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Families escape to the countryside as first-time buyers return to the cities 

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Families are escaping to the country and coast, while first-time buyers are returning to cities, according to new data on what buyers want as the property market booms.

It is the latest evidence of shifts in the buyer behaviour amid the coronavirus pandemic and lockdowns, with families chasing suburban, seaside and village life and first-time buyers trying to take advantage of weaker city centre housing markets.

While families tend to be seeking more space at home and outdoors, first-time buyers are looking to set up home in urban areas, a pair of studies from property portals Zoopla and Rightmove show.

This three-bedroom house in Scarborough is for sale for £380,000 via estate agents Reeds Rains

This three-bedroom house in Scarborough is for sale for £380,000 via estate agents Reeds Rains

GROWTH IN DEMAND FOR TWO AND THREE-BEDROOM HOUSES
Rank Local Authority Region Demand growth for 2 & 3 bed houses* Average value of 2 and 3-bed house
1 Scarborough Yorkshire and the Humber 142% £197,000
2 Weymouth and Portland South West 115% £235,000
3 Forest Heath Eastern 111% £227,000
4 Falkirk Scotland 108% £142,000
5 Basingstoke and Deane South East 103% £320,000
6 Gosport South East 102% £238,000
7 Reading South East 97% £311,000
8 Harrow London 94% £578,000
9 Worcester West Midlands 86% £201,000
10 Redditch West Midlands 85% £219,000
Source: Zoopla       
* Demand growth for two and three-bed houses – eight weeks from 08/03 vs previous eight weeks 

First-time buyers are being bolstered by the launch of the Government-backed 5 per cent deposit mortgage guarantee scheme, while more families are heading out house hunting as coronavirus restrictions ease, the reports said.

Zoopla said there has been a 25 per cent increase in buyer demand in the past two months, after schools reopened.

It defined buyer demand as people who are actively viewing and engaged in finding out more about a property, such as through calls and emails to agents.

The property website said the rise was amplified by the announcement that the stamp duty holiday would be extended, along with the rapid vaccine rollout.

It said that two and three-bedroom homes – which are perfect for families – remain in strong demand across Britain, with the seaside resort of Scarborough seeing a 142 per cent increase in demand for such homes, the biggest of any area.

For four and five-bedroom properties, commuter favourite Cambridge tops the list with a huge increase in demand of 182 per cent. 

While property prices for two and three-bedroom properties in Scarborough are above the regional average, home hunters do get more bang for their buck with the Zoopla data showing that houses in this area are typically more spacious than those in other parts of Yorkshire.

There is no such luck in Cambridge, where the average home costs £685,000, but with its easy access to London and wide range of Ofsted-rated Outstanding schools, Zoopla said it is easy to see why the demand for family homes has been boosted by the return to school. 

At the same time, separate research from Rightmove suggested that city-centre living is staging a comeback, with buyer demand for flats increasing by 39 per cent since January.

York, Norwich, Sheffield, Birmingham, Glasgow, Cardiff and Manchester are among the cities that have experienced buyer demand in their centres increasing since the start of 2021, it said.

It added that while larger family homes have tended to be the strongest performers in the housing market over the past year, the focus is now shifting to flats.

This two-bedroom house in Weymouth is for sale for £237,000 via estate agents Austin Estate

This two-bedroom house in Weymouth is for sale for £237,000 via estate agents Austin Estate

Zoopla said that overall demand is highest in areas with house prices that are below the regional average.

Picturesque Weymouth and Portland, located at the southern tip of the Jurassic Coast, has seen demand for two and three-bedroom homes soar by 115 per cent since the reopening of schools.

Average prices in this area for this property type stand at £235,000, 15 per cent below the regional average in the South West.  

It is a similar case in Forest Heath, Suffolk where demand has increased by 111 per cent, and Falkirk in Scotland at 108 per cent, the latter of which is consistently one of the fastest moving property markets in Great Britain.

All these areas offer great value for money, with prices well below the regional average.

