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The most and least affordable places for first-time buyers now

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The gulf between the most and least affordable places to live within different regions of Britain is growing, Nationwide Building Society research shows.

Within London, the notoriously expensive borough of Kensington and Chelsea is the least affordable place in the capital to live, when taking into account factors like house prices and average earnings.

Within other areas of the country, Hertsmere, Oxford, Rutland, Ryedale, Redditch and South Lakeland all stand out for being pricier places to live than locations in their nearby vicinities.

Mapped: A map showing the most affordable places to live in Britain, according to Nationwide

Mapped: A map showing the most affordable places to live in Britain, according to Nationwide

At the other end of the spectrum, within Scotland, East Ayrshire is the most affordable place to live, offering reasonable property prices alongside, in most instances, decent wages for workers, according to Nationwide.

Copeland, County Durham, Methyr Tydfil and Stoke-on-Trent in, respectively, the North West, North East, Wales and the West Midlands all scored highly on the affordability front.

Where are the most ‘affordable’ places to live? 

In Scotland’s East Aryshire, average first-time buyer house prices are just 2.3 times average earnings. 

The vicinity covers a sizeable area to the south of Glasgow, but its main towns are Kilmarnock and Cumnock. 

Affordable: The most affordable places to live within different areas of the country

Affordable: The most affordable places to live within different areas of the country

Least affordable: The most unaffordable places to live within different parts of the UK

Least affordable: The most unaffordable places to live within different parts of the UK

Copeland is the most affordable area in the North West of England. 

While the area includes parts of the western Lake District, its main hubs are along the Cumbrian coast from Millom to Whitehaven.

In the North East, County Durham has the lowest house price to earnings ratio at 2.7.

Covering a relatively large area, it includes the cathedral city of Durham, former mining towns such as Bishop Auckland, and ‘new towns’ like Peterlee and Newton Aycliffe. 

Bromley is the most affordable borough in London, but its house price earnings ratio of 6.7 is still higher than most local authorities across the country.

Nationwide’s senior economist Andrew Harvey, said: ‘Bromley is less affordable than the least affordable authorities in seven out of the 11 regions.’ 

More affordable than before? Some places are becoming increasingly affordable

More affordable than before? Some places are becoming increasingly affordable 

Where are the most ‘unaffordable’ places to live?

Taking a look at the least affordable places to live, the borough of Kensington and Chelsea in London came out somewhat ‘predictability’ in worst place.

In Kensington and Chelsea, the typical house price  is 16.8 times earnings. In this borough, average property prices exceed £1million. 

Hertsmere in Hertfordshire is the least affordable area in the East of England , with average houses prices 9.6 times higher than average local earnings.

‘This area is traditionally prime London commuter territory, taking in towns such as Borehamwood and Potters Bar’, Mr Harvey said.

Meanwhile, Oxford is the least affordable area in the South East region, while the tourist hotspot of Bath has the highest house price to earnings ratio in the South West.  

Rutland, which is the smallest historic county in England, is the least affordable authority in the East Midlands, while in the West Midlands it is Redditch, which is around 15 miles south of Birmingham.

North Tyneside is the ‘least affordable’ area within the North East, but average property prices here are only around four times average earnings, so this is still relatively affordable compared to many other locations.

Has anywhere become more affordable?

According to the research, the London borough of Hammersmith and Fulham has become more affordable in the past five years.

The average first-time-buyer house price to earnings ratio dropped from 15.6 to 11.5 in five years. 

‘This was driven by a combination of lower prices (12 per cent lower than five years ago) and higher earnings (up 17 per cent compared with 2015)’, according to Mr Harvey.

Meanwhile, in Scotland, the city of Aberdeen has seen the biggest improvement in affordability.

This is mainly due to a  28 per cent fall in average prices over the period, although average earnings have also risen by 7 per cent. 

‘Overall, 25 per cent of local authorities in Britain have seen an improvement in affordability compared with 2015, while first-time-buyer house price earnings ratios have risen in 73 per cent of authorities, with the balance unchanged’, Mr Harvey said. 

Variations: First-time-buyer house price to earnings ratios since 2015

Variations: First-time-buyer house price to earnings ratios since 2015

Rumours are swirling suggesting that Chancellor Rishi Sunak could extend the current stamp duty holiday until the end of June.

Zoopla estimates that around 234,000 more people who’ve already agreed to buy a home could take advantage of the prolonged stamp duty holiday if it gets the green light from Sunak.

The Chancellor had been urged to push back the deadline as many people have been left scrambling to complete their transactions before the end date in March. 

But, critics are concerned that the stamp duty holiday is merely pushing up asking prices to unrealistic levels.

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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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