Tag Archives: Property

Police: Ex-UT student broke into dorm rooms, committed 'sexual acts' with victims' property

Author: Jaclyn Ramkissoon
This post originally appeared on KXAN Austin

AUSTIN (KXAN) — A former University of Texas student is being accused of committing indecent acts in residence hall rooms he burglarized.

The University of Texas Police Department filed charges against Rolando Benavides, 21, for burglary of a habitation and indecent assault after receiving an anonymous email reporting “possible burglaries with sexual deviant behavior at Jester Residence Hall.”

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The email was sent to UTPD on April 13, and UTPD said it identified Benavides as the suspect within hours of getting the information.

Benavides lived at Jester Residence Hall himself, according to officers. He withdrew from the university and left campus the day he was interviewed by UTPD.

UTPD alleges Benavides entered three unoccupied dorm rooms and committed sexual acts with the victims’ property, then posted photos online. He also reportedly stole property.

At first, six victims were identified from the burglaries and indecent assaults, but more investigating led UTPD to identify two more victims from separate incidents.

UT released a statement to KXAN Thursday afternoon, saying in part, “The university has taken all available steps to further the campus community’s safety. The suspect has not been on campus since the day the UTPD investigation began, and the suspect subsequently withdrew from the university. Because of FERPA requirements and the ongoing law enforcement investigation, we cannot provide additional details at this time. The university is working with the affected students to provide support and accommodations. Finally, our priority is the safety and wellbeing of our campus community, and while the responsibility for any crime rests with the perpetrator, we remind people to lock their doors both when they are home and not home.”

Benavides is expected to turn himself in soon, according to UTPD. His mugshot and attorney information are not available yet.

UTPD said this is still an open investigation, and there could be more victims or crimes that have occurred. Police ask students in Jester Residence Hall who believe their items have been tampered with to call UTPD at (512) 471-4441 ext. 9 or email [email protected].

Additionally, UT said support is available for anyone affected by sexual assault, interpersonal violence (including domestic and dating violence), stalking, sexual harassment and sex discrimination by emailing [email protected].

UK property: Homes up by £15k during lockdowns

The average value of a three-bedroom semi is now around £15,000 higher than at the start of the first lockdown in March 2020 – a rise of more than £1,000 per month on average. Prices increased 1.1 percent month-on-month in March and were 6.5 percent higher than the same month last year, Halifax figures showed. The lender said Government support measures and a stamp duty holiday have been key to bolstering the housing market.
Nicky Stevenson, managing director of estate agent group Fine & Country, said: “The pandemic’s stoking of house prices is now so established it can’t really be called a miniboom at all anymore. This latest price leap is solely down to incredible demand and the Halifax has also revised February’s figures up too.

“Stock levels haven’t reached their spring peak and there are hordes of buyers chasing a relatively small pool of homes.

“Demand is totally eclipsing supply and that’s forcing buyers to chase prices just as they were in September and October.”

Monthly property sales rose in February 2021 to their highest level since March 2007.

The 147,050 transactions were up by 23 percent on January’s total, said Government data.

Tomer Aboody, director of property lender MT Finance, said: “What we are seeing is a real lack of stock which in turn increases competition and house prices.” 

Russell Galley, managing director of Halifax, said: “Few could have predicted quite how well the housing market would ride out the pandemic, let alone post growth of more than £1,000 per month on average.

“The continuation of Government support measures has been key in boosting confidence in the housing market.”

Halifax predicts a busy property market through the summer as consumer confidence is boosted by the vaccine rollout.

Buyer demand is still being fuelled by a desire for larger properties and more outdoor space, as work-life priorities have shifted during the pandemic.

Mark Harris, chief executive of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients, said: “With hardly a day going by without another lender launching a high loan-to-value offering, and indeed rates coming down on these, there is plenty to tempt borrowers.”

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Property: Best seaside towns to buy a home in the UK – latest graphic

So which UK seaside town makes for the best properties?

Showerstoyou.co.uk has created a points-based system for 50 UK seaside towns to try and figure out the best oceanside hotspot in the country.

The point-based system looked at the average property price, average Airbnb price, weather, quality of air, number of blue flag beaches, yearly number of visitors, annual number of rainy days, hours of sunshine, days of air frost, minimum and maximum temperature, as well as monthly mean wind speed at 10m.

The points were totalled for each seaside town before the top 20 were tallied.

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Property: First-time buyers now over £800 a year better off than UK renters as prices soar

New data from Halifax suggests the gap between buying and renting in the UK has stretched by eight percent over the last 12 months. Halifax’s Buying vs Renting Review looked at housing costs associated with a mortgage on a three-bedroom house compared to the average monthly rent of a similar property type. Average buying costs include mortgage payments, income lost by funding a deposit rather than saving, spending on household maintenance and repair and insurance costs.
Costs such as stamp duty, valuation fees and legal fees are not included.

In the past year, rental costs have increased by 10 percent while monthly buying costs have dropped by just one percent to £753 each month.

In 2019, the difference between buying and renting on a monthly basis was just one percent.

