Property in Islington: Arsenal’s Highbury Converted to Flats

First off, apologies for that headline … I have no excuse aside from the fact that it was marginally better than “Home-buyers will be singing in the terraces” (see what I did there … terra … oh forget it).


If association football is not your thing, look away now because we’re talking here, my friends, about today’s launch of 724 new apartments in the old Arsenal stadium at Highbury.

Highbury Square, as the development is called, cleverly recycles the pitch as a central garden square (accessed via the players’ tunnel!) and the old listed facades of the wonderful Art Deco East Stand.

The most expensive properties, unsurprisingly, look inward over the imaginatively redesigned pitch and have the highest price tags.

Prices start at £250,000 for a one-bed flat and climb to £1.5m for a three-bed penthouse.

Not exactly cheap …  but to your average Gooner this must look like a Nick Hornby fantasy come to life.





September 24, 2009 at 3:17 PM 1 comment

August’s Property Hotspots

Here’s an interesting table showing’s hotspots in August.

The ranking is based on the most enquiries (sales and rent) generated per area, which, I think, is a more genuine measure of actual activity than, say, the number of pages or properties clicked on.

City centres and London dominate the list, and Bristol also seems to be doing especially well.  Any thoughts on why this might be the case?  If you live in one of these areas, we’d love to hear from you.

Top 20 Hotspots for August 2009
Rank Area Avg email enqs per property
1 Bristol City Centre, Bristol 3.04
2 Sheffield City Centre, Sheffield 2.98
3 London WC1, London 2.65
4 Leeds City Centre, Leeds 2.38
5 Liverpool City Centre, Merseyside 2.27
6 Redland, Bristol 2.17
7 Glasgow City Centre, Glasgow 1.75
8 London N1, London 1.69
9 Manchester City Centre, Manchester 1.69
10 Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire 1.63
11 London EC1, London 1.58
12 Brighton, East Sussex 1.54
13 London SW4, London 1.54
14 London E8, London 1.53
15 London SE11, London 1.52
16 Brislington, Bristol 1.50
17 Bedminster, Bristol 1.49
18 Whitton, Middlesex 1.48
19 London N16, London 1.47
20 London EC2, London 1.44
Source: internal data Aug’09

Note: Based on areas with 50+ properties on

September 21, 2009 at 5:00 PM 2 comments

How the War of the Worlds affects house prices in Surrey

If you use Google today you’ll notice the current Google Doodle features a spaceship hovering over an English village – H.G. Wells was born on 21 September 1866 and the image is a reference to one of his most famous books: The War of the Worlds.


I’ve always found it mildly amusing that extraterrestrial commuters in Wells’s book chose to land in a relatively prosperous corner of leafy Surrey – Horsell Common, just outside Woking.

Were they guided by some intergalactic Kirstie Allsop? Was it, perhaps, the good schools, the quick train to London, the attractive surrounding countryside and the prospect of walks along the canal that informed their decision? Did they all plan to work in the City?

Whatever the reason, the locals, I’m guessing, probably didn’t share their enthusiasm – as the tripods started marching, there must surely have been estate agents and fretful homeowners muttering “this is really going to hammer local house prices.”

Anyway… the story, as we all know, ends with Tom Cruise saving the world and learning to be a responsible father – though if you’re ever in Woking keep in mind that this Hollywood version is a bit of a sore point and admire their nice alien tripod sculpture instead.


And here, just in case you thought there was no point at all to this post, are some houses in Horsell Common and Woking.




September 21, 2009 at 3:21 PM Leave a comment

Five To View: School Conversions

It’s back to school this week as we take a look at school conversions.

Top marks to whoever had the brainwave of turning these one-time educational establishments into homes.

Their typical features include high ceilings and a multitude of windows, which makes them a very clever choice for transformation into light-filled living spaces, and the buildings themselves tend to be solid, upstanding structures in fairly central locations.

Here are five fine examples of school conversions that we think deserve full points for effort.

(Click on pics for property details)

1. London SW11



2. London E1



3. London SW8



4. New Mills, Derbyshire



5. Cullingworth, West Yorkshire

from £125,000


September 21, 2009 at 3:20 PM 1 comment

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.


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 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 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

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