Connect with us

Current

Are your home renovations REDUCING the price of your property?

Voice Of EU

Published

on

While an on-trend home might look good on your Instagram grid, investing in the latest fads could be reducing the price of your property, experts have claimed.

Holly Herbert, head of content at webuyanyhouse.co.uk, in collaboration with sofa and carpet specialist ScS, has revealed the ten interior features currently hugely popular on social media that could devalue your home.

The trends to avoid include DIY patterned feature walls often made using tape, high maintenance freestanding baths, as well as kitchen islands which could make the space on offer feel more cramped. 

Here, FEMAIL reveals the popular designs to avoid if you want to keep the value of your property from decreasing… 

1. FREESTANDING BATHS

Tub toil: Standalone baths (pictured) look great but they often come with a lot of practical issues including hidden pipework that can be tricky to reach

Tub toil: Standalone baths (pictured) look great but they often come with a lot of practical issues including hidden pipework that can be tricky to reach

Freestanding baths look great in social media posts, but they often come with a lot of practical issues that make them unattractive to buyers.

Holly says: ‘Freestanding baths are far higher maintenance than normal varieties. You may need to make extra room under your floor for additional pipes and plumbing. 

‘If these pipes leak, they can be incredibly expensive to access and can create bad smells,’ she adds.

The expert suggests they’re not easy or practical, which is what most homeowners want, especially families with children. Standalone baths also require more storage space for soaps and toiletries, which many people usually keep on the corners of a bath.

It also depends on who is buying your property, as young, busy couples and elderly homeowners tend to prefer walk-in showers over bath tubs.

2. GOLD HARDWARE 

Glittering gold features can add a touch of elegance around the home, but as Holly explains, this effect doesn’t last long.

‘Gold hardware can quickly look stained and marked, which is very noticeable. It can also be difficult to match it with other features in your home, especially once the gold colour has faded.’

Gold door and cupboard handles are currently all over TikTok interiors accounts, but this trend can either be loved or hated by potential buyers.

Interior trends can change quickly, so if you really want to add gold to your home, seek the help of a professional to make sure it’s done right and ensure that it will age well, says Holly.

3. TAPE-DESIGNED WALLS

Just paint it white? Triangular-painted feature walls (pictured) often using tape to create coloured shapes were a lockdown hit but might not age well

Just paint it white? Triangular-painted feature walls (pictured) often using tape to create coloured shapes were a lockdown hit but might not age well

Triangular-painted feature walls, with tape used to create coloured shapes, were incredibly popular during lockdown, but such creativity isn’t always appreciated by buyers.

Holly says: ‘Over-expressive decorating, like accent corners, scalloped edges, painted arches or frog-tape walls, are all very much to individual taste.

‘As such, it can make it much harder to achieve a sale. You’re far better off sticking to neutral colours.’

If you really like this trend, consider creating artwork that can be framed or hung up on the wall rather than risk having to redecorate your entire home when it comes to selling a property. 

4. HOME GYMS

With the pandemic closing gyms across the UK, many people added workout rooms to their home, but this can be off-putting for prospective buyers looking around your property.

Holly adds: ‘Home gyms were a bit of a lockdown fad but are becoming more redundant now that regular gyms are open again. They generally take up space which could be used for something more beneficial.’

People want to imagine living in a home when they come to view it, and exercising in the home may not be everyone’s lifestyle. Consider using extra space as an extra bathroom or bedroom, which can add up to 15 per cent on to a property’s value.’

5. BI-FOLD DOORS

Bi-fold doors (pictured) are really useful for creating an easy passage from your home to your garden, but if they are low-quality or badly fitted, they can count against you

Bi-fold doors (pictured) are really useful for creating an easy passage from your home to your garden, but if they are low-quality or badly fitted, they can count against you

Bi-fold doors are really useful for creating an easy passage from your home to your garden, but if they are low-quality or badly fitted, they can count against you.

Holly says: ‘Such doors do look attractive, but in reality, they can break quite easily, which can be a nuisance for new homeowners. It can also be really difficult to get hold of replacement parts, so it’s something to keep in mind before paying out.’

Bi-fold doors may not be practical either, as the British weather is often grey, these features will spend most of their time closed, making them more impractical than regular doors and windows. 

