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UK’s annual house price growth rises to 3.1%

After a ‘sluggish’ two months, June marks a turnaround in the property market, with house prices rebounding by 1.1%, reports Nationwide Building Society.

What’s the latest?

The UK’s property market showed signs of picking up in June, with house prices rising by 1.1%.

The increase reversed the fall in property values recorded in the previous three months, to leave the average UK home costing £211,301.

Also, according to Nationwide Building Society, the annual rate of house price inflation rose, lifting to 3.1%, up from 2.1% in the 12 months to the end of May.

The strong rebound in price growth is at odds with other data on the property market, such as housing transactions and mortgage approvals, which have suggested activity still remains subdued.

Thus, Nationwide’s chief economist Robert Gardner cautioned against reading too much into one month’s figures, as these tend to be volatile, and he added that the annual rate continued to point to only modest price gains.

Gardner said: “In effect, after two sluggish months, annual price growth has returned to the 3-6% range that had been prevailing since early 2015.”

Why is this happening? 

Nationwide said it was unclear if the increase in house price growth in June reflected stronger demand or the lack of homes on the market.

While survey data suggests new buyer enquiries have softened, this trend has been matched by a fall in new instructions, leaving the number of properties for sale close to record lows.

Gardner said he expected the squeeze on real incomes and ongoing housing affordability pressures to exert a drag on both activity and house price growth in the quarters ahead.

But he added that subdued building levels and the lack of stock for sale should continue to support prices, which Nationwide expects will rise by 2% in 2017 as a whole.

Who does it affect?

Nationwide said there had been a shift in regional house price trends, with house price growth in the south east moderating to 3.5% to be closer to levels seen across the rest of the country.

London continues to see the sharpest slowdown, posting annual gains of just 1.2% in the second quarter, the second slowest rate for any region, and the lowest level for the capital since 2012.

East Anglia was the strongest performing region, with rises of 5%, while growth was weakest in the north at 1%, making the gap between the strongest and weakest regions the smallest since records began in 1974.

But the price gap between regions remains extremely high, with the average home in London costing £478,142, nearly four times the average of £125,237 paid for a property in the north.

Mark Harris, chief executive of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients, told Zoopla: “With prices in London spiralling out of control, and the market now entering a period of correction, buyers are looking outside the capital either for investment properties or to live and commute from.

“A city such as Birmingham is just over an hour away, for example, with people prepared to commute for that long if it means a more affordable property.

Sounds interesting. What’s the background?

Interestingly, the figures come as the National Association of Estate Agents released data showing 77% of homes sold for less than their asking price in May.

There was also a fall in demand, with the number of house hunters registered per branch dipping by 8% compared with April.

But on a brighter note, the number of homes on the market increased slightly to 40 per branch, while an average of 10 sales were agreed per estate agent up from just eight in April.

Source: Zoopla


DVSA Annual Reivew

DVSA’s  Annual Review has been published

Over the last year, DVSA’s staff have worked tirelessly to help you stay safe on Britain’s roads

Annual Review

DVSA’s first Annual Review sets out what they are most proud of from 2016/17. It tells the stories of some of the staff at DVSA and the difference they make to road safety, and it sets out some of the work DVSA will be doing in 2017/18

Annual Report and Accounts

DVSA have also published their Annual Report and Accounts 2016/17 which sets out what they achieved this year.

Source: Driver & Vehicle Standards Agency

Digital change raising the bar for lenders, says CML research

Digital change is radically altering consumer expectations in the mortgage market and “raising the bar for what borrowers expect from their home buying and owning experience,” according to research published today by the CML.

Launched at today’s CML Mortgage Tech UK conference in London, the research Digital Change and Mortgage Borrowers says that technology has the potential to differentiate what individual lenders have to offer to customers and enhance the competitiveness of the UK mortgage market.

