Winter 2012 Property Market: Recovery?

It was good news for most homeowners across the UK today as new figures showed both sales and rental asking prices rose for the first time since September, with London and the South East leading the way.

After a quiet winter, the property market has warmed up in the first month of 2012 as those selling their homes set their sights on higher prices. Overall, the average asking price of a home in the UK is up 0.3% compared to the same time last month to £218,114 – or 1.1% up on prices a year ago.

While some areas are still experiencing falling asking prices, regions such as London and the South East are continuing to drive the market upwards. In London, homeowners are now asking an average £460,386 for a home in London, which is 1.6% more than they wanted last month and 7.3% more than a year ago. The average price of a home in the South East is also up to £271,367 or 0.5% compared to the same time last month, while rental asking prices here increased by 0.8% in January.

Part of these increases are down to seasonal growth – where property prices steadily rise between January and June, but some of the boost to prices may also be a result of first-time buyers attempting to complete on sales before their stamp duty holiday on homes between £125,000 and £250,000 ends at the end of March.

Those who don’t owe their own homes had to find slightly more for rent last month after rental asking prices rose by 0.3% to an average of £864 in January. This increase was most sharply felt on homes to rent London and the North East, rising by 1.3% and 1.0% to £2,113 and £597 respectively. However, rents in the West Midlands fell for the first time since August 2011, experiencing a decrease of 3.3% in January, down to £652. Rents in Yorkshire and the Humber also fell sharply, by 0.9%, to £553.

February 22, 2012 at 2:37 PM 1 comment

Britain to get first floating amphibious home

This is a legacy post from the blog which is now maintained as an archive within the Zoopla blog. Links have been preserved.

It sounds more science fiction than bricks and mortar, but Britain is to get its first ever floating home after planning permission was granted to a house that rises with flood waters.

The amphibious home – to be set just 10m from the water’s edge – is to be built on an island on the banks of the Thames close to Marlow in Buckinghamshire. It’s considered a major breakthrough for architects and designers who have been trying to find ways to mitigate the risk and damage of water in flood-prone areas.

Diagram showing the amphibious house when the Thames is at a regular height …

The modern 225 sq ft home, designed by London-based Baca Architects, will rest on fixed foundations but whenever a flood occurs the entire building will rise up in its dock and float, buoyed by the floodwater.

Diagram showing the amphibious house if flood waters rise

While the house will be a modern, highly-insulated, low energy building, including large high-performance windows, the architects have ensured that it is also sympathetic to the Conservation Area in which it is set. It will have pitched roofs and a chimney to complement the irregular roofline of neighbouring homes and an overall footprint that is no larger than the existing property.

How the amphibious home will look on the Thames

The garden will act as a natural early warning flood system, with terraces set at different levels designed to flood incrementally and alert the occupants well before the water reaches a threatening level.

And it looks good from the inside too

“The planning process obviously took a bit more time than some applications, involving our team in extensive consultations and cooperation with the local authority,” said Richard Coutts, director of Baca Architects. “From the outset of the design process we sought expert advice from the Environment Agency to determine the most appropriate construction model to mitigate flood risk on the site; and provide a safe dwelling, sympathetic to its setting, and fit for the challenges of the 21st Century.”

As you’d expect, building an amphibious home isn’t for the financially wet – the architects say it currently costs around 20% to 25% more than a similar sized house.

Watch a CGI of what happens to the home when flooding occurs

February 13, 2012 at 5:46 PM 1 comment

Top 50 areas with the biggest property asking price reductions

Glasgow property for sale

Glasgow property reduced by 8.7% - Last reduced: 1st Sep 2011

According to our latest price reduction research, over a third (36.7%) of UK properties for sale currently have been reduced in price at least once since first coming onto the market. The average discount off the original asking price being offered by sellers across the UK on these homes now stands at £19,580 (7.5%).

The current average discount of £19,580 is a new high indicating that sellers have come to terms with the market realities. Pricing correctly remains key when selling a home and whilst there is a shortage of sale stock currently, buyers are more discerning and more informed than ever before. Serious sellers must do their homework and follow the advice of their agent before settling on an asking price – otherwise they may well find their property on the market for longer than they’d hoped.

The average discount on price-reduced properties on offer today is over £1,000 more than this time last year when it stood at £18,475 (7%). Homeowners have slashed huge sums from their original asking prices in an attempt to attract buyers. The total amount reduced from the asking prices of all properties currently for sale across the country stands at £2.5 billion.

Top tip: We have a unique tool on that lets you sort search results by those that have been most reduced in price, highlighting potential property bargains across the UK.

