Larkfleet Homes on Blogger

23 Oct 2017

Flood risk removed - read all about it!

We’re polishing our fingernails and feeling really chuffed with ourselves. The story about our elevating house, which we recently obtained planning permission for, has hit the headlines in the national papers.

Press stories about the elevating house appeared in The Times, Daily Express, Daily Mail, Daily Mirror and Metro.

The beauty of the elevating house is that it can be jacked up ahead of any flood waters, to avoid the home flooding. This means that the house can be built on land which has up until now been unavailable for development. The additional cost of the elevating system beneath the house can be offset by the relatively low prices for flood-prone land.

Some of the headlines were great – 'Hopping home could be floody brilliant' exclaimed Metro, while the Times said Larkfleet Homes is ‘raising the roof (and the rest of the house with it)'. The Daily Mail said that an 'elevating house is how to give house prices a lift'.

The elevating house is cool because it can just about remove the risk of flood damage to homes. This means that more land across the country can be approved for future home building. This will help to tackle the ‘housing crisis’ that is being caused by the demand for new housing far exceeding the supply.

It’s great to get national recognition for such a fantastic idea. Let’s hope that the tests live up to the hype.


20 Oct 2017

Make your kitchen the heart of your home

The weekend is nearly here and National Baking Week is drawing to a close. So, we thought ‘wouldn't it be a good time to get the family together and start baking’.

National Baking Week was started by a group of baking brands to encourage us all to bake at home. And baking together can help you turn your kitchen into the heart of your home.

Baking has become increasingly popular over the past few years. You’ve only got to think of Bake Off and the lovely Nadiya Hussain to raise a smile.

There are lots of reasons why baking is good for you. Baking stimulates the senses and can help you to make others around you happy – especially when you present them with that yummy lemon drizzle cake or chocolate Swiss roll you’ve been lovingly working on. Baking is also good for well-being and mindful because it’s both creative and meditative.

You can create some fantastic memories for you and your family through the smells, tastes, sights and sounds of baking in your kitchen. From shopping for the ingredients, preparing and mixing to baking and eating, every stage of baking can create memories. You never realised that baking a tray of muffins was so powerful, did you?

Baking with children can help you find some valuable family time. The youngest members of the family will love decorating biscuits — just make sure that they are wearing an apron first! It’s great family time and everyone can get involved - choosing the recipe, buying the ingredients, weighing out the ingredients, mixing, stirring, lining tins, kneading dough, washing up or simply eating – there is a job to suit everyone.

Just like any art and craft, baking can be a merry mess-making activity. This is all part of baking but the mess made is easy to clean up, especially when you all do it together.

Don’t be put off by kitchen disasters and remember – enjoy it! Don’t worry if your bread or cakes haven’t risen. Just turn them into bread crumbs and make a bread and butter pudding instead.

Whatever you bake and whoever it’s for, enjoy the process and the result. The smiles you will generate may surprise you.

Don’t get stressed, let it be an entertaining escape from the pressures and stresses of life. Make your kitchen the heart of your home – somewhere for some proper homemade family time.


19 Oct 2017

Enjoy the park life at Gretton Valley

Looking for a new home in the East Midlands, close enough to town for shopping and entertainment, but within easy reach of countryside amenities? Missed out on the Gretton development first time around?

Well, now is your chance to grab yourself a new home in Gretton Valley as Phase 2 of our eco-friendly development launches.

Whether you’re a first-time buyer, young couple, a growing family or starting a new chapter in your life and downsizing, Gretton Valley has a high-quality value-for-money home for you.

Phase 2 of our exciting development offers energy efficient, one, two, three, four and five-bedroom homes ideally suited for anyone looking for a new home in rural surroundings.

Gretton Valley is located within the 1,200-acre Priors Hall Park development, set in beautiful parkland close to the village of Weldon on the outskirts of Corby, Northamptonshire. Living here, you can experience the best that rural village and town living has to offer. Whatever your day-to-day living needs, a new home in Gretton Valley can deliver.

Is the school run sapping your time and energy? Gretton Valley is close to pre-school, primary and secondary schools in Priors Hall Park, less than a mile away. There are further education options just down the road in Corby, so whatever stage your family is at we have got you covered.

