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Rents rise 11% in the countryside and suburbs compared to 2% in cities, says Rightmove

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Tenants have shifted their hunger for a new home to the countryside and the suburbs rather than the city, creating a big gap in rental demand.

Rental asking prices in out-of-town and suburban areas have jumped 11 per cent, compared to 2 per cent in urban areas, Rightmove data shows.

It compared the asking prices for more than 300,000 rental homes on its website in February 2020 with August 2021.

This three-bedroom house in Upper Sheringham, Norfolk, can be rented for £1,100 a month via Brown & Co letting agents

This three-bedroom house in Upper Sheringham, Norfolk, can be rented for £1,100 a month via Brown & Co letting agents

London and city locations are seeing less demand than out-of-town areas from tenants

London and city locations are seeing less demand than out-of-town areas from tenants 

The shift follows the trend seen in the homebuyer market where demand for rural homes soared during the pandemic’s race for space and remote working.

Rightmove said that in the rental market, average asking prices in surburban areas had reached £1,041 a month, up from £940 in February 2020, an increase of £101. 

At the same time, rents in rural areas are up from £1,141 a month to £1,264 a month, an increase of £123.

Meanwhile, rental asking prices in urban areas are up by £25 during the same period, from £1,347 to £1,372.

Demand for more outdoor space among tenants has seen greater competition for rental properties in the countryside and the suburbs.

Rightmove said the number of homes available to rent in the suburbs has dropped 45 per cent compared to pre-pandemic levels. At the same time, the figure is down 61 per cent in rural areas.

It said tenant demand for each rental property in the suburbs has risen 155 per cent compared to pre-pandemic levels and is up a huge 224 per cent in rural locations.

Only 3 per cent of the rental properties listed on Rightmove are now in rural locations

Only 3 per cent of the rental properties listed on Rightmove are now in rural locations

This two-bedroom house in Mount Ambrose, Cornwall,is available to rent for £70 a month via letting agents Trelawny

This two-bedroom house in Mount Ambrose, Cornwall,is available to rent for £70 a month via letting agents Trelawny 

Darren Ellis, of lettings agent Bradleys Group, said: ‘Across our offices, which cover Somerset, Devon and Cornwall, the demand for properties in rural and semi-rural areas has reached fever pitch, with multiple applications for almost every property since the start of the year.

‘As a result, tenants are offering above market prices to secure a property, and landlords can choose the application that best suits their position. 

‘The shortage of available homes, whether it be flats or houses, means landlords are experiencing short void periods. 

‘While the market cooled very slightly towards the end of the summer, this appears to only reflect the lack of property, and not the demand from tenants, so it is likely this market will carry on for the foreseeable months over winter.’

This three-bedroom detached bungalow in Roselea, in Scotland, is to let for £750 a month by agents Galbraith

This three-bedroom detached bungalow in Roselea, in Scotland, is to let for £750 a month by agents Galbraith

Rightmove went on to explain that 64 per cent of the rental properties listed on its website are now in urban locations, up from 48 per cent since February 2020.

The proportion of available properties that are in the suburbs has dropped from 46 per cent to 33 per cent, while rural areas have declined from 6 per cent to just 3 per cent.

Competition for available rental properties has also increased in urban areas compared to before the pandemic – although significantly less than in suburban and rural areas – at 82 per cent.

The high levels of competition for rental homes in the countryside means that the average rental property in a rural location finds a tenant 18 days more quickly than before the pandemic.

Suburban properties find a tenant two weeks more quickly, and urban rentals find a tenant five days faster.

This three-bedroom semi-detached house in Aldercroft, Cumbria, is available to rent for £900 a month via letting agents Milne Moser

This three-bedroom semi-detached house in Aldercroft, Cumbria, is available to rent for £900 a month via letting agents Milne Moser

Tim Bannister, of Rightmove, said: ‘A notable impact of the pandemic on the rental market has been the change in distribution of available properties between urban and suburban areas.

‘While the proportion of homes available to rent in urban and suburban areas remained steady in the years leading up to the pandemic, the data shows a significant change in 2020 as more renters looked to the suburbs.

Letting agents report that prices have increased amid fierce competition for rental homes in rural locations.  

‘A desire to relocate and move to a home with more space has meant that demand has greatly outstripped supply in these areas and also in rural locations, which in turn is propping up asking rents.

‘Now that more people are returning to offices at least part of the week, we’d expect to see greater demand for urban rentals over the coming months as more people need to be closer to work. 

‘However, the scale of change we’ve seen over the course of the pandemic means this shift isn’t going to happen overnight, and it will be interesting to continue to monitor the lasting impacts of the pandemic on demand in the rental market for the rest of the year.’

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These little-known towns and villages have become pandemic property hotspots

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Moving to the country became every city-dweller’s daydream during Covid, with some 700,000 people quitting London for the good life.

Cornwall, the most searched for place on Rightmove, was a favourite destination, while searches for the Cotswolds more than doubled. 

Yet it wasn’t just these two expensive destinations that saw their popularity soar.

