Posts tagged ‘Politics’

CONFIRMATION: Grant Shapps Housing Minister

Grant Shapps, the Conservatives’ former shadow housing minister,  has confirmed, via his twitter page last night, that he has been appointed Minister of State for Housing.

It is understood that the role no longer has Cabinet status and therefore, unlike his Labour predecessor, he will not attend Cabinet meetings.

Is this, coupled with the time it took to make the appointment, an indication as to where housing is on the list of priorities?

Let us know your thoughts below.

A full guide to Cabinet members can be found here.

About Grant Shapps

Previous positions held

MP for Welwyn Hatfield, May 2005 –

Vice-Chairman of Conservative Party Campaigning, Dec 2005 -

Shadow Minister for Housing, June 2007 – May 2010

Proudest political achievement

Founding the Conservative Homelessness Foundation

Interests outside of politics

Aviation (holds a pilot’s licence)

Family life

Married to Belinda

Three children: Hadley and twins, Noa and Tabytha

Information taken from the Conservatives website

May 14, 2010 at 8:01 AM 1 comment

CONFIRMATION: HIPs to be scrapped

UPDATE 20TH MAY

LINK TO NEW POSTHIPS SUSPENDED WITH IMMEDIATE EFFECT

The Conservatives and Liberal Democrats have released a ‘Coalition Agreement’ document setting out the what has been reached between the two parties on a range of issues. In the document the following is buried towards the end under the Environment section pt 6 – a confirmation that Home Information Packs (HIPs) are to be scrapped and Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) retained.

We have taken these screen shots from the BBC News website, but a full version of the document is available here.

HIPs are one of the first casualties of the new coalition government and this is positive news for the housing market. Sellers see them as an annoyance, buyers don’t ask to see them and solicitors often refuse to rely on the information they contain. In an environment where property transactions are still far too low, any additional expense that makes sellers think twice about putting their homes on the market is not welcome. The introduction of HIPs was full of good intentions – designed to speed up the home-buying process and prevent people pulling out of purchases further down the line. However, the packs were ultimately diluted to the point where buyers and mortgage lenders did not have the vital information they needed – such as a structural survey – and they’ve been on borrowed time ever since.

The retention of Energy Performance Certificates is an environmentally positive move, but it is possibly more about complying with EU directives on reducing carbon emissions, clearly a positive move, than helping home buyers and sellers. The new government should now consider replacing HIPs with a simple pre-sales pack to include local searches and a draft contract for sale only.

We’d like to hear your thoughts on how this might effect the market, speed up the sales process or simply have no benefit at all.

Leave a comment below or come and find us on Twitter.

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May 12, 2010 at 4:00 PM 63 comments

Downing Street residences drop £462,420 to £4.5m under Brown

10 Downing Street is one of the most exclusive addresses in the country, with a valuation to match. It is more than likely that Number 10 is one of the few properties that will never come on to the property market and it takes millions of votes to secure the keys. Messrs Cameron and Clegg clearly have a struggle on their hands to wrestle those keys from Mr Brown who has been a Downing Street resident for twelve years now and will be very reluctant to call in the removal men.

So, with just over two weeks to go, the race is on amongst the party leaders to get their hands on a piece of prime real estate in the heart of London (SW1A) which we value at £4.5m. It’s worth noting that this figure is only for the official residential digs in Downing Street – which consists of 3,800 sq ft. Yes, surprisingly small.

Here are some other interesting facts relating to the official residences on Downing Street:

  • Winner will enjoy rent-free living which would otherwise run to £4,250 per week
  • Value of PM’s residence has dropped by £462,420 during Brown’s occupancy
  • Under Blair, Downing Street residence grew in value by avg. of over £335k p.a.
  • Brown and Major tenures reduced value versus growth under Blair and Thatcher
  • Stamp Duty  bill (if on open market) would be a whopping £225k (5% from April 2011)

In light of the current deficit the next Chancellor may be well advised to think about selling up and moving his boss’ official residence to one of the other Downing Streets across Britain. The most cost-effective move for taxpayers would be to Downing Street in Sutton-In-Ashfield where the average property costs £50,853. Alternatively, if commuting to Westminster is essential for the PM, a move to Downing Street in Farnham, Surrey, where the average property price is £253,528 would help pay down more than £4m of the budget deficit.

