Which home improvement can add almost £55,000 to the value of your home?

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.

03.04.14 New build

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 Chief EconomistRobert 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.”

April 25, 2014 at 11:23 AM Leave a comment

Top 10 Celebrity Homes

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


Send us a link via Twitter to your #propertyoftheweek on Zoopla and our favourites will feature on the blog every Friday.

April 25, 2014 at 11:09 AM Leave a comment

Can you afford to buy a home? New rules require lenders to assess your past, present & future

Money Advice Service

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.

Interest impact

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.


April 25, 2014 at 8:00 AM Leave a comment

Help to Buy helps to boost number of first time buyers up by 60%

First-time buyer numbers hit a six-and-a-half year high during March boosted by Government schemes, research showed today.

First time buyer 2

A total of 31,400 people bought their first home during the month, the highest level since August 2007 and 60 per cent more than in March 2013, according to LSL Property Services.

The group attributed the jump to the Government’s Help to Buy scheme, which has boosted the number of high loan-to-value (LTV) mortgages available.

It added that first-time buyer activity had now returned to the level seen before the recession.

The typical first-time buyer put down a deposit of £23,802 in March, the lowest level recorded for three years.

The average deposit was also the equivalent to just 66 per cent of the typical first-time buyer’s income, compared with 77 per cent a year earlier.

Even rising house prices have failed to deter first-time buyers, who now pay an average of 6 per cent or £7,781 more for their first home than they did a year earlier.

David NewnesDavid Newnes, director of estate agents Your Move and Reeds Rains, part of LSL Property Services, said: “The number of first-time buyers has returned to a pre-recession high, just in time for the one year anniversary of Help to Buy.

“More first-time buyers are seizing the opportunity to have a helping hand from the Government in putting together a deposit.

Help to Buy has allowed the bottom of the market to stay buoyant, despite property prices increasing.”

The number of high LTV loans available has more than doubled during the past year, while falling mortgage rates have helped to offset higher house prices.

High LTV loans accounted for one in six mortgages approved for house purchase during March, according to chartered surveyor e.surv.

Overall, 9,628 loans were agreed for borrowers with a deposit of 15 per cent or less – 50 per cent more than in March 2013.

The average first-time buyer borrowed 83.5 per cent of their home’s value in March, while mortgage repayments accounted for 20.9 per cent of their monthly income.

Unsurprisingly, first-time buyers in London put down the biggest deposits at an average of £67,955.

But despite the high down payments needed, 12,700 people still got on to the property ladder in the capital during the first quarter, the second highest figure for any region after the South East at 14,900.

At the other end of the scale, first-time buyers in Yorkshire and Humber put down the lowest deposits during the three months to the end of March at an average of £15,280.

People buying their first home in Northern Ireland paid the least for their property at around £90,816.

But only 1,700 people got on to the housing ladder in Northern Ireland during the first quarter, the lowest for any region.

April 25, 2014 at 8:00 AM Leave a comment

New build of the month – Lilybank Terrace, Glasgow

If you are looking for a new build home, try the redevelopment of these townhouses in Glasgow.

23.04.14 New build 1

Where exactly is it? Close to the University of Glasgow campus, and about 1.5 miles north west of the city centre.

Monster housing estate or tiny boutique development? Rather exclusive. This redevelopment of a terrace of townhouses dating from 1883 will contain just 36 flats when it is completed this winter.

How much will it cost me? One bedroom flats are priced from £184,000.

What is so great about it?  A magnificent-looking development located on a quiet private street in Glasgow’s fashionable West End, with smashing views over the city. Jennifer Goldie, associate director of Savills estate agents and the selling agent for Lilybank Terrace, says its other plus point is that the terrace has been entirely rebuilt behind its Victorian façade so owners get period charm plus contemporary convenience. “It is the best of both worlds,” she says.

23.04.14 New build 2Surely its not completely perfect? Not all of the flats have parking spaces and only a couple have private gardens. The rest of the residents will share a communal garden. And the West End is one of the most expensive parts of Glasgow to live in so your pockets will need to be fairly deep.

Who will my neighbours be? Goldie said the development is particularly attracting older downsizers and young couples, particularly those who work at either the University or the nearby hospital.

What is West End itself like? Glasgow’s answer to Notting Hill, full of cafes, bars, boutiques, clubs and restaurants, and on the doorstep of the lovely Kelvingrove Park and the Glasgow Botanic Gardens, as well as many of the city’s museums and galleries.

Is it any good for kids? Teenagers will love West End’s bohemian vibe and the presence of students gives the area a youthful vibe – there is masses for them to do, but the atmosphere is generally safe. Plenty of open space on the doorstep for younger kids to enjoy, but this development’s lack of private outside space means its not hugely family friendly. Local schools include the high performing Hillhead Primary School.

How are the public transport links? Excellent; Hillhead underground station is a five minute walk.

Is it up and coming? Thoroughly up and come. Average house prices stand at £274,124, up 4.64 per cent in the last year according to Zoopla. This is close to twice the average for the city as a whole, where average prices stand at just over £150,000.

I like the sound of West End, what else is on sale there? The area is stuffed with some lovely period buildings.

This two bedroom flat is on the market for offers over £195,000

23.04.14 New build 3

Or if you want a classic Glasgow tenement, this two bedroom flat is available at offers over 179,000

23.04.14 New build 4

Homes in the area tend towards flats but there are one or two houses available, including this six bedroom terrace on the market for offers over £785,000

23.04.14 New build 5

April 23, 2014 at 4:06 PM 1 comment

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