Turn back the clock before moving forward Fri, 24 May 2013 08:20:30 GMT
PASSENGERS in Sutton are to be offered free travel on two new services linking a popular city and town in an aim to get people back on the buses.
Central Buses and Midland Classic are introducing new routes to Lichfield and Burton, via Hill Hook, from Monday to Saturday.
Central Buses is turning back the years to launch its new 92 service between Sutton Coldfield and Lichfield, via Mere Green, Hill Hook and Shenstone, by using a 1966 London Routemaster, which has been fully restored, for the first two days of the route.
The former private hire bus will be ferrying passengers for free from Sutton to the cathedral city on Tuesday, May 28 and Wednesday, May 29 before the new service officially starts on a new vehicle from Thursday, May 30.
The 92 service will operate hourly from Lower Parade (outside Subway) in Sutton from 9.10am until 5.10pm, with the opposite service starting at Lichfield Bus Station's Bay 5 from 8am, then hourly from 9.40am until 5.40pm.
A full timetable can be found at www.centralbuses.com or telephoning 0121 356 3487.
Mat Hidson, operations co-ordinator at Central Buses, said: "We have been inundated with requests to put the Routemaster back out on the road after its appearance on our 88 route last December, therefore we thought it would be an ideal opportunity for her to launch our new service between Sutton Coldfield and Lichfield. The service will be free to all users as we want to ensure everyone in the local area gets opportunity to try the service and have a chance to travel on a British icon.
"Our new 92 service will reinstate a regular link between Sutton Coldfield and Lichfield as well as offering an additional service via Hill Hook.
"It will operate all day Monday to Saturday at hourly intervals and will benefit with new 'easy access' vehicles and regular friendly drivers."
Meanwhile, is launching its new X12 service from Burton-upon-Trent to Sutton the same day (May 28) and as a special introductory offer its service will be free between Lichfield and Sutton for the first week (normal fees apply between Burton and Lichfield), up to and including Monday June 3.
The X12 route will link Burton with Lichfield, Shenstone, Hill Hook, Mere Green and Sutton, with a journey time of 55 minutes.
Buses will leave Sutton from The Parade at 9.30 then from 10.28 hourly until 2.28, with the final services leaving at 3.35 and 4.35 and will leave Burton hourly from 8.30am to 3.30pm.
Alan Lane from Badgers Bank Road, who has campaigned for the new services, said: "The new bus routes will offer a much better service."
One of the original Four Oaks Park estate homes Fri, 24 May 2013 06:00:30 GMT
AN IMPOSING home full of character in magnificent landscaped grounds is on the market with agents Quantrills.
Hollington, 8 Luttrell Road, Four Oaks Park is set in nearly two acres of grounds, which includes a 0.83-acre plot which has planning permission for a home with 4,947 sq ft of living space.
The existing house offers enormous potential and features a drawing room, study, dining room, kitchen, and sitting room. It has five/six bedrooms, bathroom, one en suite and a guest cloakroom.
It also has a double garage, courtyard and a further double garage with studio over.
The house and grounds are for sale as a whole or separately.
Guide price for the house with 1.1 acres of land is £1,250,000, and offers around £1 million are invited for the adjacent plot with planning permission for a spacious home.
Hollington was built in the 1920s and is one of the original homes on the estate roads of Four Oaks Park.
The property stands well back behind a secluded front garden with mature trees and shrubs.
In brief, the accommodation comprises porch, vestibule, hall, cloakroom, drawing room, study, dining room, butler's pantry, kitchen, sitting room and rear porch on the ground floor; with five bedrooms, one with en suite, bathroom and WC on the first floor and a loft bedroom above.
The drawing room measures 20ft 7in x 17ft 7in and has a beamed inglenook with a veined marble fireplace and a beamed ceiling. The panelled dining room is 17ft 3in x 12ft 8in and also has a beamed inglenook.
The kitchen has a stainless steel sink, work surfaces, floor and wall cupboards, plumbing for washing machine and dishwasher, built in cupboard and a gas-fired central heating boiler.
The sitting room measures 13ft x 9ft 9in.
Upstairs, the master bedroom measures 18ft x 13ft 10in and has fitted wardrobes; a dressing room with fitted units and built-in wardrobes and an en suite with bath and shower above, pedestal wash basin, bidet and WC.
Three of the other four first-floor bedrooms have wardrobes. The loft bedroom measures 13ft 3in x 10ft 3in.