The research, which was conducted for the CML by associate Accenture, included interviews with firms and customers across the mortgage sector. The researchers also looked at developments in mortgage markets around the world and how technology is affecting other industries. From its interviews, the researchers found that:

  • 84% of companies believed technology could improve customer experiences and relationships;
  • 76%  believed it could improve their own operational capabilities;
  • 68% thought it could put customers in greater control; and
  • 40% believed it had the potential to unlock the power of data.

From apps on which customers can arrange and manage their mortgages to digital property searches and the potential of technology to deliver automated decision-making, the mortgage market is evolving rapidly. But the research also highlights the challenges for lenders in a market in which two-thirds of customers prefer to speak to an adviser about complex products and value being able to ask questions and receive a personalised service.

Lenders are investing heavily in technology to enhance the customer’s experience and improve backroom efficiency and profitability. As they do so, they will need to develop their own commercial strategies to ensure they can react with agility to future developments and remain responsive to customers in a constantly evolving environment.

Technology also presents challenges for lenders, including the limitations imposed by legacy thinking and systems, the need for greater external collaboration and to keep pace with change, and the way in which compliance with necessary regulation can inhibit the pace of digital development.

Commenting on the publication of the research, CML director general Paul Smee said:

  “This report highlights the enormous potential of technology in the mortgage market – a huge, process-driven industry with more than 11 million customers. It is already enhancing what lenders are able to offer their customers, as well as improving the efficiency of work behind the scenes. The pace of change will not slow, and firms will need to ensure that their plans for developing technology are underpinned by the clearest possible understanding of all the implications of digital change.”

Rise of the robots: Bookshelves make way for home gadgets

New research by E.ON has found that 73% of people have adopted smarter technologies in their homes, ditching traditional furnishings and items such as bookshelves in favour of smart hubs and solar panels.

When asked which everyday items are becoming obsolete due to smarter solutions, around half of respondents said CD/DVD stands (52%) and photo albums (48%), a third said bookshelves (34%) and a quarter said cables and wires (26%).

The research with 2,000 homeowners has been conducted to investigate the nation’s attitudes to the smart solutions available today and in the future. It reveals that the majority of people have already taken steps to make their homes smarter with a third (34%) planning further upgrades.

However, there’s still work to be done with more than a quarter (27%) of people yet to adopt smart technologies in their homes. In fact, one in five (21%) homeowners are uncomfortable with using smart technology.
Costs and money saving

Those who’ve already implemented technology upgrades cited saving money (59%), becoming more energy efficient (55%) and saving time (38%) among their key drivers. Almost half (48%) said they’d made their homes smarter to make their lives easier, while 17% simply liked having the latest gadgets, 13% wanted their home to be more fun, and 6% desired better looking technology.

When asked about the types of smart technologies people would want in their homes by 2020, four in ten (44%) said they’d like solar panels and/or an electricity battery storage system, more than a third (35%) would like smart lighting, a fifth (20%) wanted a voice controlled smart hub and 13% would like a charging point for an electric car.

But when it comes to solar energy, a number of myths persist with 17% of those questioned mistakenly thinking that solar panels only generate electricity when it’s sunny and one in ten (11%) wrongly believing that solar panels don’t work in cold climates.

Of those surveyed, almost one in ten (9%) homeowners said they already have solar panels. Of these, more than three quarters (76%) said they’re saving money, almost two thirds (65%) said their home is more energy efficient, and almost a third (30%) said they’ve seen the value of their property increase – all as a result of having solar panels installed.

What’s more, four in ten (41%) of those asked said that having a solar panel and battery system would make a potential home more appealing to them if they were looking to buy.

Gavin Stokes, Head of Commercial Solutions at E.ON UK, said: “It’s really heartening that three quarters of households have already taken steps to make their homes smarter. But with a quarter of people saying they’re yet to take steps to make their homes more solutions-savvy, there’s still much we can do to help people realise the benefits a smarter lifestyle can bring. For example, we recently launched E.ON Solar and Storage – a solar and battery solution that’s available now for the four in ten people questioned who said they’d like to have this type of technology by 2020.

