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We’re levelling up: North/South house price divide is narrowing

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Somewhere in the latest blizzard of record high house price figures and the surge in sales triggered by the stamp duty holiday, one thing has been overlooked: the great North South divide is decreasing.

A home is still far more expensive in London than Middlesbrough, but the difference is diminishing. 

For example, Zoopla says house prices in the capital rose a meagre 0.3 per cent in the past year, whereas in Middlesbrough they soared 10.06 per cent.

On the rise: Waterfront homes in Scarborough's harbour. Property website Zoopla reports the hottest housing markets are in Yorkshire, Humberside and the North-West

On the rise: Waterfront homes in Scarborough’s harbour. Property website Zoopla reports the hottest housing markets are in Yorkshire, Humberside and the North-West

And the same website reports that the country’s hottest housing markets right now are not in leafy Surrey or posh Central London, but in Yorkshire, Humberside and the North-West, as the pandemic property world undergoes its own ‘levelling up’ exercise.

It’s not just prices. The time between listing a home for sale and a buyer’s offer being accepted in the North of England is now three weeks quicker than in 2019, while the areas boasting the fastest sales are Wigan, Barnsley and Burnley, claims Zoopla. 

Again, contrast that with London, where homes now take two weeks longer to find a buyer than in 2019.

Nor is the trend likely to be a flash in the pan, with estate agency Savills forecasting that the North-West and Yorkshire and the Humber will lead UK house price growth with rises of 6.0 per cent in 2022 and 5.5 per cent in 2023.

And by the end of 2025, Savills predicts the North West will enjoy an eye-watering 28.8 per cent rise overall.

Across the UK, the average increase is set to be 21.1 per cent, while London stubbornly stays in the slow lane with only 12.6 per cent growth.

‘Some of the price rises we have seen were overdue; country prices had lagged well behind London for years and some re-balancing was required,’ says James Greenwood, managing director of the Stacks Property Search buying agency.

There are exceptions to the rule; the biggest of all being Cornwall, where demand has reached a record high since the start of the pandemic.

Tiny St Mawes sits on the south Cornwall coast, lined with holiday homes and fashionable hotels such as the Tresanton and The Idle Rocks.

It has seen the biggest rise in average prices of any seaside town over the past year, jumping nearly 48 per cent from £339,912 to £501,638 — the largest rise in the ‘race for space’ as people have quit the big cities for countryside and coast.

Can Cornwall keep this kind of appeal — and price tag — when homes in the north are still much cheaper?

Josephine Ashby, of John Bray & Partners, one of the county’s top agencies, says: ‘Cornwall has always been popular for its incredible landscapes and coastline. 

There’s a limited supply of property but there’s a broad demographic of buyers, so we believe confidence will remain.’

However, when looked at in terms of the two halves of England, even that stellar house price rise in Cornwall isn’t enough to balance out the much more widespread increases in the North, according to Rightmove’s Tim Bannister.

He says: ‘It’s the regions of Britain further north that are leading the way. While the gap remains large, with average prices in London still 2.9 times higher than those in the North, this ratio is now at its smallest since 2013.’

And he continues: ‘So far 2021 is proving to be the year of the northern mover, not only satisfying their pent-up housing needs, but in doing so also narrowing some of the huge price gap with London.’

Every house differs, but the Office for National Statistics has a comparison table for how much every square metre of ‘house’ costs in different parts of the country.

So a square metre in London’s Westminster costs £16,246, while in Rugby it’s £2,081. In leafy Winchester, it’s £3,910 but in Scarborough, a square metre of house would cost £1,567.

And in East Devon, where there are plenty of holidays homes to inflate prices, you pay £2,605 for a square metre; in South Tyneside it’s a snip at £1,319.

That means, obviously, that in most circumstances you get more space for your money if you head north and you get much less if you buy in the South. But things are changing — and fast.

In recent months, the Government has announced that part of the Treasury will be based in Darlington and some officials from the Ministry of Housing and Communities will move from London to Wolverhampton.

Some of Channel 4 has moved to Leeds and HSBC and Amazon are locating some of their operations to Manchester. The result will be that house prices in these locations will be rising soon.

Thanks to our changing priorities and the pandemic, suddenly things appear much less grim up north. 

