The institute for Fiscal Studies have listed some key findings of up-to-date analysis of falls in homeownership, highlighting that homeownership rates have fallen for 25-34-year-olds from 55% in 1996 to 34% in 2016. The image below shows just how much house prices have increased in comparison to income in the last 20 years. There has been a whopping 152% increase for the average house price with a slightly humbler increase of 22% for the average family income.

You can read more here.

In case you hadn't seen it, Gary Strong FRICS, Director of Practice Standards & Technical Guidance at RICS released a useful article at the end of May with some advice on how to deal with flat entrance doors.

RICS recommend that for all high-risk buildings (more than 18m in height), visual inspections are carried out monthly to ensure that fire doors are not compromised and that a fire risk assessment is conducted on residential tower blocks annually.

The article covers the basic principles, the 2004 act, prescribed hazards, operating guidance, enforcement guidance and the Building Act 1984 and you can read it here.

Hometrack have published their UK cities House Price Index for June.  

  • UK city house price inflation 4.6% on the year
  • London discount on asking price decreasing
  • Manchester has lowest level of price discounting and highest city annual growth rate

Newport still tops the year on year price increase at 12%  and still only an average house price of £155,500.

So why is Newport the city of house price growth? 

The scrapping of the Severn Bridge tolls makes it an easy commute to Bristol where the average house price is a whopping £283,500. Newport also has the highest number of new-builds in Wales, new- build properties tend to sell at a premium. The new-build homes re accompanied by new schools and a regeneration of the town centre.

This infographic from BRE, talks through the circadian rhythm and why it is important to us.  It is interesting to see the correlation of increased electric light with an increase in sleep deficiency. With so much sunlight recently we should all be well rested, more energetic and be much happier.

Read more here.

We came across this article by Gary O'Neill and it includes some rather extreme cases of retaining wall failures. It includes a useful diagram to show the range of forces that require consideration when designing a retaining wall, which are clearly important to avoid this happening!

- High rise buildings

-Waistell and Williams -v- Network Rail

-Japanese Knotweed 

The latest Technical Bulletin for residential surveyors pubished jointly by Sava and BlueBox is now available. You will need to be logged in to view the full bulletin. 

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This bulletin aims to bring you quality technical information that will help you in your day to day work and includes articles on:

Assessing the safety of high-rise buildings
The fire at London’s Grenfell Tower on 14 June 2017 was a human tragedy. As the disaster continues to be covered by the media and numerous investigations roll on, this article will focus on issues likely to be of concern to residential practitioners.As ever, we try to provide suggestions on both evaluating the issues and reporting to clients...

Microbore heating systems
Many heating systems in the UK still use microbore piping. Here, we take a look at the advantages and disadvantages of microbore piping and how best to report on it.
Microbore pipes were introduced in the 1970s and were hailed as an innovative plumbing material for central heating systems. The piping comes on rolls and consists of copper pipe with a thickness between 8 mm and 10 mm...

The fitness for human habitation bill
The Fitness for Human Habitation and Liability for Housing Standards (Homes) Bill was introduced by Karen Buck, the Labour MP for Westminster North.  First presented before the Grenfell Tower disaster, the bill was initially defeated by Conservative MPs. However, in the wake of Grenfell and with a swell of public opinion backing stricter sanctions on irresponsible landlords, this new version of the bill has gained the full support of the government...

Rodent infestations

At  Sava, we handle complaints on behalf of surveyors on a regular basis and from direct experience know that homeowners are not best pleased if they move into a property to find they’re sharing it with unwanted house guests. We’re focusing predominantly on rat and mice infestations as these species have adapted well to
the human environment, have health implications, are common pests and can cause much upset if found in the home...

Japanese knotweed research
You may be asking why we’re covering Japanese knotweed again. At Sava, we spend a disproportionately large amount of time dealing with complaints and potential claims arising from Japanese knotweed and, while it has been an issue for a long time, it feels as though the public’s reaction to it is now bordering on the hysterical. For this reason, we feel it’s worth covering again. In this Technical Bulletin, we look at recent research from Dr Dan Jones, Managing Director of Advanced Invasives Limited and an Honorary Researcher in Swansea University Department of Biosciences...

Japanese knotweed - understanding the plant
Japanese knotweed (Fallopia japonica var. japonica), is one of a number of knotweed species, introduced into Europe in the mid-19th century (1841) by Philipp Franz Balthasar von Siebold, a German botanist and physician living in The Netherlands. In 1850 he sent a specimen of Japanese knotweed to Kew Gardens in London. Kew offered the plant for sale to local commercial nurseries, and by 1854, knotweed had travelled as far as the Royal Botanical Gardens in Edinburgh...

PCA welcomes Japanese knotweed research
The Property Care Association (PCA) welcomes the new research which looks at the treatment options for Japanese Knotweed.  We have long advocated the need for a highly specialised treatment regime for Japanese knotweed...

Japanese knotweed - a surveyors perspective
Following research by Dr Dan Jones, Chartered Surveyor, Biologist and Environmentalist, David Gregson considers its impact on property professionals moving forwards. As a residential surveyor providing surveys and valuations for purchasers, I have based my working practices regarding Japanese knotweed on the received wisdom and general guidance available to the profession...

Important changes to the pre-action protocol...
Claimants bringing professional negligence claims against surveyors have long been required to follow the relevant pre-action Protocol. The Protocol aims to give parties the best opportunity to settle their dispute, without the need to start Court proceedings. In early May 2018, an important amendment was introduced to the Protocol...

