Read the Latest News on the Fourth Month of Falling UK House Prices, Sheffield’s Tallest Building Plan Reduced, 50 Positions in Northumberland Expansion, Burntwood Building Celebrates Shropshire Care Home Contract and the £120m Barkers of Kensington Store Renovation

In today’s news, we will look into the fact that the average home price in the United Kingdom has dropped for the fourth consecutive month, according to Halifax. Meanwhile, the idea for Yorkshire’s tallest building in Sheffield has been shortened. On the other hand, the innovative construction company Merit will be adding fifty new positions as a result of its expansion in Northumberland. Furthermore, a construction company from Burntwood rejoiced after reaching an agreement to construct a nursing home in Shropshire. On top of all that, Emrys has been given permission to invest £120 million in the refurbishment of the historic Barkers of Kensington store.

Halifax reports the fourth month of falling UK house prices

Original Source: Average UK house price falls for fourth month in a row, says Halifax

Property values fell 1.5% in December, after 2.4% in November, to £281,272.

According to Halifax, the average UK property price decreased for the fourth month in a row in December. Experts foresee a further slowdown amid a long recession.

The lender’s monthly index showed property values fell 1.5% in December after 2.4% in November, 0.4% in October, and 0.1% in September.

From 4.6% in November to 2% in December, house prices fell. Since October 2019, the lowest annual growth rate was 1.1%.

The UK property market has been tumultuous recently. The Bank of England has hiked interest rates nine times in a year and thinks the country has entered a 100-year recession. After seeing their annual payments rise by almost £3,000, mortgage payers forced to refinance are among the hardest hit by the cost of living problem.

Halifax reported a December UK average house price of £281,272. That was 4.3% below the August record high of roughly £294,000, but above the price at the start of 2022.

According to Friday’s report, housebuilders are also deterred by higher interest rates.

The S&P Global/CIPS construction purchasing managers index decreased from 50.4 in November to 48.8 in December, with orders for new residences, civil engineering projects, and commercial office buildings falling. Activity dropped below 50.

“With a slowdown in the housing market and a predicted outright [annual] reduction in house prices, it’s probable the enthusiasm for new home development has deteriorated,” said EY Item Club chief economic consultant Martin Beck.

In September 2022, the UK government’s dismal “mini-budget” under then prime minister Liz Truss and her chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng raised mortgage rates, compounding sellers’ problems.

Their successors reversed course, calming the market, and lenders slashed mortgage rates this week to meet dropping demand. Buyers of five-year fixed-rate mortgages from TSB will save up to a percentage point starting Monday. A five-year fixed rate mortgage with 85% loan-to-value will drop to 5.49%.

Nationwide, the UK’s largest building society, will lower mortgage rates by 0.6 percentage points on Friday. Five-year fixed rate mortgages at 85% of property value declined to 4.84%.

“The house price fall is further advanced than we previously thought,” Capital Economics senior property economist Andrew Wishart said of the Halifax pricing data.

“The property market’s ‘soft landing’ looks increasingly like wishful thinking,” he remarked. Instead, 2023 will be a year of difficult adjustment to increased interest rates.

“As we’ve seen over the previous several months, doubts about the extent to which cost of living hikes would affect household bills, combined rising interest rates, is contributing to an overall slowing of the market,” said Halifax Mortgages’ Kim Kinnaird.

House prices rose fast in the first six months of 2022 before levelling off in the summer and falling in September.

Last month, Halifax, part of Lloyds Banking Group, forecast house prices will decrease 8% in 2023.

Kinnaird added, “It’s crucial to note that a reduction of 8% would see the cost of the average property returning to April 2021 pricing, which still remains well above pre-pandemic levels.”

Sheffield’s tallest building plan reduced

Original Source: Sheffield plan for Yorkshire’s tallest building scaled down

Due to escalating expenses, Sheffield developers cut back plans to create Yorkshire’s tallest structure.

New designs decrease the block at Wellington Street, Rockingham Street, and Trafalgar Street from 38 to 26 floors.

Altus House in Leeds, the tallest building at 374ft, would be taller than it (114m).

Developers of the 963-apartment tower said increased construction costs forced the change.

The proposal is from student accommodation specialist Code Living and Staniforth Architects.

The flats would target students and youth.

It would have a gym and cinema.

“Viability difficulties associated with the site and escalating construction and material prices have prompted the demand to amend and adapt the authorised scheme,” the developers stated in a planning statement.

“Suitable cost savings that allow the concept to be sustainable overall” would result from lowering the building.

“City landmark”

Developers claim the project is “not sufficiently sustainable” to meet affordable housing commitments.

Council planners have not scheduled an application review.

Staniforth Architects told the Local Democracy Reporting Service that the location might become “an urban monument in the cityscape”.

“This must be done carefully to complement the terrain and skyline, working with the rise and fall of the metropolis.”

913 studio apartments (29 accessible), 15 two-bedroom flats, and 35 six-bedroom flats are planned.

Dance studios, cafes, study places, and bike storage would join the gym and cinema.

The ground floor would have shop space, high-speed internet, and 24-hour security.

The applicants expect 15 full-time and 20 part-time jobs from the development.

Merit to add 50 positions in Northumberland expansion

Original Source: Construction innovator Merit to create 50 new jobs in Northumberland expansion

CEO Tony Wells said the expansion will help Merit win bigger contracts.

Merit Construction in Cramlington is expanding its location to handle development.