GROWTH IN DEMAND FOR FOUR AND FIVE-BEDROOM HOUSES
Rank Local Authority Region Demand growth for 4 & 5 bed houses* Average value of 4 and 5-bed house
1 Cambridge Eastern 182% £685,000
2 Angus Scotland 104% £276,000
3 Hastings South East 92% £416,000
4 Watford Eastern 87% £771,000
5 Wyre Forest West Midlands 81% £332,000
6 Stroud South West 80% £397,000
7 Horsham South East 79% £644,000
= Surrey Heath South East 79% £699,000
9 Teignbridge South West 76% £411,000
10 Stratford-on-Avon West Midlands 73% £517,000
Source: Zoopla       
* Demand growth for four and five-bed houses – eight weeks from 08/03 vs previous eight week 
This five-bedroom house in Cambridge is for sale for £675,000 via estate agents Sharman Quinney

This five-bedroom house in Cambridge is for sale for £675,000 via estate agents Sharman Quinney

Most locations that have seen the largest increase in demand for four and five-bedroom homes are located in rural or coastal areas.

Scenic areas in the South East – including Hastings at 92 per cent, Horsham at 79 per cent and Surrey Heath at 79 per cent – feature strongly.

In the South West, Stroud and Teignbridge feature in the top 10, with an increase in demand of 80 per cent and 76 per cent respectively.

Stroud is located near The Cotswolds and has good quality schools and green spaces. Meanwhile,

Teignbridge encompasses a wide range of pretty towns and villages, part of the Dartmoor National Park and coastline.

Other rural areas that feature in the list include Wyre Forest and Stratford on Avon in the West Midlands, well known for being the birthplace of Shakespeare.

Both areas have seen an increase in demand for four and five-bedroom homes at 81 per cent and 73 per cent respectively. 

This four-bedroom property for sale in Tiwckenham is for sale for £1,100,000 via estate agents Sne

This four-bedroom property in Twickenham is for sale for £1,100,000 via estate agents Snellers

GROWTH IN DEMAND FOR TWO AND THREE-BEDROOM HOUSES IN LONDON
London Borough Demand growth for 2 & 3 bed houses* Average value of 2 and 3-bed house
Harrow 94% £578,000
Bexley 82% £429,000
Merton 63% £539,000
Source: Zoopla     
* Demand growth for two and three-bed houses in London – eight weeks from 08/03 vs previous eight week

Zoopla suggested that there has also been an increase in demand for family homes in London.

Demand has increased most for two and three-bedroom houses in Harrow, which is up 94 per cent, Bexley at 82 per cent and Merton at 63 per cent.

These boroughs have become particularly popular among families seeking houses in the capital at more affordable prices, Zoopla said.

The largest growth in demand for four and five bedroom homes is in leafy Sutton at 57 per cent and Richmond upon Thames at 50 per cent, followed by Kensington and Chelsea at 50 per cent.

Gráinne Gilmore, of Zoopla, said: ‘The reopening of schools in early March was a key moment for the residential property market, alongside the extension of the stamp duty holiday, with buyer demand rising by some 25 per cent in March and April compared to the first two months of the year.

‘The data signals that in more affordable areas buyer interest is rising for two and three-bedroom houses. On the other hand, buyer demand is rising at the highest rates for four and five-bedroom houses in the areas where these homes are typically larger than the average signalling that a need for additional space is a factor driving interest in this segment of the market.’

GROWTH IN FOUR AND FIVE-BEDROOM HOUSES IN LONDON
Rank Local Authority Region Demand growth for 4 & 5 bedroom houses Average value of 4 and 5-bed house
1 Cambridge Eastern 182% £685,000
2 Angus Scotland 104% £276,000
3 Hastings South East 92% £416,000
4 Watford Eastern 87% £771,000
5 Wyre Forest West Midlands 81% £332,000
6 Stroud South West 80% £397,000
7 Horsham South East 79% £644,000
= Surrey Heath South East 79% £699,000
9 Teignbridge South West 76% £411,000
10 Stratford-on-Avon West Midlands 73% £517,000
Source: Zoopla       
* Demand growth for four and five-bed houses – eight weeks from 08/03 vs previous eight week
INCREASE IN BUYER DEMAND BY PROPERTY TYPE – APRIL 2021 V JANUARY 2021
Property type Change in buyer demand April 2021 vs Jan 2021
Flat 39%
Bungalow 30%
Detached house 26%
Terraced house 24%
Semi-detached house 23%
Source: Rightmove   

Rightmove also measured buyer demand by the number of people contacting estate agents to request more details about a property for sale on its website.

