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Which areas have seen biggest house price rises during pandemic?

Voice Of EU



The areas of Britain that have seen the biggest house price rises during the pandemic have been revealed exclusively to MailOnline Property

Bury St Edmunds in Suffolk, and Banbury in Oxfordshire top the list compiled by Halifax and have seen prices rocket by £100,000 – or more than a third.

The analysis, based on places with house sales of at least 100, covers the period from the beginning of March last year to the end of February 2021. 

Also in the top 10 are Chorley in Lancashire, Leamington Spa in Warwickshire and Salisbury in Wiltshire, indicating that big rises have been seen across the country. 

Scroll down to the bottom of the story to see the full list of 100 areas where prices are up 12 per cent or more

We reveal where house prices have risen the most since the first lockdown in March last year

We reveal where house prices have risen the most since the first lockdown in March last year

This three-bed house in Bury St Edmunds in Suffolk is for sale for u00A3281,250 via estate agents WIlliam H Brown

This three-bed house in Bury St Edmunds in Suffolk is for sale for £281,250 via estate agents WIlliam H Brown

House prices have risen the most in Bury St Edmunds, increasing 37 per cent on average from £267,217 to £367,421 during the past year.

The pretty cathedral town in Suffolk is known for its Abbey Gardens and boasts hundreds of hanging baskets and pots in bloom during the spring and summer.

It is followed closely by Banbury, which has seen average house prices rise 36 per cent, from £283,830 to £385,556.

In third position is King’s Lynn, where average values are up 28 per cent in a year, from £232,586 to £298,399. 

None of the top 10 locations are in London. However, parts of the capital do feature in the longer list of the 100 locations with the highest house prices rises during the past year.

They are at the bottom, with the north London borough of Haringey ranked in position 98 and the north west London borough of Brent ranked in position 100.

This three-bed terrace house in Banbury,u00A0Oxfordshire, is for sale for u00A3275,000 via estate agents Connells

This three-bed terrace house in Banbury, Oxfordshire, is for sale for £275,000 via estate agents Connells

It comes as Britain approaches the anniversary of the first lockdown on 23 March, a period that has seen a sledgehammer taken to the jobs market.

Many industries suffered a bigger fall in vacancies during 2020 than in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis.

And yet unlike the 2008 crisis and the economic downturn at that time, during the past year the average price of a house has risen.

The typical value of a home in Britain is up 12 per cent, from £285,428 to £320,457, during the past year, according to Halifax.

This four-bed house in King's Lynn, Norfolk, is for sale for u00A3280,000 via estate agents William H Brown

This four-bed house in King’s Lynn, Norfolk, is for sale for £280,000 via estate agents William H Brown

(Average £)
(Average £)
Mar 20 – Feb 2021 Change %
South West 280,588 327,061 17%
East Anglia 276,291 317,844 15%
North West 206,362 236,197 14%
East Midlands 224,122 256,103 14%
West Midlands 231,291 263,661 14%
Yorkshire and Humberside 196,241 221,833 13%
South East 380,469 428,601 13%
Wales 191,309 214,150 12%
North 174,322 191,893 10%
Northern Ireland 167,843 180,483 8%
Greater London 538,909 567,788 5%
Scotland 190,250 194,086 2%
UK 285,428 320,457 12%
Source: Halifax       

Halifax also revealed the average house price increases in each region, with the South West ranked top with a 17 per cent rise from March last year to February this year.

It reflects the desire for more outdoor and indoor space during the past year as the restrictions of successive lockdowns have taken their toll.

Andrew Asaam, of Halifax, said: ‘Like a lot of things about last year, it would have been difficult to predict the places where we’d see the biggest house price growth, especially while everything shut down in the first lockdown.

‘Towns like Bury St Edmonds, Kings Lynn in Norfolk and Banbury in Oxfordshire have seen the biggest jump in house prices over the past year, while further north, Chorley and Huddersfield have also seen significant increases.

‘More time spent at home over the past 12 months has also helped fuel a desire for properties with more space and broadened the scope for how people think about certain locations, as work-life balance has shifted for buyers and sellers during 2020.

‘We saw a surge in the market over the second half of last year following the effective shutdown of the first lockdown, as well as people racing to benefit from the stamp duty holiday.’


The amount at which stamp duty is paid was temporarily increased by the Government last summer, to £500,000 for property sales in England and Northern Ireland.

The tax break was due to end on March 31, but  the Chancellor announced in the Budget that it will now end on June 30.

After this date, the starting rate of stamp duty will be £250,000 until the end of September. Stamp duty will then return to the usual level of £125,000. 