Outside, both double garages have light and power and one has a studio/office above, with an external staircase. There's also a courtyard, a gardener's WC and three stores.
The rear garden has extensive lawns with retaining walls, pathways, borders, evergreens, box hedging, rhododendrons and mature trees and shrubs.
To view, or to find out more, call Quantrills on 0121 354 9229.
Spacious detached in a sought-after cul de sac Fri, 24 May 2013 06:00:30 GMT
A SPACIOUS detached home in a sought-after cul de sac is for sale with agents Green & Co.
No. 7 Lawnswood, Walmley is within reach of the shops at Walmley Village and has first and secondary schools in the vicinity.
It has four bedrooms, one with en suite, a family bathroom and a guest cloakroom.
There's a family lounge, dining room, study, conservatory, breakfast kitchen and a utility room.
It also has a garage, carport and mature gardens.
Offers over £325,000 are invited. To view, call Green & Co on 0121 313 1991.
In brief, the accommodation comprises hall, cloakroom, study, dining room, lounge, breakfast kitchen, conservatory and utility room on the ground floor; with four bedrooms, one with en suite, and a bathroom upstairs.
The hall has polished parquet wood flooring and an under-stairs cupboard. The cloakroom has a WC with low-level flush and a pedestal wash basin. The study has laminate wood flooring.
The dining room is 11ft 10in x 9ft 6in (3.60m x 2.90m) and double doors to the lounge, which is 18ft x 13ft 1in (5.50m x 4.00m) and has a white Adam-style fire surround with a raised marble hearth and back plate and a coal-effect gas fire. There are French doors to the rear garden.
The breakfast kitchen has a comprehensive range of base and wall units, roll-top work surfaces and complementary tiling, stainless steel sink unit, central cutlery drainer and mixer tap, stainless steel chimney cooker hood above a Hotpoint four-ring ceramic hob, double oven with cupboards above and below and an integrated fridge freezer and dishwasher.
The conservatory has French doors to the rear garden and a Myson kick-board heater.
The utility room has ceramic tiling to floor, stainless steel sink unit with mixer tap, base and wall units, plumbing for a washing machine and space for a tumble dryer and freezers.
Bedroom one measures 13ft 1in x 11ft 3in (4.00m x 3.44m) and has fitted furniture and an en-suite shower room with a tiled shower cubicle with shower unit, wash basin with cupboard beneath, WC with concealed low-level flush and laminate wood flooring.
Bedroom two measures 11ft 2in x 8ft 11in (3.40m x 2.73m) and has polished parquet wood flooring; the third bedroom is 10ft x 10ft (3.05m x 3.04m) and bedroom four has laminate wood flooring and a built-in wardrobe.
The bathroom has a bath with wood panelling to side and tiling above, mixer tap with shower fitment off, pedestal wash basin and WC with low-level flush.
The property is set back behind a lawned front garden and a driveway providing ample off-road parking and leading to a carport and a garage, which has an up-and-over door, power and light.
The south-facing rear garden has an extensive decked area with inset lighting and a lawn beyond with borders. There is also a shed and boundary fencing.
A six-bed home on large plot has lots of potential Fri, 24 May 2013 06:00:30 GMT
A SPACIOUS detached home on a large, mature plot is on the market with agents Acres.
Number 14a Moor Hall Drive, Four Oaks has a rear lounge, dining room, family room, a ground-floor en-suite bedroom and a guest cloakroom.
There's a breakfast kitchen, utility room, five first-floor bedrooms – one with a large en suite – and a family bathroom.
There is garaging for three cars, a workshop – and the property overall offers great potential for alterations and extensions, subject to planning consents.
The asking price is £825,000.
To view, call Acres on 0121 323 3088. In brief, the accommodation comprises porch, hall, cloakroom, lounge, dining room, family room, breakfast kitchen, utility room, WC, workshop and an en-suite bedroom to the ground floor; with five bedrooms, one with en suite, bathroom and dressing room on the first floor.
The lounge measures 25ft 4in x 17ft 4in and has a white stone fireplace with hearth and mantle and central fire grate.
The dining room is 16ft 6in x 12ft 7in and the family room measures 18ft x 16ft 8in.
The breakfast kitchen has a stainless steel sink unit, a range of base and wall units in a stained wood finish, rolled-edge work surfaces and tiled splash-backs, flush-fitting hob with concealed extractor canopy above, elevated oven with separate grill, microwave, concealed dishwasher, peninsula breakfast bar/table, tiled floor and a walk-in pantry.