Social butterflies are catered for, with a range of entertainment options on offer ranging from quaint country pubs where you can enjoy a drink next to a roaring log fire to smart restaurants where you can tuck into a gourmet meal. There are numerous other establishments where you can meet up with old friends – or get to know some new ones. Theatre and movie fans are sure to be impressed by the Corby Cube: a striking civic hub housing a 455-seat theatre and cinema complex.

For the more active among you there is a wealth of sports and leisure facilities nearby. Parkland and play areas are great for the kids to play in. Golfers can enjoy a round at the Priors Hall park Golf Club while adrenaline junkies can get their fix at Adrenaline Alley in Corby or enjoy high-speed action at the nearby Rockingham Raceway.

Whatever your lifestyle, we have a home to suit you.

Call our team today on 0785 171512 to start your new park life.


18 Oct 2017

Protecting your garden against early frosts

The evenings are drawing in and it’s nearly time for the clocks to go back - not to mention Halloween. Now is the time we all start thinking about hunkering down for the winter.

The end of October used to be when you could expect the first frost on the ground. Even though we are very aware of the effects of global warming there is still a chance of early frosts in dry weather. The Met Office chaps say it happens when high pressure leads to clear night skies.

Frost can damage your plants and make your new garden look unsightly. A real Halloween fright for the garden, in fact.

Frost causes the water in your plants to freeze which damages the cells in the plants. Damaged plants can become limp, blackened and distorted. Where plants face the morning sun problems can be made worse because rapid defrosting will cause the cell walls to rupture.

So there's science in this - not just evil Halloween spirits. And if there're is a rational scientific explanation there is bound to be some rational scientific action you can take to ward off the Halloween effect.

Here is a handy list of things you can do to protect your valuable plants from the effects of early frost.
  • Cover trained plants or tender plants growing in the ground with a fleece-covered frame.
  • Cover bulbs, corms and herbaceous plants that have been cut back with a layer of manure, leaf mulch or straw.
  • Grow tender plants in pots so that they can be moved indoors or into a greenhouse when the weather gets worse.
  • Cover low growing plants from wet weather with plastic or glass cloches.
  • Choose frost-proof outdoor containers so that they don’t crack. Move them into a green house or shed if the weather is likely to be particularly bad.
  • Dig up annual plants that are unlikely to survive the winter and throw them on the compost. This will give you more time to deal with other jobs that need doing.
  • Watering plants before a frost will insulate the roots.
  • Cover plants that are in the early-morning sun with sheeting to shade them from the sun’s rays to so they don’t defrost too quickly.


16 Oct 2017

A knotty problem

There is one name that can strike fear into the hearts of even the boldest house buyer. It’s the name of a plant – Japanese Knotweed (Fallopia japonica).

This non-native plant is extremely invasive. Serious structural damage has been recorded to buildings, hard-standing walls and drains.

In fact, Japanese Knotweed is so damaging that many mortgage lenders will not give you a mortgage if you have it on or near the property you are hoping to buy.

Even if lenders will provide you with a mortgage they will require you to implement a significant management and removal plan which could include chemical treatment or excavation to completely remove all traces of the plant. Either way, this may well prove to be a lengthy and costly undertaking.

Because it is such a recognised risk to property, Japanese Knotweed is governed by legislation. Under the terms of the revised Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014, you could be issued with a community protection notice to force you to control non-native invasive plants on your property. You could face a fine of up to £2,500 if an unreasonable lack of action to control or remove the knotweed has a detrimental effect on the quality of life of those nearby.

The spread of Japanese Knotweed is also governed under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, which makes it an offence to cause it to grow in the wild, and can be construed as an offence to knowingly allow knotweed to spread from your property. Under the Environmental Protection Act 1990 and Duty of Care Regulations 1991, Japanese Knotweed material and material contaminated with knotweed must be removed to a licensed landfill site for disposal, accompanied by appropriate waste transfer documentation.

So, what can you do if you are unlucky enough to have the weed on your property? The Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) has an information sheet which you can download here.

RICS has also partnered with the Property Care Association to establish the PCA Invasive Weeds Control Group trade group for Japanese Knotweed specialists. It is a list of reputable consultants and removal contractors whom you can turn to for help with your knotweed problem.

Where a known or suspected presence of knotweed is highlighted a specialist survey should be carried out to establish the risk and provide advice on a solution.

