New build vs. Second-hand homes in London: house price report reveals six-figure gap between new and resale flats

There’s a huge gulf between the average price of old and new-build flats in London. New builds can offer peace of mind while ex-councils flats are best for value so weigh up the pros and cons carefully before you buy.

Ex-council vs. new-build prices in every London borough

The six-figure price gulf between new and resale property, and between privately built and former council homes, is revealed in a new study focusing on London.

Research comparing the cost of one-bedroom flats in every borough shows pre-owned homes cost an average £542,715, while a new-build one-bedroom flat costs an average £679,671. That’s 22 percent — or almost £137,000 — more.

An ex-council one-bedroom flat is the best value of all at £396,317 on average, the Hamptons International study shows. This is more than £146,000 — or 31 percent — less than buying a privately built flat, and more than £283,000, or 52 percent, cheaper than a new-build flat.

New build is always the premium buy, for the peace of mind that comes with a modern, well-insulated home, often with such extras as communal gardens and sports facilities. In today’s tricky market some developers are offering good deals such as paying buyers’ stamp duty to stimulate sales, but the property will always come out more expensive with annual service charges on top.


New — what £350,000 buys you: a flat at Leven Wharf, Poplar, with a terrace and city views but only one bedroom. For sale with My London Home (020 8012 5708)

Not long ago you could have said a new-build flat, bought off-plan, would make you a profit by the time you moved in. The direction of the current market is anybody’s guess because of stamp duty hikes and the fallout from the Brexit vote.


Adrian Plant, director and head of new homes at estate agents Currell, says: “With the new build, you hope you know that for the first 10 years there will not be any major costs. You won’t need to pay for builders and plumbers, and many developments now come with a concierge to handle maintenance and sort out issues like arranging for parcel delivery or laundry, at a cost of service charges.”

Buyers of older homes pay less to purchase, but often then stump up for renovations and/or extensions. Of course, an older home may bring the bonus of period features such as cornicing, wide staircases, stained glass and Victorian tiled floors.



Old — what £329,999 buys you: a second-floor ex-council flat with two double bedrooms in Clapton E5. Former council homes can be great value, but ask locals what life on the estate is like before you commit to buying

Ex-local authority homes are fantastic value but this is the riskiest sector to buy into. Generally, those built before the Sixties and Seventies are higher quality and larger than a more modern home. But on estates blighted by years of underinvestment, flats can be shabby, common areas depressing and getting a mortgage can be a pain.

However, Stephen Lovelady, sales manager at Foxtons’ Pimlico and Westminster branch, says ex-council homes on his patch are often well built, with good security and sometimes well managed. He says most lenders will offer mortgages on ex-local authority homes in central London, although some will not lend on buildings above six storeys, or of poor construction standards.


Beyond Zone 1, broadly speaking, lenders are happy with ex-council homes in desirable areas and less keen on run-down locations. Buyers must research whether there are any major repairs planned for the block or estate because they, unlike the council tenants, will have to pay a share of the cost. Request a work plan from the local council which will give a five-year list of any projects plus an estimated cost. Your solicitor should investigate any major works when conveyancing your sale.

Communal halls, lifts and walkways are often grim. Bad management, crime, drugs and gangs of teenagers making life a misery are all possibilities on a big estate. A safer bet is a small, low-rise block that’s well integrated into local streets, although this might be more expensive than average.

So before you buy, contact the tenants and residents association to discuss any major problems, knock on doors and chat with residents, talk to the local paper, study police crime statistics and visit the flat during the day and at night.



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The task of decorating your new home can be quite daunting. If you’re like me and don’t have one specific theme or idea that you are going for then consider these points when decorating your space.

Group Inspirations/Ideas

The internet is a great tool when curating mood boards and also sourcing inspirations. Websites and applications such as Pinterest, We Heart It and Hometalk is great places for you to get ideas on how you want to decorate your living room to your bathroom.

List What You Like

Make a list of things you like. For instance, if you’re heavily into plants, then make a list of the different plants you like and the colours associated with them, that way you can select your colour scheme based on your likes.

Your Personal Style

In the times we live in, we currently have minimal restrictions on how we dress or what our personal styles are; so why not implement that into your home. If you’re into floral prints in your cardigans, skirts, tote bags or whatever, then you’ll more likely be drawn into having floral prints in your home.

