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Couple move house for their two cocker spaniels Fudge and Toffee 

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We want to move home for our cocker spaniels: As Britain becomes an even greater nation of animal lovers, we meet a couple moving for their dogs

  • We speak to a couple moving to benefit two cocker spaniels, Fudge and Toffee
  • Couple want new home in Berkshire with a large enclosed garden for their dogs 
  • Their story comes as figures claim 3.2m households added pets in the pandemic 










The reasons for moving house can be varied, but most commonly centre around changing job, being close to preferred schools, or accommodating a growing family.

However, the pandemic has placed a renewed focus on extra space, not only for families but also for their animals – many of which were acquired during lockdown.

We speak to one couple who are looking to relocate from their London property – primarily to accommodate their two cocker spaniels – Fudge and Toffee.

Lynne and Mark Baker-Cowell are moving home after 17 years at this two-bedroom property in London's Blackheath

Lynne and Mark Baker-Cowell are moving home after 17 years at this two-bedroom property in London’s Blackheath

Pictured: Lynne with their dog Toffee

Pictured: Mark with the couple's two dogs Fudge is centre)

The couple are moving to Berkshire to accommodate their two dogs Fudge (left) and Toffee

Business manager Lynne Baker-Cowell and her store manager husband Mark have lived at their two-bedroom home in London’s Blackheath for 17 years.

After Mark became unwell due to Covid last year, the couple reassessed their lives and where they wanted to live.

Lynne grew up and had always lived in the area of London they were in, but the couple decided to take the leap and move house – the main motivation being to find more space for their two dogs.

While they already live in a dog-friendly location, next to the heath and to Greenwich Park, they are looking for a property with an enclosed garden for Fudge and Toffee.

They have decided on a move to Berkshire and hope to find a new home with a ‘very large garden’.

The couple's home fronts Blackheath common and is currently on the market via estate agents Savills, with a price tag of £900,000

The couple’s home fronts Blackheath common and is currently on the market via estate agents Savills, with a price tag of £900,000

Lynne outdoors with dog Toffee

The couple's two dogs are Toffee (left) and Fudge (right)

The couple are hoping to find a new home with a large enclosed garden for their two dogs 

The property boasts plenty of space internally, which extends across three separate floors

The property boasts plenty of space internally, which extends across three separate floors

The couple have a conservatory at their current home opening onto the garden

The couple have a conservatory at their current home opening onto the garden

Lynne explained: ‘We’ve enjoyed living in Blackheath for many years – the local lifestyle is fantastic and it’s been a great place to walk our two dogs, Fudge and Toffee.

‘However we made a decision earlier in the year that while we have had the heath and Greenwich Park on our doorstep, what we really want is a big garden for the dogs. This has been the primary reason in us deciding to move to the country.

‘We hope to find a house that we fall in love with but most importantly, an enclosed, much larger outdoor space for the dogs to enjoy and for us all to call home.’

The couple’s decision highlights the desire from many home buyers for pet-friendly properties, which is only likely to have intensified with the substantial increase in pet ownership through the pandemic and lockdowns.

According to figures compiled by the Pet Food Manufacturers’ Association, 3.2million households in the UK have acquired a pet since the start of the pandemic. 

It says that there are now 34 million pets in the UK, including 12 million cats and 12 million dogs.

The kitchen at the Blackheath property has wooden cabinets and dark worktop surfaces

The kitchen at the Blackheath property has wooden cabinets and dark worktop surfaces

The property extends across three floors, which are linked by a feature spiral staircase

The property extends across three floors, which are linked by a feature spiral staircase

The period property is Grade I listed and has two bedrooms, with the main bedroom on the top floor

The period property is Grade I listed and has two bedrooms, with the main bedroom on the top floor

The couple’s existing period property is in Blackheath and is currently on the market via estate agents Savills, with a price tag of £900,000.

The Paragon is an historic piece of architecture dating back to circa 1800, consisting of a mix of Grade I listed houses in a private road on the fringe of Blackheath common.

The property extends across three floors, which are linked by a feature spiral staircase.

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Rents rise at fastest rate on record, says Rightmove

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Rents are rising at the fastest rate on record and now outpace house price increases in most areas of the country, new data has revealed.

It is the latest evidence of challenges people face trying to find somewhere to live. 

High demand among tenants and low supply of good rental homes means there is fierce competition in this part of the property market.

