The best London areas for first-time buyers and downsizers to find Victorian workers' cottages

https://www.homesandproperty.co.uk

Housing crises are nothing new. The Victorians, faced with a desperate shortage of homes for factory hands, came up with a solution — workers’ cottages.

Those 19th-century industrialists raised acres of factories in the East End, the railways, sewers, hospitals and town halls to go with them, plus streets of identikit cottages with two rooms upstairs, two downstairs and a bathroom tacked on behind the house, or later, above the kitchen for ease of plumbing.

Today these homes have a dolls house appeal and offer many benefits — freehold, privacy, your own front door, no neighbour noise from above or below, no service charge or interfering tenants associations and, in many cases, your own private garden.

Rooms can be small and in some cases the front door opens directly into the living space. The pitch of the roof can be too shallow to allow a loft extension, and many of these cottages have to be unpicked as earlier owners often added the bathroom to the back of the ground-floor kitchen. But despite these shortcomings, buyers like the prices and the potential for improvement.

In Kingston upon Thames, Ben Williams, sales director of Dexters estate agents, says cottage buyers tend to be first timers, or people upsizing from one-bedroom flats in areas such as Fulham, Putney or Wimbledon, as well as downsizers who don’t want to move into a flat.

For those who have fallen for the charms of an urban cottage, there are some standout areas of London to begin the hunt.

TOOTING BEC AND TOOTING BROADWAY: A COTTAGE ESTATE

Former farm cottages, homes for railway workers, and Totterdown Fields, a “cottage estate” of more than 1,000 homes built in the early 20th century by the London County Council for working men and their families, all make Tooting a good option.

William Drey, sales manager at Jacksons estate agents, says his buyers tend to be young professional couples looking for a house they can afford, with the freehold and a garden.

Hereward Road and Moffat Road have quality two-up two-downs that sell for £650,000 to £700,000 on average. The area is also full of two-bedroom maisonettes that tend to have a similar floorspace. These sell for less, at about £635,000, but they are not as quaint. A three-bedroom home in the area will be about £800,000.

Tooting has plenty of plus points. The open space of Tooting BecCommon and Tooting Bec Lido are popular attractions and there are excellent Indian restaurants plus a growing number of gastropubs and bars alongside the area’s traditional boozers. There’s a good street market, and adding to the appeal are Zone 3 Tube links to the West End in about half an hour.

KINGSTON UPON THAMES: SUBURBAN AFFLUENCE

Kingston was a semi-rural spot until the coming of the railways in 1850. The area’s earliest cottages are as likely to have been built for farm workers as factory workers, and later by builders busy transforming fields into the affluent suburb of Victorian houses we see today.

Kingston is split into two postcodes and historically KT2, closer to Richmond Park, was the most sought after. KT1, towards Surbiton, is now gaining traction, however, not least because it is within walking distance both of the town centre and of Surbiton station, with trains to Waterloo from 19 minutes. An annual season ticket costs £1,852. Kingston also has a good stock of two-bedroom houses, particularly around Fairfield Recreation Ground and off Villiers Road.

Ben Williams of Dexters says these properties typically sell at £500,000 to £550,000, while a two-bedroom garden flat would be £400,000 to £500,000. A three-bedroom house would be £600,000 to £750,000 — so it makes financial sense to buy a cottage with scope to extend.

PLAISTOW: NOT PRETTY — BUT IT HAS PROSPECTS

Despite being ruinously bombed during the Blitz, some of the modest homes built for printers, silk weavers and railway workers in the 18th, 19th, and early 20th centuries survived the onslaught.

Simon Hart, at Foxtons, says a two-bedroom house in the area will cost £400,000, while a two-bedroom period conversion would be £330,000 to £350,000. A cottage, extended into a three-bedroom house with an enlarged kitchen would be worth £500,000. “There is a small margin and what I find is that the young owners prefer to stay put and extend because they love these homes and it is cheaper than moving.”

The bigger compromise of buying a Plaistow workers’ cottage is Plaistow itself. This shabby corner of east London has stubbornly failed to benefit from the Olympic effect, despite being only two miles from Stratford. “There is no high street, just a few shops around the station,” says Hart. “It is waiting for a few nice restaurants and pubs.”

Yet Plaistow, in Zone 3, has prospects. Newham council has recently granted planning permission for a 182-home scheme designed by imaginative architects Pitman Tozer, just off Plaistow Road.

The homes will be rented out at subsidised levels, and the development includes a gym, supermarket, café and a square in front of the station.

WOOD GREEN: AN UGLY DUCKLING

With it’s hideous shopping centre, regeneration can’t come soon enough for Wood Green.

In the days when this north London suburb was scented with the aroma of molten sugar from the Barratts sweet factory — now an arts centre — homes for its workers were built on streets such as Barratt Avenue and Park Avenue. And in Bridge Road and Dorset Road on the borders of leafy neighbouring Alexandra Park are some very pretty ex-railway workers’ cottages.

Pat Morgan, branch manager of WJ Meade estate agents, says these homes sell for £480,000 to £500,000, while a two-bedroom period conversion will be £390,000 to £400,000. A three-bedroom house will be £550,000 to £600,000. Couples, keen to convert, make up the bulk of the buyers.