Many of the people we spoke to are already aware of the benefits solar and battery systems can bring – from saving money, to having a more energy efficient home, to making homes more appealing to buyers. We’re committed to bringing smarter solutions to market for our customers and we’d welcome anyone who’s interested in finding out more about E.ON Solar and Storage to visit our website and find out more and get detailed, personalised information for their home and their needs.”

Source: E. ON

Information For Commercial Drivers

Here is your weekly commercial drivers travel update from Transport for London, which sets out changes and events that could affect your planned operations.

Brent A406/A404 Harrow Road
On Thursday 13 and Friday 14 July and from Monday 17 to Wednesday 19 July, we are carrying out resurfacing works between the junctions with the A404 Harrow Road and B4557 Drury Way. From 22:00 each night until 05:00 the following morning, there will be no access to the eastbound North Circular Road from Harrow Road. There will also be southbound lane restrictions on Harrow Road and eastbound lane restrictions on the North Circular Road.

Brent Cross, A406/A41
From 22:00 until 05:00 each night until Wednesday 23 August, structural surveys are being carried out on the A41 Brent Cross Flyover at the junction with the A406. There are lane closures, restrictions and a temporary overnight closure of the flyover with diversion routes in place.

  • Until Thursday 20 July: two lanes will be closed on the A406 southbound, with one lane remaining
  • Monday 31 July to Wednesday 9 August: A41 eastbound carriageway will be closed between the north-west and north-east slip road.

Tunnel closures

The following tunnels will be closed for maintenance works over the next week:

A406 Fore Street Tunnel: From 22:00 tonight, Thursday 13 July, until 05:00 Friday 14 July

  • A12 Green Man Tunnel eastbound: From 22:00 Friday 14 to 05:00 Saturday 15 July
  • A12 George Green Tunnel eastbound: From 22:00 Friday 14 to 05:00 Saturday 15 July
  • A102 Blackwall Tunnel southbound: From 01:00 until 08:00 on Sunday 16 July and at the same times on the Sunday mornings of 6 and 20 August
  • A2 Eltham Tunnel Kent-bound: from 22:00 Sunday 16 to 05:00 Monday 17 July
  • A13/A200 Rotherhithe Tunnel: From 22:00 Monday 17 to 05:00 Tuesday 18 July
  • A13 East India Dock Tunnel: From 22:00 Monday 17 to 05:00 Tuesday 18 July
  • Limehouse Link Tunnel: Closed from 22:00 until 05:00 the following morning on the nights of Tuesday 18, Wednesday 19 and Thursday 20 July.

From tomorrow, Friday 14 July until Sunday 23 July, the World ParaAthletics Championships are taking place at the London Stadium, Stratford. There may be delays to traffic and local road closures. For more information, please visit

East London
From 21:00 to 23:59 on Friday 14 and Saturday 15, and 20:00 to 23:59 on Sunday 16 July, Grove Road will be closed between Gore Road and Roman Road, and Old Ford Road closed between Mace Street and St Stephen’s Road. This is due to an event.

City of London
From 06:00 until midday on Saturday 15 July, there will be westbound lane restrictions on Lower Thames Street between Harp Lane and Pudding Lane. This is for utility works.

Central London
From 08:00 until midday on Saturday 15 July, Whitehall will be closed in both directions between Parliament Square and Trafalgar Square. This is for a ceremonial event.

From 15:30 until 18:00 on Saturday 15 July, there will be road closures on Clerkenwell Road, Rosebery Avenue and Farringdon Road. Local roads in the vicinity will also be closed from 06:00. This is for a procession

Central London
From 08:00 until 16:00 on Saturday 15 and Sunday 16 July, and during the same times each weekend until Sunday 6 August, there will be westbound lane restrictions on High Holborn at the junction of Endell Street. This is for a crane operation.

