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Buyers reveal their regrets about panic buying their home

Voice Of EU



The property market has been red hot in recent months as buyers rushed to complete their purchases ahead of the stamp duty holiday deadline at the end of last month.

It generated a market where some homes were being snapped up within hours of going on the market by buyers hungry to get the tax saving or simply secure a property.

But new research suggests that this panic-buying has led to some regrets among new homeowners.

Indeed, it claims that half of homebuyers who bought during the coronavirus pandemic regret how much they paid.

New research suggests that panic-buying has led to some regrets among new homeowners

New research suggests that panic-buying has led to some regrets among new homeowners

Among other regrets were repairs costing more than expected, among 14 per cent of buyers, furniture or fittings covering up faultys at 13 per cent, a tatty appearance or need for decoration at 12 per cent and poor insulation at 10 per cent.

The research by insurer Aviva was based on 2,200 homeowners – including 500 people who have agreed a sale since the start of the pandemic. 

The study found that more than two-thirds of homebuyers – at 68 per cent – felt under pressure to buy quickly when purchasing their latest property, rising to 94 per cent who agreed sales during the pandemic.

In most cases, people made their decision to buy after looking at their prospective home for less than an hour.

The research claimed people spent just 40 minutes viewing their property before opting to buy – although this figure was slightly higher for those buying during the pandemic, typically taking around 46 minutes.

Perhaps most alarmingly, 15 per cent of viewers felt confident of their decision to buy the property after less than 20 minutes.

We came close to a big mistake 

Lucy Stewart and husband James Cissel moved out of their London flat in March

Lucy Stewart and husband James Cissel moved out of their London flat in March

Lucy Stewart, 31, and husband James Cissel, 38, moved out of their London flat in March, ready to move into the home they had purchased in South Oxfordshire. 

Unfortunately their seller pulled out at the last minute. 

The couple have been living with Lucy’s parents for the last few months while they renewed they search.

They soon became concerned that they may end up spending more than they intended to – and more than the home may be worth in the future. 

They also discovered there is a lot of pressure from agents to act quickly or risk losing out. 

They have just had an offer accepted on a home, but it hasn’t been an easy route.

Lucy said: ‘It was a terrible market to be buying in and there was loads of pressure from estate agents. We kept seeing houses disappear from online sites in 24 hours, so put a lot of pressure on ourselves to move quickly. 

‘There were definitely occasions we came close to making a big mistake. We put a rush offer into one house in particular due to this. It just wouldn’t have been right for us at all but we did it because we felt that moving super-fast was what we needed to do. Fortunately the offer was rejected.’

Time pressures

The Aviva study also claimed that one in four buyers – at 26 per cent – felt one viewing was sufficient, although on the whole people usually viewed a property twice before making an offer. This was the case for 44 per cent of buyers.

Those who bought quickly did so for a number of reasons. A total of 34 per cent of people buying during lockdown did so due to the stamp duty holiday, although 32 per cent said they didn’t want to miss out because properties were selling so quickly.

At the same time, 30 per cent said they had lost out on other properties because they hadn’t made an offer quickly enough.  

Buyers were most likely to feel the need to make a quick purchase in London, where 85 per cent of buyers said they felt under pressure.

It compares with only 52 per cent of people in the north east who said the same.

Did more than half of buyers really not view homes in person? 

The study also revealed that more than half of pandemic buyers claim not to have seen their new home ‘in real life’ before deciding they should buy it.

When quizzed on this survey claim, Aviva said that it asked: ‘How did you view your property before you purchased it?’ 

With respondents given a number of boxes and asked to ‘tick all that apply’.

Astonishingly, just 42 per cent said they viewed it in person from these options for the period between March 2020 and June 2021.

Of the other options that chose video viewings at 33 per cent, photos at 36 per cent and written information at 36 per cent.

That dramatic shift to choosing to buy without an in-person visit follows the housing market being temporarily closed at the beginning of the lockdown from late March 2020, with virtual viewings being heavily promoted thereafter. Online tours became a way of viewings taking place more safely.

