Cain Hoy and Sager lead £400 million Islington Square development: The U.S. private investment firm looking to buy Tottenham Hotspur is revealing another push into the London market with a £400 million development in Islington.
House sales up again with flood of new buyers: The housing market resurged again in July, defying expectations that activity was slowing down, industry figures revealed. Gulf between London and the rest of the U.K. at 20-year high: House prices in London and the south east have soared so fast that the gap with the rest of the country is at the highest level since 1995, LSL Property Services said.
Number of £1 million homes sold in London ‘to rise by almost half in five years’: The number of homes sold in London for £1 million or more will go up by almost half by 2018 as house prices and prosperity soar in the capital, an estate agency has said.
Barratt Developments says U.K. housing market to return to normal: Barratt Developments has become the latest housebuilder to warn that the U.K. housing market has returned to “normal” levels of activity as the developer launched a plan to return £950 million in cash to shareholders.
On house prices, there has been plenty to get the nerves going. Last week top-end builder Berkeley said that the market had reverted to “normal” transaction levels, from last year’s high point. On Monday, Halifax data showed that house price growth slowed from 1.2% in July to 0.1% in August. Shares in the largest seven builders have underperformed the FTSE All-share over six months; last week Barratt lost its place in the FTSE 100. For some of the builders, this is a green light for rapid growth. Numis estimates that Bellway, Bovis and Redrow will roughly double their annual volumes between 2012 and 2020. But the investment required crimps dividends – the yields of the three average just 1.3%, according to Deutsche Bank. Taylor Wimpey and Persimmon, the two largest builders by market capitalisation, offer something for those with a nervous disposition. Volume growth will be more restrained, but cash returns will be higher. Taylor Wimpey plans to return about £200 million per year to shareholders on top of regular dividends; Persimmon has a more detailed scheme to return £1.9 billion over eight years. That provides some welcome comfort, given that house prices are about as predictable as the weather and football.
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