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The cost of building materials for home improvements is rising at the fastest rate since the 1990s, data suggests.

'Unprecedented' demand for extensions, loft conversions and land scaping, amid a supply shortage, has led to prices 'going through the roof'. Builders say they are having to go back to customers almost daily with increased quotes as merchants raise their fees. One builder said that he had been forced to increase his the predicted cost of an extension from £20,000 to "27,000 - up 35%.

The price rises over the summer were thee highest since records began in 1997, according to research group IHS Markit and the Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply. And the high demand has come against 'sustained and severe' disruption to supply chains caused by global shipping chaos and the shortage of lorry drivers, forcing customers to wait up to eight months for deliveries of items such as bricks. The price of some wood products has almost doubled year on year , data from the Office of National Statistics shows.

The cost of a typical 4.8 metre (15ft 9in) length of sawn treated timber has risen from £17 to £29, while the cost of a 2.4 metre (7ft 10in) length of plywood has increased from £34 to £62. The price of tiles has gone up by close to a third, from £1.20 t0 £1.58, with builders facing six month waits for deliveries. The chaos in global shipping has also contributed, with the cost of a container from China reportedly increasing from £1,800 a year ago to £8,640 today.

A long-standing lack of skilled builders is also pushing up the price of labour and forcing householders to wait several months to start projects.

Tom Witherow   Daily Mail.

A parking space in a fashionable seaside resort has gone on sale for an astonishing £99,950.

The 15ft by 8ft plot, just wide enough for a single car, is situated inside a garage with electric doors near to the beach in popular St Ives, Cornwall. The near six-figure price is thought to be the most expensive parking spot outside London.

The Sun

Simply walking across wooden floors in our homes could soon be used to generate electricity, say researchers.

Scientists sandwiched two pieces of wood, one coated with silicone and the other with 'nanocristals', between electrodes to create an electric current when walked on. An A4-sized prototype could power an LED lightbulb.

Spruce generated 80 times more electricity than other wood in the research, published in the journal Matter. Senior author Dr Guido Panzarasa, from the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology, said the technology is 'scalable on an industrial level'.

House prices have soared by 13 per cent since the Covid pandemic began. After a surprise 2.1 per cent leap in August, the average cost of a home is now close to £250,000.

It was the second largest monthly rise in 15 years, with prices up 11 per cent compared to August 2020, according to figures from Nationwide. Experts had predicted the red-hot property market would cool as the generous stamp duty holiday is wound down. And prices typically dip over the summer, with many buyers and sellers on holiday. But the ultra-cheap mortgages, a lack of properties and high demand from buyers looking to take advantage of remaining pandemic tax breaks saw average prices hit £248,857 in August.

Many have also been able to bring forward plans to buy homes after squirrelling away an extra £230billion in savings since the end of March 2020. 

Robert Gardner, Nationwide's chief economist, said: 'The strength [of the market] may reflect strong demand from those buying a property priced between £125,000 and £250,000 who are looking to take advantage of the stamp duty relief in place until the end of September. Lack of supply is also likely to be a key factor behind August's price increase, with estate agents reporting low numbers of properties on their books.'

Victoria Bischoff

Money Mail Editor

The dream of owning a home will become reality for thousands as ministers today set out their £8.6billion affordable homes scheme.

As many as 119,000 properties will be built in the first tranche of the Government's Affordable homes plan. Half will be sold, helping young people get their first foot on the housing ladder, while tens of thousands more will be rented out at discounted rates.

The lion's share of the funding, some £5.2billion, is being spent outside London to support Boris Johnson's pledge to 'level up' the country.

The programme was announced in the 2020 Budget and is expected to deliver up to 180,000 new properties by 2026 - costing £11.5billion and si the biggest such investment in a decade.

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