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Hottest property markets in England and Wales revealed by Zoopla

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Wigan is the nation’s property hotspot. The Greater Manchester town is the fastest place to sell a home in England and Wales, with the typical property selling in only 26 days, new research has revealed.

That is 18 days quicker than the average across England and Wales, where homes sold subject to contract typically take 44 days to go under offer, according to the latest figures by property website Zoopla.

Zoopla suggested that Wigan is appealing to buyers due to its good transport links and lower property prices than nearby Manchester. And what buyers want the most there is a three-bedroom semi-detached house, which was the fastest-selling property type in the town.

This three-bedroom semi-detached house in Wigan, Greater Manchester, is on the market for £140,000, via Alan Batt estate agents

This three-bedroom semi-detached house in Wigan, Greater Manchester, is on the market for £140,000, via Alan Batt estate agents

The quickest place to sell a property revealed: Homes in Wigan are in hot demand, with homes typically selling in only 26 days

The quickest place to sell a property revealed: Homes in Wigan are in hot demand, with homes typically selling in only 26 days

Also within commuting distance to Manchester is Salford, which ranked in joint second place with a time to sell of 27 days.

Redditch and Knowsley also typically take the same time to sell and are similarly located on the rural-urban fringe of Birmingham and Liverpool respectively. 

This two-bedroom semi-detached house in Rotherham, in Yorkshire and the Humber, is for sale for £150,000, via Strike estate agents

This two-bedroom semi-detached house in Rotherham, in Yorkshire and the Humber, is for sale for £150,000, via Strike estate agents

TOP 20 FASTEST-MOVING PROPERTY MARKETS (FEBRUARY 2021)
Rank Local Authority Region Number of days on the market – February 2021 Fastest-moving property type Fastest-moving price ban
1 Wigan North West 26 3 bed semi-detached £ 100,000-150,000
2 Redditch West Midlands 27 3 bed semi-detached £ 150,000-200,000
= Knowsley North West 27 3 bed terraced £ 150,000-200,000
= Salford North West 27 2 bed terraced £ 100,000-150,000
= Sheffield Yorkshire and the Humber 27 3 bed semi-detached £ 150,000-200,000
= Medway South East 27 2 bed terraced £ 200,000-250,000
7 Liverpool North West 30 1 bed flat £ 150,000-200,000
8 Neath Port Talbot Wales 31 3 bed semi-detached £ 150,000-200,000
9 Isle of Wight South East 32 3 bed semi-detached £ 150,000-200,000
= Bridgend Wales 32 3 bed semi-detached £ 150,000-200,000
= Manchester North West 32 1 bed flat £ 100,000-150,000
= Barnsley Yorkshire and the Humber 32 3 bed semi-detached £ 100,000-150,000
13 Bristol South West 33 2 bed terraced £ 300,000-350,000
= Mansfield East Midlands 33 2 bed semi-detached £ 100,000-150,000
= Wirral North West 33 3 bed semi-detached £ 150,000-200,000
= Rotherham Yorkshire and the Humber 33 2 bed semi-detached £ 150,000-200,000
= St. Helens North West 33 3 bed semi-detached £ 150,000-200,000
= Warrington North West 33 3 bed semi-detached £ 100,000-150,000
= Leeds Yorkshire and the Humber 33 3 bed semi-detached £ 150,000-200,000
20 Gateshead North East 34 3 bed semi-detached £ 100,000-150,000
Source: Zoopla         

Commuter towns lead the way

The fastest-moving property markets continue near Sheffield, with homes in Barnsley and Rotherham also featuring in the top 20.

Barnsley has an average time to sell of 32 days, while Rotherham has a slightly slower market with properties taking an average of 33 days to go under offer.

Despite this, the traditionally fast moving urban markets of Liverpool, Sheffield, and Manchester continue to also be speedy, with the average seller achieving an offer within 34 days.

It highlights how, while there is a race for space in the outskirts of cities amid the pandemic, there’s still increasing competition among buyers in city centres due to reduced supply.

The publication of the list of the top 20 fastest moving property markets follows the extension of the stamp duty holiday.

The tax break will continue to apply to the first £500,000 of a home’s purchase price until June 30, 2021.

It will then taper off, applying to the first £250,000 until the end of September, before returning to £125,000 at the beginning of October.

Scotland was excluded from this analysis as the stamp duty holiday has not been extended there.

