The typical cost of a flat has soared at double the rate of other types of property during the past 10 years, spelling bad news for first time buyers, research showed today.
The average price of a flat has increased by nearly £51,000 – the equivalent of £425 a month – since 2004, to stand at £208,169, according to mortgage lender Halifax.
Flat values have soared by 32 per cent during the period, more than double the 15 per cent rise recorded for all residential properties.
The price of flats has risen at nearly three-times the rate of prices for detached homes, which have increased by just 12 per cent since 2004.
The performance of flats has been particularly strong since 2009, with values soaring by 43 per cent in the five years to 2014, compared with a 15 per cent price gain for bungalows.
But Halifax said some of the steep price rises for flats were due to the booming London property market, with flats account for a relatively high proportion of the housing stock in the capital.
It added that in five regions of Britain, terraced houses had actually been the best performing property type since 2004.
All types of home suffered substantial price falls during the housing market downturn in 2007 to 2009, with terraced houses and flats the worst affected, recording price drops of 33 per cent and 32 per cent respectively.
The group said the steep drops for these property types, which are popular with first time buyers, was likely to be the result of the tighter lending criteria employed by lenders during the period, which made it harder for people to buy their first home.
Martin Ellis, housing economist at Halifax, said: “There has been a significant increase in the number of first-time buyers since 2010 compared with a modest decline in the number of those moving home.
“This difference is reflected in a bigger rise in prices over the past five years for those property types that are most popular with first-time buyers: flats and terraces.
“Since 2009, larger property types – such as detached homes, semis and bungalows – have underperformed flats and terraces.”
Despite the steep price rises seen for flats, semi-detached homes and terraced houses have actually remained the most popular types of property purchased during the past 10 years, with these property types collectively accounting for 60 per cent of all sales so far in 2014.
For first-time buyers, semi-detached homes have increased in popularity, accounting for 29 per cent of purchases this year, up from 25 per cent in 2004.
But while 21 per cent of homes sold in 2004 were detached, these properties accounted for just 16 per cent of transactions this year.
Flats are cheapest to buy in the East Midland, where they cost an average of £94,518, followed by the North at £101,883.
Unsurprisingly, flats are most expensive in Greater London, where they sell for an average of £328,771.
It is cheaper to buy a terraced house than a flat in Scotland, Wales and the North West.
The rate at which people think house prices will rise has eased to a 13-month low as consumers brace themselves for higher borrowing costs, research showed today.
The Knight Frank Markit House Price Sentiment Index fell to 69.2 in September, its lowest level since August last year.
The figure was also well down on the peak of 75.1 reached in May, although at above 50 it indicates that people still expect house prices to rise, albeit at a slower rate.
The groups said the prospects of higher borrowing costs next year, tougher rhetoric from policymakers and stretched affordability in areas that have seen strong price gains were causing households to reign in their price growth expectations.
The index first started to ease in June, and the trend has continued during the summer.
Overall, only 46 per cent of people expected the price of their home to increase during the coming year, the first time the level has fallen below 50 per cent in 2014.
Grainne Gilmore, head of residential research at Knight Frank, said: “House prices are rising across the UK, but our index signals a continuing slow-down in the pace of growth.
“The strengthening economy, job creation and low base rate are helping underpin property values, but there are signs that households across the board are becoming more circumspect about the scale of price growth they expect.”
Households across the country thought the value of their property increased in September, but the rate of growth was the slowest recorded for eight months.
Just under 27 per cent of people thought the value of their home had increased during the month, while 5.5 per cent said it had fallen.
People in all regions of Great Britain thought house prices rose in September, with those in London reporting the strongest gains, followed by people in the South East and East.
Households in the South East were most optimistic that property values would continue to increase in the coming 12 months, with people in London and the West Midlands also upbeat.
The survey adds to growing evidence that the property market is beginning to slow down as buyers become more cautious in the face of recent house price gains and future hikes to the cost of borrowing.
At the same time, the number of homes being put up for sale has increased, easing the mismatch between supply and demand and reducing the upward pressure on prices.
The Council of Mortgage Lenders yesterday reported mortgage advances fell during August for the first time since February.
With our first top 10 castles being our most popular of all the top ten features, we thought it deserved a second look. Why are castles as homes so appealing? For us it’s the sheer presence and stature they bring. You couldn’t but be proud to live in any of these charming castles.
1. Built between 1906 and 1917 for the Duchess of Sutherland, it is believed to be the last castle to be built in Scotland.
2. A wow property with wow views, what more could you want?
3. An impressive and imposing home that is sure to keep any princess happy.
4. Your very own castle style home at a fraction of the price.
5. This speaks for itself…
6. Aptly named Torcastle was transformed from an old stone shooting lodge by the late Grammy award-winning rock drummer Michael Lee.
7. Like something from a fairy tale…we could see Rapunzel in that tower!
8. Absolutely breathtaking views to be had from this restored late thirteenth century Pele Tower.
9. A rare opportunity to purchase a stunning sixteenth century castle set in more than four acres of grounds.
10. Not only do you get this impressive castle but also included are two farmhouses, six cottages, traditional buildings, pasture, and woodland.
This year’s Ryder Cup tees up on September 23 – but Perthshire has a lot more to offer than world class golf at Gleneagles.
Average property prices currently stand at £255,378, up a resounding 5.63 per cent in the last year, suggesting that despite the uncertainties that the Scottish referendum has heaped upon the market north of the border buyers are increasingly seduced by Perthshire’s majestic countryside, its mountains and castles.
There is Perth itself, which was granted city status in 2012 to mark the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, as well as its market towns and villages.
Families are drawn to Perth because of its excellent schools. Alastair Houlden, of estate agents Rettie & Co, said the most popular area to live is Kinnoull Hill to the west of the city centre. The hill has some fine detached and semi-detached Victorian houses and, as the name suggests, an elevated position which gives houses in the areas great views of the countryside around.