Wood Green is determinedly unregenerated, with shabby streets and that grotty shopping centre, a miserable range of retail and an unwelcoming atmosphere. However, Haringey council has plans for a £3.5 billion upgrade, including a new mall plus up to 8,000 homes. And should Zone 3 Wood Green become part of the Crossrail 2 train line as planned, prices will almost inevitably shoot upward.

Read more at: https://www.homesandproperty.co.uk/property-news/the-best-london-areas-for-firsttime-buyers-and-downsizers-to-find-victorian-workers-cottages-a117111.html

Rental market update:Rents in London and the South East hit an unseasonal low as number of rental homes increases

www.homesandproperty.co.uk

 Rents in London are at their lowest autumn level in four years according to a new report.

Autumn is usually one of the busiest times of year in the rental market with an annual surge in tenants looking for a home around the start of the university year and the end of summer.

However, the Rightmove rental trends research for July to September 2017 found the average asking rent for a two-bedroom home in London dropped 3.3 per cent compared to the same period in 2016, to £1,985 per month.

This is the lowest level for asking rents at this time of year since 2013.

The report also found that properties were taking longer to let, with rental homes standing empty for five per cent longer than a year ago.

GROWTH AREAS

There were some areas within London where rents rose year-on-year. Rents rose 10.1 per cent in Battersea, to £2,204; in Elephant and Castle they were up 6.6 per cent, to £1,841. Both areas are the focus of massive regeneration and significant levels of new home building.

“New build stock on the rental market has definitely contributed to the strong rise in rents in Battersea and Elephant and Castle, as new builds always command a premium,” said Mr Mitchell.

“However, rents in older properties are also going up, perhaps benefitting from the new builds surrounding them, which has lifted the overall market rate.”

Top five highest rental growth areas in London

AreaAverage asking rent Q3 2017Annual change

Battersea£2,20410.1%

Elephant and Castle£1,8416.6%

Mill Hill£1,5035.9%

Barnes£2,0733.7%

Harold Wood£1,1653.6%

Source: Rightmove Rental Trends Tracker, October 2017

THE NATIONAL PICTURE

National asking rents outside London also fell in the third quarter of the year, with a drop of 0.2 per cent – the first recorded drop at this time of year.

Rightmove said the national price drop was driven by falling prices in the South East, as a result of the changes to stamp duty on buy-to-let properties introduced last April. This led to a surge in sales to investors hoping to beat the surcharge deadline, increasing the number of rental homes available in the month that followed.

“Since last April’s second home stamp duty changes came in the supply of new rental properties in the South East has been steadily increasing, up 5.5 per cent on this time last year,” said Rightmove’s head of lettings, Sam Mitchell. 

“Agents are reporting that some investors looking for better yields are shifting their focus from London to instead buy in the surrounding counties of Surrey, Berkshire and Buckinghamshire. The increase in stock in the South East has led to softening in rents in some areas where there is less competition among tenants, but they are holding up in key commuter areas where tenant demand is strong.”

Rightmove found that in London, the number of rental properties increased by 26 per cent as a result of the stamp duty changes, leading to the current fall in rents.

Mr Mitchell said that as investors were replaced by first-time buyers in London, rental supply in the capital is likely to constrict, pushing rents up. 

Read more at: https://www.homesandproperty.co.uk/property-news/renting/rents-in-london-and-the-south-east-hit-an-unseasonal-low-as-number-of-rental-homes-increases-a114401.html

 

Seven London postcodes where prices haven't peaked yet

www.www.homesandproperty.co.uk

Even in London's faltering property market there are still some places dramatically outperforming the rest — registering price growth of almost 30 per cent in a single year.

As well as identifying London’s boom towns, new data from JLL published today highlights the best areas for first time buyers — where you can still buy a London flat for less than £200,000.

There are seven London postcodes with current growth of at least 20 per cent, led by Dartford, an area better known for its bridge and tunnel and its traffic jams than as a property success story.

Yet prices in Dartford have grown by 29.5 per cent in the past year, to an average price of £213,483 for a one-bedroom flat.

Hot on Dartford’s heels are Uxbridge, Harrow and Carshalton, which have all enjoyed price growth of between 22 and 24 per cent on one-bedroom flats in the past year.

Other locations with strong growth identified today include Camberwell, West Wickham (just east of Croydon) and Southall. Here starter flats have risen by about 21 per cent year on year.

“Typically the buyer will be a first time buyer, and the bank of mum and dad is our favourite lender,” said Brett MacDougall, a partner at Hunters estate agent in Camberwell.

He estimates that an ex-council flat in the area would cost between £270,000 and £300,000, while buyers pay from £320,000 and £400,000 for a period one-bedroom flat.

An increase in the number of new-build flats is part of the reason prices in most of the top areas have increased, as developers’ premiums break price ceilings.

MacDougall said these homes are popular with first-time buyers partly because of the Government’s Help To Buy London scheme, which reduces deposit requirements to five per cent. “Because interest rates are so low, they are borrowing to the max, which they prefer to buying something they need to spend money on.”

His top tip is Camberwell, which he says has been historically undervalued for a Zone 2 location and has benefited from the regeneration of adjacent Elephant & Castle.

