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Category: all things didsbury

Every Didsbury Homeowner & Landlord to Receive up to £5,000 Grant for Roof Insulation & Double Glazing from September

The Chancellor announced on Wednesday 8th July in his mini Budget some interesting news for Didsbury homeowners and Didsbury landlords. Rishi Sunak is going to give ‘The Green Homes Grant’ of up to £5,000 to cover two-thirds of the costs of environmentally friendly upgrades to your Didsbury property, with the homeowner covering the other third. There are also enhanced grants of £10,000 for the poorest households where 100% of the cost will be met by the Government.

This is nothing new mind you. The coalition Government in 2013 announced The Green Deal. That deal was in theory to have been a help for the builders, energy saving and home improvement industry, as the Government hoped many would take up environmentally friendly improvements to save energy (and ultimately greenhouse gases). Yet by the time it was brought to an end two years later only 14,000 households had applied, costing the taxpayer £238m (or £17,000 per household). That doesn’t sound good value to me – yet who am I to comment?

Anyway, let’s not be negative, as improving our homes makes sense – after all, research shows Brits have the draughtiest homes in Europe. A recent survey suggests UK homes “leak” heat up to three times more quickly than more energy-efficient homes on the continent.

Data from 80,000 smart thermostats across the EU were reviewed to measure how quickly a home at 20°C inside cooled once the heating was turned off (when the outside temperature was 0°C). Within 5 hours, the average British home dropped by 3°C, the French came in second at 2.5°C yet the Germans came in at just 1°C, meaning British homes clearly need more heating (i.e. greenhouse gases) to keep them warmer.

The chancellor has allotted £2bn to the scheme, which pays for two thirds of the cost of the upgrade and stated that more than 650,000 homes would be upgraded. This could save those households a total of £195m a year in heating bills (or the equivalent of £300 a year per household), cutting greenhouse gases and saving jobs in the construction industry. The grant can be applied for from September and is open to Didsbury homeowners and private sector Didsbury landlords. Applications must be made before March 2021 and the Treasury have stated about half of the fund would go to households with the lowest incomes (how low is still to be announced), with an enhanced grant of up to £10,000, saving them up to £600 per annum each on their heating bills.

The average Didsbury home annually produces 3.504 tonnes of CO2, compared to the national average of 4.101 tonnes

Due to the particular individual nature of the properties in Didsbury and their construction type, with suitable improvements in insulation, double glazing and draught proofing, Government statistics state that this could be reduced to 2.212 tonnes for Didsbury homes if suitable work (as per the Green Homes Grant) was carried out.

Why is this important? Well UK householders spend £34.735bn a year on their electric and gas bills – this is a lot of money. In fact, looking specifically at Didsbury properties … 

Didsbury householders spend £563.51 per year on

 heating their homes (compared to the national average of £669.34 per year)

Yet, if Didsbury householders carried out the energy improvements that ‘The Green Homes Grant’ suggests their energy bills for heating alone would reduce to £414.61 per year … quite a saving over a decade and beyond (enough to buy a decent holiday – whatever one of those is!).

So, with Didsbury homeowners and Didsbury landlords being able to spend the grant on loft, floor and wall insulation, low carbon gas boilers, heat pumps, double or even triple-glazed windows, energy-efficient doors and low energy lighting … everyone should win – the environment, the economy and household budgets. More details on the scheme should be released by the Government in August.

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Didsbury Home Buyers & Landlords Set to Save £1,446,030 in Stamp Duty Over Next Nine Months

The British are infatuated with owning their own property and politicians know that. Margaret Thatcher used it as a vote winner in 1979 when she allowed council house tenants to buy their own home. Coming to the present day, Boris Johnson’s Conservative government have anxieties that the Brits have not been buying nearly enough homes lately and, as with all countries in the world, the British property market was put ‘on ice’ for several months to help contain the Coronavirus, exacerbating the problem. 

The Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, announced on Wednesday plans to boost the property market by momentarily scrapping Stamp Duty Tax (a tax paid by homebuyers) when they buy a property that costs less than £500,000.

