Five questions answered on the spreading housing market boom

Barratt comments.

Barratt Developments, a house building company, has said the recovery in the housing market is spreading outside of London. We answer five questions on Barratt’s comments.

What exactly has Barratt’s said?

In a release announcing the company’s final results for the year ended 30 June 2013, chief executive Mark Clare said:

"We are seeing the housing market recovery starting to spread beyond London and the South East.”

What is the company attributing this to?

An improvement in the mortgage market. Barratt's chairman Bob Lawson said:

"Significant progress has been made on the availability of finance for customers and the mortgage providers' capacity to lend has slowly improved.”

"This has been accelerated by a series of Government mortgage initiatives - FirstBuy, NewBuy and Help to Buy,” he added.

Has the recovering market resulted in them seeing a rise in profit?

Yes, the group reported pre-tax profits for the year to the end of June of £104.8m, up from £100m the previous year.

Its average selling price rose to £194,800 up 7.9 per cent from the previous year's figure of £180,500.

The group has also cut its debt to £25.9m from £167.7m at the end of June 2012.

Does this mean it has plans to build many more houses in the country?

The group said they plan to complete about 45,000 new homes over the next three years.

Has any one else echoed these reports of a spreading housing recovery?

Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (Rics) said earlier in the week that there was a pick-up in the market in areas beyond London and the South East of England.

According to the institution the number of homes for sale across the UK increased in August but still did not match demand.

However, The Council of Mortgage Lenders said the pace of housing activity in the country was only "moderate," according to the BBC.

"The UK property market is actually a complex and dynamic patchwork of regional and local conditions in different locations across the UK," the lenders' group told its website.

Photograph: Getty Images

Heidi Vella is a features writer for Nridigital.com

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The footie is back. Three weeks in and what have we learned so far?

Barcleys, boots and big names... the Prem is back.

Another season, another reason for making whoopee cushions and giving them to Spurs fans to cheer them up during the long winter afternoons ahead. What have we learned so far?

Big names are vital. Just ask the manager of the Man United shop. The arrival of Schneiderlin and Schweinsteiger has done wonders for the sale of repro tops and they’ve run out of letters. Benedict Cumberbatch, please join Carlisle United. They’re desperate for some extra income.

Beards are still in. The whole Prem is bristling with them, the skinniest, weediest player convinced he’s Andrea Pirlo. Even my young friend and neighbour Ed Miliband has grown a beard, according to his holiday snaps. Sign him.

Boots Not always had my best specs on, but here and abroad I detect a new form of bootee creeping in – slightly higher on the ankle, not heavy-plated as in the old days but very light, probably made from the bums of newborn babies.

Barclays Still driving me mad. Now it’s screaming from the perimeter boards that it’s “Championing the true Spirit of the Game”. What the hell does that mean? Thank God this is its last season as proud sponsor of the Prem.

Pitches Some groundsmen have clearly been on the weeds. How else can you explain the Stoke pitch suddenly having concentric circles, while Southampton and Portsmouth have acquired tartan stripes? Go easy on the mowers, chaps. Footballers find it hard enough to pass in straight lines.

Strips Have you seen the Everton third kit top? Like a cheap market-stall T-shirt, but the colour, my dears, the colour is gorgeous – it’s Thames green. Yes, the very same we painted our front door back in the Seventies. The whole street copied, then le toot middle classes everywhere.

Scott Spedding Which international team do you think he plays for? I switched on the telly to find it was rugby, heard his name and thought, goodo, must be Scotland, come on, Scotland. Turned out to be the England-France game. Hmm, must be a member of that famous Cumbrian family, the Speddings from Mirehouse, where Tennyson imagined King Arthur’s Excalibur coming out the lake. Blow me, Scott Spedding turns out to be a Frenchman. Though he only acquired French citizenship last year, having been born and bred in South Africa. What’s in a name, eh?

Footballers are just so last season. Wayne Rooney and Harry Kane can’t score. The really good ones won’t come here – all we get is the crocks, the elderly, the bench-warmers, yet still we look to them to be our saviour. Oh my God, let’s hope we sign Falcao, he’s a genius, will make all the difference, so prayed all the Man United fans. Hold on: Chelsea fans. I’ve forgotten now where he went. They seek him here, they seek him there, is he alive or on the stairs, who feckin’ cares?

John Stones of Everton – brilliant season so far, now he is a genius, the solution to all of Chelsea’s problems, the heir to John Terry, captain of England for decades. Once he gets out of short trousers and learns to tie his own laces . . .

Managers are the real interest. So refreshing to have three young British managers in the Prem – Alex Neil at Norwich (34), Eddie Howe at Bournemouth (37) and that old hand at Swansea, Garry Monk, (36). Young Master Howe looks like a ball boy. Or a tea boy.

Mourinho is, of course, the main attraction. He has given us the best start to any of his seasons on this planet. Can you ever take your eyes off him? That handsome hooded look, that sarcastic sneer, the imperious hand in the air – and in his hair – all those languages, he’s so clearly brilliant, and yet, like many clever people, often lacking in common sense. How could he come down so heavily on Eva Carneiro, his Chelsea doctor? Just because you’re losing? Yes, José has been the best fun so far – plus Chelsea’s poor start. God, please don’t let him fall out with Abramovich. José, we need you.

Hunter Davies is a journalist, broadcaster and profilic author perhaps best known for writing about the Beatles. He is an ardent Tottenham fan and writes a regular column on football for the New Statesman.

This article first appeared in the 27 August 2015 issue of the New Statesman, Isis and the new barbarism