The utility room has a stainless steel sink unit, plumbing for washing machine, space for dryer, space for fridge freezer and a tiled floor.
The ground-floor bedroom is 15ft x 13ft 10in and has a double built-in wardrobe and an en-suite bathroom with bath, shower cubicle, his and hers vanity wash basins low-flushing WC, bidet and tiled splash-backs.
There are two linen cupboards off the landing.
The master bedroom is 18ft x 12ft 7in and has two double fitted wardrobes, two built-in cupboards and a large en suite with a champagne suite comprising bath, wash basin, low-flushing WC, bidet and shower cubicle. It also has a dressing table with drawers and tiled splash-backs.
The second bedroom is 14ft 3in x 12ft 8in and has one single and two double built-in wardrobes. Bedroom three measures 16ft 5in x 13ft 7in and has a built-in cupboard. The other two bedrooms each have a pair of built-in cupboards. The dressing room measures 12ft 8in x 10ft 8in.
The bathroom has a bath, wash basin, low-flushing WC, bidet, shower cubicle and tiled splash-backs.
There is a mature front garden with lawn, shrubs and bushes and a substantial block-paved driveway providing parking.
To the rear is a patio and a mainly-lawned southerly-facing and well screened garden flanked by mature shrubs and herbaceous borders. There is a rose garden, an additional patio to the side and also a greenhouse and a shed. There is a double garage and a single garage, both with remotely operated door.
More choice and fixed-rate loans are even cheaper Thu, 23 May 2013 06:00:30 GMT
FOLLOWING the news that the UK economy posted a 0.3 per cent rise in activity in the previous quarter, it was not surprising that the Bank of England's Monetary Policy Committee voted once again to refrain from further monetary stimulus this month and also maintain the base rate at its all-time low of 0.5 per cent.
The Bank of England recently announced the appointment of a new governor, Mark Carney, former Governor of the Bank of Canada, an economy that has fared far better than many other Western economies following the global financial meltdown.
Mr Carney is said to favour other forms of central bank intervention, so it will be interesting to see if quantitative easing, the current Governor's preferred method of direct intervention, will stay, or if we will see a new policy direction.
Following the Budget announcements in relation to the Government's Funding for Lending scheme (FLS), it has now been confirmed that the scheme will be extended at least until 2015.
One of the objectives of this policy was to reduce the cost of borrowing for banks and building societies and, thereby, offer both would-be house buyers and small and medium enterprises access to cheaper mortgages and loans for businesses.
The policy appears to be having the desired effect as at the beginning of May, average two, three and five-year fixed rates had all fallen further to 3.82 per cent, 4.13 per cent and 3.96 per cent respectively.
Not surprisingly with rates at these historic low levels, borrowers continue to be firmly committed to fixed-rate mortgage products with nine in every 10 transactions during April being conducted on a fixed-rate basis.
In addition to reducing the cost of mortgage products, lenders have continued to steadily increase overall product numbers.
The number of mortgage products typically available to intermediaries rose once again in April to 6,742, a further increase of one per cent over March.
For further information on how the above affects you, call David Smith at Hunters on 07711 800180 or email email@example.com.
Making history as the market hots up Thu, 23 May 2013 06:00:30 GMT
A LEADING regional estate agency reports a "significant rise" in business so far this year – with one of its branches smashing its sales record over the past few months.
Green & Co, which has offices in Four Oaks, Walmley, Boldmere, Sutton Coldfield, Great Barr, Erdington and Tamworth, saw the number of homes sold subject to contract rise by 21 per cent in the three months to the end of April compared with the same period last year.
Green & Co director Paul Ivens said that the overall number of would-be buyers registered in their branches increased by seven per cent compared with the same 2012 period, viewings were up by four per cent and new instructions from vendors also rose by eight per cent.
And the firm's Tamworth office, which received 112 offers on homes in the three months to the end of April, sold a staggering 171 per cent ahead of its homes sales target.
Paul added: "This is the first time in the history of the company that any office has achieved 171 per cent of its sales target. It's an incredible result."
Another local estate agent said this week that he was markedly busier now than at this time last year – and that the property market was "continuing to gather pace".
Andrew Griffiths of Great Barr-based Andrews Independent Estate Agents, which celebrated its 21st anniversary in April, said that the local property market had been "decidedly busier" over the past three months compared with the same quarter in 2012.