Interestingly, Stamp Duty was originally introduced in 1694 as a way to raise funds for The Nine Years’ War (1688–1697) against Louis XIV of France and applied to property and some legal documents.

Why is this important? Well the Government recognise that when the property market is working well, the economy also tends to work well, yet one of the barriers to people moving home is Stamp Duty. Even before Coronavirus, Brits were moving 40.21% less than they were at the start of the millennium, and now with this dreadful situation, the natural reaction is for people to stay put in their own homes, meaning another potential nail in the coffin for the economy.

Stamp Duty has raised not an insignificant £166.53bn since 1998, impressive when you consider the NHS costs £129bn per annum. Looking at more recent figures, the Government currently raise £1.045bn per month from Stamp Duty Tax and this statement will remove a good chunk of that from the Chancellors coffers each month, yet the Government knows a healthy property market will help the wider economy.

As Stamp Duty is a transaction tax, it restricts labour market mobility, making people who are thinking of switching jobs think twice before moving. Stamp Duty also holds back elderly homeowners from downsizing to smaller homes, which is an issue for the UK, as we don’t have enough homes to meet supply and also curtails first time buyers as it forces them to use some of the savings on the tax, as opposed to using for a deposit.

Before the changes, the Stamp Duty thresholds were as follows: 

  • Zero percent up to £125,000
  • Two percent of the next £125,000 (the portion from £125,001 to £250,000)
  • Five percent of the next £675,000 (the portion from £250,001 to £925,000)
  • Ten percent of the next £575,000 (the portion from £925,001 to £1.5 million)
  • 12% of the remaining amount (the portion above £1.5 million)

and between the 8th July 2020 and 31st March 2021

  • Zero percent up to £500,000
  • Five percent of the next £425,000 (the portion from £500,001 to £925,000)
  • Ten percent of the next £575,000 (the portion from £925,001 to £1.5 million)
  • 12% of the remaining amount (the portion above £1.5 million)

Landlords and buy to let landlords will also benefit from these reduced rates yet will still have to pay their additional premium for second homes (as they have since April 2016).

To give you an idea how significant this is, if these rules had been in place exactly a year ago for Didsbury properties purchased under £500,000 (i.e. between the 8th July 2019 and 31st March 2020).

Stamp Duty would not have been paid on 387

Didsbury (M20) properties, worth in total £106,321,300

Anyone buying any home in Didsbury over £500,000 are also winners in this, as they will save having to pay the first £15,000 in stamp duty (under the old scheme). This is because during these 9 months, stamp duty is only paid on the difference over £500,000 (so if you buy a property for say £620,000 – one only pays the stamp duty on the difference between £620,000 and £500,000 i.e. £120,000).

I’m all for reducing Stamp Duty, which is imposed progressively at higher rates the higher a property costs (as you can see from the tables above). Yet, short-lived changes to property taxation risk warping the property market and generating a ‘property market hangover’ in Spring 2021. I am part of a group of 2,500 estate and letting agents from the UK, and most of us were running at 150% speed before this announcement, coping with the post Coronavirus explosion in demand. 

Now it seems that the ‘feast’ will continue until the end of March 2021 as many more people will move to take advantage of the cut in tax. However, some are suggesting this could lead to ‘famine’ down the line as it will stop people moving into the late spring and summer of 2021. 

History tells us different stories on the influence on transaction volumes from changing Stamp Duty rates. In 1991 the Tory’s raised the Stamp Duty threshold at which house buyers started paying and Gordon Brown did so in 2008 when we went into the Credit Crunch. More recently, both George Osborne and Philip Hammond fine-tuned Stamp Duty so that landlords had to pay an additional Stamp Duty Premium after March 2016 whilst first-time buyers pay less Stamp Duty and the purchasers of more expensive homes (over £1.5m) pay more.

