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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Airdrie House & Home: Airdrie’s quarterly housing market review

There’s been a drop in total sales in all markets in Airdrie during this first quarter of 2023.

There’s been a drop in total sales in all markets in Airdrie during this first quarter of 2023.

“While higher lending rates are impacting sales activity, there is a stronger pullback in new listings, keeping supply levels low and supporting some stronger than expected monthly price gains in the Calgary area,” said CREB Chief Economist Ann-Marie Lurie. “However in Airdrie the benchmark price of $487,200 is below the peak price of $510,700 in April 2022.”

Overall, the Airdrie market is still healthy for those selling.

The start of this year has total inventory levels up 18 per cent to 158, sales down 58 per cent to 184 total units, months of supply is 1.71 months – still a strong seller’s market for all of Airdrie’s residential market and average price is down 9.8 per cent. A seller’s market is defined when inventory is less than two months.

Single-family detached homes 2023 YTD are down 69 per cent with 86 sales, compared to last year of 276 sales. This puts the detached homes for 2023 in a balanced market with 2.4 months of inventory. The average price is $577,530, down 2.3 per cent from last year ($591,070). Days-on-Market (DOM) increased to 33 days, from 12 days in 2022.

Semi-detached (attached style) home sales prices YTD are down 43 per cent with 21 sales (37 in 2022). Attached homes are also in a balanced market with 2.15 months of inventory. The average price of attached homes sits at $434,948 up 4.9 per cent from last year YTD.

Townhouse sales have had a decrease of 45 per cent, with 50 sales YTD, compared to last year’s 91 sales. Townhouses are still in a seller’s market with .93 months of supply. The average townhouse price YTD is $349,058, up 5.4{b5e4caabb46945dac267f6fa1789e0b2b1831cce91f79b27f72a0de22e4bb018} from last year $330,914.

Apartment condominium sales are down 10 per cent YTD for 2023 with 27 sales, compared to 2022 at 30 sales. This market is doing well in Airdrie, leaving the apartment market in a seller’s market with .75 months of inventory (remembering 2016, with over 14 months of inventory). The average YTD sale price is $208,678, which is up 14.3 per cent from last year ($187,873).

New home builds for 2022-year-end in Airdrie decreased significantly to 621, down from 2021 of 1118 units, 2020’s 486 new builds, 768 new builds in 2019 and 701 in 2018. New communities to join Airdrie are Cobblestone Creek, Wildflower, Dry Creek Bay, Southwinds, and Bayview.

There were eight homes sold over $1 million last year on MLS in Bayside and Coopers, and currently two in Coopers for sale in that price range.

Gary Lock is a local REALTOR® with CIR Realty and has lived in Airdrie for the past 38 years.

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Bloom Fest and Gardening Tips | News

BILLIGNS, Mont. – As the Roots Garden Center prepares for their third annual Bloom Fest this Saturday, the team there is busy setting out new shipments of plants, bulbs, garden tools, and just about anything else that relates to what you would need to get your landscape in tip -top condition.

They’re also busy answering questions from customers about what this recent weather swing in south-central Montana is going to do to their existing plants.

“‘Can I plant? What can I plant? How do I protect the things that I’ve already planted?’ Those are the three main questions that we’re getting,” explained co-owner, Jon Switzer. “As it gets down to below 30, potentially in the next couple of days, it’s not the end of the world for most plants. What can happen is that plants can get a little crispy from that because they’ll get some frosting on them .There’s frost blankets for that so we have that as an option.You can also pull stuff inside at night.The ground itself, too, is probably hovering around a constant 45 degrees right now and so plants are safe in the ground.”

A lot of gardening and landscaping is trial and error. And that’s ok. But Jon is emphatic about one specific spring faux pas.

“Don’t turn on your sprinklers yet,” Jon proclaimed loudly. “That’s one thing to know. The ground has enough saturation, we have enough water for a little while and we’ve still got some freezing temps. So particularly if you have some exposed pipes that come right out of the house, that’s the part that’s at risk. Those things can create a lot of damage. A lot of people are like oh my gosh the sun is out, we just had an 80 degree day, we need to turn on the sprinklers…it’s ok. Stuff has enough water in the ground to be pulled from it.”

If you’d like to ask Jon and his team more questions, or check out the 2023 edition of Bloom Fest at Roots Garden Center in Billings, you can head over this Saturday, April 15, from 9 am to 5 pm They will have more than 30 small business owners and hands, 4 food trucks, and thousands of blooms to choose from.

Biden announces 2024 election bid: 'Let's finish this job'

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14 Types of Home-Based Businesses to Consider Starting

Home-based businesses put you in control of hours worked and revenue earned. Both full-time and side hustle businesses can be a good way to earn income from your skills and expertise.

After 15 years of juggling a full-time job and a side hustle, I was burned out. It was time to launch my home-based writing and marketing business. It’s the best decision I’ve ever made!