Meanwhile the JLL and Rightmove report also reveals the least expensive starter-flat locations, but they are a long commute away.

The most pocket-friendly postcodes in London are South Ockendon, Dagenham, and Erith, where average asking prices for a one-bedroom flat start at just under £146,000.

Other budget locations highlighted by the research include Romford (£170,000) and under-regeneration Thamesmead (£174,000).

Read more at: http://www.homesandproperty.co.uk/property-news/seven-london-postcodes-where-prices-havent-peaked-yet-a113866.html

London Market update - Evening Standard

The capital's homeowners expect the value of their properties to grow over the next six months despite political uncertainty ahead of the general election, a survey has found.

Londoners believe their houses will be worth 9.9 per cent more, making them among the most optimistic people in the country, according to research by Zoopla.

But fewer Brits are planning to buy or sell compared to October as people hold out until after the June 8 vote, the property website said.

The research found confidence in capital's property market was the second highest in the UK, topped only by the East Midlands, where homeowners expect a 10 per cent rise in value.

But only 18 per cent of those surveyed plan to to purchase a property in the next six months, down from a quarter in October. Seventeen per cent plan to sell, a fall from 23 per cent.

Zoopla spokesman Lawrence Hall said: "Despite a continued period of political uncertainty, it’s encouraging to see a rise in confidence for property price growth.

"However, despite this, we can’t ignore that there’s been a rise in reluctance to buy and sell properties. With the upcoming general election, it’s perhaps no surprise that people may be holding out to make a purchase or sale decision until after June 8."

Research published last month found a third of properties for sale in London have had their original asking price slashed with an average discount of just under £57,323.

read more at: http://www.standard.co.uk/news/london/londoners-optimistic-for-10-per-cent-house-price-rise-over-next-six-months-a3535301.html

    Buying Guide: What to look for on a viewing

    pic-kitchen1.jpg

    The viewing stage is the most important part of the whole property buying process.  This is your opportunity to look in detail at the things that matter to you, and the information that you gather at this viewing will determine everything to do with that property.  It is a bit like speed dating, get as much information as possible before committing!  In most cases you will be able to visit the property more than once before making an offer, but in a busy market or with a popular property, you may only get one chance to see it because of other interested buyers.  The points below are all important things to bear in mind when you are at a property viewing.

     

    Location

    It is a good idea to get there early and have a walk around the surrounding roads to get a feel for the area.  Are the streets clean and do people look after their homes?  Are there any ugly buildings nearby or sites that will attract unwanted traffic?  If there is a park nearby, have a walk around it.  Will you actually use it if you live there?  Is the walk to the station well lit?  Is there a useful grocery shop close by?

     

    Transport

    Do some research into the various transport options that would be available to you if you lived there.  If there is a tube strike, is there a bus that could get you to work?  If you actually walked to the station that was slightly further away, would you actually be able to get into work quicker? The cost of monthly or yearly season tickets should also be considered when thinking about offers and finances.  These could become important when combined with mortgage repayments for example.  If you are very serious about the property then it is a good exercise to actually do the route that you will travel most, and time how long it takes. 

     

    The neighbours

    When you are in the property listen to whether or not you can hear the neighbours.  Look out of the window and see how tidy they keep their garden.   If you are viewing an apartment, what are the communal areas like?  This may tell you more about the freeholder than the neighbours which is still important because an inattentive freeholder could become an issue further down the line.  

     

    Fixtures, fittings, and general decoration

    You will naturally look at the most important things, and it is often how the place feels that will guide your overall impression.  It is easy though not to look in much detail at things like kitchen appliances.  Are they in good condition, what is included, and are they big enough for your needs?  Although these things can be changed it will be frustrating when you can’t remember whether there was a dishwasher or not and how big it was. 

      Look at the general paintwork and decorations.  Most places will probably need a lick of paint, but if there are more serious decorative issues then you want to see these now.  Don’t panic about every little crack you see, these may well just be in the paintwork, but it is always advisable to get a survey carried out to give you peace of mind.  If you are looking at a lower ground, or basement flat, then the chances are that there will have been damp at some point.  Ask your surveyor to look into this, or organize for a specialist damp survey.

     

    Natural light and space

    These are two very important things that are very hard to change.  Where does the natural light come from and into what rooms?  There may be a large tree that isn’t blocking the sun currently, but in summer when it is full of leaves, all the natural sunlight will be blocked.  The overall square footage of a property is important when comparing prices, and look at how the space is used.  Could you use the space better, or are there naturally lots of areas of wasted space (such as hallways)?  

     

    Room for improvement?

    Many properties on the market have not ben updated for a while and have the potential to be opened up and extended.  The reason you may have seen people knocking on walls at viewings is because they are ‘testing’ whether the wall could be knocked down.  If it sounds hollow then it is probably just a plaster board wall, also known as a stud wall. This isn’t a bad thing to do to give you an idea but it is also not a very scientific test.  If you are thinking about extensions, look at other properties in the street. If they have extensions then there is a much better chance that you will be able to do the same.

