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Live Better Blog: June Round-Up

After a rather wet and windy start to spring, we’re ready to soak up some rays and hug our close ones once again – hooray!

Whilst we’re basking in the sunlight, we’ll also be taking a look back on the last month – a month that’s brought us a brand new housing scheme during a time of an insane house price boom (better now than never!).

Building the future.

Average property values have soared over the last 12 months, increasing by 10.9%, the highest level in nearly seven years. Because of this, it’s increasingly difficult for first-time buyers to take the big leap onto the property ladder, but thanks to a brand new government scheme, things may become a bit easier…

Under the First Home scheme, buyers can apply for a discount of between 30-50% on a new build home; the first eligible properties went on the market in May in Derbyshire, and around another 1,500 are expected in autumn.

Before you begin frantically Googling for new build developments to buy on the scheme, there are a few eligibility requirements you’ll need to pass.

The discount is only for those who:

  • Are first-time buyers
  • Have a combined total income under £80,000 (or £90,000 in London)
  • Have a minimum 5% deposit
  • Have a mortgage or home purchase plan to fund at least 50% of the purchase price
  • Local authorities may also require applicants to have strong connections to the local area (e.g. live or work in the area before purchasing the house).

Think you’re a match? Keep an eye out for the roll-out of the next phase of the scheme within the next 6 months.

If you’d like to move a bit more quickly (and you live, or want to live, in London), the quiet suburb of Thamesmead is now the most affordable place to buy in the capital, with the average house price currently just £275,194.

In fact, five of the top 10 most affordable postcodes are in southeast London (SE2, SE25, SE18 and SE20). Surprise, surprise, the priciest areas are in west London, with typical homes in Kensington going for an eye watering £2 million!

In short, taking a look a few miles (or few hundred metres) outside of your desired area can have a big impact on prices. Price differences happen for all kinds of reasons, but doing a bit of research into understanding the wider area just might bag you a bargain.

The small stuff.

Here are the latest bite-sized stories from across the personal finance world…

New car boom.

156,000 sets of wheels rolled off forecourts throughout May 2021, rising by a massive 674% compared to May 2020, when all dealerships were shut. Despite the demand, sales were still lower than the 183,724 recorded in May 2019…

Electric power.

Speaking of new cars, Ofgem has put £300 million into building new charging stations for electric vehicles, which will triple the current network and help to support the UK’s plans to hit net zero emissions by 2050.

Paying for plastic.

Single-use plastic bags have increased to 10p in all shops in England. The original 5p charge (brought in in 2015) was incredibly effective, reducing plastic bag use by 95%, but environmental groups want the government to go further and ban Bags for Life, which contain more plastic and are often just used once.

Quiet polluters.

Greenpeace research suggests the finance industry is one of the UK’s biggest contributors to climate change, claiming that if the City of London were a country, it would be the ninth biggest emitter of CO2, ahead of Germany! Campaigners say without proper regulation, financial institutions are not required to align their activities with the UK’s climate commitments.

All aboard.

The Great British Railway is coming as part of new government plans to modernise the railways. The GBR will set ticket prices and timetables from 2023, meaning cheaper and more flexible tickets (and trains that run on time – hopefully)…

WIN a beautiful bouquet from Bloom & Wild!

We’ve partnered with Bloom & Wild to give 5 of our social followers a monthly chance to win a free bouquet! To be in with a chance to win this month’s bloom, just do the following:

1. Like our Facebook page

2. Then share our latest Bloom & Wild post with the hashtag #12MonthsOfBloom

Simple! (Don’t forget to set your shared post to ‘public’, otherwise we won’t be able to see who shares it!)

Winners will be announced at the beginning of next month, so stay tuned to our social to see if you’ve won. (T&C’s apply –