The latest figures show that surveyors are seeing fewer homebuyers month-on-month, with demand for properties continuing to fall. 

According to the January 2023 UK Residential Survey from the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (Rics), the net balance for new buyer enquiries dropped from -40 per cent in December 2022 to -47 per cent the following month. 

Rics chief economist Simon Rubinsohn told Estate Agent Today: “The overall tone of the feedback still remains subdued which is not altogether surprising given the jump in mortgage rates since the autumn.”

This is the ninth consecutive month of negative readings for new buyer enquiries, and is consistent across all parts of the UK. 

Additionally, a net balance of -14 per cent surveyors reported a decline in new instructions last month, revealing property owners are reticent to put their asset on the market at the moment due to the unstable market. 

The findings also revealed -39 per cent of surveyors had seen a drop in agreed sales in January, following from -41 per cent in December last year. This demonstrates a drop in residential sales volumes.  

Mr Rubinsohn added that prices are now starting to reflect demand and supply changes, with values falling as demand declines. 

According to the report, national house prices expectations net balance was -47 per cent in January, compared with -42 per cent in December 2022. However, the price indicator is positive for Scotland and Northern Ireland. 


For advice from property surveyors in London regarding the state of the housing market in the capital, it is worth getting in touch.

Leeds has seen some extensive development in recent years in and around the city centre, with major new residential and commercial developments in both the historic city centre and, increasingly, the ‘south bank’ across the River Aire.

Among the latest developments in the pipeline is Hub residential’s Platinum Blue project, which will see 488 apartments being established in towers of 26 and 31 storeys respectively on Whitehall Road on the western edge of the city centre. An £82 million contract has just been awarded to RG Group to construct the towers.

The arrival of buildings of this kind will invariably raise the issue of neighbourly matters. Liaising with those who already live in an area where a development is planned is important to try to gain support and understanding, not least as there may be concerns about traffic, noise from the construction and possible objections to the impact of large new buildings on light or air quality.

Such concerns can often be raised when major city centre developments are taking place on a large scale. Even across the Pennines in Manchester, where new skyscrapers seemingly appear every week, this can be a thorny subject at times. 

For instance, in 2016, in a moment of great irony, residents of the 554 ft Beetham Tower, then the tallest in the city, raised objections to an even taller building nearby.  At the time the Beetham Tower was only ten years old itself.

As it happened, the tower in question, the 659 ft Deansgate Square Tower A, did indeed rise up to become the loftiest in Manchester, with a growing cluster of other skyscrapers around it. 

It remains to be seen whether there will be further delicate issues in this area of the city centre as developer Renaker recently unveiled plans to go even higher with a 700 ft tall, 71 storey building. 

Leeds has yet to build anything that high, but it may be only a matter of time before there too, neighbourly matters become tricky in places and people living in shiny glass towers seek to throw stones at planned new developments.

It is rare for a major city development to turn so quickly from a prospect with so much promise to an inhospitable nightmare that requires dilapidations consultancy to resolve, but one of the most shocking examples happened over just seven years.

The Orchid Point development project began in 2011 when the company FreshStart Living purchased Empress Mill and Trafford Press, two historic buildings formerly part of Manchester’s paper industry and located in Old Trafford.

The idea was to buy the buildings, renovate and convert them into apartments, with the appeal of being a characterful set of buildings well within walking distance of the city centre and only a few minutes away from the Cornbrook tram stop.

However, right from the beginning, there were problems. Empress Mill initially did not have a power supply, instead being powered entirely by a generator. This would typically be a red flag but somehow the building was approved after a survey.

However, by October 2013, a second set of regulators deemed the building unsafe and evacuated residents, something that would become a trend.

FreshStart would go into liquidation at the same time, but its director, DS7 Limited, would fund another company, Absolute Living Developments to pick up the building and make enough renovations to make it habitable.

They did, just about, and aside from a strong wind knocking over the building’s lone temporary scaffold staircase, residents were granted around three years of respite before problems started again.

Absolute Living Developments went into liquidation and the building was taken over by a right-to-manage (RTM) consortium of buyers based in Hong Kong known as the Mill Owners RTM Company, who had initially invested in the development based on the prospect of high yields.

However, the final straw came as a result of new legislation that came into effect after the tragic Grenfell Tower fire, which led to the building being condemned as a fire risk and residents being evacuated for the final time in August 2018.

Its title status is complicated by several long leasehold interests, and several sales have fallen through. As of 2023, it remains dormant, occupied by squatters.

Developers who intend of using green belt land for their latest property project have been warned they could face a lot of resistance from those who want to protect the countryside. 

Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) has noted there is currently planning permission for more than 400,000 homes on greenfield sites, The Express reported.

This is despite locals often protesting plans, and applications getting rejected at the council, as they are often then given permission on appeal.

CPRE’s Paul Miner instead has urged developers to consider planning on the many available brownfield sites instead.

“There is room for 1.2 million new homes on previously developed brownfield land,” he stated. 

“Much of it is in town and city centres crying out for regeneration and where there is an acute need for new homes,” Mr Miner went on to say. 

Despite there being 27,000 hectares of previously developed land that could be built upon, only 45 per cent of housing units have had their planning applications accepted. 

Locals in rural areas are likely to want to protect their surrounding land as development of farmland has increased by a factor of 1,000 in the last decade, significantly reducing the amount of countryside available.

To avoid getting into disputes regarding land acquisitions, developers could find it easier to look at brownfield sites first. 

This comes as the government revealed plans to spend £60 million to regenerate abandoned sites across England in a bid to boost jobs and increase available housing. 