Despite this shift during the pandemic, the Aviva study suggested that the number of people seeing properties for sale in person was already beginning to fall. 

Date when sale was agreed Percentage of people who viewed their home in person
2020 March – June 2021 42%
March 2019 – February 2020 42%
March 2018 – February 2019 56%
March 2017 – February 2018 63%
March 2007 – February 2017 83%
March 1997 – February 2007 84%
February 1997 or before 87%
Source: Aviva 


Homebuyer regrets

Half of those who agreed a sale between March 2020 and June this year say they regret how much they paid for their properties.

It compares to only 12 per cent of buyers who purchased their property before February 2017.

At the same time, 23 per cent who bought since March last year said that they agreed a figure above the asking price. It compares to only 8 per cent in the 12 months prior to March 2020.

In addition to financial regrets, seven out of 10 buyers found issues with their property that they didn’t notice during their viewing. For those who bought during the pandemic, the figure rises to 92 per cent of buyers.

For example, 10 per cent found evidence of possible subsidence and a further 10 per cent had problems with insects or vermin.

People said they had to typically spend almost £10,000 to put right the problems they discovered after moving in – specifically £9,548 to the nearest pound on average. It increases to more than £20,000 for one buyer in 10.

Owen Morris, of Aviva, said: ‘The housing market is moving at an incredible pace, with multiple buyers for properties in many parts of the country. This is inevitably influencing how much people are paying for their homes and how quickly they are making decisions.

‘But our research reveals many people are finding problems with their properties only when it’s too late. These range from more minor irritations, such as the need to decorate, to more worrying problems such as crumbling brickwork or a risk of flooding.

‘It can be easy to fall in love with a home on first viewing, but we’d urge people to do their homework and proceed with caution when making one of the biggest financial decisions of their lives.’

Property problem discovered after purchase Percentage of all home-buyers finding this problem Percentage of home-buyers during pandemic finding this problem
Repairs costing more than expected 11% 14%
Furniture / fittings had covered up faults 11% 13%
Tatty appearance / in need of decoration 10% 12%
Poorly insulated home 10% 10%
Poor plumbing 10% 9%
Poor electrics 9% 8%
Damp / mould 9% 10%
Leaky / draughty windows or doors 9% 8%
Noisy neighbours 8% 11%
Busy traffic 7% 11%
Source: Aviva     

Separate research by property website OnTheMarket has revealed that the end of the stamp duty holiday has done little to dampen the enthusiasm of buyers. 

In particular, it found that found that 75.5 per cent of buyers were confident that they would purchase a property within the next three months.

It also claimed that 84 per cent of sellers were confident that they would sell their property within the next three months.

And a total of 28.5 per cent of properties were Sold Subject to Contract within 30 days of first being advertised for sale, compared with 8 per cent in June 2020. The research was based on questions asked via its website.

Jason Tebb, of property website OnTheMarket, said: ‘We believe that this ongoing momentum is the result of a perfect storm of long-term pent-up demand stemming from the lead up to the 2019 General Election and Brexit in early 2020, which due to the start of the Covid-19 pandemic last spring never had a chance to unwind as it would in a normally functioning market.

‘This dynamic, together with the ‘race for space’ that we’ve observed as a direct result of successive lockdowns together with the market stimulus from the stamp duty holiday and record low mortgage rates, means that while the window for any major savings closed at the end of the month, buyer appetite hasn’t as yet dissipated, with all signs pointing to the fact that the market will continue in the same direction of travel over the summer.’

Estate agents report that many of their properties have gone to 'best and final' bids

Estate agents report that many of their properties have gone to ‘best and final’ bids

Trevor Abrahmsohn, of estate agents Glentree International in London, said: ‘Buyers have been shrugging aside the state of the economy and budget deficit over the last few months and have continued to transact unabated in the Capital, across almost all price ranges. 

‘The end of the stamp duty savings window in June did nothing to dampen their enthusiasm. We received a raft of new applicants throughout the month, particularly in the £800,000 to £4million price bracket.’

