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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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]

How do I extend my lease?

In England and Wales, we have influential laws that allow you to extend your lease for reasonable prices. To help you extend your lease, we have put together some tips:

What is a lease?

The most common form of owning a flat or apartment in England and Wales is by leasehold. A leasehold means that you are essentially renting the property for a certain amount of time.

Who can extend?

The majority of flat owners can extend their lease and are entitle to get 90 years added to the lease under the 1993 Leasehold Reform Act. You have to have owned the flat for at least two years before you can extend the lease. You don’t necessarily have to live in the property, but rather just have owned it for 2 years. Bear in mind however that prices can soar for short leases.

Should you extend?

One of the most valuable reasons to extend a lease is that by adding a decent length of time onto the lease, the value of the property will inevitably be boosted. When people decide to extend their lease, it is typically by 90 years. Make sure to check how long is left on your lease as anything below 60 years will be unmortgageable and will likely have to be sold at an auction.

If you have more than 90 years left on the lease, then the value added to the property if extending will only be a tiny bit more than the costs occurred. However if you have over 90 years remaining on the lease, then you shouldn’t really in any rush to extend the lease. If you get to the 83 year mark, then this is a time to start considering extending.

If the lease 80 years or less

A major factor to remember is that when a lease gets down to 80 years, the price of extending will be greater so try to extend the lease before this mark. You can not rely on the freeholder to notify you when the lease drops to 80 years as they will make money from this due to you having to pay 50% of the property’s ‘marriage value’. Remember to start consider extending the lease once it has hit the 83 year mark, or better yet… extend the lease at the 83 year mark. If you are looking for a property, then you should check how much time is remaining on the lease and question it if it is 80 years or below.

How much will it cost?

This all depends on the property’s value, the length left on the lease and ground rent. Remember that costs can vary dramatically, so you might be best to ask a solicitor which you can find on the Law Society website. Another option is to ask neighbours in your building how much it cost them to extend their lease and what was left on the lease.

Steps to Getting Your Mortgage Payments Under Control

Finance is a foremost concern when it comes to buying a new home, and here at Property Property Property, we’re aware of the strain that some people can be put under (just to rent in London alone, can be enough to keep people off the property ladder longer than they originally hoped for). This ever-present problem becomes even more persistent in times like these, where shrinking wages and rising bills combine to create an unfortunate financial situation. Read on for a great discussion about how to manage your mortgage.

A lot of homeowners are having a hard time coping up with their mortgage payments. If you happen to be one of them, chances are, your finances are already stretched to a point that they might break down. While things are tough on you at the moment, there are steps you can take to get your mortgage payments are under control. The process is not easy but you can be assured that by doing so you will be able to avoid foreclosure. Here are some tips for you to stay on top of your mortgage payments.

Look at your repayments and get everything covered

Evaluate your mortgage repayments and see how you can pay off when something happens unexpectedly. For instance, if the interest rates go up will you be able to afford them? What if you or your partner lost your job or fall ill, would you be able to handle the repayments on your own? Do you have an emergency fund you can use up in case something happens out of the blue? Knowing all these things will allow you to know what considerations you have to take in order to set a mortgage repayment budget that will work for you no matter the situation.

Set up a realistic budget

Once aware about all your repayments, create a realistic budget. First you need to monitor your spending habits and cut back on areas that you deem are not too important. Then, work your mortgage repayments around the money that you have, but do leave a wiggle room for adjustments in case your financial situation changes.

Make extra payments

If you receive extra cash every now and then, one good way to use it wisely is to make extra payments for your mortgage whenever you can, which in turn will go to the principal and not in the interest rate. This will help reduce your mortgage payment duration.

Negotiate with your lender

If you are really struggling to pay off your mortgage despite the budget you have set, your next best move is to speak with your lender. You might find this stressful and embarrassing or you might think that doing this can have a negative impact on your repayments. However, keep in mind that by taking actions quickly, you can stop the problem from getting worse. When you communicate with your lender early on, they can provide you options for your mortgage repayments and possibly make changes in your loan’s terms, especially if your problems can be sorted out in a short period of time. For example, they may give you a pay interest-only option for a few months until you are able to get your finances back on track.

Avoid throwing yourself in situations that can make matters worse

If your mortgage payments are already putting a strain in your finances, do not attempt to make the situation worse by borrowing money from family or friends, using up your credit cards for purchases and switching home loans. Doing these things will only put you further into debt and do you more harm than good.



This mortgage advice was provided by one of the regular contributors of Financial Wise-Mortgage Advisors, a company that specialize in providing expert advise on mortgage and protection as well as other financial solutions for clients.