House building boosted by Help to Buy

House building has been a major beneficiary of the Government’s push to help more Britons buy their own homes, it has been revealed.

28.01.15 Crest Nicholson 1

House builder Crest Nicholson reported a 40 per cent rise in full-year, pre-tax profit, completing more than 2,000 homes during the year.

It also suggested demand looks set to continue, with so-called ‘forward sales’ – home sales that have been reserved with deposits – at almost £330m mid-January, up 51 per cent on a year ago.

It follows the introduction of the Government’s Help to Buy scheme, announced by the Chancellor almost a year ago, to help those with a small deposit of as little as 5 per cent to buy or move home.

Stephen Stone, the company’s chief executive, said: “Government initiatives to assist purchasers in buying a new home have undoubtedly stimulated activity in the industry and we are playing our part by increasing production where possible.”

He explained private home completions were up 35 per cent during the year and that almost 600 reservations were under the Help to Buy scheme.

The ‘equity loan’ phase of Help to Buy is only available on new build homes and offers a Government loan of up to 20 per cent, interest free for the first five years.

The equity loan scheme was due to last three years, but the scheme is proving so popular that fears have been expressed that the Government loans allocated to the scheme could run out within the next 12 months.


BALMORAL CASTLE, ABERDEENSHIRE.

Balmoral Castle in the Scottish Highlands

Elsewhere, a spotlight has also been thrown on taxpayer funds – but this time, those given to the Queen.

The Public Accounts committee criticised the Royal Household for mismanaging its finances.

Chairwoman Margaret Hodge said there was “huge scope for savings” on the annual £31m of taxpayer funds given to the Queen to spend on official duties.

She suggested that Buckingham Palace should open its doors to more paying visitors when the Queen is not in residence to fund improvements to the royal estate.

January 28, 2014 at 11:02 AM Leave a comment

Here’s how some Londoners are getting onto or up the property ladder

The sharp rise in property prices in London during the past year means many buyers are seeking alternative ways of getting on – or moving up – the property ladder.

27.01.14 Renovation 1

One bedroom flat in Balham for £450,000, with potential to extend to the side return at the rear of the property

One option is to buy a property in need of updating, taking a property that is below market value and modernizing or extending as and when your budget allows.

Estate agents say it can be a workable option, but suggest starting with something small and manageable.

It comes as the average value of a home in the capital rises to more than £510,000, up more than £35,000 during the past year.

Far from being overlooked, renovation projects in Balham are attracting up to 50 prospective purchases per property, according to estate agents Hamptons International. And they certainly don’t need to be a wreak as they may be attractive due to their potential to be extended instead.

Sophie Norris, of the Balham branch of Hamptons International, said: “Properties in need of renovation in Balham are extremely popular and can often attract more attention than properties which are ready to move into.

“Previously, interest in properties in need of renovation would be predominantly from developers or amateur property developers, but with demand in the area outstripping supply more and more, buyers are choosing to take on a project in order to secure their dream home.

“However, premium prices are consistently being paid for renovation projects, which leave minimal room for short term profit and therefore push developers out of the equation,” she added.

Projects under the £1m mark are the most popular as buyers are keen to save on Stamp Duty.

In London, there are more than 9,250 properties valued at between £500,001 and £1m, the bracket where buyers are required to pay 4 per cent in Stamp Duty. It compares with Stamp Duty of 5 per cent for properties values at between £1m and £2m.

Properties for sale in London requiring updating: 

1. Three bedroom semi-detached house in Merton Park, SW19, for £850,000

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2. Three bedroom semi-detached house in Feltham, TW13, for £250,000

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3. Three bedroom semi-detached house in Tooting, SW17, for £550,000

27.01.14 Renovation 3

January 27, 2014 at 2:58 PM Leave a comment

Properties costing £10,000 for sale

Is it possible to buy a property for £10,000? Yes, but it may not be exactly what you are looking for…

24.01.14 Ten grand 6

With the average value of a home in England being more than £250,000, you’d be forgiven for thinking that it is virtually impossible to buy anything for £10,000 cash.

But Zoopla has found five properties that fit the bill – on the financial front at least, as while they all cost £10,000, they all have certain twists and unusual characteristics.

Five £10,000 properties for sale:

1. The Magical Teapot

Estate agents Rettie describes the teapot as ‘very quirky’, with his spout entrance to the ground floor and steps to the second, where there’s a window to let any steam out if the room gets too hot.

Anne Mitchell, of estate agents Rettie, which is handling the sale, said the structure would make a ‘fabulous addition to any visitor attraction’ be it as a feature for a children’s playground, as a quirky fishing hut, as a reception area or VIP lounge.

The two storey detached structure is 21ft in diameter and currently situated on the Scottish boarders. While the buyer is advised to dismantle it on collection, a re-erection service is negotiable.

