British parents anticipate typically spending £180 on back-to-school costs

Money Advice Service

The majority of parents with children aged between four and 11 expect to spend just under £200, although one in 10 will outlay more than £900, writes the Money Advice Service.

With the new school year looming, it’s time to start thinking about essentials like books, uniforms and stationery that you can bank on having to pay for. Money Advice Service research reveals 21 per cent of parents intend to dip into their savings, while 26 per cent say they’ll rely on some form of credit to cover the costs, such as credit cards or an overdraft.

Many parents will have experienced back-to-school spending in previous years, with mixed results. One in six admitted they had overspent in the past, while more than two in five said they expected to blow their budget again this year.


 Find properties for sale near your child’s school on the Zoopla website. Simply type the name of the school into the Zoopla search box.


With 17 per cent of parents having admitting to being worried about what it costs to send their children back to school in the past, it makes sense to take steps to avoid any undue stress. Here are five that could help:

  1. List all the back-to-school essentials you need to buy, with a cost against each. Involve your child in the process so they can see how much you’re spending. With luck they’ll appreciate what you are spending on them and will take care of the items.
  2. Use the old school network. You don’t have to buy new, especially when it comes to uniforms your child will soon grow out of. The school may have a parents’ club where you can swap or buy trousers, shoes or jumpers for a fraction of what you’d spend at a major retailer.
  3. Keep your eyes peeled for special offers, sales and discount vouchers (which may be advertised or included in local newspapers or on junk mail).
  4. Raid your drawers for items of stationery your child will need when they return to school. There is no point in spending a small fortune on the high street when you have plenty of erasers, pens, pencils and writing pads lurking in cupboards at home.
  5. Start buying early. You may be able to pick up some items before they are sold out and you’re left paying more via the official school uniform provider. Retailers also tend to increase prices as term time draws near, so it pays to plan ahead.

Beyond the back to school shopping spree, it’s also a good time to check your home insurance policy to see if the contents of your child’s school bag are covered.

Research by the Money Advice Service found the average pupil to be carrying £122 worth of gadgets in their school bag, with smartphones most common but also including music players, tablets and calculators.

School bag insurance infographic

Don’t presume your home insurance policy will cover these items as standard – 40 per cent of parents found their child’s gadgets were not covered. If your policy doesn’t, find one that will or ask your current policy provider to quote you for this additional cover.

August 18, 2014 at 11:00 AM Leave a comment

Which ‘property porn addict’ are you?

With property browsing almost seemingly a national sport, online estate agent eMoov has characterized five property personalities. Which one are you?

15.08.14 property

Do you find yourself looking at Zoopla for incredibly expensive property that you can only dream of affording? Or do you only look at homes that you can realistically afford?

It all depends on what type of property search personality you are, according to new research by eMoov.

It identified five personalities, including the ‘delusional dreamer’, the ‘aspirational architect’, the ‘nosey neighbour’, the ‘price prophet’ and the ‘enthusiastic explorer’.

            1. The Delusional Dreamer

                2. The Aspirational Architect

       3. The Nosey Neighbour

4. The Price Prophet

               5. The Enthusiastic Explorer

So if you are a daydreamer at heart, prone to drifting off and think about other things – especially those things that are in some way unobtainable, such as out of reach property prices – you’ll fall into the delusional dreamer category, says eMoov.

It means you like escaping to a different time and place, and tend to be grand in nature, usually seeking high value properties with pools, tennis courts and a helipad.

However, if you only look at properties you can realistically afford in a few years, then you’re a so-called aspirational architect, eMoov suggests.

The aspirational architect is an organizer and likes structure in their life. They’re logistical thinkers and always have a plan of action in whatever they do.

They’re also ambitious, driven individuals who are always striving to get ahead.

They tend to go for minimalistic properties that are the epitome of clean and tidy and are so architecturally beautiful they’re worthy of being featured on Grand Designs.

But if you regularly check the value of properties in your area, then you’ll be a nosey neighbour, eMoov says.


