Posts filed under ‘For sale’

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

Is it really possible to buy a house for 80p?

With house price rises hitting double digits, house hunters would be forgiven for thinking that it is impossible to buy cheap housing. Not in Sicily, where 20 houses have reportedly been put on the market for the price of one euro – or around 80p. But does such cheap property exist in Britain?

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It may seem unlikely, but Britain does have equally cheap bargains – although they may be far and few between.

Lawrence and Teresa Poxton bought a home in Staffordshire last month for just £1 after the council put the property and 32 others onto the market at the extraordinary low price in a bid to get people living in the area again.

The bus driver and his wife were picked from hundreds who applied for one of the homes.

Similarly, a three bedroom bungalow in Doncaster was put up for sale at auction earlier this year with starting bids of £1. The property included a kitchen, lounge, and a bathroom, but needed extensive renovation works.

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A little more expensive, but still a relatively bargain compared to Britain’s average house price of £275,721 is this one bedroom property for £12,000.

The property in Newcastle’s Washington has been recently redecorated and has communal gardens with private parking for residents.

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Auctions are a great way to find a bargain, with this two bedroom house in Burnley having had a starting bid of £15,000. It has been refurbished to a degree, but requires some finishing off.

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August 8, 2014 at 4:35 PM Leave a comment

Buying a wreck to make a property profit

Buying a wreck can be a great way to make a profit on a home. It’s a message not lost on the one in 10 British buyers who currently buy a dooer upper rather than an immaculate property.

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A study by loan provider Ocean Finance found the average profit these hopeful home improvers earn ranges between £20,000 and £30,000 – although almost half said that the work was harder than they had thought it would be.

However buying a wreck isn’t all fun and games. There is the hard work, the stress, and finding the funds needed to make the improvements.

And while buying a wreck in a strong market is the safest option, because the value of the property increases in the time it takes to do the work, buyers in a slow market need to keep a very tight rein on their spending if they are not to end up with a home which cost them more than it is worth.

Jenny JeffreysJenny Jeffreys, a partner Fine & Country based in Cheltenham, says the first step should be to write a plan and work out costings and timelines.

“If you have a tight budget, creating a plan will help you to prioritise without compromising the end result,” she said.

One area she advises against skimping on is professional advice, particularly if major structural work is needed.

“It is really important to commission a chartered surveyor to carry out a building report,” she said. “This will identify essential repairs and on-going concerns before it’s too late. if you are remodelling or extending, get a measured survey of the building. This will make you aware of any planning applications or building regulations.”

When it comes to choosing a property Adam Lock, sales manager of Hamptons International in Bristol, said that while homes that need a lick of paint are popular with buyers, those that need major works are less popular meaning buyers are in the driving seat.

And buying at the right price is absolutely crucial since the cost of a renovation can spiral. “Those who are willing to take on the bare bones of a home need to be able to live in alternative accommodation while renovation works take place, and also have the finances in place to fund both the makeover and a second property to live in until the project is complete,” he warned.

Oliver ClarkeWhether you plan to do up a property and sell it or buy it as a home Oliver Clarke, sales manager of Barton Wyatt in Surrey says the best way to add value is to add space – for example, an extra bedroom in the loft or a conservatory.

“Landscaping the garden can be very lucrative for making money and focus on lighting and add natural light to the house,” he added.

Clarke’s advice is that buyers should focus on finding a wreck in the best street you can afford. “Houses are limited by the value of neighbour’s so a tiny house on a road of tiny houses will not make you money, but a tiny house on a road full of huge houses will,” he said.

Adam Hesse, Aston Mead DirectorWhen you have chosen your wreck and done the main work Adam Hesse, Director at Aston Mead estate agents in Surrey and Berkshire says that it is crucial to be neutral with the décor if your plan is to sell.

“Often newbie or small time developers make the mistake of doing a house up as they would like it, instead of refurbishing for the mass market,” he said. “That means playing safe – so no farmhouse kitchens, garish bathrooms or anything chintzy. The best bet is to visit a new homes ‘show home’ in the area, and look at how they are finished.”

