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.


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]

What first-time buyers need to know

There is always a first time for everything, and that even includes buying a house. According to recent reports in the Telegraph, the average age of a first-time buyer is around 30.  More and more young people are being forced to rent for long periods of time.  What was once a temporary source of accommodation is fast becoming a long-term solution.

So, for those first-time buyers out there who are about to step foot onto the property ladder, a little advice and ‘need-to-know’ can go a long way.  It can be a daunting time for anyone, let alone someone who is investing their life’s savings into a property for the first time.

Here are just a few things that first-time buyers need to know:

How are your finances?

Do you have good credit history? Do you keep on top of all your purchases and spending?  Now is the best time to really look at what you are spending and where your money is going.  Moving house is not cheap.  There are solicitors fees, stamp duty fees and of course, you will want to have money to buy new furniture too.  All those added extras that are on top of your deposit.

Getting a mortgage is tricky these days.  It has probably never been so tough to get a mortgage as it is now.  So make sure you are one step ahead of the game.  Get your finances in order, pay off any outstanding debts that could go against you and make sure you are on the electoral register.  Yes, even being on the electoral register will stand you in good stead.

Don’t stretch yourself too far

That three bedroom family home with the beautiful garden will always be appealing.  But if it is way out of your price range then it is best not to stretch yourself too far. Know your limits and work within these.  Speak to a mortgage advisor who will be able to help you understand how much you can realistically afford.  Remember, you still need to eat and live once you move into your new home.

Get the right mortgage

Getting a mortgage means shopping around.  An independent financial advisor will probably be your best bet.  They are independent because they are not tied to a bank or building society.  So this means that they have access to the best deals.  This is a chance for you to be really open and honest about your finances and to get the best mortgage rate you can.

Use Property Property Property

By using a portal such as Property Property Property you will be able to find the right home for you.  You can search by postcode or place name and search within a price bracket that suits.  Here you will find plenty of information, pictures and details on the properties you plan to view.  You can even email them to a friend or partner to let them know what you have been looking at.

At the end of the day, it is all about finding the right property at the right price for you.  And, as a first-time buyer you need to take as much advice as you possibly can.

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

Coventry Council to assist first-time home buyers

Those that are struggling to get on that first step on the housing ladder in Coventry might have helping hand, in the form of the Coventry Council.

There are talks that the council will provide a kind of mortgage ‘top-up’ to first-time buyers who are struggling to save the deposit required, meaning they can finally get on that first yet hard to reach step.

In order for this to work a partner bank or building society will have to lend 75 per cent of the mortgage, and the council lending 20 per cent. Successful applicants only then have to raise a 5 per cent deposit lessening the burden.

Coventry Building Society appears to be the favourite in terms of the lending bank/building society as the majority of talks have been involved with them.

What seems to be stopping this help from taking place is the matter of high risk, as those who are successful will be those that have not been able to obtain a mortgage from any high street bank. Search for properties in Coventry now!

Chris West, the council’s director of finance and legal services, presented the plan to councilors at the Transport and Infrastructure Development Scrutiny Committee last week. He said: “The first advice I would give you is risk.

“You will not find many financial advisers who would recommend getting into the mortgage market right now. It is probably not in the range of normal for local authorities these days.

“The other thing is we would have to put a lot of money in for not many mortgages. Then we would need to get into the debate whether we would want to do this for all homes or just new homes.

“My view is to just offer council mortgages willy nilly would not achieve much. We need to use it to stimulate housing development.”

The idea is in its early stages and, if implemented, would be carefully targeted, possibly according to postcode and economic circumstances. Any council mortgage would be in partnership with a high-street provider and lent at a commercial rate to cover its costs.

Around eight per cent of mortgages would be expected to default. Unlike other councils which provide similar mortgages, funding for it would be borrowed.

If councilors decide to provide the mortgages, the policy will take six months to implement.

Read the full story here:

Source: Coventry Telegraph


10 Things to consider when buying your first property

Buying your first property and taking that first step on the property ladder can be extremely exhilarating but also intimidating. We all recognize that buying a house is the largest purchase we will make in our lifetimes and the decision to take that huge step should not be taken carelessly. So to make things that bit easier for you, we have compiled a list of matters that you should take into consideration when buying your first home.


