Property The restoration game: Crossways in leafy Hanwell, west London, has failed to sell at auction and may continue to lie derelict

Plus Six Nations property breakdown, empty homes, homelessness, and rents in UK cities

Househunter Leominster, Herfordshire

Humber Court, along with a church, a former rectory and one other house, makes up the hamlet of Humber about five miles east of Leominster. The Grade II listed 17th-century house has a particularly attractive facade, with decorative stone mullions around the windows and front door. Inside it features stone flagged floors, with open fireplaces downstairs in the three reception rooms and kitchen-breakfast room, and five bedrooms and two bathrooms upstairs. Outside there are two paddocks and an ornamental pool in the two and a half acres of garden. Knight Frank & Rutley in Hereford (01432 273087) is asking pounds 250,000.

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PROPERTY; Bargains that come of blight

A small eyesore like a business park shaves pounds 100,000 off a house price. An ugly aerial or a motorway will save you a small fortune.

Five-star treatment for offices

SOME of London's best-known office buildings - including the City's second tallest skyscraper - may be turned into hotels. Britannic Tower, the 35-storey former BP headquarters close to the Bank of England, has been bought by City Development Management, which is studying the conversion of its upper floors into a luxury hotel.

The Manchester businessman who shot his first grouse at 40: a typical Scottish estate owner

To the modern townie, the language and customs of the Scottish Highlands are as remote as the hills themselves. This is the world of ghillies and factors, rods and guns, where sport means stalking, rather than football, on a Saturday afternoon. A property's value depends on the land rather than the house itself, and numbers of game larders and wood stores are as significant as bedrooms and bathrooms.

Househunter Thaxted, Essex

Newbiggin Street in the old town of Thaxted consists of a higgledy-piggledy row of pretty colour-washed cottages, some large, some tiny, some listed, all quaint and beamed. One of the smallest is number eight (third from the left), basically a two-up, two-down cottage, with an Aga in the kitchen, two bedrooms and a bathroom upstairs and a small patio at the back. Listed Grade II it is for sale from Trembath Welch in Great Dunmow (01371 872117) for pounds 67,000. For a few thousand more the same agents are selling number 24, a slightly bigger cottage with a garden and garage.

For sale: des res for the owner with an eye on security

The occupants have gone but Mary Braid scents secrecy in the corridors that once housed MI5

Recovery? Sorry, not quite yet

The Nationwide Building Society has become the first of the pundits to cut its predictions of price rises for 1995. At the beginning of the year it predicted rises of 2 to 3 per cent and the number of sales increasing by 5 per cent. Now it expects both prices and levels of activity to stay the same as last year. The Halifax, which made similar predictions five months ago, is to review its position at the end of May.

Sell it in the supermarket

If you go out to Asda today, you could pick up a £2.99 video featuring details and pictures of up to 100 houses for sale. Customers view them at home and call a free number for more details.

Ooh, aah - it's ever so 'umble chez Cantona

One of the most striking examples of the unpredictable nature of Eric Cantona, Manchester United's fallen hero, must be his choice of house. He has shunned the executive homes in Cheshire lived in by the vast majority of his team mates, not for a converted warehouse flat in the city,but a house in modest Boothstown with crazy paving up the wall. It cost him around £87,000 - about nine weeks' earnings.

Surveyors say Treasury sale does not add up

THE Chancellor of the Exchequer, who announced last week that the Treasury building in Whitehall was to be sold to a private company for refurbishment, could have difficulty giving it away, let alone selling it, say chartered surveyors.

Property investment influx wanes

The flood of foreign money into the London property market in 1992 and 1993 dried up last year as rising gilt yields shifted investor attention away from bond-type properties to developments and buildings requiring more active management.
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