The Stamp Duty changes for landlords in 2016 affected the property market only for a short while and by the autumn, transactions levels had returned to normal. However, in 1991, John Major’s Stamp Duty change encouraged home buyers to bring forward home purchases but nevertheless the property market ground to a standstill again once the benefit ended (although the steps up the 1990’s Stamp Duty levels were much harsher as the tax applied to the whole purchase price, not the margin steps as it had in the 1990’s).

So how much money will Didsbury people save when buying a home under £500k?

The average Stamp Duty paid by those Didsbury home buyers in the 9 months between the 8th July 2019 and 31st March 2020 was £3,737 

Being objective, I can see why the Chancellor could see this as a suitable way to motivate spending because when people move home, they are more inclined to spend comprehensively on property renovations and the services of solicitors, home removal people, tradesmen and estate agents. So, drastically reducing Stamp Duty will undoubtedly help the UK economy, or at least contain some of the damage from the Coronavirus.  

Also, the experience of being in lockdown will have confirmed to many Didsbury people that they need a bigger home or one with a bigger garden. I also suspect other people may be able to work from home on a more long-lasting basis, meaning there could be a shift from the larger cities to outlying towns and even a move to the countryside.

So, these are my thoughts, what are yours?

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The Didsbury Post Lockdown Property Market

Didsbury Post Lockdown Property Market

What have we learned in the first month?

From talking to most of the Didsbury estate and letting agents and our own findings, it might surprise many of you that new enquiries from homebuyers, tenants, landlords and home sellers have been at record levels since lockdown was lifted from the property market in mid-May.

There are a number of reasons for this. Firstly, we had the pent-up demand for Didsbury property from the Boris Bounce in January and February. Next, many Didsbury people were planning to move this spring yet were prevented doing so because of lockdown, and finally, surprisingly, an advance wave of home movers seeking to bring their Didsbury moving plans forward because of a fear of a second Covid-19 wave later in the year.

So, what does all that look like and how does it compare to the last 12/18 months?

Data from Yomdel, the live chat and telephone answering service for a quarter of UK estate and letting agents, is able to track objective and more current information from across the UK on what is really happening. Each week, they are dealing with thousands of enquiries including: 

  • Seller enquiries (i.e. house sellers looking to put their property on the market) 
  • Buyer enquiries (i.e. people looking to view a property on the market with the intention of buying it) 
  • Landlords enquiries (i.e. landlords looking for tenants for their rental property) 
  • Tenant enquiries (i.e. people looking to view a property on the market with the intention of renting it) 

They have created a rolling weekly average of those enquiries for the whole of the UK for the 62 weeks before the country went into lockdown. Then they compared that 62 week average with specific time frames, namely the 10 weeks of the run up to the General Election, the 8 weeks of Post Boris Bounce in January and February 2020, the weeks of lockdown in March, April and early May and then finally, from mid-May, the post lockdown. 

You might ask why tracking estate and letting agency enquiries is so important? 

Enquiries in letting and estate agencies are the beating heart of the property market – they are the ECG machine of the estate and letting agency. Of course, house price data has its place and is lauded by the national press as the bellwether of the property market, yet it takes 6 to 9 months for the effects of what is happening today to show in those house price indexes, whilst these enquiries are what is happening now. 

Have a look at the data in the graph and table, it can be seen in the 8 weeks up to the General Election, every metric was down. Next, the post Boris Bounce saw house seller and house buyer leads increase yet note how low tenant enquiries were (hardly any change from the run up to the election), everything dipped during lockdown as expected, yet look at all the metrics post lockdown … amazing! (e.g. if a number in the graph/table below is say -25%, that means its 25% below the rolling 62 week average, yet if it were +20%, then that would mean it would be 20% more than the rolling 62 week average)

 General Election Run UpPost Boris
Bounce
LockdownPost Lockdown
Seller Enquiries-27.0%20.6%-41.9%94.3%
Buyer Enquiries-19.9%12.9%-9.3%163.7%
Landlord Enquiries-10.9%1.0%-27.6%78.5%
Tenant Enquiries-34.9%-27.2%-23.1%92.5%
308 Graph - The Didsbury Post Lockdown Property Market

The numbers speak for themselves! 