6. LOG BURNERS

On cold winter evenings, log burners can make your room feel cosy, but not all buyers will agree.

Holly explains: ‘Log burners require a lot of fuel, which can be expensive, and you need somewhere to store the wood, which takes up extra space. 

‘There’s also the risk of smoke damage and marking decorated walls, which buyers won’t want to inherit.  If you do install one, make sure to clean it regularly so that it works efficiently and doesn’t look messy.’ 

7. KITCHEN ISLANDS

Open plan kitchen, dining and living spaces with islands (pictured) are really popular with interior influencers, but before you hop on the trend, there's a lot to consider

Open plan kitchen, dining and living spaces with islands (pictured) are really popular with interior influencers, but before you hop on the trend, there’s a lot to consider

Open plan kitchen, dining and living spaces with islands are really popular with interior influencers, but before you hop on the trend, there’s a lot to consider.

Holly advises: ‘Islands are great in a big home, but space is the main factor for most buyers, so if they make your kitchen look cramped, they can be a big mistake. 

‘If you do add an island, make sure you don’t add appliances (such as a cooker) to it unless you’re absolutely certain, as it then becomes expensive for the next owner to remodel if they want to change things around.’

8. CERAMIC STATEMENT TILES

Pause a while before installing tiles - statement flooring can be too niche for home buyers

Pause a while before installing tiles – statement flooring can be too niche for home buyers

Tiling needs to be consistent around the house to look attractive and it can be expensive to remove, which many buyers will want to do. 

If tiles are badly laid or decorated with quirky colours, they can be off-putting and quickly look outdated.

Holly says: ‘Poor flooring can decrease a house’s value by around 5 per cent. It can be really costly to rip it up to replace, so if tiling, you’re best sticking to neutral colours.’

9. PANTRIES

A pantry can work well in a large home but in smaller kitchens they can kill valuable space

A pantry can work well in a large home but in smaller kitchens they can kill valuable space

Having a separate area to store food can be a great feature for a kitchen, but pantries need to be well-located and genuinely useful to be appealing.

Holly adds: ‘Pantries tend to take up a huge amount of space, which impedes the kitchen and reduces the house’s value. 

‘They are a nice touch in homes which have enough room for them, but this isn’t the case for many properties.’ 

10. PAINTING OR COVERING OVER ORIGINAL FEATURES 

The trend of touching up original features is very divisive, so isn’t a good idea if you’re looking to sell.

Holly says: ‘You need to carefully maintain original features if they’re to look good and attract interest. Don’t risk damaging them by attempting paint or restoration work yourself, as you could end up ruining the feature altogether.’

Painting features like kitchen cupboards, taps, window frames and floorboards put off over 30 per cent of buyers, who admitted they couldn’t see past these personal touches to see a property as their own, recent research by the firm found.

Some of the worst colours you can paint features in includes dark grey, black and dark blue. 

Source link

Current

How do you feel about the new carbon budgets?

Voice Of EU

Published

on

We want to hear your views on the proposed new carbon budgets which, the Government says, will change how people live and work. The proposed budgets, published by the Climate Change Advisory Council, will apply to every sector of the economy and will outline a limit for total emissions that can be released.

The first carbon budget, which will run from 2021 to 2025, will see emissions reduce by 4.8 per cent on average each year for five years. The second budget, which will run from 2026 to 2030, will see emissions reduce by 8.3 per cent on average each year for five years. The council says the budgets will require “transformational changes for society” but that failing to act would have “grave consequences”. Environmental campaigners say the budgets will provide a cleaner, healthier and safer future but some rural groups such as the Irish Farmers’ Association say they will have “serious repercussions”.

How do you feel about the new carbon budgets?

Now we’d like to hear your views: Do you support the budgets or are you against them; do they go too far or not far enough?

We will publish a selection of your responses online (If you are reading this on the Irish Times app, click here to access the form for submissions).

Source link

Continue Reading

Current

House sales shoot up a THIRD in September amid fears of mortgage rate hike

Voice Of EU

Published

on

The number of homes bought and sold in Britain rose by two thirds in September compared to August, with experts believing buyers are seeking to get ahead of a potential rise in mortgage rates. 

