“Housebuilder Persimmon faces new investor revolt over ‘highly excessive’ pay”

“Housebuilder Persimmon is braced for a fresh revolt over its controversial bonuses after shareholder advisers urged investors to vote against the company’s ‘highly excessive’ pay.

Advisory group PIRC has instructed investors to oppose the pay report for a second year running at the annual meeting early next month.

Last year, the FTSE 100 company narrowly escaped defeat over its bonus scheme for top bosses, but still suffered a major rebellion.

The scheme included a bonus worth more than £100million for former boss Jeff Fairburn that was trimmed to around £75million after a public backlash. The bonus pot was boosted by the taxpayer-funded Help to Buy scheme.

Persimmon, led by new chairman Roger Devlin, has attempted to draw a line under the scandal by trimming the overall payouts, ousting Fairburn, ensuring that all staff are paid more than the living wage, and making steps towards improving the quality of its homes.

Two other advisory firms Glass Lewis and ISS have both backed changes made by Devlin.

A Persimmon spokesman said the company understood ‘the need for pay restraint and spent 2018 working to ensure Persimmon’s future remuneration is clearly aligned with best practice’.”

https://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/markets/article-6943125/Housebuilder-Persimmon-faces-new-investor-revolt-controversial-bonuses.html

“End of Right to Buy set to increase demand for affordable housing”

Affordable housing output needs to be increased as the Help to Buy scheme is wound down, according to property consultancy Savills. The Help to Buy scheme has been a major factor in helping young people to afford their own home in recent years. However, its eligibility criteria are set to be tightened in 2021 with the future of the scheme up in the air.

[Take this with a pinch of salt – those “affordable” homes are, on average £33,000 more expensive than they ought to be]:

https://eastdevonwatch.org/2019/04/14/help-to-buy-costs-first-time-buyers-an-average-33000-extra/

A report by Savills said that housebuilding in England may need to increase by up to a third between 2021 and 2025 to make up for the end of the current Help to Buy scheme. Emily Williams, associate director for residential research at Savills, said: “Private sector housebuilding for market sale has underpinned the rapid expansion in housing supply since 2013, including affordable housing delivery through Section 106. But that growth is slowing against market headwinds.”

http://www.room151.co.uk/brief/#end-of-right-to-buy-set-to-increase-demand-for-affordable-housing

‘Help to Buy’ costs first-time buyers an average £33,000 extra

“First-time buyers who use Help to Buy to get on to the property ladder face paying a premium of more than £30,000.

That’s according to new research by the price comparison website Reallymoving, which claims first-time buyers using Help to Buy paid an average £303,000 in February, significantly more than the average of £270,000 spent by those who bought a home on the open market. …”

First-time buyers face a £33,000 premium when using Help to Buy

EDDC: Consultation on affordable housing (but not social housing)

Owl wonders if this is appropriate during the run-up to local elections in May – a time when only non-controversial and non-political issues should be brought up.

But, more importantly, surely there are two words missing from the document?
Shouldn’t it be “SOCIAL AND Affordable Housing Policy?

“The draft Affordable Housing SPD and accompanying documents are being published for consultation, available through the links below:

Draft Affordable Housing Supplementary Planning Document
http://eastdevon.gov.uk/media/2864523/affordable-housing-spd_approved-at-spc-26319.pdf

Draft Affordable Housing Supplementary Planning Document – Screening report for Strategic Environmental Assessment and Habitats Regulations
http://eastdevon.gov.uk/media/2864598/ah-spd_screening-assessments_sea-hra.pdf

Draft Affordable Housing Supplementary Planning Document – Equalities Impact Assessment
http://eastdevon.gov.uk/media/2864595/affordable-housing-spd_eqia.pdf

If you would like to comment on the draft Affordable Housing supplementary planning document and/or the accompanying documents (Environmental and Habitats screening reports, Equalities Impact Assessment), please email us at planningpolicy@eastdevon.gov.uk or post comments to Planning Policy, East Devon District Council, Blackdown House, Border Road, Heathpark Industrial Estate, Honiton, EX14 1EJ.

The consultation period runs from Thursday 28 March until Friday 10 May 2019 (at 5pm).

http://eastdevon.gov.uk/planning/planning-policy/housing-issues/affordable-housing/

“The Mass Sell-Off Of Public Land Is Driving The Housing Crisis”

“A major new investigation by the Bureau Local and HuffPost UK revealed austerity’s dirty little secret: massive funding cuts have been, in part, offset by a mass sell-off of public land. But what’s not being examined is who is buying that land, and what they are building on it. If used appropriately, surplus public land could be an important first step towards solving the housing crisis, but the present fire sale is, if anything, making it worse.

The Bureau’s research uncovered 12,000 public spaces sold into private ownership since 2014/15, ranging from grand metropolitan libraries to small patches of scrub land. Guy Shrubsole and Anna Powell Smith, in mapping landownership in England, discovered that £100million worth of the land sold-off by councils between 2017 and 2018 went to offshore companies. Earlier this year, Brett Christophers revealed that 10% of the UK’s land has transferred from public to private hands since 1979. In 2016, our own work at NEF revealed an alarming spread of sales from central government departments in recent years. The government itself claims to have sold 25% of the ‘core’ property holdings government departments since 2010.