     

    What to ask the agent

    Ask the agent what the vendor’s position is in terms of moving.  Are they looking to buy somewhere themselves (ie. Will you be in a chain), what are the expected timescales, and what sort of offer are they looking for?  You probably wont get too much information from the last question but they may tell you that the vendor is looking for someone who can move quickly for example, so you can then use this to make yourself more attractive to the vendor. 

      Ask the agent how long the property has been on the market (you can also see this on Rightmove, Zoopla etc), and what interest there is currently.  If there are no other offers then you have more scope for negotiation.  There is also no harm in asking what the other offers are.  But don't expect to get an answer to that one!  By talking about offers with the agent you will come across as a much more serious buyer, and you will therefore be more likely to get useful information out of the agent.  

     

    Last but not least: Take your time

    Don't let yourself be rushed by the agent, if you are serious about the property they will not mind you taking your time.  Try to imagine yourself living there and think about where you might put your possessions.  Maybe even take a seat if it is appropriate.  Ask the agent if you can take pictures because this will help you remember the property. 

     

    For more help and advice with your property search visit www.foyspropertysearch.com

    Market update: House price biggest rise since March

    The Telegraph

    House prices rose 1.4pc in October, the biggest monthly rise since March, according to Halifax.

    Halifax's closely watched index reported monthly falls in July and August, and a slight rise in September of just 0.3pc. The jump in October contrasts with Nationwide's index, which last week reported that house prices were flat month on month, although both indices can be volatile. 

    On a rolling three-month basis, year-on-year growth in the quarter to the end of October was 5.2pc, down from 5.8pc in the previous period. This is almost half the rate of growth in the three months to March, of 10pc. The average price of a home is now £217,411. 

    The boost in monthly prices was put down to increased buyer demand, due to falling mortgage rates, and also a record shortage of homes on the market, according to the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (Rics), which was caused partly by price falls in previous months.

    The Bank of England reported that mortgage approvals for house purchases rose to a three-month high in September, and Rics said that buyer inquiries were the highest since February, suggesting that market activity is starting to pick up after softening during the year due to uncertainty over the referendum.

    Martin Ellis, a housing economist at Halifax, said: "This expected slowdown [in house price growth] appears to have been largely due to mounting affordability pressures, which have increasingly constrained housing demand." 

    Andrew Wishart from Capital Economics said: "Data from Halifax point to house prices stagnating in the third quarter. That echoes the broad picture outlined by other indices that, while house price growth slowed in the wake of the referendum result, there is no evidence of any substantial fall in values."

    Capital Economics has forecast that house price growth will slow to annual rate of 2pc by the end of the year.

    Read more at: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/property/house-prices/property-market-perks-up-as-house-prices-make-biggest-monthly-ju/

     

    Mortgage basics:fees, jargon and rates explained (The Telegraph.co.uk)

    In total, there is a little more than £1.3 trillion of outstanding mortgage debt in the UK, according to the Bank of England.

    That equates to more than £20,000 for every person in the country. But for many, the intricacies of mortgages remain a challenge, and they are frequently misunderstood. 

    Here, Telegraph Money explains everything you need to know about mortgages - from the different types available to the associated fees you may have to pay.

    Fixed and tracker mortgages

    There are two main types of residential mortgage: fixed rate and tracker.

    A fixed rate mortgage has the rate set for a given time period, regardless of what happens to wider interest rates. The fixes typically range from two years to 10 years, although there are some lifetime mortgages available.

    As a rule, the longer you choose to fix for, the higher the interest rate. 

    You are effectively paying for the security of knowing exactly what your payments will be.

    If rates went down across the board during your fixed term, you would miss out on the potential to access a lower rate, whereas if rates went up you would be quids in.

    Tracker mortgages follow the movements in another rate, normally the Bank of England’s central rate. The mortgage is typically set at a fixed margin above Bank Rate, fluctuating as the rate does.

    In recent years, those on tracker mortgages have benefited significantly from continued low rates. 

    From March 2009 to August this year, Bank Rate was set at 0.5pc, the longest period of stability in its history. The rate has now dropped to 0.25pc, and further movements over the coming years should be expected, which will affect tracker mortgage rates.

    See here for Telegraph Money's regularly updated list of the cheapest fixed-rate mortgage deals. 

    Standard variable rate

    Homebuyers should also be aware of the standard variable rate or SVR.  

    This is the rate a fixed mortgage moves onto after the set term is up, and is normally substantially higher.

    Those on fixed rate mortgages should aim to move between fixed rate deals, as SVR rates are not designed to be sustainable.

    Many borrowers end up on the standard variable rate for years, often because they can't access a new deal.

    Loan-to-value

    Normally written as LTV, this is the maximum percentage of a property that can be borrowed on a given mortgage deal.

    For instance, a mortgage with a maximum LTV of 80pc would require at least a 20pc deposit.

    The lowest interest rates are reserved for lower LTV amounts, so are only accessible to those with large deposits or who are re-mortgaging with a substantial existing stake in their property.

    Typically, the maximum LTV available is 95pc. There are some 100pc and above deals available, but these come at very high rates.

    There are exceptions. Some schemes, such as Barclays’ Family Springboard mortgage, enable buyers to purchase a property without any deposit at a reasonable rate. Instead, a family member provides 10pc of the property’s price as security, which they get back with interest if repayments are kept up.

