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Market Town Grapples with ‘Housing Crisis’ as Soaring Rental Rates Force Residents Out, Making Monthly Rates of £1,499 Unattainable Amid Influx of London’s 2nd Homeowners

A trendy market town has declared a ‘housing crisis’ after rental rates have soared – pricing locals out.

Frome Town Council in Somerset says the average price of rent in the town has risen to £1,499 a month – fifty per cent of the average local salary.

Councillor Polly Lamb, who proposed the emergency declaration, says locals are being driven out by Frome being named as one of Britain’s nicest towns.

She blames an influx of visitors and second homeowners from London buying in Frome, which is known for its vibrant local market.

Councillor Lamb told: ‘Rents have skyrocketed and that is pushing out local people who have been here all their lives.’

Frome has declared an emergency to draw attention to the shortage of housing for locals amid an influx of tourists and second homeowners
Frome has declared an emergency to draw attention to the shortage of housing for locals amid an influx of tourists and 2nd homeowners
Sophie Mullins, who owns a local zero-waste refill shop, says rents are 'crazy expensive' and she was only able to find somewhere to live through friends
Sophie Mullins, who owns a local zero-waste refill shop, says rents are ‘crazy expensive’ and she was only able to find somewhere to live through friends
Shop assistant Lianna Denwood says she had to move back home because she couldn't afford to rent while saving to buy a house
Shop assistant Lianna Denwood says she had to move back home because she couldn’t afford to rent while saving to buy a house

Today locals described the problems of rental prices hikes.

Sophie Mullins, 36, owner of a zero-waste refills shop, said: ‘I sold my house so that I could open my own independent business in Frome, therefore I was looking to rent.

‘I managed to find a property and I was in there for about two years.

‘We ended up getting very difficult neighbours and I was pregnant, so we were looking to move.

‘We were looking for a rental for about four months with no luck. We had dogs too, so it was extremely difficult to find a landlord, even with realtor, that would take them as well’.

‘We only managed to find a property because our friends had neighbours who were moving out and passed our contact details directly onto the landlord.

‘That was the only way we could find somewhere that wasn’t crazy expensive or had already gone by the time we’d rung up to book a viewing.

Property developer Connor Raudsepp has bought a dilapidated flat and intends to invest thousands in it before renting it out
Property developer Connor Raudsepp has bought a dilapidated flat and intends to invest thousands in it before renting it out

‘There was one instance where my partner went to view a property and we were deliberating over it, he rang up to speak to the estate agent about it – and they told him that someone moving to the area from London had bid more, offering £300 more per month and were willing to pay a year up front. There was just no way we could afford that.’

Lianna Denwood, 23, shop assistant, told of how she and her partner have moved back to their parents’ homes because they could not afford rent while saving to buy a house.

She said: ‘I moved out of Bristol after finishing uni and went to work in London.

‘When I finished that job I came home, but there was no point in going and renting somewhere as I wouldn’t be able to set myself up and get into the housing market so I decided to move home’.

‘My partner, who was also working in London, decided to move home too because his rent skyrocketed by a grand there’.

‘We’re both living in our separate households and we wanted to move out as soon as possible, but renting isn’t a possibility because if we want to buy in the future, our deposit money, our savings, everything, would be going on the rent’.

‘When you’re not earning enough, or earning a lot but only enough to cover your living expenses, you’re never going to get to a point where you can own your own property.’

An anonymous local resident, aged 41, said: ‘You can’t find anywhere that is affordable.

‘Anywhere with an extra bedroom, which is what we need, is just completely out of our price range. We are currently renting a two bed and we need a three bed’.

‘The speed of which properties get let, when occasionally there are homes we think we could push ourselves to afford, we go to book a viewing and it’s already gone’.

‘The speed in which they get snapped up is ridiculous.

‘There’s a handful of properties available in a price range we may be able to stretch to’.

‘Everything else is up and above [what we can afford], we work hard to pay for what we get at the moment’.

‘We’re just going to have to wait it out in our tiny house and hope things change’.

