Tuesday, 17 October 2017

2016 must go down in history as a bit of a dire year when it comes to wars, votes and the loss of much-loved icons. Here, LUCY BOON looks back at the lighter side of the year in property...

JANUARY

THE Family Hotspots Report from OneFamily takes into consideration 71 sets of data under the categories of education, property, safety, childcare, amenities and population to find the best places in Britain to raise a family.

Lower Earley in Berkshire and Carterton in Oxfordshire made it into the top 20, but Faringdon — this side of Oxford — came in at number three, while Wokingham near Reading was number one.

FEBRUARY

RIGHTMOVE’S February house price index revealed prices and demand to be at an all-time high. The property portal called 2016 “the year of the first-time buyer” and valued the UK’s average property asking price at £299,287.

MARCH

OUR town once again played host to two events.

First off, the Royal Institute of British Architects’ Henley Design Day at the town hall helped those looking to extend or develop rather than move house get some free advice.

They were able to chat to design specialists and local architects who create stunning properties such as Bere Leys in Tidmarsh (pictured).

The second, Henley House and Garden Show (March 12-13) had exhibitors from local home, garden and property businesses as well as professional services.

The Henley House and Garden Show will now skip a year to next take place in 2018.

APRIL

FROM April 1 people had to fork out an extra three per cent in Stamp Duty Land Tax if buying an additional home. Anyone who is buying an additional residential property for £40,000 or more (whether a holiday home, buy-to-let or even a main residence) now has to pay even more.

Property priced between £250,000 and £950,000 now attracts stamp duty of eight per cent.

MAY

THE boss of one of Britain’s biggest UK estate agency chains said the nation had “reached the limit” on house prices.

Paul Smith, whose company operates a number of agencies across the UK, including Haart, said there was “trouble in paradise” and sellers would have to cut prices to find buyers.

Smith warned that prices had peaked after a 12 per cent year-on-year rise.

He added: “Properties are in danger of being overvalued and these homes will struggle to sell.”

JUNE

THE UK’s best new buildings are announced by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA).

Winners of the 2016 RIBA National Awards included a local project by John Pardey Architects — the Cheeran House in Reading (pictured), which is a single dwelling residential building.

The firm came 38th in the industry’s most rigorous and prestigious awards for new buildings in the UK.

JULY

WITH regatta season in full swing, once again, the spotlight falls on riverside properties, including this one — 1 Royal Mansions, guide price £995,000 — currently for sale with Knight Frank.

AUGUST

THE cost of moving house hit a record high.

Research by Lloyds Bank found that the average cost of moving house in the UK has increased by £870 over the past year to £10,996.

Looking at the whole country, the South East is the second most expensive region for moving (after London), with an average outlay of £20,210 — a rise of £3,382 (20 per cent) since last year.

SEPTEMBER

THE building known as the Walkie Talkie (aka 20 Fenchurch Street) wins this year’s Carbuncle Cup, run by Building Design magazine. The landmark London skyscraper fended off competition in the form of student halls and a YMCA building to be named the UK’s worst building. The office building, which wsa designed by architect Rafael Viñoly, is nicknamed the Walkie Talkie due to its similarity to the old-school communications device.

OCTOBER

IT’S Halloween, and we find out that the Bracknell house made famous by its role as number 4 Privet Drive in the Harry Potter films is actually for sale.

It was picked in 2001 to be the house where fans would first meet Daniel Radcliffe’s Harry, who was famously forced to live in a cupboard under the stairs by his cruel Aunt Petunia and Uncle Vernon.

The three-bedroom property in RG12 was marketed by Chancellors at £475,000 in September, only to be withdrawn by the owner a month later.

NOVEMBER

THE Autumn budget threw some more property spanners into the works, with the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond outlining plans to crack down on letting fees — although he also announced a £1.4billion investment in affordable housing.

This last move, in addition to a fund that is already worth £4.7billion, is expected to help build 40,000 new homes and would allow providers more flexibility to offer lower rents.

Some parties have claimed Mr Hammond’s letting fees proposal shows he “lacks an understanding of how the whole sector works”. But citing the example of Scotland, where a similar ban is already in place, the charity Shelter said the evidence showed rents had not in fact risen.

DECEMBER

AGENCIES tout for business by emphasising the fact that Christmas seems to now be the busiest time for online property searches.

Pushing the benefit of listing properties for sale/rent now, rather than waiting for the new year, agents point out how over Christmas 2015 Rightmove reported a 195 per cent increase in visits between Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.

Families getting together to discuss their moving plans for the year waste little time in exploring their options, it would seem.

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