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Average property asking price in the UK hits third of a million pounds



The average asking price for a home put up for sale in the UK has hit a third of a million pounds, according to a new report.

Asking prices for homes for properties newly listed for sale  across Britain jumped by over £5,700, or 1.8 per cent, over the past month to a new ‘all-time high’ of £333,564, as buyers rushed to snap up homes with more space, according to Rightmove. 

Family homes with three or more bedrooms have become like ‘gold dust’ in many areas, especially in parts of the north, where demand ‘continues to massively exceed supply’, pushing up prices, the property portal said.

Pushing higher: Asking prices for homes have again hit new record highs, Rightmove said

Pushing higher: Asking prices for homes have again hit new record highs, Rightmove said

Average asking prices increased by 6.7 per cent compared to March 2020. This is the closest month for comparison as the property market, and Rightmove’s index, were suspended for most of April and May last year.

The numbers are striking, but average asking prices are very different to the final price a home ends up being sold for. A property is only ever really worth what a buyer is prepared to pay for it.   

Still, with demand from buyers so strong and supply not keeping up, the time taken to sell a home has reached yet another record low of 45 days, according to Rightmove.

The demand and supply imbalance is strongest in northern regions, where a shortage of larger homes is contributing to push prices higher. 

Average asking prices in the North West have climbed by more than 11 per cent since March last year, while in Yorkshire & the Humber by over 10 per cent, shortly behind Wales, which saw the biggest price increase at 13 per cent. 

In previous market upturns London has generally led the way, but prices are now virtually flat in the capital, having risen just 0.2 per cent since pre-lockdown – although, as Righmove stresses, there are widely varying local markets within the capital. 

The time taken to sell a home has reached yet another record low of 45 days Rightmove said

The time taken to sell a home has reached yet another record low of 45 days Rightmove said

The fast rise in prices in the north and languishing valuations in London means that the price gap between these regions has shrunk to its smallest in eight years. 

While the gap remains very large, with average prices in London still 2.9 times higher than those in the north, this ratio is now at its smallest since 2013, Rightmove said.

‘Last year’s unexpected mini-boom is rolling on into 2021, with new price and market activity records again defying many predictions,’ said Rightmove’s director of property data, Tim Bannister.

And added: ‘It is the regions of Britain further north that are leading the way, with some degree of catching up between average prices in London and the north. 

‘The pandemic has given a greater focus on the home, and in 2020 we saw a surge in southern coastal and rural areas. 

‘So far 2021 is proving to be the year of the northern mover, not only satisfying their pent-up housing needs, but in doing so also narrowing some of the huge price gap with London.’  

Family homes are ‘like gold dust’ 

The number of larger homes available to buy has shrunk significantly during the pandemic, Rightmove said.

Rigthmove gives the example of the North East, where agents last month had almost 60 per cent fewer ‘second stepper’ homes – which are mostly three-bedrooms – for sale than in the same period in 2019.

The situation is similar in Scotland, where ‘top of the ladder’ homes with four or more bedrooms is down 65 per cent compared to before the pandemic.   

This has translated in higher asking prices across the country, with top of the ladder homes having increased on average by 10.8 per cent over since March last year, second steppers homes by 7.9 per cent and first-time buyers’ homes by 5.4 per cent. 

Price shifts: 'Top of the ladder' homes have seen the biggest rise in asking prices

Price shifts: ‘Top of the ladder’ homes have seen the biggest rise in asking prices 

In contrast, London’s available stock is down 20 per cent and 24 per cent respectively in these sectors, ‘so while supply is still limited it is more closely matched to demand’. 

‘Another important factor driving the higher demand and quicker average time to sell in the north is that more of their sellers are intending to buy and stay local, whereas many Londoners are looking to move out,’ explains Bannister. 

Rightmove’s research among those intending to sell in the next 12 months shows that an average of 84 per cent in the north are looking to move locally, compared to only 52 per cent in London. 

‘The pandemic has changed many aspects of what people want from their homes, and the pricing pendulum is swinging away from London towards the north,’ Bannister added.  

Tomer Aboody, director of property lender MT Finance, added: ‘Londoners who have always craved city life are now less fussy about being at the centre of things and are willing to compromise on location in order to find that elusive space. 

‘This, in turn, is pushing asking prices up in other regions at the fastest pace in years, exceeding London in terms of percentage increase in values. 

‘Although prices are still much lower in the regions than in London, those averages are rising as demand shifts outwards.’

