That was housing in 2019 – Review of the Year Part 1

Despite Brexit and a general election, housing remained high on the political agenda and frequently featured in the headlines throughout 2019.

We look back at another fascinating year in the sector: who made the headlines, what were the quirky stories, and what did LABC Warranty feature on the blog?

Part 1 covers January to June. For July to December skip to Part 2 here.

January 2019

In the news

Then Communities Secretary James Brokenshire restated a commitment to establish a New Homes Ombudsman, saying that “legislation will be brought forward at the earliest possible opportunity to require all new developers to belong to the Ombudsman – giving home-buyers the confidence that when they get the keys to a new home they are getting the quality of build they expect.” He also announced that developers would belong to the new body by 2021 if they wished to participate in the government’s landmark Help to Buy scheme.

Also making headlines

Burj Al Babas in Turkey

Photos showing bizarre rows of empty gothic-castle homes that made up the ill-fated Burj Al Babas development in Turkey made international news. Conceived as a luxury community for foreign buyers in 2014, financial woes associated with both the developer and Turkey’s economy left the site an eerie ghost town.

Business Insider was one of the many news outlets featuring lots of photographs.

On our blog

For self-builders looking to create their own home, we published some advice on how to choose a contractor to manage and build your dream house.

February 2019

In the news

According to think-tank Civitas, a million more young adults were living with their parents than were two decades ago. The sharpest rise was – not surprisingly – in London, with much smaller increases in north-east England, Yorkshire and Humberside. The BBC reported that the proportion of live-at-home 23-year-olds rose from 37% in 1998 to 49% in 2017.

Also making headlines

Are our houses getting smaller?

While we’ve previously reported on UK homes getting smaller, in February the BBC reported on the growing popularity of the “tiny home” movement. As the story revealed, it is not always a bad thing. Clare and Aubrey Fry lived in a shipping container until they could afford their dream home. "I've found it really good fun. A way of decluttering," Clare said.

On our blog

Some areas of the UK naturally produce more radon gas than others. If you are building in an area prone to radon, this blog outlined steps to take in installing an appropriate radon barrier.

March 2019

In the news

Then Chancellor Philip Hammond (remember him?) announced as part of his spring statement a £3bn scheme to fund 30,000 affordable homes. Through the affordable homes guarantee scheme, the Treasury provided guarantees to housing associations, enabling them to build.

Also making headlines

A hoarding problem?

The Mirror reported on a house in Birmingham put on the market for just £50,000, but with a catch - the two-bed semi was filled with rubbish. Listed as “in need of refurbishment”, the home was to be sold with all contents included.

On our blog

We covered the findings of the New Homes Review report for 2018, which showed more than 9 out of 10 homebuyers reported snagging issues, with 69% satisfied their home represented value for money.

April 2019

In the news

US bank Goldman Sachs caught the UK’s modular housing investment bug by sinking £75m into London-based start-up TopHat. According to the Financial Times when announcing the deal, Gordon Moore, chief investment officer at Homes England, said: “If we are to increase industry’s capacity to build high-quality homes offsite, it’s vital others join us in our mission.”

Also making headlines

An Australian estate agent took a creative approach to selling a modern house in Sydney. A two-minute, cinematic-style video featured a couple dancing and prowling around the four-bedroom home to a dance music soundtrack. The Guardian carried the story, and the video – so you can make up your own mind about it.

On our blog

Amazing basements

We took a peek inside some of London’s amazing basements as we considered the build and warranty implications of digging down instead of building up.

May 2019

In the news

Temporary planning rules allowing homeowners to build a single-storey rear extension of up to six metres for terraced and semi-detached homes, or eight metres for detached homes, were made permanent by the Government. Then Housing Minister Kit Malthouse said: “By making this permitted development right permanent, it will mean families can grow without being forced to move.”

Also making headlines

Too many ducks!

More garden ponds and litter-strewn public parks were some of the reasons given for ducks finding strange and new homes in Hull. According to the Hull Daily Mail, garden ponds were giving the waders a new sanctuary away from overcrowded public spaces.

On our blog

We interviewed the winner of the Site Manager of the Year Award for the Central Region, Bloor Homes’ Jason Oakley. He said: “It’s important to build a great team around you with the same drive and enthusiasm as you.”

June 2019

In the news

Outgoing Prime Minister Theresa May spoke about the need to build high quality homes in her last major speech on housing as PM at the Chartered Institute of Housing conference in Manchester. “The housing shortage in this country began not because of a blip lasting one year or one Parliament, but because not enough homes were built over many decades,” She said. “The very worst thing we could do would be to make the same mistake again.”

Also making headlines

Jokers were quick to wonder how big allen keys would need to be when flat-pack retailer Ikea announced they would start developing offsite homes in the UK. Worthing Council said it was considering a deal with BoKlok, owned by Ikea and construction company Skanska, to build 162 factory-manufactured homes.

On our blog

Are you more drawn to a calm ocean breeze, luscious green landscapes or the hustle and bustle of city life? The best and worst places to live in the UK for overall satisfaction were revealed in our latest housing survey.

For July to December, click to Part 2.

Every care was taken to ensure the information in this article was correct at the time of publication.

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