24.01.14 Ten grand 1

2. Houseboat

This boat is an ideal opportunity for someone looking for an alternative starter home.

The classic wood interior contains many original features. There is a separate cabin – with sleeping for two – and the option to sleep guests on a convertible bed in the lounge, which also converts into a dining area. And there is a separate wet room with a sea toilet and shower.

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3. Cupcake bakery

This popular cupcake bakery can be found in Swansea city centre and has a current annual rent of £15,600.

It is spread over two floors with a café and kitchen area on the ground floor and a further seating area and toilet on the second floor.

The café, which has a glass front, provides 30 covers inside and 11 outside.

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4. Bungalow

A one bedroom bungalow is not out of reach for those confined to this price bracket.

This property is just south of Newcastle upon Tyne and includes a lounge, kitchen, bedroom, bathroom and rear yard.

It is situated in Coundon Grange, in Bishop Auckland, and is being sold as seen due to the lack of access.

24.01.14 Ten grand 4

5. Beach hut 

Beach huts are proving more popular than ever, with those in some locations being sold for six figures sums.

But at £10,000, this hut on the north Essex coast is a bargain, providing uninterrupted views of the sea.

It is also within reach of the nearby pier and kiosks.

24.01.14 Ten grand 5

January 27, 2014 at 9:00 AM 1 comment

Phil Spencer’s property tip of the month: Selling your home in 2014? Make sure it gets the maximum market exposure

phil-jan-27

According to the latest research from Zoopla, confidence in the property market is now at its highest level for 4 years. The research also revealed that as homeowner confidence is buoyed, there has also been an increase in those considering buying a property in the first half of 2014 – up to 22% from 19% back in September. So, now is a good time to consider selling your home.

Selling your home can be stressful. There is much to think about such as: which local agent should we list with, what do we need to do to get the property ready for the market, what is the right asking price, what will we do if we get an offer and where will we move to.

However one of the most important questions a seller should ask is: ‘How can I get the maximum exposure for my property?’. In other words, how can I get the biggest possible audience looking at and considering my property? With over 93% of home movers starting their property search online it’s essential that the agent you decide to instruct is a member of all the major property portals such as Zoopla and PrimeLocationWhen selling something, the only way you can know for sure that you’re getting maximum value for your product is by putting it front of the greatest number of potential customers possible. After all, this is what the term ‘open market value’ is all about.

Whilst fees are of course an important consideration, you want to know that the agent you choose is serious about marketing your property. A low commission can seem like a bargain, but if it results in no viewings or offers the low commission deal is of no use to you, but a competitive fee from your local agent who lists on all the major property websites and generates regular interest in your property is worth paying for!

So, before you get into a discussion about fees make sure that the agents you speak to have the best possible online marketing presence and list with the major portals such as Zoopla and PrimeLocation.

January 26, 2014 at 7:51 PM 2 comments

Top 10 Barn Conversions

Who can resist a charming barn conversion? We certainly can’t.

Here is our pick of the top 10 barn conversions on Zoopla. Listed in no particular order as we’d like to hear what your no.1 is, so please tell us which is your favourite in the comments.

1. A stone built barn conversion in Somerset – so cute.
3 bed in Somerset, £349,950 – Charles Barnard

PropertyoftheWeek

2. A truly unique and stunning barn conversion.
5 bed in Durham, £595,000 – Bradley Hall

PropertyoftheWeek

3. Lovely rustic open plan kitchen, what barn conversions are all about.
5 bed in Hertfordshire, £1,275,000 – Savills

PropertyoftheWeek

4. Barn conversion + a thatched roof = beautiful.
6 bed in Dunmow, £2,350 pcm – Airport Lettings Stansted

PropertyoftheWeek

5. So bright and open, we can’t resist all these exposed beams in the living room.
4 bed in Surrey, £3,750 pcm – Hamptons

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6. Complete bespoke modern barn conversion.
5 bed in Lacock, £4,000 pcm – Reside Bath

PropertyoftheWeek

7. Magnificent thatched barn conversion.
7 bed in Hampshire, £1,300,000 – Hamptons

PropertyoftheWeek

8. So unique and to be honest the kids playground sold this one for us!
6 bed in Slough, £6,750 pcm – Fine & Country

PropertyoftheWeek

9. Just look at the size of this kitchen…
5 bed in Dudley, £625,000 – Berriman Eaton

PropertyoftheWeek

10. Just adorable.
5 bed in Oxford, £3,000 pcm – Savills

PropertyoftheWeek

Send us a link via Twitter to your #propertyoftheweek on Zoopla and our pick of the Top 10 will feature on the blog every Friday.

January 24, 2014 at 1:00 PM 2 comments

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