The key macro-economic, personal finance, recruitment and property stories from today’s papers, ready by Wriglesworth Account Executive Tilly Parke.


LSL Property Press Awards 2013 – Winners announced!

PNP LSL group

The LSL Property Press Awards winners were announced at a prestigious champagne reception, hosted by broadcaster and journalist Andrew Neil in London.

Over 45 renowned property industry experts judged the entries. The following journalists received awards:

1. Property Business Journalist of the Year
Winner: Deirdre Hipwell, The Times
Silver: Nick Whitten, Estates Gazette
Bronze: Jonathan Prynn, Evening Standard

2. International Property Journalist of the Year
Winner: Stephen Wilmot, Investors Chronicle
Silver: Liz Rowlinson, A Place in the Sun and Tanya Powley, Financial Times
Bronze: Marc Da Silva, Freelance Journalist

3. Sustainable/Environmental Property Journalist of the Year
Winner: Roger Hunt, Show House
Silver: Avantika Chilkoti, Financial Times
Bronze: Sarah Lonsdale, The Sunday Telegraph – Life

4. Property Trade Magazine of the Year
Winner: Estates Gazette
Silver: Property Week and Show House
Bronze: Negotiator

5. National Freelance Journalist of the Year
Winner: Ruth Bloomfield
Silver: Peter Bill
Bronze: Edmund Tirbutt and Francesca Steele

6. Architectural Writer of the Year
Winner: James Pallister, Architects Journal
Silver: Zoe Dare Hall, Freelance Journalist
Bronze: Jonathan Foyle, Financial Times

7. Consumer Mortgage Writer of the Year
Winner: Sarah Davidson, The Independent
Silver: Lauren Thompson, Freelance Journalist
Bronze: Leah Milner, The Times and Tanya Powley, Financial Times

8. Regional Property Writer of the Year
Winner: David Bartlett, Liverpool Post & Echo
Silver: Jonathan Prynn, Evening Standard
Bronze: Sharon Dale, Yorkshire Post

9. Best Online Editorial Writer of the Year
Winner: Sebastian O’Kelly, Leasehold
Silver: John Fitzsimons, Love Money
Bronze: Edwin Heathcote, Financial Times Online

10. Property Journalism’s Rising Star
Winner: Stephen Wilmot, Investors Chronicle
Silver: Jack Sidders, Estates Gazette
Bronze: Emma Haslett, Property Week and Joanna Bourke, Estates Gazette

11. Property Columnist of the Year
Winner: Anne Ashworth, The Times
Silver: Peter Bill, Evening Standard and Stephen Wilmot, Investors Chronicle
Bronze: Ian Cowie, The Daily Telegraph

12. Lifestyle & Interiors Property Writer of the Year
Winner: Kate Watson-Smyth, Financial Times
Silver: Katrina Burroughs, The Sunday Times
Bronze: Carol Lewis, The Times

13. Property Scoop of the Year
Winner: Nick Whitten, Estates Gazette
Silver: Deirdre Hipwell, The Times and Sebastian O’Kelly, Freelance
Bronze: Annabel Dixon, Estates Gazette and Leah Milner, The Times

14. National Newspaper Property Staff Writer of the Year
Winner: Deirdre Hipwell, The Times
Silver: Anna Mikhailova, The Sunday Times
Bronze: Tanya Powley, Financial Times

15. National Newspaper Property Supplement of the Year
Winners: The Times Bricks & Mortar
Silver: Financial Times – House and Home
Bronze: The Daily Telegraph – Property and The Sunday Times – Home

16. Lifetime Achievement Award
Winner: Mira Bar Hillel, Evening Standard

17. Overall Property Journalist of the Year
Winner: Stephen Wilmot, Investors Chronicle

Limbering up for property’s annual glittering event

The cream of the residential property world come together tonight for the LSL Property Press Awards.

Now in its third year the LSL awards are the only form of recognition for property writers from the national, regional, trade and on-line community and will be awarded to 17 winning journalists.

A new category this year will give a Lifetime Achievement Award for a journalist who has made a difference in the world of property writing over – well a lifetime! A shortlist of nearly 70 writers will contest the categories that 45 judges from the top echelons of the property world have been assessing.

We applaud all those who have taken part and given their time and wish all participants the very best of luck tonight.

