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If you’ve been reading the news or watching the amazing legend that is David Attenborough, you’ve probably heard that it’s getting harder for bees to survive in our UK cities.
Just like humans, there are three main things bees need to thrive: food (i.e., pollen), water and shelter. Unfortunately, our gardens aren’t always full of these things, especially in warmer months.
However, there are many simple things you can do in your garden to make it a more attractive place for bees to visit.
If you want to invite more local bees to your garden this summer, here are three top tips to make your garden more bee-friendly in Ashton Under Lyne .
1. Plant Bee-Friendly Flowers
One of the best things you can do for your local bees is to plant flowers full of pollen or nectar for them to enjoy.
Even though most flowers bloom in spring and summer, there are some species you can grow in winter and autumn that’ll continue to attract the bees in colder seasons. As a bonus, they’ll also make your garden look full of life at the end of the year, which can help your garden stand out if you’re selling in winter.
Here’s a quick guide to some of the flowers you can grow in each season:
- Spring: Pansies, Bluebells, Primroses, Hawthorn, Peonies, Crocus and Rhododendrons
- Summer: Lavender, Foxgloves, Snapdragons, Phlox, Echinacea, Poppies, Globe Thistle and Hollyhock
- Autumn: Ivy, Witch Hazel, Borage and Zinnias
- Winter: Snowdrops, Winter Clematis, Winter Honeysuckle and Winter Heather
2. Build Bee Hotels
We love this idea! Building a bee hotel for your garden can provide a shelter for local bees to rest in. Creating one is also a great family-friendly activity that ends up with something nice for you and the bees, since they can also become a rustic garden feature.
A bee hotel doesn’t need to be very big, and should be placed around 1-4 feet off the ground and ideally in a position that gets full sunlight.
Visit the RSPB UK website for a full guide on how to make your own bee hotel.
3. Create an Outdoor Herb Garden
Even though we often think bees only like flowers, this isn’t true. They also love many different garden herbs. If you want to make your garden more bee-friendly, consider creating an outdoor herb garden in spring or summer.
Common kitchen herbs like thyme, chives, sage and creeping rosemary are ideal for attracting the bees. Plus, they’ll make your garden smell amazing and you can use the cuttings to make fresh meals in the kitchen!
Making your garden bee-friendly is a great way to help the planet. It can make your garden and local area a more environmentally friendly place to live. Plus, having an eco-friendly home can sometimes help with your resale value and attractiveness to future buyers.
To learn more about how desirable a greener home is in Ashton Under Lyne , Alex Jones are your local property experts.
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The Chancellor’s Spring Statement delivered precisely two years after the first Covid lockdown, made its primary focus the need to address worries about the rising costs of living.
However, elements in the statement are relevant to the property market, including cuts in VAT for green energy materials and a decision not to increase stamp duty surcharges on second home purchases.
So, precisely what effect will the changes have on UK property owners?
Cuts In Energy-Saving Purchases For Homeowners in Tameside
Homeowners in the UK are set to benefit from slashed VAT on the purchase of energy-saving materials like insulation, heat pumps, and solar panels. Over the next 5 years, there will be 0% VAT to pay on materials designed to make homes more energy-efficient, down from 5% VAT relief.
It’s estimated that these tax savings are worth around £1000 upfront and will help reduce annual energy bills by around £300. It’s a welcome measure for homeowners and landlords alike since they can make their homes more energy-efficient and help keep the costs of heating and lighting their properties down.
No Increase In Second-Home Stamp Duty
Although there was some speculation that the stamp duty surcharge levied on second homes and buy-to-let properties in England would be increased in the Spring Statement to 4%, this did not materialise.
While it will come as a relief to property owners struggling with the cost of living crisis, there is no doubt going to be some disappointment that the current 3% surcharge wasn’t scrapped altogether. That will also come as bad news for renters since a recent study commissioned by the NRLA showed that removing the surcharge could lead to 900,000 more private rental properties being made available in the next ten years.
