, removing the tax on property purchases up to £500,000 and £250,000 for first-time buyers. This significant incentive fuelled a surge in demand and drove up house prices.
    1. Continued Low Interest Rates: Despite the pandemic, the Bank of England maintained low interest rates, making mortgages more affordable and further supporting demand for housing.

  8. 2022: Return to Pre-Pandemic Price Levels: House prices surpassed pre-pandemic levels, reaching record highs in several regions. The combination of pent-up demand, low interest rates, and the lingering effects of the stamp duty holiday continued to drive market activity.

    1. Rising Inflation: Inflation began to rise sharply, putting pressure on the Bank of England to raise interest rates. This shift in monetary policy signaled a potential slowdown in the housing market.

  9. 2023: Interest Rate Hikes: The Bank of England responded to rising inflation by raising interest rates several times throughout the year. These increases have impacted affordability, leading to a moderation in house price growth.

    1. Economic Uncertainty: The ongoing war in Ukraine, global supply chain disruptions, and the lingering effects of the pandemic have created economic uncertainty, which could influence future house price trends.

Summary

The last decade has seen a complex interplay of factors influencing the UK housing market. From supply-demand imbalances and economic shifts to government policies and global crises, these elements have steered house prices on an eventful journey.

While the market has shown resilience and growth, it remains subject to cyclical trends and future uncertainties. As we look ahead, it is crucial to approach the housing market with a well-informed and balanced perspective, recognising that while growth has been robust, it is not guaranteed to persist indefinitely.

With the rising costs of housing prices this has also had an effect on a 10 year new build warranty.  Of course at Granite we strive to be a competitive provider in the marketplace.

Reference

Hayfield Homes Leading the Way in New Build Net Zero Developments

Midlands based housebuilder Hayfield Homes are leading the way in eco home building at their latest development just outside Worcester.

All homes will be built with an air source heat pump – therefore no connection to the grid is required.

 

The heat pumps, located externally, operate continually to drag heat from the ground and outside air into the heating system inside the homes creating little noise as they are based on acoustic feet.

The size of pump is determined by the size of house from 9kw for a 5 bed detached down to 4kw for a 2 bed.

The larger houses are also equipped with underfloor heating to maximise the efficiency of the heat pumps. 

Hayfield Homes started fitting air source heat pumps in their new builds back in 2019 to get ahead of the curve before the Government’s new building standards come into force in 2025 pushing fossil fuels out of all new build homes.

The use of air source heat pumps is essential if the Government is to reach its net zero target by 2050.

There is one challenge with this move to cleaner energy, that is the demand on the electricity grid and Hayfield have had to create new electricity substations to meet the demands of its new homes.

 

When used correctly, it is proven the efficiency and cost effectiveness of air source can be very significant.

 

For further information please contact Ed, Kelly & Issy on Tel: 01284 365345 or email ed@granitebw.co.uk / kelly@granitebw.co.uk issy@granitebw.co.uk

Biodiversity, the Birds & the Bees…

 According to the Wildlife Trust, the UK has lost 97% of Lowland meadows since 1930, with the government’s target of 300,000 homes a year, the UK will continue to see this percentage climb. As crucial as it is to meet this target for new homes, we must preserve our Nature and Wildlife.

Developers, when building new homes, are obliged to minimize the risk to surrounding biodiversity and should provide a Protected Species survey, ecology report or environmental report for their planning application.

It’s important Planners and Developers understand different species, the types of environments these species live in and how we can mitigate damage to their habitats, with relevant developments including New Builds, Conversions, Demolition, Extensions and Roofing Work.

Examples of Protected species in the UK:

  • Bats – Commonly found in derelict buildings, Traditional Barns/Oast houses.
  • Badgers – Found in Suburban Meadows or Grasslands.
  • Otters – Found in Costal Habitats.
  • Dormice – Found in Woodland, Scrub or Hedgerows.
  • Reptiles – Found in Woodland, Scrub or Hedgerows.
  • Newts – Found in Woodland, Lowlands or slow flowing water bodies.
  • Water voles – Found in Ponds or slow flowing water bodies.
  • Barn Owls – Found in Traditional Timber frame buildings.

What can developers do to help?

  • Hedgehog highways – A Hedgehog Highway is a series of holes in fence panels which allow hedgehogs to move freely between gardens and parks.
  • Bat Boxes – Boxes on the outside of buildings at Roof Level
  • Bee Bricks – Bee bricks are regular bricks with a collection of narrow openings, where solitary bees are known to nest. Brighton & Hove Council have recently passed a policy which states that all new buildings above five meters should include bee bricks and bird nesting boxes.
  • Netting Bridges – Net Bridges across roads, to keep Species such as Bats above the level of Traffic. A good example of this A11 – Barton Mills.
  • Necessary removal of trees – Ensure that trees/hedges that require removal are removed outside of nesting season.
  • Hedgerows/Trees – A comprehensive biodiverse landscaping plan is essential.
  • Badgers – Limiting work with heavy machinery during certain times of the day. Relocating and creating new Badger Setts.
  • Sustainable Drainage System – Sustainable Drainage system’s managing surface water. The idea is to mimic natural drainage and can include Green Roofs, Permeable Paving’s & ponds.

Developers when building new homes, are obliged to minimize the risk to surrounding biodiversity. They are to provide a Protected Species survey, ecology report or environmental report for their planning application.

A local example is Trumpington Meadows just outside of Cambridge, a 1,200-home development, with 58ha of greenspace. The interesting design has allowed for the Greenspace to be in one single block, rather than dotted throughout the development, Allowing for a beautiful nature reserve and home to many species.

A further example is Mace’s recent announcement to create 2000m of Shallow foot drains at Fobbing Marshes, Essex. This will allow water to be held closer to the surface to improve the quality of the grassland for Wetland Birds & Invertebrates.

Biodiversity Net Gain

Biodiversity Net Gain is the idea of implementing systems which ensure the impacts of a development are overall positive and aims to leave the natural environment in a measurably better state than it was before, requiring a 10% minimum net gain for biodiversity, through enhancement or habitat replacement on or near a new development site.

Through the environment Act 2021, this will become mandatory from November 2023, which will enable developers to commit to Climate Change.

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