"There is no doubt about it – the market is continuing to gather pace," said Andrew, who is a member of the National Association of Estate Agents. "We have had more would-be buyers registering than last year, more viewings, more offers being made and more sales achieved."
The Beacon Road-based agent added that the market remained price sensitive, and vendors had to be realistic on price in order to secure a sale.
Christmas present thieves behind bars Wed, 22 May 2013 13:20:44 GMT
Darren Hackett, Francis Gilsenan and Daniel Sheridan had already broken into houses in Burton-on-Trent and Fazeley, in Staffordshire, taking Christmas presents, before trying to burgle the home of a Sutton pensioner on December 8 last year.
However, the men were disturbed by a passer-by, and witnesses were able to take down the registration plate of the stolen VW van that they were driving.
Hackett, driving the vehicle, then weaved across lanes as he was pursued by police on the A45, with officers using a 'stinger' device to deflate the vehicle's tyres.
All three men admitted burglary, with 31 year-old Hackett also admitting to dangerous driving and driving whilst disqualified. At Birmingham Crown Court yesterday, he was jailed for five years.
Gilsenan (28) and 20 year-old Sheridan were each given three-year sentences.
West Midlands Police Detective Sergeant Nick Barnes said: "These were particularly cruel crimes - they stole Christmas presents like games consoles that were clearly destined for young children.
"They'll now be spending several Christmases behind bars."
Detached property offers great potential to extend Fri, 17 May 2013 06:00:30 GMT
A THREE-BEDROOM detached property in a popular area close to shops and sought-after schools is for sale with agents Bracebridge Homes.
Number 46 Heathlands Road, Boldmere has a large dining kitchen, a lounge and a conservatory.
There's a refitted family bathroom, enclosed gardens, driveway and a garage with WC and utility space. The property, which has been much improved in recent years, also has good potential to extend, subject to planning approvals. The vendors have had plans drawn up for proposed alterations and extensions to the property to provide additional ground-floor accommodation and a fourth bedroom with en suite.
The asking price is £250,000. To view, call Bracebridge Homes on 0121 354 7111.
In brief, the accommodation comprises porch, hall, dining kitchen, lounge and conservatory on the ground floor; with three bedrooms and a bathroom upstairs.
The kitchen/dining room measures 13ft 2in x 19ft 7in (4.01m x 5.97m) and has a range of base and wall units, work surfaces, inset stainless steel sink unit, space for washing machine, space for range cooker with canopy over, integrated dishwasher, freezer and fridge, radiator, pantry and a walk-in bay window.
The lounge is 16ft 1in x 9ft 10in (4.91m x 3.00m) and has a feature fireplace with marble inset hearth and Living Flame gas fire. It also has a walk-in bay window and French doors to the conservatory, which measures 15ft 1in x 8ft 11in (4.60m x 2.72m) and has laminate flooring and sliding patio doors to the garden.
The master bedroom is 15ft 11in x 10ft 6in (4.85m x 3.20m) and has a walk-in bay window.
Bedroom two, which is 12ft 8in x 10ft (3.85m x 3.06m) also has a bay window.
The refitted bathroom has a bath, walk-in shower with Galaxy aqua shower, WC set in a vanity unit with inset basin, fully tiled walls and floor and recessed spotlights.
To the front of the property is a driveway leading to the garage, which has an up-and-over door, hot and cold water supply and a utility area to the rear with a WC off. The property occupies a corner plot and has established front and side gardens with a walled and fenced perimeter. There are raised flower beds, a lawn and a paved side patio.
Last two homes in exclusive location Fri, 17 May 2013 06:00:30 GMT
HOUSE-HUNTERS looking for an ideal family home in Sutton Coldfield are being urged to view the two remaining homes at Walton Homes' Bellecote Manor in Four Oaks before it's too late.
An intimate collection of four-bedroom detached homes in a well-established neighbourhood, the new houses are priced at £379,950.
The remaining houses boast large bay windows and pitched roofs, creating light, spacious interiors. All have been built with high-quality fixtures and fittings, including bathrooms with Porcelanosa sanitary-ware and tiling. Each house has an integral garage and parking space, along with landscaped front and rear gardens as standard.
Designed with modern families in mind, Bellecote Manor is within walking distance of Arthur Terry Secondary School and Sixth Form College, which has an Ofsted rating of 'outstanding', in addition to local stores including Waitrose, and is only moments away from Sutton Park.