Escape to the country: Llangollen on the River Dee in Denbighshire, North Wales, is popular with tourists

Escape to the country: Llangollen on the River Dee in Denbighshire, North Wales, is popular with tourists

Estate agents Hamptons discovered four relatively anonymous regions which, due to Covid, have become property hotspots, recording staggering price increases for 2020-2021.

In demand Daventry: Price growth 17 per cent

Although a pleasant market town, it’s unlikely anyone would describe Daventry, in West Northamptonshire, as a ‘beauty’. Could Hamptons have been mistaken when they named it the No 1 hotspot?

‘Absolutely not,’ says Natasha Cawsey, of Laurence Tremayne estate agents. ‘Our figures show growth of about 30 per cent in the past 18 months.

‘Daventry has good amenities, yet prices are well below those in neighbouring Oxfordshire and Warwickshire.’

The villages outside Daventry are also an attraction. Braunston, on the hill above the two canals, has a busy marina and Everdon is lovely.

‘These gorgeous villages are 30 per cent cheaper than the Cotswolds,’ says property search agent Jonathan Harrington. ‘They have excellent communications, making them ideal for people who work from home.’

Desired Denbighshire: Price growth 15 per cent

The remarkable price growth in Denbighshire, a low-profile county in North Wales extending inland from the Irish Sea, is largely down to Covid.

‘Nearly all my buyers in the past 18 months have been southerners in search of open space,’ says Mark Gilbertson of Fine & Country. 

‘They can walk out of their doors here and meet nobody, which makes them feel safe.’ 

Ruthin has been described as ‘the most charming small town in Wales’ by National Trust chairman Simon Jenkins. 

Llangollen, with its colourful craft on the canal and River Dee, is popular with tourists.

Denbighshire has become so popular, according to Gilbertson, that some wealthy buyers hire helicopters in their rush to view homes like this.

Rutland rockets: Price growth 14 per cent

It may be England’s smallest county, tucked away in the East Midlands, but Rutland’s property prices have boomed since the lockdowns.

‘Lots of our buyers have looked first in the Cotswolds,’ says Jan von Draczek, of Fine & Country estate agents. 

‘Finding nothing suitable for sale they spread their nets wider and discover Rutland.’

Rutland Water, the largest reservoir in England, is a popular with bird watchers and used for watersports and fishing. 

Rutland Water, the largest reservoir in England, is a popular with bird watchers and used for watersports and fishing

Rutland Water, the largest reservoir in England, is a popular with bird watchers and used for watersports and fishing

Villages are speckled with stone cottages under roofs of collyweston slate.

Barrowden, with its Grade II-listed church, is charming while Exton with its green overlooked by the Fox & Hounds pub is pure chocolate box. 

Much of Rutland is within easy reach of Peterborough, 50 minutes from King’s Cross.

Vale of Glamorgan value: Price growth 14 per cent

Drive west along the M4 and you won’t find a signpost for the Vale of Glamorgan, yet this strip of land to the west of Cardiff has seen the most dramatic property price appreciation in Wales.

‘The Vale has always been home for businessmen based in Cardiff,’ says Robert Calcaterra, of HRT estate agents. ‘Now we are also getting incomers from London who snap up the £1 million-plus homes.’

Cowbridge — with its hotel, The Bear, where Tom Jones stops for a pint when he is home — oozes affluence and nearby you find pretty villages like Bonvilston, St Hilary and Llantwit Major before you hit the beautiful Heritage Coast. 

Be warned: 70 per cent of homes advertised are under offer in this booming market. 

On the market… and in demand 

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Leinster hoping lightning won’t strike twice for Connacht at the RDS

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Leinster v Connacht,  RDS, Friday, 7.45pm – Live TG4 and Premier Sports

Lightning, goes the saying, tends not to strike twice, and Leinster tend not to lose twice in a row. Although it did happen last April/May against Munster in the Rainbow Cup and then La Rochelle, it has never happened to them at the RDS.

In making 10 changes in personnel to an all-international XV following last week’s defeat by Ulster, as well as restoring Rónan Kelleher and Andrew Porter to the bench, Leinster have made their intentions clear. A week out from their December marquee fixture against Bath at the Aviva Stadium, they are pretty much as locked and loaded as they could be.

Jamison Gibson-Park came through training this week and should be available for next week. Johnny Sexton and Jack Conan might return the following week away to Montpellier.

As James Ryan is still adhering to World Rugby guidelines, which has included seeing an independent concussion consultant, there is no clear timeframe on his return.

Beaten here by Connacht last January, Leinster won’t lack for motivation. “The guys were pretty gutted afterwards last week because it only takes the smallest percentage to be off against a team that’s highly motivated, like Ulster were, and like we know Connacht will be this week, exactly the same,” said Leo Cullen on Thursday.

“It’s been a short week for us to prepare but we just need to get going now into this block and get excited about the challenge, and playing in front of a home crowd. There’s plenty of doom and gloom out there in the world at the moment, as we know, so it’s getting back and creating that connection with our supporters, and going out and doing great things on a rugby pitch, and that’s what the team wants to do. I’m sure that’s what the fans that turn up and pay good money to watch the team play, that’s what they want to see as well.”

