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Would you forget holiday lets and rent a staycation home for 6 months?

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Have you been trying to book a family staycation in Britain this summer only to be met with either a lack of availability or prices that feel more suitable to being flown on a private jet to the Caribbean?

Demand for holiday lets in England has soared amid the pandemic and confusion about travel overseas restrictions.

It has led to reports of families being quoted tens of thousands of pounds for a week’s stay in this country, with one father-of-three saying he was quoted more than £70,000 for a week’s stay in Cornwall for himself and his family. 

So is there a solution that enables you to get away and enjoy a series of holidays in this country for less, if you take advantage as much as possible?

We took a look at what it costs to rent a property for six months and whether this could be cheaper than booking several individual family holidays during that time. 

Demand for holiday rentals in areas such as St Austell in Cornwall (pictured) have increased amid the pandemic, pushing up prices

Demand for holiday rentals in areas such as St Austell in Cornwall (pictured) have increased amid the pandemic, pushing up prices

If you are going to rent a property to use as a frequent holiday let, there are issues you need to research such as whether it is fully furnished

If you are going to rent a property to use as a frequent holiday let, there are issues you need to research such as whether it is fully furnished

If you are able to arrange things quickly and sign a six-month shorthold tenancy agreement in the next few weeks, there may even be time to squeeze in a fortnight’s holiday in August, then another break later this year during half term, and even a week or two at Christmas.

However, if it proves too late to arrange something this year, perhaps you might decide it may be worth looking into it for next year and seeing what types of properties can be rented where and for what price.

For those thinking they may still be able to largely work from home this time next year, this could allow a family to spend the bulk of the summer holidays by the seaside – and invite down friends and family as guests.

There are obviously factors that you need to watch out for, including whether the property is furnished, unless you are prepared to take all your own cutlery and blow-up beds during your stays.

And you also need to check what – if any bills – are included. Landlords are sometimes willing to negotiate including some household bills such as water rates but otherwise you will need to factor in the cost of utilities, council tax and insurance.

Ultimately, a six month rental costing about £6,000 or more is unlikely to involve splashing out less than you would on a few weeks of a holiday let, but in terms of pounds per day you can spend there it might compare favourably.

There may be other factors that you need to watch out for. For example, a condition of your insurance might be that you do not leave the property empty for than 30 days, so you may need to plan to book in some additional weekend visits. 

Mark Hayward, of lettings body Propertymark, added a word of caution, saying: ‘It is crucial that renters read any tenancy agreement carefully making sure to leave the property as stipulated, and pay attention to any inventory attached to the tenancy. 

‘It is increasingly common for landlords in holiday areas to avoid a six-month commitment in favour of a very short term let on which they can achieve a premium, and therefore while a longer term holiday rental may appear attractive, in practice it is likely to prove more difficult.’ 

While a direct comparison may mean renting a property for six months is more expensive, it still provides the flexibility to use the property as much as you want. And remote working means it may be possible to use it during the week more frequently if there is a separate home office space. 

Properties to rent in tourist areas 

We take a look at three properties in Cornwall, Devon and the Cotswolds that can be rented for less than £1,000 a month on a minimum six-month tenancy agreement.

It compares to a potential £2,000 to £3,000 that a family of four may spend on a two week summer holiday alone, without getting to enjoy holiday lets at Christmas, half term or any additional time such as weekends.

1. Two-bed flat in Falmouth, Cornwall, £865 a month 

This two-bedroom terrace property in St Austell, Cornwall, is available to rent for £850 a month via Mid Cornwall letting agents

This two-bedroom terrace property in St Austell, Cornwall, is available to rent for £850 a month via Mid Cornwall letting agents

The property in St Austell has a garden with a lawn area, a patio and a good-sized garden shed

The property in St Austell has a garden with a lawn area, a patio and a good-sized garden shed

This two-bedroom terrace property is in the Charlestown area of St Austell in Cornwall.

It is on the outskirts of St Austell town centre and is within walking distance of the sea and the beach.

It is available to rent for £850 a month, via Mid Cornwall letting agents.