Average property prices in Perth stand at £182,047, up 7.23 per cent in the last year. In Kinnoull Hill, a four bedroom semi-detached house would cost around £400,000, or you could take on a five bedroom, detached house with a couple of acres of gardens and paddocks for around £800,000.
If you dream of a true highlands home then Robert La Terriere, of estate agents Smiths Gore recommends Aberfeldy, a market town set beside the River Tay with views of the majestic Grampians. “It is a very pretty town somewhere between lively and quaint,” said Mr La Terriere. “It is very beautiful but there are increasing numbers of young entrepreneurs setting up new cafes and shops there.”
Aberfeldy is around 45 minutes to Perth and you can be in Edinburgh in less than two hours. These distances, said Mr La Terriere, keep prices in the area relatively affordable compared to more commutable towns and villages in Scotland. Average prices in Aberfeldy stand at £260,281, up 7.05 per cent in the last year.
A three bedroom Victorian townhouse will cost from around £200,000, or you could opt for a modern – but traditional style – home on the outskirts for around £350,000 to £400,000 for four bedrooms.
To really live the fantasy highland lifestyle a country house with land close to town will cost from £400,000 to £700,000.
If even this seems too hectic, then slow things down a notch in Comrie, one of the most beautiful villages in Scotland. This historic conservation village on the River Earn, 25 miles west of Perth, is an absolute beauty. Comrie is popular with active retirees, drawn by its strong community spirit, proximity to the Highlands, and its good local facilities which include a primary school, several pubs and cafes, and a post office. The average village property currently costs £272,299, up 7.05 per cent in the last year.
And unsurprisingly Comrie is a goldmine for gorgeous period houses. You could buy a five bedroom, detached Georgian house for around £450,000, a three or four bedroom detached house in the centre of the village for around £250,000 to £300,000, and two bedroom houses for under £200,000.
Jennifer Campbell, of estate agents CKD Galbraith, said the village’s market was strong thanks to its appeal not only to retirees but second home owners from Edinburgh and Glasgow, as well as families attracted by its good school.
It is around an hour to Glasgow and Edinburgh so it is an easy within an easy drive, it is obviously very pretty, and it has got a great little high street and fantastic walking nearby,“ she said. “It is a really close knit community with lots of clubs and societies to join, and you never hear of any crime at all.”
1. If you want a romantic Scottish castle they don’t come much more breathtaking than Cloan, a seven bedroom house with spectacular period features and 56 acres. It is on the market for offers over £1,465,000.
2. Live loch side in a seven bedroom house in an outstanding location, on the market for £1,350,000
3. Perthshire isn’t all about historic houses. This modern four bedroom house is within walking distance of the Gleneagles Hotel, and is for sale at £525,000.
4. You get plenty of house for your money in Perthshire, like this five bedroom family home on the outskirts of Blackford, on the market for offers above £379,995.
5. In Perth itself you could buy a four bedroom period villa, on the market for £249,995.
6. A pretty and traditional two bedroom terraced cottage in the village of Bridge of Earn is on the market for offers above £137,000.
Mortgage lending fell during August in a further sign that the property market is beginning to slow down, figures showed today.
A total of £18.6bn was advanced during the month, down from £19.7bn in July, according to the Council of Mortgage Lenders.
It was the first monthly drop in mortgage lending since February, when the market was affected by lenders gearing up for the introduction of new regulations under the Mortgage Market Review.
But despite the dip, total advances were still the highest for August since 2008, and 13 per cent up on lending for the same month of 2013.
CML chief economist Bob Pannell said: “The narrative of recovering house purchase and buy-to-let activity continued through August.
“However, it is important to be aware that this picture is being flattered by strong seasonal factors through the summer period.
“A gentle slowing of lending activity may now be in prospect, as a result of the continuing impact of tighter lending rules and a softening of the London market.”
He added that on a seasonally adjusted basis, total lending during July was £17.1bn, little changed from May and June and broadly flat since the beginning of the year, and forward estimates suggest August’s figure will be similar on a seasonally adjusted basis.
The CML’s suggestion that mortgage lending may have reached a plateau is consistent with a report from the Bank of England yesterday, in which agents said housing market activity has stabilised at a lower level than was seen at the start of the year.
Recent data has pointed to a fall in demand from potential buyers as people have become put off by the high prices being demanded by sellers and the prospect of interest rate rises.
At the same time, there has been an increase in the number of homes being put up for sale, helping to ease the mismatch between supply and demand.
Meanwhile, Virgin Money has launched a new six year fixed rate mortgage, undercutting many five year fixed rate deals.
The loan, which is the only six year product available, charges interest of 2.99 per cent to people with a 30 per cent deposit who pay a £995 fee.
The only medium-term deal offering a better rate is a five year fixed rate loan from Yorkshire Building Society at 2.89 per cent, but it requires a 35 per cent deposit and comes with a £975 fee.
Virgin Money said it had launched the deal to give people a “prolonged period of certainty” for the cost of their monthly mortgage repayments.
It added that it expected the product to be very popular, so it was likely to be available for only a limited period.
A flurry of lenders have cut the cost of their five year fixed rate deals in recent weeks in response to falling swap rates, upon which the deals are based.
The average interest rate charged on a five year fixed rate deal has dropped to 4.11 per cent, down from 4.21 per cent in August, according to financial information group Moneyfacts.
Mark Harris, chief executive of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients, said: “As we move into autumn, lenders have one eye on their year-end figures and are ramping up their lending volumes to meet them.
“Subsequently, there are some excellent fixed rates available over two and five years so borrowers who are concerned about rate rises should act now to obtain some security.”