    A comparatively small amount is lent at high LTV levels. According to the Bank of England, from the second quarter of 2012 to the second quarter of 2016, only 2.8pc of mortgage lending was at an LTV of 90pc to 95pc.

    Mortgage term

    The mortgage term is the total length of time over which you agree to repay the mortgage in full. Along with the interest rate, it is used to calculate your monthly payments. 

    Traditionally mortgage terms have been 25 years, but there has been a rise in 30 and 35 year mortgages as people struggle to get onto the housing ladder.

    In some cases, you can apply to change the term during the mortgage, either to repay sooner or to lengthen the repayment period to alleviate the pressure of payments

    Read more at http://www.telegraph.co.uk/personal-banking/mortgages/mortgage-basics-fees-jargon-and-rates-explained/

     

     

     

    100 days after Brexit:how the UK's vote to leave the EU has impacted the property market

    The Evening Standard

    Today marks 100 days since the UK voted to leave the European Union.

    The shock of the referendum result seemed to hit London property the hardest, with initial uncertainty leading to reports of deals falling through.

    Three months on and, so far, the housing market fallout from Brexit has not been as dramatic as first predicted.

    Today's figures from Nationwide's house price index reveal that growth has slowed to 5.3 per cent across the UK over the past 12 months, as buyers exercise more caution.

    1. Property sales are slowing
    "We have seen mortgage completions and approvals falling, suggesting a slowing market, but it is very early days and data is limited," says Lucian Cook, Savills UK head of residential research.

    "Perhaps the best signal we have so far is from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors survey.  This shows new buyer enquiries and new instructions are falling at the same rate, suggesting that there will not be a downward pressure on prices."

    2. Price rises are slowing, but there's still growth across the UK
    The latest figures from Rightmove reveal average asking prices have only marginally risen to £306,499, a growth of 0.7 per cent on the previous month, with seven out of 10 regions in England and Wales seeing house prices rise or at least remaining steady.

    Slowing price growth isn't solely Brexit-related, however. After several years of double-digit rises, affordability has weakened and cooling price growth is widely seen to be a natural correction of the market.


    3 . Low interest rates are helping to boost sales
    UK interest rates are now at a record low of 0.25, following the Bank of England's decision to cut the base rate by a quarter of a percentage point for the first time in seven years, last month. 

    "A cut in interest rates is the antidote for the post-Brexit worry and will, as a consequence, ensure that the UK economy continues to be underpinned by buoyant property prices,” says eMoov.co.ukfounder Russell Quirk.

    4. Prime central London was hardest hit, but is recovering
    "The market is not as fluid as it was at its peak in 2014 so buyers can now afford time to do their homework before committing to an offer," says Jonathan Hudson, London executive of the National Association of Estate Agents.

    "It's been 100 days since Brexit, but more importantly it has been six months since the increased levy on stamp duty which, if anything, has been the real catalyst for the market to slowdown."

    “Those who were going to pull out of deals or withdraw their properties from the market did so quickly," agrees Marcus Dixon - head of research at LonRes.

    "Those who are buying now are buoyed by the negativity within the market as they are looking to negotiate on price.”


    5. Fall in pound's value is helping to boost the prime market
    "The London market does seem to be benefiting from the fall in Sterling. Even with uncertainty about the future performance of the UK economy, the fall in Sterling gives an effective 10 per cent discount to those buying in US Dollars - a very good cushion against risk," says Fionnuala Earley, residential research director of Hamptons.
     

    6. Article 50 continues to cause some uncertainty
    "Going forward we believe the market will continue the upward trend enjoyed for quite some time now. It would seem that the triggering of Article 50 - or lack of at present - may cause more indecision in the market than the implementation itself,” says Quirk. 

    Read more at:

    http://www.homesandproperty.co.uk/property-news/buying/100-days-after-brexit-how-the-uk-vote-to-leave-the-eu-has-impacted-the-property-market-a105076.html

    House prices in England and Wales:growth in most regions as first-time buyers face the sharpest rises

    Evening Standard

    New figures show the property market is continuing to shake off post-Brexit vote uncertainty, with steep price rises hitting the first-time buyer sector hardest.

    New figures from Rightmove reveal average asking prices have now reached £306,499, a marginal increase of 0.7 per cent on the previous month and a rebound from the fall of two per cent recorded in July and August. Last month, price falls were recorded in eight of the 10 regions.

    Miles Shipside, Rightmove director and housing market analyst says: "The market continues to shake off the effect of post-Brexit vote uncertainty, though more so in the lower end sector."

    First-time buyers have already faced price rises following April's stamp duy increases and a surge in buy-to-let sales.

    In September, average asking prices are up by a further 3.3 per cent (£6,240), taking the average asking price of a starter home outside of central London to almost £195,000, which is £20,000 more than a year ago. In the capital, first-timers now face eye-watering entry level prices of more than £477,000.

    While Help to Buy has encouraged a greater supply of more starter homes, this is the sector that has historically had the greatest demand and therefore requires the greatest supply.

    Shipside adds: “The market continues to shake off the effect of post-Brexit vote uncertainty, though more so in the lower end sector. Buyers are still looking and enquiring, but there are limits on their willingness or ability to pay over the odds so sellers should be wary of over-pricing unless their local market can really justify it.”

