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Which rural and coastal areas have seen a surge in property interest in 2020?

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The rural and coastal areas that have seen the biggest surge in online property viewings this year have been revealed – with the Somerset village where TV’s Sarah Beeny has created her new life in the country topping the list.

Bruton in Somerset leads the way, with a 72 per cent increase in buyer searches, according to the list compiled by Rightmove. 

Locations close to the coast and in more rural areas make up the entire top ten locations that have seen the biggest rise in people searching for homes on Rightmove.

Bruton is followed by Pitlochry in Scotland, up 50 per cent, and Aylesford in Kent, which has seen a 48 per cent increase in views on the property website. 

Sarah and her family (pictured) have moved from their London home (pictured) to live in the countryside

Sarah and her family (pictured) have moved from their London home (pictured) to live in the countryside

Bruton has become a well-known feature of fans of Sarah Beeny’s new television show that follows her move out of London last year and the building of her new home on the outskirts of the Somerset village.

After selling her London home after advertising it for £3.5million, she bought a 220 acre farm near Bruton.

The data compares 2019 with this year, although this year’s data only runs up to December 14. 

The Channel 4 show, called Sarah Beeny’s New Life in the Country, sees the home renovation queen, her artist husband and four sons adapt to country living.

The theme of moving to the country has been a big feature of the housing market this year amid the pandemic.

People have sought more space both indoors and outdoors following the first lockdown that saw people restricted to their homes for hours on end every day.

The top five places with the biggest annual increases in buyer searches are completed by Salcombe, Devon and Lightwater, Surrey. 

Bruton in Somerset leads the way, with a 72 per cent increase in buyer searches, according to the list compiled by Rightmove

Bruton in Somerset leads the way, with a 72 per cent increase in buyer searches, according to the list compiled by Rightmove

TOP 10 RURAL AND COUNTRY AREAS WITH BIGGEST ANNUAL INCREASES IN BUYER SEARCHES
Place Area Annual % change in buyer searches
Bruton Somerset 72%
Pitlochry Perthshire 50%
Aylesford Kent 48%
Salcombe Devon 47%
Lightwater Surrey 46%
Dartmouth Devon 46%
Henfield West Sussex 39%
Sturminster Newton Dorset 39%
Hayling Island Hampshire 39%
Henley-on-Thames Oxfordshire 39%
Source: Rightmove     
Sarah Beeny is building her new home on the outskirts of the Somerset village of Bruton (pictured)

Sarah Beeny is building her new home on the outskirts of the Somerset village of Bruton (pictured)

Attracting attention: This five-bed house in Bruton is for sale via estate agents Lodestone Property, for £850,000

Attracting attention: This five-bed house in Bruton is for sale via estate agents Lodestone Property, for £850,000

A move to Scotland? This five-bed house in Pitlochry is for sale via estate agents Next Home for offers over £680,000

A move to Scotland? This five-bed house in Pitlochry is for sale via estate agents Next Home for offers over £680,000

This eight-bed house in Salcombe is for sale via estate agents Luscombe Maye for offers in excess of £2.5million

This eight-bed house in Salcombe is for sale via estate agents Luscombe Maye for offers in excess of £2.5million

Visiting the area? This five-bed house in Barnard Castle is for sale via estate agents GSC Grays for £360,000

Visiting the area? This five-bed house in Barnard Castle is for sale via estate agents GSC Grays for £360,000

What other trends were there? 

Back in May there was a more fleeting trend when Barnard Castle saw daily searches leap 144 per cent, after it was reported that Boris Johnson’s former chief adviser visited the area during the initial lockdown period.

In terms of the nation’s rental hotspots, the top three places in Britain that have seen the biggest annual increases in rental searches are Cambridge at 34 per cent, Stockport at 31 per cent, and Rye at 27 per cent.

Rightmove’s review of the year found that seven of the top 10 areas that have seen the biggest rises in the number of sales being agreed in the past 12 months have populations under 10,000, further highlighting the popularity of rural locations.

The top local markets with the biggest year-on-year increases in sales agreed are Welwyn in Hertfordshire, which saw an increase of 75 per cent, Woodbridge in Suffolk, up 69 per cent, Llanelli in Wales – which is up 65 per cent.

The top five local markets also include Stockbridge in Hampshire, which is up 60 per cent, and Malmesbury in Wiltshire, which is up 54 per cent.