However, in 2018, there was a monthly cost gap of ten percent between buying and renting.

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The average first-time buyer deposit has increased by £11,677 since the start of the coronavirus pandemic to £58,986.

Meanwhile, the average mortgage payment has increased.

Buyers in London are on average £4,606 a year better off than those renting in the capital.

In the South East, this drops to £2,578 a year, followed by East Anglia (£2,019) and Scotland (£1,848).

The smallest gap between buying and renting is in Northern Ireland where buyers are £539 a year better off.

In the East Midlands, homeowners save on average £897 a year.

Andrew Asaam, Mortgages Director, Halifax, said while the stamp duty holiday has helped “drive record levels of mortgage approvals”, the biggest savings each year are in London where house prices are the highest.

During the Covid era, the cost of renting has also increased.

The property expert also said homeowners are making some of the biggest savings in the South East, East Anglia and Scotland, around £2,000 on average, compared to people who are renting.

Mr Assam continued: “Raising a deposit is still the biggest challenge for those looking to get on to the property ladder, but the average first home deposit has gone up by another £11,000 since the start of the pandemic.

“We know that first-time buyers will benefit from steps that make finding a deposit more of a reality and the new Help to Buy Mortgage Guarantee scheme could be a gamechanger for those saving hard to take the first step and often paying rent at the same time.

“We have also committed to lending £10billion in 2021 to help people buy their first home this year.”

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'Everybody is buying houses' – property experts explain why buyers can’t find a new home

Ms Fletcher said the busiest month ever on record so far is March 2016 where there were just over 176,000 residential property transactions in one month.

She explained: “That was because we had the cliff edge of the tax on second homes and buy-to-let properties coming in that April.”

“In a normal market, we would anticipate that there’s around 98,000 homes sold in a month,” she added.

The experts said if the stamp duty holiday deadline wasn’t extended, the figures could have been even higher in February and March.

Now, they are predicting figures could be the highest on record in June before the stamp duty holiday threshold on properties under £500,000 comes to an end on June 31.

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Property sales and prices set for further boost as clocks change to British Summer Time

The stamp duty holiday may not be the only factor in pushing forward property sales over the coming months. New research from Ascend Properties suggests that the arrival of British Summer Time could see property sales increase even further. The leading nationwide Build to Rent specialist looked at market data on transaction levels and sold prices during BST and Greenwich Mean Time (GMT).
The data suggested that 282,131 homes were sold during the BST period between March 29 and October 25 which is a whopping 51 percent more than those sold the rest of the year.

Property markets were boosted the most in the North East where 62 percent more homes sold during BST compared to the rest of the year.

Yorkshire and the Humber saw 57 percent more property sales during BST, with the East Midlands (55 percent), North West (54 percent), South West (52 percent) and West Midlands (51 percent) also seeing more properties sell during the summer months.

London saw the lowest increase but still saw 42 percent more homes sold during the summer period.

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Managing Director of Ascend Properties, Ged McPartlin, said the property industry usually “braces itself” as spring approaches because it’s widely considered the busiest time of the year.

He continued: “The market is already moving at an alarming rate due to the stamp duty holiday and the recently announced extension.

“But as the figures show it will start moving that little bit faster from next week as buyers return to the market from their winter hibernation ready to transact.

“This heightened market activity also brings a benefit to sellers who are likely to secure a better price for their home when selling during British Summer Time.

“Although current delays caused by such high demand are a concern, they’re unlikely to reduce anytime soon.

“So our advice to sellers would be to get their home on the market and make hay while the sun shines.”

ONS’s House Price Index, which was released earlier this week, found that house prices increased by 7.5 percent over the year to January 2021.

The average house price reached £249,000 in January 2021 which was £17,000 higher than January 2020.

Mr McPartlin said: “A 7.5 percent annual rate of house price growth in January is pretty monumental given the industry is usually dusting itself off from the Christmas break and yet to make it out of second gear.

“With transactions also up 24 percent, it’s clear that there’s been no let-up for the industry where the turbo-charged levels of buyer demand seen since the introduction of the stamp duty holiday are concerned.

“With an extension now in place until September for most, we can expect these manic market conditions to remain and house price growth to continue upwards for most, if not the remainder of this year.

“It’s also reassuring to see that it’s not just London and the South East benefitting, with the North West leading the way with the strongest levels of price growth seen on an annual basis.

“Double-digit house price growth of 12 percent is huge and really demonstrates the economic momentum building in the region.”

Property experts left stunned after agent asks buyer for proof of funds before a viewing

The podcast hosts said that unfortunately, these are the estate agents’ instructions so the buyers must “play by their rules”.

The experts said Cathy can either object to their instructions and decide that the property isn’t worth it.

“I would very much respect that decision,” they said.

Or, if she thinks the property is worth it, she should send them a redacted bank statement.

“I do this when they ask for proof of funds after having an offer accepted, they normally ask for a bank statement at that point, so I’ll just send the first page with everything except the balance and my name blanked out,” they said.

“I’m giving them what they need to know but not giving away anymore information than strictly necessary.”