For sale: 

1. This one bedroom garden flat in Brighton needs some TLC but could be a beautiful seaside home.

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2. For £6.25m you might expect an immaculate home, but property in St John’s Wood, north London, doesn’t come cheap whatever its condition and this six bedroom house is on a particularly grand, tree lined street.

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3. At the other end of the spectrum this run down one bedroom cottage in Gainsborough, Lincolnshire, is available at £25,000.

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4. If you fancy country living, here is a gorgeous but dated Derbyshire farmhouse with masses of potential to extend into its range of outbuildings.

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5. This cute but somewhat overgrown cottage near the glories of Bodmin Moor, Cornwall, comes with 30 acres of land and outbuildings.

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6. A buyer with vision could work wonders on this potentially lovely Lincolnshire farmhouse.

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7. This Dorchester cottage needs a lot of work but comes with permission to extend, which is the swiftest way to add value to an investment.

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August 6, 2014 at 11:46 AM Leave a comment

Plans for new orbital railway to connect London’s Zone 3 suburbs

New Malden, Barking and Harringay are all being included in plans for a new high speed orbital railway connecting London’s zone three suburbs, it has been revealed.

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London mayor Boris Johnson revealed the scheme in his London Infrastructure 2050 plan and predicted more people moving to the east of the capital, suggesting that Barking would become “the next Piccadilly Circus within 100 years time”.

He said about £200bn of spending on transport infrastructure alone would be needed in the capital by 2050 to keep the city moving.

It follows the success of the London Underground, which has helped regenerate areas. But where the Overground connects zone two, the orbital railway will link suburbs in zones three and four – even zone five.

Mr Johnson launched his plan, describing it as “a real wake-up call to the stark needs that face London over the next half century”.

He said: “Without a long-term plan for investment and the political will to implement it, this city will falter. Londoners need to know they will get the homes, water, energy, schools, transport, digital connectivity and better quality of life that they expect.”

About Barking, he said: “This will be Piccadilly Circus here in 100 years’ time.

“Transport infrastructure makes all the difference to the prospects of a community.”

And he reckons 50,000 new homes will need to be built in the capital to meet the needs of Londoners.

He said: “Population growth is unstoppable. You’ve got to go with the grain of how people want to live their lives.

“If they want to live in the greatest city in the world, there’s no point in trying to fight them off with a pitchfork.”

For sale:

1. Three bedroom semi-detached house in New Malden for £475,000.

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2. Five bedroom end of terrace house in Barking for £460,000.

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3. Three bedroom terrace house in Harringay for £629,950.

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July 31, 2014 at 3:21 PM 1 comment

The most viewed properties on Zoopla in July 2014

Which are the most popular properties in July so far? With asking prices from less than £160,000 to almost £65m and located in a variety of places – from the River Thames to North Yorkshire – here are the most viewed properties on Zoopla.

1. It is a new entry at the top slot this month – a three bedroom luxury apartment in the heart of Royal Greenwich. It includes 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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2. 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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3. This high tech home in Helsby, Frodsham, is flooded with light despite a substantial proportion lying beneath the ground. It boasts keyless doors with fingerprint recognition and natural climate control.

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4. This Grade II listed house is on a tree-lined street in London’s St John’s Wood. It has an asking price of £16,750,000 and provides plenty of space for entertaining with a 131 ft landscaped garden and off street parking for two or three cars.

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5. 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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6. 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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7. 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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8. 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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9. If you would like to live in a modern mansion in the North East, this six bedroom property fits the bill. It boasts high corniced ceilings, sash windows, traditional style marble fireplaces and luxury high quality fittings.

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10. This modern apartment by the River Thames in London has an asking price of £158,750 for a 25 per cent share in a shared ownership scheme. It has two bedrooms, two bathrooms and a roof terrace.

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July 30, 2014 at 9:36 AM Leave a comment

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