This four-bed semi-detached house in Buckshaw Village, Chorley, is for sale for 190,000 via Strike estate agents

This four-bed semi-detached house in Buckshaw Village, Chorley, is for sale for 190,000 via Strike estate agents

(Average £)
(Average £)
Mar 20 – Feb 21 Change %
BURY ST EDMUNDS 267,217 367,421 37%
BANBURY 283,830 385,556 36%
KING’S LYNN 232,586 298,399 28%
CHORLEY 188,206 240,906 28%
LEAMINGTON SPA 316,029 402,245 27%
HEREFORD 237,786 300,059 26%
MACCLESFIELD 298,791 371,531 24%
SALISBURY 313,248 388,238 24%
HUDDERSFIELD 187,221 231,920 24%
CHELTENHAM 322,648 396,885 23%
NEWTON ABBOT 251,329 309,040 23%
AYR 154,515 189,879 23%
STOURBRIDGE 259,458 316,675 22%
BURTON ON TRENT 210,966 257,397 22%
GREAT YARMOUTH 191,488 232,531 21%
CHESTERFIELD 184,580 223,300 21%
SOUTHEND ON SEA 280,556 336,760 20%
HOVE 409,519 491,304 20%
SOUTH SHIELDS 146,932 175,672 20%
GRANTHAM 228,843 273,594 20%
TAUNTON 249,151 297,599 19%
WALSALL 189,032 225,756 19%
TELFORD 197,203 234,914 19%
GLOUCESTER 241,136 286,881 19%
POOLE 309,241 367,758 19%
FAREHAM 296,283 351,651 19%
WOKING 497,775 590,624 19%
SCUNTHORPE 142,878 169,153 18%
DARLINGTON 169,348 200,313 18%
WIRRAL 228,040 269,725 18%
NEWARK 209,881 247,751 18%
ALTRINCHAM 402,181 474,335 18%
Islington (LA) 665,051 783963.4279 18%
DONCASTER 161,452 190,288 18%
WESTON SUPER MARE 226,748 267,050 18%
STOKE ON TRENT 165,137 194,299 18%
GILLINGHAM (KENT) 259,084 304,767 18%
SWADLINCOTE 197,532 231,113 17%
DUNSTABLE 280,929 328,440 17%
MAIDSTONE 295,426 345,313 17%
EASTBOURNE 261,108 305,112 17%
BEDFORD 331,172 386,688 17%
ASHFORD (KENT) 314,571 366,812 17%
WIDNES 173,004 201,627 17%
BRIDGWATER 224,932 261,930 16%
WORTHING 328,787 382,803 16%
STOCKPORT 271,530 315,503 16%
MANCHESTER 204,975 237,517 16%
NUNEATON 210,761 243,744 16%
BLACKBURN 143,342 165,486 15%
BOLTON 168,616 194,521 15%
CANTERBURY 317,908 366,586 15%
KETTERING 240,438 276,836 15%
COLCHESTER 304,015 349,752 15%
BIRMINGHAM 207,402 238,489 15%
LEICESTER 238,149 273,368 15%
NEWCASTLE UNDER LYME 174,906 200,656 15%
WREXHAM 187,277 214,751 15%
GRAVESEND 311,216 356,466 15%
NEWTOWNABBEY 142,518 163,201 15%
WARRINGTON 222,755 254,718 14%
WATERLOOVILLE 319,090 364,485 14%
BURNLEY 143,786 164,096 14%
HIGH WYCOMBE 409,285 466,959 14%
WOKINGHAM 470,415 536,095 14%
LINCOLN 219,282 249,790 14%
BRIGHTON 387,281 441,104 14%
TUNBRIDGE WELLS 462,906 527,137 14%
SLOUGH 411,830 468,856 14%
ST ALBANS 546,492 621,867 14%
COVENTRY 217,500 247,120 14%
SOLIHULL 382,713 434,735 14%
WOLVERHAMPTON 202,131 229,589 14%
ELY 294,030 333,893 14%
LEEDS 226,939 257,637 14%
DERBY 209,554 237,787 13%
WAKEFIELD 200,920 227,944 13%
HARLOW 298,891 339,055 13%
GATESHEAD 152,713 173,197 13%
SITTINGBOURNE 264,607 299,592 13%
MILTON KEYNES 326,609 369,656 13%
CHIPPENHAM 314,157 355,398 13%
OLDHAM 178,157 201,530 13%
ILFORD 441,239 498,570 13%
NEWPORT (GWENT) 180,849 204,217 13%
NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE 201,582 227,502 13%
EASTLEIGH 316,345 357,008 13%
PLYMOUTH 202,024 227,798 13%
NOTTINGHAM 213,856 241,030 13%
KEIGHLEY 183,542 206,568 13%
HARROGATE 325,272 365,914 12%
CRAWLEY 331,869 373,077 12%
ORPINGTON 483,028 542,656 12%
WORKSOP 154,126 173,053 12%
NORWICH 268,778 301,745 12%
Haringey (LA) 564,932 633,077 12%
SWANSEA 176,330 197,520 12%
Brent (LA) 548,088 613,783 12%
Source: Halifax                         

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

Voice Of EU



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

Voice Of EU



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

Voice Of EU



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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