The Income Tax Basic Rate Cut And The Impact On Property Owners in Tameside
For many people, the announcement that the income tax basic rate will be reduced by 2024 to 19p from 20p in the pound resulting in a £5 billion cut in taxation for 30,000,000 people sounds like a positive move. Especially when considering the rise in National Insurance thresholds to £12,570 (an increase of £3000), which will help save the UK’s working population about £6 billion per year.
However, for landlords, the news may not be enough to help deflect the rising taxes over the months to come. National Insurance is set to increase by 1.25% from April. On top of this, some landlords might find themselves affected by “stealth taxation” – falling into a higher tax band when allowances and thresholds aren’t increased.
No Change Yet On Rental Reforms
Although an announcement was made in February about rental reforms that will be introduced, including more bans and fines for rogue landlords, consultations about a national register of landlords, the introduction of minimum standards for private rental properties, and an end to Section 21 evictions, the Spring Statement contained no updates about these proposals and a possible timescale for their introduction. It’s hoped that a white paper that focuses on rental reform may be published soon.
Property owners nationwide will now be looking ahead to Autumn’s full budget in the hope of more positive announcements.
To ensure you keep up to date with all the latest property news, advice and inspiration, check our blog and social media pages regularly.
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Interest rates have increased again, the government’s Homes for Ukraine scheme has launched, and one major lender has reported record annual price rises.
Read on for all this and more in our March property market update.
With the clocks going forward at the end of the month, lighter evenings and Easter just around the corner, the traditional Springtime boom could also be on its way! And none too soon as there is still a desperate shortage of housing stock.
Here are some of our predictions for what to expect next month…
Now is the time to sell
Figures recently released by leading property portal Rightmove have revealed that the UK’s average property price saw its most significant month-on-month increase for 20 years between January and February this year.
According to their stats, the average asking price of a property rose by £7,785 in the first two months of the year, as sellers have increasingly been taking advantage of a shortage of homes for sale.
The figures have also revealed the startling increase in house prices since the start of the pandemic, with average asking prices having risen nearly £40,000 in the past two years, compared with a rise of around £9,000 in the two years prior.
For homeowners who have been considering selling their property, now is a great time to bite the bullet. Spring is traditionally the best time to list, with the most active buyers on the market, and with COVID-19 restrictions now lifted and house prices expected to cool off over the next few months, it could be the last opportunity to take advantage of increased asking prices.
Nationwide reports record cash rise
The UK’s biggest building society, and one of its biggest lenders, has reported a record rise in the cost of a UK home.
According to figures released by Nationwide, the cost of a typical home rose by £29,162 in the past year – the biggest cash increase in property prices since they started collecting comparable data in 1991.
This means the average asking price across the UK reached £260,230 in February, with the increased cost of living appearing to have little effect on house prices.
The findings are bad news for first-time buyers struggling to get onto the property ladder, although with many property experts forecasting a slowdown in house prices in the coming months, there may be some respite for those looking to take their first steps.
Buy-to-let mortgages becoming more appealing for investors
Research from Mortgage Broker Tools has shown that affordability for buy-to-let mortgages is at its highest point since they started collecting data.
According to their figures, average maximum loan sizes have increased by 13% in the past year, with the average currently being a little over £421,000, which represents a £20,000 increase in the past two months.
And in further good news for potential landlords, figures released by Moneyfacts show that there are currently 2,235 mortgage products available to first-time investors – a considerable increase on the 1,311 products available at the same point 12 months ago.
Government launches Homes for Ukraine scheme
In response to the war in Ukraine, the UK government has launched the Homes for Ukraine scheme, which asks people who can, to offer a room to refugees fleeing the conflict.
You’ll need to confirm that your home is available for at least six months, and you’ll be entitled to a monthly payment of £350 for up to 12 months, although you won’t be expected to cover the cost of food and living expenses.
To register your interest in the scheme, just visit the government website.
Interest rates rise again
The Bank of England has increased interest rates for the third time in four months to try and lessen the effects of the continued cost of living increases.
The rise will directly impact around two million homeowners who have either a variable or a tracker mortgage, as they’ll see their monthly repayments increase again.
