Which are the most popular properties in April so far? From north London celebrity homes with contemporary interiors to renovation projects on the other side of the country, here are the most viewed properties on Zoopla.
1. This bungalow has talent – all £1,150,000 of it. While one of its previous owners Alesha Dixon is busy hitting the buzzer as a judge on Britain’s Got Talent, this three bedroom property in Hertfordshire is showcasing its contemporary interior design to prospective buyers.
2. A four bedroom semi-detached house in Manchester continues to attract attention. The property has been extensively modernized and includes solar panels, which provide a tax free income and free electricity.
3. What would you pay for a five bedroom flat? If you are seeking one of the apartments at London’s iconic One Hyde Park, you will need £68m. The accommodation spans an entire floor and boasts views of both Knightsbridge and Hyde Park.
4. A nine bedroom detached house in London’s prestigious confines of Kensington is being offered (POA) with full planning permission to extend the property to include a separate cottage, tennis court and garden pavilion.
5. An extraordinarily exclusive and highly secure property in central Knightsbridge near Hyde Park (POA), with 20 bedrooms.
6. The Bishops Avenue in London never seems to be out of the property headlines, having been dubbed Billionaires’ Row. This nine bedroom detached home is set behind high electric gates and costs £38m.
7. Buying a home in Sandbanks means you can count the likes of football manager Harry Redknapp as a neighbour. This five bedroom property is on the market for £6.7m and boosts view of Poole Harbour, a sweeping driveway, a leisure suite, a fully fitted media room and a 1,000 sq ft master suite.
8. Restoration projects continue to be fashionable, with this four bedroom detached house in Plymouth making the top 10 most viewed properties on Zoopla. It is for sale by tender.
9. Set over three levels, this four bedroom house in Battersea provides 1,700 sq ft of family living space. It is on the market for £1,575,000.
10. This nine bedroom mansion may look like it is set in the countryside, but it is in fact set in the heart of the London borough of Richmond. It may also be surprising to learn it is a new build. (POA)
The number of mortgages approved for house purchase soared by 43 per cent during March as demand from buyers remained high, figures showed today.
A total of 45,933 mortgages were lined up for people buying a home during the month, up from 32,180 in March 2013, according to the British Bankers’ Association.
There was also a steep jump in the value of loans for house purchase that were approved, with these rising 53 per cent year-on-year to £7.55bn.
But there was a slight drop in both the number and value of pipeline mortgages for house purchase compared with February.
It was the second consecutive month during which these measures have slowed.
Today’s figures reflect the current buoyant state of the property market as buyers compete to secure a home from a limited number of properties on the market.
The National Association of Estate Agents recently said one in five buyers had paid more than the asking price in March in order to buy a property.
Recent gains have left the average home in England costing £259,745, according to Zoopla.
Strong house price gains in recent months have sparked concerns that there could be a bubble building up in the property market.
But the recent slowdown in month-on-month mortgage approvals suggests the market is beginning to slow as demand that built up during the recession works it way through.
Ed Stansfield, chief property economist at Capital Economics, said the drop in the number of mortgages approved for house purchase for the second consecutive month provided further evidence that the housing market recovery may be coming off the boil.
But he added: “With the economic recovery gathering momentum, interest rates set to stay low and real incomes finally starting to rise again, we suspect that mortgage lending will soon reverse its recent decline.
“But, with many lenders still displaying a degree of caution, we would not be surprised to see the pace of the recovery slacken off.”
Mortgage advances also remained buoyant during March, the BBA said.
A total of £10.99bn was lent during the month, 38 per cent higher than a year earlier, but slightly below the figure for February.
Net lending, which strips out repayments and people remortgaging, was £806m in March.
The figure represents a considerable turnaround from March 2013, when the number was negative, with borrowers repaying £718m more than was advanced during the month.
The BBA said: “Mortgage assistance schemes are helping first-time buyers and housing chains generally, as housing market activity rises.”
Adding an extra bedroom is the best way to increase the value of your home, but carrying out the wrong ‘improvements’ could make your property worth less, research showed today.
The buoyant housing market has boosted people’s confidence in property, with 42 per cent planning to carry out home improvements in the next six months in the hope of making their home worth more, according to Zoopla.
But while adding an extension or carrying out a loft conversion could boost the value of your home by up to a fifth, bodged DIY jobs could knock thousands off its value.
The home improvement that will have most impact on a property’s value is adding an extra double bedroom and bathroom through carrying out a loft conversion, according to Nationwide.
The group estimates that this improvement could add 21 per cent to the value of a typical home.
With the average home in England currently worth £259,745, a loft conversion could boost a property’s price by around £54,500.
Next on the list is adding an extra bedroom through building an extension, with this boosting the typical home’s price by 11 per cent or £28,600.
Putting in an extra bathroom typically adds 5 per cent or £13,000 to a property’s value, as does increasing the floor space by 10 per cent.
Robert Gardner, Nationwide’s chief economist, said: “Having more usable space is generally thought to be consistent with better quality accommodation and people are prepared to pay for it.
