Most viewed properties on Zoopla in August

Which are the most popular properties in August so far? With asking prices from less than £164,950 to almost £65m and located in a variety of places – from Plymouth to North Yorkshire – here are the most viewed properties on Zoopla.

1. The humble bungalow reigns supreme this month, with a three bedroom version topping the most viewed chart. The £164,950 property in Leicester is ‘an ideal investment opportunity’ according to estate agents Leicester Premier, which is handling the sale.

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2. This four bedroom home has an asking price of less than £450,000. It can be found in a small town within commuting distance of Plymouth.

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3. With possibly the most unforgettable address, this building is equally unique and has the potential to be a stunning Grand Design. The property is at Number 1, The Thames, in Sheerness and is currently on the market for £500,000.

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4. As well as seven bedrooms, this gated property close to Hampstead Village includes a cinema room, indoor and outdoor swimming pools, garages for three to four cars, and a separate staff flat on the lower ground floor. It has an asking price of £46.5m.

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5. This three bedroom luxury apartment in the heart of Royal Greenwich boasts three bedrooms and three bathrooms, and covers a floor space of 909 sq ft. It has an asking price of £580,000.

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6. If you would like to live in a modern mansion north of Birmingham, this six bedroom property fits the bill. It boasts solid oak and natural stone finishes throughout, zoned underfloor heating and landscaped gardens.

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7. This five bedroom apartment at London’s iconic One Hyde Park has an asking price of £64,999,950. The accommodation spans an entire floor and boasts views of both Knightsbridge and Hyde Park.

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8. Diversity is at the heart of this £659,000 detached property in North Yorkshire. It can be used as a five bedroom house, a successful B&B with separate owners accommodation or it could be converted to a three bedroom property with an adjoining two bedroom cottage that would be ideal for relatives.

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9. A nine bedroom detached house in London’s Kensington is being offered (POA) with full planning permission to build a separate cottage, tennis court and garden pavilion.

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10. This newly built ambassadorial-style and stucco-fronted London home has 11 bedrooms and is spread over five floors – including a lower ground and basement.

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August 27, 2014 at 12:33 PM Leave a comment

Boost for househunters as supply of property increases

The number of homes for sale rose at its fastest rate for nearly three years in July as market conditions swung in favour of buyers, research showed today.

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Sellers are increasingly having to accept less than their asking price as some of the heat comes out of the booming property market, according to the National Association of Estate Agents.

The average number of properties estate agents had on their books increased by 11 per cent during the month to stand at 51.

Competition among potential buyers also eased in July, as the number of house hunters registered with estate agents fell for the fourth consecutive month.

Overall, around 368 people were registered as buyers per estate agent branch, down from 371 in June.

But despite the fall, the number of potential buyers was still significantly higher than it had been in July 2013, when estate agents had an average of just 250 house hunters on their books.

The combination of more homes being on the market and fewer buyers chasing them has helped to ease the previous mismatch between supply and demand, which had been forcing prices higher.

The NAEA said 66 per cent of sales agreed during July were for less than the asking price, a sharp turnaround from May when just 46 per cent of below asking price offers were accepted.

Even more significantly, only 4 per cent of homes sold for more than the asking price in July, down from 19 per cent in May when buyers were outbidding each other in a bid to secure a home.

Despite the fall in buyers, sales levels remained static during July at an average of nine per branch.

There was also no change in the number of people getting on to the property ladder, with first time buyers accounting for 20 per cent of sales, the same proportion as in June.

Mark HaywardMark Hayward, managing director of the NAEA, said: “The lack of housing supply has been a significant issue over the last few months, so the sign of increasing stock is positive for the market and house buyers in search of their ideal home.

“Another positive for house hunters are the recent reports suggesting house prices are on the decline; our NAEA report has found similar, with a significant amount of homes being sold at less than the asking price.”

The group warned that the fall in potential buyers may in part have been driven by the high Stamp Duty bills many people now faced.

It said 90 per cent of its members said Stamp Duty either frequently or occasionally deterred buyers from moving, while 92 per cent thought the Government should reform the tax.