Check the current value of your property – or your neighbour’s – at Zoopla. Click on the ‘current values’ tab at the top of the Zoopla home page.


Nosey neighbours are more concerned with how others perceive them and their material surroundings, and so they do all they can to keep up with the Joneses.

They care about the community, know their neighbours well and perhaps even lead the local Residents Association.

They also tend to be quite competitive and are never quite satisfied or content with their own lot in life.

Insecurity plays a big factor with these individuals, so making sure that are not missing out on a bigger garden, extra bedroom or latest home design innovation is of the utmost importance to them.

Meanwhile, those who constantly recalculate the value of their property are defined by eMoov as price prophets.

These investors are always in touch with trends and financially savvy. They’re realistic, conscientious and a little obsessive about looking at property online.

Personality wise, they are spreadsheet sifters, forever knowing where their investments are successful and where they need to improve on their return – especially when it comes to property equity.

They purchase houses, but do not always make them homes, but investments instead.

And finally, there is the enthusiastic explorer, who always checks to see where they can move now with a dramatically different location at the same cost.

They spent their time researching faraway places that are not always practical. Explorers don’t tend to live within their means and are always planning their next adventure in the property market.

Which property search personality are you?

August 15, 2014 at 3:42 PM Leave a comment

London’s ‘floating village’ to include right to extend homes

Plans for a ‘floating village’ in London will include the right for homeowners to extend their properties, it has been revealed.

15.08.14 Float 3

The village in London’s Royal Docks was announced by the Mayor Boris Johnson earlier this year, with the aim of transforming the 15 acres of water with homes, restaurants and bars.

And today, the Mayor’s office exclusively told Zoopla that anyone who buys a property on the site will be able to apply to the borough for planning permission.

“Homeowners would have to apply to the borough for planning permission as per normal procedures when people want to build extensions,” a spokesman for the Mayor’s office said.

15.08.14 Float 2With the city running out of places to live, the project is seen as a welcome addition to the capital, with London’s Mayor Boris Johnson describing it as having ‘the potential to become one of the most sought after addresses in the capital”.

A total of 50 homes are expected to be built, with their bases being constructed off-site and then transported by water into place – the planning application for which will be submitted to Newham Council in the spring next year.

A floating walkway will lead back to land, where the city plans a much larger development with tens of thousands of homes.

In the past, the Royal Docks have serviced hundreds of cargo and passenger ships each day. But they have not been in use for several decades and so it is hoped that the floating village will restore London’s docklands to their former glory.

15.08.14 Float 4

August 15, 2014 at 2:01 PM Leave a comment

Homes close to Premier League football stadiums see prices rise almost £200K in a decade

Homes close to Premier League football stadiums have seen their prices soar by more than twice the national average during the past 10 years, figures showed today.

Football 2

The typical price of a property in the same postal district as a Premier League football ground has surged by 129 per cent in the past decade, more than double the price growth of 55 per cent seen across England and Wales as a whole during the same period.

The strong price growth has left the average home close to a major football team costing £329,520 – a third higher than the national average of £249,601, according to mortgage lender Halifax.

The group said properties close to Premier League football grounds had increased by more than £185,000 since 2004 – the equivalent of a gain of £386 a week.

Manchester City leads the Premier League property table, with the price of homes close to Etihad Stadium soaring by 150 per cent during the past 10 years, although at a typical cost of just £98,178, values are still well below the national average.

Homes around Hull City’s KC Stadium have seen the second strongest gain of 123 per cent, pushing the average property’s value up to £72,535, with Chelsea coming in third place, with house prices around Stamford Bridge jumping by 121 per cent.

But not all Premier League stadiums have proved to be winners for house prices.

Newcastle United finished bottom of the house price league table, with property values close to its home ground dropping by 22 per cent during the period, making it the only Premier League team to see house price falls in its district.

Unsurprisingly, given its London location, Stamford Bridge is the most expensive Premier League ground to buy a home near, with typical prices of £959,522.