The good news for those hoping to clinch a deal before the end of the stamp duty holiday in September is that the fastest moving price band in 17 of the 20 markets is £250,000 or less.

It means both buyers and sellers in these markets have a good chance of completing their purchase before the end of the stamp duty holiday.

Coastal locations proving popular

Reflecting the increased demand for properties by the sea, several coastal locations feature in the top 20.

Medway, in Kent, is the fastest moving coastal market in England and Wales with properties taking an average of 27 days to go under offer.

Other locations such as the Isle of Wight have seen dramatic improvements in the speed of their property market. Properties on the island are currently taking 32 days to sell, a staggering 29 days faster than the same time last year.

Two coastal areas in Wales also feature in the top 20, with the time to sell in Neath Port Talbot and Bridgend at 31 and 32 days respectively.

Both areas have a lot to offer home hunters, with easy access to the sea and countryside, and house prices sitting well below the average £226,400 price of a property in Britain today.

This three-bedroom semi-detached house in Yarmouth, on the Isle of Wight, is for sale for £125,000, via Spence Willard estate agents

This three-bedroom semi-detached house in Yarmouth, on the Isle of Wight, is for sale for £125,000, via Spence Willard estate agents

MARKETS WITH THE IMPROVEMENTS IN TIME TO SELL (RANKED BY NUMBER OF DAYS SELLING TIMES REDUCED)
Rank Local Authority Region Number of days on the market – February 2021 Number of days on the market – February 2020 Change since February 2020 (days) Change since February 2020 (%) Fastest-moving property type Fastest-moving price band
1 South Tyneside North East 41 74 -33 -45% 3 bed semi-detached £ 100,000-150,000
2 Isle of Wight South East 32 61 -29 -48% 3 bed semi-detached £ 150,000-200,000
3 Swale South East 38 66 -28 -42% 2 bed terraced £ 100,000-150,000
4 Breckland East of England 46 73 -27 -37% 3 bed semi-detached £ 150,000-200,000
5 Wyre North West 47 73 -26 -36% 3 bed semi-detached £ 150,000-200,000
= Lancaster North West 42 68 -26 -38% 3 bed terraced £ 100,000-150,000
7 Stockton-on-Tees North East 41 66 -25 -38% 3 bed semi-detached £ 0-100,000
= Canterbury South East 48 73 -25 -34% 3 bed semi-detached £ 200,000-250,000
9 Tonbridge and Malling South East 47 70 -23 -33% 3 bed semi-detached £ 300,000-350,000
10 Medway South East 27 51 -24 -47% 2 bed terraced £ 200,000-250,000
Source: Zoopla               
This two-bed semi-detached house in Sittingbourne, in Swale, is for sale for £149,000, via estate agents Homewise

This two-bed semi-detached house in Sittingbourne, in Swale, is for sale for £149,000, via estate agents Homewise

The South East speeds up

There’s been a significant improvement in markets in parts of the South East of England with the time to sell dramatically reducing.

The scenic area of Swale, which encompasses part of the Kent Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, has seen its time to sell almost half, reduced from 66 days to 38 days.

The nearby historical city Canterbury has also seen a dramatic reduction in the time to sell, with the average property now going under offer after 48 days, down 25 days from the same time last year.

In London, Waltham Forest remains the capital’s fastest moving market, with properties taking 35 days from being listed to being sold subject to contract.

In line with London house prices, the fastest moving price band here is £400,000 to £450,000, noticeably higher than other parts of the country.

Zoopla suggested that Waltham Forest has grown in popularity in recent years, particularly among Londoners looking to get on the property ladder in a location with great transport links and without breaking the bank.

City centre locations: This two-bedroom house in Waltham Way, London, is for sale for £425,000 via estate agents Churchill Estates

City centre locations: This two-bedroom house in Waltham Way, London, is for sale for £425,000 via estate agents Churchill Estates

TOP 10 FASTEST-MOVING PROPERTY MARKETS IN LONDON
Rank Local Authority Region Number of days on the market – February 2021 Fastest-moving property type Fastest-moving price band
1 Waltham Forest London 35 2 bed terraced £ 400,000-450,000
2 Barking and Dagenham London 39 2 bed terraced £ 250,000-300,000
3 Bexley London 41 2 bed terraced £ 300,000-350,000
4 Redbridge London 48 3 bed terraced £ 300,000-350,000
5 Havering London 48 3 bed terraced £ 300,000-350,000
6 Bromley London 49 3 bed semi-detached £ 300,000-350,000
7 Sutton London 51 3 bed semi-detached £ 400,000-450,000
8 Enfield London 52 2 bed terraced £ 300,000-350,000
9 Greenwich London 54 2 bed terraced £ 300,000-350,000
10 Newham London 57 2 bed terraced £ 350,000-400,000
Source: Zoopla         

Overall, the fastest moving property type In England and Wales remains three-bedroom, semi-detached houses, which takes the top spot in 13 out of the top 20 local authorities.

