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.

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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.

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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.

WITH GREAT VALUE COMES GREATER RISK

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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.

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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.

 

What the changes to stamp duty means for home owners

George Osbourne’s 2013 Budget was, as always, eagerly anticipated.  And, for many, the changes in stamp duty will have a big impact.

When moving house stamp duty is one of those crippling factors.  It is something that has caused a great deal of conflict over the years as the Government has given stamp duty holidays, changed the stamp duty bracket and increased fees.

2013 Budget

The 2013 Budget has meant that stamp duty has increased.  Penalising those whose homes are of more value, and who want to move to the next rung on the property ladder. In the past it has meant that many have stayed put and felt financially backed into a corner.  For a while many estate agents saw a lull in property buyers, often due to moving costs. There is now a 5% stamp duty tax on homes of £1m, 7% on those at £2m and 15% for those that are bought through companies.

If you look at the average house price of a home in London you can expect to pay over £370,000.  This comes with a 3% stamp duty.  It is now a case that mortgages and even deposits are easier to secure than the financial difficulties that come with the prospect of actually moving.

Stamp duty was recently described by the Institute for Fiscal Studies as “Exceptionally damaging” and stated that an increase would cause significant issues.  In a time when the property market has undergone such huge changes and dents it would seem that increasing the stamp duty could do far more harm than good.

By increasing the stamp duty it means that buyers have less money with which to purchase a home which will inevitably push the prices of property down. The losses incurred here are passed onto the current home owner despite the fact that it is the buyer who pays the stamp duty tax.

As you can see, the changes to the stamp duty tax has a significant affect overall on the housing market.  In terms of the housing market, it is certainly a time to ‘watch this space’. With the Christmas and winter period now behind us it will be interesting to see if the next few months alters and whether the changes in the stamp duty will affect prospective buyers.

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

Related Articals:

http://propertypropertyproperty.co.uk/blog/2013/03/

 

How to deal with noisy neighbours

Struggling to sleep at night because next door like to have 12-hour rave parties in the wee hours of the morning? Rather than losing your cool, take a look at these tips to help you resolve the conflict.

While most people were ringing in the New Year for 2013, I was pounding my fist against my bedroom wall and wishing unpleasant things on my neighbours. A group of students moved in next door and host monthly parties that start at around 11pm and don’t end until 11am the next day. As can be expected, this results in very little sleep and a lot of frustration. So what’s the best way to deal with this without creating a ‘neighbours from hell’ scenario?

Your rights with noisy neighbours

According to the Noise Act 1996, any excessive noise between 11pm and 7am the next day are deemed to be causing a nuisance. The definition of ‘excessive noise’ is a bit hazy, so there is no hard and fast rule for this. As a general guide, any noise above 85 decibels (dB) is considered to be the level of noise that can cause damage after prolonged exposure, and anything above 50 dB at night could be considered noise pollution.

Don’t try to live with it, and don’t reciprocate

Trust me on this one – don’t try to live with the noise, because it won’t get easier. If you’re expecting the constant thrum of dubstep to become part of the background noise, you’ll be disappointed. Nip it in the bud as soon as it happens, otherwise you’ll only get angrier and more frustrated every time it occurs.

On the same note, don’t try to reciprocate their actions e.g. hammering the wall in annoyance, turning your music up even louder or deliberately making more noise than they are (I’ve been guilty of all three). This will only escalate things further, so don’t be tempted to vent your frustration elsewhere. Hammering the wall is also likely to leave a dent, leading to an expensive home insurance claim and a very awkward conversation with your landlord. Don’t try that.

Talk to them, but time it well

If you’re anything like me, telling your neighbours that they’re being too loud and rowdy is just about the most uncomfortable thing you can think of. That being said, about a third of all people with noisy neighbours found that actually communicating the problem to them resolved the issue straight away, according to the HomeOwners Alliance. If face-to-face interaction fills you with dread (as it does me), then leave them a polite note to explain the facts.

Timing is essential for this to be most effective. You don’t want to storm into a house full of drunken revellers during a party and start shouting at them; that’ll only lead to a bad situation. You’re better off catching them when they’re having a quiet moment so you can have a word without losing your temper.

Reporting noise pollution

This may vary depending on your local council, so check with them to ensure you’re following the best method. You can find your local authority on the Directgov website.