Central London
From midday until 16:00 on Sunday 16 July, there will be delays to traffic and road closures on Whitehall, Whitehall Place and Parliament Square. This is for a demonstration.

Central London
From 07:00 until 19:00 on Sunday 16 and Sunday 23 July, Regent Street will be closed in both directions, between Piccadilly Circus and Oxford Street, and southbound between Mortimer Street and Oxford Street. New Burlington Street will also be closed between 05:00 and 21:00. This is for events.

City of London

We will be carrying out overnight surveys around A201 Farringdon Road/Farringdon Street and some road closures will be required from 22:00 until 05:00 the next day:

  •  Sunday 16 July – A201 southbound closed between Charterhouse Street and Stonecutter Street
  • Monday 17 July – A201 closed in both directions between Charterhouse Street and Clerkenwell Road
  • Thursday 20 July – No left turn from Clerkenwell Road into the A201 northbound
  • Sunday 23 July – A201 southbound closed between Clerkenwell Road and Charterhouse Street

A4 West Cromwell Road
There will be westbound lane one restrictions between Earls Court Road and Templeton Place from 01:00 on Monday 17 July until midnight on Saturday 29 July. Lane two may also have restrictions in place from 22:00 until 05:00 on some nights during this period. This is for roadworks.

Chelsea Embankment
From 22:00 on Friday 21 until around 14:00 on Monday 24 July, there will be a full westbound closure from the junction of Chelsea Bridge to the junction of Battersea Bridge. This is for collaborative preparatory and utility works

London Triathlon
The London Triathlon takes place in and around east London on Saturday 22 July and on closed roads around central London on Sunday 23 July. For more information, please click here
Source: TFL

BAR Training Dates

Please find below current training dates available at our ATC’s

Training Dates

Update from TFL

29th and 30th July 2017

On Saturday 29 and Sunday 30 July, there will be significant impact to travel as a result of the weekend of Prudential Ride London cycling events. Certain roads and river crossings in east, central and southwest London and Surrey will be closed to traffic.

There will be extensive road closures on and around the route; roads will be closed from early morning and will re-open when it is safe to do so. A number of bridges in London and Surrey, as well as the Blackwall Tunnel, will be closed at times over the weekend. Road users are advised to avoid areas near the event route wherever possible.

If you make or receive deliveries in London and Surrey, you may be affected by congestion and increased journey times. If you operate in areas on or near the route, you should talk to your customers and suppliers now, to consider if there are changes you can make to your deliveries.

For full details, including event information and road closures, and to know your travel options, please click here

Source: Transport for London

G20 Summit – Brexit update

Brexit: Theresa May fails to guarantee new deals will make up for lost EU trade

Theresa May has failed to guarantee that post-Brexit deals will make up for lost trade from the European Union after the UK leaves.

The Prime Minister was repeatedly asked to say whether new deals being sought would compensate, but could only respond that she wants the UK to be “a global Britain with free trade agreements”.

Ms May was speaking from the G20 summit in Hamburg where she is due to have a bilateral meeting with US President Donald Trump and others for potential discussions about future trade.

For the full article, please click here

Source: Independent

Update from TFL

Wednesday 12th July 2017

From midday until approximately midnight on Wednesday 12 July, a number of roads in and around Trafalgar Square and Whitehall will be closed to all traffic. This is due to an event.

During this time, Trafalgar Square will be closed on all approaches. Whitehall Place will be closed from 06:00 and Pall Mall East from 09:00. The following taxi ranks will be suspended:

  • Whitehall Court (Royal Horse Guards Hotel)
  • Whitehall Place (Corinthia Hotel)
  • Suffolk Place
  • Strand (feeder rank for Charing Cross Station)
  • Embankment Place

If you make or receive deliveries in central London on Wednesdays, you will be unable to use the closed roads and may be affected by congestion and increased journey times.

Please allow more time for your journey and consider an alternative route. For full details and to know your travel options, please click here

Source: Transport for London