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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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House and 54 acres for sale near Amanda Owen’s Our Yorkshire Farm

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Fancy living near the Yorkshire Shepherdess? Nearby derelict cottage with 54 acres of land in North Yorkshire is up for grabs for £255k

  • Property is near Ravenseat, from Amanda Owen’s TV Show Our Yorkshire Farm
  • Carter’s Cottage is the name of the property listing and it includes 54 acres
  • The renovation project in North Yorkshire is on the market for £255k










Fancy living near the Yorkshire Shepherdess and having the Yorkshire Dales in your back garden?

Now is your opportunity, as a property with 54.5 acres of land is available to buy for £255,000 near Ravenseat Farm, home to shepherdess Amanda Owen, her husband of 21 years Clive, and their nine children.

The catch is that the house and adjoining barn are derelict and off-grid, with no mains services but with access to natural water on the site. 

The family and remote Ravenseat farm feature in the popular Channel 5 show Our Yorkshire Farm, as well as the best-selling book The Yorkshire Shepherdess

Amanda Owen is pictured with her family, consisting of her husband Clive, and their children Raven, Reuben, Miles, Edith, Violet, Sidney, Annas, Clementine, and Nancy

Amanda Owen is pictured with her family, consisting of her husband Clive, and their children Raven, Reuben, Miles, Edith, Violet, Sidney, Annas, Clementine, and Nancy

The nearby property for sale for £255k is called Carter's Cottage and has a similar feel to Ravenseat due to the beautiful North Yorkshire countryside

The nearby property for sale for £255k is called Carter’s Cottage and has a similar feel to Ravenseat due to the beautiful North Yorkshire countryside

There are no mains services to the former cottage or the land but there is a natural water supply at various points

There are no mains services to the former cottage or the land but there is a natural water supply at various points

The property for sale is called Carter’s Cottage and has a similar feel to Ravenseat as it is surrounded by plenty of beautiful North Yorkshire countryside.

However, it does not currently include a habitable home. Instead, there is a derelict stone cottage that would need to be converted before it can be occupied – or even rented out as a holiday home – as well as an adjoining stone barn. 

The property for sale is in Arkengarthdale, which is a dale on the east side of the Pennines in North Yorkshire.

There are no mains services to the former cottage or land, but there is a natural water supply at various points. The property is on the market for £255,000 via estate agents H&H Land & Estates.

Amanda runs Ravenseat farm with her husband Clive. She says hundreds of curious fans come to visit in hopes of catching a glimpse of her or her children

Amanda runs Ravenseat farm with her husband Clive. She says hundreds of curious fans come to visit in hopes of catching a glimpse of her or her children

There is a derelict stone cottage that would need to be converted before it can be occupied - or even rented out as a holiday home

There is a derelict stone cottage that would need to be converted before it can be occupied – or even rented out as a holiday home

The property for sale is in Arkengarthdale, which is a dale on the east side of the Pennines in North Yorkshire

The property for sale is in Arkengarthdale, which is a dale on the east side of the Pennines in North Yorkshire

While bookings are not currently being taken due to the pandemic, fans of the show have previously been able to visit and stay at Ravenseat Farm by renting out either a shepherd’s hut for £90 a night or a separate property on the family’s land for £175 a night.

It is possible to make the area nearby your regular holiday spot – or even your permanent base – as the property for sale is around 14 miles from Ravenseat Farm.  

The building needs a lot of work has plenty of scope to become a family house or holiday home, depending on budgets and planning permission

The building needs a lot of work has plenty of scope to become a family house or holiday home, depending on budgets and planning permission

Land has become increasingly sought-after amid the pandemic’s so-called ‘race for space’ among buyers.

Daniel Copley, of property website Zoopla, said: ‘If you’re tempted to make the move from the city to the beautiful Yorkshire countryside, this cottage and 54.5 acres of pasture land is brimming with potential and has a truly stunning location overlooking the Yorkshire Dales.’

The property for sale is on an elevated position on the east side of Arkengarthdale. 

Reeth is around four miles to the east, with the larger market town of Richmond about 14 miles to the east.

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‘After divorce, I’ve fallen in love. But something is holding me back’

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Question: I’m a divorced man, and I think I’ve fallen in love. This woman I care about so much brought me back to life after my divorce woes and I feel happy when we’re together. My life would certainly change if the relationship progressed and I feel the need to hit the brakes. Is it fear holding me back? Some advice would be great.

Answer: I think it is great that you are able to identify fear as the block to your relationship and it is worth looking at this. You have had a divorce, so your experience of relationship breakup is real and is clearly causing you to pause before heading into a committed relationship again. Some areas worth checking are your capacity for self-awareness, your relationship patterns and habits and your history of decision making.

Looking at self-awareness first – are you conscious of what motivates your actions and speech? In terms of self-awareness, there are many aspects of our ourselves which we are aware of, but we do need help with uncovering the full picture. For example, we can often see that someone we live or work with is stressed but they themselves would not know or acknowledge this and think that they are operating from a calm and collected place. It might be worth you checking with friends what they see in your new relationship and how they see you behaving. Do you seem happier to them, or is there wariness or caution in your approach to your partner? Your friends or family will be able to evaluate your wellness (or not) without the emotion or fear that you may have operating.