Helen Rollason, sales manager at Walton Homes, said: "Located in a highly sought-after area, Bellecote Manor offers exclusive homes in an established community setting. With four good-sized bedrooms, people buying a home at Bellecote Manor will have the freedom to utilise the rooms as they wish – one bedroom could be used as a study, as a guest bedroom or a playroom – adapting the house to suit their needs.
"What's more, with schools looking towards the end of the academic year, now is the last opportunity for families who want to move into the catchment area of the popular Arthur Terry School to own their dream home just around the corner."
Bellecote Manor is off Clarence Road and close to Lichfield Road, with excellent links to Sutton Coldfield, Birmingham and Tamworth.
Nigel Deekes, selling agent at Acres in Four Oaks, said: "The housing market has greatly improved this year with property selling readily. There are very few new homes being built locally, so these two remaining properties really do offer a last chance to buy a quality new home in such a well-regarded location."
A family run housebuilder, Walton Homes has a track record spanning over 25 years in the regional property industry.
For further information, visit Acres at 74A, Walsall Road, Four Oaks, B74 4QY. Alternatively, call 0121 323 3088 or visit www.waltonhomes.co.uk.
Five-bedroom period semi in a sought-after setting Fri, 17 May 2013 06:00:30 GMT
A SPACIOUS period semi-detached home in a sought-after residential area close to the town centre and several well-reputed schools is available to let.
The property at Bishops Road, Sutton Coldfield retains many original features and has a refitted kitchen/breakfast room, two reception rooms, five excellent bedrooms – including one with en suite – and a good-sized private rear garden.
In brief, the accommodation comprises porch, hall, inner hall, lounge, dining room, breakfast room, kitchen and cloakroom/utility on the ground floor; with three bedrooms, bathroom and WC on the first floor and two bedrooms, one with en suite, on the second floor.
The lounge measures 15ft 11in x 16ft 4in and has a feature fireplace with wooden surround, tiled hearth and back, fitted gas fire, panelled ceiling and a bay window with stained glass and leaded lights.
The dining room is 11ft 8in x 14ft 8in and has a leaded window, wooden floor, exposed brick chimney breast and a tiled hearth.
The breakfast room is 12ft 4in x 8ft 10in and has a sash bay window, slate floor, cupboard housing water tank and Vaillant gas boiler, larder unit and an original full height china cupboard.
The kitchen is 10ft 3in x 10ft 1in and has light wood-effect wall, drawer and base units with granite work surfaces, sink and drainer unit, integrated appliances including a dishwasher, oven, microwave, ceramic hob with, extractor canopy over. There are tiled splash-backs, slate floor and French doors to the garden.
The cloakroom/utility room has a low-flush WC, wash basin, plumbing for washing machine and a part-tiled floor.
The first-floor bathroom has a white suite comprising panelled bath, double shower cubicle with rain shower head, wash basin, part tiled and part wood panelled walls and a stained glass and leaded window. The first-floor WC has a low-flush suite, wall-mounted wash basin and part wood panelled walls.
the first-floor bedrooms measures 15ft 10in x 13ft 10in, 15ft 8in x 12ft and 10ft x 9ft 4in.
One has a fireplace with a tiled back and a gas fire, and the other two have fire surrounds with tiled hearths and open grates.
The second-floor master bedroom is 16ft 9in x 14ft 5in and has built-in fitted wardrobes with sliding doors, wooden floor and a feature fireplace with tiled hearth and back and an open grate.
Its refitted en suite has a deep free-standing bath with mixer shower attachment, wash basin set in vanity unit, low-flush WC, shower cubicle with rain shower head, tiled floor and a heated towel rail.
The other second-floor bedroom measures 13ft 1in x 11ft and has a leaded oriel bay window.
There is off road parking to the front and the rear garden has a patio, lawn, mature trees and shrubs and fencing to all sides.
The property is available immediately. To view, or to find out more, call Acres Residential Lettings on 0121 355 1133.
Tea party to mark Coronation Day Fri, 17 May 2013 06:00:30 GMT
THE UK's leading retirement specialist, McCarthy & Stone, is inviting the over-60s in Boldmere to get into the royal spirit by attending a special afternoon tea at Poppy Court.
The party will be taking place on Thursday, May 30, from 2pm to 4pm, and guests will be treated to a glass of champagne and light refreshments to celebrate the anniversary of the Queen's Coronation and can reminisce and share their stories from the past 60 years. Plus, all visitors will be entered into a free prize draw to win £100 worth of John Lewis vouchers.