1. Is buying a property the right decision?

Prior to you proceeding, and committing to any monetary dealings, make certain you have weighed up the pros and cons of buying a property and renting one.

Buying a property is, potentially, a healthier long-term investment but you have to make sure that you have cautiously measured all of the expenses (even the hidden ones!) involved in buying a home and make sure you are in a comfy financial position to be able to do so.

2. Do you have enough money for it?

Different in days gone by, these days you are expected to obtain a 5% – 10% deposit to put down on purchasing your first home. With the average deposit being paid by first time buyers considerably more than it used to be, you must make sure that you have saved sufficient funds to get you past the opening hurdle.

3. Will you be able to get a mortgage?

Generally mortgage lenders base their decision on whether to loan you the funds to buy a house on your earnings, or your joint earnings if you are buying the house with, for example, your partner. Carry out some research first to make sure that you earn enough to meet the criteria for the mortgage amount you need. Finding out how much you are likely to be able to borrow, will deem what type of property you will sensibly be able to afford. This is a level-headed thing to do to shun the dissatisfaction of discovering you cannot in fact afford the dream home you have set your heart on!

4. Familiarise yourself with hidden costs

Do not be fooled into thinking that the lone cost involved in purchasing a house is the funds you have saved for the deposit. Unfortunately, there are plenty of additional expenses involved in the process of moving house counting stamp duty, legal fees, insurance costs, land registry fees, and removal fees. Familiarise yourself with these fees and make sure they have a position in your budget.

5. Do your research

Before you go forward and make an offer on a house, keep in mind the enormous commitment you are about to make so make sure you have completed your research into the property and the location in which you are buying. You can find out what to look for when viewing a property by visiting our blog post, 10 Things to look for when viewing a property. Don’t hurry into putting down a deposit on the first house you see, take the time to look at heaps of properties so that you find the one that’s right for you; if you are too busy with the kids, work or your jet set lifestyle, then find a good agent to do the leg work for you.

6. Question the sellers

What glitches are they conscious of that the house had previously – even if they’ve been fixed? An ice dam five years ago may have instigated water damage that has since been mended. But it’s good to know that the house may be prone to ice dams so you can take precautionary actions rather than find out the hard way. Learning the basement flooding was resolved by building up the landscaping in a specific area will stop you from leveling the ground there in future years. For more information on selling do’s and don’t, take a look at this…  (Click)

7. Ask for utility bills

You may admire the Cape Cod architectural elegance or the high ceilings and walls of glass in a contemporary home – but those winter heating and summer cooling bills may thrust your monthly expenditures past affordable. Ditto for the water bills you’ll pay to uphold an immaculate landscape.

8. Pay close attention to taxes

Don’t just ask what the seller’s most recent tax bill was; ask what numerous recent tax bills have been. In certain areas, houses are re-appraised and taxed at higher rates often. That fantastic deal and decent investment may not appear quite so outstanding if the property taxes rocket year after year. Again, look at newspaper archives or talk to your Realtor about the way taxes are used in this area. In certain cities, schools are considerably funded through property taxes – which means you can count on yours increasing frequently. For more information on buying do’s and don’t, take a look at this… (Click)

9. Use the right property finder

Gone are the days when looking into estate agents’ windows were the solitary way to see how much people were selling a house for.
There’s an overabundance of property search sites out there. Remember asking prices are frequently madly optimistic, presenting what the seller wishes for the property, not what they’ll get.

Property Property Property

Property Property Property lets you compare homes on the market, including pictures, asking prices, descriptions and floor plans. Go to the Property Property Property website and search for an area and click on a property for details or register for instant alerts.

10. Get home insurance quotes before buying

Always get home insurance quotes before you exchange contracts to guarantee appropriate cover’s obtainable. This might flag up problems, for example, if the property’s in a flood-risk area. Comparison website like offers a good way to get the best price on the market.

Don’t think you need use your mortgage provider’s cover. If you pay for buildings and/or contents insurance together with your mortgage, it’s frequently a dreadful price.
No one home insurer’s cheapest, so the key’s capturing as many quotes as possible.


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.