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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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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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Tritax EuroBox acquires Swedish logistics property for €47m

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Tritax EuroBox continues to expand its presence in the Swedish market with a €47m acquisition. The asset held freehold has a total gross internal area of approximately 28,900m² and comprises two purpose-built logistics facilities (one of 16,200m² and the other 12,700m²), located in the heart of the prime logistics location in the Port of Gothenburg. 

 

The Port of Gothenburg has been ranked as the most attractive logistics location in the Nordics for 20 years by Intelligent Logistik, the leading Nordic logistics media platform. There are currently no vacant logistics buildings in the port area. The Port is home to Scandinavia’s largest container terminal, which is forecast to grow over the coming years. The buildings are fully let to Agility AB, Nordicon AB and Vink Essaplast Group AB, generating a total annual rent of €1.79m on leases with a weighted average unexpired lease term of six years.  The rent reflects a rate of €62.50psm per annum.  All leases are annually indexed to 100% of Swedish CPI.

 

Nick Preston, Fund Manager of Tritax EuroBox, commented: “We are delighted to acquire our first asset in the Nordics which aligns with our disciplined investment approach and our long term strategic goals. The asset held freehold is located in the region’s strongest logistics market and offers asset management upside through working closely with the occupiers to achieve their business plans and increase rents to market levels. We expect to see continued strong market rental growth in the Port of Gothenburg, due to the natural constraint of land supply in the port area, and the increasing demand from occupiers. The Port of Gothenburg has a clear plan for growth, with significant infrastructure investment committed, further strengthening this location.”

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