There were nearly 161,000 property transactions in September on a seasonally-adjusted basis, a 67.5 per cent increase on the previous month, according to latest figures from HMRC. 

They also increased by 68 per cent compared to September 2020, and 63 per cent compared to the ‘normal’ market average in September 2017 to 2019.

The cost of a mortgage could be set to increase, if the Bank of England base rate rises

The cost of a mortgage could be set to increase, if the Bank of England base rate rises

Experts say the sharp rise was only partly a result of the Government’s stamp duty holiday, which has fuelled price growth of around £25,000 in the last year but finally ended on 30 September. 

It initially allowed buyers to save up to £15,000 in taxes as they did not need to pay stamp duty on the portion of their property purchase under £500,000. 

But in September, the tax break would have had a more subdued effect.

In England and Northern Ireland, it was tapered down between July and September so that buyers could only save £2,500.

And the holiday had already expired in Scotland and Wales, on 31 March and 30 June respectively. 

Given that the impact of the stamp duty holiday was lessening, some suggest that other factors have become more important in maintaining high levels of activity in the housing market. 

There are a number of things at play, according to Lawrence Bowles, senior research analyst at Savills.

‘There’s more to this activity than a stamp duty holiday: record-low mortgage rates, desire for more space, and a core of unmet pent up demand all continue to push up transaction volumes,’ he says. 

Although it is one of several reasons why the housing market remains hot, the desire for a cheap mortgage has become more of a pressing issue for buyers in recent days and weeks. 

This is because speculation about a rise in the Bank of England’s base rate has threatened an increase in the current super-low rates.

At the moment, rates are available as low as 0.89 per cent – but they are already rising. At its lowest, the cheapest fixed rate on the market was 0.84 per cent.

Major lenders including NatWest, HSBC and Barclays have all moved to increase rates on some mortgages, after months of sustained falls. 

With a base rate rise being predicted by some for December, experts are suggesting that the threat of mortgage rates going up is the ‘new stamp duty holiday’ and that the rush to complete sales before rates rise is now keeping the housing market buoyant.

Simon Bath, chief executive of technology company iPlace Global which created the property advice app Moveable, says: ‘We have reached another crossroads in which following the stamp duty holiday, there is another potential deadline for Brits to prepare for.

‘It seems likely that house prices will continue to rise before demand slows down, as Brits race to obtain lower mortgage rates.’

Rising costs: Those buying homes have seen the typical sale price increase by £5,000 in the last month alone, according to data from the property platform Rightmove

Rising costs: Those buying homes have seen the typical sale price increase by £5,000 in the last month alone, according to data from the property platform Rightmove 

Early statistics back his price rise theory up. According to Rightmove’s latest house price index, which covers the first half of October, the average house price jumped £5,000 compared to the previous month. 

In addition, every UK region broke asking price records for the first time since March 2007.

The property portal noted in its report: ‘The continued fast turnover of property for sale and a window of opportunity to buy before a potential interest rate rise seem to have overcome the final expiry of all stamp duty incentives and are keeping activity robust.’

This trend is keeping the market buoyant for now, but could it really lead to another buying frenzy? Iain McKenzie, chief executive of The Guild of Property Professionals, says so. 

‘With demand for properties still high, and a potential mortgage rate rise on the horizon, this could be the perfect storm to see another frenzy to buy, so long as the shortage of stock doesn’t continue,’ he says. 

There is also the simple fact that people who were trying to meet the September stamp duty deadline, but failed, are unlikely to abandon their purchases, and will continue to add to the totals over the coming months. 

But others are less sure about talk of another buying boom. With the base rate rise only tipped to be from 0.1 per cent to 0.25 per cent, the difference in people’s mortgage payments may only be a few pounds per month. 

For example, for someone with a £120,000, two-year fixed rate mortgage on a £200,000 home, the difference between a 0.89 per cent rate and a 1.04 per cent rate would be just over £8 a month, or just under £200 across the fixed period. 

Office for National Statistics data showing house price increases over the past 15 years

Office for National Statistics data showing house price increases over the past 15 years

Mark Harris, chief executive of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients, says: ‘People will still move without stamp duty holidays and will continue to refinance their homes, whether mortgage rates are below 1 per cent or around 2 per cent.