And Mark Proctor, of estate agents Knight Frank in Devon, said: ‘We’ve seen a huge amount of activity across the South West region in June, particularly in the price bracket up to £1million, which is understandable as this is where the stamp duty saving has had the most impact. 

‘Despite the fact that buyers registering over the last month have known that they wouldn’t benefit from the main savings available as they wouldn’t complete in time to meet the deadline, we’ve still had a significant volume of new applicants. 

‘This, together with the very limited amount of supply, has meant that many of our properties have gone to ‘best and final’ bids. What’s been particularly interesting is seeing a few properties that were listed last year but didn’t sell at the time that have now been successfully remarketed and sold in excess of asking price.’

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Leinster’s accuracy proves key as they see off Munster in demolition derby

Voice Of EU



Leinster 35 Munster 25

A breathtaking and, it has to be said, physically punishing game, which ebbed and flowed from first to last, ended with Leinster getting more than they needed and Munster coming up short of their targets. Well, to a point.

Munster went into the last game requiring at least two match points for a home quarter-final and a bonus point for the additional carrot of a potential home semi-final.

In the end, they came up with zero, which was perhaps preferable in that it earned them an away quarter-final against Ulster rather than against the Bulls. Even so, the winners of that Irish derby in a fortnight will be away in the semi-finals against the Stormers or Edinburgh.

In the other half of the draw Leinster will host Glasgow in the quarter-finals, and the winners of that tie will have home advantage in the semi-finals.

The mix of requirements made for a thrilling game. Leinster were ultimately the more accurate and pacier side, epitomised by the jet-heeled Jordan Larmour, who made everyone else look like they were being towed and his counterattacking and running led to two of Leinster’s four tries. It was a timely reminder of his abilities, and might well earn him a place on the bench in the Champions Cup final against La Rochelle, who themselves welcomed back Will Skelton off the bench against Stade Francais on Saturday.

Munster’s game didn’t lack for ambition at all, and their similar mix featured classy performances by Thomas Ahern, Alex Kendellen, Jack O’Donoghue and Conor Murray. But they weren’t as accurate or quite as pacey.

This hungry Leinster mix of young and experienced were not in a remotely charitable mood, and shot out of the traps. Harry Byrne’s perfect kick-off was reclaimed by the recalled Ryan Baird and inside 80 seconds Leinster had scored without Munster touching the ball.

Generating trademark quick ball, with Baird making one big carry and Scott Penny a couple, before Ciarán Frawley used an advantage to crosskick perfectly for Penny to gather and use his footwork to step Joey Carbery and finish in the corner.

Harry Byrne didn’t land the difficult conversion, but added a penalty before offloads by Kendellen and Ahern and a couple of nicely weighted grubbers to the edges by Murray and Carbery earned an attacking lineout. The first scrap followed too. Yep, derby on.

Attacking wide and through phases, Munster used an advantage when Carbery pulled the ball back as Keith Earls worked across from his wing and flung a peach of a left-hander for O’Donoghue to take Cormac Foley’s tackle and finish well in the corner.

Leinster’s Rory O’Loughlin on his way to scoring a try despite Keynan Knox and Mike Haley of Munster during the United Rugby Championship match at the Aviva Stadium. Photograph: Laszlo Geczo/Inpho
Leinster’s Rory O’Loughlin on his way to scoring a try despite Keynan Knox and Mike Haley of Munster during the United Rugby Championship match at the Aviva Stadium. Photograph: Laszlo Geczo/Inpho

Next, after Frawley’s spillage, the recalled Andrew Conway chased Murray’s perfectly weighted kick to prevent Larmour gathering, Niall Scannell’s gallop earning another attacking lineout.

Again Munster engineered another free play, and after a strong carry by Kendellen from Murray’s pass behind his back, Mike Haley was sharply on hand to pick up and dive over under the posts.