The £150,000 to £200,000 price bracket also leads the way, being the fastest moving in 11 local authorities.

Gráinne Gilmore, of Zoopla, said: ‘We have observed the time taken to sell a home changing in many areas during Covid-19 pandemic. While the number of days it takes between listing a property to agreeing a sale in one of the traditionally fastest-moving moving markets such as Manchester, Liverpool or Sheffield has stayed the same, sellers in some adjacent areas may now see their properties selling just as quickly.

‘Buyers will have to move fast but the speed at which this stage of the buying process is moving also means that those looking to take advantage of the stamp duty holiday extension will be giving themselves the best chance of doing so.’

The analysis looked at the average number of days between the property being listed on Zoopla to offer – marked as Sold STC, with days on the market rounded to the nearest whole number.

Tables referring to the fastest moving markets are ranked on the median number of days until offer is achieved, while the market with largest improvement to time to sell is ranked on reduction in number of days from listing to offer (in days).

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Madison International Realty invests in London Salesforce Tower (GB)

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Madison International Realty has acquired a minority stake in the Salesforce Tower, London EC2, through a Jersey Property Unit Trust (JPUT), joining other investors including Heron International.

 

The 230-metre tower, completed in 2011 at 110 Bishopsgate, is an island site in the City of London and provides 441,000ft² of office space over 37 floors. The property is over 93% let to a range of tenants, the largest of which is Salesforce. The Salesforce Tower also has an outstanding food and beverage offering with Duck and Waffle and Sushi Samba at the very top and the Drift on the ground floor. The building has a BREEAM ‘Excellent’ rating for design.

 

The asset’s central location in the core of the City of London means it benefits from excellent transport connectivity, with Liverpool Street and Bank within a short walking distance. Similarly, there are a large number of new world-class food, drink and entertainment options nearby including the new Pan Pacific hotel adjacent at Heron Plaza and Eataly in Broadgate. In January 2021, an ING-led syndicate of lenders completed a €465.2m (£400m), five-year refinancing of the Tower.

 

Alex Lukesch, Managing Director at Madison International Realty commented on the investment: “This acquisition has allowed us to secure a stake in a prominent London office building, which we believe delivers space that meets the demands of modern occupiers looking for world-class offices in one of the world’s leading financial centres. The investment reflects our conviction in the ongoing resilience of the office sector and the role we believe it will play post-pandemic. We have observed that demand for quality, well-located space remains robust, while companies are increasingly looking for properties that also have strong ESG credentials to help meet their own sustainability targets. In Heron, we believe we have an experienced and highly regarded partner and we look forward to working with them on this venture.”

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Britain’s blossoming love for Japanese design in the home

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The design has a red lid and a narrow neck which widens to form a base of sturdy hips. When poured, the contents flow in a singular, uninterrupted stream.

The Kikkoman bottle hasn’t changed since it was designed in 1961 by Kenji Ekuan for the world’s largest soy sauce producer.

Simplicity has made it ubiquitous. And crucially, it works — think of wrestling with glass Heinz ketchup bottles or constantly wiping lids on plastic iterations. Likely, Kikkoman’s bottle is the reason we’re so familiar with soy sauce.

Serene: A contemporary Japanese-style sitting room. The country's influence can be seen most clearly in the clean, elegant and functional everyday products we use in our homes

Serene: A contemporary Japanese-style sitting room. The country’s influence can be seen most clearly in the clean, elegant and functional everyday products we use in our homes

In the introduction to her book Japanese Design Since 1945 (£35, Thames & Hudson), Naomi Pollock writes: ‘In Japan, good design is everywhere. But most of all, it’s in the home.’

The trend for Japanese-inspired, UK-based brands, such as Wagamama, Superdry and Yo! Sushi, is well worn, but the country’s influence is likely seen most clearly in the clean, elegant and functional everyday products we use in our homes.