Meanwhile, research by Knight Frank found that northern cities offer young professionals the best chance of getting on to the property ladder, despite the fact that people working in them generally had lower salaries.

The group, which looked at affordability by comparing regional house prices to local average earnings for 22 to 39 year olds, found that Durham was the most affordable city in which to buy a home.

Property values in the city average just £81,774, while pay for young people was around £24,484, giving a house price to earnings ratio of 3.3.

It was followed by Nottingham at 3.4, Liverpool at 3.6 and Manchester at 3.7, with Bradford completing the top five most affordable cities.

Hastings and Canterbury were the most affordable cities in the South for young professionals to buy a home in, both with house price to earnings ratios of 6.8.

Unsurprisingly, London was the least affordable place for young people to buy a home, despite having the highest salaries of £40,279.

But with property values in the capital averaging £437,608, people faced a house price to earnings ratio of 10.9.

August 27, 2014 at 10:38 AM Leave a comment

From market towns to adorable villages, Wiltshire has everything going for it

It was where the Duchess of Cornwall spent her schooldays at Marlborough College and, from adorable country villages to smart market towns, Wiltshire is a county with everything going from it.

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Its proximity to London via the M4 means that prices in the east can be high, elevated by commuters, but the further west you cast your house hunting net the more likely you are to find a property bargain.

In the last 12 months, average prices in Wiltshire have begun slowly rising. They have now topped the £250,000 Stamp Duty threshold to stand at £263,705, up 6.39 per cent year on year.

andrew romeWiltshire is where Sting and Trudie Styler have their country estate, in the Woodford Valley, just north of the cathedral city of Salisbury. While most of us will sadly not be on the market for a Grade I listed Elizabethan pile there are some lovely stone and thatched cottages in the villages within the valley to settle for. “It is utterly gorgeous countryside,” said Andrew Rome, a partner at Knight Frank.

The most sought after villages in the valley include Great Durnford, notable for its mellow pink brick cottages, where a chocolate box three bedroom cottage with views across the valley would cost in the region of £600,000. Another good choice is Middle Woodford which has its own primary school, rated “outstanding” by Ofsted.

A little further west is the presently slightly unremarkable market town of Chippenham. However, when electrification of the Great Western Railway is completed in 2017 it will cut train services from Chippenham to the capital to around an hour and it is forecast that prices could rise by as much as 20 per cent as a result.

At present, you could buy a two bedroom flat for around £120,000 or a four bedroom family house (modern or period) for between £300,000 and £400,000.

Caroline Dobson, of Chappell & Matthews, is a Chippenham resident herself. “It is a typical historic market town, with a market square and some listed buildings around it,” she said “It is a nice place to live, there are some good independent restaurants and every May there is an International Folk Festival, which really brings a lot of people.

“It is perfectly placed between Swindon, Bath and Bristol, and a lot of people come here because they don’t’ want to pay Bath prices.”

Chippenham also has some lovely satellite villages most notably Castle Combe, six miles to the north west, which director Stephen Spielberg chose as the quintessential English village location for War Horse. “It is very quaint and olde worlde,” said Chris Scothern, of Atwell Martin estate agents.

The downsides of this are twofold. Prices are high and, warns Scothern, if you do spend circa £500,000 on a two bedroom character cottage in Castle Combe you might find tourists peeping through your windows.

A more pocket friendly option is Kington Langley, three miles north of Chippenham, which is around half the price of its more pretty rival. “It is a great village,” said Scothern. “Why is it so much cheaper? It is more of a mixed area, I suppose, and Castle Combe has just become really, really popular over the years.”

For sale: 

1. Traditionalists will ooh and aah over this two bedroom stone cottage in the heart of Castle Combe, on the market at £485,000.

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2. But you do get more for your money in nearby Kington Langley, like this four bedroom house for £575,000.

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3. Homes in Chippenham, like this four bedroom terrace for sale at £399,950, are tipped for major price growth thanks to faster train services to London from 2017

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4. Buy a home in the Woodford Valley and you can count Sting among your neighbours. This five bedroom house in Little Durnford is for sale at £1.275m.

