Home affordability – as measured by the ratio between average house prices and gross local earnings – across UK cities is at its worst level since 2008, according to Lloyds Bank. Over the past five years, the average UK city house price has risen by 32% from £169,966 in 2012 to its highest ever level of £224,926 in 2017. In comparison, average city annual earnings over the same period have risen by only 7% to £32,796. As a result, average affordability in the nation’s cities has worsened with house prices rising as a multiple of average annual earnings from 5.5 in 2012 to 6.9 in 2017.
Councils in the country is planning inflation-busting tax rises to fund social care. A survey by the Local Government Association found that 147 of England's 151 local authorities or have already approved a "social care precept" which enables them to hike bills by an extra 3 per cent. This is on top of their power to increase council taxes by a further 1.99 per cent, meaning many local authorities are planning to raise council tax by an extra 5 per cent in a single year.
Asking price growth slows to lowest rate in almost four years as housing market stalls. Rightmove’s index of asking price for properties found that the annual rate of growth was just 2.3pc, the lowest since April 2013. For this time of year, it is the slowest rate of growth since February 2009. However, it said that demand was up, with traffic to the website 3pc higher than January last year, when it was boosted by the surge of investors to purchase buy-to-let properties before stamp duty was hiked in April.
The Supreme Court has ruled in favour of a woman seeking access to her late partner's pension, which is excepted to improve the pension rights of unmarried couples across the UK. Denise Brewster was initially refused payments from her late partner's occupational pension scheme as the Northern Ireland Local Government Officers’ Superannuation Committee, which administers the pension scheme, says it did not receive a form in which her partner nominated her to be eligible for a survivor’s pension. 2009 regulations state that unmarried co-habiting partners must be nominated by the scheme member in order to be eligible for a survivor's pension. The survivor must also show that he or she has been a cohabitant for two years before the date on which the member sent the nomination and has been in that position for two years before the date of death.
Rents are expected to push up faster than house prices over the next five years as landlords scale back the number of properties on their books, according to a survey. The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (Rics) said rental prices are predicted to outpace house price inflation, as an imbalance between supply and demand squeezes rents higher. Over the coming five years, surveyors anticipate rents will increase by just over 25%, while house prices rise by just under 20%. Rics found a net balance of 28% more surveyors feel landlords are likely to decrease rather than increase their portfolios over the next 12 months and over the next three years a balance of 26% expect landlords to scale back their portfolios.