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House price rises push 1.8million homes up a stamp duty bracket

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House price inflation over the past year has pushed almost two million properties into the higher stamp duty bracket.

Demand among buyers is down 28 per cent from its pandemic peak ahead of the stamp duty deadline on Wednesday June 30, but still considerably higher than in previous years, according to property listing site Zoopla.

Zoopla’s index puts property inflation at 4.7 per cent – less than broader rival reports from the ONS, Nationwide and Halifax – but the £10,246 average house price gain moved 1.8million homes up a stamp duty threshold.    

Its report said the average house price is £229,300 and named Liverpool, Manchester and Sheffield as the nation’s major city property hotspots, with average prices up 7.9 per cent, 7.2 per cent and 6.6 per cent, respectively.

Average house prices are up £10,246 in a year, the largest rise since October 2016, according to Zoopla

Average house prices are up £10,246 in a year, the largest rise since October 2016, according to Zoopla

The report comes ahead of the phased end of the stamp duty holiday this week, which will see no tax on the first £500,000 of a property purchase price replaced by none on the first £250,000 until the end of September.  

Stamp duty is due to return in full after that and buyers are likely to face even bigger bills due to rising property prices. 

Zoopla suggested that demand has already decreased from its peak. It defines demand as the amount of active engagement with estate agents, covering both calls and email enquiries about properties listed on its site.

However, Zoopla, which measures 64 towns and cities across its index, insisted that demand is ‘still acute’, and remains 55 per cent higher than the average recorded in the more ‘normal’ market of 2019.

The supply of property listed for sale continues to fail to keep up with demand, with total listings down 24 per cent year-on-year.

However, Zoopla said that despite the lack of homes for sale, Britain remains on course to see 1.5 million sales this year.

Earlier this year the property website predicted sales would reach 1.5million, up 45 per cent compared to 2020 – and a figure that would mark 2021 as the busiest sales market since the peak before the financial crash and one of the 10 busiest since 1959.

Supply is being absorbed in part by first-time buyers, who are flocking back to the market – without replenishing supply. They are taking advantage of the stamp duty exemptions that extend beyond the end of June deadline, as well as a wider range of mortgages to choose from.

Zoopla predicts that demand will remain elevated for the rest of the year as the search for space continues and as homeowners make housing decisions based on more flexible working policies. 

Zoopla's 20 City Index shows Liverpool as having the highest house price inflation, whereas Oxford has the lowest and and oil industry-dependent Aberdeen is seeing prices fall

Zoopla’s 20 City Index shows Liverpool as having the highest house price inflation, whereas Oxford has the lowest and and oil industry-dependent Aberdeen is seeing prices fall

Zoopla predicts that demand will remain elevated for the rest of the year as the search for space continues

Zoopla predicts that demand will remain elevated for the rest of the year as the search for space continues

The intense market activity of the past 12 months has accelerated house price growth. The figures emerge at the same time as stamp duty relief starts to taper, marking a double stamp duty win for the Treasury.

Of all UK homes, 940,000 additional properties will now attract some level of stamp duty at 5 per cent should they sell, and an extra 130,000 will command some level of stamp duty at 10 per cent.

The number of homes in the lower stamp duty bands in England is falling, while price growth means it is rising for the top bands.

The average additional stamp duty payable on homes that have moved up into the 10 per cent stamp duty band will be around £6,100 after the end of the tapered stamp duty holiday in September, while the additional cost for the average home that has moved up into the 5 per cent band will be around £725.

Zoopla said 1.8million homes have been pushed into a higher stamp duty bracket

Zoopla said 1.8million homes have been pushed into a higher stamp duty bracket

Strong buyer appetite has also shaped the time it takes to sell a property – from the point of listing to agreeing a sale.

The time to sell has almost halved, down from 42 days in May 2019 to 22 days in May 2021, even though May is typically one of the fastest moving months in the property calendar.

This increase in the pace of a sale reflects how buyers are continuing to make their move regardless of the stamp duty deadline – with the majority of sales agreed in May unlikely to benefit from the larger stamp duty tax relief. Zoopla says this underlines the ‘reassessment of home’, which is fuelling buyer activity, and which has further to run.

The time it takes to sell a property has almost halved, down from 42 days in May 2019 to 22 days in May 2021

The time it takes to sell a property has almost halved, down from 42 days in May 2019 to 22 days in May 2021

Market thrives below stamp duty threshold

The largest share of demand is for homes priced up to £250,000, meaning they are stamp duty exempt until the end of September when the tapering period comes to an end.