“Home improvements that increase floor area, such as an extension or loft conversion, remain a good way to add value.”
But the impact of adding an extra bedroom varies according to property type.
Nationwide estimates that turning a two-bedroom semi-detached property into a three-bedroom one will boost its value by 12 per cent, but adding an extra bedroom to a three bedroom detached home will only increase its value by around 9 per cent.
Nationwide thinks home improvements that increase a property’s energy efficiency will also have a growing impact on prices.
It points out that the number of homes that have an energy efficiency rating of A to D, the top four scores, has increased from 20 per cent to 65 per cent since 1996.
Gardner says, “With fuel costs continuing to rise and an increased emphasis on environmental sustainability, we expect households to become increasingly conscious about their energy use.”
Other improvements, such as interior design, a landscaped garden or a fitted kitchen can also boost the value of a property, but Gardner warned that these improvements were subjective and difficult to quantify.
He said: “While one designer’s makeover will add value for some buyers, the same design may detract from the price for others.
“Improvements finished to a higher standard will be more attractive than bodged jobs, but there is a trade off between the cost spent on refurbishment and the price someone else is prepared to pay for it.”
Past and present homes of some of the world’s biggest celebrities. A few have even been awarded a Zoopla Purple Plaque.
1. Take a look around Gary Barlow‘s not so humble abode where he lived from 1995 – 2005.
Six bed in Northwich
2. Andy Murray‘s old home…strange I can’t see any tennis court.
Five bed in Dunblane
3. John Lennon bought this house in 1964 for £20,000. It’s now on the market for £13.7m.
Six bed in Surrey
4. One of Robbie Williams‘ UK properties is this impressive Wiltshire countryside estate.
Seven bed in Compton Bassett
5. Tulisa lived in this Hertfordshire mansion for up to a year. It was put back on the market in Nov last year and can be yours for £4.5m.
Five bed in Hertfordshire
6. This East Grinstead new build is the current home of Peter Andre and girlfriend Emily. It was on the market last summer for £2m but taken off later that year when the couple decided to stay.
7. This blinging bungalow was once home to Alesha Dixon. Now on sale for £1.15m.
Three bed in Hertfordshire
8. Host to the X Factor finalists last year this London home is now for rent at £20,000 pcm.
Seven bed in London N21
9. Not only is this the childhood home of Top Gear’s Jeremy Clarkson, it’s also where his mother Shirley made the first Paddington Bear in 1971. Now on sale for £595,000.
Four bed in Doncaster
10. Home to This Morning’s Eamonn Holmes & Ruth Langsford this Weybridge mansion has been on the market for 6 months and has already had a price drop from £3.49m to £3.25m.
Six bed in Surrey
If you want to buy a home, you might think it’s a good time to step on the housing ladder – interest rates are at a record low although they may rise in the future, unemployment’s falling and summer’s on the way at last.
Not only that, but traditionally property’s been seen as a good investment, and all you need to do is save a deposit and be able to pay your mortgage, right? Wrong. New rules require lenders to ensure borrowers can afford to meet their initial and on-going mortgage payments on time, and ensure they don’t get into financial difficulty running and maintaining their new home. It also means making sure they could manage if interest rates were to rise.
Time to buy?
The Bank of England Bank Rate is currently 0.5 per cent – a record low, meaning there could be great mortgage deals up for grabs. Of course you should remember to consider any arrangement or products fees when choosing your mortgage. If you add them to the mortgage it’ll mean paying interest on them for the entire term of the loan, so it makes financial sense to pay those fees separately if you can.
Right now, variable mortgage rate deals of around 2 per cent are available to individuals with a good credit record and a 20 per cent deposit to put down towards a property. So far so good, but with the new rules on mortgage lending taking effect on April 26, borrowers will also assess the impact of foreseeable changes in circumstances, such as if you’re expecting to be made redundant or are planning to start a family.
According to Money Advice Service research, the average first-time buyer is paying 3.4 per cent interest on their mortgage payments – around 3 per cent above the Bank of England rate. This is good news for many potential home-buyers, yet there is always the chance that interest rates may rise. To safeguard against this the new rules will also assess your ability to meet mortgage payments in the event that interest rates rise in the future.
Can you afford to buy?
Money Advice Service research also revealed three in four new homeowners overstretched their finances to get on the housing ladder. When you consider that over the past 18 years the Bank of England Bank Rate has fluctuated from a high of more than 7 per cent down to its current rate of 0.5 per cent, a stress test against shifts in the interest rate makes sense. Here’s a typical example – the average first-time buyer will have a mortgage of £140,800 and be making monthly payments of £749. For these people a 2 per cent rise would result in an increase of £171 a month on top of their existing mortgage payments.
If you are thinking about buying a home, it’s essential to consider all the key costs. Using a budget planner will help you plan your finances and cope with any unexpected costs.
All information accurate at time of publication
This article is provided by the Money Advice Service.