The Northumberland inventor, a past North East Company of the Year, aims to expand its base at Admiral Business Park, where it builds high-tech, complicated buildings for healthcare, pharmaceutical, energy, manufacturing, retail, commercial, and nuclear clients. After receiving approval for a new high-bay addition at its base, the firm is adding 40,000sqft to its 270,000 sq ft industrial area.

Merit has increased its personnel to over 220 in the previous two years and expects the facility expansion to add over 50 employment. Two new manufacturing lines for Merit’s UltraPOD+, an expandable whole building solution, will pre-assemble and test two vertically stacked modules in the enlarged high-bay facility. Two 50-tonne gantry cranes and a module lifting frame will also be added.

Merit anticipates opening the new site in April. Merit builds more than 75% of structures offsite in Northumberland before installing them on site. It considerably reduces project lead times, material efficiency, capital and revenue expenses, and external professional advisory fees.

Last month, it completed the first phase of a £66m advanced treatments manufacturing complex in Stevenage in 17 months, three years faster than the biotech sector average of five years.

Merit CEO Tony Wells said the facility expansion will help Merit win larger global contracts and grow the business.

Merit worked on CPI’s RNA Centre of Excellence, Abingdon Health’s lateral flow production site, and Piramal’s ADC manufacturing facility extension.

Burntwood building celebrates Shropshire care home contract

Original Source: Burntwood construction firm celebrates after agreeing deal to build Shropshire care home

Burntwood construction firm celebrates £15 million Shropshire care development agreement.

Keon Homes, whose turnover rose 33% to £25 million last year, bought land in Newport to create the extra care scheme.

The development should open in 2025.

Keon Homes development leader Matt Beckley said:

“This is a huge milestone for the firm and the first time we will build an extra care scheme.

We’ve spent a year learning about The Wrekin Housing Group’s development criteria. This provided us the insight to discover this opportunity with Bloor Homes and we rapidly closed the contract to purchase 1.5 acres of property to create the 70-strong mix of apartments and communal living spaces.”

Keon Homes

After seeing a market need for affordable housing and care, Richard Williams, Warren Bolton, and Noel Sweeney founded Keon Homes in 2019.

Over the past two years, Burntwood-based Cameron Homes, Galliers Homes, and Chasetown Civil Engineering—part of The Tara Group—has grown rapidly.

Keon Homes uses a land-led methodology to discover, secure, and buy low-cost housing and “Extra Care” sites in the Black Country, Birmingham, Shropshire, Staffordshire, Worcestershire, and areas of the East Midlands.

Chasetown Civil Engineering’s Euan Grant said:

We are happy to partner with Keon Homes and Bloor Homes on this Newport project.

“It underlines Keon’s success and it’s nice to see its logo alongside well-established construction names and The Wrekin Housing Group on the advertising hoardings at the entrance to this project”.

Emrys approved the £120m Barkers of Kensington store renovation

Original Source: Emrys gets go-ahead for £120m overhaul of listed Barkers of Kensington store

Emrys Architects will renovate west London’s Grade II-listed Barkers of Kensington building.

The London-based practice’s £120 million “deep refit” of the former 52,889m2 department store was approved by Kensington and Chelsea councillors.

Emrys Architects plans to “reinvent” the Grade II-listed Art Deco building’s interior and increase its floorspace to 53,849m2.

Most of the internal floors will be opened up, and the interior and atrium will be completely redesigned. That includes raising the first and second levels’ ceilings to 4.7m.

Emrys Architects says ceiling holes will reduce the interior’s “gloom.” To honour the building’s history, the original steel columns might be exposed.

The atrium will get a grand staircase and escalators that reference the building’s heritage, according to the practice.

Emrys Architects plans to save the atrium’s barrel-vaulted glazed roof. New raised pathways and balconies will “bring it to life.”

Mixed-use roof and basement spaces will also be built. Upgrades and restoration of the distinctive lanterns on top of the former department store are also planned.

Emrys Architects director Glyn Emrys commented, “The Barkers of Kensington building is one of London’s most distinguished and recognizable buildings.” It’s a big honour and duty to adapt the building approximately 100 years after it was built.

‘We have endeavoured to conserve and enhance the old building as much as possible, working with it to create adaptable new spaces with a clear focus on character, sustainability and welfare.’

The department store’s in-house architect, Bernard George, designed Barkers of Kensington in the 1950s. The upper floors became offices for the Daily Mail and its owners, Associated Newspapers, in the 1980s.

Barkers closed permanently in 2006, and Whole Foods took over the lower ground, ground, and first floors.

The reconfiguration is anticipated to finish in 2025 after construction begins in 2023.

Summary of today’s construction news

Halifax reported that the average UK house price decreased for the fourth month in December. Experts expect a deeper slump. After falling 2.4% in November, house prices fell 1.5% in December to £281,272.

As expenses escalated, Sheffield developers reduced plans to create Yorkshire’s tallest tower. The building at Wellington and Rockingham and Trafalgar Streets will be 26 stories instead of 38.

Merit Construction’s Cramlington branch is expanding for new projects. Northumberland’s North East Company of the Year aims to expand at Admiral Business Park. They build high-tech medical, pharmaceutical, energy, manufacturing, retail, commercial, and nuclear facilities.

Meanwhile, Burntwood is also pleased with Shropshire’s £15 million care development agreement. Keon Homes bought Newport land to build an extra care home after income rose 33% to £25 million in 2016. The complex will open in 2025. 

On top of that, the Kensington and Chelsea council approved the London firm’s £120 million “extensive refurbishment” of the 52,889-square-foot ancient department store. Emrys Architects will “reinvent” this Art Deco building’s 53,849m2 of office space by expanding it.

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