Plus planning delays for new homes and taxes hurting small firms that go green

Inflation in house prices has slowed since June

House price inflation peaked in June, with the market slowing since then, with prices falling in the north of England and the Midlands, according to the Financial Times house price index. The paper reported at the weekend that in October, house prices were 8.9% higher than a year earlier, a fall in the inflation rate from 9.2% in September and from a high of 10.1% in June. The paper also reports in depth on an apparent north-south divide in the related article, Regions split as housing market cools.

Planning delays put brake on new homes

There is a current shortfall of 30,000 new properties a year in meeting the government’s ambitious plans to build several million homes by 2020, the FT reports. Planning delays, rising costs of building and spiralling land prices are impeding housing growth, according to research from CB Richard Ellis.

New taxes will hurt small firms that try to go green

Small businesses that want to do their bit for the environment face higher tax bills, The Independent on Sunday reports. The Valuation Office Agency (VOA), an arm of Inland Revenue, is preparing to tax solar panels, wind turbines and micro-generation technology with higher business rates and council tax, the paper says.

Lower prices, fewer buyers - but Halifax dismisses fears of crash

Halifax chief economist Martin Ellis told the Independent on Sunday there would not be a full-blown property crash in the UK in spite of falling prices. “High levels of employment and a shortage in the number of properties available for sale will continue to support house prices,” he said.

Toxic mix to drive down house prices

House prices are at risk of falling next year due to a “toxic mix” of rising interest rates, overvaluation and debt according to investment bank Citigroup, the Daily Telegraph reports. The bank’s chief European economist predicted a fall of 1-2%, the paper says.

Buyers back out of home deals

Falling house prices are causing buyers to pull out of property transactions in large numbers according to the Sunday Telegraph. Britain’s biggest mortgage broker, Charcol, has seen the number of purchasers dropping out of deals rise by more than 50% over the last six months, the paper reports.

Villages that are too expensive to defend will be left to the waves

Thousands of acres of farmland and whole villages will be surrendered to the sea over the next 30 years because the government believes it isn’t cost effective to build flood defences to save them, the Sunday Telegraph reports. Parts of the Norfolk and Suffolk coastline will be given no funding for defences because they have been deemed impossible to save, according to leaked details of the Government’s coastal flooding and erosion risk assessment conducted by the Environment Agency.

Figures ‘to show housing slowdown’

The number of new mortgages taken out in September fell by at least 5 per cent year on year, according to figures due out on Tuesday. The Observer said the Council of Mortgage Lenders’ statistics would show further signs of a slowdown in the housing market.

Carbon targets at risk as councils fail to plan their cuts in emissions

Three out of four councils in the UK have no plan in place to reduce and monitor carbon emissions, according to a survey carried out for the Observer. Only 5% of the councils surveyed had not initiated an emissions reduction scheme.

High rise vision sparks Paris revolt

Bertrand Delanoe, the mayor of Paris, is to unveil artists impressions of three skyscrapers within the capital’s ringroad this week. The Observer reports that the towers, by Abalos & Herreros, Brenac et Gonzalez, and Jacques Ferrier are expected to cause enormous controversy when they are launched on Wednesday.

Caborn lands nuclear job with Amec

Former trade minister Richard Caborn is set to join the board of a consortium bidding to clean up Sellafield, reports The Observer. The consortium, made up of Amec, Washington Group and Areva, has reportedly offered Caborn the post of director ahead of the final round of bidding for the £5bn Sellafield contract.

Talk about sick buildings

The Observer’s architectural critic, Stephen Bayley, reacts to the news that Frank Gehry’s Stata Centre at MIT will be at the centre of a court battle over structural deficits. The architect, he notes, found T-shirts for sale in Manhattan bearing the slogan “F**k Frank Gehry”. The delighted Gehry reportedly bought a whole consignment.

Welcome to the new railway age

In the Observer, Stephen Bayley casts his eye over the restored St Pancras, which he names “The world’s most impressive railway station… a temple where the new rites of high speed terrestrial travel are observed”. London and Continental Railways has “saved St Pancras”.

Fine but where’s the flair?

There is no such praise for HOK Sport’s Olympic Stadium. Bayley again writes in the Observer that the Olympic Delivery Authority has “stumbled at its first architectural hurdle” with its “lifeless” stadium. It’s functional, he says, but “it does not have to exclude imagination, style and emotional content. A site hut is functional. But so too is Canterbury cathedral.”

Millions braced for biggest leap in the fixedmortgage rate

Homeowners are facing the biggest jump in fixed-rate mortgage costs on record according to the Daily Mail. The paper reports monthly payments agreed in October on two-year, £150,000 loans were nearly £200 higher than in 2005. It said the average rate on two-year fixed mortgages, some of the most popular products on the market, is now 6.13 per cent compared with only 4.6 per cent two years ago.

The 2014 games belong to Glasgow

The Daily Mail reported widespread celebrations in Scotland following the announcement Glasgow would host the 2014 Commonwealth Games. First Minister Alex Salmond said: “We will make these games the greatest sporting event our country has ever seen.”