Period romance: why do the British love old properties?

Illustration of a row of period houses
© James Oses

After a prolonged December freeze, with fuel bills and the cost of living rising, it is striking that Britain’s most enduringly desirable properties are often the most badly insulated, the most draughty and the most expensive to maintain. The nation has enjoyed a long love affair with period homes. Is it time that heady romance was brought down to earth?

Britain has the oldest housing stock in Europe, with latest Office for National Statistics figures for England and Wales showing more than one in five homes was built before 1919 — more than one in three was built before the start of the second world war.

We not only have an exceptionally geriatric housing stock, we are also unusually fond of older houses. According to the architectural historian Owen Hatherley, the most numerous of these — Georgian and Victorian houses — are “massively fetishised”.

No other country is as nostalgic. The rest of Europe is generally keener than we are on well-constructed newer builds. In much of east Asia, there has never been a tradition of revering old buildings, with traditional homes in Japan, for example, expected to last only 30 years before being razed and rebuilt, due in part to the high risk of earthquakes. It is the same as public buildings. The Ise Jingu grand shrine, which has been on the same site for as long as two millennia, is torn down and reconstructed every 20 years.

In the UK, although it has never been properly quantified, estate agents describe a “period premium”: meaning buyers get less space for their money. Unlike the new-build premium, which, like the extra you pay for a new car, vanishes once you take ownership, the premium period appears to be durable.

The most recent comparative survey by the Halifax bank found that in the 25 years up to 2011, houses built before 1919 increased in value by an average of 461 per cent, compared with 357 per cent for the market as a whole.

I discovered how big the premium period could be when we tried to move to a small house in north Bristol last year. Every option stretched our budget until we found a 1960s house in a prime area that was selling for around 20 per cent less than comparably sized Victorian and Edwardian homes. Taking it looked like a no-brainer, but we still had to overcome the lure of the old.

Why do period homes cast such a spell? The answer most people will give is “character”. Modern homes are said to be bland, boring and uniform while old ones are full of quirks, strangeness and charm. However, as many a charming cad has shown, superficially attractive characters are often rotten to the core.

Most obviously, the ONS reported earlier this year that the age of a property is the biggest single factor in predicting its energy efficiency. It concluded that the median energy-efficiency score for all homes built since 2012 in England and Wales

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Gardening expert shares what peace lilies ‘need’ – without it the plant ‘won’t flower’

Peace lilies fail to bloom again because of improper care. Owners need to provide these houseplants with adequate light, moist soil, and the correct temperature and humidity to bloom again. Blooming can also depend on the variety of plants, as some peace lilies only bloom once a year during their blooming season.

Ben Hilton, founder and editor of The Yard and Garden has shared several mistakes peace lily owners should avoid, so that they can encourage their houseplants to bloom.

1. Overwatering

Improved watering has adverse effects on the overall health of the peace lily. Overwatering is a common mistake that keeps the soil damp most of the time. This leads to root rot as the roots suffice by staying in the damp soil all the time.

The roots fail to function and provide water and nutrients to the plant, creating an extremely harmful environment. Therefore, an overwatered unhealthy peace lily fails to grow or bloom.

The expert said: “Peace lilies are sensitive to overwatering, as they prefer moist soil, not soaking wet, and certainly not sitting in water. It’s only essential to water when the soil is drying out.

READ MORE: Weeds growing through gravel die ‘instantly’ with ‘effective’ 55p tip

“Use the finger test, push your finger one inch into the soil, and feel for moisture. If it’s dry, water the plant thoroughly and allow the water to drain into the sink.”

2. Lack of drainage

Soil could also be the reason why the peace lily doesn’t flower. If the soil has a poor drainage system, it can cause overwatering.

Soil with a high clay content will cause overwatering as the clay will hold more water for an extended period, whereas sandy soil will drain water very quickly, making the soil dry too quickly.

