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Location, Location, Location viewers slam ‘pretentious’ first-time buyers

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Viewers branded it ‘karma’ after a couple missed out on their dream first property together after squabbling over paying an extra £5,000 to secure the final deal on Location, Location, Location – despite it being £30,000 under their £750,000 budget. 

In last night’s episode of the Channel 4 show, professional dancer Georgie and insurance underwriter Pete, who moved into a one-room studio flat in Kent three days before lockdown, were on the search for more space and their first property together.

The newly engaged couple had a £750,000 budget to do so – and it wasn’t long before they fell in love with a five-bedroom property in their dream location of Bexley, which had a guide price of £700,000 – £725,000.

However, with the knowledge that a previous offer had been rejected at £700,00, the couple went in at £710,000 only to get turned down – before being told the seller would only accept £720,000. 

After arguing over spending an extra £5,000, Pete was insistent that he initially only wanted to go to £715,000, which was rejected – leaving viewers questioning whether the young couple could afford such a high-end budget in the first place.

‘Why the hell does a childless couple need a 5 bed house? I’ve got three kids and don’t need that many. Pretentious much?’ wrote one, while a second joked: ‘Seriously… who are these people that can just throw £750k down on a first property – I debate spending £2 on a sandwich in Lidl on a lunchtime.’

In last night's episode of Channel 4's Location, Location, Location, Georgie and Pete (pictured) spent a staggering £720,000 on their first property together - but argued when it came to paying an additional £5,000 to secure the deal

In last night’s episode of Channel 4’s Location, Location, Location, Georgie and Pete (pictured) spent a staggering £720,000 on their first property together – but argued when it came to paying an additional £5,000 to secure the deal

The newly engaged couple fell in love with a five-bedroom property in their dream location of Bexley, which had a guide price of £700,000 - £725,000. Pictured, the living room

The newly engaged couple fell in love with a five-bedroom property in their dream location of Bexley, which had a guide price of £700,000 – £725,000. Pictured, the living room

The couple told how they were on the search for an open plan, kitchen-diner, and a living area that had a 'really nice flow to it.' Pictured, the living room the lead into the garden

The couple told how they were on the search for an open plan, kitchen-diner, and a living area that had a ‘really nice flow to it.’ Pictured, the living room the lead into the garden

The Victorian house features five good-sized bedrooms overs two floors - including a master with an en-suite. Pictured, one of the five neutral-coloured rooms

The Victorian house features five good-sized bedrooms overs two floors – including a master with an en-suite. Pictured, one of the five neutral-coloured rooms

The couple admitted the house was a lot bigger in the inside than it looked on the outside - and was delighted it was in their dream location of Bexley. Pictured, the garden

The couple admitted the house was a lot bigger in the inside than it looked on the outside – and was delighted it was in their dream location of Bexley. Pictured, the garden

A third added: ‘I do laugh at these couples ‘starting out’ in life and looking at getting on the property ladder with a three quarters of a million pound four bed house,’ while a fourth wrote: ‘Arguing over £5k? This couple cannot afford this house.’ 

During the episode, the couple knew exactly what sort of property and location they were after.

‘We’re looking for a four-bed house, within a ten minute walk of the station because we both commute into London every day,’ explained Pete. ‘We want a really open plan, kitchen-diner, and a living area that’s got a really nice flow to it.’

Georgie added: ‘All we really want to do is get out of London, have more space, and potential to grow.’ 

And estate agent Phil Spencer hit the jackpot when he took the couple to see a five-bed Victorian property located just off the pretty high street of Bexley village.

The property featured a large lounge with charming fireplace, good size kitchen-diner area and a generous garden, while upstairs, over two floors, boasted five good-sized bedrooms – including a master with an en-suite.

Phil took the newly engaged couple to see the five-bed Victorian property located just off the pretty high street of Bexley village. Pictured, the exterior

Phil took the newly engaged couple to see the five-bed Victorian property located just off the pretty high street of Bexley village. Pictured, the exterior

Taking to Twitter during the episode, one viewer penned: 'Arguing over £5k? This couple cannot afford this house' (pictured)

Another viewer penned: 'Why do you need 5 bedrooms when you don't have kids?'

Viewers were quick to take to Twitter following the episode, with many venting their frustration at the couple (pictured) 

‘It’s beautiful – high ceilings, coving, fire place,’ enthused Georgie. ‘It feels lovely and fresh and new but still characterful and charming and lovely. I really, really, really like it.’

‘Certainly the area for me as well, Bexley is our number one – we’re both in agreement with that.’  

Pete added: ‘I’m excited about this one. I like it a lot.’ 

The other property’s that the couple saw failed to compare to the Bexley house – and the couple agreed to put in an offer.  