‘Borrowers are keen to secure these historically-low mortgage rates but if the right property comes along, they are still likely to buy even if they have to pay say 15 basis points more and won’t qualify for a stamp duty holiday.’

But as the stamp duty holiday proved, the psychological impact of thinking you are saving money can be powerful, even when the actual cash saving is negligible. 

While buyers did indeed ‘save’ up to £15,000 in tax, house price rises during the stamp duty holiday were upwards of £20,000, eclipsing the actual saving.   

The true impact that the mooted rise in mortgage rates will have depends on myraid factors, including whether there is further clarity on if and when the base rate change might actually happen, and how mortgage lenders continue to respond to the situation. 

All eyes will be on the October transaction statistics and house price indices to see whether the market is remaining buoyant. 

Some links in this article may be affiliate links. If you click on them we may earn a small commission. That helps us fund This Is Money, and keep it free to use. We do not write articles to promote products. We do not allow any commercial relationship to affect our editorial independence.

Source link

Continue Reading

Current

Covid grips Europe’s unvaccinated east

Voice Of EU

Published

on

Hospitals are struggling to cope as Covid-19 sweeps through large unvaccinated populations in central and eastern Europe, where low levels of trust impeded acceptance of inoculation programmes.

Austria, Denmark, France, Italy, the Netherlands and others have teamed up to send oxygen supplies, medicines and ventilators to Romania after it appealed for help from the European Union to cope with a crushing fourth wave of the pandemic.

Just 36 per cent of adults are fully vaccinated in the country, according to EU figures, the second-lowest level in the union after Bulgaria, where the rate is just one in four adults, far below the pan-EU rate of 75 per cent.

Both countries are suffering a brutal surge of infections, hospitalisations and deaths. Romania has seen an average of more than 400 deaths a day for the past week, in a population of 19 million, the highest rate in the EU according to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control. In Bulgaria, in a population of seven million, more than 100 people have died on average each day for the past week.

Romania on Monday imposed a night-time curfew, shut schools and introduced mandatory Covid-19 passes for most public venues in a bid to curb the soaring infections as its intensive-care wards ran out of beds.

Reimpose restrictions

Infections are also soaring in the Baltic states of Lithuania and Latvia, which became the first European country to reimpose sweeping restrictions last week by shutting schools and all non-essential shops, and imposing a curfew from 8pm to 5am for a month. Restrictions were also tightened in the Czech Republic and in Slovakia.

In neighbouring Russia, daily Covid-19 infections reached a record high of 37,930 in 24 hours on Monday, and some regions shut workplaces in response.

World Health Organisation director general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus warned that with 50,000 Covid-19 deaths a week the pandemic was “far from over”, but he said it would end “when the world chooses to end it”.

“It is in our hands. We have all the tools we need,” he said. “Unlike so many other health challenges, we can prevent this. Complacency is now as dangerous as the virus.”

 In Austria, where 73 per cent of adults are fully vaccinated, chancellor Alexander Schallenberg warned that restrictions could be placed on the unvaccinated if Covid-19 patients began to take up the country’s ICU capacity.

“The pandemic is not yet in the rear view mirror,” Mr Schallenberg said. “We are about to stumble into a pandemic of the unvaccinated.”

He warned that if Covid-19 patients took up a quarter of national ICU beds, then only the vaccinated or people who had recovered from the virus would be allowed entry into restaurants and hotels. If the percentage reached a third, the unvaccinated would be allowed to leave home only for specific reasons.

Vaccination rates have reached above 90 per cent for those eligible in several countries in western Europe including Ireland, though coverage is lower in some cities and particular populations.

Hospitalisations

This is helping to keep hospitalisations under control, but infections are still rising and many countries have opted to continue with some precautions including mask-wearing, working from home recommendations, and mandatory Covid-19 passes in public settings. Last week, Italy made the passes mandatory for workplaces.

The WHO warned last week that Europe region was the only region in which Covid-19 cases were rising, led by surges in the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland.

Emergencies chief Dr Mike Ryan appealed for the unvaccinated to come forward for jabs, and said the rise in infections came as restrictions were dropped in many countries, coinciding with “the winter period, in which people are moving inside as the cold snaps appear”.

Source link

Continue Reading

Trending

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates 
directly on your inbox.

You have Successfully Subscribed!