The South West has seen some of the highest rental growth and this four-bed detached house in Frome, Somerset, is for rent for £1,700 a month via Cooper and Tanner letting agents

The South West has seen some of the highest rental growth and this four-bed detached house in Frome, Somerset, is for rent for £1,700 a month via Cooper and Tanner letting agents

Rightmove revealed that rents rose 9.9 per cent to £1,068 a month on average outside of London

Rightmove revealed that rents rose 9.9 per cent to £1,068 a month on average outside of London

Rightmove said that rents had outpaced house price increases in all but three regions in Britain.

It looked at asking rents on its website across Britain and found that they rose 9.9 per cent to reach £1,068 a month on average outside of London.

It is the highest annual jump on record and highlights the recovery in rental growth following a slowdown in the months immediately after the pandemic started.

High demand among tenants and a low supply of rental properties has led to rents outpacing house price increases, Rightmove said in its quarterly report.

The only regions where rental growth has not outstripped the rise in house prices are the East Midlands, the South West and the South East.

However, the South West is still included in the areas with the biggest rises in rental values, up 11 per cent. There is also Wales, up 12.7 per cent, and the North West, up 12.5 per cent.

The data compared the last three months of last year with the same period a year earlier.

Inner London rents grew at a record 16.2 per cent and this one-bed flat at the Battersea Power Station development is for rent for £2,000 a month via Daniel Ford letting agents

Inner London rents grew at a record 16.2 per cent and this one-bed flat at the Battersea Power Station development is for rent for £2,000 a month via Daniel Ford letting agents

GROWTH IN AVERAGE RENTS IN DIFFERENT REGIONS ACROSS BRITAIN
Average asking rent Q4 2021 Average asking rent Q3 2021 QoQ Average asking rent Q4 2020 YoY
East Midlands £935 £925 1.1% £857 9.0%
East of England £1,313 £1,289 1.9% £1,196 9.7%
London £2,142 £2,019 6.1% £1,932 10.9%
North East £718 £699 2.6% £662 8.4%
North West £924 £899 2.7% £821 12.5%
Scotland £826 £805 2.6% £772 7.0%
South East £1,514 £1,489 1.7% £1,379 9.8%
South West £1,180 £1,154 2.3% £1,063 11.0%
Wales £874 £846 3.3% £775 12.7%
West Midlands £941 £918 2.4% £871 8.1%
Yorkshire and The Humber £830 £812 2.2% £759 9.3%
Source: Rightmove         

London saw record annual growth of 10.9 per cent, with asking rents in the capital standing 3 per cent higher than before the start of the pandemic. It is the first time they have risen beyond pre-pandemic levels.

At the end of 2020, London recorded a near-record 6.4 per cent drop in average asking rents as demand shifted away from the capital during another lockdown.

Tenants looked for more space outside of cities, particularly away from flats, while landlords offered tenants willing to stay cut-price rents.

By the end of 2021, London rents were higher than before the pandemic started, as its popularity returned and landlords were able to negotiate higher rents for the new year.

Inner London rents also grew at a record 16.2 per cent, recovering from its drop of 14 per cent at the beginning of 2021, to also rise just ahead of pre-pandemic levels for the first time.

Pontypool in Monmouthshire, Wales, saw the largest increase in asking rents of any local area, up 20 per cent from £562 a month to £674 a month.

It is followed by Ascot, Berkshire, which is up 18.8 per cent and Littlehampton, West Sussex, up 17.5 per cent.

High rental growth was also seen in the East Midlands and this four-bed house in Leicester is for rent for £1,350 a month via Corley letting agents

High rental growth was also seen in the East Midlands and this four-bed house in Leicester is for rent for £1,350 a month via Corley letting agents

RISE IN AVERAGE HOUSE PRICES IN DIFFERENT REGIONS OF BRITAIN
Region Average asking price % YOY
East Midlands £266,725 10.4%
East of England £396,135 8.4%
London £629,286 4.2%
North East £165,277 6.0%
North West £228,866 8.8%
Scotland £162,415 2.8%
South East £450,918 10.2%
South West £359,201 11.6%
Wales £230,813 9.9%
West Midlands £262,825 7.6%
Yorkshire and The Humber £214,988 6.1%
Source: Rightmove     

The imbalance between high tenant demand and low rental stock has also led to competition between tenants for rental homes nearly doubling, up 94 per cent compared to the same period last year.