While buyer demand for properties below £250,000 is down 24 per cent from April’s highs in England, demand levels remain 75 per cent higher than the average recorded in 2019’s ‘normal’ market.

At the same time, demand for properties priced above £250,000 has dipped by a third since April – the last point at which buyers could try to benefit from the maximum stamp duty saving – but remains up 86 per cent compared to average 2019 levels.

Regional house prices reach 10-year high

Zoopla said average house prices rose by 1.1 per cent in the three months to May, taking the annual rate of growth to 4.7 per cent, matching that in February of this year, which was the highest since the start of 2017.

It said this is supported by elevated levels of market activity compared to the 2017 to 19 average.

The spread of price growth continues to widen across the country, with Wales up 7.1 per cent, Yorkshire and the Humber up 6.2 per cent, and the North East up 5 per cent – marking a 10-year high for these regions. 

Meanwhile, some of the most affordable markets are recording the highest house price growth with Rochdale up 9.9 per cent and Bolton up 8.7 per cent.

They are followed by Hastings in third place, where values are up 8.2 per cent. While it doesn’t offer the affordability of its northern counterparts, it is comparatively affordable to its neighbour, Brighton, just along the coast.

Grainne Gilmore, of Zoopla, said: ‘The stamp duty holiday boosted demand in the housing market, yet buyer demand remains elevated despite the initial holiday ending – signalling that the once-in-a-generation ‘reassessment of home’ has further to run this year.

‘Demand may ease further as the reopening of the economy allows people to do more and travel more widely, but at the same time, the confirmation of working practices for office-based workers will lead to more homebuyers being able to push ahead with a move.

‘The total stock of homes for sale continues to run well below historical norms, and this will underpin pricing. At the same time, it may also constrain potential activity, especially for buyers looking for family houses. Even so, we forecast that this year will be one of the busiest for the housing market since the global financial crisis – with 1.5 million residential transactions.’

Stamp duty benefits  

Mortgage experts highlighted how buyers can still benefit from some stamp duty savings until the end of September. Until then, no tax is due on the first £250,000.

Will Rhind, head of mortgage advice at Habito, said: ‘All good things must come to an end, and the stamp duty holiday is no exception. However, homebuyers completing before the end of September will still benefit from some savings.

‘The property market was hugely bolstered by the relief brought in on July 8 last year, which was initially intended to end this March. Since last summer, we’ve seen several months of record levels of property transactions as demand outstripped supply.’

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South Africa 17 Lions 22

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15 Stuart Hogg

Something of a flip-flop in terms of his strengths as a player as one or two misplaced passes in attack but resolute and solid in defence. A couple of glimpses of his footwork and pace but he’ll be hoping for more ball next Saturday. Rating: 6

14 Anthony Watson

He was excellent in the first half, the Lions most potent force in attack in being able to escape multiple tacklers, albeit most of the time in lifting pressure in his own 22/half. The ball didn’t run his way after the interval. Rating: 7

13 Elliot Daly

It was his first game at outside centre in Test rugby in five years and it showed. He gave away a couple of penalties, missed his trademark long-range penalty, was bested physically in the collisions and will be under pressure to retain his place. Rating: 5

Robbie Henshaw is tackled by Elton Jantjies. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho
Robbie Henshaw is tackled by Elton Jantjies. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

12 Robbie Henshaw

Shaded his physical duel with Damian de Allende, carried aggressively, was accurate in the tackle and scrambled well, highlighted by forcing a crucial knock-on from Lukhanyo Am. He made one fine break albeit losing possession and a couple of finger-tip knocks-on but generally good. Rating: 7

11 Duhan van der Merwe

A couple of snapshots of his power in the tackle but like Watson was never given the type of ball where he could impose his strength. He didn’t have many questions to answer in defence because Cheslin Kolbe got very little ball. Rating: 6

10 Dan Biggar

The Welsh outhalf kicked 14 points from the tee and in a general sense, one pulled place-kick aside, his kicking game was reasonably well directed. He didn’t really bring his backline into play at any stage, suffocated by the Boks’ defensive press but overall the ledger was appreciably positive. Rating: 7


The British & Irish Lions

Full coverage of all the action in South Africa READ MORE

9 Ali Price

He looked a little overwhelmed by the pace and physicality in the first 20 minutes but he gradually settled to the task. It was his excellent box-kicking after the restart that yielded opportunities for the Lions to regain possession and wrest control. Rating: 7

1 Rory Sutherland

A late call-up to the starting team due to Wyn Jones’s unavailability he was pinged twice at the scrum and the fact that his replacement Mako Vunipola made an appreciable difference when introduced could see him struggle to be in the matchday 23 next Saturday. Rating: 5