The easing of coronavirus restrictions and the recent introduction of the Government-backed 5 per cent deposit mortgage guarantee scheme are said to be helping to boost demand.

A Rightmove survey of more than 1,000 first-time buyers found that nearly one in five – at 17 per cent per cent – are planning to use the mortgage guarantee scheme or are already using it.

The study also indicated that while the desire to move to a quieter location has been driving parts of the housing market during the past year, this is not as appealing to first-time buyers.

While more than a quarter – at 28 per cent – of existing homeowners planning to move in the next 12 months cited a move to the countryside or coast as their motivation, only 10 per cent of first-time buyers were considering doing this.

Rightmove’s housing expert Tim Bannister said: ‘These are early signs but they certainly point to some good news for city centres across Britain, with a number of agents now telling me they’ve seen a marked uptick in demand from first-time buyers, and they’re managing to sell city-centre flats more quickly than in earlier months of the year.

‘People starting to venture in to their local high streets and once again experiencing the buzz of their city centres, along with greater mortgage availability for first-time buyers, means city centres are staging a much-needed comeback in the market.

‘Right now some buyers are able to grab a relative city bargain compared to the heady price growth outside cities, but these early signs of demand could be the start of city prices rising again.’

INCREASE IN BUYER DEMAND – APRIL 2021 V January 2021
City centre Change in buyer demand April 2021 vs Jan 2021
York City Centre 76%
Norwich City Centre 62%
Sheffield City Centre 57%
Southampton City Centre 55%
Leicester City Centre 53%
Newcastle City Centre 51%
Nottingham City Centre 39%
Leeds City Centre 39%
Birmingham City Centre 39%
Inner London 30%
Oxford City Centre 28%
Glasgow City Centre 28%
Liverpool City Centre 28%
Chester City Centre 24%
Edinburgh City Centre 23%
Hull City Centre 22%
Durham City Centre 17%
Cardiff City Centre 11%
Manchester City Centre 11%
Bristol City Centre 5%
Source: Rightmove   

Andy McHugo, of James Laurence estate agents in Birmingham, said: ‘Not only are inquiry levels fantastic, committed residential buyers are now returning.

‘The dynamic may have changed slightly, so apartments with balconies or terraces are proving popular, as are those with room for a home office, a second and third bedroom for example.’

He said large company relocations to Birmingham and entrepreneurial start-ups help make the city ‘an exciting place in which to invest, and indeed live’.

Steve Pymm, of Pymm & Co in Norwich, said: ‘The market has been crying out for 95 per cent mortgages for years, so since the release of these lower deposit-based products the first-time buyer is back and they’re snapping up apartments and starter homes.’

City centre Average asking price Apr-21 Average asking price Jan-21 % change
Leeds City Centre £159,972 £166,760 -4%
Sheffield City Centre £124,097 £128,606 -4%
Nottingham City Centre £178,390 £183,542 -3%
Cardiff City Centre £209,130 £212,521 -2%
Southampton City Centre £206,637 £209,586 -1%
Liverpool City Centre £161,860 £163,900 -1%
Birmingham City Centre £215,604 £217,524 -1%
Norwich City Centre £226,354 £228,258 -1%
Manchester City Centre £230,796 £231,766 0%
Newcastle City Centre £170,512 £170,148 0%
Hull City Centre £127,208 £126,776 0%
London (first-time buyer prices) £477,001 £474,950 0%
Glasgow City Centre £172,425 £170,291 1%
Source: Rightmove      

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Evo Industrial acquires London warehouse (GB)

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Bradda Capital has sold a prime last-mile logistics site in southeast London to Evo Industrial for over €9.3m (£8m). The 3.4-acre site, One Church Manorway, is located in an established industrial area in Erith and has significant development potential. In September 2020, Bradda obtained planning consent to demolish the current 37,662ft² warehouse and to construct a new 60,687ft² facility with a BREEAM sustainability rating of “Very Good”.