As well as enjoying the afternoon tea, visitors will be able to take a personal tour of the impressive show complex, with staff on hand all day to answer any questions they might have.
Gill Sabin, regional sales and marketing director for McCarthy & Stone, said: "The anniversary of the Queen's Coronation is an exciting and pivotal event, and even more so for the generations who remember her coming to the throne, so we thought it only apt to host an afternoon tea to celebrate the past 60 years.
"Coming together for a big celebration reflects one of the best aspects of life at one of our developments – the sense of community. Living among like-minded individuals in a secure and safe environment means our residents can enjoy an independent and fulfilling retirement here and we hope our visitors will take the opportunity to join in our celebrations."
McCarthy & Stone is currently selling a range of purpose built, one and two-bedroom Assisted Living apartments at Poppy Court on Jockey Road in Boldmere.
As well as offering a low maintenance lifestyle, purchasers can benefit from maintained landscaped gardens, a shared lounge and the peace of mind of added security
In addition to offering age exclusive apartments, the retirement property developer also provides a range of financial services, including a pension annuity service, equity release, legal services and guaranteed funeral plans.
To find out more about the properties available, visit Poppy Court on Jockey Road, open Tuesday to Saturday from 10.30am to 5.00pm, call 0800 201 4741, or log on to www.mccarthyandstone.co.uk
Traditional detached that has three double bedrooms Fri, 17 May 2013 06:00:30 GMT
A TRADITIONAL three double bedroom detached home that's been much improved by the current owners is for sale with agents Bill Tandy & Co.
Number 38 Longdon Drive, Four Oaks B74 4RF is on a sought-after cul de sac and has an open-plan lounge/dining room together, a fitted kitchen and a luxury refitted bathroom.
The asking price is £290,000.
To view, call Bill Tandy and Co on 0121 323 4848.
In brief, the accommodation comprises porch, hall, lounge/dining room and kitchen on the ground floor; with three bedrooms and a bathroom upstairs.
The hall has an under-stairs cupboard. The lounge/dining room measures 25ft 10in x 11ft (7.87m x 3.35m) and has French doors flanked by side screens to the rear garden. It has laminate wood flooring and a coved ceiling.
The kitchen has rolled-top work surfaces, sink and drainer unit with mixer tap, range of matching base and wall cupboards and drawers, fitted electric hob with extractor over, integrated oven and grill, space for fridge freezer, plumbing for a washing machine, plumbing for slim-line dishwasher, space for tumble drier, pantry and tiled splash-backs.
Bedroom one measures 15ft 2in x 11ft (4.62m x 3.35m) and has laminate wood flooring.
Bedroom two is 11ft x 10ft 1in (3.35m x 3.07m) and also has laminate wood flooring.
The third bedroom measures 13ft 1in x 9ft 4in(3.99m x 2.84m) and has a wall-to-wall range of fitted wardrobes with sliding doors, and gloss laminate wood flooring.
The luxury bathroom has a bath with mains shower over, WC, bidet, wash basin, attractive wall tiling, heated ladder-style towel rail, recessed spotlights and built-in cupboard.
The garage has double wooden doors, power and lighting.
The pleasant rear garden is mainly laid to lawn and has fenced boundaries, a patio, a variety of shrubs, trees and borders, shed and side access.
Demand grows for office space Fri, 17 May 2013 06:00:30 GMT
THE number of empty shops on Britain's high streets climbed again during the early part of the year with fewer and fewer businesses looking to open new premises, says the latest UK commercial market survey from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).
During the first three months of the year, 21 per cent more chartered surveyors claimed the amount of unoccupied shops across the UK had gone up, rather than gone down. Unsurprisingly, this was met with a fall in the amount of retailers looking to lease new premises, as a net balance of 13 per cent more respondents reported drops in demand.
With the high street still suffering – and no apparent respite in sight – expectations for future rents continued to slip, and a growing number of surveyors believe retail premises to be losing value (net balance -17 per cent).
Across the country, every part of the UK saw the amount of unoccupied retail space rise.
Meanwhile, other areas of the commercial property market – such as office and industrial space – saw demand for premises strengthen slightly with no major increases in empty floor space. This is reflected in the suggestion in the survey that rents in these parts of the market should, at worst, be little changed going forward and could even begin to edge upwards.
