Buying a home – what does £250,000 get you?

The average value of a home in England is just over £250,000, but what type of property does this amount of money buy in different corners of the country?

1. London: Studio flat in Maida Vale for £275,000

04.03.14 Average 1

2. Torquay: Two bedroom flat for £250,000

04.03.14 Average 4

3. Dover: Three bedroom detached house for £250,000

04.03.14 Average 6

4. Isle of Mull: Five bedroom detached house for £265,000

04.03.14 Average 8

5. Hartlepool: Eight bedroom detached house for offers over £250,000

04.03.14 Average 2

6. North Yorkshire: Three bedroom terraced house for £275,000

04.03.14 Average 9

7. Somerset: Three bedroom house for £250,000

04.03.14 Average 7

8. Alnwick: Four bedroom detached house for £275,000

04.03.14 Average 3

9. Romford: Two bedroom flat for £275,000

04.03.14 Average 8a

10. Isle of Wight: Two bedroom bungalow for £250,000

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March 6, 2014 at 8:00 AM Leave a comment

Applying for a mortgage is about to get tougher

Are you applying for a mortgage? New rules being introduced next month mean that the application process could get a lot tougher.

Mortgage rate

If you thought applying for a new mortgage was difficult following the credit crunch, it is about to get a whole lot harder, according to the Council of Mortgage Lenders.

Banks and building societies tightened their lending criteria after the financial crisis to help prevent borrowers overstretching themselves financially. But as the economic recovery began, many lenders loosened their requirements – a move demonstrated by the greater availability in recent months of mortgage deals for those with smaller deposits of as little as 5 per cent of the value of a property.

However, today, the CML issued five warnings to borrowers ahead of strict regulation – Mortgage Market Review – coming into effect on April 26. They included a warning that the new rules will affect how much buyers can borrow.

The warnings came amid mortgage brokers suggesting the new rules would create a greater number of so-called ‘mortgage prisoners’ – borrowers who are trapped in their homes and unable to move because they cannot afford to remortgage.

Mark Harris, chief executive of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients, said: “Making sure that borrowers do not over-exert themselves and that the borrowing they take on is affordable is no bad thing but processing times for mortgage applications are likely to increase, while existing borrowers could find it more difficult to remortgage, leading to mortgage prisoners.”

The CML warned:

1. Taking out a mortgage could take longer than before. This is because most mortgages are sold on an ‘advised’ basis and the new rules are very prescriptive about giving advice, with an advised sale possibly taking up to two hours.

2. You will need to provide more details about your income and expenditure. The new rules require a detailed assessment of where your mortgage is affordable both now and in the future

3. The new rules could affect how much you can borrow. Lenders will be required to ask detailed questions about your spending, including what you spend on utilities, council tax, telephones, ground rent, insurance and running a car. They will also have to make a realistic estimate of other living costs, including clothing, household goods and childcare costs.

4. You will be able to apply for a mortgage on an “execution-only” basis, but there are strict rules to make sure that you understand the process. You will need to show you have researched the market and understand the features of the mortgage you want to take out.

5. It will still be possible for you take out an interest-only mortgage – but this will remain a niche offering. Lenders continuing to offer interest-only mortgages will need to ensure that you have a credible strategy for repaying the loan when it matures.

March 4, 2014 at 5:17 PM 1 comment

Small London flat will cost ‘£36m by 2050′

If you think London property is overpriced, wait until the middle of the century when an average small flat in the capital could set you back £36m, if the latest forecasts are to be believed.

04.03.14 London flat

For sale: Two bedroom flat in Clapham for £650,000. But what will it be worth in 2050?

In less than 40 years, prices could be 24 times as expensive, if current growth rates in the capital continue.

London Central Portfolio said prices would continue in London for at least the next few years due to demand and lack of supply.

Hugh Best, LCP investment director, said: “The average price in prime central London is now £1.5m, and has been growing at 9 per cent a year, which we think is firmly sustainable. They have been growing at that level for 40 years and we see no reason for that to change.”

However, he added that at some point, prices would become unaffordable even for wealthy foreigners.

He defined the prime market as Kensington & Chelsea, and Westminster.

London’s property market has soared in value compared to the rest of the country, with the average price rising almost £40,000 during the past year to £519,138.

