British house price boom to fizzle out next year: Reuters poll

By Jonathan Cable

LONDON (Reuters) – British home prices will rise 2.0% this year following a post-lockdown boom in the housing market, according to a Reuters poll, marking a sharp turnaround in views from a 5.0% fall predicted three months ago.

Britain’s economy shrank more than 20% in the second quarter after the government forced businesses to close and citizens to stay home, but it is expected to rebound with 15.8% growth this quarter as some restrictions have been relaxed.

The lockdown meant people spent more time indoors and a dash for larger homes and gardens pushed up prices in September, a survey by property website Rightmove showed last week.

That chimed with other surveys that have shown a post-lockdown surge in the market, also helped by a temporary cut in property tax.

Prices will rise 2.0% this year, the Sept. 15-25 poll of 22 property experts showed, but stagnate next year after the tax break finishes and due to an expected spike in unemployment following the closure of the government’s furlough scheme.

“Those who have been hit medically or financially by COVID-19 will have bigger issues to worry about than moving for a bigger garden,” said property market consultant Henry Pryor.

“We may well run out of a pool of buyers prepared and able to move for lifestyle reasons as the flood of negative headlines about the true cost of the pandemic to individuals and the nation starts to become clearer.”

When asked about the risk of the recent surge in prices reversing by the end of the year, respondents were split, with nine saying it was high, seven saying it was low and three saying very low. None said it was very high.

“Sellers are achieving a record share of their asking price, and while this metric isn’t directly correlated with house price growth, it points towards a strong market where price falls are unlikely,” said Aneisha Beveridge at estate agents Hamptons International.

However nearly 80%, or 14 of 18, analysts who responded to an additional question said the risk to their forecasts was to the downside. In a worst case scenario prices will be flat this year – albeit very different to the 11.0% median fall given in June – and fall 3.3% in 2021.

Prices in London, long a hotbed for foreign investors, will flatline this year but recover 1.0% next year and rise 3.3% in 2022. In a worst case they will fall 1.0% this year and 5.0% next, the poll showed.

“London is the only part of the UK where house prices are not rising and affordability has crept in,” said Tony Williams at property consultancy Building Value.

When asked to describe the level of house prices in the capital on a scale of 1 to 10 from extremely cheap to extremely expensive, the median response was 8. Nationally it was 6.

Another distraction for forecasters is that Britain’s transition period after leaving the European Union is due to expire at the

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How original is the great British garden? | Life and style

“Britain has led the world in gardening for centuries” is a line often used dozens of times in gardening media. Judging by how frequently it has come up in TV scripts I have been asked to present, it seems to be a concept baked into the DNA of how British gardeners see the world and our place in it. It is a line I am uncomfortable saying.

It’s not that I doubt the enormous influence UK horticulture has had, or that I mind a good bit of flag-waving now and then. My greatest gardening passions – terrariums and aquariums – are arguably two of a tiny handful of uniquely British contributions to the horticultural world. But this “led the world” narrative can only be made if one is very selective about the evidence. If your view of “the world” of horticulture is projects in countries with a history of British colonialism, when the British Empire was at its height, then the narrative works brilliantly. But this quickly becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy, and the only types of gardens we regard as worth considering are the ones that follow our model of what gardens “should” be.

Often, in order to be called a “garden” at all, designs must be made to fit our pre-existing cultural ideas. It’s rather like saying Britain has “led the world” in language when you only speak English. Sure, it’s enormously popular, and that’s greatly reinforced if you live in a world that self-selects for hearing it, but does that make it true?

This Anglocentric world view means that when I have filmed in Malaysia on garden design, producers have made an enormous effort to find the few remaining outposts of colonial British horticulture: going to highland retreats, filming extended sequences in mock Tudor houses; but showing far less interest in the village herb and forest gardens in the lowland tropics – which are unlike anything else in the world. When I pitch magazine pieces on the incredible high-rise “sky parks” and multi-storey living walls in 21st-century Singapore, I am asked to include more US, European and Australian examples, often more “historic” ones that are more “relevant” to readers.

Even when making documentaries on Japanese gardens, rather than exploring the industry of nurseries dedicated to growing moss (considered a weed in British horticulture) including dozens of named cultivars we instead have to film subjects such as camellias which, frankly, could have been shot in Cornwall.

