Renting blog: Can tenants love thy neighbour, asks Jeannie

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 one thing homeowners dread –living next door to tenants. Because they don’t own their property there’s this misconception that people who rent don’t care about maintenance, noise levels or being on friendly terms with their neighbours as they’re not committed to any permanence in the ‘hood.

With this in mind I’ve tried to be a good tenant-neighbour. I chat to the people living behind us about the weather when they see me get home from work (they even gave me a barbecue they didn’t want anymore), I try to keep the outside of our house clean and tidy – I’ve planted pansies in the window box after admiring the roses in the garden on the left of us and for the most part adhere to the 10.30pm noise curfew, shushing friends after a late-night dinner party.

Occasionally there have been a few lapses. We’ve had complaints for being too loud outdoors, letters through the door about putting the wrong refuse in the recycling bin and, of course, the issue of parking where we’re not supposed to.

So I was rather anxious when approaching the house one Friday night to hear music blaring, the front door open and a lot of noise on the patio. My housemate had decided to have party. Oh dear, I thought, we’ll be getting another note in our letterbox in the morning.

To my surprise, who should I find in the living room, but the people living next door! It seems my housemate had taken good neighbourly relations a step further than I had.

Now let’s just hope those nice people behind us don’t have reason to complain – I might just have to invite them round for a barbecue…

July 29, 2011 at 9:39 AM 1 comment

Zoopla launch heatmaps of UK property values

Heatmap of UK property values

We’ve just launched a very exciting new and unique way to look at UK property values on Zoopla.co.uk.

Welcome to our property heatmaps which show the average current property value of homes across the UK in a clear and easy to visualise format. The new heatmaps can be found on all maps across the Zoopla website and can be viewed at varying zoom levels down to individual postcodes.

In addition to the new heatmaps on the property market overview pages, we have also added a variety of other valuable local property information that provides an essential research tool for potential house hunters. This data is located on the ‘market overview’ pages of  Zoopla.co.uk. These newly launched stats include (for any geographic area):

  • the number of properties on the market
  • average asking prices – property for sale and to rent
  • the average size of properties in the area
  • the average price per square foot

We feel that the addition of heatmaps to our site allows our users to easily visualise the relative property values in any area of the country. Together with the unique market data we are now making available, this is all part of our mission to empower our users with the information they need to make the right property decisions and to become the most useful property resource in the UK.

So, if you like them why not click the buttons at the bottom of the post or leave a comment and let us know what you think.

How the heatmaps work

To generate our heatmaps, we use our current value estimates to generate a color gradient overlay. In this color overlay, different colors correspond to the different average property values in each geographic area. Higher value areas tend towards red, and lower value areas tend towards blue. The value scale is dynamic and relative: Red in one locality may not have the same value as red in another locality, but on any given map, red is always higher value than blue. By making the scale dynamic, we make it easier to see the variation that exists within any locality. If we didn’t do this, West London would be red, and the rest of the country subtle shades of blue – clearly not very useful! To determine which colours correspond to which values, you can consult the value pin markers displayed on the map. The value pins show the average value for that specific location, and contain links to the market overview pages for those specific localities.

Heatmap of London property values

London Heatmap (click image to zoom)

Heatmap of Glasgow property values

Glasgow Heatmap (click to zoom)

Heatmap of Manchester property values

Manchester Heatmap (click to zoom)

Heatmap of Birmingham property values

Birmingham heatmap (click to zoom)

Heatmap of Bristol property values

Bristol Heatmap (click to zoom)

Heatmap of Nottingham property values

Nottingham Heatmap (click to zoom)

Heatmap of Liverpool property values

Liverpool Heatmap (click to zoom)

Heatmap of Leeds property values

Leeds Heatmap (click to zoom)

Heatmap of Sheffield property values

Sheffield Heatmap (click to zoom)

Heatmap of Edinburgh property values

Edinburgh Heatmap (click to zoom)

Heatmap of Cardiff property values

Cardiff Heatmap (click to zoom)

As always, please feel free to share and use this information, all we ask is that you credit the source as Zoopla.co.uk and link to Zoopla.co.uk. Thank you.

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July 29, 2011 at 9:18 AM 5 comments

First-time buyer blog: Is there an art to making an offer, asks Emma?

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.

My boyfriend and I have now been looking for our first home since the end of May. We have had a couple of weekends off, so all in all we have spent seven Saturday’s looking.

As we have gained more experience we are now a bit more selective. The first three or four weeks we looked at anything and everything. This really helped us decide on what we would and wouldn’t compromise on. It also gave us a good idea on how prices vary. For example, we will compromise on walking straight into the living room but won’t compromise on having the bathroom downstairs.

When we found a property we both liked, we booked a second viewing for later that week. The second viewing is a completely different experience. It’s all very practical, rather than the initial “oooh, what a lovely house”. Having a better look at the walls, floors, ceilings, the roofspace and the condition of the exterior.

We still liked the house, and agreed to make an offer. We had done a lot of research on selling prices of similar houses in the area, as well as on the same street.