Price reductions in 50 key British cities/towns

Rank Location % of Homes on Market Reduced Avg. Price Reduction (%) Avg. Price Reduction (£)
1 Glasgow 42.73% -9.16% -£12,566
2 Scunthorpe 43.19% -9.12% -£13,207
3 Blackpool 27.45% -8.97% -£12,316
4 Newcastle 36.99% -8.77% -£21,823
5 Rotherham 44.07% -8.62% -£13,671
6 Hull 34.60% -8.48% -£9,674
7 Maidstone 35.70% -8.46% -£19,668
8 Liverpool 39.36% -8.34% -£14,355
9 Bradford 38.05% -8.21% -£11,675
10 Preston 41.60% -8.21% -£18,000
11 Bolton 29.11% -8.11% -£13,980
12 Stockport 48.74% -8.11% -£17,384
13 Manchester 36.14% -8.10% -£13,605
14 Doncaster 36.07% -8.08% -£14,771
15 Warrington 41.75% -8.02% -£16,339
16 Chesterfield 45.17% -7.87% -£14,028
17 Sunderland 41.77% -7.76% -£11,878
18 Wolverhampton 36.75% -7.75% -£11,418
19 Wakefield 43.14% -7.58% -£14,687
20 Barnsley 36.57% -7.55% -£10,270
21 Nottingham 36.23% -7.52% -£12,998
22 Ipswich 36.91% -7.46% -£14,086
23 Birmingham 41.38% -7.44% -£12,315
24 Peterborough 39.14% -7.40% -£13,671
25 Wigan 32.80% -7.37% -£10,157
26 Leicester 39.18% -7.36% -£14,623
27 Coventry 37.11% -7.31% -£13,213
28 Milton Keynes 36.42% -7.26% -£15,907
29 Stoke-on-Trent 36.25% -7.25% -£11,692
30 Bournmouth 35.81% -7.03% -£16,603
31 Colchester 38.99% -7.02% -£19,032
32 Sheffield 38.87% -6.95% -£13,001
33 Leeds 41.61% -6.90% -£13,304
34 Derby 30.75% -6.87% -£11,738
35 Lincoln 37.63% -6.86% -£11,108
36 Norwich 41.26% -6.74% -£15,831
37 Poole 38.40% -6.60% -£25,812
38 Oxford 38.58% -6.60% -£22,458
39 Cardiff 40.78% -6.56% -£15,518
40 Southampton 37.92% -6.56% -£16,406
41 Croydon 39.07% -6.55% -£18,561
42 Northampton 36.65% -6.54% -£13,281
43 London 29.53% -6.42% -£41,791
44 Luton 40.94% -6.32% -£12,067
45 Plymouth 38.01% -6.30% -£11,222
46 Bedford 41.37% -6.26% -£16,518
47 Bristol 34.94% -6.23% -£14,658
48 Swindon 41.58% -6.20% -£12,455
49 York 31.83% -6.01% -£17,031
50 Chelmsford 37.54% -5.93% -£20,329

Source: (February 2012)

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February 8, 2012 at 10:18 AM 2 comments

Buy the home of legendary British actor Oliver Reed

Legend has it that the famous scene in Women In Love where Oliver Reed wrestles naked with Alan Bates in front of a roaring fire was actually filmed in Reed’s Surrey home Broome Hall.

Buy a wing of Broome Hall, which once belonged to legendary British actor Oliver Reed

The actor, who died in Malta in 1999 while filming Gladiator, bought the 54-bedroom Grade II listed home in Coldharbour in the 1970s and lavished buckets of money on its renovation – apparently taking any film work offered in order to fund the work on the home, which dates back to 1750, although most of the property is late Victorian.

Reed, who was as famous for his excessive drinking as he was his acting in films like Castaway, The Three Musketeers and Oliver!, wrote in his autobiography: : “As soon as I set eyes on Broome Hall, I fell in love with it and decided to buy it there and then.” As you’d expect, the actor hosted some famous faces at the property over the years too – including actor Steve McQueen and The Who’s Keith Moon.

Reed left Broome Hall in the 1980s and the property was bought by a developer who converted it into apartments, one of which is now for sale.

An apartment is probably slightly understating this home, which is more like a wing of Broome Hall – it’s large at 1969 sq ft, has three bedrooms, a large living room and dining room, while the upstairs breakfast room overlooks a courtyard. The apartment also comes with a separate half an acre paddock with a stable block and double garage.

And even though Reed left Broome Hall more than two decades ago, the new owners will probably come across stories of the actor’s local exploits. For instance, The Telegraph reported that Reed was apparently banned from his Coldharbour local after coming down the chimney naked shouting: “Ho Ho Ho I’m Santa Claus”.

The Broome Hall home is for sale for £795,000 through Hamptons International.

February 7, 2012 at 1:23 PM Leave a comment

Where are the UK’s celebrity home hotspots?

Ever wondered why you didn’t end up an actor, musician or talented footballer. Part of the reason might be connected to the home you grew up in, or more precisely, where it was situated. 

New research by looked at where Britain’s top celebrities were raised and found certain areas are hotspots for breeding celebrity success, with some specific regions producing some very particular talent.

Ever wondered why you're not David Beckham or Cheryl Cole? It might come down to the house you grew up in, or at least your home address, according to's new celebrity hotspot map

Those who grew up in homes in London are 80% more likely to find fame than people born anywhere else. Specifically, Hammersmith in West London is a hotspot for film stars, with Hollywood stars Alan Rickman, Daniel Radcliffe and Hugh Grant all growing up in the area. Fans of soap operas could do worse than move to a home in Bury in Greater Manchester, which has produced a string of actors currently starring in Coronation Street, Hollyoaks and Emmerdale.

Manchester also has a strong tradition of producing rock bands, with Oasis (Burnage), Joy Division (Salford), Elbow (Bury), The Smiths (Manchester) and the recently reunited Stone Roses just a few of the bands providing inspiration for aspiring rock stars across the city.

When it comes to current chart music, North London is the UK’s centre with Adele, Eliza Doolittle and X Factor judge Tulisa Contostavlos all hailing from the area. North London is also a good place to look for future X Factor winners, with Leona Lewis and Alexandra Burke both spending their early lives in homes in Islington.


February 6, 2012 at 5:45 PM Leave a comment

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