Customise each room

Sometimes we really can’t choose one theme or one colour scheme for our home. But who said you have to stick to one theme? You don’t!

It may be an unconventional idea, but why not have various themes in your home, and they can all vary from room to room. After all, it is your home, so you have all the control on making it your comfortable place, and if it means having contrasting colours/themes on the top floor, then go for it.


Also if you have any tips that you could recommend to us, share them in the comments and we’ll be highlighting them in our upcoming articles in the ‘First Time Buyers’ series.

[Opening image sourced from Knight Partnership Cambridgeshire listing, check out the property now]

This is set to be positive year for Aberdeen’s commercial market

The political landscape and predictions are widespread over how the snap general election could affect the markets. With Scotland dealing with the negative impact on property investment and market confidence amongst some investors and developers because of the prospect of a second independence referendum.

However, in Aberdeen, the atmosphere has largely driven by the fortunes of the oil and gas industry for the past two years, with the sector now showing largely positive signs. But not to say the wider political backdrop is of no concern, the UK’s vote to leave the EU immediately benefited Aberdeen’s oil and gas economy. The North Sea producers have profited from production costs being incurred in a depreciated sterling relative to a product sold in US dollars, as have local service companies pitching for business around the world conducted in a largely dollar-denominated market. With a growing confidence in the local air which is now impacting itself in our property market.

The office sector was a most impacted sector by the energy industries. The fortunes between 2013 and 2015 fluctuating and with the best quality space have maintained headline rents and interest from occupiers despite carrying a record level of voids. However, it must be said that much of the remaining stock has seen its day, being functionally or economically challenged or located on peripheral estates which have long been a unique feature of Aberdeen’s property supply.  

In comparison, Aberdeen’s industrial market has held up reasonably well. During 2016, take-up was in line with the 10-year average with rents generally remaining stable although the supply of second-hand stock has increased.

Investor appetite for Aberdeen is beginning to show signs of increasing. A North American investor, for example, acquired the Lloyd’s Register building in Prime Four Business Park for £41 million in February, pushing Q1 office investment levels to £49 million, more than the total volume recorded during 2016. Investors are seeking a ‘flight to quality’, looking for well let assets in the city, which may offer more attractive yields than elsewhere in the UK.

The good news is that office lettings in Q1 2017 were 181,000 sq ft (16,815 sq m), the highest quarterly take-up since Q3 2013. This clearly indicates that the local mood has moved up a gear, in part reflected by oil companies Total and Marathon committing to new leases and a number of large requirements circulating.

The further positive news comes with Hurricane Energy announcing a new find west of Shetland with estimated recoverable reserves of a billion barrels and small local independent Chrysoar announcing a $3 billion acquisition from Shell comprising 10 separate assets in the UK continental shelf with funding from US private equity firm EIG Partners.

The smart money is clearly backing a more positive future for Aberdeen and the property market is starting to reflect this.



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As a first-time buyer, the responsibility can be quite daunting when moving yourself and your belongings into your new haven. Fortunately, for you, the buying process is made easier if you used the more traditional method, via Estate Agents. However, as soon as the keys are in your hands, the responsibility is yours!

So we’ve curated and listed below, our top 7 tips that we believe you should be doing prior to moving into your first home:

TIP #1: Change your address

There is nothing more annoying than having your utility bills, doctors’ appointments and random promotional letters being sent to your old address. Not only is it annoying for you to go back and forth to collect post or have your previous neighbours (family) have to update you on your letters that are flooding in, but it also means that your life is still registered at your old address.

So make sure you’ve updated your Driver’s License, Doctors, Water/Gas Providers or whoever it is that you’ve moved. I can tell you from experience it definitely saves you a LOT of hassle!

TIP #2: Change the locks

Now that the victory key has been placed in your palms, it’s time to throw it away and get a new one. No seriously get a new one!

Estate Agents, tradesmen, previous owners, neighbours, cats and dogs, whoever who may have had access to the house prior to you owning it will probably still have a spare key to your new home lying around. So for your sake and the sake of your sanity; have the absolute reassurance that no-one but you can get into your new home, look into getting new locks installed ASAP.

TIP #3: Spring clean the place

Whether you bought the property in Spring or not, give the place a good scrub. You might be lucky and have the previous homeowners clean up the place for you, but it’s still best to add your touch to the cleaning as you can definitely be certain that your new home is nice and clean, ready for you to decorate.