However, when their first price of £710,000 was rejected, the seller informed them he’d only accept £720,000.

‘So we’re going to have to go £720,000 or nothing,’ said Georgie, to which Pete replied: ‘For me, if you’re going £7,000-£725,000, then £715,000 is the fair middle-ground.’

With tensions rising, Georgie added: ‘Yeah I know, but does it become about playing a game, or about buying a house because we can afford £750,000?’ 

One of the neutral-themed bedrooms in the five-property house located in the hot spot area of Bexley (pictured)

 One of the neutral-themed bedrooms in the five-property house located in the hot spot area of Bexley (pictured)

Georgie was delighted to see that many of the bedrooms boasted built-in storage (pictured) - something which the studio flat in Kent lacked

Georgie was delighted to see that many of the bedrooms boasted built-in storage (pictured) – something which the studio flat in Kent lacked

The couple were pleased to discover the master bedroom even came complete with its own en suite (pictured)

The couple were pleased to discover the master bedroom even came complete with its own en suite (pictured)

Phil Spencer chimed in: ‘I think Georgie’s point is valid. You’re trying to buy a home and actually the last few thousand pounds, it’s a great deal of money if you put it on the table, but actually the last few thousand pounds if that’s the home you want to buy, just bite the bullet and borrow it. 

But, equally, it’s my job to see you buy that house for as little as you can – and today;s price is £720,000.’

A concerned Georgie pointed out that she knew the value of £5,000 – but worried that her partner just wanted to feel like he’d ‘won.’ 

‘In my head, I think £715,000 is a fair comeback offer,’ replied Pete. ‘If we need to go to £720,000, we can go to it tomorrow or the next day.’ 

However, the offer was rejected once again and after Georgie broke down in tears, the next morning, the couple increased their offer to the asking price and was finally accepted.

But celebrations turned out to be premature because after a higher offer from another bidder, the couple were back to square one.  

But losing out didn’t mean giving up – because within two weeks they had an offer accepted on another five-bed house in Bexley for £740,000 – meaning they had to spend an extra £20,000 compared to the first property. 

‘It’s just around the corner from the one that we lost,’ said Georgie,’ to which Pete added: ‘You have to walk past it to walk to the train station! But we’ve actually got a better one.’ 

After their offer is rejected, Georgie (pictured) said to Pete: 'I know five grand is five grand, but I don't know if you just want to feel like you've won'

After their offer is rejected, Georgie (pictured) said to Pete: ‘I know five grand is five grand, but I don’t know if you just want to feel like you’ve won’

‘Wouldn’t pay 5k despite it being under budget. Had to cough up 20k more to get something similar. Karma,’ wrote one, while a second penned: ‘Gazumped so paid an extra 20k when he was stubborn over 5k.’

A third noted: ‘She is crying at a soulless over-developed house. I don’t get it,’ while a fourth commented: 

‘Can’t stand these huge open plan kitchen/dining/living room cold, white and grey spaces. They never look homely; surely the whole of the downstairs will reek of whatever has been cooked last?’

A fifth added: ‘A young couple wanting four bedrooms for their first home and complaining the rooms aren’t big enough in a perfectly ok house. Some of these people need to experience the real world.’

Meanwhile, a further penned: ‘Why do you need 5 bedrooms when you don’t have kids?! If they are planning kids she is going to have shock dealing with those steps, a pram and those ridiculous heels!’

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Buy-to-let landlords didn’t take advantage of the stamp duty holiday to buy more

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Britain’s landlords did not embrace the stamp duty holiday with the same fervour as owner occupiers, new research suggests. 

Buy-to-let investors completed tens of thousands fewer transactions than they did during a similar 15-month period in 2016, despite rents heading higher in much of Britain during the pandemic. 

The share of properties bought by landlords in the run-up to the tax holiday, which started in July 2020, was 11 per cent – and only rose to 12 per cent during it, according to estate agent Hamptons International.

The stamp duty holiday failed to leabeing in to take advantage of rising rents

The stamp duty holiday failed to lead to a buy-to-let boom, despite landlords being eligible for the tax saving of up to £15,000 and having the chance to take advantage of rising rents

This was despite rents rising at their fastest pace for more than a decade in the year to July. 

There were a total of 215,000 investor purchases across Britain between July 2020 and September 2021. 

This was below the 242,400 purchases which were made during the 15-month run up to the introduction of the 3 per cent stamp duty surcharge for landlords on 1 April 2016.

During the stamp duty holiday, the average landlord who did buy a property saved £3,000, the equivalent of around three months’ rent and a 35 per cent reduction on their £8,500 average tax bill before July 2020.

What was the stamp duty holiday?  

The stamp duty holiday was introduced by chancellor Rishi Sunak in July 2020, in a bid to jump-start the housing market after the first national lockdown. 