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On 18th June, the BBC aired an episode of Rip Off Britain which included a feature about Japanese knotweed. If you didn't catch it, it is available until 19 July 2018 on the BBC iPlayer here (Series 10: Episode 6 - you may need to register an account to view the episode). 

It highlights the requirement for sellers to declare in a TA6 (or Property Information Form) if the property is affected by Japanese knotweed but when it comes to newly built homes, the seller isn’t required to make the same disclosure. It's certainly an interesting watch.  

An interesting article in the Guardian based on data from Hometrack, that is close to our heart as Sava is based in Milton Keynes.

It seems not everyone hates roundabouts and concrete cows, Milton Keynes is the 3rd fastest town for house price growth with 9.8% over the last 12 months. 

As well as MK's house prices growing, of the top towns for price increase, it boasts the highest average house price at £286,700.

This growth in MK is in contrast to the slow growth seen in some of the UKs previously fast rising cities, such as Brighton, Oxford and Cambridge.

Read the full article here.

Could 'flat-pack' homes solve Manchester's housing crisis?

With the city of Manchester’s population growing 15 times faster than houses are being built, and only around 3,000 new homes being built in the region every year, are new prefabs the answer?

Seventy years after the old post-war prefabs were built, a new breed of prefabs is hitting Manchester. 

Read more here.

It's not only Japanese Knotweed you need to look out for, this interesting article looks at the damage that can be caused by the roots of  Oak, Willow and Poplar trees. The sticky sap secreted by Lime and Pine trees and the damage it can cause to whatever it falls on is covered. English Ivy also gets a mention as this type of ivy can cause problems, as oppose to Virginia Creepers and Boston Ivy.

Read the full article here

Do you use a drone to inspect the roofs on your surveys?

New drone laws come into force this year. From 30 July, you won’t be able to fly your drone above 400 feet and or within a kilometre of airport boundaries. Anyone who flouts the rules could be charged with “recklessly or negligently acting in a manner likely to endanger an aircraft or any person in an aircraft”, and face an unlimited fine, up to five years in prison, or both.

Furthermore, from 30 November 2019, all owners drones that weigh at least 250g will have to register with the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and take an online safety test. Anyone who fails to register or sit the competency tests could face fines of up to £1,000

Read  more here

UK housing market remains subdued with no impetus predicted in the near term

Activity in the UK residential property market remained flat in May and it is unlikely to gain any impetus in the near term, according to the latest monthly housing market survey, reports Property Wire.

Although the number of homes coming on to the housing market turned positive for the first time since 2016, buyer demand continues to decline at a headline level but to a lesser extent than at the start of 2018, says the report from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).

Overall, the market saw a stable trend in new instructions in May, with the headline indicator turning positive for the first time in more than two years but average stock levels on estate agents books across the UK was steady at 42.5, which is still close to an all-time low.

The report says that it remains to be seen whether the increase in May truly marks the beginning of supply pressures easing.

Read the full article here

Wales will be the first UK country to offset mortgage lending against energy efficiency rating of new build homes in progressive legislation 

Wales will be the first country to adopt pioneering mortgage research into legislation, with first-time buyers expected to reap the benefits. From this June, all Welsh Help-To-Buy loans will be adjusted according to the energy rating of the home being purchased. This will mean that those purchasing the most energy-efficient homes may be offered a larger loan as a consequence of their smaller anticipated energy bills. The change has been implemented based on research by the LENDERS partnership which was published in July 2017.
Read the full article here

An undersupply of housing in the UK over the past four decades has resulted in overcrowding, households having to share, insecure tenure, high rental payments relative to income, long journeys to school and work, and homelessness. The price of housing, which is high and rising relative to incomes, has also created problems for households wanting to become owner-occupiers. Read more here

If you're aged 35 and under and you are helping to improve and advance local communities then you might be in with chance to win this years award. The annual RICS Matrics Young Surveyor of the Year Awards is aimed to recognise and celebrate the most inspirational young surveying professionals in the UK. Entries are now open and the closing date is 6 July 2018. To find out more, click here.

 - The Abuse of Leasehold Interests

 - Pitched Fibre Drains Part 2

 - Valuing Development Sites - Lessons Learned

Welcome to the latest issue of the 'Technical Bulletin for Residential Surveyors', published jointly by Sava and BlueBox partners.
This bulletin aims to bring you quality technical information that will help you in your day to day work.

The Abuse of Leasehold Interests

What should a valuer consider?

Leasehold remains the number one concern for homeowners in the UK. Recent research by DAC Beachcroft (international firm of lawyers specialising in advising the insurance industry) summarised the government’s thinking on leasehold interests following their recent consultation...

Grounds Rents: The Calm before the Storm?

Looking at the future of ground rents

The topic of ground rents has had a huge amount of attention over the last 12 months, culminating in the government’s consultation paper on leasehold reform launched in July 2017. Reports of block notifications abound across the property professional sector, but are these likely to produce large scale exposures for professionals and their PI (professional indemnity) insurers?

Pitched Fibre Drains (part 2)

How and when to report RICSs pitched fibre drain products

Phil Parnham, director of BlueBox Partners, follows on from the pitch fibre drain article in Issue 27 of the Technical Bulletin with this feature focusing on how the same issues should be reported in RICS’s Home Survey products...

Valuing Development sites: Lessons Learned

In 2017, a claim was heard for a breach of professional negligence by CBRE Ltd on a development site for mortgage valuation purposes undertaken for the Dunfermline Building Society back in 2007. This is the sort of valuation only undertaken by firms with significant cover through professional indemnity insurance, but there are a few points from the case worth considering...

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