UK property market confidence climbs to highest level in four years

Property prices will rise 7.2 per cent in the first half of this year, house owners predict.

House for sale: Homeowners get good news on property prices

It is more than double the 3.2 per cent forecast a year earlier, and the most upbeat prediction in four years, according to the latest Zoopla Housing Market Sentiment Survey.

The study of 7,796 UK home owners suggested 92 per cent of home owners expect house prices in their area to rise in the next six months, up from 65 per cent last year and the highest proportion on record.

Only 3 per cent of home owners predict house prices will fall in the first half of this year, down from 19 per cent at this time a year ago.

The survey also revealed an increase in those looking to buy a property in the next six months in the first half of 2014, up to 22 per cent from 19 per cent in September.

Londoners remain the most optimistic about the state of the property market, with 98 per cent expecting a further rise in property values in the capital during the first half of the year and predicting average price growth of 9.6 per cent during this period, above the national average of 7.2 per cent.

The most significant jump in confidence can be found in the North with Yorkshire and The Humber and the North West, where the proportion of owners who believe property prices will increase in the next six months rising from 84 per cent to 88 per cent in just three months.

At the other end of the spectrum, home owners in Wales are the least bullish on house prices currently, with only 85 per cent of home owners predicting a rise in property prices by June.

Properties for sale in Yorkshire:

1. Three bedroom terraced house for £169,950

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2. Six bedroom detached house for £699,999

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3. Three bedroom detached house for £425,000

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

January 15, 2014 at 10:45 AM Leave a comment

Flooded homes may still be covered by insurance, say estate agents

Home buyers are being urged not to overlook properties that have been previously flooded without some investigation.

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Photo by imaginedhorizons

Estate agents say buyers are being extra cautious about buying a property with a flood history or a risk of flooding.

Buyers are fearful of investing in a home that could be flooded and not be covered by insurance to repair the damage, they say.

It follows the recent spate of bad weather, which has once again thrown the issue of flood insurance into the spotlight.

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Image via Flickr user salforduniversity

Andrew Blagden, from the Farnham branch of estate agents Hamptons International, says: “Although areas in Surrey and Hampshire have been severely affected by flooding in recent months, it is important to remind prospective buyers that while they should exercise some caution, property decisions should not be ruled out without making further investigation.

“Last time we saw flooding in the area of this severity was 2000 and confidence in the property market returned extremely quickly. It is important to remember that although some insurance companies do appear a little nervous about insuring those properties at potential risk most companies will insure your property.

“Our advice to prospective purchasers would be to take proper measures before purchasing a property in a flood risk area by contacting the environmental agency and potential insurance companies, in most cases they will say the likelihood of flooding to the extent we have recently encountered happens once in one hundred years.

“During these most recent floods some properties were damaged where it sadly could have been avoided. If you wish to buy a property in a flood risk area it is worth looking into making small changes to the property to prevent or lessen the severity of the flooding, these changes can be as simple and low cost as building a low brick wall to protect your home.”

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For sale: Three bedroom semi detached house for sale

Dudley Singleton, of estate agent Singleton & Daughter, said: “If you can’t get insurance, then you are not going to get a mortgage.

“So one of the first questions I ask the vendor if the property has been flooded is if their insurer is prepared to carry on insuring the property to new purchaser, and if not, can we get a quote from a specialist insurer.

“If you can’t get insurance, you can expect a property to be hugely devalued, by as much as 40 per cent.”

The agent is handling the sale of a three bedroom Victorian house in Padworth, Reading, which experienced freak flood conditions in 2007, with water coming off the land and entering the property.

The house has not flooded since and should be easily insured, says the agent.

Mr Singleton added: “There are two types of flooding – one where a property is near a river and the other where water runs off the land. This property falls into the latter category, which can be easily sold.”

The Government is introducing a new flood insurance agreement next year – Flood Re – which aims to make sure affordable cover is available.

The agreement with the insurance industry aims to ensure those living in high flood risk areas can continue to find affordable flood insurance by placing a cap on the total cost.

The insurance trade body, the Association of British Insurers, says Flood Re should be ready for launch in the summer.

Until then, flood insurers will continue to abide by the outgoing Statement of Principles, where insurers are obliged to provide cover to flood risk homes in exchange for Government investment in flood defences.

Some properties are being excluded from Flood Re however, including properties built after 2009 and those falling into council Band H.

