'Very strong consumer demand' for new homes post-lockdown

News of 'very strong' demand for new homes and the retirement of one of the UK's most celebrated architects features in our roundup of today's newspapers.

The head of one of the UK’s largest housebuilders anticipates “very strong consumer demand” for new homes as the post-lockdown housing market warms up, The Guardian reports. Although Barratt Developments’ latest pre-tax profits were down by 46 per cent, its chief executive David Thomas expressed “cautious optimism” for the year ahead. Thomas' comments come as UK house prices rose in August at the fastest pace in 16 years, taking the average selling price to a record £224,123, according to data from the Nationwide building society. But, according to the newspaper, its chief economist Robert Gardner warned that a weakening labour market and withdrawal of government support schemes "would likely dampen housing activity once again".

At 87, renowned architect Richard Rogers, designer of the Lloyd’s building and the Millennium Dome (now the O2 arena) in London and the Pompidou Centre in Paris, has retired from the practice he founded 43 years ago, The Guardian reports. Rogers “became a key political player during the New Labour era”, it says, with his urban task force report, promoting densification and reuse of brownfield sites, forming the basis of the Blair government’s 2000 urban white paper.

Sir Alex Ferguson is among residents objecting to a Cheshire housing proposal, according to The Times (subscription required). The former Manchester Utd boss has written a letter opposing an application submitted by Henderson Homes for two five-bedroom homes to replace a “rundown” 1930s property on the same Wilmslow road as his £2.3 million house, saying the proposals would “destroy the character of the road”. The developer says its plans “support the government’s ‘brownfield first’ strategy” rather than developing green belt land. Cheshire East Council is due to make a decision next month.

Britain should reforest its least productive farmland instead of outsourcing carbon offsetting to projects in developing countries, according to a new report from the University of Sheffield. Rather than relying on European Union farming subsidies due to be phased out post-Brexit, farmers “could make a profit if they left their land to allow native trees to return and then sell carbon offsets to businesses and individuals”, The Telegraph (subscription) says. “Tree planting is going to happen and it’s a question of where we want these trees,” according to the report’s lead author Professor Colin Osborne.

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