TIP #4: Don’t throw it away, paint it

If you happen to have a surprise chest of draws left in the masters’ bedroom and you don’t know what to do with it, definitely don’t throw it away!

You may not be excited about the colour or hardware of the leftover furniture, but upscaling and adding your own style to it can definitely reinforce that rewarding feeling of owning something as well as saving you money, but you can also brag to your friends about your handy work. So don’t throw it. Paint it. Style it. Repurpose it.

TIP #5: Get familiar with the community

Now, I’m not saying that you have to attend community meetings 6 weeks consecutively prior to your move or sign up to all the local clubs so that you can become familiar with everyone in the area and have Julie who lives across the road fill you in on the community gossip. I mean if you want to do that you can, and I’m sure Julie wouldn’t mind filling you in.

But rather, we suggest that you acquaint yourself with the local transportation, get a clearer understanding of the local shopping/market on offer and familiarise yourself with the key hotspots/locations around the town. It will save you a lot of mindless confusion and time. So you don’t necessarily have to research the communities’ historical records or look for a Julie.

TIP #6: Check the hardware around the house and mechanical equipment is serviced

Even though some Estate Agents offer those additional services and can recommend to you servicemen/traders to do the job before your move, it’s even more beneficial if you keep on top with the condition of the gas cooker or that the heating and cooling system are still running nicely and have had a good clean.

TIP #7: Throw a party!

Even though this tip applies more when your home has properly been furnished, it is one of our top recommendations.

Invite some friends over for a meal or a drink, not necessarily a party as you might have that one friend who after one or two drinks may decide to wreak havoc among your nicely decorated china display. A get-together is a good way to celebrate your achievement and also make your home homier.

So these are the main things we would recommend you budding first-time buyers consider doing when moving into your new place. Also, an additional checklist would come in handy (that’s a bonus tip), we’ll be providing you with one of your own checklists in the coming weeks!


Also if you have any tips that you could recommend to us, share them in the comments and we’ll be highlighting them in our upcoming articles in the ‘First Time Buyers’ series.

[Opening image sourced from Martin&Co Chelsea listing, check out the property now]

Abbeywood where house prices are way below the London average and price growth is strong at the Crossrail hotspot!

Abbey Wood SE2 postcode has grown by an impressive 76 per cent in the last five years, but the average remains a relatively modest £309,560.

Buyers have been pouring into Abbey Wood in anticipation of next year’s launch of Crossrail — the Elizabeth line — which will cut journey times to central London by almost half an hour.

While the area is not a thing of beauty and boasts few amenities, it has streets of good-value period terraces where a three-bedroom house would cost £375,000 to £425,000. You could get a slightly dated purpose-built two-bedroom flat in Abbey Wood for about £250,000.

The research by Bairstow Eves, using Countrywide data, evaluated average prices in every postcode in London. Then, concentrating on the cheapest 25 per cent of postcodes, it analysed their one-, two-, and five-year price growth to establish the areas where prices are on the strongest upswing.

Bellingham and Catford (SE6), an area well-placed to link to Crossrail services via neighbouring Forest Hill, has performed almost as strongly, with prices up 71 per cent in the same period, to an average £380,641.

For buyers on really slim budgets the bargain basement postcodes are Thamesmead, just north of Abbey Wood, where average prices stand at £252,747, up 60 per cent in five years, and Dagenham (RM10) where prices have grown 66 per cent to an average of £270,878. The once-desolate Thamesmead Estate is currently the focus of a £1.5 billion regeneration. Housing association Peabody was granted planning permission for the first phase of its transformation of the area late last year. There are also plans to link it to the London Overground.

Predictably, none of today’s leading areas are in Travel Zones 1, 2 or 3, where  nothing qualifies as affordable. More than one in three are perched on the outer fringes of London – MitchamDagenhamHarold WoodWellingSuttonNortholtWest Drayton, and Uxbridge. Their low prices combined with good transport links have been tempting an increasing flow of buyers priced out of more central locations, pushing their prices upward.

Nowhere in fully priced west London makes the good-value grade, but representing north London are 
Tottenham (N17), where prices have mushroomed 67 per cent to an average £347,486 — and where billions of pounds worth of regeneration money is being spent on new homes and facilities — and its near neighbour Upper Edmonton (N18) where prices stand at £316,045, up 66 per cent.

