Plus housing market slowdown and costly energy-saving homes

Strategic land for a reasonable price

Bovis Homes shares have dropped 43% since May, among the sectors biggest fallers, despite the strength of its landbank, the weekend FT notes. Commentary came following the housebuilder’s acquisition of Elite Homes for £25.7m.

Barratt at two-year low after savage earnings downgrade

Barratt Developments, one of the worst performers in 2007, slumped to a two year low after an unusually savage earnings downgrade from Dresdner Kleinwort on Friday, the FT reports.

Housing market slows on back of credit squeeze and rate rises

The national housing market slowed significantly in September, hit by the credit squeeze and the delayed impact of interest rate rises, according to the Financial Times housebuilding index which said prices in England and Wales grew 0.3% compared with 0.4% in August.

Saving energy at home could take 200 years to repay its cost

A study from the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors shows energy-saving measures such as solar panels would take more than 200 years to recoup in reduced bills, The Times reports on Saturday.

£140m later, a rundown palace rivals splendour of Versailles

The Royal Palace of Venaria in Turin opened to the public on Saturday, 11 years after a £140m refit began, says The Times.

Property big hitters to float

Property market entrepreneurs Raymond Mould, Patrick Vaughan and Humphrey Price are to place their London & Stamford Property group on the stock market, says Saturday’s Guardian. The prospect of falling UK property prices has enticed the group to plan a share placing and Aim listing.

L&S seeks £200m to bet on property crash

Property investors London & Stamford Property, Patrick Vaughn and Humphrey Price plan to raise up to £200m in a stock market listing to cash in on the expected crash in the UK commercial property market, The Independent reports on Saturday. It said the trio kicked off a roadshow on Friday to drum up interest among City investors.

The housing market: Surveyors add to the bricks-and-mortar blues

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) reports that in September 14.6% more surveyors reported price falls in their area than those pointing to increases, according to The Independent on Sunday. The survey is significant because it is the first major housing market study to include the period of the Northern Rock crisis.

Britain accused of scuppering EU’s renewable energy plan

Britain is trying to wriggle out of its commitments towards producing 20% of Europe’s energy with renewable power by 2020, according to the Guardian on Saturday. British officials in Brussels are supporting a system of mandatory trading permits so that countries failing to meet the 20% target would be able to buy credits from countries that had exceeded it.

We do like to be beside the (shabby) seaside

Bad news for masterplanners and developers doing up Britain’s faded seaside resorts – British punters apparently prefer them that way. An English Heritage poll in the Observer found that 77% of people agreed that it was the historic character of seaside towns that make them beautiful.

Study calls for new roads to ease jams

Thousands of miles of new roads must be built to support the ambitious targets for new homes, according to a new report. The Observer reports that the RAC Foundation report says ‘significant’ roadbuilding will be required in the South-East, Midlands and East Anglia.

Hamill poised for Erinaceous

Moss Bros chairman Keith Hamill will become head of property services group Erinaceous if rebel shareholders force the current management team out, says the Observer. The current chairman Nigel Turnbull is reportedly refusing to sack members of his team, and investors are now threatening to call an EGM to kick Turnbull et al out.

£45bn building programme under review

Plans to rebuild dozens of crumbling secondary schools in England have been halted by ministers who have ordered a review of the £45 billion programme, reports The Sunday Telegraph. It said 76 authorities under the Building Schools For The Future (BSF) programme may have to scarp their plans.

Tesco bows to pressure over online home sales

Tesco is to become a fully fledged online estate agency following complaints in the wake of the launch of its private home sale service in the summer, says The Sunday Telegraph. Following advice form the OFT Tesco suspended its private sales section of its property website and plans to launch as an online estate agency service.