The force was with Munster, all the more so after Conway cleanly reclaimed another box kick by Murray. But when Kendellen kicked through Larmour beat the flanker’s follow-up tackle and left a trail of four more forwards in his wake before being tackled by Murray. From the recycle, Jamie Osborne stepped and Frawley took a superb line on to his short pass for a clean break and had Foley in support. The 22-year-old showed the quickness from his formative years as a centre with St Gerard’s to complete his first Leinster try on his home debut, and some try too.

The game’s first scrums provided an almost welcome breather. Frawley, after his two sumptuous try assists, had to depart for one of several failed HIAs in the game, and didn’t return.

The lively Earls then countered with Haley, Carbery and Kendellen before Rob Russell’s deliberate knock-on prevented the ball reaching three unmarked players and earning him a yellow card. But Baird spoiled the Munster lineout to protect his side’s 15-12 lead until the interval.

But on the resumption Munster struck. Haley chased his own kick, preventing Osborne from gathering cleanly and Murray was sharply on to the loose ball to skip away from Foley’s tackle and score.

Harry Byrne brought it back to a one-point game after Foley’s high tackle on Josh Murphy, and although Munster were clearly now mindful of the chance for a fourth try when going to the corner, before accepting a tap over penalty to push them four points ahead.

Typical of this match, back came Leinster. First Foley executed a 50:22 and despite just changing their frontrow the maul was gathering speed when it collapsed and Frank Murphy adjudged it a penalty try and sinbinned Niall Scannell.

After Max Deegan’s covering tackle on the ever dangerous Chris Farrell into touch, a lovely launch play and a flatish pass by Foley for Joe McCarthy’s carry over the gainline, was the prelude to Leinster reloading right and another slaloming run by Larmour. An offload by McCarty and fine pass by Deegan created the space for Rory O’Loughlin to use a two-on-two and a mismatch with the covering Kenyan Knox to score.

Suddenly it was 32-22 to Leinster.

A spellbinding spell of offloading featuring Murray, Ahern, O’Donoghue and Kendellen ended with Earls finishing off O’Donoghue’s offload, but Murphy adjudged it forward. Instead, Munster had to opt for another Carbery penalty to complete the first task of getting to within one score before chasing a fourth try.

They became over exuberant and conceded penalties, and although Adam Byrne was brilliantly denied by Carbery and Haley, Harry Byrne’s penalty put them 10 ahead, and more relevantly left Munster without anything from the game and looking at a quarter-final away to Ulster.

They had eight minutes or so to do it. They conjured one punishing phased attack, Carbery’s one-handed pick-up and Murray deliberately knocking on with a penalty advantage and then quickly were two of the highlights, but when Carbery prematurely went wide with a looped pass to Jack Daly he was tackled into touch by Osborne.

And that was effectively that.

SCORING SEQUENCE – 2 mins: Penny try 5-0; 9: Byrne pen 8-0; 12: O’Donoghue try 8-5; 17: Haley try, Carbery con 8-12; 23: Foley try, Byrne con 15-12; (half-time 15-12); 41: Murray try, Carbery con 15-19; 46: Byrne pen 18-19; 49: mins Carbery pen 18-22; 51: penalty try 25-22; 54: O’Loughlin try, Byrne con 32-22; 61: Carbery pen 32-25; 71: Byrne pen 35-25.

LEINSTER: Jordan Larmour; Rob Russell, Jamie Osborne, Ciarán Frawley, Rory O’Loughlin; Harry Byrne, Cormac Foley; Ed Byrne (capt), Seán Cronin, Thomas Clarkson; Joe McCarthy, Josh Murphy; Ryan Baird, Scott Penny, Max Deegan.

Replacements: Adam Byrne for Frawley (27 mins), John McKee for Cronin, Peter Dooley for Byrne, Cian Healy for Clarkson (all 49), Devin Toner for J Murphy (55), Ben Murphy for Foley (58), Alex Soroka for McCarthy (66), David Hawkshaw for H Byrne (76).

Sinbinned: Russell (37-47 mins).

MUNSTER: Mike Haley; Andrew Conway, Chris Farrell, Dan Goggin, Keith Earls; Joey Carbery, Conor Murray; Josh Wycherley, Niall Scannell, John Ryan; Jean Kleyn, Thomas Ahern; Fineen Wycherley, Alex Kendellen, Jack O’Donoghue (capt).

