Top Ten: Cut price homes for sale

Research we published recently showed that the number of homes for sale featuring a  reduced asking price was on the increase, a softening of the market that is partly seasonal, partly driven by the still weak economy and, some say, not helped by the ongoing Olympics.

Overall asking prices are being reduced by £19,000 or 7.6% and the proportion of homes on the market to have been reduced is 37%, an increase from 34% a year ago. But while the most severe discounts (on average) are in Newcastle-upon-Tyne where house sellers have had to cut their asking prices by 9.6% or £18,888 some people are going to extreme lengths to attract buyers and cutting their asking prices savagely.

We’ve tracked down the properties across the UK that have been reduced significantly since they went on the market, some by up to £50,000 and in one case by a jaw-dropping £400,000.

1. Shirley Hills, near Croydon, Surrey
First on the market for: £2.75m
Now for sale at: £2.35m
Reduction: £400,000 or 14%

Tell more more: This gorgeous six bedroom Georgian-style mansion with large and immaculately tended gardens and a three-port garage is in one of few patches of serious greenery close to London but well connected by train, to be found in the Addington hills to the east of Croydon.

2. Penthouse apartment, Formby, near Liverpool
First on the market for: £795,000
Now for sale at: £595,000
Reduction: £200,000 or 25%

Tell me more: Formby is one of Liverpool’s more upmarket seaside dormitory towns and prices locally reflect it’s popularity with the city’s more well heeled residents. This three bedroom apartment, which is on the top floor of a modern development in the centre of the town, has been lavishly furnished throughout.

3. Period-style house in the Surrey countryside
First on the market for: £1.45m
Now for sale at: £1.25m
Reduction: £200,000 or 13.7%

Tell me more: A large neo-Elizabethan house on the fringes of Addington Golf Course in the Surrey countryside between Addington and Keston. The property includes a two-port garage as large-ish garden out the back built for partying – it’s accessed from a pool room with a bar.

4. Surburban mansion, Roundhay, Leeds
First on the market for: £1.595m
Now for sale at: £1.449m
Reduction: £146,000 or 9.1%

Tell me more: If you’re after an executive home with plenty of upmarket clout in Leeds then head for Roundhay, arguably one of the city’s most  expensive and exclusive neighbourhoods. This seven bedroom mansion has been built with the region’s distinctive yellow stone and it’s owners are keen to sell, both dropping its asking price substantially and offering it up for part exchange.

5. Modern house with six bedrooms in Surrey
First on the market for: £1.895
Now for sale at: £1.795m
Reduction: £100,000 or 5.2%

Tell me more: A modern home which could be called Canadian in looks and like it North American counterparts features huge rooms and a large garden out the back. It’s in the countryside between Croydon and the Kent county border and appears to be part of trend in the area for large asking price reductions – it’s the third on our list.

6. Cute cottage, Woolpit, near Bury St Edmunds
First on the market for: £475,000
Now for sale at: £399,000
Reduction: £76,000 or 16%

Tell me more: Woolpit is a small village in the heart of the Suffolk countryside about ten miles east of Bury St Edmunds. This wobbly-beamed cottage, which has bits dating back 600- years, has four bedrooms and a glass paneled conservatory at the back.

7. Wing of a Victorian detached house, Turton, near Bolton
First on the market for: £475,000
Now for sale at: £399,950
Reduction: £76,000 or 16%

Tell me more: This mid-Victorian property in upmarket Chapeltown on the northern fringes of Bolton in Manchester is one of three properties created within this four-storey detached house during the early noughties. This ‘wing’ includes four bedrooms and a small orangery-cum-dining room.

8. Terraced side street home, Hatfield, Hertfordshire
First on the market for: £595,000
Now for sale at: £525,000
Reduction: £70,000 or 11.7%

Tell me more: If you like living on an unspoilt winding street packed with mid-Victorian homes then this four-bedroom family home is ideal. Within Hatfields’ old heart close to the railway station, it should have been snapped up by a London commuter.

