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Can you move home in lockdown? How the property market will stay open

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The property market remains open despite England being plunged back into a March-style lockdown.

But unlike in the first lockdown, this means that people can continue to move home, and do everything needed to complete that process. This includes viewing homes for sale in person, right through to allowing removal firms into homes.

But the news comes with a plea from housing experts to follow safety guidelines and only attempt to move if it is essential, due to the sharp rise in Covid cases.

The property market remains open as the country is plunged back into a March-style lockdown

The property market remains open as the country is plunged back into a March-style lockdown

Tomer Aboody, of property lender MT Finance, said: ‘Unlike the first lockdown, estate agents remain open for business – and both sellers and buyers are still keen to proceed with their transactions. 

‘With lawyers, valuers and agents all still working, this should limit any further delays to transactions. 

‘It is now down to the comfort level of sellers in terms of allowing potential buyers in to view their homes, and buyers feeling comfortable attending viewings. Extra caution will be taken on all sides to allow viewings to proceed.’

What is the safety advice for buyers and sellers? 

Mark Hayward, of the estate agents’ body Propertymark, said: ‘We welcome the news that the housing market is to remain open throughout this new lockdown period.

‘But it is essential that all agents continue to play their part in reducing the spread of the virus by following all relevant guidance on how to safely conduct viewings.

‘It is vital to keep movers and buyers safe and keep the housing market moving through these uncertain times.’

Virtual viewings are taking place on many properties for sale and buyers are being urged to look at those first before committing to a physical viewing. 

The safety advice from the Government about moving home includes those viewing a property for sale having to wash and sanitise their hands and avoid touching surfaces, with viewings only able to involve members of a single household.

Without these safety measures in place, viewings are not meant to take place, with most agents adhering to the new guidelines.

Propertymark has gone a step further, advising everyone at a viewing to wear gloves and face coverings.

It has previously warned that if its members failed to adhere to its guidelines, the Government may decide to lockdown the housing market once again.

What are the restrictions on the property market?

The housing market has had to deal with some big pressures during the global pandemic.

With tenants facing the challenges of unemployment and not being able to pay their rent, they risked losing their homes.

It led the Government to place a ban on tenant evictions at the beginning of the lockdown, which was extended until September last year. However, court proceedings can now take place.

It prompted fears that landlords would be unable to meet their mortgage payments. Along with homeowners, they were given payment holidays.

Both tenants and property owners are still required to repay their debts.

Virtual viewings are taking place and people are being urged to look at those first before committing to a physical viewing

Virtual viewings are taking place and people are being urged to look at those first before committing to a physical viewing

As the number of Covid cases increases, people are being urged to move only if necessary. 

North London estate agent Jeremy Leaf said : ‘This latest national lockdown is disappointing but understandable and hopefully we will make up for short-term pain with medium and longer-term gain. Enforced confinement is likely to mean the release of pent-up demand when it is over.

‘There are many people who have made legal commitments to buy, sell or rent, and need or have to move. This could be for health or financial reasons, a relationship breakdown or domestic violence – whatever the reason, these moves can’t be halted even in light of the pandemic.

‘We will be returning to the protocols that we previously adopted and there will be a clear distinction between occupied and unoccupied properties. 

‘The new lockdown will affect surveyors, removals firms etc and in the circumstance, it would be prudent for the Chancellor to reconsider the stamp duty deadline. Those who have moved heaven and earth to meet the deadline should not now be penalised if they miss it through no fault of their own.’

Will the stamp duty holiday be extended?

Despite the coronavirus crisis, the property market has remained resilient after its initial lockdown freeze, with some support from the Chancellor.

Rishi Sunak introduced a stamp duty holiday that applies to the first £500,000 of a home’s purchase price. The holiday is scheduled to stop at the end of March, but there are calls for an extension.

Mr Hayward is urging the Government to extend the stamp duty holiday.

He said: ‘The prioritisation of the Government of a functioning property market and subsequent implementation of the stamp duty holiday as well as measures taken to keep the rent flowing within the private sector have allowed for record-breaking levels of house sales and rental accommodation.’

All regions saw prices rise in 2020, with the East Midlands seeing the biggest jump of 8.6%

All regions saw prices rise in 2020, with the East Midlands seeing the biggest jump of 8.6%

What is happening in the property market? 

Propertymark’s data revealed the highest number of tenants on record searched for homes in August.

Meanwhile, house prices saw their biggest annual increase in six years in December as the property market continued to boom despite the usual slowdown in the run-up to Christmas and new Covid restrictions.