If you want to talk to a professional about your land acquisition strategy to avoid causing conflict with locals, give us a call today and we can see how we can help.

Property owners should try to find a resolution to boundary disputes with their neighbours as quickly and co-operatively as possible, as unresolved disagreements could impact the value of the home. 

When trying to alter part of the property that is in common with next door, this can sometimes lead to disputes if the neighbour does not want the work to go ahead. 

However, solicitor John Gorner told Manchester Evening News that efforts should be made by both parties to compromise, as lingering problems can make it hard to sell a property.

“Even if they find somebody who is willing to buy the property; the purchase and mortgage lenders won't lend money on a property where there's an unresolved raging boundary dispute of some sort,” he stated.

Mr Gorner suggested disputes that are worth pursuing include boundary lines, if there is a big disparity over what each neighbour thinks belongs to them. 

He noted that taking the issue to court could cost up to £40,000, and the value of the land in question could be next to nothing, so it is important to weigh up whether it is worth going ahead with the case. 

Therefore, it is best to resolve the argument before taking it to court. 

To avoid any issues with neighbours, it is important to adhere to the Party Wall Act 1996, which obligates property owners to notify their neighbours of any work on shared structures, including removing, inserting, demolishing, rebuilding, or raising. Two months’ notice is required for this type of project.

Looking to do some work on your home this year? Call us for party wall act guidance and we can give you important information you need to know before going ahead with the work. 

The top ten happiest places to live in the UK have been revealed, with St Ives taking the top spot. 

Rightmove reported that the Cornish town offers the most in terms of community spirit, access to nature, opportunities to enjoy artistic and cultural activities, and sense of belonging. 

Tim Bannister, property expert at Rightmove, said: “Our Happy at Home survey really shows that the things that make people happy to live in their area are not so much the physical aspects of that area but more the personal aspects, such as our sense of belonging, the community and the people.”

St Ives in the south-west of England received excellent scores for community spirit, making residents feel comfortable to be themselves, and feeling like they belong. These characteristics have made it, along with Hexham, in the north-east, the most popular places to live since 2019. 

According to local estate agent Paul Le Bas, its cafes, restaurants, coastal walks, active community, vibrant atmosphere, and seasonal events are just some of the reasons why it is hugely popular. 

Subsequently, properties here command a typical asking price of £523,731, which is significantly higher than the national average. 

Land Registry recently revealed this to be £294,559, which means buyers in St Ives are spending an extra £230,000 to live in the beautiful area.

Also included in the top ten were Galashiels, Perth and Sterling in Scotland, Woodbridge and Bury St Edmunds in the east of England, Hexham in Northumberland, Harrogate in Yorkshire and the Humber, Anglesey in Wales, and Cirencester in the south-west. 

If you are interested in buying in one of these locations, contact us for more information on land acquisition strategy today. 

Arranging a major renovation in your property is always challenging, but even more so if you are planning on building work on a part of the home that is shared with a neighbour. 

When there is a property boundary in common with someone else, this is known as a ‘party wall’. For instance, this includes walls between terraced or semi-detached houses or walls between two gardens. 

The Federation of Master Builders (FMB) stipulates that any work planned for a party wall requires a party wall agreement. 

“You must tell your neighbours, provide them with a Party Wall Notice and come up with a Party Wall Agreement in writing,” it stated. 

Director of content at Homebuilding Michael Holmes added these are important to ensure “your neighbour doesn't suffer loss or damage to their property due to your project, and lets them limit disturbance by influencing working hours and access”.

Examples of when these formal agreements are necessary include work to garden walls, loft conversions that require cutting into a party wall, fitting damp proof course into a shared boundary, making walls thicker or higher, constructing a second-floor extension on top of a party wall, excavation works within six metres of the party wall, and building a new wall up to the shared area. 

While this sounds all-inclusive, not every job that involves party walls requires an agreement. 

If you wanted to carry out minor jobs, such as fitting units, attaching furniture or hanging pictures, you do not need permission from the neighbour. Similarly, agreements are not required when plastering the wall, adding or replacing electrical wiring or sockets. 

Homeowners who want more information about Party Wall Agreements can call us today for helpful party wall act advice.

The top ten happiest places to live in the UK have been revealed, with St Ives taking the top spot. 

Rightmove reported that the Cornish town offers the most in terms of community spirit, access to nature, opportunities to enjoy artistic and cultural activities, and sense of belonging. 

Tim Bannister, property expert at Rightmove, said: “Our Happy at Home survey really shows that the things that make people happy to live in their area are not so much the physical aspects of that area but more the personal aspects, such as our sense of belonging, the community and the people.”

St Ives in the south-west of England received excellent scores for community spirit, making residents feel comfortable to be themselves, and feeling like they belong. These characteristics have made it, along with Hexham, in the north-east, the most popular places to live since 2019. 

According to local estate agent Paul Le Bas, its cafes, restaurants, coastal walks, active community, vibrant atmosphere, and seasonal events are just some of the reasons why it is hugely popular. 

Subsequently, properties here command a typical asking price of £523,731, which is significantly higher than the national average. 

Land Registry recently revealed this to be £294,559, which means buyers in St Ives are spending an extra £230,000 to live in the beautiful area.

Also included in the top ten were Galashiels, Perth and Sterling in Scotland, Woodbridge and Bury St Edmunds in the east of England, Hexham in Northumberland, Harrogate in Yorkshire and the Humber, Anglesey in Wales, and Cirencester in the south-west. 
If you are interested in buying in one of these locations, contact us for more information on land acquisition strategy today.

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