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Huddersfield Daily Examiner - - FRONT PAGE -

House prices ended last year £12,000 higher on av­er­age than they had been 12 months ear­lier, ac­cord­ing to of­fi­cial fig­ures. The av­er­age UK house price was £227,000 in De­cem­ber 2017, which was £12,000 higher than in De­cem­ber 2016, an in­dex re­leased jointly by the Of­fice for Na­tional Statis­tics (ONS), Land Registry and other bod­ies said.

An­nual house price growth ac­cel­er­ated to 5.2 per cent in De­cem­ber, from 5 per cent in Novem­ber. On a month-on-month ba­sis, house prices in­creased by 0.4 per cent in De­cem­ber. An­nual house price growth in De­cem­ber stood at 5 per cent in Eng­land, 5.4 per cent in Wales, 7.7 per cent in Scot­land and 4.3 per cent in North­ern Ire­land. Within the English re­gions, the South West showed the high­est an­nual growth, with prices in­creas­ing by 7.5 per cent in the year to De­cem­ber 2017. The low­est an­nual growth was in Lon­don, where prices in­creased by 2.5 per cent over the year.

Across the UK gen­er­ally, the lo­cal au­thor­ity show­ing the largest an­nual growth in the year to De­cem­ber 2017 in the study was the Orkney Is­lands, where prices in­creased by 18.2 per cent to stand at £147,000 on av­er­age. The low­est an­nual growth was recorded in Kens­ing­ton and Chelsea, where prices fell by 10.7 per cent to stand at £1.2 mil­lion on av­er­age - although the Lon­don bor­ough still has the high­est av­er­age house prices. The least ex­pen­sive place to buy a prop­erty is Burn­ley in Lancashire, where the av­er­age house price is £78,000. The re­port cau­tioned that low sales num­bers in some lo­cal au­thor­ity ar­eas can lead to volatil­ity in the house price growth fig­ures.

Jeremy Leaf, a north Lon­don es­tate agent and a for­mer res­i­den­tial chair­man of the Royal In­sti­tu­tion of Char­tered Sur­vey­ors (Rics), said: "The in­crease in prices for De­cem­ber, al­beit at a slow­ing pace, re­flects more the short­age of avail­able prop­erty to buy at that time rather than mar­ket strength or oth­er­wise, as trans­ac­tion num­bers were rel­a­tively low.

"Since De­cem­ber we have no­ticed more bal­ance with a slower in­crease in in­struc­tions and view­ings as we would ex­pect at this time of year, although some buyer cau­tion is likely to re­main un­til the mar­ket finds its new level this year."

Howard Archer, chief eco­nomic ad­viser at the EY Item Club, said the lat­est sur­vey ev­i­dence also points to "lack­lus­tre hous­ing mar­ket ac­tiv­ity" in early 2018.

He said: "House-buy­ers will also likely be con­cerned about fur­ther in­ter­est rate hikes in 2018 fol­low­ing Novem­ber's first tight­en­ing of mon­e­tary pol­icy by the Bank of Eng­land since 2007." OU'VE fi­nally got your lounge look­ing lovely - now the chal­lenge is to keep it that way.

But homes aren't just for show, they're for liv­ing in, which means spillages and scuffs will hap­pen, and those beau­ti­ful, brand-new cov­ers and car­pets will even­tu­ally get grimy. Af­ter all, what's the point spend­ing ages hunt­ing down your dream sofa, if you can't drape your­self over it with a smooth glass of red af­ter a busy week? And why bother in­dulging in that ex­tra fluffy rug if you're not go­ing to sit on it for Fri­day-night movie marathons?

In­stead, there are things you can do to help tackle stains, marks and gen­eral filth build-up. Add these ex­pert tips to your list of spills and stain so­lu­tions... with a home­made rem­edy might be use­ful. We've all heard about chuck­ing white wine on top of a red wine spillage... the jury's out on how ef­fec­tive this re­ally is, but lots of peo­ple swear by us­ing bak­ing soda, or a bak­ing soda paste (mix three-parts bak­ing soda with one-part water. Ap­ply to the af­fected area and leave to dry and 'suck' up the of­fend­ing spillage, then vac­uum it up - hope­fully lift­ing the stain in the process). An­other method is to mix a ta­ble­spoon of liq­uid dish­wash­ing de­ter­gent with a ta­ble­spoon of white vine­gar and two cups of warm water. Then ap­ply this to a clean cloth and re­peat­edly blot the stain, al­ter­nat­ing with a sep­a­rate dry cloth, un­til the stain lifts. a spe­cial­ist store to ask for ad­vice.

The same ap­plies when us­ing sub­stances that might seem com­pletely harm­less, like water. "Many peo­ple think us­ing water to clean their car­pets will mean fresh, bright floors, but over time, the re­peated wet clean­ing can wash out wool's nat­u­ral wa­ter­proof­ing, re­sult­ing in the car­pet ac­quir­ing a hard, crusty feel," says Pe­ter Hol­lier, a clean­ing ex­pert with home ap­pli­ance man­u­fac­turer Vor­w­erk, who sell a range of prod­ucts de­signed to make light work of deep-clean­ing your home (kobold.vor­w­erk. co.uk).

"Water can also cause the car­pet fi­bres to shrink and stretch and the dye to bleed, leav­ing a less-than-lux­u­ri­ous fin­ish. So, if you are go­ing to clean your car­pets with water, it's im­por­tant you don't use too much and you dry the car­pet quickly."

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