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.

 

7 THINGS YOU SHOULD BE DOING PRIOR TO MOVING INTO YOUR FIRST HOME

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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!

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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 http://bit.ly/2xuSeEK]

How To Keep Your Home Safe and Secure

Here at Property Property Property, we’re mainly concerned with estate agents and great property to rent and buy. But once we’ve helped you find your dream home and it’s yours to live in, you might be concerned with keeping it safe. Read on for some top tips on how you can guard your home from unwanted guests.

As part of our Bodyguard Week to celebrate the debut of the West End adaption of The Bodyguard, today we’re going to look at home security. In the film, Whitney Houston’s pop star hires Kevin Costner’s bodyguard when she becomes the victim of a stalker. Hopefully you’re not at risk of receiving such unwanted attention, because a bodyguard might be a bit much. However, it still pays to take precautions and not to be careless when it comes to property security.

Some choose to go all out and have special surveillance and preventive equipment installed. This can be a good investment if you live in an area that is particularly at risk; however, always assess that what you’re buying or the work you’re having performed is absolutely necessary and a security company isn’t merely exploiting your concerns for their own profit. It’s easy for many, when it comes to their and their family’s security, to go overboard, out of fear. Do your own research and make an informed decision. So below we look at some easy tips to take on board when it comes to making sure your home is secure, and that you’re safe.

Locks

On moving into a new property, whether buying a house or flat, change the locks as soon as possible. You can’t always account for who owned the property in the past. Review your locks at least twice a year. Slamming doors or windows, as well as general wear-and-tear might weaken a once-strong lock. Always hire a locksmith with good references to perform this work too. Get used to opening only a few windows so you don’t forget to close any when you leave or go to bed.

Double Doors

If you live in a flat, make sure that you always close the main communal door, as you come and go. Some can be quite heavy and don’t always close properly. Listen out for the ‘click’ it should make. If it has been left open, as if someone is moving furniture, check ten minutes later if it is still open. If no one is around, close it yourself. If you live in a home with a porch or gate, always keep both locked as it provides an extra defence.

Loiterers

Get to know your neighbours. It’s not so much about being nice but to know who lives where, the rough times they come and go, and most importantly, who they are. It can be very easy to be anti-social and concentrate on your own business. Unfortunately, this can lead to incorrectly assuming that a potential intruder is a neighbour when you might be allowing an intrusion to take place. Even if you don’t wish to become close friends with your neighbours, get a good idea amongst yourselves who lives where and any regular visitors, they receive like family. If you can befriend one or two neighbours, you’ll have someone nearby to keep an eye on your home when away.

If you live or rent in London, Manchester or a similarly large city, where crime is often higher on average, you may find it difficult to tell who is hanging around suspiciously, and who is simply passing by. This can be aggravated if you live on a main road with a lot of foot-traffic. Is anyone walking past more than a normal number of times that you know doesn’t live close by?

Valuables

Keep laptops, tablets, mp3 players and anything mobile and expensive out of sight from windows. This might simply involve putting them in a desk-drawer. It can also be very easy to keep car keys and wallets as you come in to the property, like in a keybowl. Intruders can use an instrument to pluck these up through the letterbox, or simply find what they want quickly if they choose to break the lock and enter.

Sabotaging Yourself

It’s common to keep ladders or garden furniture lying around outside your house when and where you need it. However, these can all be utilised by professional intruders to get into your home. Are there any ledges or walls around your property, which can easily assist someone in reaching a window? Ornaments or other objects might also be used to break a window or lock, so keep this in mind when decorating the exterior of your home.

 

 

 

Protecting Your Property This Halloween Part 2: Handy Tips

Halloween is almost here; and that means a small dose of organised bedlam in residential areas and communities for just one night.

As seen in our previous blog post last week, damage to property increases around this time of year according to recent research. Though it should all be a bit of fun and a chance to dress up or go mad on more chocolate than is good for us, Halloween can have frightful consequences on our homes. This might be whether you’re hosting a party or you attract hungry trick-or-treaters to your doorstep. Unfortunately there are a few bad (toffee) apples out there who set out to put a damper on the fun for the rest of us.

So here are a few tips to ensure that come November 1st, your home doesn’t look like the setting of a horror film:

Security

Burglaries increase around this time of year because the darker evenings make for an excellent cover. If your house is the setting of a party or base for trick-or-treaters, there will be a lot of comings and goings; do your best to find out everyone’s names or that people you trust can vouch for those you don’t. All the costumes and large numbers can make this difficult, so it make it a closed event or keep a tight control on who is invited. A lot of property in London is located on main roads or are near to them; so consider a lot of foot-traffic which passes by, and may see an open door with no one around.

Fires

With candles being placed in pumpkins, Halloween is a prime opportunity for incidents involving fire. Keep wet rags at hand, while anything that does require an open flame should be kept away from wooden furniture or fittings that are flammable. Rather than use actual fire, use flashlights or LED lights instead for a similar effect. Any decorations which require a plug, like light-up lanterns, should be plugged in close to the outlet to avoid tripping on wires; and if you do have several things plugged in at once, check that wiring is up-to-standard and split electrical appliances between several sockets.

Space

Clear as much space as you if you plan on having a dance-floor. This includes stairways and corridors. Expect some rather large and lavish creations in the costume-department, which may require extra space for the individual to move around freely. It might just be easier to dump these costumes as the night goes on. Related to the point above, make sure any doorways aren’t blocked either in case you do have to “abandon ship”.

Eggs

Take care of any remnants from unhappy “treaters”, as soon as possible for hygiene reasons and to prevent any infestations (ideally the next morning). Don’t hang out of windows to clean the side of your house, but use an extendable mop instead from the ground. You also don’t want any lasting dried egg or produce marks on your home either.