Most UK mortgage lenders will want to see evidence of a commitment by the owner of the property to fund, in advance, a long-term chemical treatment programme against Japanese Knotweed, or provide instant eradication by way of excavation and removal. Chemical treatment can take approximately two to three years to provide effective control of the knotweed.

Even after chemical treatment, the rhizome (root) of the plant can remain dormant for many years. Excavation and removal of knotweed is often preferred. If you can negotiate an instant removal of knotweed by excavation, do so.

A guarantee is often required on any remedial works, with durations of 5–10 years being the norm. A guarantee should ensure that, if there is any recurrence of knotweed growth (as a defect of the remedial works undertaken), it will be treated and controlled at no additional expense to the property owner.

Because treatment programmes can stretch over many years, mortgage lenders will often look for an insurance backed guarantee (IBG) product, such as that provided by PCA IWCG members. This ensures that if a knotweed contractor providing a guarantee goes out of business before the end of the cover period, the customer will be protected by either another PCA registered company stepping in to take on the liability, or a refund of the money left on the contract.

On development sites, Japanese Knotweed needs to be managed and handled responsibly. Any works conducted to control or eradicate the plant should be completed according to the Environment Agency and PCA codes of practice for the management of Japanese Knotweed.

Here is a helpful factsheet that will help you to identify Japanese Knotweed.


12 Oct 2017

Buying off-plan: A quick guide

Have you ever driven around local housing developments and seen queues of people lining up round the block waiting for a show home to open?

It’s becoming an increasingly common sight. More and more of us are looking at buying our next new home 'off-plan' to beat price rises and increasing mortgage costs.



The idea is to get everything in place and fixed so your contract is future-proofed.

Buying off plan is a great way to get a good deal on your new home. Government schemes like Help to Buy are only available on new builds. But don’t get caught out. Here a few steps to consider:

  • Research properties and the developer carefully. Check online feedback from previous developments and make sure images in marketing materials match up with developments already built.
  • When you have found your development speak to your mortgage advisor. Many mortgage offers are only valid for six months. If your build takes longer to complete you may have to reapply for your mortgage.
  • Reserve your home and pay the reservation fee.
  • Appoint a conveyancer or solicitor to deal with your side of the transactions. Sometimes, a developer can recommend one for you and may offer you incentives to use them.
  • Make sure your property solicitor keeps tabs on progress and the development is proceeding on schedule.
  • Arrange your mortgage with your lender. A surveyor will be appointed to value your plot based on the plans and the development specifications.
  • Exchange contracts and pay your deposit.
  • When the property is nearing completion get a snagging survey done.

Reserving off plan can net you some good deals. For example, we’re offering £500 towards legal fees at our Bourne Green development for an early bird reservation.

Remember, it's the early bird that gets the .... er, worm ... doesn't sound much of an incentive, does it? £500 off your fees, though, must be worth considering.


10 Oct 2017

Art’s in the heart.

We all like to look at pictures, don’t we? There’s nothing worse than a room with magnolia walls with nothing to look at. Plain walls cry out for artwork to make them more interesting and the room more comforting and inviting. They are a blank canvass on which you can express yourself.

Buying a new home gives you a chance to project your personality in a fresh new way. Most of us think that as well as livening up our living rooms, the artwork we choose says something about our interests and personalities. So, what do the artwork and accessories you choose to decorate your home with say about you?

Do you prefer figurative, more traditional pictures or something more abstract? According to some studies, if you prefer traditional images you are more likely to be more conservative. You prefer order, predictability and see arguments and debate in ‘black and white’ terms.

If you choose to decorate using abstract images you’re more likely to be a sensation seeker. Those of us who are agreeable and conscientious prefer impressionist style works – images by Van Gough, Monet or Gaugin say. The more extrovert among us prefer cubist style pictures. You’re more likely to be open minded but controversial in your outlook.

If you are a family person you’re more likely to adorn your walls with pictures of your family in art frames that complement the colour scheme you have chosen.

Are you the creative type? If so, you are more than likely to use your own work to create a warm and inviting living space.

You can project any image of yourself that you like through what art you choose. Whatever your personality and interests, there is so much choice available that you will have no trouble personalising your new Larkfleet Home.

The most important thing to remember when you are looking for art and accessories to make your home your own is to have fun!


09 Oct 2017

Charity was the winner at Bourne Rotary’s golf day

Rotary Club of Bourne’s charity golf day certainly went with a swing!