2 Luke Cowan-Dickie

Two errant lineouts, one overthrown the other crooked, were the only real blemishes on his try-scoring performance that was accompanied by a high work-rate on both sides of the ball. Rating: 6

Tadhg Furlong appeals to referee Nic Berry during the first Test. Photograph: David Rogers/Getty Images
Tadhg Furlong appeals to referee Nic Berry during the first Test. Photograph: David Rogers/Getty Images

3 Tadhg Furlong

Loves a good celebration from the lineout maul tries, he won an important scrum penalty and was an important buffer in that set-piece when the Boks chased dominance there. He carried and tackled with typical application in a robust performance over the 67 minutes. Rating: 7

4 Maro Itoje

Deserved man-of-the-match, three turnovers in the first half alone including one within a few metres of the Lions’ line that saved a try. Immense in every facet of the game, he led by example especially in defence; intelligent and unrelenting. Rating: 9

5 Alun Wyn Jones (capt)

He was very quiet in the first half but considering the injury from which he has recovered that was to be expected. He was a key figure in the Lions’ second-half revival that included work-rate and decision-making. Rating: 7

6 Courtney Lawes

A huge performance in all aspects of the game, out of touch, carrying, making an eye-catching break that took him through three attempted tackles as a pre-cursor to one of his side’s better attacking moments. Tackled with authority. Rating: 8

7 Tom Curry

There could be no faulting his desire and work ethic but in conceding three penalties he demonstrated an impetuous streak that proved a bit of a handicap to his team in that opening half. His place will be under threat. Rating: 5

8 Jack Conan

He provided illustrations of the many qualities that he brings to a team, making one of two line breaks, defending and tackling with intelligence and carried the ball more than any other Lions player. Rating: 7

Replacements

In a collective sense they, to a man, added energy and momentum at a crucial stage. Mako Vunipola and Kyle Sinckler gave their team a rock solid scrum, forcing a penalty there to boot. Hamish Watson was lucky to avoid a card for a dangerous tackle. Conor Murray and Owen Farrell brought control and maturity for the most part. Rating: 8

Coach

Warren Gatland deserves great credit for the team selection initially as most of the big calls that he made work out superbly. His half-time recalibration of tactics and focus worked a treat as did the timing of the replacements. He’s never been afraid to change things up and that may be reflected in a couple of changes for the second Test one of which could see Bundee Aki drafted in at 12 with Henshaw moving to 13. Rating: 8

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Norfolk’s Hemsby tops the list of villages with the biggest house prices

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Seaside sun… rises! Norfolk’s Hemsby leads villages with the biggest property value boom as buyers search for coastal countryside views

  • Norfolk’s Hemsby tops the list of villages with the biggest house price increases
  • The average value of a home in Hemsby is up 22% during the past year
  • Three of the top five villages with the biggest price increases are in Norfolk

Britain’s village hotspots for homebuyers have been revealed and dominating the list are seaside locations.

The pandemic has seen a ‘race for space’ with people living in cities moving to rural and coastal areas due to more flexible working practices.

They are shunning busy city landscapes for open green spaces in the countryside and easy access to expansive sea views.

Britain's village hotspots for homebuyers have been revealed by property website Rightmove

Britain’s village hotspots for homebuyers have been revealed by property website Rightmove

This four-bedroom house in Hemsby is on the market for £300,000 via Bycroft estate agents

This four-bedroom house in Hemsby is on the market for £300,000 via Bycroft estate agents

Hemsby, just north of Great Yarmouth, tops the rankings produced by Rightmove, having seen the biggest rise in average house prices during the past year.

The typical value of a home in the Norfolk village has increased 22 per cent in the 12 months from June last year, from £221,533 to £270,144.

Three of the top five villages with the biggest house prices increases were in Norfolk, with Heacham and Caister-On-Sea also making the list.

Heacham saw asking prices increase by 20 per cent in June 2021 compared to the same period last year, while asking prices in Caister-On-Sea rose by 12 per cent.

Caister-On-Sea also saw one of the biggest rises in demand for villages, with buyer demand up 46 per cent in June 2021 compared to June 2020. Average asking prices in Caister-On-Sea are £240,909.

David Lowes, of estate agents Mr & Mrs Clark in Norfolk, said: ‘With a general “escape to the country” desire prevalent for many, the rural county of Norfolk is in high demand.

‘With its 90 odd miles of varied coastline, the added possibility of a “next-to-the-sea” lifestyle, and the simple pleasure of a stunning sunrise or sunset means the coastal villages are of particular attraction.’