Regional patterns: Average asking prices in the North West have climbed by more than 11 per cent since March last year, while in Yorkshire & the Humber by over 10 per cent, shortly behind Wales, which saw the biggest price increase at 13 per cent

Regional patterns: Average asking prices in the North West have climbed by more than 11 per cent since March last year, while in Yorkshire & the Humber by over 10 per cent, shortly behind Wales, which saw the biggest price increase at 13 per cent

What next?

In his recent Budget, Chancellor Rishi Sunak extended the stamp duty holiday in its current form until the end of June, and then tapered until September.

That means homebuyers in England and Northern Ireland will pay no stamp duty on properties worth up to £500,000, saving up to £15,000.

The threshold will then drop to £250,000 until the end of September, with buyers saving up to £2,500 per transaction, before returning to its normal level of £125,000.

Since the Chancellor first unleashed the scheme last year, the housing market has seen buyer demand – and prices – rise sharply. 

Jeremy Leaf, north London estate agent and a former RICS residential chairman, believes the tapering of stamp duty to cause a decline in activity.

He said: ‘These figures confirm what we’ve seen ‘at the sharp end’. Some sellers have taken the opportunity to raise asking prices, making home buying less accessible even for those able to purchase the dwindling stock of properties. 

‘On the other hand, we’re finding faster rollout of the second jab, in particular, is helping to encourage older homeowners to put their homes on the market but not fast enough yet to keep prices in check.

‘We expect the imminent tapering of the stamp duty concession to prompt a reduction in activity and softening rather than a correction in prices as longer-term market sustainability is driven by economic recovery and availability of competitively-priced finance.’

Matthew Cooper, founder & managing director of Yes Homebuyers, believes prices will fall once the stamp duty holiday ends.

‘It’s clear that sellers are attempting to cash in on the stamp duty holiday themselves by reaching new highs where unrealistic asking price expectations are concerned,’ he said.

‘It certainly doesn’t help when this hysteria is being driven by the likes of Rightmove, who continue to pull ‘record’ market statistics out of their hat on a monthly basis, much like a cheap magician at a children’s party.’

He added: ‘When the end of the stamp duty holiday does come and causes buyer demand to evaporate, we’re likely to see property values fall at pace.’

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Real Estate

Madison International Realty invests in London Salesforce Tower (GB)



Madison International Realty has acquired a minority stake in the Salesforce Tower, London EC2, through a Jersey Property Unit Trust (JPUT), joining other investors including Heron International.


The 230-metre tower, completed in 2011 at 110 Bishopsgate, is an island site in the City of London and provides 441,000ft² of office space over 37 floors. The property is over 93% let to a range of tenants, the largest of which is Salesforce. The Salesforce Tower also has an outstanding food and beverage offering with Duck and Waffle and Sushi Samba at the very top and the Drift on the ground floor. The building has a BREEAM ‘Excellent’ rating for design.


The asset’s central location in the core of the City of London means it benefits from excellent transport connectivity, with Liverpool Street and Bank within a short walking distance. Similarly, there are a large number of new world-class food, drink and entertainment options nearby including the new Pan Pacific hotel adjacent at Heron Plaza and Eataly in Broadgate. In January 2021, an ING-led syndicate of lenders completed a €465.2m (£400m), five-year refinancing of the Tower.


Alex Lukesch, Managing Director at Madison International Realty commented on the investment: “This acquisition has allowed us to secure a stake in a prominent London office building, which we believe delivers space that meets the demands of modern occupiers looking for world-class offices in one of the world’s leading financial centres. The investment reflects our conviction in the ongoing resilience of the office sector and the role we believe it will play post-pandemic. We have observed that demand for quality, well-located space remains robust, while companies are increasingly looking for properties that also have strong ESG credentials to help meet their own sustainability targets. In Heron, we believe we have an experienced and highly regarded partner and we look forward to working with them on this venture.”

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Britain’s blossoming love for Japanese design in the home



The design has a red lid and a narrow neck which widens to form a base of sturdy hips. When poured, the contents flow in a singular, uninterrupted stream.

The Kikkoman bottle hasn’t changed since it was designed in 1961 by Kenji Ekuan for the world’s largest soy sauce producer.

Simplicity has made it ubiquitous. And crucially, it works — think of wrestling with glass Heinz ketchup bottles or constantly wiping lids on plastic iterations. Likely, Kikkoman’s bottle is the reason we’re so familiar with soy sauce.