On the day of making our first offer I actually felt quite nervous. Our initial offer was low, and to be completely honest I would have been very surprised indeed if it was accepted. Turns out, it wasn’t. So if I knew in the back of my mind that our offer wasn’t going to be expected, why did I feel so disappointed? We gave it more thought, and upped our offer. Rejected again. Oh.

We were entering into the unknown. I felt nervous, and didn’t particularly enjoy this negotiation stage (or rather, lack of it). Two weeks on and we are still not in any negotiation with the vendors.  In the meantime, we are continuing to look at other properties on the market.

To be continued….!

July 28, 2011 at 10:45 AM Leave a comment

TV’s newest property show: All aboard the house hunting bus

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.

So far this year we’ve had Caroline Quentin saving country manors in Restoration Home; Sarah Beeny being dramatic in Help! My House is Falling Down; Mary Portas taking a pop at estate agents in Secret Shopper; and Kirstie and Phil trading property details for swimming togs in Vacation, Vacation, Vacation.

All aboard the property bus: First stop home ownership

Now it seems ITV is readying itself to climb aboard the TV property bandwagon with a new offering – intriguingly named Drive to Buy.

As far as we can tell, the concept is a kind of Amazing Race meets Escape to the Country hybrid and, to be fair, it’s a new one on us.

Essentially the programme  features four pairs of house hunters in a bus driving around various bits of the UK and looking at three homes for sale at discounted prices.

The house hunters are all looking for similar properties at similar prices and the competition part of the show comes down to the fact that each pair can make just one official bid on one of the properties. The sting in the tail is that offers can only be made immediately after viewing the property and before the bus drives away from the home – after which the property goes “off the market”.

Unfortunately the identity of the host is still top secret, although we think Jonnie Irwin or Jasmine Harman would look great in a bus driver’s hat.

While we wait to find out who’ll be collecting the fares on the Drive to Buy bus, house hunters keen to test their property poker faces against home buying rivals can now apply to take part in the show.

Applicants need to be in a position to buy a property from August this year and should contact production company Renegade Pictures for more information and an application form by emailing drivetobuy@renegadepictures.co.uk  or calling 020 7449 3298.

July 27, 2011 at 4:37 PM Leave a comment

What’s happening to Olympic area property values?

Olympic Stadium CGI

With one year to go till the London 2012 Olympics, we’ve looked into how property values have performed since London won the title as host city for the games.

There’s no doubt that the redevelopment to a number of areas across the UK as a result of the Olympics has had a positive impact on property prices. Much of the focus to date has been on East London but there are many other areas benefitting from the investment and attention of the Olympics.

Key findings:

  • Property prices around Olympic sites up 11.9% since Games announced
  • Outstripping average UK house price growth of 7.2% over same period
  • London’s Olympic venues underperform overall strong growth in capital
  • £30.8bn added to residential property values around Olympics sites

Property prices in close proximity to the UK Olympic venues have recorded an 11.9% increase since the Games were awarded to London in July 2005, outstripping the UK average of 7.2% over the same period, according to our data.

Over £30bn has been added to the total value of residential properties located in close proximity to the UK Olympic sites since the announcement, with £6.4bn in added-value to house prices in East London alone. The budget for delivering the Olympics is currently on target at £9.3bn with exactly one year to go.

Outside London, properties nearby seven of the ten major Olympic venues have recorded noticeably higher price growth than the surrounding areas. In Lee Valley, Hertfordshire where the White Water Centre has been developed for canoeing events, house prices have risen 12% since the announcement compared to 7.2% growth on average in the region. And in Eton Dorney, where the rowing facility has been upgraded to accommodate the Olympics, average home values have risen 14.3% compared to the regional average of 8.2%.

However, in London property values in direct proximity to the Olympic venues have underperformed having risen 18.9% since the games were awarded compared to overall house price growth of 27.2% in the capital since July 2005.

The underperformance of the London venues says far less about the Olympics than it does about the overall London property market which has outperformed the rest of the UK by a wide margin in the last few years. And it is unlikely that property in East London would have seen anything like the value growth it has recorded without the Olympics.

Change in property values in Olympic areas since July 2005 (%)

Olympic Area All Areas
Inside London 18.9% 27.2%
Outside London 7.8% 5.1%
All UK 11.9% 7.2%

Source: Zoopla.co.uk

Change in property values in Olympic areas outside London (%)

Venue Olympic Area Region
Millennium Stadium, CA1 11.00% 0.80%
City of Coventry Stadium, CV5 2.00% -2.00%
Brands Hatch, DA3 9.60% 7.20%
Weymouth & Portland 6.80% 6.30%
Lee Valley, EN9 12.00% 7.20%
Hampden Park, G42 11.10% 17.90%
Hampton Court Palace, KT8 16.70% 7.20%
Old Trafford, M16 2.90% -1.50%
Eton Dorney, SL4 14.30% 7.20%
Hadleigh Farm, SS7 3.90% 8.20%

Source: Zoopla.co.uk

As always, please feel free to share and use this information, all we ask is that you credit the source as Zoopla.co.uk and link to Zoopla.co.uk. Thank you.

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July 27, 2011 at 10:02 AM Leave a comment

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