Frome has recently been named one of Britain's nicest towns - an award that locals believe has brought in Londoners seeking quiet hideaways
Frome has recently been named one of Britain’s nicest towns – an award that locals believe has brought in Londoners seeking quiet hideaways
People from Frome have been driven to moving home or even living in vans as a result of being pushed out of the rental market
People from Frome have been driven to moving home or even living in vans as a result of being pushed out of the rental market

Local property developer Connor Raudsepp, 26, recently purchased a rundown one-bedroom flat in Frome with a business partner – and hopes to put it on the rental market once complete.

He said: ‘We’re not going to skip over that there’s profit in property development, the main reason I’m in it is for profit.

‘However, this place has been empty and is going to serve a purpose in the future – putting a roof over somebody’s head.

‘There are a lot of properties that are empty that could be turned into homes, which would increase supply on the market and ease rental costs.

‘We’re probably going to be all in for about £120,000 and it’ll be rented out at market value.

‘I think that’s fair, it’s the only thing you can do – because of rising rates and stuff you can’t do it for any cheaper because you’re not going to make any money and all of this effort would be pointless.

‘We’re not taking this money and then running off to the Bahamas, it’s going to be invested in another development somewhere else – another place being brought back to the market.’

Ironically though, rent rises are driving many of the artisan small businesses and cafes that define the town out of business.

One local business owner, Sarah Wingrove, 29, told that despite being born in Frome, she still lives with her parents due to the cost of homes.

She said: ‘Even though I work a full-time job and freelance as a model, the mortgage people say I don’t earn enough for a house in Frome.’

Local artist and renter Summer Auty, 24, told the BBC that she has had to live in her van due to the cost of rent.

She said: ‘I can’t afford anything in Frome, so I’m living in my van.

‘It’s ridiculous. We need a complete redistribution of wealth, it’s awful all the big homes lying empty, all the land we cannot use.’

Rented rooms in the town are now known to go for as much as £500 a month, while a small one-person flat can cost over £1,000 a month.


Assessing Property Size: What Square Footage Can You Get With The Average UK House Price In Your Area?

Assessing Property Size In The UK

In the United Kingdom, there is a prevailing tendency to gauge the size of residences based on the number of bedrooms rather than square footage. In fact, research indicates that three out of five individuals are unaware of the square footage of their property.

However, a comprehensive analysis conducted by Savills reveals significant variations in property sizes throughout the country. For instance, with the average property price standing at £340,837, this amount would typically afford a studio flat spanning 551 square feet in London, according to the prominent estate agency.

Conversely, in the North East region, the same sum would secure a spacious five-bedroom house measuring 1,955 square feet, nearly four times the size of a comparable property in London.

Best value: Heading to the North East of England is where buyers will get the most from their money

In Scotland, the median house price equates to a sizable investment capable of procuring a generous four-bedroom residence spanning 1,743 square feet. Conversely, in Wales, Yorkshire & The Humber, and the North West, this sum affords a slightly smaller four-bedroom dwelling of approximately 1,500 square feet, while in the East and West Midlands, it accommodates a 1,300 square foot home. In stark contrast, within the South West, £340,837 secures a modest 1,000 square foot property, and in the East, an even more confined 928 square feet.

London presents the most challenging market, where this budget offers the least purchasing power. Following closely, the South East allows for 825 square feet of space or a medium-sized two-bedroom dwelling. Lucian Cook, head of residential research at Savills, emphasizes the profound disparity in purchasing potential across Britain, ranging from compact studio flats in London to spacious four or five-bedroom residences in parts of North East England.

While square footage serves as a critical metric, with a significant portion of Britons unfamiliar with their property’s dimensions, the number of bedrooms remains a traditional indicator of size. Personal preferences, such as a preference for larger kitchens, may influence property selection. For those prioritizing ample space, Easington, County Durham, offers a substantial 2,858 square foot, five-bedroom home, while Rhondda, Wales, and Na h-Eileanan an Iar, Scotland, provide 2,625 and 2,551 square feet, respectively. Conversely, in St Albans, Hertfordshire, £340,837 secures a mere 547 square feet, equivalent to a one-bedroom flat.

The disparity continues in central London, where purchasing power diminishes considerably. In Kensington, the budget accommodates a mere 220 square feet, contrasting with the slightly more spacious 236 square feet in Westminster. Conversely, in Dagenham, the same investment translates to 770 square feet. Three properties currently listed on Rightmove exemplify the diversity within this price range across the UK market.