If there is a change in leadership over the next few weeks, Gordon Brown is likely to drop quite a few rungs on the property ladder as house prices in his own constituency of Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath are amongst the lowest in the land at an average of £120,910 versus his current address in SW1 where average house prices are £920,361.

Cameron and Clegg will both be keen to upgrade to SW1 from their own constituencies where current values are £289,686 and £219,136 respectively.

Changes in value of official residential digs at 10 Downing Street, SW1A

Leader Arrival Value Departure Value Value  change Years in office Av. change p.a
Brown Years £5,037,251 £4,574,831 -£462,420 2.9 -£165,150
Blair Years £1,644,558 £5,037,251 £3,392,693 10.10 £335,910
Major Years £1,804,952 £1,644,558 -£160,394 6.5 -£24,676
Thatcher years £692,602 £1,804,952 £1,112,350 11.6 £96,726

*Source: Zoopla.co.uk

Take a look at our recent post on how the leaders, constituencies and parties perform from a property perspective.

Please feel free to share and use these figures; all we ask is that you credit the source as the Zoopla.co.uk and if possible link to Zoopla.co.uk.

April 21, 2010 at 1:48 PM 1 comment

ELECTION 2010: Political Party Property Values

David Cameron visits Spear by conservativeparty. PM talks to Lauren Laverne by Downing Street
David Cameron Gordon Brown Nick Clegg

Unlike the election outcome, which is unclear for now, our research into political property values reveals that the Tories rule in the property stakes with average property values in their constituencies significantly above those in Labour controlled areas. Interestingly, despite the fact that there are far fewer homes in areas under their control today, the Tories still have an equal share of the UK’s property wealth, due largely to their strong presence in affluent rural areas and the south east of England in particular.

Some may say this is not totally unexpected, but when you look at the detail there are actually 4.5million more homes under Labour control (11.7m total) compared to 7.2m properties in Conservative constituencies with the Lib Dems some way behind with 2.2m homes.

The Key Points:

  • Average house prices in Conservative areas 53% higher than Labour
  • Property values in Tory constituencies £89,500 higher than Labour on average
  • Average house prices in Tory constituencies £257,500 vs. £168,000 for Labour
  • Lib Dem seats show highest growth in property values over the past 5 years
  • Gordon Brown’s own constituency amongst the lowest property values in UK

Average house prices in Tory-controlled areas now stand at £257,518, followed by Lib Dem constituencies where the average home is worth £228,880, whilst Labour comes in a distant third at £168,112, with property values in areas under their control at almost 20% below the national average.

Average property values in each party’s constituencies

Party Average Value
(April 2010)
% Change since last election
(May ’05)
Average Value when Labour came to power
(May ’97)
Conservatives £257,518 7.82% £92,392
Liberal Democrats £228,880 10.24% £78,813
Labour £168,112 7.99% £60,567

Source: Zoopla.co.uk

The research also highlights that Labour-controlled constituencies have experienced the lowest gains in property values since they came to power in 1997, with house price growth in areas under their control up 177% over the 13 year period compared to 179% in Tory areas and an impressive 190% in areas under Lib Dem control.

As for the party leaders own constituencies, the average property value in Gordon Brown’s Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath seat is £120,910, well below both the average for his party and the national average. Average property prices in Witney, the Oxfordshire seat of David Cameron, stand at almost 2.5 times that figure at £289,686, well above the national average (£209,101) whilst in Nick Clegg’s Sheffield Hallam constituency, the average home would set you back £219,136.

Average property values in each leader’s constituency

Leader Average Value
(April 2010)
% Change since last election
(May ’05)
Average Value when Labour came to power
(May ’97)
David Cameron £289,686 12.30% £98,756
Nick Clegg £219,136 5.14% £79,857
Gordon Brown £120,910 18.57% £38,691

Source: Zoopla.co.uk

In terms of the total current value of residential property located in areas controlled by each party, the Tories and Labour come out almost exactly neck and neck at £1.9 trillion each, despite Labour’s significant advantage of 11.7m homes in areas under their control compared to only 7.2m homes in Conservative areas. The total value of the 2.2m homes in areas under the control of the Liberal Democrats stands at £0.5 trillion.

Please feel free to share and use this research; all we ask is that you credit the source as the Zoopla.co.uk and if possible link to Zoopla.co.uk. Thank you. Here’s the original press release.

April 15, 2010 at 8:15 AM 2 comments


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