2. Three-bed cottage in Loddiswell, Devon, £895 a month 

This three-bedroom property in Devon is available to rent for £895 a month via letting agents Charles Head

This three-bedroom property in Devon is available to rent for £895 a month via letting agents Charles Head

There aref ar-reaching views of the surrounding countryside from the Loddiswell rental home

There aref ar-reaching views of the surrounding countryside from the Loddiswell rental home

This newly renovated cottage is in Loddiswell in Devon’s Kingsbridge, and boasts far-reaching views of the surrounding countryside.

The three-bedroom property is available to rent for £895 a month via letting agents Charles Head. 

It is ten miles from the luxury seaside hotspot of Salcombe and seven miles from Bantham Beach on the mouth of the River Avon. 

3. Two-bed house in Tetbury, Gloucestershire, £995 a month 

This two-bedroom terrace cottage is in Gloucestershire's Tetbury and is available to rent for £995 a month, via letting agents Moore Allen & Innocent

This two-bedroom terrace cottage is in Gloucestershire’s Tetbury and is available to rent for £995 a month, via letting agents Moore Allen & Innocent

The property has a good-sized garden and views of the surrounding countryside in the Cotswolds

The property has a good-sized garden and views of the surrounding countryside in the Cotswolds

This two-bedroom terrace cottage is in Gloucestershire’s Tetbury, which is in the Cotswolds.

It includes off-road parking and is available to rent for £995 a month via letting agents Moore Allen & Innocent.

Tetbury is about two and a half hours from London by road and 45 minutes from Bristol, which is 30 miles away. 

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What to expect in Budget 2022? Small tax cuts and modest welfare increases

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Public spending may have rocketed over the past 20 months due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic but it appears that tax cuts and welfare increases will be on the table nonetheless when the Government sets out its budget on October 12th.

As Tánaiste Leo Varadkar recently said, there will be tax measures aimed at “middle-income people in particular”, as well as a welfare package to offset the impact of the rising cost of living.

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Asking price on average British home hits a record high of £338,462

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The average price tag on British homes has hit a record high of £338,462 as the competition heats up among ‘power buyers’, according to new figures.    

Average asking prices for homes increased by 0.3 per cent, or £1,091, month-on-month in September, according to figures from Rightmove. 

Wales, South West England, the East Midlands, the East of England and the South East – are experiencing annual asking price growth of more than 8 per cent.

Fierce competition continues among buyers for the low number of properties for sale.

Average asking prices for homes increased by 0.3 per cent, or £1,091, month-on-month in September, according to figures from Rightmove. Pictured: A house on sale for £340,000 in Brighton

Average asking prices for homes increased by 0.3 per cent, or £1,091, month-on-month in September, according to figures from Rightmove. Pictured: A house on sale for £340,000 in Brighton 

Rightmove added that buyers who are ready to move – including those who have already sold their own home, have cash in the bank, or are first-time buyers with a mortgage agreed – are ‘out-muscling’ those who still need to sell their home in order to buy. 

The frenzied market activity has helped to push up the average asking price of a newly-listed property to a new record for the fourth consecutive month, according to Rightmove.

The average asking price has climbed £21,389 higher in just six months to £338,447, according to the property listing website’s index.

Rightmove’s Tim Bannister said: ‘We predict that the number of completed sales will be the highest ever seen in a single month when June’s data is released by HMRC.

‘This means it’s likely that the first half of 2021 has seen a record number of moves when compared with the first six months of any other year, induced by the pandemic’s side-effect of a new focus on what a home needs to provide.’

Frenzied activity has helped to push up average property asking prices, says Rightmove

Frenzied activity has helped to push up average property asking prices, says Rightmove

It comes as it was revealed earlier this month that the prices houses are actually selling for are now 13 per cent higher than before the Covid-19 pandemic. 

The figures come in contrast to predictions from agents, who thought the end to the Covid-19 stamp duty holiday would see demand for properties dramatically fall and take heat out of the housing market.  