So, what is happening in the Didsbury property market? Well, there is plenty of activity in the Didsbury property market, yet that doesn’t mean everything is back to normal. Enquiries are an important metric, yet another way to judge the health of the property market is to look at the number of property transactions (i.e. people moving). 

Now the Land Registry data isn’t quite as exhilarating, yet it is less volatile. Nationally, it shows that property transactions were at their lowest level since its records began in April 2005. The seasonally adjusted estimate of UK residential property transactions in April and May 2020 was 90,210, 53.4% lower than the 193,500 transactions of April and May 2019. Again though, this was because of the restrictions on moving during Covid-19. The stats for Didsbury are still to be released, yet rest assured I will share them in due course.

Looking again at what is happening now, when I look at the number of properties for sale…

63 Didsbury properties have come onto the property market in the last 14 days alone, and of those, 9 are already sold subject to contract

So, what of the future of the post-lockdown Didsbury housing market? While a stern recession seems almost guaranteed, a housing market crash is not. Many newspapers are predicting property values to fall in 2020, then rise reticently from the ashes in 2021. The fact is, nobody knows. The property market is driven a lot by sentiment. Buying a home is not like buying stocks and shares – it’s a home to live in … and those Didsbury landlords who are looking for an investment opportunity, often let their heart rule the head (again sentiment) when investing in property.

Property always has, and always will be, a long-term investment. Many of you Didsbury people reading this, especially potential Didsbury first time buyers, have been putting off buying your first home because of Brexit, now its Covid-19, and in a few years, it will be something else. There will always be ‘something else’… and you could get to your 50’s and 60’s, still renting, waiting for the ‘next thing’ to pass before you buy … and end up buying nothing.

Nobody knows what the months or years ahead will bring … yet what I do know is, people will always need a place to live. Please let me know your thoughts in the comments. Tell us what your experiences are as a Didsbury landlord or homeowner, tenant or buyer so we can all learn from each other.

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nhs and key worker window displays

As lockdown continues, we here at Julian Wadden Didsbury wanted to show some appreciation to the wonderful NHS and Key Workers that are currently keeping the community and in fact, the whole country going! We therefore decided to do a window display in our office.

We know we can’t begin to say how thankful we are for and to these people, but this is just a small gesture from us!

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Essential Tips For Working From Home

For a small number of people, working from home will be the norm. But for the majority of the nation, the current climate has caused us to quickly adapt our working practices to home working for the safety of ourselves and those around us. In doing this, it is important to create healthy working practices to maintain motivation and routine throughout the day.
We’ve gained advice from those who regularly work from home so that we can share some top tips for the coming weeks ahead. Continue below for our top tips on how you can get the best out of home working:
1. Get ready for the day
Get up and ready for work as you normally would. Getting dressed out of your pyjamas and fresh for the day helps you to maintain a routine and get ready for a day of work. Doing this will signal to your brain that you are going to work and create a good mindset.

2. Have a routine
Working from home can get lonely, so a routine will prevent the day blurring into a mix of work and relaxation time. Creating a morning routine that will guide you into your work chair each day so that you can signal the separation between home and work. Start and finish work at your usual times so that you do not become overworked.

3. Create an office space
If you have a separate office space to work in, then that’s great. But even if you don’t, it is still important to create an area in your home that you can designate and associate with work. Whether that be at a desk, or if it has to be your dining room table, this will support you to keep a routine. At the end of the day, shut down your equipment and put it away. This will signal the end of your working day and the start of your own time.

4. Keep to your regular hours of a working day
With all your work equipment at home, it can be tempting to try and get ahead by setting yourself mammoth tasks that take you all evening to complete. Set yourself achievable goals (as you would when you go into work) so that you maintain your usual work hours and maintain your positivity and optimism. This will also allow you to keep a work life balance.