This five-bed house in Llanelli is for sale via estate agents John Francis for £550,000

This five-bed house in Llanelli is for sale via estate agents John Francis for £550,000

TOP 10 BIGGEST ANNUAL INCREASES IN SALES AGREED
Place Region Annual % change in sales agreed
Welwyn Hertfordshire 75%
Woodbridge Suffolk 69%
Llanelli Wales 65%
Stockbridge Hampshire 60%
Malmesbury Wiltshire 54%
Frinton-on-Sea Essex 54%
Hayling Island Hampshire 52%
Buntingford Hertfordshire 52%
Ware Hertfordshire 51%
Hassocks West Sussex 49%
Source: Rightmove  

For prices, it’s suburban areas in the North West near Liverpool and Manchester that saw the biggest growth this year.

Eccles, home of the iconic cakes and located west of Manchester, has seen a bigger annual increase in average asking prices than anywhere else in Britain, up 16 per cent. The national average increase is 6.6 per cent, according to Rightmove.

It said average asking prices in the town are up from £184,299 last year to £213,706 this year.

Six other locations across Greater Manchester and Merseyside complete the top 10 property price hotspots in 2020, with Wavertree up 12.2 per cent and Chadderton up 10.9 per cent, taking second and third places respectively.

This five-bed house in Eccles is for sale via estate agents Indlu for offers in excess of £600,000

This five-bed house in Eccles is for sale via estate agents Indlu for offers in excess of £600,000

For traffic, the busiest days of the year are usually recorded in the first few months, but the temporary closure and subsequent mini-boom from May onwards, plus the introduction of the temporary stamp duty holiday in July, saw Rightmove record over 200 of its busiest ever days in 2020.

Daily visits surpassed eight million for the first time on July 8, when the stamp duty holiday was announced. And within half an hour of the announcement, traffic increased 22 per cent.

Rightmove’s Tim Bannister said: ‘This year we’ve seen an uplift in the number of homemovers escaping to the country and we think this trend will continue for now as people show their willingness to make significant life changes.

‘The data highlights just how influential the unexpected events of this year have been in shaping the nation’s housing priorities, with many buyers determined to swap city streets for rural and coastal retreats.’

Glynis Frew, of Hunters Estate Agents, said: ‘2020 has given many people time to reset and reprioritise, with a focus on lifestyle. From a better work-life balance to the need for outside space, we have a renewed sense of what matters to us.

‘For some, this means finally making that dream rural or coastal move, safe in the knowledge that they can work remotely for the majority of the time while coming into the office a few times a month.

‘For those in certain digital-led industries, the possibilities are almost limitless – a good Wi-Fi connection is all they need.’

TOP 10 BIGGEST ANNUAL INCREASES IN AVERAGE ASKING PRICES
Place Region Average asking prices 2020 Average asking prices 2019 % change
Eccles Greater Manchester £213,706 £184,299 16.00%
Wavertree Merseyside £169,915 £151,448 12.20%
Chadderton Greater Manchester £170,700 £153,896 10.90%
Middleton Greater Manchester £175,369 £158,308 10.80%
Sowerby Bridge West Yorkshire £210,897 £190,415 10.80%
Halifax West Yorkshire £152,307 £137,727 10.60%
Worsley Greater Manchester £237,665 £215,418 10.30%
Morecambe Lancashire £152,805 £138,771 10.10%
Wallasey Merseyside £168,575 £153,586 9.80%
Royton Greater Manchester £186,819 £170,392 9.60%
Source: Rightmove       

Richard Speedy, of estate agent Strutt & Parker, added: ‘This year in the West Country we’ve seen around three times the regular number of applicants, and in the last weeks of 2020 are witnessing at least double the number of interested buyers compared to the same period in 2019.

‘This year, people have become increasingly curious as to what they can get in the countryside, with many finally deciding to take the plunge.

‘Coastal locations have seen a boom in popularity as people look for a change in lifestyle. 

This year in the West Country we’ve seen around three times the regular number of applicants, and in the last weeks of 2020 are witnessing at least double the number of interested buyers compared to the same period in 2019.

Richard Speedy – Strutt & Parker 

‘Hotspots along the coast allow residents to enjoy activities on the water, access the beach, and brilliant coastal walking while also maintaining the ever-important tight-knit community aspect. 

‘With the majority unable to travel abroad this year, the staycation trend has highlighted the benefits of the British countryside and coastline, leading to a surge in interest from first and second-home buyers, particularly in Devon and Cornwall, wanting their own slice.

‘What’s quite interesting, in the last couple of months, is the increasing number of professionals in the financial sector being given a greater amount of flexibility when it comes to working location. 

‘Many have been given the option of working remotely, with required time in the office limited to just a couple of days a month.

‘As a result, a rising number of relatively high net worth individuals and their families are heading to the South West in search of the rural, or coastal, idyll. 

‘Priorities have changed – being within a one hour’s radius of London is no longer a must-have requirement and, as a result, people are looking to buy larger homes than they would have previously considered, with most requiring one, if not two, home office spaces to be able to work remotely.’