9. Seaside house, Deal, Kent
First on the market for: £475,000
Now for sale at: £425,000
Reduction: £50,000 or 10.5%

Tell me more: Deal is one of the south coast’s forgotten seaside paradises. It’s whitewash stuccoed esplanade’s properties arebeautiful enough but the sea, which washes up close to the coastal road running along it, makes for an eyeful at high tide. This four bedroom terraced house on the seafront has been tastefully decorated and would make an ideal holiday home.

10. Two-property equine estate near Kings Lynn
First on the market for: £650,000
Now for sale at: £600,000
Reduction: £50,000 or 7.6%

Tell me more: You might expect this property to have been snapped up, or should we say be a galloping sales success. t’s near the area’s fashionable (and celebrity rich) town of Downham Market plus the price includes a period farmhouse, a 1970s bungalow, several barns, more outbuildings than it’s practical to list here, an outdoor school and several stables.

August 29, 2012 at 11:29 AM Leave a comment

Worried about being snapped in Vegas? Luxurious UK properties with hot tubs fit for a prince!

During the 1980s the alfresco ‘hot tub’ was an American import largely ignored as mildly naff, unhygienic and beloved of those with a need to bathe outdoors year round, whatever their neighbours thought.

But today huge leaps in technology, quality and public attitudes have transformed these bubbling tubs into a desirable home feature helped by their frequent appearance on TV programmes such as Footballer’s Wives and The Only Way is Essex.

Research out recently revealed how they are now considered the ultimate status symbol by 69% of us, followed by US-style fridges, walk-in wardrobes and room-to-room sound systems that play music all around your home.

Such saucy communal bathing does not please everyone. BBC Gardener’s World magazine last week reported that its readers  for the first time listed hot tubs as an irritation, only slightly less annoying than blaring TV and radios, late-night parties, screaming children, power tools and house alarms.

Nevertheless sales of hot tubs are rising year on year despite the recession and Zoopla’s property listings are increasingly full of homes with a hot tub. Some two percent of all homes for sale in the UK feature one and there are an estimated 250,000 out there, bubbling away.

Here are the top five most luxurious for sale today, found using the Zoopla keyword search.

1. Canford Cliffs, Poole, Dorset – £2.5m

Properties with hot tubs

Canford Cliffs is the next best thing if you don’t want to pay the astronomical prices in nearby Sandbanks, which would comfortably double the value of this house. What many of the celebrity houses there won’t have is the vast footprint of this six- bedroom property, which comes with a tennis court, swimming pool, next to which is a large hot tub set into the ground.

2. Lower Parkestone, Poole, Dorset – £1.75m

homes for sale with hot tubs

This eight bedroom house was built unwittingly to fit the list of popular must-haves detailed above. Not only does the back patio area feature a bubbling wooden hot tub but it has a walk-in wardrobe too and, for good measure, a Swedish-style sauna in the garden.

3. Stibbington, near Peterborough, Cambridgeshire – £995,000

homes with hot tubs

This house just HAS to have been built by a Scandinavian or Canadian. Wood is the dominant theme inside and out, and its low-rise design, high arched roof and acres of glazed glass would make a perfect location for an episode of TV show Wallander, whose detective might also appreciate the indoor hot tub, which sits within an island of timber.

4. Hunsdon, Ware, Hertfordshire – £1.25m

homes with hot tubs

This  four-year-old house is owned by Simon Belofsky, one of Britain’s leading songwriters fresh from his collaboration last year with former S’Express singer Sonique. His home features the kind of understated modernism you might expect of a music biz ‘name’, except in the master bedroom, which features a huge hot tub. More conventional leisure pursuits on offer include a pool in the garden and a vast, wall mounted flatscreen TV in the lounge.