The average price of a home in Britain rose 7.3 per cent, or more than £15,000, in the past year to £230,920, according to Nationwide Building Society. It said prices rose 0.8 per cent, or almost £1,200, in the last month alone.

Nationwide calculated that property values are also more than £11,000, or 5.3 per cent, higher than they were in March, before the first lockdown.

The property market in all four nations – England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland – remain open.

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Oscar-winning La La Land star Emma Stone places three-bedroom Malibu home up for sale for $4.2M

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Oscar-winning La La Land star Emma Stone places three-bedroom Malibu home up for sale for $4.2 million

  • Stone, 33, purchased the oceanfront property for $3.25 in 2018
  • The home spans more than 1,700 sq. feet over 3.2 acres of property in the luxe Southern California area 
  • The home includes exquisite views of the Los Angeles cityscape, Pacific Ocean and Catalina Island 
  • Stone also owns houses in Los Angeles and Austin, Texas; and an apartment in Manhattan 

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Emma Stone is looking to sell her three-bedroom, two-bathroom home in Malibu, California for $4.2 million.

The 33-year-old actress has listed the mid-century bungalow home on the real estate market, about four years after she purchased the oceanfront property for $3.25 in 2018, The Wall Street Journal reported.

The one-story home belonging to the Oscar-winning La La Land star spans more than 1,700 sq. feet over 3.2 acres of property in the luxe Southern California area.

The latest: Emma Stone, 33, is looking to sell her three-bedroom, two-bathroom home in Malibu, California for $4.2 million. The Academy Award-winning actress was snapped in Athens, Greece earlier this month

The latest: Emma Stone, 33, is looking to sell her three-bedroom, two-bathroom home in Malibu, California for $4.2 million. The Academy Award-winning actress was snapped in Athens, Greece earlier this month 

Sotheby’s International Realty listing agent Eric Lavey, who is the listing agent on the property, described the home to the paper as ‘a classic 1958 California Midcentury hanging over the Pacific’ and ‘the Malibu beach house they would choose for a Nancy Meyers movie.’

The Scottsdale, Arizona-born beauty’s home includes exquisite views of the Los Angeles cityscape, Pacific Ocean and Catalina Island, and is within walking distance of nearby hiking trails and the beach.

The Cruella star’s house, which has been renovated in recent years, has a state-of-the-art kitchen with gold accents.

The living room of the abode is centered around a fireplace encased in a white brick column, as floor-to-ceiling windows in the home allow for sunlight to pour in.

The living room of the abode is centered around a fireplace encased in a white brick column

The living room of the abode is centered around a fireplace encased in a white brick column

The home boasts amazing views of the Pacific Ocean via multiple angles and vantage points

The home boasts amazing views of the Pacific Ocean via multiple angles and vantage points 

The home features a dining area outdoors which is sequestered by eucalyptus and yucca trees

The home features a dining area outdoors which is sequestered by eucalyptus and yucca trees

A dining room in the home sits adjacent to an outdoor patio

A dining room in the home sits adjacent to an outdoor patio 

A bathroom in the home has a standalone bathtub along with a rain shower.

The home features a dining area outdoors which is sequestered by eucalyptus and yucca trees, and a patio with a panoramic view of the coast.

Other amenities the home features includes a recreation room and art studio.

The Cruella star's house, which has been renovated in recent years, has a state-of-the-art kitchen

The Cruella star’s house, which has been renovated in recent years, has a state-of-the-art kitchen 

The home is made of white brick and wood with gold accents and state-of-the-art appliances

The home is made of white brick and wood with gold accents and state-of-the-art appliances 

A dine-in area sits adjacent to the kitchen in the stunning beach home

A dine-in area sits adjacent to the kitchen in the stunning beach home 

In the years since she acquired the home, Stone in 2020 wed writer Dave McCary, 36, and the couple welcomed a baby daughter in March of 2021.

According to the paper, Stone also owns houses in Los Angeles and Austin, Texas; and an apartment in Manhattan.

Lavey told the paper that he expected the house to sell quickly, as there is a scarcity of homes in that price range in Malibu, and residents of other well-heeled Los Angeles locales such as Beverly Hills or Holmby Hills are partial to purchasing smaller beach homes.

A master bedroom in the home outlooks a panoramic view of the Pacific Ocean

A master bedroom in the home outlooks a panoramic view of the Pacific Ocean 

Floor-to-ceiling windows in the home allow for sunlight to pour into the home

Floor-to-ceiling windows in the home allow for sunlight to pour into the home 

A bathroom in the home includes a rain shower and standalone tub

A bathroom in the home includes a rain shower and standalone tub

A shower in the bathroom has a glass door with gold fixtures

A shower in the bathroom has a glass door with gold fixtures 

A brick-lined patio area boasts a stunning view of the Pacific Ocean

A brick-lined patio area boasts a stunning view of the Pacific Ocean 

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More than 9,000 artists apply for universal basic income scheme

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More than 9,000 artists have applied for a new dedicated basic income scheme which will see successful applicants receive €325 a week.