 

David Phillips, managing director of Bradda Capital, said: “We are delighted with the level of bidding interest in the site, which reflected the strength of the logistics real estate market. It is an investment that we bought 10 years ago for income with an eye on the growing demand for warehousing in the London area. With leases at expiry, we realised the potential for adding significant value by securing planning consent for a much larger facility of more than three times the volume”.

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Inside six of the most unusual homes for sale on Rightmove

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A £10million mansion with its own vineyard that produces 100,000 bottles of wine a year and a former nuclear bunker costing £50,000 feature in the most unusual homes picked by property website Rightmove.

All six of the most unique homes for sale on the property website made the list for their standout features.

Tim Bannister, of Rightmove, said: ‘It’s such a joy to be able to share these wonderfully unusual properties with the rest of the nation. 

‘From a former nuclear bunker on the south coast to an apartment with a cinema in an underground cave, each one is totally out of the ordinary.’

Here are the six most unusual properties for sale on Rightmove…

1. Former nuclear bunker, Folkestone, £50,000 

Included in the list of most unusual properties on Rightmove is this former Royal Observer Corps nuclear bunker

Included in the list of most unusual properties on Rightmove is this former Royal Observer Corps nuclear bunker

The bunker has a monitoring post with rooms several metres underground, and was built by the Ministry of Defence in 1971

The bunker has a monitoring post with rooms several metres underground, and was built by the Ministry of Defence in 1971

Could you live here? The property in Folkestone has main road access, while the bunker remains in good structural condition

Could you live here? The property in Folkestone has main road access, while the bunker remains in good structural condition

A robust property: Rightmove has described the bunker as 'one of the most impenetrable properties' on its website

A robust property: Rightmove has described the bunker as ‘one of the most impenetrable properties’ on its website

The property is in an area of outstanding natural beauty on the Kent coastline, with views across the sea towards France

The property is in an area of outstanding natural beauty on the Kent coastline, with views across the sea towards France

It’s one of the most impenetrable properties on Rightmove – and this former Royal Observer Corps nuclear bunker in Folkestone is available to buy.

It has a guide price of £50,000, but it is being sold auction via Miles & Barr estate agents, with properties at auction often being sold for more than the initial asking figure.

The bunker includes a monitoring post with rooms several metres underground, and it was built by the Ministry of Defence in 1971.

It is in an area of outstanding natural beauty, opposite the North Downs Way walking path, with views from the site across the sea towards France.

2. Two-bed flat in Nottingham, £325,000 

From outside, there is no indication of the unusual features contained within this two-bedroom flat in Nottingham

From outside, there is no indication of the unusual features contained within this two-bedroom flat in Nottingham

Steps lead down to the lower ground floor flat, which is currently on the market for £325,000 estate agents Liberty Gate

Steps lead down to the unusual lower ground floor flat, which is on the market for £325,000 estate agents Liberty Gate

Unique entertainment space: The flat includes its own underground cave that doubles up as a private home cinema

Unique entertainment space: The flat includes its own underground cave that doubles up as a private home cinema

The flat is part of the St Marys Gate House development, which was originally built as the French Consulate

The flat is part of the St Marys Gate House development, which was originally built as the French Consulate

The cave cinema boasts reclining leather armchairs, a ventilation and heat recovery system and a sizeable wine chiller

The cave cinema boasts reclining leather armchairs, a ventilation and heat recovery system and a sizeable wine chiller

Mixing the old with the new: The flat has a modern kitchen with some clever lighting and exposed brickwork

Mixing the old with the new: The flat has a modern kitchen with some clever lighting and exposed brickwork

This two-bedroom flat includes its own underground cave that doubles up as a private home cinema.