The Government’s stamp duty holiday, introduced when the pandemic hit last year, fuelled a rapid rise in house prices, but the stamp duty band was halved from £500,000 to £250,000 from July, and will revert to £125,000 from September 30.

Rightmove said that in the month to mid-July, asking prices rose 0.7 per cent – the equivalent of £2,374 and the largest monthly rise at this time of year since July 2007, at the peak of the boom just before the financial crisis.

The price data is based on Rightmove’s asking prices, while the data on the number of sales is a prediction of what the next HMRC transactions will show, based on Rightmove data that looks at properties being marked ‘under offer’ or ‘sold subject to contract’.

Rightmove attributed the increase to a lack of supply of homes for sale and identified a shortfall of 225,000 homes for sale which, if available, would have helped to maintain a more normal level of property stock for sale and stabilise prices.

This stark shortfall, along with frenzied buyer activity, is fuelling record high prices and leading to record lows in available stock for sale.  

The high levels of activity have continued, according to Rightmove, despite the end of the stamp duty holiday.

The stamp duty holiday, which ended on 30 June, saw 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.

Rightmove said there is an ‘urgent need’ for low stocks of property for sale to be rebuilt so that stability in prices can return.

Rightmove said that the average value of a home in Britain currently stands at £338,462

Rightmove said that the average value of a home in Britain currently stands at £338,462

Mr Bannister said: ‘First-time buyers are currently benefitting from their sector having the most buyer-friendly conditions. Choice is still more limited when compared to the same period in 2019, but price rises are the most subdued of any sector.

‘Saving a deposit is still very hard, but 5 per cent is now an option, and with many paying rising rents, buying your own home on a lower deposit is becoming an opportunity again. The opportunity is also there for property owners to come to market, as it’s still a great sellers’ market despite the recent end of the tax holiday in Wales and its scaling back in England.

‘We’ve also seen a much more efficient housing market over the past year, with the strong buyer demand and faster churn of homes leading to a much higher percentage of sellers finding a buyer for their home, and fewer unsold homes being withdrawn from the market.

‘Buyer sentiment remains strong, and the growth in new households combined with people living longer and having changed housing needs is exacerbating long-term housing stock shortages.’

Rob Sabin, of estate agents Miles & Barr, said: ‘East Kent’s property market continues to be very active during the first six months of 2021 with buyers continuing to purchase the limited housing stock available.

Wales, South West England, the East Midlands, the East of England and the South East - are experiencing annual asking price growth of more than 8 per cent. Pictured: A house on sale for £340,000 in Bristol

Wales, South West England, the East Midlands, the East of England and the South East – are experiencing annual asking price growth of more than 8 per cent. Pictured: A house on sale for £340,000 in Bristol

‘The number of sellers coming to market has slowed as the year has progressed, which means we’ve seen the level of new listings coming to the market significantly decrease year on year, while in turn total available stock levels across the market is at the lowest we have seen in a number of years.

‘While the number of new listings has dropped, our results remained strong with 945 homes listed accepting an offer. East Kent has also seen the number of buyers looking to relocate to either the countryside or by the coast increase with a fifth of applicants registered coming from Greater London.’

Marc von Grundherr, of estate agents Benham and Reeves, said: ‘The UK property market continues to defy expectation, with house prices reaching yet another record high despite whispers of a decline in values as a result of the tapered stamp duty holiday deadline.

‘There’s no doubt the stamp duty holiday has been the catalyst for this impressive market performance. However, it isn’t the driving factor behind the intent to purchase for UK homebuyers and so a robust level of activity will remain long after it has expired. 

‘When you couple heightened demand with a severe shortage of stock, it’s very likely that property values will remain buoyant for the remainder of the year 2021 buyer frenzy reveals 225,000 shortfall in number of homes for sale.’ 

But property price growth has still seen a ‘surprising’ increase in August, with Nationwide Building Society figures placing it at 11 per cent higher than one year earlier. 

However, ONS figures released five days ago suggest the average UK house price dropped £10,000 in July.

The typical home was worth £255,535 in July, according to the Land Registry-based index – around £19,000 higher than a year earlier but significantly below the £265,448 peak in June.  

