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Average property asking price in the UK hits third of a million pounds

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The average asking price for a home put up for sale in the UK has hit a third of a million pounds, according to a new report.

Asking prices for homes for properties newly listed for sale  across Britain jumped by over £5,700, or 1.8 per cent, over the past month to a new ‘all-time high’ of £333,564, as buyers rushed to snap up homes with more space, according to Rightmove. 

Family homes with three or more bedrooms have become like ‘gold dust’ in many areas, especially in parts of the north, where demand ‘continues to massively exceed supply’, pushing up prices, the property portal said.

Pushing higher: Asking prices for homes have again hit new record highs, Rightmove said

Pushing higher: Asking prices for homes have again hit new record highs, Rightmove said

Average asking prices increased by 6.7 per cent compared to March 2020. This is the closest month for comparison as the property market, and Rightmove’s index, were suspended for most of April and May last year.

The numbers are striking, but average asking prices are very different to the final price a home ends up being sold for. A property is only ever really worth what a buyer is prepared to pay for it.   

Still, with demand from buyers so strong and supply not keeping up, the time taken to sell a home has reached yet another record low of 45 days, according to Rightmove.

The demand and supply imbalance is strongest in northern regions, where a shortage of larger homes is contributing to push prices higher. 

Average asking prices in the North West have climbed by more than 11 per cent since March last year, while in Yorkshire & the Humber by over 10 per cent, shortly behind Wales, which saw the biggest price increase at 13 per cent. 

In previous market upturns London has generally led the way, but prices are now virtually flat in the capital, having risen just 0.2 per cent since pre-lockdown – although, as Righmove stresses, there are widely varying local markets within the capital. 

The time taken to sell a home has reached yet another record low of 45 days Rightmove said

The time taken to sell a home has reached yet another record low of 45 days Rightmove said

The fast rise in prices in the north and languishing valuations in London means that the price gap between these regions has shrunk to its smallest in eight years. 

While the gap remains very 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, Rightmove said.

‘Last year’s unexpected mini-boom is rolling on into 2021, with new price and market activity records again defying many predictions,’ said Rightmove’s director of property data, Tim Bannister.

And added: ‘It is the regions of Britain further north that are leading the way, with some degree of catching up between average prices in London and the north. 

‘The pandemic has given a greater focus on the home, and in 2020 we saw a surge in southern coastal and rural areas. 

‘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.’  

Family homes are ‘like gold dust’ 

The number of larger homes available to buy has shrunk significantly during the pandemic, Rightmove said.

Rigthmove gives the example of the North East, where agents last month had almost 60 per cent fewer ‘second stepper’ homes – which are mostly three-bedrooms – for sale than in the same period in 2019.

The situation is similar in Scotland, where ‘top of the ladder’ homes with four or more bedrooms is down 65 per cent compared to before the pandemic.   

This has translated in higher asking prices across the country, with top of the ladder homes having increased on average by 10.8 per cent over since March last year, second steppers homes by 7.9 per cent and first-time buyers’ homes by 5.4 per cent. 

Price shifts: 'Top of the ladder' homes have seen the biggest rise in asking prices

Price shifts: ‘Top of the ladder’ homes have seen the biggest rise in asking prices 

In contrast, London’s available stock is down 20 per cent and 24 per cent respectively in these sectors, ‘so while supply is still limited it is more closely matched to demand’. 

‘Another important factor driving the higher demand and quicker average time to sell in the north is that more of their sellers are intending to buy and stay local, whereas many Londoners are looking to move out,’ explains Bannister. 

Rightmove’s research among those intending to sell in the next 12 months shows that an average of 84 per cent in the north are looking to move locally, compared to only 52 per cent in London. 

‘The pandemic has changed many aspects of what people want from their homes, and the pricing pendulum is swinging away from London towards the north,’ Bannister added.  

Tomer Aboody, director of property lender MT Finance, added: ‘Londoners who have always craved city life are now less fussy about being at the centre of things and are willing to compromise on location in order to find that elusive space. 

‘This, in turn, is pushing asking prices up in other regions at the fastest pace in years, exceeding London in terms of percentage increase in values. 

‘Although prices are still much lower in the regions than in London, those averages are rising as demand shifts outwards.’

Regional patterns: Average asking prices in the North West have climbed by more than 11 per cent since March last year, while in Yorkshire & the Humber by over 10 per cent, shortly behind Wales, which saw the biggest price increase at 13 per cent

Regional patterns: Average asking prices in the North West have climbed by more than 11 per cent since March last year, while in Yorkshire & the Humber by over 10 per cent, shortly behind Wales, which saw the biggest price increase at 13 per cent

What next?

In his recent Budget, Chancellor Rishi Sunak extended the stamp duty holiday in its current form until the end of June, and then tapered until September.

That means homebuyers in England and Northern Ireland will pay no stamp duty on properties worth up to £500,000, saving up to £15,000.

The threshold will then drop to £250,000 until the end of September, with buyers saving up to £2,500 per transaction, before returning to its normal level of £125,000.

Since the Chancellor first unleashed the scheme last year, the housing market has seen buyer demand – and prices – rise sharply. 