On the market… out of the capital 

Lancashire: With four bedrooms and scope for a fifth, this single-storey Victorian home in Rossendale has plenty of character and a walled gardens. Fineandcountry.com, 01706 531 315. £500,000

Lancashire: With four bedrooms and scope for a fifth, this single-storey Victorian home in Rossendale has plenty of character and a walled gardens. Fineandcountry.com, 01706 531 315. £500,000

North Yorkshire: This five-bedroom, grade II-listed house, formerly two cottages, is in the hamlet of Low Row. There are lots of walks in surrounding Swaledale. Savills.com, 01904 617 820. £550,000

North Yorkshire: This five-bedroom, grade II-listed house, formerly two cottages, is in the hamlet of Low Row. There are lots of walks in surrounding Swaledale. Savills.com, 01904 617 820. £550,000

Cumbria: There are eight bedrooms in this home in Kirkby Stephen. The house has three acres and sits in the Yorkshire Dales National Park. Knightfrank.com, 01423 429 050. £950,000

Cumbria: There are eight bedrooms in this home in Kirkby Stephen. The house has three acres and sits in the Yorkshire Dales National Park. Knightfrank.com, 01423 429 050. £950,000

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More than 9,000 artists apply for universal basic income scheme

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More than 9,000 artists have applied for a new dedicated basic income scheme which will see successful applicants receive €325 a week.

Minister for the Arts Catherine Martin said there had been a “huge level of enthusiasm” for the scheme and described the plans as a “watershed moment” for the sector.

Assessment of the applications has started and the process will take a number of weeks given the high volume received.

The basic income scheme was launched in April when the Government announced the payment would be made available to 2,000 applicants in total.

The Coalition has said the objective of the scheme is to address the earnings instability that can be associated with the intermittent and sometimes project-based nature of work in the arts.

The process for selecting successful applicants will be non-competitive, so once a person satisfies the eligibility criteria they will be included in a randomised selection process to pick the successful 2,000. It is understood unsuccessful but eligible applicants will be invited to participate in a control group to help with an appraisal of the pilot scheme.

A basic income for artists was the main recommendation of the Arts and Culture Recovery Taskforce set up in 2020 to examine how the sector could adapt and recover from the crisis caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The scheme opened for applications on April 12th and closed on Thursday, May 12th.

The Department of Arts said the highest number of applications came from those in the visual arts sector, followed by those involved in music, then film and then literature.

‘Watershed moment’

Speaking to The Irish Times, Ms Martin said it represented “a watershed moment in the funding of artistic practice in Ireland”.

“The new measure makes a statement about our values as a nation – that the voices of artists have been heard and that the arts matter. This is a unique opportunity to research the impact a basic income could have on the arts and to provide the evidence base for a permanent support.

“I am very pleased with the huge level of enthusiasm for the basic income for the arts pilot scheme and am delighted that over 9,000 artists and creative arts workers were willing to participate in this innovate research project.”

Mr Martin said the scheme “heralds a new approach to the way the State funds and recognises her artists and I look forward to seeing the data and findings of the research during the pilot”.

There had been significant interest in the new scheme for artists from other countries, media and practitioners, which indicated the enthusiasm in the arts globally for the move, the Minister added.

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Neinver begins construction of Alpes The Style Outlets (FR)

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NEINVER has resumed construction works at Alpes The Style Outlets, which once completed will mark the company’s 17th outlet centre across 6 European countries. The company broke ground last March and works are advancing on schedule, with the development of three platforms that will house the main building and car park all well underway. Alpes The Style Outlets, which will be NEINVER’s second outlet centre in France, boasts an exceptional location near the Swiss border, close to Geneva and next to key tourist destinations. It will feature 20,400m² of GLA, over 90 boutiques and restaurants providing both local and international cuisine.

 

“France is a strategic market for NEINVER. Our aim is to develop and operate this centre with the local community firmly involved, providing it with an exciting leisure option, while also contributing to improving the region’s economic and social development,” commented Daniel Losantos, NEINVER Chief Executive Officer. “Outlet centres have shown continued resilience, and this development is a clear vote of confidence in the sector and in the opportunity the site offers to brands to further grow their business.”

 

Located 25 minutes from Geneva, the scheme will offer 1,350 parking spaces and will have direct access to the A-40 motorway, a key transport link between France and Switzerland and to popular winter destinations. It will also be easily accessible by high-speed train thanks to the Paris to Geneva connection, with a TGV station located just 5 minutes from the future centre.

 

“We are seeing keen interest from our brand partners in this one-of-a-kind project due to its exciting retail proposition and its unique location, with great brands such as Adidas, Guess and Levi’s already joining the scheme”, said Joan Rouras, NEINVER Leasing and Retail Director. The centre is exceptionally well located in the Grand Genève area, which enjoys a strong purchasing power and high levels of tourism. The region has also seen a spike in population growth in recent years and is expected to continue increasing significantly in the coming years. To attract these customers, we are designing a destination that will feature an exclusive retail mix of sought-after international brands and the best of what the local area has to offer – a compelling offer for any fashion lover or avid sports fan.”