Simon Rubinsohn, RICS chief economist, said: "The high street has been struggling for some time now and the pressure doesn't look like easing up on retailers and landlords any time soon. The generally gloomy economic picture means that pricing remains intensely competitive.
"Significantly, other areas of the commercial property sector are beginning to look a little healthier, with tenant demand for office space and industrial units edging upwards," he added.
Large unit in a prominent spot Fri, 17 May 2013 06:00:30 GMT
THERE'S a double retail unit to let in a prominent location through agents Burley Browne.
Units 1 & 2, 110 – 116 Boldmere Road, Boldmere B73 5UB (pictured above), is close to the junction with Antrobus Road, towards the Sutton end of the principal shopping area, which includes a wide cross section of national and local retailers.
It's a large retail unit with kitchen, office and former safe room to the rear.
There is ample customer parking in a car park to the rear shared with neighbouring retailers.
The maximum sales depth is 15.33m and the maximum width is 10.62m. The net sales area is about 153sq m (1,650sq ft).
The shop is to be let on a new lease, the length of which is to be agreed on negotiation, at a rent of £22,750 per annum exclusive. It is understood the current use is for A1 retail. Other uses may be considered on negotiation.
The tenant will be responsible for maintaining the property during the period of the lease.
A service charge is payable towards the maintenance of common parts of the block, which for the year ending July 2013 is understood to be £1,658.04 per annum exclusive.
The business rates payable in 2013/2014 are £11,892.75.
Providing a minimum lease term of five years without a break clause is taken, each party to be responsible for their own legal costs. For shorter leases the incoming tenant will be responsible for the landlord's reasonable legal costs. Viewing is through Burley Browne on 0121 321 3441.
Two-bed property in a popular area Fri, 17 May 2013 06:00:30 GMT
A MODERN two-bedroom mid-terraced property on a popular development is available to rent through agents Chattings Ltd.
The property at Tulip Grove, Streetly has a lounge, kitchen/diner, two double bedrooms and a bathroom.
It has double glazing, gas central heating, allocated parking and a rear garden.
This unfurnished property, which has an energy efficiency rating of C, is available immediately (sorry, no Dss tenants, smokers or pets).
The rent is £650 per calendar month.
To view, or to find out more, call Chattings Limited on 0121 321 2297.
Spacious three-bedroom home in popular village Fri, 17 May 2013 06:00:30 GMT
A DECEPTIVELY-SPACIOUS mid-townhouse in a popular village is for sale with no upward chain through Paul Carr Estate Agents.
Number 22 Coleshill Road, Curdworth is well maintained throughout and offers easy access to shops and other amenities as well as the region's motorway network.
Ideal as a family home, the property has three bedrooms, a modern well-fitted kitchen and a spacious through lounge/ dining room.
It also benefits from double glazing and central heating.
The asking price is £199,950 – and there is no onward chain. To view, call Paul Carr on 0121 351 4000.
In brief, the accommodation comprises porch, lounge/dining room and breakfast kitchen on the ground floor; with three bedrooms, bathroom and WC on the first floor.
The lounge and dining area measures 23ft 10in x 14ft 1in.
The bedrooms are 14ft 3in x 10ft 9in, 11ft 9in x 10ft and 12ft 5in x 7ft 11in.
The family bathroom has a bath and a separate shower.
The integral garage is 18ft long and there is an ample driveway and an attractive rear garden.
We're on the move: demand for homes at a three-year high Thu, 16 May 2013 06:00:30 GMT
DEMAND for homes reached its highest level in more than three years last month as Government schemes to boost the market began to take effect, surveyors reported this week.
New buyer enquiries were at their highest level since November 2009 and prices were also starting to rise, reported the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).
And the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) showed that 20 per cent more loans were given to first-time buyers in March than in February.
Treasury chief secretary Danny Alexander claimed this week that this showed the Government's housing policies were "having the desired effect".
But the 19,100 loans advanced to first-time buyers in March was 21.7 per cent less than the 24,400 loans given in March last year, the CML also revealed.
Labour claimed the Government's Help To Buy scheme, which provides loans for those struggling to find a deposit, would fuel price rises in the "already over-inflated" property market, while warning that the construction industry was waning.
The CML figures also showed that the proportion of first-time buyers taking out loans with a deposit of 10 per cent or less had increased to its highest level in four years.
