House and Property Prices: How to make sense of different House Price Indices.

Every week a shiny new house price statistic is thrust upon us and every week it’s different, totally confusing and utterly meaningless to the specific value of your home.

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The main issue is that each index measures different data, making it impossible to draw comparisons:

  • Halifax and Nationwide House Prices Indices are based on the value of mortgages they approve
  • Rightmove focuses on property asking prices listed on their website
  • Hometrack and Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors speak to estate agents
  • Department for Communities and Local Government report reflects the value of mortgage completions
  • Land Registry figures offer a record of all sold prices in England and Wales – arguably the most meaningful, but it’s 4-6 weeks old by the time you’ve read about it

Our main gripe is that the indices are somewhat meaningless in the context of ‘your’ home’s value. House price movements are highly subject to location and national data often has very little to do with what has happened to the value of your property. What the national statistics do is drive ‘sentiment’ and create a self-fulfilling prophecy where agents, valuers, buyers and sellers all make decisions based on the latest stats they may have seen.

Automated (computer-generated) valuations like those provided on Zoopla.co.uk are not influenced by sentiment and simply draw on available data for a given area. Our value estimates are calculated using a proprietary algorithm that analyses millions of data points relating to property sales and home characteristics in local geographic areas. Our estimates are constantly refined, using the most recent data available and a variety of statistical methodologies, in order to provide the most current information on any home.

Doing regular research into what is happening to local property prices allows you to make better-informed property decisions and gives you a clear advantage in the property market. With free value estimates for every UK home on Zoopla.co.uk along with sold prices and hundreds of thousands of properties for sale, it is much easier to get a handle on what is happening to the value of ‘your’ home rather than making decisions based on highly generalised and non-local statistics.

If you’re looking for more reasons to ignore house price statistic, the latest post on The Times’ Money Central blog makes for interesting reading!

We’d love to hear your view on house prices indices, so please post a comment in the box below.

September 17, 2009 at 9:59 AM 1 comment

Five To View: Farms

We have an agricultural theme this week. This, quite simply, is because I have been Farmville-d.

If you haven’t a clue what I’m on about, you are very, very lucky.

Farmville is a seemingly innocent Facebook game, but be warned: it can take over your life. (My name is Jocelyn, and .. sob! … I am a Farmville addict…).

All day, you’ll be plagued by questions like: When will my blueberries be ready? Has my tractor re-fuelled? Fences or hedges? Should I sell my sheep? 

And, most crucially – for me, at any rate – will I ever be able to upgrade my pink cottage to a pink barn conversion?

It’s absolutely incessant.  I’m now planning my lunch hour around when I need to plough and plant.

This obsession has not gone unnoticed by my boss who, in an attempt to wean me off, suggested that this week’s Five to View should feature farms.  Real farms.*

(*None of them are as fabulous as my virtual one, though…)

(Click on pics for full property details)

1. New Barns Farm, Morpeth

£2,200,000 OIEO

new-barns-farm-morpeth

2. Brampton, Cumbria

£995,000 Guide Price

brampton-farm-cumbria

3. Meadowhead Farm, Waterside

£900,000 OIEO

meadowhead-farm-waterside-ayrshire

4. Baltimore, Co. Cork

£750,000

baltimore-farm

5. Greenockdyke Farm, Cumnock

£330,000

greenockdyke-farm-cumnock

Bonus 5. Jocelyn’s Farm, Farmville

£ Priceless

farmville-image

September 11, 2009 at 4:06 PM 1 comment

Meet Mr & Mrs Knowsey – a new breed of nosey neighbour

As a nation, we’ve always been obsessed with the value of our own homes, but as house prices have fallen, we at Zoopla.co.uk have spotted (perhaps even created)  an emerging trend. It seems it’s not only our own property that is under the spotlight, but now  we’re increasingly  monitoring our neighbours’ house values!

We’ve analysed (nosey findings below) hundreds of thousands of property value estimates generated on Zoopla.co.uk, done some clever thinking and worked out where these virtual curtain twitchers reside.

These aren’t your average virtual twitchers. Beware! They’re a new, informed breed. They’re ‘Knowsey’ – they keep tabs on their neighbour’s property values as well as remaining informed by regularly checking their own property value.

What’s the cause of this new national obsession with our neighbours property?

We’re not entirely sure, but perhaps the recession has triggered a kind of “Property Schadenfreude” as homeowners compare neighbours’ house values for reassurance. Or maybe, as consumers, we’re realising that it pays to do research, be ‘knowsey’ and gather as much information as possible on current property values, recent sold house prices and local trends before making any property related property decision?

So what did our own nosiness find?

Britian’s knowsiest neighbours

City Knowsiness Index*
London 146.4
Bristol 99.4
Birmingham 97.8
Leeds 97.1
Bradford 93.2
Edinburgh 89.8
Sheffield 87.5
Cardiff 78.6
Manchester 77.6
Glasgow 74.0
Liverpool 57.5

Britain’s 10 knowsiest streets

Street
Grand Avenue, Camberley, Surrey, GU15
Albert Road, Ashtead, Surrey,KT21
Ruskin Terrace, Glasgow, G12
Ballsdown,   Godalming, Surrey, GU8
Monkville Avenue, Barnet, London, NW11
Wickerwood Drive, Kirkby-in-Ashfield, Nottinghamshire, NG17
Broomwood Close, Sheffield, S20
Daleside Gardens, Chigwell, Essex, IG7
Beech Lane, Guildford, Surrey, GU2
Meadow Drive, Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk IP29

*The higher the score the greater the number of property valuations are sought relative to the number of homes. A score of 100 is UK average nosiness.