5. Rose Cottage, near Tintagel, Cornwall – £385,000

hot tubs in homes

At first this compact but gorgeous cottage overlooking a small eye catching valley floor seems like many of the houses on the narrow road that winds down to a popular local beach and coastline walk. The rear of the property enjoys extraordinary views over this gap in the coast and the stream that gurgles down it, particularly if you’re sat either on its wooden patio or,  in the garden, while sipping a Bacardi within the raised wooden hot tub.

August 22, 2012 at 2:04 PM Leave a comment

Dream start to Zoopla sponsorship of West Brom

The sponsorship of Premiership club West Bromwich Albion by kicked off in spectacular fashion on Saturday when ‘the Baggies’ comprehensively defeated Liverpool at their Hawthorns stadium by three goals to nil.

A near capacity crowd of 26,000 watched Steve Clarke’s team get their season off to an ideal start as Zoltan Gera, Peter Odemwingie and Romelu Lukaku scored while wearing this season’s new Zoopla-emblazoned strip and surrounded by Zoopla’s distinctive purple hoardings.

West Bromwich Albion Zoopla

West Bromwich Albion fans celebrate one of the three goals scored against Liverpool at Saturday’s match at the Hawthorns.

The sponsorship deal, which runs until at least the 2014/15 season, also includes Zoopla logos on official club merchandise, across its website, on match tickets and programmes and of course on interview backdrops for post-match TV interviews.

Jonas Olsson West Bromwich Zoopla

West Bromwich Albion defender Jonas Olsson wearing this season’s strip.

But as well as being the principal sponsor of the club, much more was on offer during the Liverpool game.

At half time three Baggies fans kicked for a chance to win either £1,000 or a house if they could place a ball through one of three openings in the Zoopla Halftime House while former team player and now youth coach Darren Moore (pictured, below) also had a go. To register to have a go in this challenge at each home game, visit the Zoopla Halftime House Challenge page.

Darren Moore West Bromwich Albion Zoopla

Former West Brom player Darren Moore tries the Zoopla Half Time House Challenge during the Liverpool game on Saturday.

Also, Zoopla announced it is supporting the Albion Foundation, a charitable trust set up to work with West Bromwich Albion to help regenerate the local community through sporting, educational and health initiatives and activities.

Zoopla has pledged £50,000 to the foundation over the next two years as well as additional donations each game depending on the team’s performance via Zoopla Golden Goals.

This was launched at the Liverpool game too. Every time the team scores at home or away Zoopla will donate and additional £1,000 split half with the foundation and half with five key local charities. For starters, on Saturday, £3,000 was raised when the team scored its clutch of goals.

August 21, 2012 at 1:52 PM 4 comments

Amazing homes: a converted reservoir

If there were a property Olympics for the best conversion in Britain then the extraordinary house for sale on a hill overlooking Sidmouth in Devon would win a gold medal for invention.

While most people opt to convert more ordinary structures such as barns, schools, windmills and warehouses, the owners of The Reservoir, as the name suggests, have opted for what is said to be the only conversion of its kind in the UK.

converted reservoir

Back in the 2007 South West Water put an old reservoir on the market with planning permission to create a five-bedroom, partly subterranean home with a circumference of 85m and a diameter of 25m.

To the naked eye the reservoir was just a grassy hummock protruding from a small hill overlooking a maze of residential streets at the back of Sidmouth, which is 15 miles southeast of Exeter and best known as the gateway to Devon’s ‘Jurassic coast’ and poet John Betjeman’s favourite seaside spot.

converted reservoir terrace

What Betjeman, who was a passionate supporter of Victorian architecture, might think of this highly modernist piece of architecture is another matter.

Roofed in green material to blend in with the hill (the property is almost invisible until you’re nearby) The Reservoir is a testament to both imaginative architecture and adventurous structural engineering.

The property is built around a circular central patio open to the skies, around which has been built a two-level house with six bedrooms, a games room, two reception rooms and a garage and tunnel entrance to the side. And its journey has been an extraordinary one too.

