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Industry News


Lukewarm response given to Queens Speech by CIH


The main professional body for those working in the social housing sector has given a mixed response to the Government’s planned legislation programme for the next Parliamentary session. In a briefing to its members the


Chartered Institute of Housing said: “There is much to be positive about in the Queen’s Speech including the establishment of a new Building Safety Regulator and the commitment to enhance the rights of those who rent.” But it then went on to highlight a range of shortcomings. “While the proposals for a tenancy


reform package are good news, we will be pressing the Government not to delay bringing forward the end of Section 21 ‘no fault’ evictions, which it already consulted on in July 2019. “A firm commitment to a social housing


bill was notably lacking and it is disappointing that measures to address the long-standing issue of social care funding and reform were not included. Decent housing also has an important role as a route to supporting social care reform. “The heavy focus on home


ownership, while unsurprising, is also disappointing when we know how pressing the need is for affordable homes across the country of all tenures (particularly homes at social rents). There was also a heavy emphasis in the speech on boosting housing numbers.” The CIH recognises that building new


homes is important, but it stresses the quality of new homes and neighbourhoods is as important and has a vital part to play in supporting healthy, independent living. The briefing continued with “The


planning bill will have significant implications for affordable housing providers and the provision of affordable housing given the proposal to replace S106 contributions with a new Levy, as we expressed in our consultation response to The Planning White Paper. “CIH will continue to urge government


to invest in social rented homes and to ensure that people on low incomes have the help with housing costs they need. We will also continue calling for government to take action to tackle the acute shortage of accessible homes and to require the principles of healthy homes and neighbourhoods in the planning and supply of new homes.”


Number of second homes in UK rises to almost half a million


analysis of official data by Houst, a leading flexible lettings service. The vast majority (451,000 of the 495,000) or 91


T


per cent of the second homes are located in England. Houst says that rising incomes, property’s continued draw as an asset class due to steadily rising house prices, and the shift to more flexible and remote working, are likely to have been the main reasons behind the rise in second home ownership over the period. The rise could also have been driven in part by


the reduced value of the pound, making it more cost-effective to purchase property in the UK rather than in Europe, for example, that acts primarily as a holiday home. Houst explains that the last decade has seen a


boom in the use of technology-driven property lettings companies, such as Airbnb and Booking.com, which have made it more attractive and far easier for second home owners to generate income from second residences. Tom Jones, Co-Founder and Chief Commercial


Officer of Houst, says: “The likes of Airbnb and other platforms have revolutionised second home ownership and have certainly been one of the main driving forces behind second home ownership. Owners are now able to generate income from their second home extremely easily, almost all year round.” “One of the things, however, that second home


owners still struggle with is the administration behind second homes. With staycations on the rise – even pre-pandemic – it’s almost like a second full-time job. Owners are constantly checking


14 | HMM June/July 2021 | www.housingmmonline.co.uk


he number of second homes in the UK has risen by 30 per cent over the last five years, to a record high of 495,000 according to an


emails and enquiries from all the different platforms, ensuring the property is clean and ready for renters, and always looking ahead for opportunities to let out their properties.” Houst says that the Coronavirus pandemic, the


time period of which the latest data from the MHCLG does not cover, presents some interesting questions for the future of second home ownership in the UK. On one hand, many people have seen reduced


incomes and job opportunities, which could have triggered some to sell their second properties to boost cash reserves. Additionally, wealthier, older members of the workforce have opted to take early retirement and move into second homes in the countryside, choosing to sell – rather than rent out – their primary residences often close to larger cities and business hubs. On the other hand, businesses have been


forced into adopting work-from-home procedures, which may have encouraged some to move into their second homes, often in the countryside, to see the disruption through. Houst says that the last 12 months, and many business’ commitment to part or even full-time remote working in the future, could have convinced some to invest in second homes, retaining often more city-based properties for use only when they are required to attend the office. Tom Jones continues: “The restrictions on


travel over the past year will have seen many second home owners debate the next steps for their second homes. Those that decide to continue letting properties – rather than selling or moving into them on a more permanent basis – will need to ensure they’re squeezing every pound out of their property.”


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