Ben explained: “Insufficient drainage can cause the soil to become waterlogged, leading to root rot or other forms of bacteria or fungal infection.”

He noted that if a peace lily “has to battle with any form of disease”, it has “no chance of producing blooms”.

Adding compost to the potting soil can help make a sound drainage system. It will help in both retaining moisture and draining water.

3. Insufficient light

Peace lilies are “in need” of bright, indirect, filtered light in order for them to bloom. The expert said: “They are often placed in full direct sun or dark corners, where they simply won’t perform.

“Aim to locate them in a bright room or near a North or East facing window.” These directions will give the plant the right amount of sunlight.

READ MORE: Plants to ‘keep far away from’ tomato plants to prevent ‘damage’

For those who keep them near a south or east facing window, use curtains whenever the sun rays become intense.

Pull down the curtains to create a filter for direct sunlight. This will give the plant perfect indirect sunlight.

4. Low humidity

Peace lilies are native to tropical regions and therefore enjoy humidity. If the air is too

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The Bombshell Real Estate Lawsuit Has Just Exploded | Inman

In these times, double down — on your skills, on your knowledge, on you. Join us Aug. 8-10 at Inman Connect Las Vegas to lean into the shift and learn from the best. Get your ticket now for the best price.

Judge Andrea R. Wood’s certification of class in the Moerhl “bombshell lawsuit” potentially opens the door for millions of homeowners to be reimbursed for the commissions they paid to buyer agents between 2015 and 2020. Faced with a prospect of a judgment that could be billions of dollars, what will the defendants (NAR, Anywhere, Berkshire Hathaway Home Services, Keller Williams and RE/MAX ) do next — settle, go to trial and/or file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy?

In three previous columns (March 16 and March 19, 2019, and May 4, 2022) I outlined the numerous issues with both the Sitzer Burnett and the Moerhl complaints.

The Moerhl complaint states:

The Buyer Broker Commission Rule ensures that price competition among buyer brokers is restricted because the person retaining the buyer broker, the buyer, does not negotiate or pay his or her broker’s commission. In addition, the seller’s inflated commission offer cannot be reduced by buyers or their brokers, as Defendants also prohibit buyer brokers from making home purchase offers contingent on the reduction of the buyer broker commission.

The Moerhl complaint is based primarily upon the NAR’s Handbook on Multiple Listing Policy and NAR’s Code of Ethics without regard to the extensive amount of local, state and federal legislation and regulations that govern price fixing and commissions. Also, the term “The Buyer Broker Commission Rule” was made up by the plaintiff’s attorneys and does not appear in either of those documents.

The plaintiffs’ attorneys ignore the various types of direct buyer representation

This includes Exclusive Buyer Agreements, fee-for-service models, one-party listing agreements for a single buyer, and various types of rebate models. Furthermore, builders and For-Sale-by-Owners typically pay the buyer’s agents directly as well. In fact, the Census Bureau currently projects there will be 643,000 new home sales in 2023; that’s 13.5 percent of NAR’s predicted sales of 4.78 million for 2023.

Challenges with the expert witness testimony and theories in the certification

The plaintiffs’ motion for class certification relies on the opinions of two experts, NYU economics professor Nicholas Economides and Harvard law professor Einer Elhauge.

  • Elhauge compares the real estate industry to air travel and trading stocks. The comparison fails to address that purchasing an airline ticket or stock can be done with a few simple clicks. Closing a real estate transaction involves hundreds of pages of documents including contracts, titles, loan documents, mandatory disclosures, agencies, etc. It also involves the coordination of the agents, the buyers and sellers, titles, mortgage professionals, appraisers, as well as the company or attorney responsible for closing the transaction and making sure the conveyance is properly recorded.
  • Elhauge also states (and the judge agreed) with his application of “the undisputed economic principle that decreased demand results in lower prices.”
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Moana Nursery provides gardening preparation tips as warm weather nears | News

As soon as warmer spring weather comes around, local gardeners swarm to plant nurseries around town to start their gardening endeavors.