It lasted for 15 months in total. From July 2020 to July 2021, both owner-occupiers and investors could save up to £15,000, as they did not need to pay stamp duty on the portion of any property purchase under £500,000.

From July to September 2021, the limit was reduced to £250,000, offering them a maximum saving of £2,500. The rates returned to pre-pandemic levels on 1 October.  

Average bills are set to return to around £8,400 from 1 October 2021, just below what investors were paying on the eve of the stamp duty holiday. 

The figures suggest landlords were not willing to outbid home buyers as house prices continued to rocket. 

This may have been a result of increasing taxes and regulations on landlords over the past few years, which started with the introduction of the 3 per cent surcharge in 2016. 

At the time, many landlords bought up properties beforehand to get in under the wire.  

As well as the standard stamp duty bill, buy-to-let investors and anyone buying a second home must pay a 3 per cent surcharge on top of the standard rates for owner-occupiers.

In the run-up to that policy being introduced, the proportion of home sales made up by landlords in Britain was much higher at 17 per cent, according to Hamptons.

The deeply unpopular surcharge is often cited by landlords as a reason for not expanding their portfolio, or even quitting the market altogether.

Landlords bought up more homes ahead of the introduction of new taxes on buy-to-let in 2016, than they did during the stamp duty holiday over the past 15 months

Landlords bought up more homes ahead of the introduction of new taxes on buy-to-let in 2016, than they did during the stamp duty holiday over the past 15 months

Overall, the stamp duty holiday meant that the average investor paid less in stamp duty than at any time since April 2016, when the 3 per cent stamp duty surcharge was introduced.

Despite this, the average bill during the holiday remained twice the level it was before the surcharge was introduced. 

What about those landlords who did buy?

There is little indication that landlords who did buy properties during the stamp duty holiday took advantage of the saving to buy bigger properties in more expensive areas.

Instead, 83 per cent of investor purchases were under £250,000, meaning their savings from the holiday were significantly smaller than those enjoyed by home movers.

During the holiday the average price paid by a landlord rose by just 1 per cent to £181,000, despite wider house price growth of 10 per cent over the same period. 

Landlords who did buy homes during the stamp duty holiday paid just 1% more for them, despite house prices as a whole rising by as much as 10% according to some estimates

Landlords who did buy homes during the stamp duty holiday paid just 1% more for them, despite house prices as a whole rising by as much as 10% according to some estimates

According to the September House Price Index from Nationwide, £22,613 has been added to the cost of the average home in just a year, with the average price of a home increasing 10 per cent to £248,742.

Commenting Aneisha Beveridge, head of research at Hamptons, said: ‘The overall impact of the stamp duty holiday on investor activity has been relatively muted.

‘The holiday resulted in a small uplift in the number of new buy-to-let investors, but despite their reduced bills, they were not outbidding owner-occupiers on any significant scale.’

What is happening to rents? 

Average rental growth across Britain hit 8 per cent in September, the third fastest annual rate of growth recorded this year, according to Hamptons.  

Regions in the South of England, but outside of London, led the way.  

The South West saw the highest rent increases in the past year, reaching £1,011

The South West saw the highest rent increases in the past year, reaching £1,011

The average rent on a new home rose 14.8 per cent to £1,011 in the South West, 14.7 per cent to £1,252 in the South East and 10.8 per cent to £1,106 in the East of England.

September marked the sixth consecutive month where annual rental growth hit double figures in the South West. 

The region has benefited from people relocating away from cities during the pandemic, as well as an increased appetite for longer-term holiday lets. 

London rents have also continued to recover. 

Although Inner London was the only region in the UK to see a decline in rents year-on-year, the 4.4 per cent or £100 year-on-year fall was far smaller than the 22.1 per cent decrease recorded in April when the market bottomed out.

In Outer London, rents grew 3.2 per cent annually in September, rising for the thirteenth consecutive month. This kept Greater London rents overall in positive territory, up 1.8 per cent year-on-year.

Beveridge added: ‘While rental growth rates typically peak over the summer months, this year they have continued to rise into the autumn. 

‘This means average monthly rents have passed £1,100 for the first time nationally, led by big increases on larger homes. 

‘The average four-bed home now costs 120 per cent more than a one-bed, up from 95 per cent pre-pandemic. 

‘While we are expecting this growth to moderate in the final few months of the year, it is likely 2021 will mark some of the fastest rates of rental growth in a generation.’

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Johann van Graan non-committal on prospect of Conor Murray return

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Johann van Graan was somewhat less than adamant that Conor Murray will make his seasonal re-appearance in their United Rugby Championship (URC) fifth round match away to the Ospreys next Saturday night, which is just two weeks out from the first of Ireland’s November test series, with the All Blacks to follow a week later.