Total rental demand is up 32 per cent compared to this time last year, while the number of available rental properties is 51 per cent lower. 

It led to available rental properties being snapped up by tenants, in just 17 days on average.

However, Rightmove went on to say that the number of available rental properties is 7 per cent higher than the same period in December, a sign of availability improving at the start of the year.

Flats have seen the highest increase in competition compared to last year, up 132 per cent, followed by terraced houses, up 40 per cent, and semi-detached homes, up 30 per cent.

Rightmove also revealed that the average rental yield across Britain is 5.5 per cent, which is the highest level since 2016 when it was 5.6 per cent.

The North East and Wales have hit record yields, while yields in London, South West and Yorkshire are at their highest since 2015.

Yields in the East of England and South East are at their highest since 2016.

Rightmove also revealed that the average rental yield across Britain is 5.5 per cent

Rightmove also revealed that the average rental yield across Britain is 5.5 per cent

TOP AVERAGE RENTAL YIELDS IN BRITAIN
Area Region Average yield 2020 Average yield 2021 Difference in yields 2021 vs 2020
Preston North West 6.1% 9.1% 3.1%
Exeter South West 6.0% 8.8% 2.7%
Swansea Wales 9.0% 11.2% 2.2%
Nottingham East Midlands 8.2% 10.3% 2.1%
Rushcliffe East Midlands 5.6% 7.7% 2.1%
Renfrewshire Scotland 8.1% 9.9% 1.8%
Gwynedd Wales 9.3% 11.0% 1.7%
Rhondda Cynon Taf Wales 7.6% 9.1% 1.5%
Warwick West Midlands 5.9% 7.3% 1.5%
East Ayrshire Scotland 8.3% 9.7% 1.4%
Source: Rightmove       

Tim Bannister, from Rightmove, said: ‘The year 2020 was defined by the race for space outside of cities, as tenant priorities changed and many moved further out looking for a larger property with green space, or temporarily moved back in with family. 

‘London was perhaps the biggest example of this, where landlords significantly decreased asking rents by the end of the year to encourage tenants to stay in the capital. 

‘A year on, asking rents have finally risen beyond pre-pandemic levels, a sign that the capital has not lost its pull and popularity with renters as landlords look to renegotiate previous cut-price terms.’

He continued: ‘Tenant demand continues to be really high entering the new year, meaning the imbalance between supply and demand is set to continue until more choice comes onto the market for tenants, which has led to our prediction of a further 5 per cent increase in average asking rents in 2022. 

‘Landlords understand the importance of having a good, long-term tenant, and there is a limit to what renters can afford to pay, which will prevent rents rising at the same rate we’ve seen over the past year.’

Marc von Grundherr, of letting agents Benham and Reeves, said: ‘The London rental market is drastically different to that seen in 2020 when landlords were forced to heavily reduce asking rents to secure a tenant and avoid lengthy void periods due to an exodus of market activity from the capital.

‘In fact, the surplus of available rental stock that accumulated due to the pandemic has now plummeted and this has been driven by a staggered return to the workplace and, in particular, a huge influx of demand from overseas students.

‘We’ve also seen a huge increase in the number of tenancy renewals which have even exceeded 2019 levels and so while some areas are yet to see rental values return to the pre-pandemic norm, it’s only a matter of time as the market looks set to continue to this strong return to form throughout 2022.’

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Taoiseach to attend Bloody Sunday memorial service in Derry

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The Taoiseach is to lay a wreath at the memorial to those killed on Bloody Sunday during a service in Derry to mark the 50th anniversary of the atrocity. Micheál Martin is also expected to meet privately with the families of those killed, The Irish Times understands.

Minister for Foreign Affairs, Simon Coveney, is also due to attend the ceremony on Sunday morning, as will other church leaders and politicians including the Sinn Féin president Mary Lou McDonald, vice president and the North’s Deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill, and the SDLP leader Colum Eastwood.

President Michael D Higgins will deliver a virtual address at an event in Guildhall Square on Sunday afternoon.

Thirteen people died when members of the British Army’s Parachute Regiment opened fire on an anti-internment march in the city on January 30th, 1972. A fourteenth died later.

John Kelly, whose 17-year-old brother Michael was among the victims, said the Taoiseach would be welcomed by the Bloody Sunday families and it “shows the depth of feeling that the Irish Government has for the families who have witnessed and endured the suffering of Bloody Sunday for five decades.