    Read more at: 

    http://www.homesandproperty.co.uk/property-news/house-prices-in-england-and-wales-growth-in-most-regions-as-firsttime-buyers-face-the-sharpest-rises-a104676.html

    London's Quietway Cycle Routes

    The Evening Standard

    London is in back-to-work mode this week and an autumn launch that’s sure to appeal to home buyers is Transport for London’s new “Quietways” system.

    This network of cycle routes links the suburbs to the centre, with continuous, clearly signposted paths on back streets, through parks and along waterways.

    While making journeys to and from work easier, safer and more enjoyable, Quietways are already causing property ripples by lifting the veil on little-known neighbourhoods that will benefit from reduced motor traffic, better air quality and improved public spaces.

    The first seven Quietways straddle 15 London boroughs. The Waterloo to Greenwich route has opened and the others will be completed by spring next year. Phase two, starting in 2018, will extend the network to all London boroughs.

    London goes Dutch

    TfL is also promoting what it calls  “Mini-Holland” neighbourhoods in outer London boroughs, with grants to implement schemes that make cycling safer and more convenient, encouraging motorists to leave the car at home for short journeys and cycle instead. 

    Schemes under way in Enfield, Kingston and Waltham Forest aim to link residential areas to schools, town centres and green spaces. Estate agents have lost no time in mentioning Mini-Holland in their sales pitches.

    “It’s not just cyclists who will be trying to spot places to live along the new routes — a lot of young families will target car-free Quietway areas because they are safer and healthier for kids,”  says Rebecca May of Kinleigh Folkard & Hayward. “For example, we expect Earlsfield, part of the Clapham to Wimbledon Quietway, to get a boost. The route runs along the River Wandle and green spaces such as Garratt Park.”

    Flats and mews houses at Valentine Place near Waterloo in SE1

    Start in Southwark

    Dubbed “Q1”, the five-and-a-half-mile Waterloo to Greenwich Quietway is marked with purple signs and connects with other bike paths in the area, including two cycle superhighways. It passes through four boroughs and is ripe territory for anyone searching for a home in the up-and-coming Southwark hinterland.

    The route includes a new half-mile link across former railway land between South Bermondsey station and Surrey Canal Road, a fast improving pocket where a new 2,400-home neighbourhood is being created. Starting at hectic Waterloo station, the route immediately cuts through a handsome conservation area wrapping around Roupell Street, an enclave of 19th-century workers’ cottages, now coveted by South Bank theatre and media executives.

    Part of this area’s charm is its unvarnished urban residential mix. Away from the swish, river-facing flats are delightful Victorian terraces, charitable and church housing, factory lofts, live-work units, well cared-for public housing and niche private developments.

    Read more at: http://www.homesandproperty.co.uk/property-news/buying/new-homes/londons-new-cycle-routes-mini-holland-neighbourhoods-are-being-created-along-quietways-from-enfield-a104316.html

    Jitters in London luxury flat market as investors sell for 'bargain' prices

     

    The Guardian

    The first real signs of distress in the market for luxury London apartments are starting to emerge, as investors who agreed to buy homes off-plan are starting to sell them on for less than they agreed to pay for them.

    Property websites are now advertising many unfinished flats being offered for sale by the buyers who originally agreed deals with the developers.

    Estate agents and developers are generally coy about how much sellers were expecting to pay on completion, but some listings reveal that people are selling at or below the original purchase price, hoping the “bargain” price might pull in a new buyer. 

    This week, estate agent LondonDom.com was advertising several properties in central London for less than the original price charged by the developer. These included a three-bedroom apartment in the Battersea Riverlight development being marketed at a guide price of £1,890,000. The listing for the flat, which will not be ready to move into until 2017, described the sale as a “Hot EXCLUSIVE deal – now asking less than the original purchase price from the developer in 2013.” The listing has now been changed to describe it as “well priced”.

    Another “sub-penthouse” apartment in the Riverlight development, which is part of the vast Nine Elms development area that has sprung up on the south bank of the Thames, is ready to move into and is being marketed at £1.1m – £75,000 less than the original sale price. The agent’s description read: “Urgent sale – asking now LOWER that the original purchase price of 2013, which was £1,175,000. Due completion – NOW.”

    George Shishkovsky, managing director of LondonDom, insisted the sales were not a result of the UK’s Brexit vote or a fall in confidence in the market. “It’s all about people’s circumstances,” he said. “Usually people buying off-plan do so two or three years before completion and in that time circumstances can change.”

    The reductions mean sellers will need to make up the difference between the price they get and that they have agreed with the developer. Shishkovsky also pointed out that the falling pound meant that overseas investors selling for less than they had agreed to pay were not necessarily making a loss. “If someone bought for £1m and is now selling for £980,000 that £20,000 will be easily absorbed by the exchange rate when they convert it back.” But the lower prices do demonstrate that the era of soaring prices seems to have come to an end.

    Henry Pryor, who buys homes in London for wealthy clients, said he believed that the top end of the market had peaked and that currency gains wouldn’t make up for the fact that many flats had simply been overpriced: “Sterling-based property may be 10% cheaper for foreign buyers but much of it was 30% overpriced.” He added: “Expect to see more of this as the post-Brexit [vote] reality bites.”