Some 19,100 loans worth £2.4 billion were advanced to people buying their first home during the month, showing a 20 per cent month-on-month increase, according to the CML's figures.
A quarter of first-time buyers put down a deposit of 10 per cent or less in the first three months of 2013, which is the highest share since 2009 and up from a fifth in the same period last year.
First-time buyers are continuing to account for an increasing share of house purchase loans, rising to 45 per cent in March from 43 per cent in February.
The figures were released as the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) reported that demand for homes generally reached its highest level in more than three years last month.
CML director general Paul Smee said: "First-time buyer activity in the first quarter was nearly at the same level as last year, when figures were buoyed by the end of the stamp duty holiday. This suggests that the market continues to be favourable for those looking to buy their first home.
"More borrowers are taking out higher loan-to-value mortgages than any other time in the last four years – a sign that lenders are open for business and that borrowers, even those without a large deposit, are increasingly able to get a foot on the property ladder."
The CML's figures also showed that £3.8 billion of loans were advanced to home movers in March, marking an 11 per cent increase on February.
In further signs of a housing market pick-up, the National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA) said today that it had seen evidence of more "serious" house hunters returning to the market.
It said that one home was sold for every 39 house hunters in the first quarter of this year, compared with one for every 43 this time last year.
President of the NAEA Mark Hayward said: "House hunters who are set on completing their purchases have not been deterred by the cold start to spring and sales have remained resilient."
RICS said that 25 per cent more surveyors reported demand for property rising rather than falling.
With reported instructions to sell rising more modestly than demand, prices were finally beginning to rise, the survey found, recording its first positive reading since June 2010.
On average, surveyors predicted prices to rise by just over 1 per cent over the next 12 months, compared with expectations of just 0.1 per cent in December.
Newly agreed sales were also up, with 19 per cent reporting they rose rather than fell, up from 11 per cent in March.
Chartered surveyors saw around 17 homes sold on average over the three months to April, maintaining a three-year high from March.
Sustained growth is on the cards... Thu, 16 May 2013 06:00:30 GMT
EVERY year the influential Mayfair Group, of which Paul Carr Estate Agents is a hand-picked and exclusive member, organises a round of regional summit meetings across the country with my fellow estate agent members from over 100 firms from the top of Scotland to the tip of Cornwall and just about everywhere in between.
This forum is an opportunity to discuss, analyse and understand the property market from local, regional and national perspectives.
For several years, these summits were quite sombre affairs at times as estate agents across the length and breadth of the UK reported difficult trading, low sales figures and a general inertia in the market.
But this year was different. At each forum there was a feeling of marked optimism, of increased sales, of more enquiries and of greater interest. Certainly the issues and problems of difficult mortgages and hard-to-acquire deposits are still prevalent. But the overwhelming feeling was one of increased confidence in the property market, in jobs, and in the economy.
Property is always the first in to a recession and is inevitably the first out – but always with an upward trend. We know this only too well from the last three recessions we have been through since the early seventies. Indeed since the mid-fifties the average house price rise per parliament – six Labour and six Conservative – has been about 58 per cent. (Precisely 54.8 per cent under Labour and 61.2 per cent under Conservative).
So, in house price terms, there is not much between the two major political parties. But if Mr Cameron does not want his legacy to be one of overall house price decline then he will need to stay in office through a time of post-recession growth as did two Conservative prime ministers before him – Thatcher and Heath. Averaged over their tenancies at No 10 house prices increased by more than 155 per cent! But at least our current prime minister may now take heart from some recovery. From our reports across the UK, it certainly sounds as if we have begun the long haul out of the greatest economic peacetime crisis in living memory.
Nowadays the media is full of news about the market although one isn't sure they always get it right. But estate agents are the very first to understand what is really happening in the housing market – their businesses and livelihoods depend on it. The Mayfair Group regional summits were revealing. Boom times are not exactly back – except perhaps in central London. But one suspects that a period of slow but sustained incremental growth in activity, demand and value will carry us through the next few years. This will provide us with a relatively stable, non-volatile market which will help give an impetus to the rest of the economy.
Bag snatch suspect caught on camera Tue, 14 May 2013 14:50:01 GMT
The offender targeted the Range Rover outside First Choice News on Walmley Road at around 1:30pm on 24 April.
He then used bank cards that were in the bag at Castle Vale post office around 15 minutes later.
Officers are urging anyone who recognises the man in the CCTV images to come forward.
Anyone with information should call police on 101 or the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.