The weekend press fears for buy to let landlords and reveals that another housebuilder has put itself up for sale

Vultures circle novice landlords

Brokers are predicting a tough six months for Britain’s £116bn buy-to-let mortgage market that could end in thousands of new landlords having their second homes repossessed, according to The Guardian.

Lenders tighten rules for new flats

Mortgage lenders have further tightened criteria for loans on all new build flats in the latest sign of growing nervousness about the housing market, the weekend FT reports. The revelation comes as data from the British Bankers Association showed the number of mortgages approved in October was 37.4% lower than the year before.

Downturn in leading cities’ new-build flats market

Sales of new build flats to buy-to-let investors in cities including Nottingham, Leeds and Birmingham have been hit by tighter loan criteria and price stagnation fears, the FT reports in an analysis piece.

Mortgage approvals tumble by 37% to record low

The Guardian reports figures from the British Bankers’ Association showing the number of new mortgages fell to a record low last month. The number of mortgages for house purchases dropped to 41,105 from 54,000 the previous month.

Quango chief runs up £50,000 taxi bill

James Braithwaite, chairman of the South East England Development Agency, spent £51,489 on taxis and chauffeur driven cars last year. According to the Sunday Times this amounts to £343 a day, as Braithwaite is contracted to work three days a week.

Heating threatens Westminster Abbey treasures

The central heating at Westminster Abbey has damaged the 700-year old Coronation Chair in which the Queen sat during the ceremony in 1953, according to the Sunday Times. The abbey authorities have installed humidity monitors as they struggle to protect the chair and other national treasures.

A zero year for property

The Sunday Times reports that the commercial property market is facing its worst year since it crashed in the early 1990s, according to forecasters including CB Richard Ellis. The firm predicts that returns will plunge to almost zero by the end of this year.

Tory call to sell of inner city prisons

Prisons on prime inner city land should be sold and the profits used to build more modern institutions elsewhere, the Sunday Times reports that the Tories are to propose. Nick Herbert, the shadow justice secretary, is expected to make the announcement today (Monday).

Subprime crisis hits small-town Norway

Four isolated towns in Norway have been hit unexpectedly by the credit squeeze after it emerged that municipal authorities made multi-million dollar bets on complicated US-linked financial products, the weekend FT reports.

Schroders slices 12.5% off value of units in £2bn property trust

Global asset management group Schroders has cut the value of units in its £2bn property unit trust by 12.5% as growing numbers of investors seek to pull money out of the troubled commercial real estate sector, the weekend FT reports.

The carbon cost of protecting our heritage

Thousands of homes are producing unnecessary carbon emissions because of restrictions placed on listed buildings, The Guardian reports. Legal adviser to the Listed Properties Owners Club said he deals with three or four inquiries a week from frustrated owners wishing to make basic improvements to their homes.

The Scottish fisherman who didn’t want to play golf

Ian Jack uses his column in The Guardian to profile Michael Forbes, the Scottish fisherman making headlines in New York for his opposition to Donald Trump’s £1bn development plan on the Aberdeenshire coast. Forbes refusal to sell his 23 acres of land is the main blight to the success of Trump’s project which has been granted outline planning permission.

Rural town rejects bid by Tesco to build giant store

The small Norfolk town of Sheringham was celebrating this weekend after councillors refused a planning application from Tesco for a 1500 sq/m store on its outskirts, says The Independent. The 17-0 vote to throw out the plans was the latest development in a 10-year battle between the chain and opponents in the area.

The rich, famous and influential prepare to hear the secret to climate-safe energy

A discovery that could provide vast quantities of energy with minimal environmental damage will be unveiled at a glittering gathering of the rich and famous on Friday, according to The Independent. Guests, including Al Gore, have paid at least £1000 a head for the dinner, though the discovery and inventor remain a secret.

Wind-fuelled 'supergrid' offers clean power to Europe

Scientists say a proposed 5000-mile electricity supergrid, powered largely by wind and stretching from Siberia to Morocco and Egypt to Iceland, would cut Europe’s carbon emissions by a quarter, reports The Independent on Sunday. The scheme would make renewable energy so reliable and cheap it would replace fossil fuels on an unprecedented scale, the paper said.

FSA shuts down mortgage broker

The Independent on Sunday reports that the Financial Services Authority (FSA) has ordered the closure of one mortgage broker and fined two others for mis-selling sub-prime home loans. Homebuyer Securities was closed down while The Loan Company was fined £31,500 and Next Generation Mortgages £10,500 for inadequate financial advice.

Mortgage approvals slump as trouble housing market cools

The number of mortgages approved for home buyer sank to a record low last month, repors The Daily Telegraph on Saturday. The British Banker’s Association said loan approvals fell by almost a fifth from 54,000 in September to just over 44,100 – the third drop in consecutive months.

Qataris are poised to take 80pc

The Qatari government is understood to be close to buying most of the troubled Shard of Glass development, increasing the likelihood that Italian architect Renzo Piano’s vision will be realised, says The Daily Telegraph on Saturday. Under the deal, the Qataris will take about 80pc of the £400m development, buying out stakes owned by Syrian-born Simon Halabi and property company CLS.

Network rail pays out bonuses withheld after crash

Network Rail has paid bonuses to its directors and all but a handful of the 119 staff working in the Grayrigg area of Cumbria that were withheld in the wake of February’s fatal train crash, reports The Daily Telegraph on Saturday. The bonuses were paid after a report into the crash did not point to any systematic problem with the company’s upkeep of the network.

Amec asks Grossart to broker possible Wood Group bid

Engineering group Amex has contacted the well-connected Edinburgh banker Sir Angus Grossart about him acting as a go-between with Wood Group about a possible takeover offer that could create a FTSE 100 company worth more than £5bn, reports The Daily Telegraph on Saturday.

Heathrow runway may cost £13bn

The cost of Heathrow’s proposed third runway could hit £13bn according to confidential research from the airline industry, according to The Daily Telegraph. The figure, which is more than the estimated cost of the 2012 Olympic and on a par with the cost of Crossrail, would make the runway the single biggest investment in the UK by the private sector.

Veteran housebuilder hoists For Sale sign despite market volatility

Croudace has emerged as the latest privately owned housebuilder to put itself up for sale, says The Sunday Telegraph. The paper said the company, based in the South-East and thought to be worth about £130m, has held a beauty parade of advisors to work on a strategic review, including a sale.