Connect with us

Current

Happiest places to live in Britain 2021 revealed by Rightmove

Voice Of EU

Published

on

The Northumberland market town of Hexham has once again been crowned the happiest place to live in Britain.

Happy residents in the town on the River Tyne were previously given the title in 2019 before dropping down the rankings to 12th position last year.

It is now back on top after scoring highly on several factors, including having a sense of community and a feeling of belonging.

Hexham is the happiest place to live in Britain and this six-bed link-detached house for sale for £525,000 is only a short walking distance from the town centre

Hexham is the happiest place to live in Britain and this six-bed link-detached house for sale for £525,000 is only a short walking distance from the town centre 

The Northumberland market town of Hexham is the happiest place to live in Britain, according to new research by Rightmove

The Northumberland market town of Hexham is the happiest place to live in Britain, according to new research by Rightmove

Other factors taken into account in the research by property website Rightmove included access to nature and green spaces, and how friendly and polite people are.

The average asking price of a home in Hexham is £297,088, up 6 per cent on a year ago and up 20 per cent compared to five years ago. However, the current average value remains lower than the national average of £324,401.

Derek Kennedy, the Mayor of Hexham, said: ‘Hexham is thrilled to be awarded the happiest place to live in Britain. We are a small town with a great history, Hexham Abbey and other historical buildings and our market place is 800 years old.

‘There is a wonderful community spirit, people are very supportive of one another. There are lots of community interest groups, which gets people working for the greater good. 

‘Excellent schools ensure good educational standards. Organised sports include a weekly park run, cricket, tennis, golf and water sports on the mighty River Tyne. The open countryside is wonderful with Hadrian’s Wall on our doorstep.’

He added: ‘The Town Council recently introduced a free live music twice a week into our glorious bandstand, drawing around 200 people to every session. Our events such as Spook night, Remembrance Day, Farmers Market and Christmas Market draw lots of people from across the region to the town.

‘We have big ambitions to progress our sustainable development and we work with interested groups to enhance the town. We all know how great it is to live in Hexham but to win this accolade is fantastic.’

This four-bedroom semi-detached house is in the second happiest place to live - Richmond in Surrey - and is for sale for £2.8million via Hamptons estate agents

This four-bedroom semi-detached house is in the second happiest place to live – Richmond in Surrey – and is for sale for £2.8million via Hamptons estate agents

Ailsa Mather, of Andrew Coulson estate agents in Hexham, added: ‘Hexham is a historic town in the heart of Northumberland. 

‘We enjoy lots of green open spaces, including the Sele Park and Tyne Green on the banks of the River Tyne. We are lucky to have an abundance of lovely independent restaurants, bars and cafes, and a weekly market.

‘The last 12 months in the market have been phenomenal. People have re-evaluated what they want out of their lives, moving closer to family and moving from the city to the countryside. 

‘More than 38 per cent of our sales in the last 12 months have been from people south of Birmingham, as more people now have the opportunity to work from home, and don’t need to be in the city five days a week.’

This five-bed property in Harrogate has been converted into three self-contained flats and is for sale for £575,000 via Hunters estate agents

This five-bed property in Harrogate has been converted into three self-contained flats and is for sale for £575,000 via Hunters estate agents

WHERE ARE THE HAPPIEST PLACES TO LIVE IN BRITAIN?
Rank Place Region Average Asking Price Average Asking Rent (PCM)
1 Hexham North East £297,088 £842
2 Richmond upon Thames Greater London £1,196,892 £3,235
3 Harrogate Yorkshire and the Humber £353,624 £1,163
4 Hove South East £525,906 £1,879
5 Llandrindod Wells Wales £193,601 £445
6 Stirling Scotland £191,226 £877
7 Monmouth Wales £312,649 £929
8 St Ives South West £494,393 £1,150
9 Anglesey Wales £278,391 £776
10 Leamington Spa West Midlands £350,981 £1,203
11 Perth Scotland £167,160 £679
12 Hitchin East of England £491,223 £1,392
13 Woodbridge East of England £427,542 £1,129
14 Kendal North West £258,961 £837
15 Macclesfield North West £277,772 £981
16 Exeter South West £303,215 £1,234
17 Salisbury South West £318,806 £1,090
18 Horsham South East £433,892 £1,433
19 St. Albans East of England £632,320 £1,888
20 Guildford South East £542,947 £1,913
Source: Rightmove       

Rightmove’s study is in its tenth year and collected responses from more than 21,000 people across Britain.