Japanese camellias: they’re lovely, but frankly they could have been photographed in Cornwall.

Japanese camellias: they’re lovely, but frankly they could have been photographed in Cornwall. Photograph: Alamy

This subconscious filtering process works like a social media algorithm, to remove novel or unconventional ideas that challenge perceptions of what gardens are, presenting us with a vision of the world that matches our prejudices. For a creative form, this is a dangerous path.

The UK is brilliant at food, fashion, music and art because of its successful magpieing

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The best baking equipment for your kitchen, inspired by The Great British Bake Off

The Great British Bake Off has returned to our screens (not even a national lockdown could stop it) and, in keeping with tradition, consumers are already snapping up baking tools and equipment to create their own slice of the action at home.

Since its debut in 2010, the show has energised home baking sales in the UK – inspiring the “The Bake Off” effect, whereby shoppers stock up in advance of a new series, almost every year.

From the classic Mason Cash mixing bowls you’ll recognise from the show to quirky baking kits from, here’s all the equipment you need to recreate the magic of The Great British Bake Off 2020 in your own kitchen…

1.   KitchenAid Artisan 

£499, Currys

The KitchenAid Artisan stand mixer (available in a range of both pastel and metallic hues) is traditionally the batter-mixer of choice in the Bake Off tent. It comfortably handles large quantities of ingredients and the stiffest of doughs, and allows you to mix ingredients without losing air (a key consideration for showstopping baking mixtures: no soggy bottoms here). 

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British Teen Fined Over $12,000 For Hosting Large House Party, Apologizes To Neighbors


  • The teenager hosted a party with more than 50 guests in violation of restrictions on social gatherings in the U.K.
  • The cops allegedly gave the teen an initial warning to shut down the party but he “deliberately flouted” the rules
  • The number of coronavirus cases in the United Kingdom as of Monday was 368,504

A British teenager who was fined £10,000 ($12,823 USD) for hosting a large house party amid the coronavirus pandemic has apologized to his neighbors.

The 19-year-old host was given the penalty notice after police found more than 50 attendees at the Sept. 11 party at his home in Lenton, Nottinghamshire. The teen will have to appear before a court if he fails to pay the penalty or decides to contest it, Nottinghamshire Live reported.

Nottinghamshire police said officers from the Nottingham City Council were alerted of the party by the residents in the neighborhood. The police who responded to the house were met with “hostility from the organizer”. They had reportedly given him an initial warning to shut down the party but the department said he had “deliberately flouted” the rules. The cops then ordered all the guests to leave the party. 

The unidentified teenager sent a letter to his neighbors over the weekend, calling the party a “foolish gathering” and apologizing for the “major lapse of judgment,” the BBC reported.

The host reportedly wrote in the letter the party was held to celebrate two housemates recently turning 21 and was meant for just 25 people, complying with the country’s COVID-19 restrictions.

“However, it quickly became out of hand,” he wrote. “It was never our intention to disrupt your evening. It was a major lapse in judgement (sic) on our end. We are eager to make amends.”

The teenager was fined days before a new rule came into effect amid a rise in coronavirus cases.

Steve Cooper, assistant chief constable with Nottinghamshire Police, said under the previous rules anyone hosting house parties with more than 30 people would face a hefty fine and that the officers were ready to exert “full powers” against those who “deliberately put other people’s lives in danger.”

“We need to all remember we are very much still in the middle of a global pandemic and we all need to take responsibility for our actions,” the Nottinghamshire Live quoted Cooper as saying.

Beginning Monday, social gatherings throughout the United Kingdom are limited to six people. The new rule enables authorities to issue a hefty fine to violators. Officers hoped the Friday incident would serve as an early warning to those thinking of hosting large parties.

The “rule of six” restriction follows Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies member and former chief scientific adviser Sir Mark Walport’s warning that the U.K. is “on the edge of losing control of coronavirus,” BBC reported. Total cases of infection in the country, as of Monday, is 368,504, with the death tally reaching 41,628, according to the data from Worldometer.

party-2545168_1920 COVID-19 infected 18 members of a

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