 

Finely tuned to the local landscape, Alpes The Style Outlets will offer an avant-garde atmosphere, combining natural materials such as wood and stone for a contemporary look. In this open mall concept designed in an “Alpine village” style with chalet-style shops and terraces, NEINVER plans to create a promenade destination and a relaxing day-out providing much more than just shopping. Lyon-based SEV Architectures will project monitor the construction under the coordination and supervision of Arcadis, leading global design and consultancy.

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Tiny home in Hackney is up for sale for £1.3m

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Is this the most expensive tiny house for sale in Britain? Family home in Hackney is less than THREE yards wide and is listed for £1.3m

  • Tiny house for sale measures less than three metres wide, two bedrooms and is for sale for £1.3m
  • Property is in London’s fashionable Hackney and extends across four floors, with a bathroom in the basement 
  • Included in the price of the East London end of terrace is a south-facing garden and off-street parking

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It measures less than three metres wide, meaning it takes just a few steps to cross from one side of the house to the other.

And yet it is accompanied by quite a lengthy price tag, as it is on the market for £1.3million – a massive four times the average value of a home in Britain.

The property in London is an end of terrace family abode that extends across four levels, with a bedroom on each of the top two levels.

This end of terrace property in East London's fashionable Hackney is for sale for £1.3million via Dexters estate agents

This end of terrace property in East London’s fashionable Hackney is for sale for £1.3million via Dexters estate agents

The house is less than three metres wide and comes with a kitchen and separate living room on the main ground level

The house is less than three metres wide and comes with a kitchen and separate living room on the main ground level

There is a also a compact kitchen and a separate living room on the ground floor with a modern bathroom in the basement.

At its widest point on the first floor, the width of the house is just 2.72 metres, which is less than the width of some carriages on the London Underground.

In total, the property has 83.2 square metres of space, which is the equivalent of 895 square feet.

It boasts a south-facing garden that has a narrow but lawn area, as well as highly desirable off-street parking.

The property extends across four storeys and has 83.2 square metres of space, which is the equivalent of 895 square feet

The property extends across four storeys and has 83.2 square metres of space, which is the equivalent of 895 square feet

The family home is on Richmond Road in Hackney, which is a fashionable part of East London and close to several stations

The family home is on Richmond Road in Hackney, which is a fashionable part of East London and close to several stations

There are two double bedrooms, with this one including wooden floors, a large sash window and a working space

There are two double bedrooms, with this one including wooden floors, a large sash window and a working space

It is being sold by Dexters estate agents, which describes the property as ‘truly unique’ and in ‘one of the most exciting areas of London’.

It is on Richmond Road in East London’s fashionable Hackney, which has plenty of open green spaces as well as a lively bar and restaurant scene.

It is a two minute walk from London Fields, close to Broadway Market and less than a mile from Dalston Junction and Hackney Downs overground stations.

The average price of a property sold in Hackney in the past year is £701,333, according to property website Zoopla.

It is more than double the average value of a home sold in Britain during the same period, which stands at £326,176.

The interior design includes this staircase positioned at an angle to make the most of the restricted width of the property

The interior design includes this staircase positioned at an angle to make the most of the restricted width of the property

The living room has plenty of light, with large glass doors spanning the width of the property that open out onto the garden

The living room has plenty of light, with large glass doors spanning the width of the property that open out onto the garden

The garden space has a narrow but long lawn area, edged with boarders that includes some planting and mature trees

The garden space has a narrow but long lawn area, edged with boarders that includes some planting and mature trees

The living room has glass windows at either end and space for a sofa and chairs when entertaining friends and family

The living room has glass windows at either end and space for a sofa and chairs when entertaining friends and family

At the end of the garden, there is a dedicated outside dining area that can be enjoyed during the sunny summer months

At the end of the garden, there is a dedicated outside dining area that can be enjoyed during the sunny summer months

Daniel Copley, of Zoopla, said: ‘This one of a kind converted coach houses benefits from an enviable location right on the doorstep of Broadway Market, London Fields Lido and Dalston’s bustling nightlife. 

‘The property itself has a bright and airy interior with the showstopper undoubtedly being the bespoke steel and timber staircase which connects the property’s four floors.’ 

The modern bathroom has a white suite, with matching walls and a grey floor with a bath tub in the centre of the space

The modern bathroom has a white suite, with matching walls and a grey floor with a bath tub in the centre of the space

The London property has been extended at the rear to include a living room that overlooks the private outdoor space

The London property has been extended at the rear to include a living room that overlooks the private outdoor space

There is a child's bedroom that features wooden flooring, a large sash window, painted brickwork and a bookcase

There is a child’s bedroom that features wooden flooring, a large sash window, painted brickwork and a bookcase

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