If you live on any of these streets or think you have an explanation for this nosey trend, we’d love to hear from you.

Get in contact with us or a leave a comment below.

September 11, 2009 at 2:26 PM Leave a comment

Guest Blog: Top tips for selling your home

With daily talk of a potential recovery and more properties coming on to the market, we asked North West London estate agent Greene & Co. to give us their top tips on what to do in order to get your house ready for the market.

G&Co-black

1. Keep it clean – You need to take this seriously!

  • No amount of smooth talking from the agent is going to help sell your house if the place is a tip.
  • Even if you are the cleanest, tidiest person in town, the reality is that you are probably going to need to do at least a few things to spruce up your home.
  • Make your home really sparkle – especially on the day the photographer turns up. Get the carpets, sofa covers, oven and windows cleaned and pay special attention to the kitchen and bathrooms, which need to be inviting and hygienic.
  • Start with fresh folded towels and a few strategically placed plants.

2. De-clutter – Clutter will shrink your home!

  • Even if arranged neatly it will make your home not only appear smaller and messier, but can distract your prospective buyers, so they won’t notice all the positive qualities your property has to offer.
  • The most effective action of all is to clear clutter away.
  • To make some space, move unnecessary furniture into the attic, basement or garage.
  • Better still, get it off the property altogether.
  • Remember that homebuyers will open everything.
  • If your cupboards look jammed full and buyers are hit by falling shoes when they open the doors, their lasting impression will be one of a lack of storage space.
  • Self-storage depots are an invaluable tool for the house mover. They’re inexpensive and convenient.

3. Freshen up – Flowers can make a difference

  • A fresh coat of neutral paint or new tiling can do wonders to smarten a tired looking property, as will putting in matching chrome fittings, a freshly painted door, ironed bed linen in the bedroom and brightening the living room with subtle lighting.
  • Strategically placed flowers throughout a home can really make a difference too.
  • A little time and effort in preparing your home for selling will help the process be faster and more successful.

4. Make your home “anonymous” – Don’t distract potential buyers

  • Whilst we understand that selling your home is a stressful time, it is important to remove emotion from the equation by putting away any personal and symbolic items, such as family photo’s and souvenirs. This allows potential buyers the opportunity to see the property as their potential home, not yours.
  • It also helps them concentrate on the aspects that they should be looking at; your desirable home – not being distracted by your amazing paraphernalia.

5. The exterior – First impressions count

  • Do as much as you can to ensure that the outside of your property looks clean and tidy.
  • Take bins away, tidy up communal areas and if you have a garden, your lawn should be freshly cut and cleared of loose leaves and grass cuttings.
  • Remember that your front door may start to colour a potential buyer’s initial impression before it is even opened!

6. The facts – You need to be honest too!

  • You stand a much better chance of selling your property if you have acknowledged any problems and reflected them in the asking price.
  • Forearmed is forewarned – up front honesty about your property from your first negotiation with a buyer will mean that they will have less reason to reduce their offer price or change their mind later in the proceedings.
  • We would also recommend that you ask your agent to give you an honest opinion of anything about your home which is likely to affect its sale.
  • You may even find this hurtful initially and you may not agree (perhaps you spent hours painting that hallway bright green!) – but our team are experts who want to make it as easy as possible for you to sell your home.
  • Their honest advice is always given with your best interests firmly at heart.
  • When your agent does complete the particulars, make sure you see them and check them carefully.
  • Have they missed anything?
  • Does the description accurately reflect the character of your home?
  • Do the photographs show the property to its best advantage?
  • Once you’ve agreed on the particulars, make sure you have copies to hand all the time – just in case a would-be purchaser arrives without their copy.

If you’d like to guest post on the Zoopla! Blog we’d love to hear from you.

Leave a comment below or get in contact with us at www.twitter.com/zoopla

September 9, 2009 at 9:16 AM 1 comment

Property in Kent: 3 Bedroomed House conversion from Oast with Land

The Property: Grade II listed detached oast

The Place: Tenterden Road, Rolvenden, Kent.

The Price: £395,000 OIEO

Click pics for full detailsoast2a

The Pain: Oasts are not the easiest things in the world to convert, and a listed oast will inevitably come with its own challenges.

This one will need to have all the utilities connected. It is, says the agent, more suited to an individual buyer than to a developer.

The Gain: Oasts for conversion are rare enough these days, and this is a rather fine one – brick with a charming Kent peg tile roof.

It was originally built in the early 1800s, has been in the same farming family for five generations and was last used to dry hops with a coal fire (one of the last ever) in 2004.

So you’ll be buying, and saving, a real piece of history.

The good news is that planning permission has been granted for a three-bed home – and what a unique one it will be!

The property comes with half an acre and is set down a quiet ‘no through’ lane on the outskirts of Rolvenden. Rolvenden has a village shop with post office, village hall, several pubs with restaurants, parish church and a garage. There is an excellent weekly farmers’ market.

The schools in the area, in both the state and private sectors at primary and secondary levels, are very well regarded.

The Agent:Savills, Cranbrook (Tel: 01580 720161)

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oast4

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September 4, 2009 at 5:20 PM 1 comment

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