South of the river: This semi-detached house is located near to three different train stations

South of the river: This semi-detached house is located near to three different train stations

2. Lewisham: One-bed house, £345,000

This one-bedroom property in Lewisham, South London, is on the market for £345,000.

The semi-detached house is set over two floors, and has a private patio.

The property is located near to bus links and amenities, as well as Catford train station.

Edinburgh fringe: This three-bed property is located on the edge of the city, near to the town of Musselburgh

Edinburgh fringe: This three-bed property is located on the edge of the city, near to the town of Musselburgh

3. Edinburgh: Three-bed house, £350,000

This three-bedroom detached house in Edinburgh could be yours for £350,000.

The house, which has a two-car driveway, boasts a large kitchen diner, and is within easy reach of Newcriaghall train station.

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Top 10 Florida Cities Dominate The Business Startup Landscape In The U.S.

Top 10 Florida Cities And Business Startup Landscape In The U.S.

The Voice Of EU | Florida emerges as a hub for entrepreneurial endeavors, with its vibrant business landscape and conducive environment for startups. Renowned for its low corporate tax rates and a high concentration of investors, the Sunshine State beckons aspiring entrepreneurs seeking fertile grounds to launch and grow their businesses.

In a recent report by WalletHub, Florida cities dominate the list of the top 10 best destinations for business startups, showcasing their resilience and economic vitality amidst challenging times.

From Orlando’s thriving market to Miami’s dynamic ecosystem, each city offers unique advantages and opportunities for entrepreneurial success. Let’s delve into the chronologically listed cities that exemplify Florida’s prominence in the business startup arena.

1. Orlando Leads the Way: Orlando emerges as the most attractive market in the U.S. for business startups, with a remarkable surge in small business establishments. WalletHub’s latest report highlights Orlando’s robust ecosystem, fostering the survival and growth of startups, buoyed by a high concentration of investors per capita.

2. Tampa Takes Second Place: Securing the second spot among large cities for business startups, Tampa boasts a favorable business environment attributed to its low corporate tax rates. The city’s ample investor presence further fortifies startups, providing essential resources for navigating the initial years of business operations.

3. Charlotte’s Diverse Industries: Claiming the third position, Charlotte stands out for its diverse industrial landscape and exceptionally low corporate taxes, enticing companies to reinvest capital. This conducive environment propels entrepreneurial endeavors, contributing to sustained economic growth.

4. Jacksonville’s Rising Profile: Jacksonville emerges as a promising destination for startups, bolstered by its favorable business climate. The city’s strategic positioning fosters entrepreneurial ventures, attracting aspiring business owners seeking growth opportunities.

5. Miami’s Entrepreneurial Hub: Miami solidifies its position as a thriving entrepreneurial hub, attracting businesses with its dynamic ecosystem and strategic location. The city’s vibrant startup culture and supportive infrastructure make it an appealing destination for ventures of all sizes.

6. Atlanta’s Economic Momentum: Atlanta’s ascent in the business startup landscape underscores its economic momentum and favorable business conditions. The city’s strategic advantages and conducive policies provide a fertile ground for entrepreneurial ventures to flourish.

7. Fort Worth’s Business-Friendly Environment: Fort Worth emerges as a prime destination for startups, offering a business-friendly environment characterized by low corporate taxes. The city’s supportive ecosystem and strategic initiatives facilitate the growth and success of new ventures.

8. Austin’s Innovation Hub: Austin cements its status as an innovation hub, attracting startups with its vibrant entrepreneurial community and progressive policies. The city’s robust infrastructure and access to capital foster a conducive environment for business growth and innovation.

9. Durham’s Emerging Entrepreneurship Scene: Durham’s burgeoning entrepreneurship scene positions it as a promising destination for startups, fueled by its supportive ecosystem and strategic initiatives. The city’s collaborative culture and access to resources contribute to the success of new ventures.

10. St. Petersburg’s Thriving Business Community: St. Petersburg rounds off the top 10 with its thriving business community and supportive ecosystem for startups. The city’s strategic advantages and favorable business climate make it an attractive destination for entrepreneurial endeavors.