Travelling from as far away as Keighley, Dewsbury, Mablethorpe, Louth and Leicester, 56 players took part in the event at the Toft Hotel golf course.

A total of £1,800 was raised for charity allowing Bourne Rotary to donate £1,350 to LIVES/First Responders which is its chosen charity. The remainder will be distributed to local charities supported by the club.

Organiser Barry Streets told us: “It was a very successful and worthwhile event which we hope to be able to continue in future years. We do acknowledge the importance of the support which we receive from local sponsors such as The Larkfleet Group, without whom the charitable work which we in Rotary carry out would not be possible”.

The golf day format was a four ball Betterball Stableford (full handicap) for gents, ladies or mixed pairs, with prizes for first, second and third places. There were also prizes for nearest the pin and longest drive on selected holes.

First prize went to Andy Briggs and John Ogden on 49 points who each won a £50 voucher.
Lew West and Stuart Booker took second spot on 47 points and a scooped £30 voucher each while Sally Burton and our own Dick Robinson took third place on 46 points (count back) and took away a £20 voucher each.

The best visiting pair was David Brailsford (Sandilands) and Jim Needley (Louth).

Nearest the pin were Louise Bradley on the 3rd hole and for the gents Max Baker on the 10th. Helen Roscoe hit the longest drive for the ladies on the 12th hole. Robert Grogan achieved the longest yardage for the gents from the tee on the 17th hole.

Congratulations on a great day and we hope you can do it all again next year.


05 Oct 2017

Nomination time!

It’s awards time again at Larkfleet Homes - and we're in with the chance of winning another trophy for the cabinet in reception at Larkfleet House.

After careful deliberations, the judges of the Lincolnshire Media Business Awards have nominated us in the Innovation Award category.

We were nominated for our work with the Elevating House and our ‘grid neutral’ house R&D projects.

The Elevating House can rise above flood waters, allowing for the development of land in flood plains that was previously unusable. This type of house can be jacked up well ahead of the arrival of flood waters. The mechanical jacking system – powered by a central motor, gear box and drive shafts – could lift the 65-tonne house to the full 1.5 metre height above ground in less than five minutes. That should keep the house and contents dry but it could make delivering the mail a bit tricky!

Our other innovation is the ‘grid neutral’ house, which can generate as much electricity as it uses. Photovoltaic (PV) solar cells on the roof of the house and conservatory will provide electricity even on cloudy days (of which we get plenty around here). The power that they produce will be stored in a battery pack in the garage. The battery will provide power at night, when the sun is not shining, and during the day at times of peak demand.  It will also provide power to charge an electric car in the garage overnight - how neat is that?

At times of peak sunshine, electricity from the PV panels will be used to heat water in addition to powering domestic appliances. Excess power will be exported to the grid. During the winter, the house will draw from the grid – but over a year as a whole it will export as much (or more) electricity as it imports. Other technologies are used to make the house as energy-efficient as possible.

Our research and development team does come up with some clever ideas!

We’re looking forward to the gala awards night at the Epic Centre at the Lincolnshire Showground. Hopefully we may even pick up the Innovation Award from host Soccer AM presenter Lloyd Griffith.

Watch this space and wish us luck!


05 Oct 2017

Fancy a change this autumn?

Autumn is here and with it comes the cool blustery weather, darker evenings and rain. It’s a wonderful time of year to think about curling up in front of the telly to relax with a warm drink.

It’s also a good time to revamp your living space to create a warm and welcoming environment to insulate you against the elements outside.

Here a few practical tips to create a really fancy, functional yet comfortable living room.

  • Create floral displays of dry flowers, foliage and produce in autumn colours. Use functional containers as a base for the displays.
  • Use cushions and throws in autumn colours to create a cosy feel to your living room. Vary colour and textures to add more interest.
  • Add rustic elements to your décor to create a country farmhouse feel.
  • Use moss, acorns and dry leaves to decorate wooden picture frames to create an arty feel that can highlight an autumn themed quote or a favourite family photo.
  • Rugged tweeds and wool fabrics in warming russets and heathery purples combined with an eclectic mix of floral fabrics and designs with painted wood and jugs of hazel and hedgerow branches provide a warm and welcoming atmosphere.
  • Accessorise your living room with hand thrown earthenware ceramics and turned wooden bowls and platters to give your living room a tactile feel.
  • Emphasise the seasonal feel with printed woven printed fabrics in autumnal colours and designs.
  • Reflect the outdoor seasonal changes with homemade artworks created from pressed dried leaves.
  • Redecorate with warm natural woods partnered with soft ochre yellow walls and use rush matting on the floors.