Ask for some honest opinions and remember if you ask for advice, take it on board as they may have more objectivity than you do. We all have relationship patterns and habits, so it is worth looking at yours to see if this is influencing your current impasse. These patterns typically start with our family of origin. For example, if there were difficulties (silences, anger, distances, or lack trust and love) in your parents’ relationship it is likely that you have a capacity to put up with or repeat such patterns in your own relationships.

Send your query anonymously to Trish Murphy

It helps to talk it over with someone you trust, so that you can hear the emotion that is going on in your voice and then act to disperse it

It sounds as though you are mistrusting of someone who has “brought you back to life” and it is worth looking at whether this caution is coming from your own past experience or from fear of getting into a relationship pattern similar to your parents’ one. It takes courage to challenge our patterns and the nature of habit is that it operates outside of conscious thinking, so we can respond without even knowing where we are coming from, eg we push someone away just as intimacy is growing. Behaviour such as this could derive from a generational fear of rejection, or a fear of closeness, or of being discovered as not what we seem to be. It is good to explore such habits as we can struggle to see them operating and they can operate as a huge block in our lives.

It is true that the “in-love” feeling can sometimes mask some of the adored person’s characteristics and this is why we always need the “head” as well as the “heart” when making decisions. What is your decision-making like normally? Do you have enough knowledge of this person to make a decision about joining your lives together? Have you spent enough time with them and their circle of friends to make an informed choice? Sometimes the feeling of intense connection at the beginning of a relationship can make us lose sight of the fact that we don’t know the other person very well and in these situations we would do well to slow it down and let our judgement work when the time is right. If you are happy that you have enough knowledge and information to make this decision, then you are probably right that it is fear that is stopping you moving forward.

A little fear is natural and can even help us, for example we drive under the speed limit oftentimes out of fear of getting a speeding ticket. However too much fear can be debilitating, and it can completely bock our intelligence. All relationships involve risk, in that we have to trust that someone else will value us and not reject us. Fear is such a powerful emotion it can cover other more rational and sane judgements and so we need to ensure that we are not just operating from that place.

It helps to talk it over with someone you trust, so that you can hear the emotion that is going on in your voice and then act to disperse it. However, it is worth knowing that fear and panic are closely aligned so we need to tackle them slowly and incrementally or else we go into a kind of frozenness. Overcome small fears first – this might involve speaking with some honesty with your partner – and gradually build up to the bigger fears. Your confidence and self-awareness will grow along the way and this can only benefit you. 

Click here to send your question to Trish or email tellmeaboutit@irishtimes.com

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Lighthouse workers end up with front-row seats for Storm Barra

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Four lighthouse workers who went to Fastnet Lighthouse in west Cork to carry out maintenance on Friday ended up having front-row seats for Storm Barra as they had to stay onsite due to the conditions.

The lighthouse recorded a wind gust of 159km/h on Tuesday morning but Irish Lights electronic engineer Paul Barron said that it was a safe place to be as the country battened down the hatches to face the storm.

Mr Barron and his colleagues Ronnie O’Driscoll, Dave Purdy and Malcolm Gillies made the journey to Fastnet on Friday to do maintenance work and were due back on Tuesday but their helicopter flight was cancelled because of the storm. They hope to arrive back on the mainland on Thursday.

Mr Barron said they are passing their time onsite by watching Netflix and having a few steaks and rashers. He admitted it was a day to remember on the lighthouse which is 54 metres above the sea.

“There is a team of four of us out here. It has been quite a rough day. We started off this morning at around 2am and by 10am or 11am we were in the eye of the storm. I was in the merchant Navy before as a radio officer so I have seen a lot of bad weather. I am with Irish Lights 32 years but I haven’t normally seen it like this. We wouldn’t normally be out in this. You are talking 9m swells with winds gusting up to 90 knots.”

He captured some footage of the storm on his phone. During the worst of the weather the men found it hard to hear each other as it was so noisy during the squalls.

The tower was “shuddering a bit” but Mr Barron managed to shoot video footage which attracted attention online and even a call from Sky News.

He says the lighthouse has kitchen facilities and they always bring additional food in case of emergency.

“It could be a fine summer’s day and there could be thick fog and the chopper wouldn’t take off so we always bring extra food. We are passing the time by watching Netflix! This is a good place to be in the eye of a storm. This lighthouse has been built a hundred years so it has seen a lot of storms.”

As for families being concerned about the men Mr Barron jokes that their loved ones are probably relieved they aren’t at home hogging the remote control.

Meanwhile, in Cork city centre the river Lee spilled on to quays and roads on Tuesday morning but no major damage to property was caused. Debris and falling trees kept local authority crews busy and power outages were reported in a number of areas across the county.

At least 23 properties were flooded in Bantry in west Cork. The council had placed sandbags along the quay wall and the fire brigade had six manned pumps around the town.

In north Cork, a lorry driver had a lucky escape in Fermoy when his vehicle overturned on the motorway during the high winds. Traffic diversions were put in place following the incident.

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