Building society chief dubs London property market 'unsustainable'

Reports that Nationwide's chief executive has predicted that the capital's housing bubble will burst are among the stories featured in today's newspaper round-up.

The Independent reported that the chief executive of building society Nationwide has warned that "London’s ever-soaring housing prices are unsustainable". The newspaper quoted Graham Beale as saying: "‘Nationally, house prices have been rising by between three and four per cent for a number of months and this is sustainable with wages going up by around three per cent. But in London we continue to see low double-digit rises, which does not look sustainable.’" However, Beale recognised that "‘parts of the market in the capital are still being driven by cash transactions, mainly from foreign buyers and buy-to-let purchasers’", according to the newspaper.

The Sunday Telegraph reported that "members of the trade body Sharing Economy UK (SEUK) want to see a tax relief of £10,000 for people who supplement their income by renting out spare rooms, unused storage or space in their driveways". The newspaper explained that "the sharing economy is the collective term for technology marketplaces that allow people to capitalise on their unutilised assets", exemplified by firms such as Uber and Aribnb. The newspaper cited SEUK chair Debbie Wosskow, who said "this would be the first sharing economy tax break in the world".

The Independent reports that "The British countryside is being quietly populated with indoor ‘mega-dairies’ each housing up to 2,000 cows without free access to pasture as farmers respond to plummeting milk prices". The newspaper says opponents of large-scale dairy farming argue that "structures built to house cows have only been given planning permission retrospectively". According to figures gathered by the paper, "there are now 20 American-style factory dairies across the UK with herds of 700 or more cows kept year-round".

The Independent on Sunday reported that "would-be first-time buyers are thinking laterally" by "offering to house-sit for free while they build a deposit". The newspaper quoted Andy Peck, the founder of TrustedHousesitters.com, "a matching service for property owners and savers", who said: "‘As sitters who look after homes and pets don’t have to pay rent – or for utility bills – they can boost the amount they save’", while "‘as would-be buyers are also chain-free, housesitting is a good way to get yourself to the front of the queue.’" The newspaper added that "housesitting gives aspiring homeowners the chance to test out living in new – and potentially cheaper – areas before committing to a purchase".

The Sunday Times (subscription required) reported that "experts are warning that the gap between the actual energy performance of new homes and paper predictions is so wide that the industry faces a VW-style emissions scandal". The newspaper said "researchers from the Centre for the Built Environment at Leeds Beckett University tested 25 newly built homes for actual heat loss compared with predicted loss", and, according to Prof. David Johnston who led the study, "‘on average, the measured heat loss was almost one and a half times what was predicted’". The newspaper added that Rob Pannell, managing director of the Zero Carbon Hub, "the industry and government partnership tasked with addressing the ‘performance gap’, acknowledges that the building industry could face an emissions scandal," but "says the government and the industry are ‘working hard’ to resolve the situation".


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