Whatever you decide to do to your living room - enjoy the season and make the most of the rich colours and the delightfully creative accessories that nature has to offer!


02 Oct 2017

Visit the exhibition about our exciting proposals for Glinton

Larkfleet Homes has some exciting plans (well, we’re excited) to build up to 77 new homes on land off Lincoln Road and Welmore Road, Glinton. The development would also include space for new playing facilities for Glinton and Northborough Football Club, helping to put the club at the heart of the local community.
  
We’re kicking off the public consultation (sorry – couldn’t resist the football pun!) at a public exhibition on Friday 13 October 2017 (no, we’re not superstitious) between 3 pm and 7 pm at Glinton Village Hall.

Members of our development project team will be there to answer questions (about the plans – not football) and there will also be members of the football club available to explain what the plans would mean for them.


The draft masterplan for the Glinton development

Our proposals include a mixture of house types, including 30 per cent ‘affordable’ housing, catering for first-time buyers, families and the elderly. There would also be areas of public open space with a children’s play area for new and existing residents to enjoy.

Glinton and Northborough Football Club does not at present have a permanent home and hires playing facilities at five different venues in the Glinton, Northborough and Werrington area.
 
Stuart Craig, director of football at the club, said: “We have been working closely with Larkfleet Homes and are really excited about the proposals. With over 400 players ranging from five to 85 years old, the proposals would provide us with a much needed permanent home and help to put the club at the heart of the local community."

Hannah Guy, planning manager at Larkfleet Homes, said: “The proposed new development would help to meet growing housing needs both nationally and locally and boost investment in the area. We’re also delighted to be able to help Glinton and Northborough Football Club. It’s a great example of a community football club and we hope that the new facilities will enable it, and the local area, to flourish further.

“We’re keen to consult with people about our proposals before we submit a planning application and would like to encourage people to come along to the public exhibition on 13 October to ask questions and share their views.”

So there you are – that’s your invitation. Come and talk to us at the exhibition.

If you can’t get along to see us there you can read about the proposals on the project website - www.larkfleetplanning.co.uk/glinton.


30 Sep 2017

Move to a new build home in Peterborough and save a small fortune

Living in London, struggling for space and looking to upsize? Or trying to get your first 'foot on the property ladder' and finding London prices mean a decent home is beyond your financial reach?

Why not consider a newly built home outside the capital?

There is life outside London, you know!

Younger people and workers in essential occupations such as nursing and policing - as well as those in jobs ranging from window cleaning to taxi driving - can often find London house prices prohibitive when it comes to upsizing. This is particularly true in the case of first time buyers and young families.

If you are looking to upsize but cannot afford London prices, look no further than Larkfleet Homes developments in and around places such as Peterborough and Grantham.

The price of new build homes is lower in this part of the world than in London. Where you have a house to sell you, you may well be able to pocket the difference between the price you achieve on your London property and your new build home further north.

Depending on where you currently own a property in London, moving to a new build home in the East of England or East Midlands could save you tens of thousands of pounds. Just think what you could do with that cash!

And leaving London doesn't mean leaving your job in the city. It’s quicker and easier to travel into central London from Peterborough than it is from many of London’s outer suburbs. Both Peterborough and Grantham are on the East Coast main line with many daily services running into Kings Cross. Nearby Corby - where we are also building new homes - has frequent services to St Pancras.

More and more people are moving out of London to find more spacious housing. In the year to June over 90,000 people took the plunge and moved out of the capital according to figures published recently by Savills.

Be one of the savvy movers and upsize to a new build home in one of our developments.


29 Sep 2017

It’s coffee time!

Today is the day that all of us here will be taking part in the World’s biggest coffee morning in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support.

Forget the Great British Bake Off! Staff at Larkfleet House, including Larkfleet Homes’ joint managing director Helen Hick, will be baking or bringing in a range of cakes and snacks that will be sold to colleagues in the building’s main meeting room to raise money.

