Britain’s oldest and newest homes #3: Wales

Moving on in our series and we continue our look at the oldest inhabited home in Wales, compared with one of the newest from developer Barratt Homes.

OLDEST: Hafod-Y-Garreg – built: 1402

There’s a powerful atmosphere surrounding Hafod-Y-Garreg in Powys – Wales’ oldest home. Steeped in original features like its magnificent ornate medieval cruck frame and a glorious inglenook fireplace (added around 1550) which dominates the living room; you are left in no doubt as to the age of the place.

Inside Wales's oldest home

Inside Hafod-Y-Garreg, Wales' oldest home

This Grade II listed medieval house began its life as a hunting lodge for royalty, miraculously surviving the turbulent times at the turn of the 13th century which resulted in the destruction of all the neighbouring properties.

Built in the popular medieval ‘hall house’ style consisting of two main sections: the buttery (for storing and preparing food) and the parlour (or ‘conversation room’) you can imagine the minstrels playing their fiddles as the fire crackled and the smell of a hog roast filled the room.

These days Hafod Y Garreg is no longer the hunting lodge it once was, but instead is now a warm and welcoming guest house, allowing city slickers the chance to get away from it all and enjoy the fresh air of the countryside.

The rich fabrics, suitably old oak furniture and dripping wax candles adorning the interior work together to bring out the age of this property, which history lovers will adore.

NEWEST: Burrium Gate & Chase development – built: 2009

If living firmly in the 21st century is more your cup of tea, then Burrium Gate & Chase in South Wales could be for you. Built by developer Barratt Homes, Burrium Gate is located a convenient distance from the hustle and bustle of the big city, in the heart of the Usk Valley.

Picture of Barratt's Burrium Gate & Chase development in Wales

Developer Barratt's Burrium Gate & Chase development in Wales

Modern building techniques abound in these properties, which benefit from double glazing and energy efficient heating systems, as well as a 10 year warranty from the National House-Building Council (NHBC).

The irregular proportions of some historic homes can be cramped and difficullt to find furniture that fit in;  not a problem encountered within these new homes in South Wales which are spacious and sympathetic to the demands of modern living. In fact, most of the 28 luxurious home styles include at least one en-suite bathroom.

The development also has also the endorsement of Channel 4’s resident property expert, Phil Spencer, who as on hand to advise potential buyers at the development recently. He explained that Usk – one of the most expensive areas in Wales – was in demand because people were attracted by the picturesque settings and good shops, pubs, restaurants and schools.

For further details on property for sale at this development, or other developments in Wales visit the Barratt Homes website.

May 7, 2010 at 3:17 PM Leave a comment

Downing Street property price: How the other UK Downing Streets compare

We recently put a value on the Official Downing Street digs of £4.5m and worked out that, since Gordon Brown took up residence, the value has dropped by £462,420 during his occupancy. We also worked out that under the tenures of Brown and Major the value  reduced versus growth under Blair and Thatcher.

We then became a little curious, as we’re prone to, and searched for any other Downing Streets in the UK. Our search produced 13 other Downing Streets. So here’s how 10 of them stack up, in terms of average values, against the official digs on Downing Street (SW1A).

The nearest, in terms of value, is Downing Street in Farnham (£255,611), however average values are still some £4,244,389 off that of Downing Street, London, SW1A.

Average property values in Downing Streets across Britain

Location Average Value (Apr ’10)
Official DigsDowning Street, London, SW1A £4,500,000
Downing Street, Farnham, GU9 £255,611
Downing Street, Chippenham, SN14 £144,845
Downing Street, Halesowen, B63 £113,052
Downing Street, Ashton-Under-Lyne, OL7 £94,159
Downing Street, Llanelli, SA15 £86,612
Downing Street, Alfreton, DE55 £87,104
Downing Street, Newport, NP19 £78,565
Downing Street, Nottingham, NG6 £77,384
Downing Street, Preston, PR1 £62,409
Downing Street, Sutton-In-Ashfield, NG17 £50,853


April 26, 2010 at 1:36 PM Leave a comment

Five to View: energy efficient homes

Yesterday, April 22, was Earth Day.  If you’re not familiar with it, Earth Day is designed to raise awareness of energy issues such as green building, organic agriculture and responsible environmental practices, and is celebrated in almost 200 countries across the globe.

This year marks the 40 th year of Earth Day, so we thought we’d honour the occasion by focusing on energy efficient houses and highlighting their green credentials.

And, as demonstrated perfectly by our Welsh example, eco-friendly houses needn’t cost the earth – literally or figuratively.

(Click on pics for more images & full property details)

1. Purley, Surrey. Price: £2,490,000

Green credentials: climate control under floor heating; central vacuum system; solar panels augmenting the heating and hot water systems.

2. Sturminster Newton, Dorset. Price: £1,050,000

Green credentials: Heating system through an ecologically friendly soil heat pump which uses renewable energy and has no local greenhouse gas emissions; excellent use of natural light; under floor heating.