5. Have regular breaks
When you are in the office, you naturally take short breaks throughout the day. Whether that be to go and make a drink or go and discuss something with a colleague. These breaks away from the computer are crucial for your productivity and health. Breaks away from the computer screen help to break bad posture habits, help with concentration and productivity, and prevent fatigue. This should be no different at home. You can call a colleague for a chat, go and make a drink, or spend some time in a different room for a few moments.

6. Get some exercise
Living and working in the same space can be challenging at times so you may find it important to get a change of scenery. Stepping outside for a walk not only allows you to “leave the office” but also allows you to get valuable exercise (providing this is in line with Government guidelines). Some fresh air and natural light will do you the world of good. With people rarely leaving the house, a short walk could be all the exercise you get in a day so place importance on this. Alternatively, you may want to do a short home workout. There are tons of guides online to help you do this. Let’s not forget about those all-important endorphins.

7. Take your lunch break
You are still entitled to your full lunch break and it is important to take this. Ensure you continue to eat well and take time away from your work space to break up the day. Using this time to get some exercise (as advised in step 7) is a great idea too.

8. Get on the phone
Communication is so important during this time. Working from home can be isolating (especially if you live alone). To overcome this, ensure to keep up with regular team meeting via group calls. Check in with your colleagues throughout the day – even for a general chat not related to work. This is what you would usually do in the office and it is important to maintain this to make the day more enjoyable. Call people instead of email so that you can have proper conversations during the day which is so much more personal that email communication. You could even use Facetime for a more personal touch.

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west didsbury comedy fest goes online!

west didsbury comedy festival

So with the sad news that we have had to cancel/postpone the festival for now we are not just sitting back and taking that!

Over the dates of the festival we have 4 brand new online and live show formats for you featuring some of the brilliant acts we had booked to play the festival. 

Of course its a shame, but we will be back bigger and better than ever! For now please pick up a free ticket below for some amazing online comedy and please share! Let’s make this huge!

Check out our website for updates, news, listings and discounts! www.westdidsburycomedyfestival.com 

https://www.jokepit.com/comedy-by/west-didsbury-comedy-festival

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francis house virtual chick hunt

In the run up to and in the weeks after Easter, large knitted Easter chicks come home to roost in the windows of shops, restaurants, cafes and businesses throughout Didsbury village for the Francis House Easter Chick Hunt.

New for 2020

From 3 – 30 April all the chicks will remain with the Francis House team, but you can still find them all on their virtual chick trail. Click on a location to reveal the name of the chick, its temporary home and an interesting fact about Francis House. Test your memory and answer all 22 questions to reveal your score. Please help Francis House and the families we support by making a donation.

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the evolution of ‘thyme out’

Many of the local restaurants are having to evolve how they operate, and a great example is Thyme out, one of West Didsbury’s staple café/ restaurants.

Due to Covid-19, they’re changing how they do things, until further notice, they’ll be closed to walk-in customers, but we will be launching a delivery/ collection service as of Friday 20th March.

They’re also launching ‘Prepped’ an alternative take away – a great concept and bound to be a winner.  Check it out…. https://www.thymeoutfoodco.co.uk/index.html

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support your local traders

#didsbury

Support local businesses during this busy time, they’re here to support you!

Many of the fantastic local, independent businesses are offering local delivery for those stuck at home, and I believe stock levels are much better in local shops rather than the big chain stores.

If you own or run a local business, here is also a great place to get your message out there and help to support each other during this crazy time. https://twitter.com/hashtag/didsbury?lang=en

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covid-19 community help

A facebook group has been set up to support people, particularly those having to self-isolate throughout Didsbury, Withington and Burnage.

Set up by Jen Sevaris she’s establishing if anyone can help by doing shop runs, getting medications etc for people who cannot get out to do so then please volunteer on the face book page. Please write the times you are free, your name and area you will travel to, if you have a car and if you are DBS checked or not. For anyone needing help or knows someone who needs help for anything like food, medication etc just ask for help and hopefully someone from our community will be able to help. https://www.facebook.com/groups/138973914166677/?ref=group_header

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