Tom Parker, of Zoopla, said: ‘More space and a desirable location have been the primary drivers of home moves as a result of lockdown measures, with households across the country making a once in a lifetime reassessment of their property and whether it lives up to what they want and need.’ 

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Oscar-winning La La Land star Emma Stone places three-bedroom Malibu home up for sale for $4.2M

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Oscar-winning La La Land star Emma Stone places three-bedroom Malibu home up for sale for $4.2 million

  • Stone, 33, purchased the oceanfront property for $3.25 in 2018
  • The home spans more than 1,700 sq. feet over 3.2 acres of property in the luxe Southern California area 
  • The home includes exquisite views of the Los Angeles cityscape, Pacific Ocean and Catalina Island 
  • Stone also owns houses in Los Angeles and Austin, Texas; and an apartment in Manhattan 

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Emma Stone is looking to sell her three-bedroom, two-bathroom home in Malibu, California for $4.2 million.

The 33-year-old actress has listed the mid-century bungalow home on the real estate market, about four years after she purchased the oceanfront property for $3.25 in 2018, The Wall Street Journal reported.

The one-story home belonging to the Oscar-winning La La Land star spans more than 1,700 sq. feet over 3.2 acres of property in the luxe Southern California area.

The latest: Emma Stone, 33, is looking to sell her three-bedroom, two-bathroom home in Malibu, California for $4.2 million. The Academy Award-winning actress was snapped in Athens, Greece earlier this month

The latest: Emma Stone, 33, is looking to sell her three-bedroom, two-bathroom home in Malibu, California for $4.2 million. The Academy Award-winning actress was snapped in Athens, Greece earlier this month 

Sotheby’s International Realty listing agent Eric Lavey, who is the listing agent on the property, described the home to the paper as ‘a classic 1958 California Midcentury hanging over the Pacific’ and ‘the Malibu beach house they would choose for a Nancy Meyers movie.’

The Scottsdale, Arizona-born beauty’s home includes exquisite views of the Los Angeles cityscape, Pacific Ocean and Catalina Island, and is within walking distance of nearby hiking trails and the beach.

The Cruella star’s house, which has been renovated in recent years, has a state-of-the-art kitchen with gold accents.

The living room of the abode is centered around a fireplace encased in a white brick column, as floor-to-ceiling windows in the home allow for sunlight to pour in.

The living room of the abode is centered around a fireplace encased in a white brick column

The living room of the abode is centered around a fireplace encased in a white brick column

The home boasts amazing views of the Pacific Ocean via multiple angles and vantage points

The home boasts amazing views of the Pacific Ocean via multiple angles and vantage points 

The home features a dining area outdoors which is sequestered by eucalyptus and yucca trees

The home features a dining area outdoors which is sequestered by eucalyptus and yucca trees

A dining room in the home sits adjacent to an outdoor patio

A dining room in the home sits adjacent to an outdoor patio 

A bathroom in the home has a standalone bathtub along with a rain shower.

The home features a dining area outdoors which is sequestered by eucalyptus and yucca trees, and a patio with a panoramic view of the coast.

Other amenities the home features includes a recreation room and art studio.

The Cruella star's house, which has been renovated in recent years, has a state-of-the-art kitchen

The Cruella star’s house, which has been renovated in recent years, has a state-of-the-art kitchen 

The home is made of white brick and wood with gold accents and state-of-the-art appliances

The home is made of white brick and wood with gold accents and state-of-the-art appliances 

A dine-in area sits adjacent to the kitchen in the stunning beach home

A dine-in area sits adjacent to the kitchen in the stunning beach home 

In the years since she acquired the home, Stone in 2020 wed writer Dave McCary, 36, and the couple welcomed a baby daughter in March of 2021.

According to the paper, Stone also owns houses in Los Angeles and Austin, Texas; and an apartment in Manhattan.

Lavey told the paper that he expected the house to sell quickly, as there is a scarcity of homes in that price range in Malibu, and residents of other well-heeled Los Angeles locales such as Beverly Hills or Holmby Hills are partial to purchasing smaller beach homes.

A master bedroom in the home outlooks a panoramic view of the Pacific Ocean

A master bedroom in the home outlooks a panoramic view of the Pacific Ocean 

Floor-to-ceiling windows in the home allow for sunlight to pour into the home

Floor-to-ceiling windows in the home allow for sunlight to pour into the home 

A bathroom in the home includes a rain shower and standalone tub

A bathroom in the home includes a rain shower and standalone tub

A shower in the bathroom has a glass door with gold fixtures

A shower in the bathroom has a glass door with gold fixtures 

A brick-lined patio area boasts a stunning view of the Pacific Ocean

A brick-lined patio area boasts a stunning view of the Pacific Ocean 

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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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