NEWS: Cameron's next move Well, who saw that election result coming? Certainly not the pollsters and probably not even David Cameron himself. Yet he's installed in Number 10 for a further five years — and with a small majority this time. That, in many ways, was the easy bit, however: now the Prime Minister has to make good on the Conservative's manifesto pledges. This includes building 200,000 new starter homes for first-time buyers under 40 by 2020, extending the Help to Buy loans scheme, introducing a Help to Buy ISA, plus creating a brownfield fund to “unlock homes’ on brownfield sites. Labour's promise/threat (delete depending on your political affiliation) of a mansion tax went with Ed Miliband's defeat. With David Cameron in charge again some commentators believe that the rental market is likely to strengthen — so good news for landlords. But what about renters? Unlike Labour, the Conservatives aren't promising three-year tenancies and a ban on unfair lettings fees.

Landlords have thirty days from receiving the deposit to register with either the Deposit Protection Service, MyDeposits or the Tenancy Deposit Scheme.

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05.05.2015 John Parky
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NEWS: Party Pledges Phew. The campaigning — and the incessant political bickering — is over. Still, here's a round-up of the main parties' manifesto pledges regarding housing. The Conservatives have said that they will build 200,000 new starter homes for first-time buyers under 40 and extend the Help-to-Buy scheme to 2020. Labour, meanwhile, have promised 200,000 new homes a year by 2020, giving first priority to local first-time buyers; plus they want to guarantee three-year tenancies to renters and cap excessive rent rises. The Lib Dems announced plans to build 300,000 homes per year, while introducing a new Help to Rent scheme so that government-backed tenancy deposit loans will be available for all first-time renters under 30; and Ukip has pledged to protect Britain’s green belt and exempt houses built on brownfield sites from stamp duty. The Greens would scrap Help to Buy, and protect tenants by capping rents and introducing longer tenancies and a licensing scheme for landlords.

NEWS: Alarming news for landlords Apart from George Osborne's budget help for first-time buyers, the big news recently has been a sobering report warning that the average UK household will owe close to £10,000 in debts such as personal loans, credit cards and overdrafts by the end of 2016. Are we falling in love with borrowing again, so soon after the credit crunch?

According to a recent report by property analysis firm Hometrack, house prices are continuing to rise — but not just in the south. In fact, the gap between UK cities with the strongest house price growth and those with the weakest has shrunk to its narrowest levels in nearly 16 years, with locations such as Liverpool, Leeds, Sheffield, Newcastle, Birmingham and Glasgow catching up with London, Oxford and Cambridge. In other news, as inflation hits a new low, Mark Carney, Governor of the Bank of England, has been explaining why interest rates might not have to go up in the near future ('might not', are the operative words, naturally); and, of course, George Osborne will be delivering his final budget of the parliament on 18 March.

High Speed Compensation? If you own a property in the areas neighbouring the path of the planned High Speed 2 (HS2), you'll doubtless have been concerned about how the scheme might affect the price of your house. Now, however, the government has announced details of compensation schemes which have been long awaited by homeowners and estate agents alike.

As December faded away and the calendar clicked slowly around to 2015 (so long, 2014!), there was a flurry of activity in the property sector. First of all, the Government announced a new starter home initiative, offering 100,000 first-time buyers new homes with a 20% discount; then it was revealed that the annual rise in UK house prices has slowed — yet prices have still gone up faster than the general cost of living. Banks, meanwhile, launched a flurry of mortgage deals fixed for 10 years at record low rates.