To find out if an area is at risk of flooding, visit the Environment Agency flood map.

January 15, 2014 at 8:00 AM Leave a comment

Floor plans are the key to buying a home

If you are looking at a property listing, there are several items that you will undoubtedly cast your eye over first.

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For sale: Three bedroom house in Salisbury for £330,000

There’s the decorative order – does the living room suit your taste and standards? – and of course, the price – is the property within your budget? You’ll probably also look at the number of bedrooms, and may even need to consider what the local schools are like.

But there’s perhaps one item that you’ll overlook. Or at least, it may not be at the top of your list of priorities. And yet it can be a deal breaker if you get it wrong, estate agents warn.

It is none other than floor plans – those architect-type drawings that many buyers avoid clicking onto in favour of photos of more colourful cushions and bed spreads.

James Kendling, of estate agents Hamptons International in Buckingham, said: “Floor plans are especially useful in determining the versatility of accommodation. Often buyers are looking for the potential to extend a property or alter the layout to suit their own personal needs, it is in these early stages that a floor plan can determine whether the property is proceedable.”

“Typically buyers will view multiple properties at any given time and then take home the floor plans to compare and scrutinise each property to determine which layout is best suited to their needs.”

The warning comes amid a report from insurer LV= that the average British home has shrunk by two square meters in just a decade, down from 98.8 in 2003 to 96.8 today.

The report highlights the overcrowding present in family homes today, claiming 150,000 children have seen their bedrooms partitioned in two in an attempt to create extra bedrooms.

If you’re buying a property and want to make sure that it is big enough to meet your needs, you will need to first understand the dimensions of it – and for this you will need to study the area of the floor plan, measured in square feet or square metres.

So if a room is four meters by four meters, it means it is 16 square meters, which is another figure you may on the floor plan.

A similar calculation can be done for measurements taken in square feet, with a square foot being the equivalent to 12 inches wide by 12 inches long.

View the property floor plans listed on Zoopla:

1. For sale: Three bedroom detached house in Fareham for £309,950

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2. For sale: Five bedroom semi-detached house in Tonbridge for £350,000

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3. For sale: Five bedroom property in Newlands for £615,000

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January 14, 2014 at 8:00 AM 2 comments

BBC’s Tommy Walsh from ‘Ground Force’ fame sells Essex renovation home

Ground Force’s Tommy Walsh is selling his Essex home after spending more than a decade renovating it.

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The resident builder on the television garden markover show rebuilt the house from a near derelict shell.

He bought it for £29,000 just before he was offered the role on Ground Force in 1997.

The show catapulted him to fame alongside the original team of Charlie Dimmock and Alan Tichmarsh.

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Tommy recently claimed ‘cement is in my blood’, having worked with his builder father from the age of four.

It is understood that applying for planning permission on the property took two years due to its Grade II listed status, and that he worked on the project with his father in the winter months when filming was over.

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The property had been rented for seven years, but is now being sold as Tommy prefers his rental properties to be closer to his Hackney house.

The three bedroom home in Great Dunmow is on the market with estate agents MullucksWells for £299,950.

Ground Force finished in 2005 and Tommy went on to appear in several other shows, but none were as popular. He continues to run his building business and is currently renovating two houses in Hackney, which he will let out.

January 13, 2014 at 11:48 AM Leave a comment

Footballer John Terry sells Surrey mansions

Footballer John Terry has reportedly sold his two neighbouring houses in Oxhott, Surrey, for more than £20m.

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Photo by Ronnie Macdonald

The Chelsea and England defender sold his original red-brick house last year for £5.25m and then received an out of the blue £16m offer for his new home.

He was due to live in the new property with his wife and twin children.

He is understood to have bought the luxury home for £1.8m in 2007 and spent a further £4m renovating it.

The average price of a home in the same road is £3,887,823, up £221,932, according to Zoopla.

There is currently one property for sale in Queens Drive, with an asking price of £4,995,000.

Brooke House is an impressive eight bedroom detached property is for sale through Knight Frank. It has an indoor swimming pool, media room and landscaped gardens.

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The property has electrically operated gates, with a large driveway and a triple garage.

At the rear of the property, there is a sun terrace that leads to a large well maintained area of lawn that is surrounded by a wealth of colourful flower beds, mature shrubs and trees, offering a good deal of privacy and seclusion.

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January 10, 2014 at 5:31 PM Leave a comment

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