The cave cinema boasts reclining leather armchairs, a ventilation and heat recovery system and a sizeable wine chiller.

The property is being sold via estate agents Liberty Gate, with a guide price of between £325,000 to £335,000.

3. Four-bed house, St Leonards-on-sea, £1.25m 

The perfect pad to party at home? This colourful property in East Sussex has an interesting carnival theme

The perfect pad to party at home? This colourful property in East Sussex has an interesting carnival theme

The St Leonards-on-sea house is being sold via M&W Sales and Lettings, with an impressive asking price of £1.25million

The St Leonards-on-sea house is being sold via M&W Sales and Lettings, with an impressive asking price of £1.25million

The property is called The Bath House: The detached house has four bedrooms, and was once a Victorian Turkish bathhouse

The property is called The Bath House: The detached house has four bedrooms, and was once a Victorian Turkish bathhouse

The house has a bright interior: There are chandeliers hanging from wooden beams and bright red velvet corner sofas

The house has a bright interior: There are chandeliers hanging from wooden beams and bright red velvet corner sofas

Fancy a game? The main living area includes its own bowling alley with a large clown face light display hanging above it

Fancy a game? The main living area includes its own bowling alley with a large clown face light display hanging above it

This colourful property in East Sussex has a carnival theme and includes its own bowling alley in the main living area.

There are chandeliers hanging from wooden beams, bright red velvet corner sofas and ‘dodgem’ artwork on the walls.

The detached house has four bedrooms, and was once a Victorian Turkish bathhouse – hence its name today is The Bath House. It is being sold via M&W Sales and Lettings, and has an asking price of £1.25million.

4. Three-bed house, London, £6.5m 

The London property was designed by Sir David Adjaye, the same architect who designed actor Ewan McGregor's home

The London property was designed by Sir David Adjaye, the same architect who designed actor Ewan McGregor’s home

Not your typical home in the capital: The property in Kings Cross has three bedrooms with unusual features

Not your typical home in the capital: The property in Kings Cross has three bedrooms with unusual features

Making a splash: The main bedroom suite of this London home comes with an enclosed narrow swimming pool

Making a splash: The main bedroom suite of this London home comes with an enclosed narrow swimming pool

Not a single white tile in sight: The swimming pool area has grey tiles with a black painted ceiling and walls

Not a single white tile in sight: The swimming pool area has grey tiles with a black painted ceiling and walls

The Kings Cross property is on the market for £6.5 million and is being sold via estate agents Sotheby's International

The Kings Cross property is on the market for £6.5 million and is being sold via estate agents Sotheby’s International

The main bedroom suite of this house in the heart of London comes with an enclosed swimming pool and private steam room.

The three-bedroom property was designed by Sir David Adjaye, the same architect who designed actor Ewan McGregor’s home.

The Kings Cross property is on the market for £6.5 million and is being sold via estate agents Sotheby’s International.

5. Six-bed mansion with a vineyard, Wales, £10m 

As well as its own vineyard, this sprawling six-bedroom mansion has an outdoor swimming pool and a tennis court

As well as its own vineyard, this sprawling six-bedroom mansion has an outdoor swimming pool and a tennis court

Plenty of open space: Ancre Hill Estates, near Monmouth, in Wales, boasts an enormous 137 acres of land

Plenty of open space: Ancre Hill Estates, near Monmouth, in Wales, boasts an enormous 137 acres of land

The vineyard set-up is being sold as part of the property and it produces  an impressive 100,000 bottles of wine a year

The vineyard set-up is being sold as part of the property and it produces  an impressive 100,000 bottles of wine a year

A chance to enjoy the Welsh countryside: The stunning property is being sold for £10million via Savills estate agents

A chance to enjoy the Welsh countryside: The stunning property is being sold for £10million via Savills estate agents

Ancre Hill Estates, near Monmouth, includes 29.5 acres of vines and supplies wine to some of the world's top restaurants

Ancre Hill Estates, near Monmouth, includes 29.5 acres of vines and supplies wine to some of the world’s top restaurants

The mansion includes a swimming pool surrounding by a patio with plenty of seating areas to entertain at home

The mansion includes a swimming pool surrounding by a patio with plenty of seating areas to entertain at home

Fancy owning your own vineyard? This property in Wales could fit the bill as it produces 100,000 bottles of wine a year.

