The dream of owning a home will become reality for thousands as ministers today set out their £8.6billion affordable homes scheme.

As many as 119,000 properties will be built in the first tranche of the Government's Affordable homes plan. Half will be sold, helping young people get their first foot on the housing ladder, while tens of thousands more will be rented out at discounted rates.

The lion's share of the funding, some £5.2billion, is being spent outside London to support Boris Johnson's pledge to 'level up' the country.

The programme was announced in the 2020 Budget and is expected to deliver up to 180,000 new properties by 2026 - costing £11.5billion and si the biggest such investment in a decade.

That Burglar Alarm May Not Be As Reliable As You Think....

You may already have a typical home alarm system installed in your home and although this can deter some potential thieves, they'll be able to spot the ones that aren't as reliable. It's important that if you're looking to invest in a home security system, that it provides all-round protection. Look out for systems that have motion sensors, can be controlled with ease through an app (great for if you're on holiday) and even those which include automatic police response, which makes it more likely your intruder will be caught.

Sticking A Note To The Door For The Postman When You're Not In

It's easily done - you make an order online without thinking twice about whether you're going to be in or not. You stick a note on the door to the postman, telling him you're not in and giving instructions as to where they should leave your parcel. But what about anyone else snooping around? They'll soon clock that nobody is in the house and, before you know it, you've been broken into. Be sure to plan ahead where possible and time your deliveries for when you're in the property, just to be on the safe side.

Check Your Deadlock Is Working

If you're not sure what your deadlock is and where it's located, it's typically the rectangular shaped lock found underneath the handle. It's important to check this is working properly because if it doesn't actually go all the way into the door frame, burglars are able to get into a property without leaving a trace. They can simply use a debit card to slide it through and open the door, so even if you think you may have locked up, it still might not be burglar proof.

Double Check What You Are Posting On Social Media

This one may seem obvious to those who have grown up with social media and know the risks involved when posting anything online. Make sur your profile is private if possible but if you're adamant on keeping it public, there's a few things you need to make sure you're not doing. Avoid posting any group holiday photos, at least until you're back home. It's also worth double checking what you've already shared online when it comes to your address and deleting anything that may point the burglar to the right place.

The lack of progress on the much-anticipated government reforms of the UK's leasehold system, is leaving thousands of homeowners in a potentially costly waiting game and in danger of losing out, according to leasehold enfranchisement specialists Cavendish Legal Group.

The Government announced long-awaited reforms to 'level up' the leasehold system at the start of the year, including scrapping ground rents and ensuring leaseholders can extend effectively forever.

However, without a timetable for implementation homeowners who would have started leasehold enfranchisement proceedings to secure their home this year, are left in limbo as they wait for reform to be implemented - while all the time the clock is ticking on their lease.

Jonathan Frankel, litigation partner at Cavendish Legal Group, said the ongoing wait for detail from the Government on its planned reform and the lack of schedule, is having an impact on the market.

He said: "The frustrating lack of progress on this issue is forcing many leaseholders into very difficult decisions and what we are seeing is two distinct groups emerging as a result. For landlords it may not be such a big issue as they are likely to be generating income from their property and can probably afford to wait it out. But there are a lot of leaseholders who desperately want to start enfranchisement proceedings to secure the freehold, or seek a lease extension, on their property and they are now in a potentially very costly waiting game. These are people who ordinarily could have started down that route but are waiting for these reforms to kick in, so they're not in the market right now. It's like an extremely high stakes round of cards where leaseholders are being left to gamble on whether they should stick or twist; either wait for the reforms to be implemented or act now. It is a desperate position to be in, particularly for leaseholders who need to sell up this year or whose leasehold has only a limited number of years left to run."

Frankel said that the Government needs to make housing a priority, especially as the country recovers from the economic shock of the pandemic and the damage that has been done to jobs and income.

He added: "Whatever leaseholders in this unenviable position decide to do, it is crucial to ensure they get the right advice from a legal team with specialist knowledge in this area. It's not a legal process that most high street solicitors will have experience in, so we would always urge people to seek out specialists for the best advice.

Housebuilding company Persimmon has seen profits build after it completed more homes and sold them at higher prices.

The FTSE 100 firm has posted a 64 per cent rise in pre-tax profit for the first half of the year to £480million. It completed 7,406 home sales at an average price of £236,199 in the six months to the end of June. In the same period last year - disrupted by a temporary shutdown of the housing market - it sold 4,900 for an average price of £225,066.

Persimmon said forward sales - properties sold before they are built - are up about nine per cent from pre-pandemic levels, indicating that the housing market could stay buoyant after the stamp duty holiday ends.

Persimmon has forward sales of £2.23billion compared with £2.05billion in 2019 and £2.48billion last year.

Despite the end of the stamp duty holiday in September, it expects the fundamentals of the market to stay strong.

However, it said some parts of the supply chain are seeing cost increases.

The Sun

Lockdown life appears to have sparked a steep rise in outbuildings catching fire over the past year.

Figures from Freedom of Information requests by insurer Zurich have revealed that shed and garage fires increased by 16 per cent in 2020 compared with 2019. Zurich's Phil Ost said: 'Homeowners up and down the country have converted outbuildings into everything from bars and yoga studios, to gyms and offices. But as Brits take refuge in their garden sheds and garages, it appears to have sparked a rise in accidental blazes.'

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