Heather Mills house is for rent … or for sale

Just when you thought celebrities were different to us common folk comes the news that they’re just the same – especially when it comes to property.

Its can be tough market at the moment, which means that selling (and buying) can take more time, which in turn means some sellers are rethinking their property decisions. We saw this back in 2008 and 2009 when the market turned. That time around it led to the rise of the accidental landlord – home owners wanted to sell, but ended up becoming landlords because it was easier – and possibly more lucrative to wait out the market before inking their signature on a sale.

Turns out, Heather Mills may be having a similar idea with her Arts & Craft-style home in Robertsbridge, East Sussex, which she bought following her 2007 divorce from Sir Paul McCartney.

 The eight-bedroom home, set on 15 acres of woodland with its own formal gardens, equestrian centre, swimming pool and separate annex, is on the market for £3.9 million through The Country Property Group. But it’s also available to rent for an eye-watering £7995 per calendar month through Savills.

Ms Mills has even left the door open for the new tenants to rent it furnished.

The home is within a mile of Robertsbridge station, which can have you deposited in central London within an hour and 20 minutes. The village itself may look like one of England’s quaintest, but the reality is that this corner of the South East boasts more than a handful of celebrities who call it home – Lisa Marie Presley has a home down the road in East Grinstead, while Davina McCall’s rambling Grade II listed mansion is in Wadhurst.

Not bad for an accidental landlord.

October 20, 2011 at 4:56 PM

Rising Rents: Putting a squeeze on tenants

This is a legacy post from the findaproperty.com blog which is now maintained as an archive within the Zoopla blog. Links have been preserved.

There’s been a lot of talk over the past few weeks about the impact of rising rents on British households. Last week’s Shelter report into renting made for disturbing reading – especially its findings about affordability in relation to private sector housing.

Rising rents are forcing more of us to live in shared rental homes for longer

Now, new figures from the quarterly FindaProperty.com Rental Index are shedding more light on the squeeze as average asking prices of a home to rent climb to their highest level ever.

Here’s the detail: the average monthly rent rose by 1.6% in September, taking the typical asking price of a rental property to £890 per month, the highest price ever recorded by the FindaProperty.com index.

This increase means that a typical renting household can expect to spend almost half, or 46.2%, of its monthly net earnings on accommodation.

As you’d expect, households in London are under massive rental pressure. While the capital has the country’s highest take-home earnings (at £2,721 per household, per month, according to Department of Work and Pensions figures), the typical monthly rent has now passed the £2,000 mark (£2,075), which means the cost of renting now accounts for three quarters of average monthly net earnings (76.3%).

The most affordable place for renters is Yorkshire and the Humber where average asking rents now accounting for 35.3% of average household net earnings. Wages in the region are 39.1% lower than in the capital, but this is more than offset by the country’s best value rental accommodation – the average rental property is on the market for £584 per month.

These increases are alarming. But they point to a wider problem in the housing market and are being directly impacted by a bottleneck in the first-time buyers’ market, which is having a knock-on effect on all other levels of the property ladder who are then “stuck” where they are.

The result is that a place of one’s own is becoming simply unfeasible for a lot of people – young and not so young – and rising rents and curtailed mortgage lending is forcing more of us into shared rental accommodation: a living situation we’re staying in for longer.

The other side of the coin is that landlords are obviously benefitting from a hot rental market – and the latest FindaProperty.com rental index has found the average rental yield rose to 4.9% – the highest ever level across the country in September.

Landlords are also letting their properties faster. At the moment it takes nine days less than it usually has over the past few years for a landlord to find a new tenant, meaning supply is still lagging behind demand, and prices are likely to continue to rise in the near future.

See rental affordablity in your region:

Region Average rental asking price Average monthly wage income* Rent to earnings ratio
London £2,075 £2,721 76.3%
South East England £1,163 £2,343 49.6%
South West England £855 £1,748 48.9%
Wales £628 £1,540 40.8%
West Midlands £668 £1,686 39.6%
North West England £641 £1,640 39.1%
East of England £819 £2,102 39.0%
East Midlands £629 £1,663 37.8%
North East England £587 £1,571 37.4%
Scotland £670 £1,816 36.9%
Yorkshire & The Humber £584 £1,657 35.3%
UK £890 £1,924 46.2%

Read the latest full FindaProperty.com Rental Index: http://blog.findaproperty.com/renting-letting/findapropertycom-rental-index-october

October 20, 2011 at 10:15 AM

The FindaProperty.com Rental Index – October

This is a legacy post from the findaproperty.com blog which is now maintained as an archive within the Zoopla blog. Links have been preserved.