It asked people how they felt about where they live and to rank 10 happiness factors. These included opportunities to develop skills, as well as access to cultural activities, sports and essential services.

Richmond-upon-Thames came second overall in this year’s study, marking a rise up the national rankings, as well as being the happiest place in London for the seventh year running.

This attractive family home in happy Hove has seven bedrooms and is for sale for £1.5million via estate agents Lextons

This attractive family home in happy Hove has seven bedrooms and is for sale for £1.5million via estate agents Lextons

Outside of England, Stirling is this year’s happiest place in Scotland, while Llandrindod Wells, fifth place overall, is the happiest place to live in Wales.

This year’s study found a sense of belonging, the friendliness of locals and being able to be yourself were the most important factors in feeling happy in an area. Rightmove suggested that this shows how important having a sense of community is to overall happiness.

A third of this year’s top 20 happiest towns were market towns, typically smaller towns with weekly markets bringing the local community together.

The importance of connection carries over into this year’s study following the lockdown periods and builds on the findings from last year, where people felt they had to reconnect to their area and local community.

The importance of togetherness can also be seen in the types of settlements that made people most happy. Those in villages were more likely to be happy in their area than those in towns or cities, as they were more likely to feel the sense of community in their area, and have access to nature and green spaces.

Meanwhile, those living in a coastal village were the happiest of all, and those living in a coastal town or city were more likely to be happy in their area than someone living in a similar home inland.

This four-bed detached property is in Scotland's Stirling and is currently on the market via Aberdein Considine estate agents for £675,000

This four-bed detached property is in Scotland’s Stirling and is currently on the market via Aberdein Considine estate agents for £675,000

The red-hot property market in the first nine months of the year means that Rightmove predicts by the end of 2021 1.5 million transactions will have taken place. 

The results of this year’s study show that those who have made a move are happier in their area than those who haven’t, regardless of where they have moved to.

More than two-thirds – at 69 per cent – of people who moved in the last year, chose to move to a different area. Nearly two-thirds of these people – at 64 per cent – , said they are happier in the area they now live, compared with where they moved from. One in five – at 21 per cent – said they were just as happy in their new area.

Being happier in a new area was highest among those who moved from a town to a village, with 81 per cent saying they were happier where they now live, and 11 per cent were just as happy as where they lived before.

The study showed people were more likely to stay in the same type of settlement, or make a ‘single stage’ move in the search for happiness.

Those that lived in a city, were more likely to move to a town than a village, while those who lived in a town, were more likely to move to a village than a city. Those who lived in a village were more likely to move to a town than a city.

Tim Bannister, of Rightmove, said: ‘It’s been an incredibly busy year in the housing market, with a lot of people deciding that now is the right time to move.

‘It is fascinating to see that people who moved in the last 12 months were more likely to be happy in their areas than those who did not.

‘Whether it may be a couple looking for a small change in the same area, tenants looking for more space, or a family completely changing their lifestyle and moving from the city to the coast, this has been the year that people have really seized the opportunity to move, and turned ideas into action.’

Source link

Current

Japanese knotweed saves £11.8billion off property values  

Voice Of EU

Published

on

Japanese knotweed is responsible for shaving £11.8billion off the value of Britain’s property market, new research by a removal specialist claims.

As many as 4 per cent of British homes are affected by the invasive plant – either on the property itself or on a neighbouring property.

The invasive plant makes homes significantly more difficult to sell as buyers can struggle to secure a mortgage on a property where it is found.

However, Britain’s biggest mortgage lenders told us that is possible to get a mortgage for a home affected by knotweed, but conditions may be imposed.

Japanese knotweed is an invasive plant that makes a property significantly more difficult to sell as buyers

Japanese knotweed is an invasive plant that makes a property significantly more difficult to sell as buyers

Japanese knotweed on a property reduces its value by an average of 5 per cent, according to the figures from removal specialist Environet.