The Paragon Great Buy-to-Let Debate 2013

The Paragon Great Buy to Let Debate 2013

The first Great Buy-to-Let Debate hosted by The Wriglesworth Consultancy took place in London yesterday, with key figures and journalists within the property industry in attendance to discuss the latest issues in the lettings market. The eminent panel, chaired by John Wriglesworth, comprised:

John Heron, Managing Director of Paragon Mortgages
Valerie Bannister, the National Property Director of Your Move and Vice-President of ARLA
Richard Lambert, Chief Executive of the National Landlords Association
Peter Brodnicki, Chief Executive of the Mortgage Advice Bureau
Michael Ball, Professor of Urban and Property Economics at Reading University

The debate highlighted many of the issues surrounding the Buy-to-Let market, most notably the Government’s role in lending schemes, and the position of tenants and landlords regarding rental agreements and further regulation. There was a live Twitter feed of the event which produced excellent on the spot analysis and took the debate to those unable to attend. The audience also had the chance to vote on a number of issues – take a look at the final vote of the debate. Do you agree? Other debate sponsors were Assurant Solutions, Exact Mortgage Experts, LSL Property Services and Mortgage Advice Bureau.


LSL Property Services is hosting the 3rd LSL Property Press Awards to recognise the work of the UK’s leading property journalists.

The deadline for entry is Monday 7th January 2013 and all entrants will be invited to the exclusive Champagne reception awards ceremony, which will be held at 8 Northumberland Place, off Trafalgar Square on Monday 18th March 2013.

The awards are being judged by a 40-strong panel of renowned property industry experts including Brent Hoberman of Home3D, Harry Handelsman of Manhattan Lofts, Yolande Barnes of Savills and Kurt Mueller, Grainger Plc.

To enter the awards, please visit:

The Great Housing Market Debate 2012 – Newsletter

The property market was very much alive and well at the HSBC Great Housing Debate, hosted by the Wriglesworth Consultancy last week. The lively discussion covered house prices, first time buyers, buy to let, the right to buy and Stamp Duty and was punctuated by a series of snap polls via audience keypads, some with surprising results. The seventh annual question-time style event included a well-known panel of prominent industry leaders and broadcasters and was chaired by Wriglesworth’s Chairman and Chief Executive John Wriglesworth.

Peter Dockar, Head of Mortgages at HSBC, Nigel Terrington, Chief Executive of The Paragon Group, Yolande Barnes, Head of Residential Research at Savills, were joined by Hugh Pym BBC News Chief Economics Correspondent and Paul Lewis, Financial Journalist and Presenter of BBC Radio 4’s Money Box to give their expert opinion on the UK’s current housing market.

Peter Dockar said the objective of helping first time buyers by stimulating the construction industry through NewBuy was admirable, although he pointed out that some good responsible lending is already happening outside of this Government initiative. He noted that more first time buyers could mean fewer people requiring rental accommodation, so buy to let landlords may be dismayed at the implications.

However, Nigel Terrington said a balanced market is good for everyone. He is wary of anything that artificially stimulates the market but said NewBuy is: “a drop in the ocean and won’t make any material difference”. Terrington suggested a better solution would be to reduce the capital ratios lenders have to hold, as banks are finding it hard to price products at a level first time buyers can afford.

Yolande Barnes was nervous of help for first time buyers being focused on new build, saying that a policy that helps them to buy all types of property is required instead. Paul Lewis remains “deeply suspicious” of NewBuy, adding that house builders already have access to enough land to help solve the housing crisis in a few years if they were motivated to build.

Joining in from the floor, the CML’s Paul Smee clarified that NewBuy is not just for first-time buyers, adding that it was not the answer to all the housing problems. “Will it have an incremental benefit? Yes. Will it materially disadvantage borrowers? No. Therefore it should be supported as it will help to increase the housing supply.”

Paul Lewis believed that the Government’s renewed policy was wrong if houses were never replaced. He asked what would happen in blocks of flats where some people had bought their homes and others hadn’t. Who would pay for repairs?

Yolande Barnes had huge concerns over the amount of public money tied up in council housing but Right to Buy alone would not address this issue.

Nigel Terrington said the Government has a role to play to support those who can’t support themselves, adding that “25% of private rents for social housing were paid by the DSS to support tenants”. He pointed out that it’s tough to get lending against a council home and that all the good ones had gone. A 20th floor council home was a “hard place to value and difficult to lend against”.

Peter Dockar said people had a legitimate right to home ownership but there was a responsibility by lenders and customers to understand what they were taking on. Peter Williams from IMLA spoke from the floor and said that the so called product replacement policy was nonsense and may result in new properties with higher rents and in different locations.

