View more on these topics

Comment: Finding that delicate balance

STANDARD LICENSE AGREEMENT This Photograph taken by VisualMedia is supplied with an indefinite license for editorial purposes, but excluding advertorials or competitions. The license also covers internal communications requirements such as newsletters and non-commercial website use. Usage for external marketing / advertising purposes will attract additional fees that need to be negotiated dependent on requirements Mandatory credit: Daniel Lewis/Vismedia

Will the latest new-build intervention encourage a more diverse range of projects through developers of all sizes?

There are many important questions to which I struggle to find a definitive answer. Why does a round pizza come in a square box? Why is there a light in the fridge but not in the freezer? Why does mineral water that has “trickled through mountains for centuries” go out of date next year? But being serious for a moment, let’s evaluate a far more pertinent question that is still largely unanswered: why isn’t enough new and affordable housing being built?

The bridging of this supply gap is a long-standing conundrum that has dogged the UK for a sustained period. It has featured highly on all recent government agendas but a continued lack of available land, planning delays, lingering funding issues and a shortage of skilled workers mean there are no straightforward or imminent solutions.

Positive signs are in the offing, however. The recent announcement of a package of measures to increase housebuilding – including a £3bn Home Building Fund and £2bn of new investment for accelerated construction on public land – is a step in the right direction.

It is estimated that the Home Building Fund will help enable SMEs, custom builders and developers to deliver more than 225,000 new homes. In addition, the Government plans to pilot accelerated construction on public land, taking government-owned land and partnering with contractors and investors to speed up housebuilding. In recent times, new-build has been dominated largely by the bigger housebuilders. But let’s hope that this latest government intervention will encourage and accelerate a wider, more diverse range of projects across the UK through developers of all sizes.

If the right balance of new homes is found, this should translate into more opportunities for those in the intermediary community who have established solid relationships and affiliations within the new-build sector.

Tony Fullbrook is head of mortgage purchases at Barclays Mortgages



Belmont Green to trade as Vida Homeloans

New lender Belmont Green will trade as Vida Homeloans, according to chief executive David Tweedy. The company was launched earlier this year by Tweedy and Guy Batchelor, but will not start lending until later in 2016. Vida Homeloans chief executive David Tweedy, who was market relations director at Target until October, says: “We can confirm that […]


Housing minister accused of ‘headline grabbing’ with comments on disinheriting

The housing minister’s comments suggesting that parents should disinherit their offspring and leave their assets to their grandchildren has been branded “political headline grabbing” and a diversion from the heart of the housing crisis: supply. According to the Telegraph, Gavin Barwell told a fringe event at the Conservative Party conference that pensioners should consider leaving […]


DeVere Mortgages and Al Rayan Bank partner on Sharia-compliant home loans

DeVere Mortgages and Al Rayan Bank have entered into a strategic partnership to offer Sharia-compliant mortgage alternatives for expats in the UK. The move follows Devere reports of an average 55 per cent week-on-week increase in mortgage enquiries since the Brexit vote, with the majority of these applications from residents of Qatar, the United Arab […]

Life after the CML

By Roy Armitage, head of credit at LendInvest Last month saw three-quarters of the membership of the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) vote in favour of plans to create a super-trade body, which would see the CML merge with the likes of the British Bankers’ Association and Payments UK. There is little room for misty-eyed […]

Apple: a stellar technology story

By Ali Unwin, head of technology sector research

Apple recently announced the highest-ever recorded quarterly net profit ($18bn), with the sale of 74.4 million iPhones helping the company deliver $74.6bn of revenue for the quarter ending December 2014. These sales were largely driven by strong demand for the new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. Highlights included Chinese iPhone sales doubling year-on-year and unit growth of 44% in the US — supposedly a well-penetrated market. Apple ended the quarter with $178bn in cash on its balance sheet, having generated a staggering $30bn in free cash flow during the quarter.

At Neptune, we have been long-term believers in the Apple story, and continue to hold the stock in a number of our portfolios based on the company’s long-term growth prospects. This is predicated on our belief that Apple has proved thus far that it can — unusually for a consumer electronics company — maintain high margins for a sustained period of time, even as adoption of new technology slows down and competitors produce similar-specification products.


News and expert analysis straight to your inbox

Sign up