It used that to estimate that with 890,000 households across the county are being hit by a typical reduction of value of £13,200 due to knotweed, this equated to £11.8billion in total.

The plant can be stopped from spreading – although this process can be costly, at around £2,500 for a 10sq m area for a herbicide treatment or £5,000 for a 10 sq m for an excavation.

Environet claims that removing the root system from the ground is the only way to deal with Japanese knotweed decisively with minimal change of regrowth.

It said that despite the lower costs, herbicide treatment is increasingly recognised as a control method only. 

This is because above-ground growth can disappear, but the root system beneath the ground is often induced into dormancy meaning it’s capable of regrowing in the future – particularly if the ground is disturbed by landscaping or building work. 

Environet says removing the root system from the ground is the only way to deal with Japanese knotweed decisively with minimal change of regrowth

Environet says removing the root system from the ground is the only way to deal with Japanese knotweed decisively with minimal change of regrowth

Nic Seal, of Environet, said: ‘Those buying and selling property are legally required to declare if the property is or has been affected by Japanese knotweed, but if an infestation has been professionally excavated with an insurance-backed guarantee to satisfy mortgage lenders, it is possible to restore the property value to close to the original value.’

He added: ‘Herbicide treatment of knotweed has always been very popular due to the lower costs, but the message is getting through that it’s only a control method and won’t solve the problem definitively.

‘Buyers are much more wary of buying a property which still has knotweed rhizome beneath the ground as there’s no way of knowing whether it’s completely dead. There’s also an environmental cost to using chemicals, which is of growing concern.’

Environet explained that the excavation element can be carried out during the winter months, allowing for full use of gardens during the summer.

What mortgage lenders say about knotweed 

Mortgage broker SPF Private Clients, explained that those buying a property where Japanese knotweed is found may find it less of a deal breaker than in the past where the lender may have automatically declined a mortgage application.

SPF Private Clients’ Mark Harris, said: ‘Should Japanese knotweed be identified, there are four categorisations assessing its severity, with 1 being best-case scenario and 4 being worst-case. 

‘Depending on which silo the property falls into, and whether there is specialist eradication work either ongoing or planned, and insurance in place, lenders may be willing to consider the application.

‘Depending on the severity of the problem, lenders may tailor the amount they are prepared to lend, or not lend at all.’ 

While securing a mortgage on a property with knotweed can remain challenging, lenders confirmed that they are open to providing finance if a management plan is in place. 

A Nationwide Building Society spokesman said: ‘Our policy on Japanese Knotweed depends on how far the plant is from the property. If it is less than seven metres away from the property, we would request a specialist report about eradicating it before deciding whether we could lend. 

‘If the plant is more than seven metres away, we would need written confirmation from the borrower that they want to proceed with their mortgage application despite the presence of the plant. 

‘What may be required is assessed on a case by case basis. Where the valuer identifies the presence of Japanese Knotweed, they may advise that a specialist report is required with respect to eradicating the plant and, where applicable, to report on repairing the property. Any report for eradication of the plant should include an insurance-backed 5 year warranty against re-infestation.’ 

And spokesperson for Halifax explained: ‘The presence of Japanese Knotweed itself is not a barrier to lending. 

‘We will be guided by the surveyor’s, and any subsequent expert’s, report on the scale, location and effects of any presence on or around the property.’  

How were the figures calculated? 

Official figures from the ONS show there at 27.8million households in Britain.

Environet disregarded 20 per cent of households that are flats as these are less likely to be affected by knotweed. 

That produces a figure of 22,420,000 homes in Britain. 

Environet’s survey conducted with YouGov in 2021 revealed that around 4 per cent of homes are affected by knotweed, either directly – meaning that it grows on the property – or indirectly where a neighbouring property is affected. 

It means 889,600 homes are affected in total, according to Environet.

The average value of a property in Britain is £264,244, according to Land Registry’s figures for August. 

Environet claimed that Japanese knotweed reduces the value of a property by 5 per cent on average. This is based on its own anecdotal evidence of what a property is worth once a knotweed management plan is in place (ie the 5 per cent reflects the amount that a buyer might try to reduce an asking price by due to the stigma and risk of the knotweed returning after treatment or removal). 

