House prices increased at the fastest annual pace since 2007 in February to hit a record high, according to Halifax.
At 10.8 per cent, the annual rate of property price growth was the strongest in 15 years, the bank said. The increase took the average house price across the country to a new high of £278,123. Property values increased by 0.5 per cent month on month.
Halifax's Russell Galley said: 'This was an eighth successive month of house price growth, as the resilience which has typified the market throughout the pandemic shows little sign of easing. This is the biggest one-year cash rise recorded in over 39 years.
The Association of Leasehold Enfranchisement Practitioners (ALEP) has commented on new legislation designed to protect leaseholders that will ban ground rents on new leasehold properties.
The Leasehold Reform (Ground Rent) Bill has received Royal Assent making it an Act of Parliament.
The new Act, (which is not in force yet) will apply to leasehold properties in England and Wales. It will restrict ground rent owed on new leases to a 'peppercorn' rent - effectively zero - and aims to make leasehold ownership "fairer and more affordable".
Mark Chick, ALEP Director, said:" ALEP recognises this new legislation, which was first promised back in 2017. Once in force, it will serve as a step towards the government's proposed agenda for change in this area.
This Act will bring an end to ground rent for new leases and will address the issues arising out of the 'leasehold scandal', where doubling of ground rents on newly-created leases created an iniquitous situation for homeowners who had been sold leasehold houses with an escalating ground rent.
"What is noteworthy is that this Act does not deal with the banning of leasehold as a tenure for houses, as was originally promised by the then housing minister Sajid Javid. That, together with the prospect of wider reform, is still 'in discussion' and it remains to be seen how and when such further changes will be acted upon by government."
Commencement of the Act is planned within six months and once in force freeholders will not be able to impose any kind of ground rent in a new lease, whether on the renewal of an existing lease, or when selling new properties as leasehold.
Mark continued: "This is all part of a wider programme to make leasehold unattractive for new properties and eventually, to pave the way for commonhold. Although the new law will abolish ground rents on new leases, it does not affect existing leaseholders. Leaseholders who face high ground rents and want to get rid of them will need to follow the statuary leasehold enfranchisement process."
A new housing minister has been named this afternoon, to replace Chris Pincher.
Stuart Andrew has been confirmed by Downing Street as a new housing minister at the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities. He's been MP for the Pudsy constituency in West Yorkshire since 2010 and until this afternoon was deputy chief whip. He has also previously held parliamentary under-secretary roles in the Welsh Office and the Ministry of Defence.
Pincher became housing minister almost exactly two years ago. He was the 19th holder of that post in 21 years - his predecessor, Esther McVey, held the post for just seven months.
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The Bank of England has increased the base rate from 0.25 per cent to 0.5 per cent.
This means a typical tracker mortgage customer's monthly repayment will go up by £25.76. The typical standard variable rate customer is likely to pay £15.96 more a month.
Some 74 per cent of mortgage borrowers in the UK are on fixed-rate deals, so would only see a change in repayments when the existing term ends.
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British lenders approved more mortgages than expected in December, according to Bank of England data that underlined the post-lockdown strength of the housing market. It said that 71,015 mortgages were approved in December, up from 67,859 in November.