Ancre Hill Estates, near Monmouth, is tucked away in the Welsh Borders and boasts an enormous 137 acres of land – including 29.5 acres of vines – and supplies some of the world’s top restaurants, including to French chef Raymond Blanc.

Ancre Hill has been recognised in some of the top international wine competitions in the world and won the Bollicine del Mondo in 2012 when its 2008 Sparkling Wine was voted the best White Sparkling Wine in the world. 

At the heart of the estate is a sprawling six-bedroom mansion, which has an outdoor swimming pool and a tennis court. The property is being sold for £10million via Savills estate agents.

6. Houseboat, London, £2m 

This luxurious houseboat once belonged to the French star Edith Piaf who used it on tours around France and Europe

This luxurious houseboat once belonged to the French star Edith Piaf who used it on tours around France and Europe

A quick translation of the boat's name: The houseboat is called Flamant Rose, the French for Pink Flamingo

A quick translation of the boat’s name: The houseboat is called Flamant Rose, the French for Pink Flamingo

A piece of history: The boat has been based at a mooring at St Katherine's Dock marina in London since the late 1990s

A piece of history: The boat has been based at a mooring at St Katherine’s Dock marina in London since the late 1990s

The historic charm of the yacht is felt throughout, with plenty of unique features on show, such as this ship's wheel

The historic charm of the yacht is felt throughout, with plenty of unique features on show, such as this ship’s wheel

This luxurious houseboat, named Flamant Rose – French for Pink Flamingo – once belonged to the French star Edith Piaf, who used it on tours around France and Europe.

The boat has been based at a mooring at St Katherine’s Dock marina in London since the late 1990s, and it is now available to buy for £2million via estate agents Sotheby’s International.

Keen to own your own houseboat? It is on the market for £2million via estate agents Sotheby's International

Keen to own your own houseboat? It is on the market for £2million via estate agents Sotheby’s International

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Search continues for Dublin man missing in US Rocky Mountains

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US park rangers are searching for a 27-year-old Dubliner missing in Grand Teton National Park in the state of Wyoming after his car was found at the start of a hiking trail.

Cian McLaughlin, who studied at Dublin Institute of Technology and works as a snowboard instructor at Jackson Hole in the Rocky Mountains, has not been seen for almost a week.

The Dublin man was reported missing on Sunday morning by Teton County Sheriff’s Office. His car was later found at the start of a hiking trail in the 310,000-acre park.

The National Park Service, the US government agency leading the search for Mr McLaughlin, said he was last seen in the town of Jackson last Tuesday afternoon.

He failed to report for work in Jackson on Thursday and the local sheriff’s office received a missing-person report late on Saturday night.

Grand Teton National Park was contacted early on Sunday when the sheriff’s office received information indicating that Mr McLaughlin may be hiking in the park. A spokeswoman for the National Park Service (NPS) said that park teams with search dogs were out searching the park for the missing man.

She said that Mr McLaughlin is believed to have headed out for a “day hike” without a backpack with him but that “no one knows where he intended to go or where he did go”.

His car was located at Lupine Meadows Trailhead on Sunday morning at an elevation of 6,732ft. The NPS spokeswoman said that there is still snow in the park at about 8,000ft.

Ground-search operations

“Aerial reconnaissance and ground-search operations were conducted in high probability areas in the park on Sunday, June 13th, in search of McLaughlin with no evidence or leads about his whereabouts. Search operations will continue early Monday morning, June 14th,” said the NPS.

In a public appeal, the NPS called on anyone travelling in “backcountry” inside the park since last Tuesday to come forward if they have any information about Mr McLaughlin.

The Dubliner’s Facebook page says he started working at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort last December and that he previously lived in the French ski resort of Chamonix.

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