“It’s a nice tribute from the Irish Government and the people of Ireland and certainly will be welcomed by the families and the people of Derry,” he said.

In the House of Commons on Wednesday, Mr Eastwood, the MP for Foyle, condemned the flying of Parachute Regiment flags which have appeared on the outskirts of Derry ahead of the anniversary and asked the Northern Secretary, Brandon Lewis, if he felt the regiment should “apologise for and condemn the actions of their soldiers on Bloody Sunday?”

In a post on social media, the Parachute regiment criticised the flying of the flags, describing it as “totally unacceptable and disrespectful behaviour.”

It has been condemned by both nationalist and unionist politicians and by relatives of the victims. Mr Kelly said they were “offensive to families and offensive to the people of Derry” and he called on community leaders in those areas and on unionist politicians to have them removed.

The DUP Assembly member for Foyle, the junior minister Gary Middleton, said the flags were “unnecessary and designed to be offensive” and the flags should be removed.

Responding to Mr Eastwood in the Commons, Mr Lewis said “we, as the Government, have to accept responsibility for what has happened in the past. When things are wrong we need to be clear about that, as we have been. It’s right that we have apologised for that.

“I’ve added my own personal apology to the government’s,” he said.

In a statement to the Commons earlier Mr Lewis acknowledged the upcoming 50th anniversary of Bloody Sunday and the apology from the then prime minister, David Cameron, and said his “thoughts this weekend will be with all those affected”.

Referring to UK government’s new proposals for dealing with the legacy of the Troubles, he said it was engaging intensively and widely and “reflecting carefully on what we have heard.”

In a statement to The Irish Times on Wednesday, a spokesman for the UK ministry of defence said it did “not condone in any way” the “misuse” of flags, which should be “used only in an official capacity.”

He said that following the publication of the Saville Report into Bloody Sunday in 2010 “the Chief of General Staff (Gen Sir David Richards) fully supported the prime minister’s apology on behalf of the government of the United Kingdom, the army and those involved and this remains the army’s position.”

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QuadReal and Valor launch €3bn urban logistics JV

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QuadReal Property Group and Valor Real Estate Partners have expanded their partnership with the launch of a second Joint Venture to invest an additional €3bn in urban logistics assets located primarily in UK, France and Germany. The new vehicle’s value-add and development strategy will focus on industrial assets in and close to major metropolitan areas, including “last mile” logistics, as the fundamentals of the sector solidify around structural e-commerce acceleration and the long-term attrition of industrial stock.

 

The additional commitment follows the successful launch of the initial €1bn JV in November 2020. In just over twelve months, the majority of the commitment has already been deployed, with the JV completing 22 investments totalling €750m gross asset value across 2.5 million ft² and approximately 50 buildings. The portfolio is well balanced across Europe’s most competitive urban logistics markets, with thirteen investments in London, six in Paris, two in Berlin and a single acquisition in Birmingham.

 

QuadReal will commit the majority of the capital for the new vehicle and brings its extensive experience in the sector with a portfolio of 100 million ft² of industrial and logistics facilities across global markets. Valor will be responsible for sourcing and managing the portfolio, leveraging its significant experience acquiring, developing in-house and managing infill logistics assets. Valor was founded in 2016 as one of Europe’s first specialist urban logistics investors and in five years has amassed a €2.5bn portfolio comprising more than 140 infill urban assets, concentrated in the most difficult to penetrate key gateway cities of London, Paris and Berlin.

 

Jay Kwan, Managing Director Europe, QuadReal, commented: “QuadReal and Valor launched its venture only one year ago, based on a joint conviction in the urban industrial sector across Europe.  We have since made a series of successful investments and are now expanding our venture both in terms of size and geography.  We are proud to continue our partnership with Valor, one of the first movers with a demonstrable track record in a sector in which others are only beginning to enter.”

 

Christian Jamison, Managing Partner, Valor, commented: “The critical shortage of warehouse space in major metropolitan areas continues to grow as a result of both near term drivers, such as the current global pandemic, as well as long term drivers, such as e-commerce and urbanisation. As a specialist platform comprised of a vertically integrated team of investment and development professionals, we have a proven track record of delivering scale in these supply-constrained and highly fragmented markets. Our successful partnership with QuadReal demonstrates our ability to close transactions extremely quickly, even where the deals are complex, and we look forward to expanding our portfolio further with this substantial capital commitment to our latest JV.”

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