The latest news from Mansell McTaggart

The latest news from Mansell McTaggart

Property Market Springs Back To Action

With an estimated £82 billion of property transactions on hold due to coronavirus, the Government's announcement in the middle of last month that operations could resume, with the appropriate measures in place, was welcome news to many.

The immediate effect of the reopening of the property market could be seen clearly on the property portals – with a distinct spike in searches for properties the day after restrictions were lifted. Rightmove recorded over 5 million visits on 13th May and reported that sales demand doubled from Tuesday (when restrictions were still in place) to Wednesday.

The spike in property searches can be attributed to the many people who have had to put their property search on hold due to coronavirus and are now looking to move quickly in order to avoid their own chain collapsing, or just to take advantage of current circumstances.

A shift in attitude is also noticeable in terms of the types of mortgage which are being searched for – with a move away from remortgage loans to purchase mortgages. Mortgage technology firm Twenty7Tec reported a 27% week-on-week increase on 17th May for the volume of searches being completed.

“We are starting to see significant volumes return to the market – with searches for purchase mortgages in particular rapidly gaining pace. Searches for purchases are now at 44 per cent of pre-lockdown highs, up from lows of 15.6 per cent in mid-April” explains James Tucker, chief executive of Twenty7Tec.

Miles Shipside, Rightmove director and housing market analyst, said: “The traditionally busy spring market was curtailed by lockdown, but we’re now seeing clear signs of returning momentum, with the existing desire to move now being supplemented by some people’s unhappiness with their lockdown home and surroundings.

“Some may be unable or unwilling to move now, but those who are ready to take the plunge have jumped immediately into action.

“Unique enquiries on property for sale doubled from the day before, though we expect consistent momentum to rebuild over several months rather than weeks.

“With no new seller asking price data it’s too early to comment on price movements, though high demand is needed to support a stable market.

“If there are attractive lower deposit mortgages available it would help sustain the recovery in activity. The industry has been caught by surprise, as we were all expecting the housing market to stay closed until at least June.”

Holidays Cancelled? Enjoy the United Kingdom!

For many of us, we will have plans for holidays abroad which are now looking uncertain, and for others an overseas excursion will already have been cancelled. If you are looking to plan your next getaway, why not enjoy a ‘staycation’ here in the UK.

Oliver Dowden, the Culture Secretary, recently announced that holidays within the UK could return as soon as July in a move to boost the tourism sector and allow those who have already missed holidays to take a much-needed break.

“I would love to get the tourism sector up as quickly as we possibly can. We’ve set this very ambitious plan to try and get it up and running by the beginning of July,” he said.

There is also the potential addition of an extra UK bank holiday in October being explored by the government currently in order to account for the two weekends in May with bank holidays which were essentially negated due to coronavirus lockdown measures.

Last year a third of Brits chose to have a holiday in the UK over abroad thanks to the varied landscapes and exciting places to explore right on our own doorstep, so don’t consider holidaying in your home country as a hardship.

If you’re looking for a city break, then London is the obvious choice as it simply has so much to offer, however don’t discount other cities such as Bristol, Edinburgh or Cardiff for a city break as they all provide a distinctly different feel to one another and provide a chance to get to know somewhere new.

Perhaps you are looking for a more traditional seaside break, in which case the south coast of England is the obvious choice due to the more favourable climate and the truly stunning locations such as Brighton, Bournemouth and Cornwall. However, there are also hidden gems such as Nairn in Scotland which is a charming seaside resort and the better-known Rhossili Bay in Swansea which is known for its surfing.

Perhaps it is a touch of peace and quiet which you are seeking on your next holiday, and the Lake District offers this in abundance – known as England’s answer to the Italian Lakes, the vistas in the Lake District are awe-inspiring and the walks second-to-none. When it comes to picturesque landscapes, the Scottish Highlands offer some of the most rugged scenes and idyllic, isolated locations throughout the entirety of the UK – we would recommend basing yourself in Inverness as you are then driving or hiking distance to some of the most wonderful walks in all of Scotland. Wales is not to be forgotten, of course, as its green landscapes and rugged coastline provide plenty of opportunities for a relaxing break – and should you wish to build up a sweat then a trip up Mount Snowdon is just the ticket.

How To Make Your Own Face Mask

As the country enters the next stage of its strategy to ease the lockdown restrictions whilst preventing the spread of coronavirus, the Government has issued new advice to the public on how to stay safe whilst in public spaces (such as shops and public transport). The Government has asked people to wear face masks to cover their nose and mouth where social distancing is not possible. This advice has been detailed in the Government Covid-19 recovery strategy, detailing its plans for lifting the UK out of lockdown; which can be viewed here.