Serene: A contemporary Japanese-style sitting room. The country's influence can be seen most clearly in the clean, elegant and functional everyday products we use in our homes

Serene: A contemporary Japanese-style sitting room. The country’s influence can be seen most clearly in the clean, elegant and functional everyday products we use in our homes

In the introduction to her book Japanese Design Since 1945 (£35, Thames & Hudson), Naomi Pollock writes: ‘In Japan, good design is everywhere. But most of all, it’s in the home.’

The trend for Japanese-inspired, UK-based brands, such as Wagamama, Superdry and Yo! Sushi, is well worn, but the country’s influence is likely seen most clearly in the clean, elegant and functional everyday products we use in our homes.

Inspired idea 

The Japanese approach to design is summed up well by a single product – Muji’s right angle sock (from £3.50, 

As the foot is perpendicular to the leg, the sock should follow the shape of the body: design centres on the user rather than the designer.

The word ‘Muji’ translates as ‘without brand’ and the company invites (often renowned) designers to create reasonably priced products anonymously. 

Design guru Naoto Fukasawa is an adviser to Muji, and his wall-mounted CD player for the company (£149) is in the permanent collection at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

Naoto Fukasawa's butterfly-inspired Grande Papilio Swivel Lounge Chair (£2,869,

Naoto Fukasawa’s butterfly-inspired Grande Papilio Swivel Lounge Chair (£2,869,

In the UK, Chaplins stocks a large selection of products from Japan, including some from the designer.

‘The idea is to create designs that appear to have been sculpted by the elements,’ says Ludovic Aublanc, creative director at Chaplins. ‘It’s the kind of minimalism that brims with emotion, that makes you grateful and happy to come home.’

The company stocks Fukasawa’s butterfly-inspired Papilio range – chairs and sofas sporting headset ‘wings’ to protect the user’s head (Grande Papilio Swivel Lounge Chair, £2,869,

Simple seating

Japanese designers have described the chair as the centre of design and an extension of the human form. It follows that these things should be easy on both the body and the eye.

Habitat’s Mori charcoal two-seater sofa (£716, certainly fits the bill. It is compact, unfussy and elegant with its plush curved armrests and contrasting thin, wooden legs.

Simple unfinished woodwork is a key part of design in Japan, like the solid oak dining chairs from Oak Furnitureland (£140, which would pair well with the Japanese oak Castor Table by Karimoku New Standard (£1,169,

Clutter free

Last year, decluttering guru Marie Kondo took the world by storm with her hit Netflix show. The programme has been talked of plenty, but we’re perhaps unaware of how key these principles are to Japanese design.

A large part of the focus on user-friendly products comes down to space. As ever, it’s important for Muji, with its storage bed (from £299) which has spacious drawers to banish clutter. Loaf has the Woody storage bed (from £995,

Simple boxy shelving units such as the Ikea Kallax range (from £15, are practical, but can also be used for displaying plants, books and records.

Or, for a modern twist, try the John Lewis Dice shelving unit bookcase (£450, The company also stocks Japanese brand Like-it’s clear storage products (from £8).

Crockery that rocks 

Japanese pottery has long been a feature of our homes, and a collection by John Lewis is a nod to this. Inspired by woodblock prints, the range includes glassware, plates, mugs and even Christmas decorations. 

It’s all delicate, bright patterns and the infuser mugs by Tokyo Design Studio (from £25) are a highlight.

But elegant motifs are only part of the story. The earthy charcoals, whites and beiges of Hasami Porcelain ( are a calming, elegant addition to any kitchen.

Hasami teapots start from £65 and mugs from £22 ( – also pick up a copy of Okakura Kakuzo’s The Book Of Tea, written in 1906, an insight into the Japanese ritual of tea-making. Elsewhere, an Oriental Hobnail tea set costs from £22.98 (

For eating, Denby Pottery has Japanese-inspired bowls from £58 for four in grey and white (

Finally, being able to serve Japan’s other favourite drink – the highball – is a must. Try LSA’s Mia Highball glasses (£27 for four, or, for something cheaper, a set of six Duralex Prisme highballs is £11.99 at

Then grab a bottle of Akashi whisky (£28.50,, add ice, stir clockwise 13 times, add soda water, stir again and appreciate another example of elegance and simplicity in Japanese design.

What your home really needs is… a Christmas throw

At this time of year, people fall into two groups: those who believe more is more, with bright lights and decorations aplenty; and others who keep things simple, with a few holly sprigs and a carefully adorned tree.

