And that was that! The summer of 2015. A vintage one? Well, if the weather is your measure then it was a record breaker… for all the wrong reasons, with August being the wettest August for 100 years in certain parts of the country. If the success of England’s cricket team is your key indicator, then the unexpected Ashes victory suggests it was a good one. But unfortunately many of us will still wake up tomorrow morning with the 'end of summer blues'. No more leaving work early on a Friday for a cheeky 9 holes. No more barbecues to look forward to. Days are getting cooler and shorter. Buses and trains, so sparsely populated over the past month or so, are crowded again. It all sounds rather depressing doesn’t it? The Weekly would never be bold enough to suggest that the return of Strictly Come Dancing, X Factor or Downton Abbey to our TVs will be sufficient to ease the pain, nor the fact that there is only 109 days until Christmas. How about the fact that the kids have finally gone back to school? That the Rugby World Cup starts in less than 2 weeks? Or that the UK economy continues to grow, despite some warning signs from the service sector this week? If none of these help then surely the fact the UK property market is all set for its busiest time of the year will help soften the blow when that alarm clock sounds?
Getting to grips with estate agents’ jargon can be like learning a new language but unfortunately many of us will be all too aware of the meaning of the word ‘Gazumping’. The positive news this week though is that the number of UK buyers being gazumped has dropped over the last 10 months, falling by 40% according to eMoov. Last year 22% of all homeowners were gazumped during their property acquisition. This has now reduced to 13%. Gazumping is down in London by 46%, perhaps suggesting that prices and demand there is levelling out. Sheffield, on the other hand, is now the new gazumping capital of the UK. Some 29% of buyers were gazumped, an increase of 25%, over the last 10 months. Sheffield has always been keen to improve its tag as just a "City of Steel". Well it can now sell itself as the most cut-throat place to buy a home!
According to Alan Titchmarch, September is the ideal month for sowing lawn seed and for laying turf. The problem is that less and less of us are that bothered. A freshly mown stripey lawn was once a source of pride for homeowners. But a survey carried out by Alfresia has found that more than one in four homes no longer have a real grass lawn and that one in ten homes have AstroTurf or some other form of artificial lawn installed instead. The Royal Horticultural Society has also found one in three front gardens, a total of more than five million, now has no plants, while another three million have been completely paved over since 2005. They are worried about biodiversity loss, flooding risk, rising urban temperatures and impact on well-being. The Weekly suspects Alfresia, the e-tailer who stocks a “great range of quality and exceptional value garden furniture, cushions, barbecues and outdoor heaters”, had a rather different motive for commissioning this survey. A profit boost perhaps?
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