The Plant Doctor at the Moana Nursery, Jon Bruyn, says Nevada is not an easy state to garden in because the weather patterns change every year.

But a lot of the plants they have in the nursery are chosen for the area we live in.

But as a plant doctor he says he loves the longer winter we’ve had because he doesn’t have to worry about water for his plants as much. He says, “The fact that it hasn’t warmed up hasn’t given the plants any false sense of spring or early budding and that causes greater damage.” The plant doctor says it’s nicer for plants when the weather gradually gets warmer as opposed to having an instantaneous heat wave, he mentions “That’s stressful for plants because usually that’s followed by snow or freezing temperatures later that month.”

With the cooler temperatures, there are some plants you can plant now, but there are others you should be more cautious about planting.

Some of the plants you can plant safely now are pansies, primroses and snapdragons. Some that you should hold off on planting are tomatoes, zucchinis and petunias.

The plant doctor says if you’re able to tend to your garden closely, you can plant the riskier plants in the colder months. He tells us “I planted geraniums yesterday, but I prepared to make adjustments for the forecast, and I pay attention to the weather.” But if you don’t have such a green thumb, it’s better to hold off and wait until the weather warms up for the summer season.

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King Charles’ impressive talent he inherited from Prince Philip

King Charles’ impressive talent that he inherited from his father, the Duke of Edinburgh, is set to be exhibited in a new and exciting royal show.


A post from Sandringham House’s social media has revealed that watercolor paintings made by King Charles are set to go on display at the Norfolk royal residence. “This year a collection of watercolors painted by His Majesty The King will go on display from April – October inside Sandringham House in the Ballroom,” read the caption.

It is thought that there will be more than 40 watercolor paintings by the King, many of which depict stunning landscapes across Britain, and depictions of royal residences. The image to highlight the new exhibition was a watercolor landscape of
Sandringham House, which was painted by The King ( who was the Prince of Wales at the time) in 1991.

This is a talent that the Prince actually inherited from his father, the Duke of Edinburgh. In his lifetime, Prince Philip was known to be an avid painter who also enjoyed painting with watercolors like his son.

According to the Royal Collection Trust, which has some of Prince Philip’s paintings in its collection, “Prince Philip [was] interested in art and design, both as a patron and collector, and as an artist himself. He painted mostly landscapes in oils.”

The late Prince’s art has also been displayed in a royal household before. the exhibitions; Prince Philip: Celebrating Ninety Years, ran from 2011 to 2012, and among other things, the exhibition featured some of the Duke’s paintings and sketches.

Prince Philip

(Image credit: Getty Images)

This upcoming exhibition showcasing King Charles’ art will highlight the skills he inherited from his father and will allow royal fans to get a closer look at the King’s impressive hobby that he nurtured throughout his life.

This isn’t the first time that the King’s paintings have been available to the public either. In 1977, Charles’ paintings were first exhibited in Windsor Castle alongside his father’s artwork and paintings created by Queen Victoria, a distant relative who was also an avid painter and used the medium of watercolors.

Prince Charles

(Image credit: Getty Images)

The Guardians (opens in new tab) has previously reported that the Prince refers to himself as an ‘enthusiastic amateur,’ but they also reported that, ‘A report in 2016 showed he had sold copies of his watercolor paintings worth £2 million since 1997’ – which isn’t very amateurish !

His Majesty The King previously wrote in 1991 for the book, HRH The Prince of Wales Watercolors, “I took up painting entirely because I found photography less than satisfying. Quite simply, I experienced an overwhelming urge to express what I saw through the medium of watercolor and to convey that almost ‘inner’ sense of texture which is impossible to achieve via photography…”

the exhibition (opens in new tab) showcasing the King’s watercolors will be on display in the Ballroom at Sandringham House from 1 April – 12 October. The exhibition is included with a House &

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