Jeremy Leaf, north London estate agent and a former RICS residential chairman, believes the tapering of stamp duty to cause a decline in activity.

He said: ‘These figures confirm what we’ve seen ‘at the sharp end’. Some sellers have taken the opportunity to raise asking prices, making home buying less accessible even for those able to purchase the dwindling stock of properties. 

‘On the other hand, we’re finding faster rollout of the second jab, in particular, is helping to encourage older homeowners to put their homes on the market but not fast enough yet to keep prices in check.

‘We expect the imminent tapering of the stamp duty concession to prompt a reduction in activity and softening rather than a correction in prices as longer-term market sustainability is driven by economic recovery and availability of competitively-priced finance.’

Matthew Cooper, founder & managing director of Yes Homebuyers, believes prices will fall once the stamp duty holiday ends.

‘It’s clear that sellers are attempting to cash in on the stamp duty holiday themselves by reaching new highs where unrealistic asking price expectations are concerned,’ he said.

‘It certainly doesn’t help when this hysteria is being driven by the likes of Rightmove, who continue to pull ‘record’ market statistics out of their hat on a monthly basis, much like a cheap magician at a children’s party.’

He added: ‘When the end of the stamp duty holiday does come and causes buyer demand to evaporate, we’re likely to see property values fall at pace.’

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Social Democrats activists consider deferring request on leadership contest

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A group of Social Democrats activists who want to see a leadership election in the party is looking at deferring their request to consider such a contest until after a new general secretary is appointed to the party.

A draft letter to the party’s national executive, signed by two councillors and 14 others, seeking the leadership contest emerged on Friday evening.

The letter, which has not been sent to party authorities, requested the national executive meet to hold a vote to call a leadership election.

It pays tribute to the party’s current co-leaders Catherine Murphy and Róisín Shortall, who it states “have done exceptional work”, but adds that “it is now time to move to the next stage”.

The party released a statement later the same evening saying its TDs are “united behind co-leaders Catherine Murphy and Róisín Shortall”. This statement was shared on Twitter by all six of the party’s Dáil Deputies.

One of the councillors who signed the draft letter, Kildare representative Chris Pender, responded with his own social media post saying: “Anyone who’s read the letter will know it states we don’t have an issue with the leaders, but we believe in the democratic right to vote for that/those leaders.

“A leadership contest would give members the opportunity to show support for the current leaders, if that’s what they want.”

Cllr Cat O’Driscoll, who sits on Dublin City Council, was the other public representative who signed the draft letter.

Motivations

Sources insisted the motivations behind seeking a contest include giving the Social Democrats’ membership a say in who leads the party, as well as an issue of timing. They say with no general election expected imminently, it would give the next leader time to prepare.

It was also revealed on Friday that Brian Sheehan, a former director of the Yes Equality campaign, is to step down from his role as Social Democrats general secretary in early September. The decision is not connected with the call for a leadership election and those behind the draft letter were unaware of Mr Sheehan’s decision to leave the job.

However, it has prompted a rethink of the request for a leadership contest.

The Irish Times understands the activists are considering a new version of the letter that takes Mr Sheehan’s departure into account and would not seek a discussion about a leadership contest until after his successor is in place and has had some time in the job. A source suggested the approach with any new letter would be “a bit more cautious”.

On Monday, a party spokeswoman ruled out any contest for the leadership, either before or after the appointment of a new general secretary.

“The rules of the party state any leader must be a TD and all of our TDs are united in their support for the party leadership. The general secretary position is entirely unrelated to the party leadership,” she said.

Ms Murphy and Ms Shortall have jointly led the Social Democrats since its establishment in 2015.


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Instagrammer captures abandoned Welsh property in series of eerie photographs

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Who would live in a house like this? Instagrammer photographs abandoned Welsh property – complete with a bottle of Champagne for ‘Grandad’s’ 90th birthday, dishes still in the sink and a newspaper dating back to 1956

  • Photographs reveal the rooms have been untouched for decades and house opened bottle of Champagne  
  • Discovery was made by Instagrammer Kyle Urbex while exploring the countryside in Flintshire, North Wales 
  • Kyle said: ‘Overall the whole exploration just left me wondering the whole backstory’ 
  • ***Do YOU know who lived in the abandoned house? Contact izzy.nikolic@mailonline.co.uk*** 

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An abandoned Welsh house has been captured in a series of eerie photographs complete with a bottle of Champagne for ‘Grandad’s’ 90th birthday and dishes still in the sink.  

Photographs reveal rooms that have been untouched for decades and reveal a bottle of bubbly with a sticker which reads: ‘Happy 90th Birthday. Sorry I can’t be there to drink this with you! Lots of love James xxx.’  

The property has been dubbed ‘Granddad’s abandoned house’ after it was discovered tucked away in the woods. 

A piano can also be seen with sheet music still in place along with clothes hanging up and dishes still in the sink.