Heacham saw asking prices increase by 20 per cent in the year to June 2021, says Rightmove

Heacham saw asking prices increase by 20 per cent in the year to June 2021, says Rightmove 

This four-bedroom house in Heacham is for sale for £475,000 via Sowerbys estate agents

This four-bedroom house in Heacham is for sale for £475,000 via Sowerbys estate agents

He added: ‘Hemsby and Caister in the east and Heacham in the west of the county offer some of the more affordable options thus driving strong percentage price growth. 

‘Each of these villages are close to larger towns too which helps with the transition to the countryside in terms of availability of amenities and activities.’

Rightmove defined demand as the number of enquiries it had via emails and calls to agents via its website. 

Average prices percentage increases in these villages appear to be around three times as much elsewhere. But this may be affected by villages having lower stock and fewer transactions. 

The average price of a home in Britain increased 6 per cent during the past year to June, from £317,058 to £336,073, according to Rightmove.

This four-bedroom house in Caister-on-sea is for sale for £400,000 via Bycroft estate agents

This four-bedroom house in Caister-on-sea is for sale for £400,000 via Bycroft estate agents

Rightmove revealed that six out of the top 10 villages with the biggest annual price growth in June are near the sea. House price growth in all of these villages rose at a higher rate than the national average.

Rightmove’s Tim Bannister said: ‘During the past year, we’ve spoken a lot about the changes we’re seeing in where people are choosing to live, and this data shows continued demand from buyers looking for villages and rural locations outside of traditional major cities.

‘While we have seen signs that cities are starting to make a steady comeback, particularly in the rental market, price growth across all areas of Britain continues to be strong.

‘With the summer weather finally here, we’re seeing an added drive from buyers looking for that perfect village location by the sea, which is supporting price growth in these areas.’

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Cork activist questioned over allegations of harassment by Christian fundamentalists

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A file is to be submitted to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) on a Cork activist accused of “inciting hatred” against a Christian fundamentalist group.

Fiona O’Leary was arrested by appointment on Tuesday for the purpose of Garda interview regarding allegations of incitement to hatred, harassment and trespass against the members of the Society of Saint Pius X Resistance (SSPX Resistance), which operates from a compound in west Cork.

The group, part of a loose worldwide network, was founded by ex-Catholic priest Richard Williamson, who recently gave a sermon in Cork linking Jewish people to the start of Covid-19 and calling them “master servants of the devil”.

Ms O’Leary has written about the group on her blog and visited its compound to take pictures and question its leaders. She also photographed and published pictures of two of its priests after spotting them in the supermarket.

Incitement to hatred, a rarely prosecuted offence, makes it a crime to publish material “likely to stir up hatred” against a group or individual.

Ms O’Leary was last week informed by gardaí that she was to be arrested for the purposes of interview in relation to the allegations. She was told she would be arrested in public if she did not attend the Garda station by arrangement.

After arriving at the station by appointment, Ms O’Leary was arrested on the allegation of harassment before being interviewed for five hours, with one break in the middle, on all three accusations.

During interview, gardaí put it to her that the members of the church were afraid as a result of her actions. They also questioned her about her interaction with journalists who have written about the SSPX resistance.

A DNA sample and fingerprints were taken before she was released on Tuesday night.

“The female was released without charge, the investigation is ongoing and a file will be prepared for the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions,” a Garda spokesman confirmed.

SSPX Resistance

The Cork branch of SSPX Resistance came to some prominence recently when its leader, Giacomo Ballini, led a procession through Dublin to perform an exorcism of the Dáil, in an apparent breach of Covid-19 regulations.

The Drimoleague woman has a long history of campaigning on various topics through her blog and social media channels.

Last year, SSPX Resistance founder Mr Williamson travelled to the Cork branch, which is based in a farmhouse in a remote part of the county, where he gave a sermon claiming, among other things, that Jewish people are manipulating the stock market in an effort to start a war. The Jewish Representative Council of Ireland referred the comments to the Garda after they were reported in the Sunday World newspaper.

Mr Williamson was once a priest in the Catholic Church before being excommunicated in the late 1980s. He was later readmitted to the church before being excommunicated again in 2009 after his conviction in a German court of Holocaust denial.

He founded SSPX Resistance as an off-shoot of the Society of St Pius X which itself once broke away from mainstream Catholicism over its belief that the modern church was becoming too liberal.

Mr Williamson’s group is more conservative again, and believes the SSPX has itself become too modern. SSPX Resistance describes itself as “a group of traditional Catholics who wish to practise their faith without compromise to liberalism or modernism”.

His group has been accused of harbouring two Catholic priests in the UK after they were accused of sexual abuse while members of the original SSPX sect.

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