In contrast, the typical value of a home in England has risen £11,190 to £256,285 during the past year.

Adrian Anderson, director of mortgage broker Anderson Harris, said: “A price tag of £36m is a truly eye-watering figure and if this is considered to be a reasonable forecast for the price of an average small flat, it goes to show how spectacular house-price growth is in the capital.

“Unless enough property is built to house the growing population, only the richest will be able to afford to live in London which will cause real issues when it comes to filling all those jobs which are so essential to the running of the city.”

March 4, 2014 at 4:11 PM Leave a comment

Mrs Twilight Years – chapter 1: Moving home

Mrs Twilight Years is a 70-something with a passion for property and living life to the full. She covers everything in her Zoopla column, from how to afford an electricity bill on a pension to making a quilt cover at her weekly patchwork group.

03.03.14 Mrs Twlight Years

My name is Mrs Twilight Years and last month I hit the grand old age of 70. I like to think I’m quite fit and healthy, having celebrated my birthday in the Hampshire skies flying a small aircraft under the instruction of a former RAF pilot.

But there is no denying at this age, there are some things that you have to approach differently. And where you live is one of them.

Having thought extensively during the past few years about how long my husband and I can continue living and maintaining the detached family home, we have decided to move.

Friends recommend moving while we still have the energy to face the emotional and physical upheaval.

We have finally found a smaller house that meets our changing requirements and we put in an offer at the weekend.

Retirement property for sale

It is in the same town where we currently live, meaning we can stay near our friends that we’ve built up during the past decade, but the new property will undoubtedly be less demanding on our time and financial resources.

While the mortgage has been paid off, the running costs on our existing home are higher than we would like and will continue to rise.

We want to get out and travel while we still can, instead of staying indoors and maintaining a property that is now too large for just the two of us (our daughters having long since left home) and a ruby-coloured King Charles Cavalier.

I’m certainly no novice when it comes to moving – having moved 14 times during my adult life – but even now the process is beginning to feel daunting and so now is the right time to downsize.

Searching for a property for later life is certainly a different exercise – is there a downstairs toilet, a walk-in shower and easily accessible fittings. Is there local transport – such as a reliable bus stop nearby to reach services like doctors, shops, family and friends when it is no longer best to drive? And if alterations are required, is there scope to carry them out?

We’re now waiting to see if our offer has been accepted. It’s the beginning of new chapter in our retirement and I hope you will follow – and comment on – our Twilight Years journey as it unfolds.

(*Real name not used to protect the innocent, particularly family and friends)

Retirement properties for sale:

One bedroom property in Bournemouth for £65,000

03.03.14 Retire 1

Two bedroom terrace in Harrogate for £64,950

03.03.14 Retire 2

Two bedroom flat in Leatherhead for £174,950

03.03.14 Retire 3

March 4, 2014 at 9:50 AM Leave a comment

What does your perfect pancake kitchen look like? Ten of the best

From Nigella Lawson to Jamie Oliver and Michel Roux, there is a plethora of perfect pancake recipes available ahead of this evening’s Shrove Tuesday celebrations. But do you have the perfect kitchen in which to prepare the mix of eggs, milk and flour? Zoopla highlights 10 of the best kitchens in properties currently for sale.

pancakes_child

1. Seven bedroom detached house in Somerset for £8m

03.03.14 Kitchen 1

2. Five bedroom detached house in Hertfordshire for £1,895,000

03.03.14 Kitchen 4

3. Four bedroom detached house in Chulmleigh for overs over £500,000 (plenty of room for tossing pancakes)

03.03.14 Kitchen 3

4. Five bedroom detached house in Trevone Bay for £850,000

03.03.14 Kitchen 2

5. Seven bedroom property in Halifax for £1,290,000

03.03.14 Kitchen 5

6. Six bedroom detached house in Surrey for £10,950,000

03.03.14 Kitchen 6

7. Three bedroom detached house in Kent for £695,000

03.03.14 Kitchen 7

8. Five bedroom detached house in Kensington for £11m

03.03.14 Kitchen 8

9. Five bedroom detached house in Bristol for £1,995,000

03.03.14 Kitchen 9

10. Six bedroom terrace in London’s Eaton Square for £34m

03.03.14 Kitchen 10

March 4, 2014 at 8:00 AM Leave a comment

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