Yuletide luxury: You could use this Alpaca Fair Isle Throw, £99.50, all year round

Yuletide luxury: You could use this Alpaca Fair Isle Throw, £99.50, all year round

But whether you’re a maximalist or a minimalist, your home will need a Christmas throw because someone in your festive bubble is bound to complain about being cold.

If glitter is your thing, you’ll like the fleece star throw from Marks & Spencer (£25, marksand 

Or snuggle up under Dunelm’s red cable-knit design with a fleecey inside (£60,

For something more fun, Redbubble has one that reads: ‘This is my Hallmark Christmas movie watching blanket’ (£34.73,

Going low-key? How about a white and grey reindeer pattern with red pompoms (£40, barkerand 

Or this Alpaca Fair Isle Throw , £99.50, notonthe, which you could use all year round.

Anne Ashworth 

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Extending grace period on checks in North would be ‘problematic’ – Taoiseach



Taoiseach Micheál Martin has said it will be “very problematic” if the UK again extends unilaterally the grace period for Northern Ireland Protocol checks.

But speaking on the Trevor Phillips on Sunday programme on Sky News, Mr Martin also insisted a breakthrough between the EU and UK was still possible “if there’s a will there on both sides”.

His comments came after Boris Johnson escalated his dispute with the European Union by warning he will do whatever it takes to keep goods flowing from Great Britain to Northern Ireland.

Following talks with the EU’s key figures on Saturday, the British prime minister said he would not hesitate to take unilateral action to protect the position of Northern Ireland in the increasingly bitter row over post-Brexit trading arrangements.

The row – dubbed the “sausage war” – could mean chilled meats will not be shipped across the Irish Sea because of EU rules after the end of the month.

The UK is considering extending the current grace period without the consent of Brussels to ensure that sausages and mince can continue to reach Northern Ireland’s shops.

But Mr Martin told Sky News that the “channels do exist to get this resolved”.

He added: “In particular, the Sefcovic/Frost process should be fully explored and optimised to get an agreement and I think the prospects, in my view, if there’s a will there on both sides, and there is a will there from the European Union side I know that, I detect from the British prime minister Boris Johnson that the British government is anxious to get a resolution of this, so I think we should work at it.”

Mr Martin said he believed an SPS agreement (on plant and animal health measures) could remove 80 per cent of protocol checks.

When asked about the possibility of the UK unilaterally extending the grace period for checks, Mr Martin said: “I think it will be very problematic because it’s not about sausages per se, it really is about the fact that an agreement had been entered into, not too long ago, signed off by the British government with the European Union.

“If there’s consistent, unilateral deviation from that agreement, that clearly undermines the broader relationship between the European Union and the United Kingdom, which is in nobody’s interest and therefore that’s why the UK with the EU have to work very hard now in the coming weeks.

“I know the European Union are anxious to resolve this and want to resolve it but they need to see a similar reciprocity from the UK side.”

When asked if the protocol is undermining Northern Ireland’s place within the UK, Mr Martin said: “We’ve never seen the Protocol as a constitutional issue, it doesn’t in any way interfere with the constitutional status of Northern Ireland as defined and articulated in the Good Friday [Belfast] Agreement.

“We’re very clear from the Irish Government perspective on that, but we do believe in seamless trade on the island of Ireland, it makes sense. We believe in seamless trade insofar as we possibly can between the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland.”

‘A bit of respect’

British foreign secretary Dominic Raab accused EU leaders of trying to undermine the status of Northern Ireland as part of the United Kingdom.

After talks at the G7 summit in Cornwall between Boris Johnson and key EU figures failed to achieve a breakthrough in the dispute over the implementation of the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement in Northern Ireland, Mr Raab said the EU was showing a lack of respect.

“What we cannot have is the continuing disruption of trade and effectively try to change the status of Northern Ireland, contrary to the consent and wishes of the people, which is not just contrary to the Northern Ireland Protocol but also to the Belfast Agreement,” he told Mr Phillips on Sky News.

“We have serially seen senior EU figures talk about Northern Ireland as if it was some kind of different country to the UK. It is not only offensive, it has real-world effects on the communities in Northern Ireland, creates great concern, great consternation.

“Could you imagine if we talked about Catalonia, the Flemish part of Belgium, one of the lander in Germany, northern Italy, Corsica in France as different countries. We need a bit of respect here.– PA

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