Why are we offloading land at all? Ostensibly it’s to meet the government’s target: 160,000 new homes on previously public land by 2020. But the murky reality is that local authorities, like other public bodies, are selling land to fill the vast funding gaps driven by austerity. And it’s because of this fact that selling public land won’t generate the affordable homes that we desperately need to solve the housing crisis.

Local government funding has been cut in half between 2010/11 and 2017/18, so when government policy dictates selling surplus land, it’s no wonder that councils are using their land assets to plug the holes in their budgets. Birmingham City Council has used £53million from asset sales to balance its books, more than any other local authority in England, with as much as £26million of that revenue used to fund redundancies (also a result of austerity) at the council.

As NEF have shown, a key driver of the housing crisis is the price of land. When the incentive in selling public land is to raise cash to keep vital services afloat, councils inevitably sell to the highest bidder, as quickly as possible. While local authorities are technically allowed to sell at slightly less than the highest value (although many don’t out of financial necessity), central government departments are actually prohibited from selling land at lower than the ‘best consideration reasonably obtainable’. Developers cannot both build affordable housing and make a profit, because the price of land is prohibitively high. Expensive land leads to expensive houses. In this upside-down system, the price paid for land ultimately dictates what gets built when it should be the other way round.

This theory is laid bare in the planning documents that sit behind the sites. In our research on the central government sell off, we’ve come across countless examples of developers securing planning permission with promises of affordable housing, only to wriggle out of their commitments a few months later by claiming they can’t afford to.

Take Runwell Hospital in Wickford. Chelmsford City Council’s affordable housing plan requires that 35% of homes on new developments are affordable. Yet the site’s initial planning permission required only 20% affordable housing provision. Even so, the developer later submitted an application to reduce this further to just 10% on the grounds of affordability – just 61 of 575 homes.

Our research in 2017 revealed that:

Only one is five of the new homes to be built on sold-off public land is likely to be classed as ‘affordable’ (which, at 80% of market rates, is still largely unaffordable to those who need it most).

As little as 6% of new homes are likely to be social housing, and in some cases developments comprise solely of luxury properties.

New homes on formerly public land are dramatically behind schedule. At the current rate, the government’s target of building 160,000 homes will take until 2032 to achieve, 12 years later than promised.

Releasing land into the private market is not delivering the quantity or quality of affordable homes we need. As more land is sold, there is less opportunity to reverse these trends.

The sell-off of public land for hole-plugging cash receipts is not only economically short-sighted and unsustainable, it’s also driving the housing crisis. There is a clear tension between disposing of land to plug funding gaps and developing high-quality, genuinely and permanently affordable housing and other infrastructure. This year we are continuing to get to grips with the effect of the public land sale on the housing crisis. First up is a close look at NHS sites sold in the last year, then in the coming months we will be bringing together central government and local authority land sales to get a truly national picture of the sell-off. Only then can we build a picture of an alternative to the fire sale of public land, that results in the supply of genuinely affordable homes.”

https://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/housing-crisis-public-land_uk_5c811055e4b0a135b5199d5d

“Right to Buy homes re-sold since 2000 made £6.4bn in profit” (many sold within 6 weeks)

Proof that the destruction of social housing is a Conservative policy.

“A former council tenant bought their home under Right to Buy for £8,000 and sold it on for £285,000 nine days later – a £277,000 profit, the BBC found.

The Solihull buyer was among 140 in Great Britain who bought and resold within one month, making a £3m collective profit.

Opponents of the scheme said too many people had profited from a policy that had “much bigger social ambitions”.

Supporters said Right to Buy helped people secure their financial future.
The Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH) said it was “shocking to see the extent of the profit margin in black and white”.

It called for the scheme to be suspended in England. In January it was halted in Wales, as it was in Scotland in 2016.

Housing commentator Henry Pryor said: “Far too many… simply profited from a scheme that had much bigger social ambitions”. …”

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-47443183

Today’s promise of 30,000 housing association dwellings put into perspective

Owl says note that the “affordable” hoysing will still be 80% of market value … making these homes still unaffordable for those on low incomes.

Chancellor Philip Hammond has today committed £3billion in extra borrowing to deliver 30,000 new affordable homes in England.

In the Spring Statement, the Chancellor announced that the Government will guarantee the extra borrowing by housing associations to support the delivery of the homes, but did not supply a timetable for delivery.

The Chancellor also announced that £717million from the £5.5billion Housing Infrastructure Fund will be used to help ‘unlock’ up to 37,000 homes at sites including Old Oak Common in London, the Oxford-Cambridge Arc and Cheshire. …”

BUT IN THE SAME ARTICLE:

“In November This is Money revealed that local councils have fallen over six years behind their own house building targets.

Councils’ own figures revealed that development across the UK is moving at such a glacial pace that 316 sites will have fallen short of targets by 889,803 homes within the next eight years. …”

https://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/mortgageshome/article-6804561/Spring-Statement-Housing-associations-borrow-3bn-build-new-affordable-homes.html