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Is the property starting to cool? Asking prices slow, says Rightmove

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Property asking prices rose 0.8 per cent in the month to mid-June, in an early sign that the housing market boom is slowing down.

The average asking price increased £2,509, according to Rightmove’s latest Index.

It reached £336,073, hitting a new record high for the third consecutive month, and was the largest rise at this time of year since 2015, according to the property website.

However, sellers may prove to be over-optimistic, as Rightmove’s Tim Bannister said there may be ‘early signs of a slowing in the frenetic pace’ in the property market, ahead of the stamp duty holiday deadling at the end of June.

This five-bed detached home in Wrexham, Wales is on Rightmove for £795,000. The country has seen the highest price rises in the UK since March 2020

This five-bed detached home in Wrexham, Wales is on Rightmove for £795,000. The country has seen the highest price rises in the UK since March 2020

However, the 0.8 per cent rise was much lower than the 1.8 per cent and 2.1 per cent increases recorded in its last two indexes in April and May. 

Since March 2020, the typical asking price has risen by 7.5 per cent or £23,448.

These high prices, combined with an all-time low in the number of properties on agents’ books, are starting to slow down the market’s frenetic pace.

The Government’s stamp duty holiday, which saves buyers up to £15,000 in taxes, is also tapering down at the end of this month to a maximum £2,500 saving and will end completely at the end of September.  

The number of home sales agreed in May was 17 per cent ahead of the same period in 2019, slackening from April’s 45 per cent.

The average number of properties available for sale per estate agency branch is at an all-time low of just 17, falling even further from the record low of 19 in the previous month.

While the number of sellers coming to market picked up in March and April, this uptick in new supply has failed to continue in recent weeks, with the number of properties coming to market now down by 17 per cent on the comparable period in 2019.

Rightmove's map shows how asking prices are changing across the country: The biggest monthly gain was seen in the South West

Rightmove’s map shows how asking prices are changing across the country: The biggest monthly gain was seen in the South West

In Saltcoats in North Ayrshire, Scotland, this four-bed home is listed at £183,000

In Saltcoats in North Ayrshire, Scotland, this four-bed home is listed at £183,000

This three-bed semi-detached property in Northallerton, North Yorkshire is being offered on Rightmove with an asking price of £225,000

This three-bed semi-detached property in Northallerton, North Yorkshire is being offered on Rightmove with an asking price of £225,000

In Leicester, this four-bed, three-bath property can be snapped up for £600,000

In Leicester, this four-bed, three-bath property can be snapped up for £600,000

Tim Bannister, Rightmove’s director of property data, said: ‘Buyer demand remains very strong, though with an all-time low in the number of properties available for sale on estate agents’ books and new stock at higher than ever average prices, there are early signs of a slowing in the frenetic pace.

‘Record low interest rates and stamp duty tax reliefs have helped many to afford higher prices, satisfying their pent-up desires for a new home fit for a new era.

‘However, higher prices combined with a lack of fresh choice coming to market are reducing some buyers’ ability or desire to move, and while we expect the market to remain robust, there are early signs of a slackening in the incredible pace of activity that we’ve seen over the last year.

‘This super-charged activity cannot go on forever, but we expect the market to remain vigorous for at least the remainder of the year.’

Since the beginning of the pandemic, Rightmove said the fastest-growing regions had been Wales and the South West – thanks to cash-rich relocators from more expensive areas.

Prices in Wales are up 14.6 per cent since March 2020, thanks to a huge 44 per cent spike in buyer demand. Meanwhile in the South West they are up 11.4 per cent.

There, homes are selling more quickly than ever and each estate agent has just ten properties available on average.

Asking prices: The national average was £336,073 in June 2021 according to Rightmove

Asking prices: The national average was £336,073 in June 2021 according to Rightmove

Trend over time: Asking prices have risen consistently since January this year

Trend over time: Asking prices have risen consistently since January this year 

Detached properties with four bedrooms or more saw higher price rises proportionally than the rest of the market.

Average prices were up by £67,394 since March 2020 for properties in this sector (+12.3 per cent compared to 7.5 per cent for all properties).

The number of sales agreed on properties over £500,000 in May was 49 per cent above the same period in 2019, despite buyers knowing they will miss the maximum stamp duty saving that comes to an end on 30 June.

Matt Barry, Director at estate agent Astleys in Swansea, said: ‘Over the past 12 months we’ve seen a dramatic change in demand in the local market. 

‘This has far surpassed anything I’ve seen previously and we’re now regularly receiving offers from multiple buyers per property.

‘We’ve also noticed a large uplift in the amount of people relocating from England, with many people now enjoying the benefit of working from home, wishing for larger gardens or to be nearer beauty spots and the coast.’

Nick Leeming, chairman of estate agent Jackson-Stops, added: ‘Despite the fact that the first stamp duty deadline is just weeks away, our branches are as busy now as at any point I can remember.

‘Lifestyle re-evaluations have taken firm root which will lead to sustained demand, especially for rural and suburban locations.

‘There were 18 buyers chasing every listing across our branches in the South West last month as towns and villages which were once out of reach to five-day-a-week commuters, now present realistic options for hybrid or remote workers.

‘Additionally, London’s prime commuter belt towns continue to perform extremely well price wise, including Sevenoaks, Reigate, Dorking and Cranbrook, as many buyers continue to seek opportunities for more spacious accommodation and a larger slice of outdoor space.

‘But, while buyers remain active, the availability of stock on the market has continued to contract. With demand strong and pricing high, now is the time for vendors to capitalise on these favourable market conditions.’

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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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