3. South Hams, Devon. Price: £895,000

Green credentials: Geo-thermal heat pump system for hot water and under floor heating; garden room uses a woodburner on a slate hearth.

4. West Chiltington, West Sussex. Price: £795,000

Green credentials: Timber clad elevations and triple glazed hardwood framed windows provide a high level of insulation, making it exceptionally energy efficient.

5. Llanwrda, Wales. Price: £275,000

Green credentials: Built to exacting Ecohome standards with Biotech wood pellet boiler; solar panels; excellent insulation; Argon filled double glazing; low energy consumption lighting.

April 23, 2010 at 4:16 PM 4 comments

Zoopla Helps: How to display house prices on your website

Keeping up-to-date with the latest house prices in a desired area is essential for all house-hunters, but knowing how prices have changed over the last few months is invaluable and for rental tenants, determining current rental prices of same size properties forms the first step of the property search process.

After lots of hard work we now offer this sought-after house price information to website owners in the form of a shiny new widget!

The House Price Widget displays asking price data for both flats and houses in any UK town or county, plus you can select either a sales or rental widget, which integrates simply into any website.

What’s more, the widget presents asking price changes for the last 90 days in both graph and tabular formats. The graph has been especially designed to be easy to read at a glance and features clickable data points, so the user can find out precisely how much the average asking price of a flat or house was in that area on a specific date.

Houses Ave. Price % Change
Flats Ave. Price % Change
90 days average house prices

Houses for Sale

Berkshire Rental Prices
Houses Ave. Price % Change
Flats Ave. Price % Change
90 days average rental prices

Homes to Rent

The average asking price data is drawn from the extensive database of properties listed on – the widget takes a daily snapshot of the prices at which properties are advertised on the website for the last 90 days and then plots them on the graph.

How much does it cost?

The widget is completely free.

How do add it to my site?

All you need is the HTML code to paste into your web page, which we will send to you.

The benefits

Be it for a blog or website, we believe our widget brings an informative, entertaining and visual element to your user experience.

House prices remain one of the British public’s favourite topics of conversation and our house price widget will enable your users to track asking prices in their local area. If students or other tenant groups are your main users, you can track rental prices independently.

Our development team have ensured that the house price widget, which bears the well-known logo, is quickly updated automatically every 24 hours, so all you need to do is install the code once!

Request the House Price Widget

April 22, 2010 at 5:30 PM 4 comments

Downing Street residences drop £462,420 to £4.5m under Brown

10 Downing Street is one of the most exclusive addresses in the country, with a valuation to match. It is more than likely that Number 10 is one of the few properties that will never come on to the property market and it takes millions of votes to secure the keys. Messrs Cameron and Clegg clearly have a struggle on their hands to wrestle those keys from Mr Brown who has been a Downing Street resident for twelve years now and will be very reluctant to call in the removal men.

So, with just over two weeks to go, the race is on amongst the party leaders to get their hands on a piece of prime real estate in the heart of London (SW1A) which we value at £4.5m. It’s worth noting that this figure is only for the official residential digs in Downing Street – which consists of 3,800 sq ft. Yes, surprisingly small.

Here are some other interesting facts relating to the official residences on Downing Street:

  • Winner will enjoy rent-free living which would otherwise run to £4,250 per week
  • Value of PM’s residence has dropped by £462,420 during Brown’s occupancy
  • Under Blair, Downing Street residence grew in value by avg. of over £335k p.a.
  • Brown and Major tenures reduced value versus growth under Blair and Thatcher
  • Stamp Duty  bill (if on open market) would be a whopping £225k (5% from April 2011)

In light of the current deficit the next Chancellor may be well advised to think about selling up and moving his boss’ official residence to one of the other Downing Streets across Britain. The most cost-effective move for taxpayers would be to Downing Street in Sutton-In-Ashfield where the average property costs £50,853. Alternatively, if commuting to Westminster is essential for the PM, a move to Downing Street in Farnham, Surrey, where the average property price is £253,528 would help pay down more than £4m of the budget deficit.

If there is a change in leadership over the next few weeks, Gordon Brown is likely to drop quite a few rungs on the property ladder as house prices in his own constituency of Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath are amongst the lowest in the land at an average of £120,910 versus his current address in SW1 where average house prices are £920,361.

Cameron and Clegg will both be keen to upgrade to SW1 from their own constituencies where current values are £289,686 and £219,136 respectively.

Changes in value of official residential digs at 10 Downing Street, SW1A

Leader Arrival Value Departure Value Value  change Years in office Av. change p.a
Brown Years £5,037,251 £4,574,831 -£462,420 2.9 -£165,150
Blair Years £1,644,558 £5,037,251 £3,392,693 10.10 £335,910
Major Years £1,804,952 £1,644,558 -£160,394 6.5 -£24,676
Thatcher years £692,602 £1,804,952 £1,112,350 11.6 £96,726


Take a look at our recent post on how the leaders, constituencies and parties perform from a property perspective.

Please feel free to share and use these figures; all we ask is that you credit the source as the and if possible link to

April 21, 2010 at 1:48 PM 1 comment

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