The FindaProperty.com Rental Index is the most up-to-date sample of residential property letting prices. The index monitors changes in letting prices both annually and monthly, providing a comprehensive view on the current state of the property market in England and Wales. Read the October Index.

October 19, 2011 at 1:00 AM Leave a comment

Wootton Bassett gains Royal Status

This is a legacy post from the findaproperty.com blog which is now maintained as an archive within the Zoopla blog. Links have been preserved.

Royal Wootton Bassett has joined a select group of towns to be given royal status after the town was renamed this week during a ceremony led by Princess Anne.

The role of Wootton Bassett in the repatriation of British military personnel killed in war has made this small market town famous in both the UK and abroad and the Queen decided to rename the town by Letter Patent to Royal Wootton Bassett following a petition by the Prime Minister, David Cameron.

It has been 85 years since a town was last given the royal prefix, when George V confirmed its right to use the title in 1927, but the list of towns with a regal prefix is in fact short – a handful of towns are also officially royal. These are (in date order): Windsor (13th century), Leamington Spa (1838), Tunbridge Wells (1901), Kingston upon Thames (1927), and now Wootton Bassett. Two London boroughs are also royal (Kensington and Chelsea, Greenwich) and one county (Berkshire).

As well as new roadsigns, Royal Wootton Bassett will have a new coat of arms.

Want to move to the town and join in the celebrations? Then for the latest properties for sale in Royal Wootton Bassett, take a look on FindaProperty.com

October 16, 2011 at 3:09 PM Leave a comment

Live in Hackney – Queensbridge Quarter’s take on mixed tenure housing

This is a legacy post from the findaproperty.com blog which is now maintained as an archive within the Zoopla blog. Links have been preserved.

It’s not often we come across a new build four-bedroom terrace house within a half hour commute of the City, but after visiting Queensbridge Quarter in East London’s Dalston, it wasn’t the only surprise we walked away with.

The project is the work of developers United House, who are also in the social housing business – and their expertise in this field shows.

Queensbridge Quarter – a striking modern development close to the uber trendy London Fields and five minutes to the new Dalston Junction overground station - is designed by architects Levitt Bernstein and has already won a swag of awards, including a RIBA gong for Housing Design.

Developed in conjunction with Hackney Borough, the project is part of the Holly Street Estate regeneration plan and has a strong social and environmental focus. The first phase was completed in 2008 and has a slightly higher proportion of social housing tenants than the second phase – built on the site of a tower block that was part of the Holly Street Estate – and now for sale.

The low-rise development is not only an interesting mix of social and private housing, but it’s also an unusual combination of flats, penthouses and terraced homes. The second phase includes 76 residences, made up of 54 one and two bedroom flats or penthouses and 22 three and four bedroom homes – each with their own gardens – something you don’t see very often in central London new builds and which gives the development an old-fashioned community feel.

United House sales and marketing director Antony Crovella says the social housing aspect of Queensbridge Quarter is key to the ethos of the development.

“It’s because we’ve got the tenure mix right rather than just dumping 150 residents into a new building. Some of the people who moved into phase one had lived here for years, others for generations. We feel like we’re helping to lift Holly Street through the mix of tenures – it wouldn’t work with totally private or totally social housing.”

Crovella says the private homes (there’s a higher proportion of them in phase two compared to phase one) are selling well.  The homes are very high spec: there are Bosch appliances, double glazed windows and the architects haven’t skimped on space (the four bedroom homes have a second reception room upstairs). Also, they’re not being sold as shells so you’ll get flooring and finishes without having to pick a pricey package. The penthouses are particularly impressive – we could ogle the Gherkin from the one we viewed.

So who’s buying?

Crovella says it’s a local market. “We’re getting a lot of people trading up to homes who are already living in Hackney but need more space for growing families.”

He says the properties are slightly more expensive than the market, which has kept buy-to-let investors at bay, but the style appeals to the professional, creative first-time buyers who are swarming into Dalston attracted by the cultural buzz, proximity to the city and new East London line (Dalston Junction is a five minute walk away).

And Crovella says they’re selling fast – so you’d be advised to get your skates on if you’re interested as there are only a couple of dozen properties left unsold.

One bedroom flats start at £275,000, two bedroom flats at £350,000, three bedroom townhouses at £490,000 and four bedroom townhouses at £600,000.

October 13, 2011 at 5:01 PM Leave a comment

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