To prevent any additional pressure to the NHS in obtaining crucial PPE supplies, the Government has issued instructions on how to make your own face mask at home, by simply using elastic bands and some cotton fabric or even just an old T-shirt. Your face mask should be worn so that you can breathe comfortably whilst covering your nose and mouth. You should sanitise or wash your hands before putting it on and taking it off, and you should wash your face mask regularly.
We share how to make your own face mask at home below*:

Making a face mask using an old T Shirt

You will need:

• One old T-shirt that you no longer want
• Scissors


Step 1: Cut a straight line across the width of the T-shirt (front and back) approximately 20cm from the bottom of the T-shirt.

Step 2: From a point 2cm below the top right-hand corner of the fabric, make a 15cm horizontal cut through both sides of the fabric that is parallel to the top of the rectangle.

Step 3: Cut down towards the bottom of the fabric until you reach approximately 2cm above the bottom edge. From here, make another 15cm cut that runs parallel to the bottom of the fabric to make a rectangle that can be discarded.

Step 4: To make the ties, cut open the edge of the 2 long strips of fabric. Unfold the main piece of fabric and place over the mouth and the nose. The 4 strips act as ties to hold the cloth face covering in place and should be tied behind the head and around the neck.

Making a face mask using a piece of cotton fabric

You will need:

• two 25cm x 25cm squares of cotton fabric
• two 20cm pieces of elastic (or string or cloth strips)
• needle and thread
• scissors

Step 1: Cut out two 25cm x 25cm squares of cotton fabric. Stack the 2 squares on top of each other.

Step 2: Fold over one side by 0.75cm and hem, then repeat on the opposite side. Make 2 channels by folding the double layer of fabric over 1.5cm along each side and stitching this down.

Step 3: Run a 20cm length of elastic (or string or cloth strip) through the wider hem on each side of the face covering. These will be the ear loops. Use a large needle to thread it through. Tie the ends tightly.

If you only have string, you can make the ties longer and tie the covering behind your head.

Step 4: Gently pull on the elastic so that the knots are tucked inside the hem. Gather the sides of the covering on the elastic and adjust so the covering fits your face. Then securely stitch the elastic in place to keep it from slipping. These elastic loops fit over the ears.

*Our step by step guides have been taken from the website here.

Summer Property Maintenance Tips

Now that summer is availing itself, many of us are making the most of our outdoor spaces and enjoying the uptake in the weather. However, whilst we enjoy being outside don’t forget to keep your property ticking along during the summer months. Here are a few maintenance tips that should keep your property in tip-top condition over the next few months.

Check your gutters
After the cold winter months with freezing temperatures, gutters are at risk of leaks and especially following the recent spell of rainy weather which can move debris into gutters, summer is the ideal time to check their health. Leaky and unsecure guttering can lead to bigger problems of water damage to your property, as well as being a fall hazard. Whilst you’re checking your gutters, go ahead and check your drainage system at the same time to ensure that there aren’t any blockages there, too.

Doors and windows
Similar to your guttering, doors and windows have been through a rough period by the time summer is in full swing. With the cold months of winter potentially cracking door and window seals, followed by spring showers causing further damage, it is imperative to check your doors and windows. Of course, if you have double glazing this is less of an issue, but checking that your seals are in order is certainly a good use of half an hour during the summer to stop any problems later on in the year.

Central heating
When the weather heats up, the temptation is simply to turn off the central heating, give the radiators a holiday and then start everything back up once temperatures inevitably plummet. Keeping the heating on a low-level through the colder summer days will keep the central heating system ticking over and also prevent any damp issues. During the summer, bleeding your radiators will also ensure that they remain efficient – if you’re unsure of how to do this then a quick search online will direct you to some intuitive videos. If you go on holiday during the summer, the same applies; keeping the heating on a low level may save you larger problems in the long run.

Sound the alarms
Whilst a check of your smoke and CO2 alarms may not seem like a particularly summery activity to be carrying out, you should be checking these units several times a year. By building these checks into your summer list of tasks, you are keeping yourself and others safe.

Insulation throughout the seasons
Updating your insulation may intuitively seem like a winter task, but part of keeping your home cool and comfortable in the summer is good insulation as this will stop heat penetrating the building. Of course, when it comes to the winter months you will also reap the benefits of insulation as it will keep the heat from escaping, ensuring a cosy property when the temperatures begin to plummet.

In uncertain times, people moving home need an experienced estate agent

At Mansell McTaggart, we’ve been trusted by buyers and sellers since 1947, through boom, bust and everything in between.

All our offices are now back open and conducting viewings and valuations with all the recommended new Covid-safe procedures in place.

So if you’re keen to move, or even just wondering about the possibility, please call us for a free, no-obligation, no-pressure chat.

Click here to read In uncertain times, people moving home need an experienced estate agent.