We hope that all our visitors to Larkfleet House will join in the fun, buy a cake or two and enjoy a cup of coffee in aid of a great cause. And it's not too late for you to do the same - go on, forget the diet for a day and invite the neighbours around for a cuppa if you're at home or bring a box of cakes back to the office at lunchtime.

We are also inviting visitors to Larkfleet Homes and Allison Homes show homes to buy coffee and cakes throughout the day.

Other parts of the Larkfleet Group are also running events and competitions.

The World’s Biggest Coffee Morning is Macmillan’s biggest fundraising event for people facing cancer. Since 1990, Coffee Morning has raised over £165.5 million for Macmillan. People all over the UK host their own Coffee Mornings and donations on the day are made to Macmillan. Last year alone saw a total of £29.5 million raised in aid of the charity.

This year Macmillan is aiming to raise even more and the Larkfleet team is aiming to help. Please bring your cash along if you are visiting Larkfleet House or one of our show houses and help us to help Macmillan!


28 Sep 2017

Helping Bourne Rotary’s golf day go with a swing

We are delighted to be sponsoring the Rotary Club of Bourne’s charity golf day.

The event is taking place at Toft Golf Club, Bourne, tomorrow.

Proceeds will go towards a number of local good causes, including LIVES First Responders which provides a voluntary life-saving service in and around Bourne.

The golf day format is a four ball Betterball Stableford (full handicap) for gents, ladies or mixed pairs, with prizes for first, second and third places. There will also be prizes for nearest the pin and longest drive on selected holes.

There’s still time to enter. Email Barry Streets on bstreets@freeuk.com. Entry costs £30 per person which includes coffee on arrival, halfway house and a two course buffet after play.


27 Sep 2017

Celebrating the best in Fenland enterprise

We love a good awards celebration at Larkfleet. So, the Larkfleet Homes team was delighted to have sponsored an award and then be on hand at the recent Fenland Enterprise Business Awards 2017 gala night to help the evening go with a swing.

The glittering showcase event was held at the Braza Club in March and compered by BBC East journalist Jozef Hall.

Our own Helen Jones (centre in our picture) was on hand to present the Larkfleet-sponsored Commercial Business in the Community/Social Responsibility Award to Co-operative Travel at Central England Co-operative.

Natasha Thatcher, branch manager of Co-operative Travel, told the Cambridge Evening News: “Being part of the community is essential as a business. We are pleased that local people can recognise us as a face within our community.”

The judges said that the Co-operative showed a deep understanding of getting involved in the local community, something that is very important to us at Larkfleet.

Co-operative Travel won the award for projects that it has created to help deprived children in the community and for recycling and redistributing its magazines and stands to help local school projects and the environment.


25 Sep 2017

Well done to Kesteven Champion Tony

It’s not every day you get to meet a true community champion - with a certificate to prove it!

John Squire, a consultant with Larkfleet Homes’ sister company Allison Homes, recently had the pleasure of meeting Tony Farrow (on the left in our photo) who was named as Kesteven Champion in the Heart of Lincolnshire Community Awards.

Tony has spent the past 10 years dedicating himself to the Sleaford and District Voluntary Car Service. He set up the lifeline service with the help of his wife. Tony and his drivers have taken over 6,200 people to their hospital appointments in Lincolnshire, appointments that they would have missed without the service.

The Kesteven Champion award was sponsored by Allison Homes and John Squire was on hand to present it to Tony Farrow. John said it was a pleasure to meet Tony and to give him his award.

Keep up the good work Tony.


22 Sep 2017

Autumn boom time for new homebuyers

Autumn is usually boom time for house prices. Homebuyers have put the summer holidays behind them. Christmas is far enough off that most people are not (yet) worrying about paying for the festive season. Demand for new homes is at its highest and price activity normally gets a boost.

Well, that's what normally happens. But 2017, it seems, is not going to be normal.

This year, the usual Autumn price bounce has so far failed to materialise. In fact, there has been a fall of -1.2 per cent (-£3,660) in the price of property coming to market - the first since 2013.

Rightmove director and housing market analyst Miles Shipside said: “As we enter the Autumn selling season it is usual to see estate agents advising new-to-the-market sellers to push up their asking prices.

