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Property market sees biggest sales logjam in a decade, says Rightmove

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Sales of homes are being agreed at a faster pace than they are completed, contributing to the biggest pipeline of transactions in a decade, property portal Rightmove has said. 

Some 704,000 homes on its website are currently marked as ‘sold subject to contract’, which means the sale has been agreed, but contracts are not yet exchanged. 

This is the highest number Rightmove has seen in a decade, and an extra 308,500, or a surge of 78 per cent, compared to this time in 2019.   

Home buying frenzy: Some 704,000 homes on Rightmove's website are currently marked as 'sold subject to contract' - the biggest pipeline in a decade

Home buying frenzy: Some 704,000 homes on Rightmove’s website are currently marked as ‘sold subject to contract’ – the biggest pipeline in a decade

‘The easing of restrictions, extended stamp duty holiday, better mortgage availability for first-time buyers, race for space and relocation plans have all combined to create the biggest conveyancing logjam we’ve ever recorded over the past ten years,’ Rightmove’s director of property data Tim Bannister said.

At the start of the year the sales pipeline across Britain stood at 613,000, and Rightmove had anticipated a ‘quieter’ second quarter, but that failed to materialise. 

‘Buyer demand and the pipeline has continued at pace, making it an incredibly busy time for agents and conveyancers in many areas right now,’ Bannister added.

The ‘frenzied’ market over the past few months has led to homes being marked as sale agreed at a quicker rate than they are completing, Rightmove said.

The pace of properties coming on and off the market is also the quickest the portal recorded.

‘Agents are telling me they have multiple viewings followed by a number of offers within days of a property first appearing on Rightmove,’ Bannister added. 

Of the 704,000 sales currently going through, some 220,000 were marked under offer between July last year and the end of February this year in England and are yet to complete. 

With the average time from sale agreed to completion currently at four months, thousands are at risk of missing out on the stamp duty holiday, Rightmove said

With the average time from sale agreed to completion currently at four months, thousands are at risk of missing out on the stamp duty holiday, Rightmove said

With the average time from sale agreed to completion currently at four months, thousands are at risk of missing out on the stamp duty holiday. 

Rightmove said that of the 220,000 agreed sales, there are 131,000 that are over £250,000, making this group ‘in most urgent need to get their sale over the line before the end of June’. 

Under the current rules, no stamp duty will be paid on the first £500,000 of a property purchase until 30 June – saving buyers up to £15,000 compared to normal tax rates.

After that, there will also be no stamp duty charged on the first £250,000 of a property purchase until the end of September – saving buyers a maximum of £5,000. 

However, many buyers seem to be undeterred by the stamp duty holiday deadline, according to the portal’s survey of nearly 8,000 home buyers looking to buy a home this September. 

More than half said they would go ahead as planned regardless of whether they can take advantage of the stamp duty holiday. 

However, one in four, or 25 per cent, said they would try to renegotiate with the seller, and 13 per cent said they would plan to buy a cheaper home. 

Only 4 per cent of people said they would abandon their plans to buy a home completely if they missed either the June or September deadline. 

And only 29 per cent of home buyers surveyed said they expected to complete the sale in time to make use of the stamp duty holiday. 

‘The most common reasons for moving are to move to a bigger home, if someone comes across the right property, relocating to the countryside or the coast, and moving to a home with a garden,’ Rightmove said.

It comes as house prices reached another record high in May, with the average home adding more than £3,000 of value in the last month alone, according to the Halifax price index. 

With the country tentatively unlocking and many families unable to go on foreign holidays, Nicky Stevenson, managing director of estate agent Fine & Country, is predicting the housing boom will continue throughout the summer. 

‘The market normally has a lull in the summer months but, now almost all foreign holidays appear to be off, there’s nothing stopping the freight train that is unbridled demand from crashing straight through June, July and August,’ she said.

‘Pandemic prompts a third of millennials to move house in quest for better quality of life’

The pandemic had a ‘transformative’ impact on young UK employees as many havedecided to move home to have a better quality of life, according to a new survey. 

More than a third of those aged 18-34 moved house for this reason, a survey of 2,000 employees by asset manager Close Brothers has found. 

In comparison, only 9 per cent of those aged 55 or over are thinking of doing the same.   

Employees in London were the most eager to make the change, with 38 per cent saying they had moved home to have a better quality of life. 

That is a significantly higher proportion than in the East Midlands and the East of England, where only 23 per cent moved, and than in the North East, where 9 per cent changed house.

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Serravalle Designer Outlet unveils new state-of-the-art leisure facility (IT)

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McArthurGlen has officially launched the “Play Land”, a brand new 6,000m² leisure concept at Designer Outlet Serravalle. The €7m attraction introduces a new state-of-the-art experiential element to the centre that further enhances the shopping experience for guests of all ages. Part of the centre’s €40m investment programme, Play Land launches alongside six new stores that are home to renowned luxury and F&B brands, including Off WhiteValentinoZegna and Starbucks. The iconic names join recent international arrival Givenchy to further elevate the centre’s reputation as one of Europe’s premier luxury destinations. The enhancements have created around 100 new jobs and also delivered wider improvements to the centre’s hospitality offering, including to its VIP lounges, guest services, landscaping and car parks.