Minister for the Arts Catherine Martin said there had been a “huge level of enthusiasm” for the scheme and described the plans as a “watershed moment” for the sector.

Assessment of the applications has started and the process will take a number of weeks given the high volume received.

The basic income scheme was launched in April when the Government announced the payment would be made available to 2,000 applicants in total.

The Coalition has said the objective of the scheme is to address the earnings instability that can be associated with the intermittent and sometimes project-based nature of work in the arts.

The process for selecting successful applicants will be non-competitive, so once a person satisfies the eligibility criteria they will be included in a randomised selection process to pick the successful 2,000. It is understood unsuccessful but eligible applicants will be invited to participate in a control group to help with an appraisal of the pilot scheme.

A basic income for artists was the main recommendation of the Arts and Culture Recovery Taskforce set up in 2020 to examine how the sector could adapt and recover from the crisis caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The scheme opened for applications on April 12th and closed on Thursday, May 12th.

The Department of Arts said the highest number of applications came from those in the visual arts sector, followed by those involved in music, then film and then literature.

‘Watershed moment’

Speaking to The Irish Times, Ms Martin said it represented “a watershed moment in the funding of artistic practice in Ireland”.

“The new measure makes a statement about our values as a nation – that the voices of artists have been heard and that the arts matter. This is a unique opportunity to research the impact a basic income could have on the arts and to provide the evidence base for a permanent support.

“I am very pleased with the huge level of enthusiasm for the basic income for the arts pilot scheme and am delighted that over 9,000 artists and creative arts workers were willing to participate in this innovate research project.”

Mr Martin said the scheme “heralds a new approach to the way the State funds and recognises her artists and I look forward to seeing the data and findings of the research during the pilot”.

There had been significant interest in the new scheme for artists from other countries, media and practitioners, which indicated the enthusiasm in the arts globally for the move, the Minister added.

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Neinver begins construction of Alpes The Style Outlets (FR)

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NEINVER has resumed construction works at Alpes The Style Outlets, which once completed will mark the company’s 17th outlet centre across 6 European countries. The company broke ground last March and works are advancing on schedule, with the development of three platforms that will house the main building and car park all well underway. Alpes The Style Outlets, which will be NEINVER’s second outlet centre in France, boasts an exceptional location near the Swiss border, close to Geneva and next to key tourist destinations. It will feature 20,400m² of GLA, over 90 boutiques and restaurants providing both local and international cuisine.

 

“France is a strategic market for NEINVER. Our aim is to develop and operate this centre with the local community firmly involved, providing it with an exciting leisure option, while also contributing to improving the region’s economic and social development,” commented Daniel Losantos, NEINVER Chief Executive Officer. “Outlet centres have shown continued resilience, and this development is a clear vote of confidence in the sector and in the opportunity the site offers to brands to further grow their business.”

 

Located 25 minutes from Geneva, the scheme will offer 1,350 parking spaces and will have direct access to the A-40 motorway, a key transport link between France and Switzerland and to popular winter destinations. It will also be easily accessible by high-speed train thanks to the Paris to Geneva connection, with a TGV station located just 5 minutes from the future centre.

 

“We are seeing keen interest from our brand partners in this one-of-a-kind project due to its exciting retail proposition and its unique location, with great brands such as Adidas, Guess and Levi’s already joining the scheme”, said Joan Rouras, NEINVER Leasing and Retail Director. The centre is exceptionally well located in the Grand Genève area, which enjoys a strong purchasing power and high levels of tourism. The region has also seen a spike in population growth in recent years and is expected to continue increasing significantly in the coming years. To attract these customers, we are designing a destination that will feature an exclusive retail mix of sought-after international brands and the best of what the local area has to offer – a compelling offer for any fashion lover or avid sports fan.”

 

Finely tuned to the local landscape, Alpes The Style Outlets will offer an avant-garde atmosphere, combining natural materials such as wood and stone for a contemporary look. In this open mall concept designed in an “Alpine village” style with chalet-style shops and terraces, NEINVER plans to create a promenade destination and a relaxing day-out providing much more than just shopping. Lyon-based SEV Architectures will project monitor the construction under the coordination and supervision of Arcadis, leading global design and consultancy.

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