    Read more at: https://www.theguardian.com/society/2016/jul/22/jitters-in-london-luxury-flat-market-as-investors-sell-for-bargain-prices

    Countrywide: House prices to fall 1% in 2017

    http://www.mortgagestrategy.co.uk

    UK house prices will fall 1 per cent next year due to post-Brexit economic fallout, according to new research from Countrywide.

    The firm says house price growth will weaken in the second half of 2016 in all regions except Scotland.

    House prices will only rise 2 per cent this year, compared to growth of 6.5 per cent in 2015 and 8.5 per cent in 2014.

    Countrywide predicts that the housing market will be hit by falling consumer confidence, reduced household spending and increasing unemployment levels.

    High stamp duty will also play a part, according to Countrywide.

    A Countrywide statement says: “The vote to leave the European Union has unsettled the UK economy as uncertainty surrounding the arrangements for decoupling from the EU and the effect this will have on trade and future economic growth.”

    However, the firm says house prices will rise towards the end of 2017 at a rate of 2 per cent, and that this will continue into 2018.

    Prime property prices in central London will fall 6 per cent this year, the firm predicts.

    Greater London prices will fall 1.25 per cent and then rise 2 per cent in 2017.

    Countrywide chief economist Fionnuala Earley says: “Forecasts in the current environment are trickier than ever as the vote to leave the EU has thrown up many risks. Our central view is that the economy will avoid a hard landing.

    “However, the weaker prospects for confidence, household incomes and the labour market mean that we do expect some modest falls in house prices.”

    Read more at: http://www.mortgagestrategy.co.uk/countrywide-house-prices-fall-1-2017/?utm_medium=twitter&utm_source=twitterfeed

     

    Homes near Night Tube stations:property hotspots tipped for price growth

    Evening Standard - Homes & Property

    From this weekend London’s long-awaited 24-hour Tube service starts running on the Central and Victoria lines, with the Piccadilly, Jubilee and Northern lines to follow in the autumn.

    It will be a boon to shift workers and partygoers, who will enjoy faster-than-usual travel from the suburbs to the city centre — and it will be a selling point for homes close to the stations that will benefit. 

    Top stops in Zone 2

    The strongest-performing Zone 2 Night Tube location over the past two years has been Oval on the Northern line, according to research by Savills. Prices have grown by 53 per cent to an average £637,297.

    Tom Floyd, sales manager of Winkworth, says Oval’s popularity has grown as buyers have been priced out of Kennington. “It has also probably got a better mixture of properties for first-time buyers, with lots of Victorian houses which have been converted into flats,” he adds.

    A two-bedroom Victorian conversion flat would cost about £550,000 but for better value, former local authority flats are priced at about £450,000. Whole houses start from about £1 million for a three-bedroom period property.

    If Oval is beyond your budget then another Zone 2 hotspot over the last two years is North Acton on the Central line. Prices have risen by almost 49 per cent, to a significantly more affordable average of £333,463.

    North Acton is a far more affordable sort of place. It also has Victorian homes, but more modestly sized than at Oval, and there are also plenty of Thirties houses. 

    As well as late-night trains North Acton will soon benefit from the opening of the Elizabeth line — Crossrail. It is only half a mile from the stop at Acton Main Line, which will give fast, direct train links to the West End and the City.

    Local amenities include Wormwood Scrubs park and a reasonable selection of restaurants, pubs, and shops, but for something a little more exciting, 

    Ladbroke Grove and Chiswick are both approximately three miles away, and are probably the nearest places for interesting shops and bars.

    Read more at: http://www.homesandproperty.co.uk/property-news/homes-along-the-night-tube-property-hotspots-tipped-for-price-growth-in-zones-2-3-and-4-from-leyton-a103716.html

     

     

    Why you should use a mortgage broker to secure the best deal

    The Telegraph

    With hundreds of different mortgages to choose from, hunting out the best deal to suit your needs can feel a bit like trying to find a needle in a haystack

    Access to more mortgages

    If you aren't sure which type of home loan is likely to be right for you, it's a good idea to talk through all the available options with an independent mortgage broker.  They will be able to research the whole market on your behalf, rather than you having to trawl around numerous different lenders.

    A spokesman for financial website Moneyfacts.co.uk said:  “An independent mortgage broker will look for the best mortgage for you. They aren't on the lender's side, they're on yours, and they'll give you access to far more products than if you went direct. You'll get unbiased advice and could choose from a range of lenders and subsequent products, rather than being restricted to the single range of the lender you go to. They also know the background criteria that a lender has and can bring this experience to bear when advising you and processing your application.

    Greater buying power to secure the best mortgage deals

    “Then there's the fact that, because a mortgage broker may put a lot of business to a particular lender in a year, they can exert influence and chase things in a way you just can't do by yourself – and that can be invaluable should things get held up.”

    When you speak to a broker, they will start by asking you about your individual circumstances, including your income, how much you want to borrow and over what term, and how much of a deposit you have to put down.

    They will then to talk you through the various deals you are eligible for, and can explain how the different types of mortgage work.