 

This latest investment signals McArthurGlen’s commitment to the region that welcomed it over 20 years ago. Situated in the heart of Alessandria, the centre was the first designer outlet to arrive in Italy in 2000, and today has more than 240 stores spread across over 50,000m² of GLA, making it the largest luxury outlet in Europe by retail space. 

 

“We firmly believe in the value of the physical retail experience and that has always been at the heart of McArthurGlen,” said Joan Jove, Co-CEO of McArthurGlen, addingTogether with our long-standing investor partners from the European Outlet Mall Fund, we are thrilled to bring this new experiential element to our customers at Serravalle and introduce a cutting-edge facility that can be of benefit to the whole community.”

 

Anchoring the facility is Lele’s Aqua Park, which is a brand new concept in the McArthurGlen portfolio. Featuring a bespoke design, the 3,500m² waterpark features a variety of activities, including slides, water cannons and a large waterfall, designed to maximise the fun for children and enhance the day-out experience for families. The Playground, inspired by the work of the famous Dutch artist M.C Escher, spans approximately 2,500m² and consists of platforms and hexagonal towers in a labyrinth of interconnected play spaces. The play village includes a structure inspired by the small villages set in the beautiful Piedmontese landscape, aiming to create a world in which children can immerse themselves in exploration and discovery, while at all times remaining inclusive for those with disabilities. Flora’s Baby park is a new service offered to families while they are shopping at the centre. It enables parents and guardians to leave their children to play among a range of adventure activities, including a small vertical maze, which are supervised and assisted at all times by experienced staff. Designed specifically for the whole family is the Picnic Area, which provides a welcoming space set up with comfortable tables and chairs. Guests can relax in this environment while taking advantage of the centre’s excellent mix of F&B operators. 

  

The investment enhances Serravalle Designer Outlet’s sustainability credentials with new green spaces, improved water consumption and solar panels, supporting McArthurGlen’s commitment to reducing its impact on the environment. A newly planted garden comprising perennial plants and flowers encircles the leisure complex, creating a protective green belt around the family area that connects to the centre’s surrounding landscape. An integrated irrigation system reuses the water from the swimming pool, while two photovoltaic systems installed on the roofs of the changing rooms and public toilets provide energy from renewable sources.  

 

McArthurGlen’s long-standing partner Hydea designed the masterplan for the Family Entertainment Area, with sector specialistsCarve creating the Playground and Baby Park, and Cemi designing the waterpark.

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British ex-pat, 67, is forced to DESTROY his Spanish home two months after his wife died from cancer

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A British ex-pat has been forced to knock down his £130,000 Spanish home two months after his wife died from cancer.

But the situation for 67-year-old Gurney Davey, from Suffolk, could get worse because he is facing six months in prison after a mayor illegally gave him planning permission for the house.

‘I was distraught at first, my blood pressure was sky high and then I lost my wife,’ Mr Davey said this week as he was demolishing his home near Tolox, Malaga.

Gurney Davey, 67, has been forced to knock down his £130,000 Spanish home two months after his wife died from cancer

Gurney Davey, 67, has been forced to knock down his £130,000 Spanish home two months after his wife died from cancer

Despite Friday’s demolition also costing him €1,600, he added that it had actually come as ‘some sort of relief’ having fought the legal battle since 2004, over the house he built in 2003. 

It was then that legal firm, Manzanares, informed him he would be getting a licence for an ‘almacen’ (or storeroom), which would allow him to build the house.

‘We thought we had done everything right. We got legal advice and went through a lawyer in order to get permission to build the home,’ Davey explained. 

But he was later told that his house was one of around 350 that were illegally given planning permission by the former mayor, Juan Vera, who was eventually handed a prison sentence of his own.

Mr Davey was told his house had to be demolished for himself to avoid a six-month prison sentence, with the news coming just after his wife, Diana, died from bowel cancer at the age of 71.

‘Diana fought breast cancer for six years before bowel cancer – I am sure the stress brought it on.’ 

‘But thankfully it is now over,’ he explained. ‘It has been going on for so long now, I’ve finally come to terms with what needs to be done. 

‘Having it demolished was actually a relief,’ he added.

As he still owns the land, he can still live on it – just not in a house.

Despite Friday's demolition also costing him €1,600, he added that it had actually come as 'some sort of relief' having fought the legal battle since 2004, over the house be built in 2003. Pictured: Mr Davey's home in Spain before it was demolished on Friday

Despite Friday’s demolition also costing him €1,600, he added that it had actually come as ‘some sort of relief’ having fought the legal battle since 2004, over the house be built in 2003. Pictured: Mr Davey’s home in Spain before it was demolished on Friday

Mr Davey was told that his house was one of around 350 that were illegally given planning permission by the former mayor, Juan Vera, who was eventually handed a prison sentence. Pictured: Mr Davey's home in Spain after it was demolished on Friday

Mr Davey was told that his house was one of around 350 that were illegally given planning permission by the former mayor, Juan Vera, who was eventually handed a prison sentence. Pictured: Mr Davey’s home in Spain after it was demolished on Friday

Now, the father-of-three is planning a minimalist life staying in a converted van, so that his five dogs still have the space to roam.