The location of London’s cheapest neighbourhoods is a bellwether for change in the capital,” said David Fell, research analyst at Countrywide, who believes that as these regeneration schemes take root further growth is likely.

Over the last 20 years the most affordable neighbourhoods in London have been pushed steadily outwards and eastwards as swathes of the inner city reinvented themselves. Some of the cheapest corners of the capital in the Nineties turned into the boom towns of the Noughties, changing beyond recognition in the course of two decades.

It’s likely to be a similar story for some of today’s cheapest neighbourhoods in London. The arrival of Crossrail and the extension of the Overground will soon plug swathes of south and east London into the rest of the capital. The prospect of these new links is already bringing a wave of new development to some of the furthest-flung corners of the city. Within a decade it’s conceivable that the capital’s cheapest neighbourhood could pop up in west London for the first time.”


What is stamp duty?

To put it in a short way, stamp duty is a tax on land and property transactions. For the most part, you will have to pay stamp duty when you buy a house or apartment. Stamp duty is officially known as stamp duty land tax (SDLT) but being how we are, it’s more commonly known as simply, stamp duty.

The amount stamp duty you will have to pay depends on the value of the property you have bought.

When do I have to pay stamp duty?

You will more often than not have to pay the stamp duty within 30 days of the ‘effective date’ for a property valued at over £125,000. The ‘effective date’ is typically the day the purchase of the property has been concluded.

The stamp duty must however be paid sooner under other circumstances. For instance, if you move in to the property earlier than the day of completion or you pay for the property prior to the day of completion, the 30 day payment terms starts from these earlier dates instead so bear this in mind when choosing your options.

For the majority of people, you will have instructed a conveyancing solicitor to deal with matters; this solicitor will also pay the stamp duty on your behalf. Even though your solicitor will do this, you still must check with the HMRC that you have paid the right amount.

Do I always have to pay stamp duty?

It would be a very rare occasion if you did not have to pay stamp duty on a property valued at over £125,000.

To put this into perspective, if for example, you done a house swap with a family member or friend with no cash involved just a straight swap; you would both have to pay the stamp duty at the value of the house you are moving into. The same thing applies whether you buy a house outright or through a mortgage, you will still have to pay stamp duty on the value of the property.

If however you are getting divorced or separating, this might be an occasion where stamp duty is not applicable. This only way this applies is if one partner is transferring their share of the house or apartment to the other. If you sell the property to a third party, the buyer will have to pay stamp duty in the customary way.

Need mortgage advice?

It is vital to obtain mortgage advice before jumping into the potentially biggest purchase you will ever make. There are various ways to obtain advice, but you can find mortgage advice from an independent mortgage adviser.

With all this in mind, if you are thinking of moving, or buying your first/next property, why not start the search here

House Price Index – March 2013

House price increases down but inequality up, says the Office of National Statistics (ONS)

The Office of National Statistics today released the latest house price figures for March 2013, showing that the speed of house price inflation has slowed.

To give you an idea of the comparison at which the rise of prices has slowed, prices across the nation as a whole rose by 1.9% between February 2012 and February 2013.

That compares with a preceding yearly increase of 2.2% in the 12 months to January. Even though these statistics are based on a national coverage, there is however still areas in the UK that are not seeing this slower speed of house price inflation. The nationwide number reflected a broad inequality across different regions of the UK, which appears to be rising.

According to the Office of National Statistics, house prices in London are now rising at 5.9% year on year. Where as in Scotland and Northern Ireland, they have seen deeper house price falls then ever before.

Prices north of the border are declining by 1.2%, as those in Northern Ireland are down by a massive 7.7% over the last year. With stats not that off from London, Wales house prices are now at an increasing rate of 4.1%, up from just 0.9% in January.

Another region in the UK that is performing healthier than most is north-east England, where prices are up by 2.4%. Ernst and Young’s Item Club earlier this week predicted that house prices in the UK would actually stay almost at a standstill over the next two years.

Its prediction suggested that prices would rise to 2.1% in 2014, but recover to 5% in 2015.

National Statistics House price index 2013 (Download Here)

Future updates on the House Price index 2013

Monday 20th May 2013
Monday 15th June 2013
Monday 15th July 2013

With all this in mind, if you are thinking of moving, or buying your first or next property, why not start the search here.


Is Bromley the new Chelsea?

