Property news update: Vivien Leigh's home for sale

Plus the most expensive plumbers, rent rise slows, and stay or extend?

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The Independent Online

Tickerage Mill, the former estate in Sussex owned by actress Vivien Leigh, is on the market for £3.5 million.

The ex-wife of actor Laurence Olivier bought the Grade II listed property which dates back to the 17th century in 1961 (for £20,000) after the couple divorced. It was originally an iron mill.

Princess Margaret, actor John Gielgud and Winston Churchill were among the famous guests to have stayed here, while previous owners include artist Richard Wyndham and Sir Ronald Armstrong Jones, Lord Snowdon's father.

Features of the five bedroom house which is being sold by Savills include various cottages in the 74 acre grounds at Blackboys, Uckfield, East Sussex TN22.

Birmingham is the most expensive place to hire a plumber

Research by The Post Office suggests that the most expensive city to hire a tradesman is Bristol, with Birmingham the most expensive to hire a plumber (£250 for a simple job), twice as much as those in London (£117).

Electricians proved to be the most flexible in their pricing, with quotes across the UK ranging from £33 in Cardiff and £140 in Bristol.

Four year low for rent rises

Rent rises across England and Wales have slowed to their lowest annual rate in over four years, according to LSL Property Services, now 0.9 per cent higher than a year ago.

LSL estimate the average rent in England and Wales to be £741 per month compared to £735 in March 2013.

The South West has seen annual rent rises of 5.2 per cent,  followed by 2.3 per cent in the North West and 1.4 per cent in the South East. The East of England has seen the sharpest fall, down by 3.6 per cent over the last year. Wales has experienced a rent drop of two per cent in the past twelve months.

Stay or extend?

Nearly one in five homeowners would prefer to extend their existing home, rather than move to a new property.

The figures come from Nationwide Building Society whose report shows that more than half of those who prefer to stay and build would do so because they like the house (34 per cent) or area they live in (22 per cent). Nearly a quarter say they  would extend their current property because they feel it is cheaper than moving house.

Most popular on the home improvement to do list are conservatories (16 per cent), followed by loft conversions (13 per cent). People were least likely to build a garage (two per cent), add an extra bathroom (three per cent), or make an open plan living space (four per cent).

Homeowners aged 45 and over are more likely to build a conservatory than 25 to 44 year olds.