‘This land is my home, it is my life and these dogs are all I have left.’

Whether or not he still faces a prison sentence, is yet to be confirmed.

The ex-pat only found out about the potential six-month sentence when a court document was delivered to a neighbour’s house.

‘I went straight to Tolox town hall with it. They told me I shouldn’t have received it yet,’ he recalled. ‘They said they were going to be sending the notification to me once they had stamped it.’

He had never been told about the court case that followed on from a Guardia Civil denuncia for an ‘illegal build’, but Davey’s two-bed home should never have been built according to the Malaga court.

Now, the father-of-three is planning a minimalist life staying in a converted van, so that his five dogs (pictured) still have the space to roam

Now, the father-of-three is planning a minimalist life staying in a converted van, so that his five dogs (pictured) still have the space to roam

In 2016, and then again in 2017, Davey was ordered to knock down his house, but, in common with a neighbour, he waited for more details.

While his Spanish neighbour, Irene Millan, 29, did eventually hear from the court again, she was given six months to ‘legalise’ her property – an option Davey was never given.

However, his neighbour’s apparent good luck turned into a poisoned chalice.

Having spent €20,000 with the town hall to legalise the dwelling, the court finally refused to accept the new paperwork provided by the council.

Instead, demolition was ordered – which went ahead last week.

To add insult to injury Irene’s 54-year-old father, Manuel Millan, whose name was on the deeds, was also sentenced to six months jail and handed a fine of €6 a day for a year.

Whether or not he still faces a prison sentence, is yet to be confirmed. The ex-pat only found out about the potential six-month sentence when a court document was delivered to a neighbour's house

Whether or not he still faces a prison sentence, is yet to be confirmed. The ex-pat only found out about the potential six-month sentence when a court document was delivered to a neighbour’s house

As he still owns the land, he can still live on it - just not in a house. Pictured: Mr Davey, a former builder, uses a JCB digger to demolish his own home

As he still owns the land, he can still live on it – just not in a house. Pictured: Mr Davey, a former builder, uses a JCB digger to demolish his own home

The couple, originally from Suffolk in the UK, spent £130,000 building their property.

‘It came as a package – a plot with a new home on it.’

Davey admits he and his wife were perhaps naive to follow the advice of their lawyer.

The lawyer, from legal firm Manzanares, told them that planning permission would be applied for as an almacen – or ‘warehouse’.

Mr Davey (pictured) was told his house had to be demolished for himself to avoid a six-month prison sentence, with the news coming just after his wife, Diana, died from bowel cancer at the age of 71

Mr Davey (pictured) was told his house had to be demolished for himself to avoid a six-month prison sentence, with the news coming just after his wife, Diana, died from bowel cancer at the age of 71

This way it would come under the remit of Tolox town hall, which would give permission and later they could ‘legalise’ the property.

The language of one legal letter suggests this would be a mere formality, but the property never got legalised.

In fact, the Tolox mayor of the time, Juan Vera, has since been jailed and fined for his part in a scheme.

In most cases the mayor used the very same ‘lax’ procedure of applying to build an ‘almacen’ to try to keep the prying eyes of the Junta authorities away.

‘We thought that was the way things worked in Spain,’ said Davey, a retired builder. ‘We went to see a lawyer and got advice. It turns out that was not the smart thing to do.

‘Why would we deliberately try to build illegally? It makes no sense that we would sell up everything in the UK and risk it all.’

Mr Davey had earlier said that he was forced to ask the town hall for permission to knock his own property down.

‘I will do it myself. I will borrow a JCB from someone and flatten my home of the past 17 years. I will not let the town hall do it and charge me more money.’

It is not the first time British expats have had their homes demolished in Andalucia, with the Priors, in Almeria, the most famous victims.

They still live in the garage of their house today, over 10 years since the house was knocked down in Vera. 

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Two teenagers died after separate incidents in Dublin and Waterford

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Two teenagers have died after separate incidents in Dublin and Waterford on Wednesday.

Gardaí in Ballyfermot responded to a call at an equestrian centre at Tay Lane, Co Dublin, at about 2pm.

Dublin Fire Brigade and the National Ambulance Service attended the scene and provided medical assistance to a 15-year-old girl who was injured during an exercise event.

She was removed to Children’s Health Ireland at Crumlin, where she later died.

Gardaí said the coroner has been notified. The Health and Safety Authority (HSA) has also been notified and will carry out an examination on Thursday.

Gardaí said investigations are ongoing. A file will be prepared for the Coroner’s Court.

Separately, gardaí and emergency services attended the scene of a workplace accident in Dungarvan, Co Waterford on Wednesday afternoon.

A boy was pronounced dead at the scene.

The HSA has been notified and will carry out an investigation. A file will be prepared for the coroner.

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