“But this year all four southern regions have seen new sellers on average asking less than those of a month ago, reducing the national rate of increase. There were Autumn price bounces nationally in 2014, 2015 and 2016, but the south of the country has turned this month into a bit of a damp squib, whilst some northern regions are still showing marginal signs of upwards price pressure.

“Estate agents are clearly advising many sellers that they have to lower their price expectations to fit in with buyers' stretched financial resources, with that price compromise hopefully generating extra buyer interest.”

Annual average wage growth is now outstripping the annual rate of price increase in newly-marketed property. Average wage rises are now running at nearly double the annual rate of property price rises, and the longer any meaningful differential is maintained then the greater the improvement in affordability. Having finally turned the tables to potentially improve their buying power, buyers will now be hoping that it is not eroded again by an interest rate rise or rampant consumer price inflation.

Affordability is still a major factor in the slowing pace of price rises but demand for the right housing at the right price remains strong. The numbers of sales being agreed by estate agents are 4.8 per cent higher than the same period a year ago.

The housing needs of growing families are harder to postpone than other more discretionary moves. This has resulted in average asking prices for typical second-stepper type homes increasing at over twice the overall national average rate.

With competition among lenders to lend, increasing wages and the lowest level of unemployment since 1975, buyers are still keen to buy if the property is worth the money and well-presented.
If more sellers appreciate that sensible pricing is the best way forward, then this will help to maintain good levels of buyer activity despite the uncertain political outlook.

There is a wide choice of well-priced homes in Larkfleet Homes developments in locations around the country. If you’re looking for a new home it’s time to take advantage of the upturn in affordability. Call Larkfleet Homes today. We’re here to help you make your next move up the property ladder.


21 Sep 2017

The prettiest town in Britain

We are lucky enough to live in a region that has some of the most attractive towns and villages in the UK. At its heart is Stamford, recently described by the Daily Telegraph as the prettiest town in Britain.

Is it any wonder that the town is a popular place to live?

Two recent Allison Homes developments at The Paddocks on Uffington Road and Anvil Mews, close to the town centre, were both snapped up!

So, what is it that makes Stamford so popular? It was recently voted one of the best places to live in the UK by The Sunday Times. It boasts many 17th and 18th century stone buildings, even older timber-framed buildings and five medieval parish churches. The town hosts an annual Georgian festival and international horse trials come to Burghley every September.

The town draws people from a wide area for the pleasure of shopping, often in traffic-free streets and lovely stores in old and quirky buildings. There is a wealth of independent shops, tea rooms and restaurants to enjoy. There is also a market every Friday.

Originally a walled town, Stamford still retains sections of the old wall and many original medieval buildings have been preserved. Its distinctive character was retained when the then Marquess of Exeter, whose family seat is nearby Elizabethan gem Burghley House, successfully opposed the coming of the mainline railway in the mid-19th century.

The rail hub was moved to Peterborough, 20 miles to the east, which grew rapidly, losing its market town identity in the process. Stamford escaped the rampant development of the past 50 years and it was named the UK’s first conservation area while Peterborough became a New Town for London’s urban overspill.

Stamford is a beautiful place to live and visit. Historic buildings abound, with the medieval St Leonard’s Priory and Burghley house just a short walk from the centre of town. A prosperous coaching town in the 18th and 19th centuries mid-way between London and York, Stamford gave rise to some fine hostelries including The George Hotel and the Bull and Swan Inn. It was said that at one time Stamford had more public houses and more churches per head of population than anywhere else in the country.

Both Larkfleet Homes and Allison Homes have developments within easy reach of Stamford, including Buttercross Park in Oakham, Bourne Heights in Bourne and Pinchbeck Fields, near Spalding.


19 Sep 2017

Stuck for storage?

Families attract clutter. We all gather lots of ‘stuff’ as we go through life. Moving to a new home is an ideal opportunity to have a look at new storage solutions. Your new home looks lovely but the clean lines and crisp colours could be spoiled by stacks of unsightly plastic trays and boxes.

If space is at a premium, there are many solutions to help you make the most of spaces in bedrooms and living rooms. To give you some inspiration we have listed some here.

Alcoves
Alcoves give you ideal space to fill in with seamless floor to ceiling shelving. You could include cupboards with sliding doors to help tidy your stuff away, out of sight. You could also use an alcove to build in a home office, an ideal space for the kids to do their homework. Fit some flush doors to hide the open shelves from view when the space is not in use.