First advertised for £250,000 in 2003, agent Winkworth Exeter says initial viewings of the property, which came with detailed architectural plans drawn up by SouthWest Water’s development arm Peninsular Properties, were “conducted through a manhole” before the house was bought by an engineer with his own building company and the substantial conversion work completed.

But it’s not just an architectural wonder on offer – The Reservoir is for sale at £1.25m after a price drop “for a quick sale”, according to agent Winkworth. On the other hand, if you have a hankering for a house in the round, then there are other options available.

More homes that aren’t square

1. Gunwharf Quays, Portsmouth, £129,995

Two-bedroom flat on the sixth floor of a circular apartment development within the city’s main marine, shopping and residential quarter to the north of the its centre.

 2. Three bedroom house in Pontrypridd, Wales, £240,000

This extraordinary home was the entrance gateway to a dream that never was. Dr William Price had plans for a Museum of Welsh life which he tried to build in 1838 to celebrate Wales’ language and history, which he thought was disappearing. The gatehouse was built but the museum failed to materialise after failing to raise enough funds.

3. Three bedroom house, Bournemouth, Dorset – £699,950

At the front of this relatively conventional development in West Overcliff in Bournemouth is a five storey, three bedroom houses built-in the style of a lighthouse. It’s biggest benefit is the  unusual sun terrace at its crown, pictured below.

4. Three bedroom farmhouse, Inchture, near Perth – £300,000

A surprising niche in the Scottish property market is the large number of small farmhouses or ‘steads’ that survive from the 18th and 19th century. Many of these were built with round outhouses, most of which are now either used as lounges or large kitchens.

August 13, 2012 at 11:58 AM Leave a comment

Interesting properties: homes on a space diet

To be called narrow minded is for most of us a severe criticism of our tastes. But not for the select group who love homes built in extremely restricted spaces.

The race to find affordable homes in today’s cramped cities and towns has forced some to seek out radical solutions to their housing needs – and the result is sometimes homes that look barely wider than a bookshelf.

The current title holder for the world’s slimmest house is The Wedge, which is 47 inches or just under four feet across at the front, built on the island of Great Cumbrae off Scotland’s North Ayrshire coast, although the house opens out to 20 ft wide at the back, as its name suggests.

narrow house w2 london

Next up is an extraordinary house in Warsaw, Poland that’s 60 inches or five feet across built by an architect between two apartment blocks. But also worth a look is a property (pictured, above) in London’s W2 postcode by architect Luke Tozer of Pitman Tozer Architects, which isn’t far behind on the slim stakes at eight feet across.

But do properties like these ever come on the market? Three in London currently fit the bill, or should we say squeeze in to it.

Narrow house for sale

First up is a house (pictured, above) measuring just seven feet across that came on the market in June on Homerton High Street in Hackney not far from the Olympic Park. Bought for £93,000 at auction by a developer, it’s still for sale at £275,000 and is next to both a small park on the one hand and a fried chicken takeaway restaurant on the other.

narrow house walthamstow

Another narrow property for sale is in Walthamstow Village, a house (pictured above) built between two early Victorian cottages at 3a Church Path famed locally both for its glass front and seven-foot-wide frontage but also its former owner – thought to be Bill Drummond, the colourful front man of 1990s acid house band The KLF, who sold the property to its current owner in 1993.

The two-bedroom house is for sale at £355,000 and has found a buyer, although the vendor says he is continuing to accept offers after the buying chain hit the buffers further down the line.

narrow house walthamstow

And Walthamstow seems to be a hotbed of narrow homes – three streets away in Grosvenor Park Road (pictured above) is a similar-looking glass-fronted property known locally as The Blue House also on the market but for substantially more at £450,00; although it’s got a fatter waistline at 12ft, three storeys and bedrooms plus a reasonably big terrace garden at the back.

August 9, 2012 at 2:10 PM Leave a comment

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