Chelsea has always been known as an affluent area of central London. With wedding cake mansions and beautifully designed surroundings, this stunning area is an upmarket neighborhood where the wealthy reside. With the reality TV show, Made in Chelsea, Chelsea is now not only known in the UK but has actually been compared to the likes of New York’s Upper East Side and Los Angeles’ Beverly Hills. But is there a new area that can bump Chelsea out of the spotlight?

Bromley might just be that very thing, with the Experian Property Check referring to it one of the best places to live in London.
The borough was named as the best place to live if you have young children; scoring highly for the quality of its shops, schools and health facilities.
The survey also places Bromley second out of the top ten London boroughs as a place to live for those whose children have flown the nest and fourth for families with older children.

The results reported late last year in the Evening Standards were generated from more than 40 sets of data, ranging from how well children do at local schools, crime rates, air quality, career opportunities, as well as shops and nightlife.

Cllr Stephen Carr, Leader of Bromley Council said: “I am delighted to hear that Bromley has been judged among the top ten best London boroughs in which to live. This is very good news and confirms what we have long thought to be true and totally vindicates our Building a Better Bromley agenda: our borough is a fantastic place to live and work. Bromley has highly performing schools and good shopping centres in our high streets coupled with great restaurants, bars, live theatre and leisure facilities along with many local open spaces and sporting facilities. I know I speak for many of our residents when I say that we are proud to call Bromley borough our home. However, we are not resting on our laurels, but we continue to build on the great quality of life in the borough through new investment for our town centres in Bromley, Orpington and Beckenham.”

If you are suffering from rising rents in the central London area, then Bromley might just be your ideal move-to area. With the equally gorgeous surroundings as Chelsea, Bromley offers affordable neighborhoods and good state schools. You can find the primary schools admission page by clicking here. It will show the catchment areas of the last 3 years and if the schools were oversubscribed or not.

On top of all that, you can be assured that your property and family will be residing in a safe area. Bromley’s community champions were thanked and honored for their selfless contribution to the borough at the Safer Bromley Awards on Thursday 14th March.

Winners in the Community Champions category included a local hero who came to the aid of a church community threatened by an armed intruder, and a member of the community who has funded police transport and a school crossing patrol and volunteers with Victim Support and the Met Police.

So to come back to the question, is Bromley the new Chelsea? Well what with Chelsea’s lush history and heritage, it will be one spotlight that will be hard to take. But being described by some as a more ‘old-school’ area, Chelsea may have seen the last of their glory days… only time will tell.

Young Professional Home Seekers Look East for London Living

Online property website, conducts monthly analysis of the most popular searched for borough.  Hackney has proven to be one of the most popular searched for borough amongst home seekers between 28 – 35 years. Hackney has undergone a period of intense regeneration turning into one of the 21st Century’s most exciting boroughs of London. The regeneration and popularity of the obvious haunts such as Shoreditch, Hoxton and Stoke Newington have contributed towards the borough’s rising property prices. However, new development plans highlight that buying or renting in this diverse and lively area is set to be an even more wise and lucrative decision if you can compete for the space.

Dalston, Hackney Central, Hackney Wick, Manor House are set to gain from most of the new regeneration plans and will add value to this bustling and promising borough.

Here are Top 5 Reasons Why Hackney is Worth it.
1. Over 70% of Hackney residents* said that they were proud of living in Hackney with Shoreditch and Stoke Newington as the most favourite areas.

2. Considered a thriving hotspot for creatives and start-up businesses, Hackney has been chosen to receive funding by the Arts Council to boost and support creativity in the region.

3. British Actor, Michael Fassbender, Singer, Leona Lewis still live in one of London’s liveliest and characterful boroughs whilst a host of historical figures famous faces such as Marc Bolan, Michael Cain, Ray Winston and Barbara Windsor were Hackney born and bred.

4. It was voted the ‘coolest place in Britain’ in Italian Vogue, whilst according to Halifax research, property prices in Hackney rose by 320% between 1996 and 2006 – the biggest rise in London. Since the Olympics the average price of a Dalston property is just over £303,000 compared to £249,000 in 2002.

5. Practicals: You can be outside Liverpool St in 10 minutes (walking), Oxford Circus in 20mins (tube), with recent developments allowing commuters to travel direct from Dalston to New Cross Gate in 20 minutes.