South East house prices 'to outpace London'

Reports that an exodus of house buyers priced out of the London market will help house prices in the South-East outpace those in the capital over the next five years feature in today's newspaper round-up.

The Guardian reports that prices in the South-East "are set to outpace those in London over the next five years for the first time in more than a decade, as buyers priced out of the capital turn increasingly to commuter-land". The newspaper says that estate agent Savills has said research carried out by it "showed the era of rising home ownership is over and predicted that more than a million people will move into rented accommodation by 2018, with renters also facing higher prices". The newspaper says the research showed that house prices are forecast to rise even faster than rents, "with Bournemouth, Brighton, Windsor among the towns across the south expected to see average prices soar by 32 per cent in the next five years. Surging prices will also be seen in affluent parts of the South-West and the Midlands, such as Bristol, Bath and Solihull".

The authors of a report bolstering the controversial High Speed Two (HS2) rail link "have defended their work in the face of intense scrutiny from MPs and fierce criticism from transport experts", the Financial Times (subscription) reports. Auditors KPMG carried out the report on behalf of the government. The newspaper says that the study "estimated that building HS2 between London and the north could give the economy an annual boost of £15 billion". But the newspaper says the figure was questioned by MPs on the Treasury select committee yesterday with Andrew Tyrie MP, asking one of the report’s authors, Lewis Atter, whether the figure was the result of a "rubbish-in-rubbish-out computer model". According to the newspaper Atter responded: "If anything it feels a little undercooked".

But the Telegraph picks up on comments made at the committee meeting by a former member of "Whitehall’s high speed rail advisory panel". The newspaper says Henry Overman, professor of economic geography at the London School of Economics, "said he had quit the panel after he felt his role changed from providing independent advice to promoting the project". It says Overman said the £15 billion figure was "way, way too large".

Bristol is to announce "radical new proposals which will make it Britain’s first city to adopt Dutch-style cycle lanes", the Independent reports. According to the newspaper, the plans, to be announced later this year, "will see a network of segregated cycle lanes created. Around 100 miles of cycle ways will be set aside for a ‘primary network’ of major cycling routes".

Councils should use sheep to cut grass as a way of cutting expenditure, according to a list of money saving tips published by lobby group the Taxpayers Alliance, the Times (subscription) reports. According to the newspaper, the tips were drawn up by a councillor from the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham who claims they could save councils "hundreds of millions of pounds".

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