    Types of Mortgages

    Fixed rate mortgages

    If you choose a fixed rate mortgage, you'll have peace of mind that your monthly payments will remain the same for the duration of the deal. Capped rate deals, however, are variable rate mortgages, so your payments could change over time, but there is a cap on the rate you will pay, so you know your payments can't rise above a certain level.

    Discounted mortgages

    Discounted mortgages are also variable, and usually offer a discount off the lender's standard variable rate for a set period of time. Another variable option is a tracker mortgage. As the name suggests, this kind of mortgage usually tracks the Bank of England base rate, plus a set percentage. So, if you go for a tracker which track base rate plus 2%, as the base rate is 0.5%, your payable rate would be 2.5%. If the base rate increases to 0.75%, your mortgage rate will go up to 2.75%.

    Offset mortgages

    Alternatively, if you have significant savings, your broker might suggest that you think about an offset mortgage. With this type of mortgage, your savings are offset against your mortgage, so instead of earning interest on them, you don't pay it on the equivalent amount of your mortgage debt. This can help you to pay off what you owe more quickly. You can still access your savings at any time, so this type of mortgage is often a good choice for people who are self-employed and build up tax savings over the year.

    Once you’ve narrowed your choice of mortgage down, your broker will let you know the monthly costs, as well as any arrangement fees you will have to pay. They will then be able to help you with the application process, and answer any questions you might have, such as how long it will typically take for your mortgage to be processed.

    Mortgage broking fees

    When choosing a broker, check how they are paid. Some, such as London and Country mortgage brokers, receive commission directly from the lender, which means there is no cost to you for their advice. Others, however, charge a flat fee or percentage charge, so make sure you understand exactly how much you’ll pay for their advice at the outset.

    Read More at:

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/financial-services/money-comparison/mortgages/why-you-should-use-a-mortgage-broker-to-secure-the-best-deal/?WT.mc_id=tmg_plr_why-you-should-use-a-mortgage-broker-to-secure-the-best-deal_18991230&utm_source=tmg&utm_medium=plr&utm_content=why-you-should-use-a-mortgage-broker-to-secure-the-best-deal&utm_campaign=tmg_plr_why-you-should-use-a-mortgage-broker-to-secure-the-best-deal_18991230#!/

     

     

     

    Taylor Wimpey says it's business as usual after Brexit vote

    The Guardian

     Taylor Wimpey has shrugged off Britain’s decision to leave the EU, saying that one month after the vote trading was normal for this time of year.

    The housebuilder said on Wednesday that it was closely monitoring customer confidence, but in the short term at least it was business as usual.

    Pete Redfern, Taylor Wimpey’s chief executive, said: “While it is still too early to assess what long-term impact the EU referendum result will have on the UK housing market, there has been no meaningful change to date, with trading in the last month at a normal seasonal range.

    “Customer interest continues to be high, with a good level of visitors both to our developments and to our website.”

    The sentiments were echoed by challenger banks Shawbrook and Metro, which said there had been no change in customer behaviour since the 23 June referendum.

    In the runup to the vote, members of the remain camp warned the housing market was vulnerable to a shock if the UK voted to leave the EU because of weaker growth and dwindling consumer confidence. 

    Christine Lagarde, head of the International Monetary Fund, warned of a possible stock market and housing crash.

    Shares in UK housebuilders fell sharply after the result, and while they have recovered some of the losses, prices remain below pre-referendum levels.

    Taylor Wimpey was one of the FTSE 100’s biggest risers on Wednesday following its confident statement, with shares up 4.2%. 

    It said that immediately after the vote it had seen a small increase in the number of people cancelling plans to buy a new home but cancellation rates were now back to their previous low levels.

    Read more at: https://www.theguardian.com/business/2016/jul/27/taylor-wimpey-says-its-business-as-usual-after-brexit-vote

     

    House prices set to rise despite EU tremors

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk

    The price of a home will still be around £40,000 more in five years' time despite the "tremors" caused by the Brexit vote, according to forecasts from one think-tank.

    The Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr) said that while property values are expected to show weaker growth for the rest of 2016 and into 2017, the general direction of prices is still expected to be up.

    The increases mean the average UK house price could rise from £194,000 in 2016 to £234,000 in 2021 - a jump of of £40,000.

    The economic forecaster said despite "post-Brexit tremors", house prices are set to increase by 5.7pc over 2016 as a whole. Earlier this year, annual house price growth was running as high as 8pc, but Cebr expects to see a slowdown in house price growth over the second half of this year.

    This slower growth will be caused by a three percentage point stamp duty hike which came into force for buy-to-let investors on April 1, combined with the general economic uncertainty following the referendum vote to leave the EU.

    Next year, UK property values are forecast to increase at a slower pace of 2.2pc - although in London house prices are expected to fall by 5.6pc in 2017.

    Cebr said London house prices are expected to increase by 6.8pc  across 2016 - and after a blip in 2017 they are expected to return to growth there in 2018 and beyond.

    It said the top end of the London housing market, which has attracted strong interest from foreign investors in recent years, was "showing cracks well before the vote on June 23".

    Read more at:

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2016/07/28/house-prices-to-rise-40000-in-the-next-five-years-despite-eu-tre/