Three changes

Connacht arrive on the back of sparkling bonus-point wins either side of the Autumn Series hiatus over Ulster and the Ospreys. Andy Friend has made three changes, promoting centre Peter Robb, lock Oisín Dowling and Eoghan Masterson, who replaces the injured Paul Boyle, with Jarrad Butler moving to eight.

Ulster won here with a restricted if well-executed game plan, playing territory and retaining possession, before upping their line speed in forcing errors from their misfiring hosts.

But true to Friend’s mantra of fast/relentless/adaptable, Connacht are committed to their ambitious ball-in-hand brand of rugby. Jack Carty, one of five internationals in Connacht’s side, has a liking for this venue, having scored 39 points on his last two visits here. In December 2018 he contributed handsomely to a 29-12 lead with 12 minutes remaining before Porter completed Leinster’s late three-try salvo in overtime after 41 phases, while last time Carty scored 25 points in their 35-24 win.

Yet to put last January’s win in context, it is Connacht’s only victory in the last six clashes between the two; it was sandwiched by Leinster twice running up a half century against them, and it was their only win on Leinster soil since September 2002.

Accordingly, Paddy Power makes Leinster 1-10 favourites, with Connacht 6-1 to spring another surprise.

LEINSTER: H Keenan; J Larmour, G Ringrose, R Henshaw, J Lowe; H Byrne, L McGrath (capt); C Healy, D Sheehan, M Ala’alatoa; R Baird, D Toner; R Ruddock, J van der Flier, C Doris.

Replacements: R Kelleher, A Porter, V Abdaladze, J Murphy, M Deegan, N McCarthy, R Byrne, TO’Brien.

CONNACHT: O McNulty; A Wootton, S Arnold, P Robb, M Hansen; J Carty (capt), K Marmion; M Burke, D Heffernan, F Bealham; O Dowling, U Dillane; E Masterson, C Oliver, J Butler.

Replacements: S Delahunt, J Duggan, J Aungier, L Fifita, C Prendergast, C Blade, C Fitzgerald, T Farrell.

Referee: Chris Busby (IRFU)

Forecast: Leinster to win.

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‘I was so proud to be Navajo and so proud to be Irish’

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“For the first time in my lifetime my two cultures were intertwined in the most beautiful way … I was so proud to be Navajo and so proud to be Irish.”

Doreen McPaul was speaking as she received a Presidential Distinguished Service Award for the Irish Abroad for 2021. President Higgins granted the awards to 11 people at a ceremony in Áras an Uachtaráin on December 2nd.

McPaul, of Irish and Navajo heritage, is attorney general for the Navajo Nation. Her award, under the category of charitable works, is in recognition of her fundraising for the Navajo, who experienced extreme hardship during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Her efforts led to a collaboration with the Irish Cultural Centre and McClelland Library in Phoenix, Arizona, which gathered more than $30,000 worth of donated supplies to assist the Navajo Nation at the peak of the pandemic.

“The Navajo Nation was so devastated by Covid-19, as a culture and as a community. [It] was really tragic and stressful, and we worked literally non-stop. The highlight of this was talking to people from all over the world …. Specifically with Ireland, we had this huge outpouring of support, and that was really overwhelming because of my own dual heritage and growing up as a half-Navajo half-Irish girl,” she told The Irish Times.

“As soon as people learned that the Navajo Nation attorney general was part-Irish, people reached out to me and claimed me as their own and invited me to all these things and celebrated my dual heritage in a way I’ve never experienced before. Literally they put me on the highest pedestal and that’s what this award signifies to me.”

A graduate of Princeton University, Doreen McPaul has worked as a tribal attorney for 20 years and has spent two years serving as attorney general. “I didn’t know I was nominated for the award first of all. So when the Irish council called to let me know I would be receiving a notice of the award, I literally cried.”

In all, 11 people received awards on Thursday, in a variety of fields. They were: Arts, Culture and Sport: Susan Feldman (USA), Roy Foster (Britain) and Br Colm O’Connell (Kenya). Business and Education: Sr Orla Treacy (South Sudan). Charitable Works: Doreen Nanibaa McPaul (USA), Phyllis Morgan-Fann and Jim O’Hara (Britain). Irish Community Support: Adrian Flannelly and Billy Lawless (USA). Peace, Reconciliation & Development: Bridget Brownlow (Canada). Science, Technology & Innovation: Susan Hopkins (Britain).

Colm Brophy, Minister of State for Overseas Development Aid and Diaspora said: “As Minister of State for the Diaspora I am aware of the profound impact our global family has had around the world in a variety of fields. There were 107 nominations for these awards this year, and the level and breadth of the achievements of the people nominated are, by any measure, remarkable.

The contribution of the Irish abroad has been immense, and the diversity of their achievements in their many walks of life, can be seen in this year’s 11 awardees.”

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