This translated to annual house price inflation slowing to 8 per cent in July, from 13.1 per cent the previous month.

In a reversal of fortune for the property market compared to the recent past, the North East is the UK’s hottest property market in terms of average price rises, with homes up almost 11 per cent in a year, while London is seeing the lowest gains at 2 per cent, ONS figures show. 

Rightmove added that buyers who are ready to move - including those who have already sold their own home, have cash in the bank, or are first-time buyers with a mortgage agreed - are 'out-muscling' those who still need to sell their home in order to buy. Pictured: A house on sale for £340,000 in Norfolk

Rightmove added that buyers who are ready to move – including those who have already sold their own home, have cash in the bank, or are first-time buyers with a mortgage agreed – are ‘out-muscling’ those who still need to sell their home in order to buy. Pictured: A house on sale for £340,000 in Norfolk 

Tim Bannister, Rightmove’s director of property data, said: ‘Competition among potential buyers to secure their next home is now more than double what it was this time in 2019.

‘To be in pole position in the race for the best property you need to have greater buying power than the rest of the field.

‘That traditionally would mean deeper pockets to outbid other buyers, but in the most competitive market ever, today’s ‘power buyers’ also need to have already found a buyer for their own property, or to have no need to sell at all.

‘Agents report that buyers who have yet to sell are being out-muscled by buyers who have already sold subject to contract.

Pictured: A house on sale for £340,000 on Washington Road in Leicester

Pictured: A house on sale for £340,000 on Washington Road in Leicester 

‘Proof that you are mortgage-ready or can splash the cash without needing a mortgage will also help you to get the pick of the housing crop.’

But there are signs of a re-balancing in the housing market. In the first two weeks of September, the number of new listings was up by 14% compared with the last two weeks of August.

Rightmove said a wider choice of properties should also encourage more homeowners to come to market as the number of potential onward purchases grows.

Mr Bannister continued: ‘This 14% increase in the number of new sellers coming to market in the first half of September is only an early snapshot, but autumn is traditionally a busy period, as those owners who have hesitated thus far during the year see the few months before Christmas as an opportunity to belatedly get their moving plans under way.’ 

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Zappone turns down invitation to appear before committee to discuss envoy role

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Former minister Katherine Zappone has turned down an invitation to appear before an Oireachtas committee to explain the circumstances surrounding her now-scrapped appointment as a special envoy.

The chair of the Oireachtas Committee on Foreign Affairs Charlie Flanagan confirmed on Monday that Ms Zappone had declined an invitation to attend to discuss the matter.

The committee, which met last Wednesday in private session, agreed to write to the former minister and invite her to appear before it.

It is understood the decision was taken at a private meeting after it was proposed by Sinn Féin spokesman on foreign affairs John Brady and his Social Democrats counterpart Gary Gannon.

The committee is also to invite Martin Fraser, the secretary general of the Department of the Taoiseach and the State’s highest-ranking civil servant, to address the issue of precisely when Ms Zappone’s name was communicated to the Department of the Taoiseach.

Controversy erupted over an attempt by Minister of Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney to appoint Ms Zappone as a special envoy for freedom of expression and LGBTQ+ rights.

Mr Coveney – who is attending UN meetings this week in New York – last week faced down a motion of no confidence as a result of his handling of the matter.

Earlier this month, Mr Coveney told the Oireachtas Committee Ms Zappone was mistaken in her belief she had been offered the job last March.

Mr Coveney also rejected claims that Ms Zappone lobbied for the position or that he breached Freedom of Information legislation by deleting texts between himself and Tánaiste Leo Varadkar.

However, Mr Coveney apologised for “sloppiness”, and for making mistakes in the past few weeks.

Records released by the Department of Foreign Affairs show Ms Zappone texted Mr Coveney to thank him on March 4th “so, so much for offering me this incredible opportunity”.

In mid-July she sent another message of thanks but Mr Coveney has insisted nothing had been formally agreed until it came to Cabinet on July 27th.

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