Househunter Timber-frame garages

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The Independent Online
Anyone who wants to add a garage to a pretty cottage might think twice about putting up a standard brick building with up-and-over doors. But help is at hand. English Heritage Buildings produces oak timber-frame garages, sold in kit form by mail order. The company prides itself on its extra-wide dimensions, "large enough for a Rolls-Royce," says partner, Philippe Abbott-Wilcox. The kit arrives ready to assemble, fully mortised and with traditional oak pegs and a 25-year guarantee. All you need to do is to find a builder to construct it. The price of a single garage is pounds 999 ex VAT; double pounds 1998 ex VAT and pounds 3794 ex VAT for a four-bay version. English Heritage Buildings, 01424 838643.

For What It's Worth

Although confidence in the housing market is increasing, it is with very careful steps that it is moving forward. In the second-hand market, sales are increasing and it is this sector that has been doing the worst. In contrast, sales of new homes - which were doing so much better than older ones - fell by 11 per cent in the first half of 1996. The latest survey of the property market from The Independent Home Sale Network - a group of 615 independent agents across England and Wales - shows that enquiry levels are up, with 81 per cent of agents reporting increased activity, although 6 per cent were still suffering from a decrease. However, "agents' comments on the market were generally far more favourable than the actual figures showed," says director, Hywel Luke. The report states that first- time buyers are still reluctant to come forward, except in London and the north-west, and it also confirms that the north-south divide is lessening, with a three-bedroom semi-detached house in the north-west now costing only a little less than one in the south-west, which averages at pounds 55,300.