The cost of a property near Chelsea’s ground is more than 15 times more expensive than a house close to Liverpool and Everton football clubs, which average just £62,416, making them the Premier League’s cheapest properties.

Craig McKinlayCraig McKinlay, mortgage director at Halifax said: “With the Premier League hailed by many as the best in the world, for many clubs some of this success also seems to have rubbed off on the surrounding areas.

“There is no rule governing why some areas have seen greater price rises than others.

“Some areas – but not all – have benefitted from clubs moving to a new stadium and all the infrastructure improvements which are associated with this.”

Meanwhile, research by Nationwide Building Society found that based on the performance during the past year, Tottenham Hotspur would top the house price Premier League.

Property values around White Hart Lane have risen by 32 per cent in the 12 months to the end of June to average £513,435.

Chelsea and Queens Park Rangers would tie for second place with house price growth of 27 per cent, followed by Arsenal with a 23 per centgain.

But Newcastle United, Burnley and Hull City would all be relegated based on the performance of their surrounding property markets.

Newcastle saw house price growth of just 3 per cent during the year, while in Burnley prices edged ahead by 2 per cent and in Hull there was no change at all.

August 14, 2014 at 11:59 AM Leave a comment

Stronger house price rises expected outside of London

The housing market paused for breath during July as demand from potential buyers ‘flatlined’, research showed today.

First time buyer 3

The number of people looking to buy a property fell slightly during the month, the first decline seen since January 2013, according to the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors.

At the same time, the supply of new homes coming on to the market increased for the second month in a row.

The rebalancing between supply and demand led to a slowdown in house price growth, with a balance of 49 per cent of surveyors saying the average cost of a home increased during July, down from a balance of 52 per cent in June and 56 per cent in May.

The change in market dynamics was most pronounced in London, where new enquiries from potential buyers fell at their fastest rate since April 2008, while a balance of just 10 per cent of surveyors reported an increase in prices, down from 30 per cent in June.

Simon RubinsohnSimon Rubinsohn, RICS chief economist, said: “A range of policy initiatives adopted by the Bank of England in recent months alongside heightened expectations surrounding a turn in the interest rate cycle has clearly had an impact on sentiment in the market.

“The shift in the mood music among potential buyers in the London market has been particularly pronounced, but that is in a sense consistent with the move to a more sustainable market in the capital.

“Elsewhere around the country, the market in general is showing a greater degree of resilience, but that largely reflects the fact that in some areas the recovery has only recently taken hold and affordability is rather less stretched.”

He added that it was unclear if the current market conditions represented a pause for breath or a genuine turning point in the market.

Despite adopting a more cautious tome, chartered surveyors still expect house prices to rise during the year, although their predictions have moderated to a 2.6 per cent increase in values during the coming 12 months, compared with a 4 per cent one at the start of the year.

Significantly price gains are now expected to be stronger outside of the London, as the recovery in the capital continues to ripple out across the rest of the country.

The increase in properties coming on to the market helped to boost sales levels, with the average chartered surveyor estate agent selling 24.6 homes during the month, up from 21.1 at the start of the year.

The RICS figures were supported by ones from e.surv, which found that 66,279 mortgages were approved for house purchase during July, the highest number for that month since the financial crisis struck.

The group added that high loan-to-value lending was continuing to drive the market, with high loan-to-value loans accounting for a fifth of the total mortgages agreed for house purchase.

But it warned that the availability of affordable housing was continuing to decline, with only around 13,256 mortgages agreed on properties worth £125,000 or less – 13 per cent less than a year ago.

Despite the strong sales levels, the RICS data adds to growing evidence that the housing market is beginning to slow down naturally, as potential buyers become more cautious in the face of potential interest rate rises, while more homeowners are coming to the market, eager to cash in on recent price gains.

The house price boom seen during the past year has left the average cost of a British home standing at £263,705, according to Zoopla.

August 14, 2014 at 7:00 AM Leave a comment

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