Despite unprecedented challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Great Resignation, and high inflation, these top Florida cities remain resilient and well-equipped to overcome obstacles, offering promising opportunities for business owners and entrepreneurs alike.

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European Startup Ecosystems Awash With Gulf Investment – Here Are Some Of The Top Investors

European Startup Ecosystem Getting Flooded With Gulf Investments

The Voice Of EU | In recent years, European entrepreneurs seeking capital infusion have widened their horizons beyond the traditional American investors, increasingly turning their gaze towards the lucrative investment landscape of the Gulf region. With substantial capital reservoirs nestled within sovereign wealth funds and corporate venture capital entities, Gulf nations have emerged as compelling investors for European startups and scaleups.

According to comprehensive data from Dealroom, the influx of investment from Gulf countries into European startups soared to a staggering $3 billion in 2023, marking a remarkable 5x surge from the $627 million recorded in 2018.

This substantial injection of capital, accounting for approximately 5% of the total funding raised in the region, underscores the growing prominence of Gulf investors in European markets.

Particularly noteworthy is the significant support extended to growth-stage companies, with over two-thirds of Gulf investments in 2023 being directed towards funding rounds exceeding $100 million. This influx of capital provides a welcome boost to European companies grappling with the challenge of securing well-capitalized investors locally.

Delving deeper into the landscape, Sifted has identified the most active Gulf investors in European startups over the past two years.

Leading the pack is Aramco Ventures, headquartered in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia. Bolstered by a substantial commitment, Aramco Ventures boasts a $1.5 billion sustainability fund, alongside an additional $4 billion allocated to its venture capital arm, positioning it as a formidable player with a total investment capacity of $7 billion by 2027. With a notable presence in 17 funding rounds, Aramco Ventures has strategically invested in ventures such as Carbon Clean Solutions and ANYbotics, aligning with its focus on businesses that offer strategic value.

Following closely is Mubadala Capital, headquartered in Abu Dhabi, UAE, with an impressive tally of 13 investments in European startups over the past two years. Backed by the sovereign wealth fund Mubadala Investment Company, Mubadala Capital’s diverse investment portfolio spans private equity, venture capital, and alternative solutions. Notable investments include Klarna, TIER, and Juni, reflecting its global investment strategy across various sectors.

Ventura Capital, based in Dubai, UAE, secured its position as a key player with nine investments in European startups. With a presence in Dubai, London, and Tokyo, Ventura Capital boasts an international network of limited partners and a sector-agnostic investment approach, contributing to its noteworthy investments in companies such as Coursera and Spotify.

Qatar Investment Authority, headquartered in Doha, Qatar, has made significant inroads into the European startup ecosystem with six notable investments. As the sovereign wealth fund of Qatar, QIA’s diversified portfolio spans private and public equity, infrastructure, and real estate, with strategic investments in tech startups across healthcare, consumer, and industrial sectors.

MetaVision Dubai, a newcomer to the scene, has swiftly garnered attention with six investments in European startups. Focusing on seed to Series A startups in the metaverse and Web3 space, MetaVision raised an undisclosed fund in 2022, affirming its commitment to emerging technologies and innovative ventures.

Investcorp, headquartered in Manama, Bahrain, has solidified its presence with six investments in European startups. With a focus on mid-sized B2B businesses, Investcorp’s diverse investment strategies encompass private equity, real estate, infrastructure, and credit management, contributing to its notable investments in companies such as Terra Quantum and TruKKer.

Chimera Capital, based in Abu Dhabi, UAE, rounds off the list with four strategic investments in European startups. As part of a prominent business conglomerate, Chimera Capital leverages its global reach and sector-agnostic approach to drive investments in ventures such as CMR Surgical and Neat Burger.

In conclusion, the burgeoning influx of capital from Gulf investors into European startups underscores the region’s growing appeal as a vibrant hub for innovation and entrepreneurship. With key players such as Aramco Ventures, Mubadala Capital, and Ventura Capital leading the charge, European startups are poised to benefit from the strategic investments and partnerships forged with Gulf investors, propelling them towards sustained growth and success in the global market landscape.

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