For homeowners with a £200,000 mortgage, this will mean around a £42 increase to their monthly repayments.
Homes for under £10k
While asking prices may have hit record highs and youngsters feel increasingly uncertain they’ll be able to get onto the property ladder, it’s certainly not all doom and gloom for would-be buyers.
A recent post by major property portal Zoopla has revealed a list of 14 properties for sale for £10,000 or less.
While some will need extensive work doing to them, and some will fetch higher at auction, it does show that there are still bargains to be had despite the significant increases in prices over the past couple of years!
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Whether you are a green fingered fanatic and can’t wait to pull on your gardening gloves and get stuck in, or if you consider the maintenance of your outside space as just another household task that you need to tick off a list, you can’t deny that the imminent arrival of summer is the perfect time to update and refresh your garden.
From the planting of spring flowering bulbs to sprucing up your winter-weathered garden furniture, keep reading to find out how you can make your garden summer ready in six simple steps.
1. Get underway with weeding
Possibly the most boring and time consuming of all the garden maintenance tasks is weeding, but unfortunately it is a crucial step in getting your garden summer ready.
Start by removing any weeds that have accumulated in your flower-beds and then look to remove any dead plants from around your garden.
You can also tidy up your borders using a strimmer or an edging tool.
2. Tend to your lawn
After a long winter without a trim, your lawn is no doubt in need of a good mowing. It is always best to mow your lawn when it is dry, and you should also leave the grass clippings where they fall as this will provide the soil with moisture and nutrients, resulting in a healthier lawn.
Now is also the ideal time to aerate your lawn. This can be done either by hand with a fork, or with an aerating machine.
3. Fix up your fence
Fences can take quite a battering over the winter months and nothing can make your garden look as neglected and uncared for as a faded wooden fence. Therefore, it is vitally important that you repaint and treat your fence to ensure it looks its best once the sun starts shining again.
If you have painted your fence previously, you should first strip off this colour before you start the re-painting and treating process.
The colour of your fence is completely dependent on your personal preference although it should be noted that darker stains can make your garden appear smaller. If in doubt, try and choose a shade that will complement the plants and flowers in your garden, as well as any garden furniture that you may have.
4. Set up a scrubbing station
Depending on the items you have in your garden, you may have a fair amount of cleaning on your hands. From a rusty BBQ, to grubby outdoor seating, to debris littered decking; essential cleaning will definitely be on your list of tasks for ensuring your garden is summer ready.
To remove rust from your BBQ, simply mix one cup of baking soda with a little bit of vinegar, apply to the affected area, leave for half an hour and then scrub away with soapy water and a sponge.
Outdoor tables and chairs can also be revived with just a bucket of warm soapy water and a bit of elbow grease.
5. Sow your seeds
Whether you favour flowers or prefer growing a selection of edible plants, now is the perfect time to start deciding what you want to grow and where. Once you have established your preferred plants, you should start ordering your summer flowering bulbs and seeds.
Now is also a good time to hunt down and eliminate any hibernating garden pests that may attack and destroy your precious plants and produce once they awake from their slumber.
You can either use a shop bought pesticide, or you can make your own soap spray that will effectively eliminate any pests. Simply mix one tablespoon of dishwashing soap with one gallon of water and spray directly onto the insects.
6. Install a water butt
Keeping your garden looking fresh and vibrant requires a lot of watering, especially over the warm summer months. Using water from your tap can send your utility bills spiralling if you have a water meter fitted, so instead, install your own water butt.
There are a wide variety of sizes and styles to choose from including slimline options if you do not have much space and second-hand butts available on eBay if you are keen to save money and do your bit for the environment.
Other water saving tips for your garden include:
- Using a watering can instead of a hose pipe
- Watering your plants when the temperature is at its coolest, either first thing in the morning or later in the evening
- Not overwatering your plants
- Not worrying if your lawn becomes scorched, it will recover quickly once the rain returns
If you are getting your property market ready and planning on moving to or within the Ashton Under Lyne area soon, why not telephone us on 01612929223 or call in. We’ll be happy to advise you on our available properties in the area.