Replacements: Jason Jenkins for Kleyn (49 mins), Keynan Knox for Ryan (54), Jeremy Loughman for J Wycherley, Rory Scannell for Goggin (both 55), Diarmuid Barron for Kendellen (58-61), for Scannell (61), Jack Daly for Ahern, Ben Healy for Carbery (both 64), N Scannell for Kendellen (65), Ahern for Daly, Patrick Patterson for Murray (both 76).

Sinbinned: N Scannell (51-61 mins).

Referee: Frank Murphy (IRFU).

URC quarter-finals (Fri, Jun 3rd & Sat, Jun 4th)
1 Leinster v Glasgow Warriors
2 DHL Stormers v Edinburgh
3 Ulster v Munster
4 Vodacom Bulls v Cell C Sharks
Semi-finals (Fri, June 10th and Sat Jun 11th)
Leinster or Glasgow v Bulls or Sharks
Stormers or Edinburgh v Ulster or Munster.
Shield winners 2021/22:
Irish Shield:
South African Shield: DHL Stormers
Welsh Shield: Ospreys
Scottish & Italian Shield: Edinburgh

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Aparto debuts in Spain

Voice Of EU



Aparto has unveiled its first student residence in Spain to open in September 2022. Aparto Barcelona Pallars, owned by Commerz Real, is located in the 22@, the city’s innovation district, and accommodates 743 beds covering 26,000m². The cutting-edge facilities at aparto Barcelona Pallars include an external circa 45-metre length infinity pool, a 900 square metre rooftop terrace, 2,500m² of gardens including the Butterfly Garden (named because of the type of plants that attract butterflies), the Smell Garden (due to the mixture of aromatic plants), 1,400m² of amenity space including a gym with a weight, cardio, and yoga studios, two cinema rooms, leisure areas, and a bar offering both food and drink services.


In addition, a central feature of aparto’s offering is its first-class experience with a focus on the arts including an initiative in which street artists will design some of the paintings on the building, and a mental health programme available to all students all year around, strengthened by aparto employees receiving mental health training to identify anyone who may need help. 


aparto Barcelona Pallars has been designed by the Catalonian architecture studio Battle i Roig, a pioneer in landscape architecture, interweaving structures with natural spaces like gardens. Upon construction completion, the building will receive the LEED Gold and WELL Platinum Certifications for sustainability. 


aparto offers students a unique safe study experience and flexible model offering medium and long-term stays, from a few months to a full year, with all-inclusive rates including cleaning, Wi-Fi connection, linen services, and some additional features related to sports and wellness sessions, cocktail and cooking classes, and a series of entertainment evenings including movie nights, sports matches and tournaments. Aparto’s focus is to create places where students feel at home living within a strong community.


Tom Rix, director of operations at aparto, UK, commented: “With Aparto Barcelona Pallars, Hines is introducing first-class student housing in Spain. Pallars mirrors what today’s students want in terms of facilities, amenities, community engagement, and wellbeing programmes. We have already successfully demonstrated that this innovative model is in high demand in Italy, Ireland, and the UK and we anticipate the same success here in Spain and can’t wait to welcome students to Barcelona.”

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Crossrail house price boom: Reading, Maidenhead and Slough set to become property hotspots

Voice Of EU



Crossrail may be billions of pounds over budget and three-and-a-half years late but it’s finally ready to roll.

This extraordinary feat of engineering is due to be put into service on Tuesday, when it will adopt its correct title of the Elizabeth Line. 

The Queen made a surprise visit to Paddington station this week and officially opened the line.

On the line: The Thames flows through Maidenhead, which will now enjoy a direct link to Central London thanks to its new Crossrail station

On the line: The Thames flows through Maidenhead, which will now enjoy a direct link to Central London thanks to its new Crossrail station

Linking Shenfield and Abbey Wood in the east with Heathrow and Reading to the west of the capital, it will bind together existing commuter railways, accelerating cross-city travel and relieving overcrowding on the London Underground — particularly the often hellish Central Line.

