I was very pleased to read that more than 400,000 people have been able to buy their first homes thanks to the government’s Help to Buy scheme.

A government report confirmed some 458,000 completions have taken place under the scheme. Of those 402,000 were first time buyers.

Help to Buy ISAs offer government bonuses of up to £3,000 to help first time buyers top up their savings. The statistics released show that first time buyers have taken advantage and opened up 1.2 million new accounts.


It may come as no surprise to many of you that Gloucester has been voted the second best place to work in the whole of the UK according to a survey carried out by Glassdoor Economic Research.

Glassdoor’s Best UK Towns & Cities to Work In report questioned employees across the country regarding a number of factors including job prospects, salaries, job satisfaction and property prices.

Gloucester came significantly higher than any other town or city in the South West, including Bristol. In fact, Gloucester scored just 0.1 less overall than the national winner, the town of Slough in Berkshire.


Scary I know, but there are only sixteen weeks to go till Xmas. Traditionally this is a popular time of year to move so here’s a round-up of the latest trends in the housing market:

• Sellers – properties on sale in England and Wales have increased by 10.3% in a year, according to home.co.uk, a website specialising in monitoring property transactions. If you are thinking of selling remember to de-clutter, finish off any odd jobs that need doing and be realistic on your asking price.

• Buyers – average UK prices are down 2.3% from July, or so Rightmove estimate. Sellers may be prepared to drop prices as the autumn progresses in order to get a move completed before the end of the year.

• First Time Buyers – there is currently the largest number of first time buyers since 2008. In recent months they have accounted for 51% of all purchases, taking advantage of some good finance deals.


You may remember me telling you about Sarah and her mountain climbing exploits earlier in the year. Sarah mentioned at the time that she was planning an expedition to the Pyrenees in September. I am pleased to report that she was successful!

Sarah and her lifelong friend and climbing companion Adele undertook a four day trek and climb in the beautiful Ordesa y Monte Perdido National Park in the western part of the Pyrenees, in the community of Aragon in Spain.

It culminated in them reaching the summit of snow covered Monte Perdido, a climb of no less than 3,355m. As you can see from the picture, the views were stunning.

I hope you will join me in congratulating Sarah and Adele on such an amazing feat.


I was pleased to read that there has been a continued drop in mortgage arrears and repossessions by lenders.

UK Finance has released data for the second quarter of the year and it showed 76,740 homeowner mortgages in arrears of 2.5% of the outstanding balance. This represents an 8% drop on the figures for the same period last year.

Out of that total, 23,190 homeowner mortgages were in arrears of 10% of the total outstanding which is an annual decrease of 4%.

A total of 1,060 homeowner mortgaged  properties were repossessed in the quarter which represents a 5% drop.