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Interest rates have increased again for the second time in quick succession, and a quiet Wiltshire town has leapt up the property hotspot list! In good news for tenants, the government has announced new reforms to protect renters. Read on for all this and more.
What can sellers entering the market in March 2022 expect?
With all COVID-19 restrictions being lifted by the end of March (if not sooner), and spring just around the corner – which is traditionally a hot time of year for the property market – here are some of our predictions for what to expect next month…
House price growth set to slow
After a strong start to the year, house prices are forecast to stabilise over the coming months.
The UK’s biggest building society, Nationwide, reported a sixth consecutive monthly increase in January, with prices rising 0.8% on the previous month and 11.2% annually.
Competitor Halifax also announced increases of 0.3% from the previous month and 9.7% annually.
However, despite these consistent increases over the past 12 months, both lenders have predicted a cooling of the housing market in 2022, with the cost of living increases and limited supplies of new housing stock coming onto the market being cited as major factors.
Movers and Shakers
Corsham named as a top property hotspot
The picturesque country market town of Corsham in Wiltshire has been named as the UK’s newest property hotspot.
The town might not be instantly familiar by name, but TV fans will recognise it, as it’s appeared in numerous period dramas, from Poldark to Lark Rise to Candleford and Tess of the D’Urbervilles.
And with demand for more open spaces and work from home offices remaining strong, the town on the edge of the Cotswolds is seeing a big increase in buyer activity.
Figures released by major property portal Rightmove show an increase in buyer demand of 124% compared with 12 months ago. Average prices have inevitably increased too, with a jump of 6% year on year.
The majority of buyers are Londoners seeking more bang for their buck, and with average prices in the town of a little under £330,000, it’s no surprise that it’s attracting many out-of-towners.
First-Time Buyer News
Affordability issues reach record highs
One of the UK’s biggest lenders, Nationwide, has announced some startling figures which affect first-time buyers’ affordability.
While it’s widely known that house price growth has outgrown wage growth, the building society has laid bare just how much price increases have outpaced wages since the pandemic began.
Their figures reveal that a 10% deposit on a first home is now equivalent to 56% of total gross annual earnings, which is a new record high.
Section 21 to be abolished
In a move that will protect renters, the Government has announced plans to abolish Section 21, which allows landlords to evict tenants without any reason.
The plans are part of the Government’s Levelling Up White Paper, which is aiming to help poorer communities become more prosperous.
Other changes that are planned include ensuring that privately rented properties meet minimum standards, and the introduction of a landlords register, with an aim to crack down on rogue landlords.
Latest news for Landlords
Almost 1/3 of tenants admit to keeping hidden pets!
A recent survey has found that 27% of tenants have admitted to hiding pets from oblivious landlords for more than three years.
The most commonly hidden pets are birds and rabbits, while somewhat surprisingly, horses are in third place! We’re not sure entirely how you hide a horse – suggestions on a postcard, please!
The number one way to avoid landlords discovering pets during an inspection was to take them out for a walk, which was followed closely by asking friends to look after them, and then asking a neighbour to keep hold of them during inspections.
The study also revealed that the most pet-friendly landlords are in Norwich, with the least friendly being in Edinburgh.
Interest rate increase for the second time in three months
The Bank of England has announced an increase in its base interest rate from 0.25% to 0.5% – the second increase in just three months.
The increase will mean a rise in monthly mortgage repayments for around two million homeowners with variable-rate mortgages and will add around £24 per month to a £200,000 mortgage.
The rise comes hot on the heels of Ofgem’s announcement that energy bills will increase by 54% this year, as millions of households face a squeeze on the cost of living.
A home with a rather unusual feature in the front garden made headlines on social media recently.
The 2-bedroom bungalow in leafy Nursling, Hampshire, has a spacious back garden with views across lush green fields, but it’s the enormous telephone pylon in the front garden that really caused it to go viral.
You can check it out here, but hurry – the property’s already sold, subject to contract.