Photographs reveal rooms that have been untouched for decades and reveal a bottle of bubbly with a sticker which reads: 'Happy 90th Birthday. Sorry I can't be there to drink this with you! Lots of love James xxx'

Pictured: A piano can also be seen with sheet music still in place along with clothes hanging up

Photographs reveal rooms that have been untouched for decades and reveal a bottle of bubbly with a sticker which reads: ‘Happy 90th Birthday. Sorry I can’t be there to drink this with you! Lots of love James xxx’

The property has been dubbed 'Granddad's abandoned house' after it was discovered tucked away in the woods. Pictured: The exterior of the property

The property has been dubbed ‘Granddad’s abandoned house’ after it was discovered tucked away in the woods. Pictured: The exterior of the property 

Random debris including a broken bicycle, piping, empty tins and folding tables and chairs were left strewn throughout the house

The discovery was made by Instagrammer Kyle Urbex (pictured) while he was exploring the countryside in Flintshire, North Wales

Random debris including a broken bicycle, piping, empty tins and folding tables and chairs were left strewn throughout the house

Mr Urbex said: 'I visited the property just over four weeks ago and getting to the actual location wasn't too bad, just a walk up a small hill and the door was wide open'

Mr Urbex said: ‘I visited the property just over four weeks ago and getting to the actual location wasn’t too bad, just a walk up a small hill and the door was wide open’

The discovery was made by Instagrammer Kyle Urbex while he was exploring the countryside in Flintshire, North Wales.

Kyle also spotted a newspaper dating back to 1956 in what he believes was once someone’s ‘dream family home.’

He said: ‘I visited the property just over four weeks ago and getting to the actual location wasn’t too bad, just a walk up a small hill and the door was wide open.

‘Once inside I instantly saw the whole location was eerie because it was a house full to the brim of memories, ranging from clothes in the bedroom to old decaying pianos which once may have entertained many.

‘The porch area had been trashed, however the seating still remained intact and of course the champagne bottle for his 90th birthday still left on the fireplace.

He added: 'Once inside I instantly saw the whole location was eerie because it was a house full to the brim of memories, ranging from clothes in the bedroom to old decaying pianos which once may have entertained many'

Dishes are left undone in the sink in the kitchen

He added: ‘Once inside I instantly saw the whole location was eerie because it was a house full to the brim of memories, ranging from clothes in the bedroom to old decaying pianos which once may have entertained many’

Kyle says he has now been left wondering about the story behind the house. He added: ‘While the place appears to have been ransacked by vandals, clothes still hang in wardrobes; one of the few signs of the home it once was’

Kyle also spotted a newspaper dating back to 1956 in what he believes was once someone's 'dream family home'

Kyle also spotted a newspaper dating back to 1956 in what he believes was once someone’s ‘dream family home’

Mr Urbex added: 'Overall the whole exploration just left me wondering the whole backstory and how somebody could just leave so much memories and cherished possessions behind'

Mr Urbex added: ‘Overall the whole exploration just left me wondering the whole backstory and how somebody could just leave so much memories and cherished possessions behind’

‘I found it quite sad really given all the memories just left to be forgotten about. As well as the house there was a caravan hidden at the back in all the overgrowth which had more memories inside, old books and so on.

‘I managed to uncover an old bike in the shed which looked like it had been there quite a while.

‘Alongside all of these findings I came across a newspaper dated from November 3 1956.’

Kyle says he has now been left wondering about the story behind the house.

He added: ‘While the place appears to have been ransacked by vandals, clothes still hang in wardrobes; one of the few signs of the home it once was.

‘Overall the whole exploration just left me wondering the whole backstory and how somebody could just leave so much memories and cherished possessions behind.’

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Foley to bring school reopening plan to Cabinet on Tuesday

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Minister for Education Norma Foley says she has every confidence schools will reopen fully from late August and early September.

Ms Foley said there was ongoing engagement between her department and public health officials on the matter but all schools were set to reopen.

Strong mitigation measures would be in place in schools to ensure that they would continue to be controlled environments, she told RTÉ radio’s Today with Claire Byrne show on Monday.

Covid-19 infection rates among children were at their highest when children were not at school and public health experts had pointed out “on a consistent basis to schools being a very significantly controlled environment”.

The safe operation of the Leaving Certificate exams and enhanced summer camps indicated that the safe operation of education could be maintained, she said.

A plan would be put in place to allow schools to “draw down” CO2 monitors and the Minister said she was confident there would be enough monitors for all schools by the start of the new school year.

In relation to Covid-19 vaccines for children, Ms Foley said the “expertise” lay with the National Immunisation Advisory Committee (NIAC) from which her department would take guidance.

“I have received confirmation that the 16 to 18-year-old cohort should be in a position for online registration in the coming days, and I have been advised that the 15-year-olds cohort are still being considered by NIAC and there has been no definitive timeline given,” she added.

Ms Foley will bring a plan to Cabinet on Tuesday outlining enhanced public information campaigns, the outcome of antigen testing pilots, and the purchase of C02 monitors to assist in ventilating classrooms.

Capacity limits on school transport services will also remain in place.

Government sources were adamant on Sunday that second-level education would resume in the autumn, despite concerns among public-health officials that the wave could grow following the reopening of indoor dining today, before peaking in September.

“Schools will reopen,” a senior Coalition source said.

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