“He might possibly be involved next week,” said the Munster head coach after their latest act of escapology to beat Connacht 20-18 at Thomond Park on Saturday night.

Might possibly?

“We’ll see how the week goes. We’ve taken our time with his recovery, so if he comes through the week then we’ll make a call at the back end of the week whether we’re going to select him or not.”

Van Graan assured us that Murray is not injured.

“No, he’s good. He had non-23 training on Friday so really looking forward to getting him involved.”

Van Graan wore the smile of a relieved man after Connacht had pushed them to the wire with a clever, fired-up all-round display in a spicy derby, during which the lead changed hands five times.

“I think if you look at the table, it’s three Irish teams at the top. Connacht are always such a big team in the interpros and you’ve got to give credit to them. Last season they beat all three of the Irish teams away.

“That’s why the players and the coaches and the supporters, and everybody involved loves an interpro, because that’s what you get. It’s not a classic but for the purist it’s a battle.

“That’s what the game is about and that’s why Irish rugby is in such a good place because they have got four top teams and some very good players across the four teams. That was a grind from our side, and proud of the way we finished that with that try and the conversion,” he said in reference to Diarmuid Barron’s 78th minute try and Joey Carbery’s nerveless conversion.

His counterpart, Andy Friend, was left with immense pride in his team’s performance mixed with acute frustration at their infuriating inconsistency and key mistakes, not least at restart receptions, but also the key decisions that went against his team.

Most notable of these was the failure by TMO Brian MacNeice and referee Chris Busby to spot that Tadhg Beirne was clearly in front of the ball before hacking on Rory Scannell’s crosskick in the build-up to Chris Cloete’s 39th minute try.

“I’ve got to be careful here,” he said when asked if he felt Connacht don’t receive a fair rub of the green from officials. “I’ve been here three and a bit years, mate, and if it’s a 50-50 I rarely see it going our way.

“I know that, but listen we’ve got to keep pushing our limits and making sure that we’re trying to be as squeaky clean as we can with things. I’m just…. to me, that try and the missed offside there – that’s inexcusable. Whether it’s Connacht or somebody else, I don’t know, it’s just inexcusable.”

To compound his frustrations, nor does the URC have channels to go through.

“We don’t have a referees’ manager, so I’m assuming that URC will be looking at that and hopefully something happens to the TMO that missed it. But it doesn’t help us, mate.”

Putting his own team’s errors into perspective, Friend highlighted their lineout pressure, strike plays, kicking and defence.

“On the whole the majority was really good, there’ll always be elements we need to work on. Otherwise we’d be out of a job.”

With next Saturday’s home game against Ulster at the Aviva in mind, Friend said: “What we will use is that we know we’re a good football side.

“We’ve just pushed a good Munster team who haven’t looked like losing a game this year and have played some really good rugby.

“We’ve turned up at their home field, where we beat them last season, knowing full well there was going to be a kick-back and we pushed them all the way to their limits.

“So, we know we’re a good football side. Our blip last week (against the Dragons) was a blip. We just have to make sure we never drop to that again and we keep our standards high.”

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Irish man (24) who drowned in swimming pool in Marbella is named

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A 24-year-old man who drowned in a swimming pool near Marbella in Spain has been named locally in Co Clare as Irish Defence Forces member Gerard McMahon.

Authorities responded to a distress call at 10.25am on Friday. The alarm was raised by friends who found Mr McMahon lifeless in the pool.

Spanish authorities are treating the death of the holiday maker as a “tragic accident”.

Mr McMahon lived in the Killaloe area of Co Clare. Local priest Fr Jerry O’Brien confirmed he had met the family of the young man and expressed his sympathy on behalf of the community.

Ogonnelloe GAA posted a tribute to Mr McMahon who was well known and liked in the community.

“It is with profound shock and sadness that we learned today of the sudden passing of our young member and friend, Gerard McMahon. Our thoughts and prayers are with his parents, Pat and Carmel, his sister Bríd, and all the McMahon family at this extremely difficult time.”

The club Facebook page posted a picture of Mr McMahon from 2016 when he and his team mates won the Division 3 League.

Scarriff Hurling also paid tribute to Mr McMahon who played for them at juvenile level. “Always with pride, great skill and giving all to the team and club.”

Meanwhile, local Fine Gael councillor Joe Cooney said the family of the young man were in the thoughts and prayers of the community.

Mr McMahon was a Private in the First Infantry Battalion in Renmore Barracks in Galway. St Patrick’s Garrison Church posted a message on Facebook asking for prayers for Mr McMahon and for his “family and comrades”.

A postmortem was expected to take place over the weekend at the Institute of Forensic Medicine in Malaga.

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