Commuters’ journey times will be slashed; Reading to London Liverpool Street, for example, will take under an hour.

When fully operational it will increase London’s rail capacity by 10 per cent, making it the largest single expansion of the city’s transport network in more than 70 years.

There are still a few glitches to be ironed out. Initially passengers travelling from Reading in the west to Abbey Wood and beyond will have to change at Paddington or Liverpool Street mainline stations. 

Also Bond Street is three months behind schedule. Trains will not call there until later in the year. Yet these delays pale into insignificance when you consider how the Elizabeth Line will transform rail travel in the capital.

Cross town: The Elizabeth line will run east to west across London, starting in Berkshire and ending in Essex

Cross town: The Elizabeth line will run east to west across London, starting in Berkshire and ending in Essex

The new station at Paddington, for example, is the size of three Wembley football pitches, with natural light as far as the platform entry from a nearly 400ft-long glass canopy.

More than £1 billion has been spent on upgrading 31 existing stations and tracks. Spacious tunnels will lead to airy 600 ft platforms, with glass screens at the edge of the tracks, making it impossible to fall under a train. 

Step-free access from street to train will make the service accessible to wheelchairs. 

The nine-car, air-conditioned trains will have colourful bench seats and open interiors with full-width walk-through connections between cars. It will be a world away from today’s cramped, cluttered carriages.

Few engineering projects change the way we live but The Elizabeth Line promises to do just that. People are already flocking to the new stations.

Research from Savills last year found that, over the past five years, homes within 0.6 mile of about half of the stations on the line have increased in price by 25 per cent or more.

It follows that when the sleek and airy new trains come into service, delivering people to their workplaces in double quick time, we can expect a migration to the west of London.

Here are the hotspots:

Reading revival

Outlay: More than £1bn has been spent on upgrading 31 existing stations and tracks

Outlay: More than £1bn has been spent on upgrading 31 existing stations and tracks

Not so long ago Reading was best known for its brewery and its biscuit factory — not any more. 

International companies, including Amazon UK, Virgin Media and KPMG have moved there and with reasonably priced homes, compared to London, the town is already popular with commuters.

‘I recently dealt with a young woman who sold her 750 sq ft flat in London for £600,000 and bought a 1,750 ft duplex in Reading for £650,000,’ says James Hathaway, of Winkworth estate agents.

The town has lots of green space, riverside walks, the Grade II-listed Thames Lido and great shopping, notably in Broad Street and the Oracle centre. The average price of a home sold in Reading was £384,000 last year.

Compare that to the £512,000 average price in, say, East London and you will see why an exodus from the capital is forecast when the Elizabeth Line makes commuting a doddle.

Maidenhead marches on

This Berkshire town is keen to attract the City bankers who had previously been put off living there by having to trek across the capital’s underground system to get to work.

‘The Elizabeth Line changes all that and buyer enquiries have already started booming,’ says Dawn Carritt at Jackson-Stops estate agents.

‘The prospect of living near the river in Maidenhead or in nearby villages such as Sonning and Bray is appealing.’

Maidenhead (with Theresa May as its MP) is on the cusp of a revival. Its 1960s shopping centre is to be transformed into The Nicholson Quarter, a swish mixed-use centre.

The area by the river is being developed and trendy cocktail bars and restaurants such as Coppa Club are thriving — a sure sign of a town on the up.

Slough expansion

Ricky Gervais did Slough no favours when he set The Office there. Yet the town has a lot going for it. It is well located for travel, nestling between the M4 and the M40 and within easy reach of the M25 and Heathrow airport.

First-time buyer portal Share to Buy claims that Slough has been one of the UK’s top ten property hotspots over the past decade with a 73 per cent increase in house prices. 

The Berkeley Group is redeveloping the former Horlicks factory and site to create 1,300 homes.

A small flat sells for £150,000 and a three-bed terrace house for £350,000. The centre is being improved and with the coming of the Elizabeth Line, things can only get better.

On the market… the hotspots 

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