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The most expensive Santa’s grotto build outside London?

Alex Johnson

santa 300x224 The most expensive Santas grotto build outside London?The St Albans Christmas Market is claiming to have the most expensive Santa’s grotto ( in terms of square metres) outside London… Halifax’s price per square metre survey last year put the city in the number 2 spot behind Westminster (£7,586 vs £3,227) and just ahead of Oxford (£2,821). The grotto is in the city’s first ever Christmas Market which, thanks to its hardworking elves (pictured) runs until December 21 in the Vintry Garden grounds around the cathedral with 42 wooden chalets, gluhwein, bratwurst, gifts and Christmas decorations.

House prices up £11,219 from a year ago
Prices rise by £1,400 in November to reach (another) new record, according to LSL who estimate that by the end of 2013, sales are set to be 16% higher than in 2012. The average price of a house is now £238,839 (usual value indices reservations apply – the LSL house price index incorporates all transactions including cash).

David Newnes, director of LSL Property Services said: “The housing market is almost unrecognisable from 12 months ago. Not only have average prices climbed to a new record high but we’ve seen an increase in every region for the second month running, a true sign that the nationwide recovery is really taking off. The LSL house price index incorporates all transactions including cash.

“The trajectory is clearly upwards. Record high house prices have not only been recorded in the capital, but also in areas of the South East including Oxfordshire, Hertfordshire and Cardiff. However, there is still uneven growth in property values across the country. London prices continue to race ahead in a different gear.”

November best month for house buying lending since 2008
The number of loans made to homebuyers in November peered over the 70,000 barrier for the first time since January 2008, according to new figures from chartered surveyors e.surv.

There were 71,920 house purchase approvals in November, a 6% increase on October. Lending to home-buyers was 34% higher than a year ago.

Richard Sexton, director of e.surv, said: ” The mortgage market is making definite strides back to its pre-crisis health. Between the tail-end of the summer and this autumn, lenders tapped the Funding for Lending Scheme for almost £6 billion worth of funds, and that honeypot is now filtering through to homeowners, in the form of more loans and cheaper rates. Despite the changes to FLS, the mortgage market will continue to thrive. Funding for Lending spurred a limping market into action at the beginning this year, but since then Help to Buy has taken the lead in driving the market forwards.

Total lending improved in every region of the UK in November apart from Northern Ireland and the South West & South Wales

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