Running my own business from home eliminated a daily commute. Since I hate driving, that’s a major benefit. The freedom to choose clients, set my own hours, and share my office with the dog are sweet perks, too.

The best part about home-based businesses is the opportunity to align your talents, skills and business goals. Whatever your motivation, there are plenty of home-based business ideas to consider.

Launching a business from home has never been easier, thanks to the internet. About half of all US small businesses are considered home-based, and experts predict that, by 2027, more than half the US workforce will be, or will have been at one time, working independently.

But there’s no need to wait. If you’ve ever wondered how to work for yourself, this list of home-based business ideas can get you started this year.

1. Pet care providers and suppliers

Many pet owners treat their animals like family members. They spend generously on products and services to pamper their four-legged friends. Walking, grooming, and pet-sitting services are the most common home-based pet businesses.

There are also more off-the-leash ideas, such as Mugzy’s Barkery, which makes organic pet treats; SleekEZ, which produces grooming tools; and Akita Handmade, which specializes in dog collars, leashes, and bandanas.

An ad for a pet supply and services business.

Selling pet supplies and services is one option for a home-based business. Image source: Author

2. Virtual assistants

Help business leaders and other professionals by doing administrative tasks for them from your home. Virtual assistants take on recurring duties, such as scheduling, business development, social media, and marketing. This can help free up entrepreneurs, managers, and small business owners to focus on larger projects.

Minimal equipment is needed to start, typically just a device for answering emails and completing tasks, along with access to the internet and a phone.

3. Writer

Got a knock for writing compelling stories or catchy phrases? Writers can run a successful home-based business with very little investment. Capitalize on previous professional experience or a hobby to land work.

Working as a writer is flexible enough to fit almost anybody’s style. Here are a few examples.

  • Author
  • Bloggers
  • Copywriter
  • journalist

4. Online store owner

Entrepreneurs often wonder how to start an online business. With the rise of technology and the internet, it has never been easier to launch an online store. E-commerce platforms, such as Etsy, Shopify, Amazon, and others, offer templates for launching an online business in very short orders.

These are three simple ways to start an online store.

  • Buy products in bulk and resell them.
  • Introduce products found during travel or on other outings that are unique to
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10 interior design trends that will shape our spaces in 2023 |

With a focus on enduring materials, sustainability and design pieces with permanence, the latest interior design trends for 2023 are anything but fashionable fads.

Of course, the very nature of trends is that they are ever-changing and developing, but the overall feeling for interior design in 2023 is curating an adaptable, comfortable, and inspiring space that can both stand the test of time as well as be at one with your identity and style.

Our edit of the 2023 interior design trends focuses on both the fresh ideas brought forward by designers as well as the long-lasting styles and influences that consistently remain at the heart of interior design. 

We cover everything from color to shape, material to styling in our round-up of the top ten biggest interior design trends for 2023 and beyond…

1. The influence of the natural world

Bathroom with dark wood doors and paneling, botanical wallpaper, dried flowers in a vase on windowsill

(Image credit: Jamie Haller)

It’s fair to say, that one of the biggest inspirations for many when it comes to interior design is the beauty of the natural world. From color palettes rooted in nature to the warmth of wood and the durability of natural stone, establishing an indoor-outdoor feel in the home can be both calming and relaxed and uplifting and energizing simultaneously. 

Chris Pask, director at Charlton Brown (opens in new tab) says, ‘our attachment to the great outdoors has increased in the post-pandemic era and we are seeing this translate into the world of interior design. Clients are increasingly looking for a greater connection to the outdoors, whether that is a literal connection via roof terraces, balconies and beautifully landscaped gardens, or more subtle nods to greenery and nature throughout the home. This can take the form of colors, materials and shapes that mimic those found in nature and are known to invoke a sense of calm.’

Beautifully shown in this small bathroom by Jamie Haller (opens in new tab), the House of Hackney (opens in new tab) Zeus wallpaper perfectly complements the original dark wood features and creates an immersive, indoor-outdoor look that feels classic and modern all at once.

2. Layered lighting

Small modern living room with modern chandelier, cream sofa with decorative colorful cushions, two matching table lamps, square artwork behind sofa, coffee table with plant

(Image credit: Albion Nord)

Piero de Marchis, director at Detail Lighting (opens in new tab) says, ‘homeowners are paying far more attention to the way spaces in the home make us feel, as well as their function. Our homes are having to work harder for us than ever before, with an increase in spaces having multiple functions. From open-plan living areas to kitchen-dining zones, the trend for installing multifunctional lighting that can be adapted to suit the room as it’s being used is set to continue to rise.’

Gone are the days of simply turning on the ‘big light’, 2023 lighting trends prioritize using a combination of various light sources in a space. From welcoming pools of light created through cozy table lamps and floor lamps to practical task lighting in a kitchen or study, the right use of layered lighting can

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