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More homes for Peterborough as landlord looks to expand

Property insurance providers will welcome the news that Peterborough’s biggest landlord intends to build at least another 600 houses in the city over the next three years.

Cross Keys Homes say they will be spending £60 million on presenting the Cambridgeshire city with 600 new homes but also say they want landowners interested in selling their plots to contact them, as they would like to undertake even more projects if the possibility arises. It can only be good news for Peterborough which already has over 9,000 residents on its ever growing Housing Waiting List.

Julian Foster, director of resources at Cross Keys, says the company is dedicated to providing Peterborough with new homes, explaining “We have about 600 new homes already committed to be built and that process started last year and will run until 2015. We have set a target of building at least 250 per year. We hope to build up to 1,000 homes by 2015 but that relies on us acquiring new sites. At the moment we have about 15 sites in Peterborough where we are building houses but we are keen to talk to local landowners who want to sell land. Not only will these homes provide accommodation for people desperately in need of that but they will also boost the local economy significantly by creating many new jobs.”

The company, who are a not-for profit charitable housing association, are building, or planning to build, in many areas of the city including; Stanground, Eye, Westwood, Priestgate, Bretton and Honeyhill. Many of the sites will see private landlords and first time buyers also buying properties in the developments which the city fathers hope will give a rounded, integrated feel to the areas.

Less homes coming on the market but still no increase in prices

As the rental market goes from strength to strength, more gloomy news from the housing sales market promises yet more opportunities for the ambitious landlord.

A report out today by property analytics outfit Hometrack suggests the housing market is no nearer a recovery and in fact average house prices in the UK could see a reduction of around 5% in 2012. The news, although bad for sellers, could signal even better pickings for property investors looking to buy landlord insurance on new projects.

The latest monthly figures from the Hometrack report show a 10% drop in new homes coming on to the market in January compared to December. That news is bad enough in itself, but November and December were also down on previous months. The financial constraints being exercised by the banks towards lending, and the worldwide financial downturn is driving the housing market in the UK downwards and experts still cannot see light at the end of the tunnel.

The report also showed that houses were taking longer to sell and that prices on average had not moved for around 18 months. However, this is a UK average and in that time London and the South East has seen a marked increase in property prices, which suggests the rest of the country, has experienced a drop.

Richard Donnell, head of research at Hometrack confirmed this, saying “The survey reveals a market dogged by uncertainty. On a national basis house prices have not increased over the last 18 months, since June 2010. However, there was a small rise in London prices, which offset falls in other regions. The relatively positive housing market in the capital is set to continue through 2012 as the Olympics effect continues to boost interest in the City’s property. Overseas buyers looking for a safe haven in the midst of global uncertainty will continue to invest in the capital and the super prime postcodes of central London.”

Councillor calls for renovation projects to take centre stage

The chairman of Ilkley’s largest social landlord wants the boroughs older properties to be refurbished before any new homes are built. Martin Smith is also an Ilkley district councillor and he feels there is very little need for more than 1300 new houses in the town.

Already there has been opposition from residents throughout the area against the proposals outlined by the council in its draft Core Strategy. More than one-hundred people turned up at a recent meeting to voice their opposition to the plans. They brought up concerns on a number of topics including the environment, transport, and the economy. Residents also queried the housing targets and population statistics and how the development would be able to provide affordable homes on what is high value land. Councillor Smith believes the council should repair all of their empty properties, protect them with landlord insurance and give them to families, before new building land is released.

The Councillor said: “The residents and councillors will vigorously challenge the proposals as there is very little need for this number of houses in Ilkley. In housing terms we have recently had 6,000 homes unoccupied in the area. There’s a long way to go yet and a lot of effort will be put in by district and parish councillors to get the right result for Ilkley. We see little strategy relating to transport, schools and infrastructure overall and we, the residents, will have to argue our case against development.”

Councillor Smith wants any development to target brownfield sites, but believes there are areas in the district better suited to development. Residents continue to be on their guard about the plans, saying they do not want do not want Ilkley to be transformed into an unrecognisable place due the greed of others.