Inspired idea 

The Japanese approach to design is summed up well by a single product – Muji’s right angle sock (from £3.50, muji.eu). 

As the foot is perpendicular to the leg, the sock should follow the shape of the body: design centres on the user rather than the designer.

The word ‘Muji’ translates as ‘without brand’ and the company invites (often renowned) designers to create reasonably priced products anonymously. 

Design guru Naoto Fukasawa is an adviser to Muji, and his wall-mounted CD player for the company (£149) is in the permanent collection at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

Naoto Fukasawa's butterfly-inspired Grande Papilio Swivel Lounge Chair (£2,869, chaplins.co.uk)

Naoto Fukasawa’s butterfly-inspired Grande Papilio Swivel Lounge Chair (£2,869, chaplins.co.uk)

In the UK, Chaplins stocks a large selection of products from Japan, including some from the designer.

‘The idea is to create designs that appear to have been sculpted by the elements,’ says Ludovic Aublanc, creative director at Chaplins. ‘It’s the kind of minimalism that brims with emotion, that makes you grateful and happy to come home.’

The company stocks Fukasawa’s butterfly-inspired Papilio range – chairs and sofas sporting headset ‘wings’ to protect the user’s head (Grande Papilio Swivel Lounge Chair, £2,869, chaplins.co.uk).

Simple seating

Japanese designers have described the chair as the centre of design and an extension of the human form. It follows that these things should be easy on both the body and the eye.

Habitat’s Mori charcoal two-seater sofa (£716, habitat.co.uk) certainly fits the bill. It is compact, unfussy and elegant with its plush curved armrests and contrasting thin, wooden legs.

Simple unfinished woodwork is a key part of design in Japan, like the solid oak dining chairs from Oak Furnitureland (£140, oakfurnitureland.com) which would pair well with the Japanese oak Castor Table by Karimoku New Standard (£1,169, nest.co.uk).

Clutter free

Last year, decluttering guru Marie Kondo took the world by storm with her hit Netflix show. The programme has been talked of plenty, but we’re perhaps unaware of how key these principles are to Japanese design.

A large part of the focus on user-friendly products comes down to space. As ever, it’s important for Muji, with its storage bed (from £299) which has spacious drawers to banish clutter. Loaf has the Woody storage bed (from £995, loaf.com).

Simple boxy shelving units such as the Ikea Kallax range (from £15, ikea.com) are practical, but can also be used for displaying plants, books and records.

Or, for a modern twist, try the John Lewis Dice shelving unit bookcase (£450, johnlewis.com). The company also stocks Japanese brand Like-it’s clear storage products (from £8).

Crockery that rocks 

Japanese pottery has long been a feature of our homes, and a collection by John Lewis is a nod to this. Inspired by woodblock prints, the range includes glassware, plates, mugs and even Christmas decorations. 

It’s all delicate, bright patterns and the infuser mugs by Tokyo Design Studio (from £25) are a highlight.

But elegant motifs are only part of the story. The earthy charcoals, whites and beiges of Hasami Porcelain (hasami-porcelain.com) are a calming, elegant addition to any kitchen.

Hasami teapots start from £65 and mugs from £22 (la-gent.com) – also pick up a copy of Okakura Kakuzo’s The Book Of Tea, written in 1906, an insight into the Japanese ritual of tea-making. Elsewhere, an Oriental Hobnail tea set costs from £22.98 (wayfair.co.uk).

For eating, Denby Pottery has Japanese-inspired bowls from £58 for four in grey and white (denbypottery.com).

Finally, being able to serve Japan’s other favourite drink – the highball – is a must. Try LSA’s Mia Highball glasses (£27 for four, lsa-international.com) or, for something cheaper, a set of six Duralex Prisme highballs is £11.99 at rinkit.com.

Then grab a bottle of Akashi whisky (£28.50, waitrosecellar.com), add ice, stir clockwise 13 times, add soda water, stir again and appreciate another example of elegance and simplicity in Japanese design.

What your home really needs is… a Christmas throw

At this time of year, people fall into two groups: those who believe more is more, with bright lights and decorations aplenty; and others who keep things simple, with a few holly sprigs and a carefully adorned tree.