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5. This historic four bedroom cottage in Marlborough has lashings of character, and is on the market at £525,000.

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August 27, 2014 at 9:58 AM Leave a comment

Remortgaging increases amid fears of interest rate rises

Lending to people remortgaging jumped by 9 per cent in July as homeowners prepared for interest rate rises, research showed today.

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The total value of lending to people remortgaging to a new deal rose to £4.04bn during the month, as borrowers took advantage of the competitive deals that were on offer ahead of an increase to the Bank of England Bank Rate.

There was also an estimated 7 per cent rise in the number of remortgage loans agreed in July at 25,325, according to LMS, which processes 28 per cent of all remortgage transactions.

But the figure was 14 per cent lower than it had been in July 2013, which the group blamed on the impact of new regulations introduced under the Mortgage Market Review in April.

The average amount borrowed by people remortgaging also fell slightly to £159,582, 2 per cent less than during the previous month.

Andy KneeAndy Knee, chief executive of LMS, said:“With two members of the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee already staking a claim for an immediate Bank Rate rise, an increase looms ever closer, having an impact on aspiring and existing homeowners.

“However, customers shouldn’t panic as any change is likely to be gradual allowing customers plenty of time to explore the best rates available to them.”

He added that the group expected there to be a surge in remortgaging later in the year as homeowners looked to lock into fixed rate deals before interest rates rose.

Data from the Council of Mortgage Lenders showed that average mortgage rates rose to 3.15 per cent in June – the fifth consecutive monthly rise.

LMS warned that continued rate rises may start to have an impact on affordability, although it stressed that they remained well down on the level seen before the recession of 5.89 per cent in October 2008.

Based on the higher remortgage rate, the percentage of annual income that mortgage repayments account for also increased for the fifth month running to reach 21.7 per cent, only slightly below the 21.9 per cent of pay that mortgage repayments take up for people buying a property.

Knee said: “Affordability remains key to the property market. With the average amount of equity released through remortgaging falling by 4 per cent from last month, it is apparent that more stringent rules and less competitive rates are taking their toll.

“That said, it is still possible for customers to get a good deal if they hunt around – with 60 per cent of those who remortgaged doing so to lower their mortgage rate.”

Beverley Building Society is currently offering the best two year variable loan for people remortgaging, with a rate of 1.95 per cent and no product fee for those borrowing 75 per cent of their home’s value.

For those who want to fix, Norwich & Peterborough Building Society has a two year deal at 2.14 per cent with a £345 fee for loan-to-value ratios of up to 65 per cent, while Cumberland Building Society has a five year fixed rate deal at 3.30 per cent.

August 27, 2014 at 9:05 AM Leave a comment

Benefits Street is returning to a new location. Is it in your backyard?

Filming has begun for a new series of the controversial reality TV show Benefits Street. But this time, it is set in a new location.

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The Chanel 4 programme made a huge impact in its first series as it followed a close-knit community where many of the residents were on benefits.

It proved to be addictive viewing despite complaints that the participants were being exploited and the show was nothing more than ‘poverty porn’.

Its popularity made a star of Deirdre Kelly, better known as White Dee, who is currently appearing in Celebrity Big Brother.

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Benefits Street was previously filmed in Birmingham’s James Turner Street

The first series was filmed in James Turner Street in an area of Birmingham known as Winson Green.

And now the location of the second series has been unveiled as a street in Teeside.

It is Kingston Road in Stockton, which was once reported as being among the ‘most deprived’ streets in the country.

A typical three bedroom house in the area is estimated to be worth around the £50,000 mark, with a typical monthly rent being approximately £283pcm, according to Zoopla.

It compares to an average property value of almost £150,000 in Stockton-on-Tees, where prices have risen more than £5,000 during the past year.

The highest value street in the area is Aislaby Road where the average value of a home is £558,534, while the highest turnover is in Grey Street and Fairdene Avenue.

August 26, 2014 at 2:07 PM 1 comment

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