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 WAYS TO CHEAPLY UPGRADE AND UPSCALE YOUR SPACE

Ever looked inside a home and lifestyle magazine and seen the exquisite homes and expensive looking decoration and wished that your home could look like that. Well, it can! And it isn’t too costly either.

We’ve curated and listed below our top 7 tips for upgrading and upscaling your space:

TIP #1: Clean or Conceal the clutter

First things first we’re the realist… clean the clutter. To achieve that expensive look, we recommend either cleaning/detoxing the unnecessary clutter or hide it with a good storage system that could easier be decorated with a nicely textured cloth or key ornaments.

TIP #2: Paint the floors, not just the walls

Try the unconventional method of painting the floor and not just the walls. Some of the most expensive looking spaces have the best floors. Try a monochrome pattern on the floor, ie. black and white vertical lines.

TIP #3: Organise & Conceal wires

More concealing! A lot of the times we have many little wires all over the floor, hanging on the wall and they’re basically everywhere. They don’t do your living space much justice, to be honest. So hide them! And not just a basic tape work; but branch into the various DIY projects the internet has to offer, such as hiding the wire in boxes or disguising them in the finishing on the wall.

TIP #4: Upgrade switch covers

I’m honestly trying to avoid using the word conceal again, so instead, I’ll use a disguise. Disguise those old light switches with fancy new covers. Or better yet, spray paint or just liquid paint them with the colour of your taste in a metallic finishing. That ought to do the trick!

TIP #5: Retouch & Upgrade hardware

To continue the topic of disguising, why not disguise the hardware around your home also. Switch those old looking door handles to crystal door knobs; they automatically add an element of elegance and luxury to any space. Also, the hardware at the corner of the doors, your kitchen counter, your bathroom floors spray paint those in a waterproof stainless steel gold/silver colour as they will also automatically upscale any space.

TIP #6: One Statement Piece

Most luxury homeowners have that one statement piece that they love to brag about, and why’s that? Well, it might be due to the fact that it actually is a statement piece. Now you don’t necessarily have to go completely out of pocket; but if you’ve got a liking for a certain style of artwork, why not get it blown up in your local photography shop to the largest size and have that one painting/artwork displayed in your living room. That will definitely make a statement.

TIP 7: Simplify your room styling

Now for our final tip. Simplify your room styling.

In order to get that expensive, yet simple living look, don’t do too much. You don’t need to have so many pretty ornaments or too many metallics in one room. Space it out across your living space and make every room a statement.

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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 Home Improvement series.

 

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.

 

Helpful Tips for Waterproofing Your Basement to Keep it Safe and Dry

Once you’ve found your ideal home using Property Property Property‘s estate agent search tool and property alerts, you’ll want to keep it in tip top shape. Not only will a well-maintained home be more pleasant to live in; it’ll also retain its value much better, allowing you to command a higher sale price if you decide to move up the property ladder at a later date. Likewise, if you rent in London, avoiding any deductions from your deposit when you move out, is always welcomed. Read on for a discussion of the importance of waterproofing your basement, and instructions on how to achieve this goal.

One of the biggest concerns that many homeowners have is basement waterproofing. Because the basement of your home is below ground this makes it so much more susceptible to moisture and flooding. A wet basement can cause many problems, including the ruining any of your stored possessions, causing mould and mildew to grow, causing the foundations to crack and allow termites and rodents into the home and even cause electrical problems. A damp basement can encourage the growth of toxic black mould, which can be a serious health risk for your family. Also, having issues with a damp basement will significantly reduce the value of the home.

Basement waterproofing is the only way to prevent these issues from happening again. It takes a bit of time and effort to properly waterproof your basement, but once you do you will not have to worry about moisture and flooding. You can do basement waterproofing yourself or you can hire a professional to carry out the task for you. The most important thing is that it is done well and thoroughly, so that you will not have any problems in the future.

Here are some tips to keep in mind when you are basement waterproofing:

Where are the Leaks?

One of the most important things to do is find out where the leaks are coming from, so that you can stop them. First, look all around the outside of the house where the water in your basement seems to be coming from. Are there any areas where water has collected or the land slopes towards the house? Do you have an automatic sprinkler system or a gutter that is leaking? When you find the problem you can correct it.

Repairing Cracks

Many basement leaks are caused by cracks or holes in the wall or the floor and they will need to be repaired before you carry out your basement waterproofing. Small hairline cracks can be fixed with a regular waterproofing mix. Any cracks which are larger than an eighth of an inch will need to be cleaned out and patched before applying the waterproofing mix. There are special materials that you can purchase for making these small repairs. If the crack is very large, you might want to mix up a batch of mortar to fill in the hole. Simply mix together one part cement and two parts fine sand with a little bit of water.

Applying Basement Waterproofing Mix

Once you have filled and patched all of the holes and cracks in the wall, you will be ready to apply your waterproofing mix. First, you should use a spray bottle or a hose on a mist setting to coat the walls with a fine spray of water. They should be damp, but not dripping.

Next, you will need the basement waterproofing epoxy which is designed specifically for treatment basement walls and floors. Follow the instructions on the package for how to correctly apply it. In some cases you might have to remove the paint from the walls first before the waterproofing mixture will adhere. When you are applying the coating, start at the bottom of the wall and work upwards, as this is where the water pressure will be the greatest. Slowly brush the mixture all the way up to the top and then start again at the bottom to add more layers. Once the basement waterproofing mixture has dried, spray the area with a fine mist of water again to soak it and let it set overnight. Repeat the same for the second coat, as one coat will usually not correct the problem.

After all this, you will have fixed your leak and successfully waterproofed your basement. You can do this task yourself, or you can hire basement waterproofing experts to do the job for you. Waterproofing your basement is very important and it ensures that you will be kept safe from flooding, mildew and mould for many years.

A wet basement can cause a lot of problems, so here are some helpful basement waterproofing tips to keep in mind.