The audience snap poll on whether they agreed with the Government’s decision to extend the Right to Buy scheme resulted in a resounding 66% voting NO with just 34% saying YES.

In spite of the new presumption in favour of sustainable development in the NPPF, the panel was divided about whether recent changes to what Hugh Pym termed the “slow and frustrating” planning system would deliver more new homes. One remaining hurdle acknowledged by the group was the Localism Act which divided opinion.

Paul Lewis argued: “Why should people live in sheds in gardens and multigenerational homes? Don’t let people come and veto development just because they have a view they want to maintain – some people have nowhere to live. There are mega hectares of land in Britain for development. When you travel by train what do you see? Fields.”

However, his BBC colleague Hugh Pym spoke up for Nimbyism in some cases: “House building is a regional and economic issue. You can’t build new homes in areas where there are no jobs and demand. There’s a lot of development pressure in some areas.”

Although the NPPF “called the bluff of developers to build on their land banks” said Lewis, Yolande Barnes was cynical about its likely impact on the number of new homes built: “The market determines planning permissions and negative land values, a monopolistic approach to land and 106 agreements make delivery difficult.”

The audience too was divided, with 45% believing new planning laws would lead to more new homes and 55% saying it would not.

The discussion about changes to Stamp Duty in the recent Budget highlighted the panel’s disillusionment with the current system but they failed to agree on an alternative system for taxing property.

Peter Dockar said that the slab approach to Stamp Duty – where just 1p over a specified amount makes a property liable for a significant increase in Stamp Duty – created anomalies close to border figures. “A pay as you own tax, similar to income tax, would be more logical and stimulate new transactions.” Yolande Barnes said Stamp Duty should be payable by the seller rather than the buyer which would increase transactions by removing a major barrier to first time buyers and second steppers.

However, Paul Lewis predicted there would be no reform of Stamp Duty as it generates £6billion each year and this would have to be replaced with an alternative revenue if it was scrapped.

Transaction levels won’t return to peak

The panel universally thought there would be no return to the pre-downturn peak transaction levels and that, generally, house prices would be very slow to recover. Hugh Pym said house prices had risen on “an ocean of liquidity” in an extraordinary boom that was unsustainable.

Yolande Barnes agreed that there would be no return to “normality” although some house prices had already surpassed the peak. Markets were driven by householders with equity, which not everybody has, and transactions have suffered. There would be no swift return to transaction levels of 1988 when 2million units were sold. Barnes predicted 11% nominal growth but taking account of inflation this meant below zero growth in real terms.

Paul Lewis said the market had been completely distorted and blamed “extremely foolish behaviour” by consumers and the banks who had lent too much. He said a house was not to be seen as an investment and doubted house prices would rise over the next few years. Nigel Terrington could see no improvement in transaction levels and Peter Dockar predicted stagnant house prices this year and perhaps 3-5% growth in a few years.

Asked what house prices would do over 12 months the audience voted: Rise–50%, Flat-50%, Fall-0%.

Lack of supply fuelling buy to let

It was unanimously agreed that the supply of rental properties is not meeting demand and as a result the buy to let market is a growing and lucrative investment. BTL should reach 20% of the market over the next few years argued Nigel Terrington, and “it is right to have a balanced housing economy…it is not sensible to push young people onto the housing ladder.” To support this growth, he would like to see the funding structure changed to incorporate finance from other areas, such as capital markets.

Peter Dockar agreed that the BTL market is growing and said HSBC plans to increase their lending in this market this year, so believes, “it is a viable and reasonable market to lend in”.UKresidential property is an attractive asset because it is an investment which provides an income according to Yolande Barnes. However, she argues: “It is the income streams of BTL and not the capital investment which is going to be the next big thing in this market and while underlying demand is there it will continue to expand.”

From the floor, Terry Holmes of Beresfords said a generation of renters could encounter problems when they reach retirement and rely on pensions, which was seconded by Hugh Pym. Paul Lewis noted that Holmes had received more queries from BTL landlords than first time buyers, pointing out that renters do not have security of tenure and this remains a deterrent to long term renting.

Thank you to the lead debate sponsor, HSBC, one of the world’s largest banking and financial services organisations.

Thank you also to the supporting sponsors: Spicerhaart, Zoopla and Paragon. Zoopla’s striking purple umbrellas were an instant success when the heavens opened as guests prepared to leave the debate. Thank you Zoopla!