Media storage
Modern living rooms can get cluttered with books and magazines, CDs and DVDs. And TVs can take up a lot of valuable space in the room. Make the TV the focal point of the room and build a series of units around it. Moveable stands with storage space are great or – if money is no object – why not develop a bespoke solution?

You could also fill whole walls with shelves, using your books, ornaments or family pictures as part of your overall design. You could also use more traditional free-standing solutions like bookcases, dressers or cabinets.
If your space is open plan, use storage solutions to divide up the space into different areas.

Kitchens
Use every inch of space in your kitchen to maximise your storage. Use pull-out cupboards with shelves and racking or sliding doors on cupboards to make the most of the available space.
Why not investigate multipurpose cubed storage solutions available from major modular furniture and DIY retailers?

Hallways and utility rooms
Halls and utility rooms often get cluttered up with boots, shoes and coats. Why not have a look at hooks, hangers and stands. Modular solutions will help to provide a space to tidy away all those boots and shoes.

Bedrooms
Stuck for storage space in the bedroom? Use the headboard as storage by building in drawers. In children’s rooms, use the space under the child’s bed to stow away toys and clothes. You can nestle pull-out boxes under bed spaces and use narrow shelving solutions to maximise space.

Outside
One of the things that will take up a lot of exterior space are your bins. There seems to be a bin for everything these days. Keep them together and out of sight with a bin store.

Whatever you chose to do with your storage space, enjoy your home!


18 Sep 2017

All the gear and no idea

There’s lots of advice about DIY home makeovers right now. Most of us are ready and willing to give our homes a makeover. But sometimes the ability to complete the job doesn’t match our enthusiasm, especially among younger DIYers.

According to research from Nationwide Building Society, more than two thirds of us are happy to take on non-building DIY jobs like painting and decorating. And it also seems that many of us are kitted out with plenty of gear, including drills, hammers and ladders, to take on most DIY scenarios.

We don’t always know how to use our tools though. DIYers can be prone to the occasional DIY disaster. Most of us have spilled paint on the floor or overspent on a project. One in seven us of has even drilled through a water pipe causing a flood.

There is a bit of a generation gap when it comes to our confidence in our own DIY skills. According to Nationwide’s research, it’s the younger generation who are apparently most confident that they can take on all manner of DIY jobs. One in five 18 to 24-year olds say that they are fully proficient in DIY. They believe that they can tackle any job, no matter how large or complex. The older and wiser among us are more pragmatic about our skills. Fewer than one in ten of those aged 55 or older say they are happy to tackle the more difficult DIY jobs.

When it comes to the actual DIY abilities of the younger generation the tables are turned. In the youngest age range, 18-24, only two thirds (63 per cent) say they can change a light bulb, under half (45 per cent) can change the time on household clocks, while only a third can change a fuse or bleed a radiator. In addition, a mere 17 per cent can locate and turn off a stop cock and only 15 per cent can rewire a plug. Even with the jobs they might be thought to favour, only half (49 per cent) can tune a TV and less than one in five (19 per cent) say they can install home entertainment equipment.

This compares with an older generation apparently much more used to doing it themselves, with the over 55s saying nine in ten (89 per cent) were ready to change a lightbulb, four in five able to change the clocks (77 per cent) and change a fuse (81 per cent), and more than two thirds ready to bleed radiators (71 per cent), find and turn off a stop cock (74 per cent) and rewire a plug (69 per cent). Nearly four in five (77 per cent) will tune a television and a third (30 per cent) can install a home entertainment system.

Many people aspire to make improvements but may not have all the skills they need to make a positive difference. In fact, they are more likely to end up botching the job or making mistakes that may lead to much higher extra costs and extra spending later to put it right. It’s significant that many would-be DIY enthusiasts end up regretting both the amount of money spent and the accidents that can prove costly along the way. However, people also feel it is important to regularly refresh the appearance of their homes or tackle larger jobs to reflect their changing needs.

Sometimes, moving to a new home that includes the features that homeowners to aspire to, such as a large open plan kitchen/diner, conservatory or en-suite bathroom will remove risk of disasters. Buying a new home from Larkfleet Homes gives buyers the opportunity to move into their dream home without the need to do anything to it. It’s still a good idea to brush up on those basic DIY skills though. You never know when you’ll need to change a light bulb or a fuse or re-tune the telly.