It’s the responsibility of your local authority to investigate any instances of noise pollution (this comes under ‘statutory nuisance’, which also covers light pollution, smoke and insect infestations). The government’s definition of what counts as a ‘statutory nuisance’ is anything that is ‘unreasonably interfering with the use or enjoyment of your premises’. So, if your next door neighbours are throwing wheelie bins at one another at 4am (this was the same New Year’s party that kept me awake all night) you’ll have good reason to initiate a complaint.

Depending on your local council, you might be provided with an email address, phone number or online form to register your complaint. Remember to stick to the facts and not to let your frustration influence what you say.

What happens next?

The noise pollution officer will visit the house and issue a ‘noise abatement’ order. This basically tells them to pipe down or they’ll face legal action. If they break this order, the noise officer is within their rights to confiscate any noise making equipment (stereos, TVs, or in my case, a set of professional, festival grade amplifiers that were brought in by a DJ) and fine them up to £5,000.

Suggest that your neighbours let you know in advance if they’re planning on having a get together. That way you can make plans to be away or be out while they’re making their noise. This shouldn’t mean that you’re forced to leave your home whenever your neighbours get a bit loud, but knowing in advance will ease the situation and allow you to keep your options open.

If things get out of hand …

Sometimes it’s not just noise that’s the problem. Where there’s a party, there’s usually alcohol, and that can bring with it a whole host of problems. If you hear any arguments or see the beginnings of a fight breaking out, then call the police straight away. If the party spills out into the street and the revellers are generally being disorderly, then that counts as a breach of the peace, and you should also call the police to deal with that.

Dealing with noisy neighbours in this way means that you’ll be able to deal with the problem quickly, maintain the moral high ground and minimise any conflict between you and your neighbours. Have a good night’s sleep!

How have you dealt with your noisy neighbours? Let me know in the comments below!

Jamie Gibbs is the lifestyle blogger for home insurance comparison site Confused.com. He keeps a pair of noise cancelling headphones and a copy of Pink Floyd’s The Division Bell by his bedside table ready for whenever next door have a party.

Young Professional Home Seekers Look East for London Living

Online property website, www.propertypropertyproperty.co.uk 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.

Tips for Moving to University

It’s September, which used to be simple enough if you have kids. A week of panic-buying of stationary and uniform, and then the slow adjustment to early starts again. Now, for many, it’s a case of leaving them with strangers in a new house, flat or halls to properly fend for themselves as university students. It can be all too emotional and chaotic to prepare them with everything they might need. If you’re a student, no matter how independent you consider yourself to be from your parents, it can be even a little daunting when the time comes. Some of us at Property Property Property were students ourselves, so we know how it feels!

Below are a few tips that we hope will help when it comes to moving away for the first time to university:

1) Insurance

Ensure you’re fully insured for valuables like laptops, phones and any equipment you take with you, including that which you’ll need for your course (e.g. if you study computing or music). Often an insurance company will have a booth at your Freshers’ Fair and be able to advise you further.

2) Storage and packing

A thrifty tip would be to try and save your boxes, crates and wrapping for when you move out at the end of the year. You’ll be doing a bit of moving about from house to house, or back home, in the next three years, so keep that in mind. If you live in a particularly student-populated area, it might be hard to get these at the end of term. If your next tenancy doesn’t begin straight away or you live too far away to bring stuff back home with you, consider a storage facility to tide you over.

3) Priority Packing

Pack only what you really need. For instance, do you need your entire DVD collection  with you? Can you not watch these things online? The same goes for clothing. Do you need your summer apparel for your first term from September to December? Prioritise what is important and pick up other stuff when you’re next at home. If you end up with a smaller room it can be hard to fit everything in if you take too much.

4) Your Car

Most student areas have excellent transport services so you won’t need your own car. It can also be very difficult to find and afford parking all the time. The best bet would be to get to know the area in your first week and find out about travel tickets online for weekly, monthly or even yearly periods.

5) Utensils and Bedding

For things like kitchen utensils or bed linen, many shops, either on campus or department stores, offer all-in-one packs specially for students which saves you buying bits and pieces, here and there and possibly doubling up or forgetting stuff.

While these tips can come in very handy, many find that it’s when you’re in need of something that you make new friends at university as a way to break the ice; so don’t worry too much about making sure you have everything so much that you don’t enjoy your first few weeks away.

Student housing