The 5 per cent reduction translates into £13,212 being knocked off the average home.

As such, the total amount knocked off property values in Britain as a result of Japanese knotweed is therefore 889,600 households multiplied by £13,212, which is £11,753,395,200.

Source link

Continue Reading

Current

Ikea offers personalised design service in Ireland

Voice Of EU

Published

on

Ikea is piloting a home design service in Ireland. The Swedish furniture giant opened the new service in Naas on Monday.

Customers will be able to consult the retailer’s in-house home interiors specialists at the new store. The company said the service would be free, personalised and one-to-one.

It said people would be able to talk through ideas for upgrading their kitchen, living room or wardrobes with a designer. They will also be able to order any Ikea products from the store for delivery. Unlike Ikea’s other smaller store in Carrickmines, south Dublin, there will be no items available on site to bring home on the day.

The company said Ireland was one of eight markets worldwide in which it is piloting the new service.

“This new service allows us to bring our home furnishing expertise to the many, with bespoke design solutions that best reflect our customer’s unique style and design challenges,” said Martyn Allan, Ikea’s market manager in Ireland. “At the same time, we get the opportunity to listen to and learn from our customers to continue to develop our store formats.

“We are so proud that Ireland is part of this pilot, offering us the opportunity to move closer to our customers in towns and cities currently without IKEA stores,” he added.

People looking for a design consultation will need to book in advance online. When the company confirms the booking, it will let the customer know what to bring with them, such as measurements or photographs.

Over one or two consultations – which will not cost anything – the designer will draw up a 3D plan which will be accessible on the Ikea website to the customer up to five days after the consultation.

The store on Naas Main Street will feature some room sets and the company says the consultations will operate in strict compliance with current public health guidelines.

Source link

Continue Reading

Current

Dubs get exercised over digital dollars

Voice Of EU

Published

on

Dubliners are to be “paid” for a walk in the park with “civic dollars” they can cash in for coffee and cake and other goods and services, in an effort to encourage outdoor exercise.

Visitors to five parks in the Dublin 8 area can earn the community currency if they sign up for a new smart phone app to allow Dublin City Council to track their park use.

The scheme is being piloted in the area from the Liberties to Inchicore, following research by the council’s Smart D8 team which found just 40 per cent of local residents took regular exercise, but 92 per cent said they would use a park for exercise if it was available to them.

Visitors to St Audoen’s Park, St Patrick’s Park, Weaver Park and Oscar Square in the Liberties, and Grattan Park in Inchicore who use the app will be rewarded with civic dollars for every 30 minutes they spend in the park up to a limit of 5 dollars a day.

Data anonymised

The system uses GPS data and allows users to opt in once they enter a park. Their data is anonymised, and a user’s session will end automatically once they walk out of the park. Data gathered will be used by the council to analyse park usage and allow for future planning and infrastructure improvements.

The dollars can be cashed in for discounts in a number of local businesses including Little Bird cafe, the Bike Hub, Mobility Genie, the Digital Hub and Epic Ireland. The dollars can also be donated to community organisations for more expensive services including marketing or IT advice and legal consultations, with participating companies including Core Tech IT, Paul Saxon Consulting, Éire Graphic Design and VAVA Influencers.

The Smart D8 project was established earlier this year to investigate innovative approaches to improve citizens’ health and wellbeing in Dublin 8, with the involvement of St James’s Hospital and the Digital Hub.

The civic dollars pilot will run for five months, with the aim of attracting 1,000 users in the first two months, and could be rolled out to other parks in the city if successful.

Organisations accepting dollar donations include Warrenmount Community Education Centre, Robert Emmet Community Development Project, Solas Project and Fatima Groups United.

The scheme had the potential to “improve the health and wellbeing of our citizens”, Lord Mayor of Dublin Alison Gilliland said.

“We need to encourage increased use of our parks, and the civic dollars project will do that while having the added benefit of contributing to local businesses and community organisations.”


Source link

Continue Reading

Trending

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates 
directly on your inbox.

You have Successfully Subscribed!