Yuletide luxury: You could use this Alpaca Fair Isle Throw, £99.50, all year round

Yuletide luxury: You could use this Alpaca Fair Isle Throw, £99.50, all year round

But whether you’re a maximalist or a minimalist, your home will need a Christmas throw because someone in your festive bubble is bound to complain about being cold.

If glitter is your thing, you’ll like the fleece star throw from Marks & Spencer (£25, marksand spencer.com). 

Or snuggle up under Dunelm’s red cable-knit design with a fleecey inside (£60, dunelm.com).

For something more fun, Redbubble has one that reads: ‘This is my Hallmark Christmas movie watching blanket’ (£34.73, redbubble.com).

Going low-key? How about a white and grey reindeer pattern with red pompoms (£40, barkerand stonehouse.com)? 

Or this Alpaca Fair Isle Throw , £99.50, notonthe highstreet.com), which you could use all year round.

Anne Ashworth 

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Extending grace period on checks in North would be ‘problematic’ – Taoiseach

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Taoiseach Micheál Martin has said it will be “very problematic” if the UK again extends unilaterally the grace period for Northern Ireland Protocol checks.

But speaking on the Trevor Phillips on Sunday programme on Sky News, Mr Martin also insisted a breakthrough between the EU and UK was still possible “if there’s a will there on both sides”.

His comments came after Boris Johnson escalated his dispute with the European Union by warning he will do whatever it takes to keep goods flowing from Great Britain to Northern Ireland.

Following talks with the EU’s key figures on Saturday, the British prime minister said he would not hesitate to take unilateral action to protect the position of Northern Ireland in the increasingly bitter row over post-Brexit trading arrangements.

The row – dubbed the “sausage war” – could mean chilled meats will not be shipped across the Irish Sea because of EU rules after the end of the month.

The UK is considering extending the current grace period without the consent of Brussels to ensure that sausages and mince can continue to reach Northern Ireland’s shops.

But Mr Martin told Sky News that the “channels do exist to get this resolved”.

He added: “In particular, the Sefcovic/Frost process should be fully explored and optimised to get an agreement and I think the prospects, in my view, if there’s a will there on both sides, and there is a will there from the European Union side I know that, I detect from the British prime minister Boris Johnson that the British government is anxious to get a resolution of this, so I think we should work at it.”

Mr Martin said he believed an SPS agreement (on plant and animal health measures) could remove 80 per cent of protocol checks.

When asked about the possibility of the UK unilaterally extending the grace period for checks, Mr Martin said: “I think it will be very problematic because it’s not about sausages per se, it really is about the fact that an agreement had been entered into, not too long ago, signed off by the British government with the European Union.

“If there’s consistent, unilateral deviation from that agreement, that clearly undermines the broader relationship between the European Union and the United Kingdom, which is in nobody’s interest and therefore that’s why the UK with the EU have to work very hard now in the coming weeks.

“I know the European Union are anxious to resolve this and want to resolve it but they need to see a similar reciprocity from the UK side.”

When asked if the protocol is undermining Northern Ireland’s place within the UK, Mr Martin said: “We’ve never seen the Protocol as a constitutional issue, it doesn’t in any way interfere with the constitutional status of Northern Ireland as defined and articulated in the Good Friday [Belfast] Agreement.

“We’re very clear from the Irish Government perspective on that, but we do believe in seamless trade on the island of Ireland, it makes sense. We believe in seamless trade insofar as we possibly can between the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland.”

‘A bit of respect’

British foreign secretary Dominic Raab accused EU leaders of trying to undermine the status of Northern Ireland as part of the United Kingdom.

After talks at the G7 summit in Cornwall between Boris Johnson and key EU figures failed to achieve a breakthrough in the dispute over the implementation of the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement in Northern Ireland, Mr Raab said the EU was showing a lack of respect.

“What we cannot have is the continuing disruption of trade and effectively try to change the status of Northern Ireland, contrary to the consent and wishes of the people, which is not just contrary to the Northern Ireland Protocol but also to the Belfast Agreement,” he told Mr Phillips on Sky News.

“We have serially seen senior EU figures talk about Northern Ireland as if it was some kind of different country to the UK. It is not only offensive, it has real-world effects on the communities in Northern Ireland, creates great concern, great consternation.

“Could you imagine if we talked about Catalonia, the Flemish part of Belgium, one of the lander in Germany, northern Italy, Corsica in France as different countries. We need a bit of respect here.– PA

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