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Presentation is Key for High Price Bids on Your Home

With its darkest behind it, the property market has started its recovery. Many people are still failing to get the best price for their property.

The way you present your home is therefore key in getting the highest price for your property.

There are a few simple home improvement jobs you can carry out in order to make your home more presentable to the prospective buyer and attract higher bids. For example completely redecorating your house can increase the price by 5%, whereas renovating the kitchen will add 7% to the value of your property.

Repairing the front door

The front door is the first thing a potential buyer will see when coming to visit your property, it must be eye-catching without being too loud in order to set the right impression. If you have a brown wooden door, why not consider a white uPVC door with new fixtures and fittings. This will make your house more attractive as it will look more up to date.

Clean up the kitchen

The kitchen is one of the most important rooms in the house as we spend many hours cooking and dinning in it. Make sure it is clutter free and that you have cleaned the floors and work tops as well as emptied the bin before every visit.


Consider the buyer might not have the same taste as you and might not like the leopard print wallpaper in your living room or the aquamarine walls in your bathroom. Colours that are not neutral say the house belongs to you and could cost you a sale. Paint the walls and ceilings in a neutral colour such as white in order to raise the buyer’s interest in your house.

Maintain a tidy garden

The garden is often what can sway a buyer’s decision. Keeping your garden tidy is therefore vital.

Make sure you weed the garden and cut the grass. Adding an interesting feature like a cherry tree or a fish pond to the garden to further attract the buyer.

Generally tidy-up

There is nothing worse than an untidy house. It will undoubtedly put the potential buyer off making a bid. Ensure you have cleaned every room from top to bottom and that there are no children’s toys lying about.

It is also an opportunity to get rid of any unwanted items such as old knickknacks, old clothes and other objects you may have accumulated over the years. That way you will also be ready for when you sell your current home and move into a new property.

Buying a New Property? Watch out for Noisy Neighbours

For those purchasing a new property, noisy neighbours are one of the biggest turn offs known to man. A recent survey carried out by Primelocation revealed that more than half of prospective buyers would be dissuaded from purchasing a home by anti-social or overly loud neighbours.

Around 60% of the survey’s participants in the North of England would be turned off purchasing a property by the idea of noisy neighbours – this was listed as a key factor when deciding whether or not to buy. But it seems that residents in large cities such as London are less bothered by noise, and only half of those surveyed would consider noisy neighbours a detrimental factor when choosing to purchase a new home.

As well as considering the type of neighbours living nearby, prospective buyers were concerned about the security of their new home, with those investing in prime property placing a higher level of importance on security cameras and gated entry ways than on luxuries such as leisure facilities. For most buyers, living in a safe and quiet neighbourhood is important, and by assessing the security of the property and the type of neighbours in the area, people can make an informed decision as to whether the purchase is right for them.

It seems the days when we trusted our neighbours have long gone – in today’s modern society, research shows that less than 50% of the UK’s residents trust their neighbours – 25% of people don’t even know who is living in the house next door. In Scotland, there’s slightly more evidence of community spirit, as around 40% of people questioned would go out of their way to welcome new residents to the neighbourhood. In stark contrast, only 13% of Londoners would make the effort.

With the popularity of the internet, it seems that many people form communities online and neglect their real life communities – this lack of trust and communication between neighbours is detrimental not only to the community as a whole, but to property purchasers looking to move to the neighbourhood.

Mortgage Lending Figures by Mutuals and Building Societies is on the up

After the slump in the UK’s property market due to the recession, it looks like mortgage lending figures are finally on the rise again in 2013, with an increase of 18% on 2012 figures being reported this March.

With gross lending increasing not only by building societies but also by other mutuals, it’s evident that the mutual sector is not only alive and kicking, but is actually thriving. Mutuals are providing higher loan to value ratios to borrowers than many high street banks and building societies, with around 50% of all loans requiring just a 10% deposit being supplied by mutuals. Whilst figures last year showed that around 27,000 mortgages were approved in March 2012, this year a rise of 12% is evident, with building societies and mutuals approving more than 30,000 mortgages.

It looks like more people are saving this year with mutuals too – whilst March 2012 saw a reduction in savings balances, this year figures are firmly on the up, with savers attracted to low-risk building society deposit accounts. At a time when the effects of the recession are still evident, people are steering clear of alternative investment strategies which provide a higher level of risk with no guaranteed return. However, with inflation reaching 3% for consumers this year and regular pay figures showing no signs of growth, the ability of many households to save significant sums of money is likely to slow down or stop altogether.

The rise in higher loan to value mortgage lending and the ability for first time buyers to pay a lower deposit will lead to an increase in property sales in 2013, which could see a decline in the increasingly popular rental market for the first time since the recession.

England and Wales house prices see 9.1% rise since start of 2013

With a rise in prices by 2.1% this month and a new national average asking price of £249,841, property prices in England and Wales have made the strongest start to a year since 2004. A generation rich in equity and with a strong desire to migrate south has caused a price increase in the London boroughs of Camden and Brent but a decrease in the East with Greenwich prices down 0.1%.

While the more fortunate can enjoy the pick of the property crop the less financially able group, who are unable to fund a deposit must wait until January when the Help to Buy scheme extends from new homes to resale properties. Despite price rises in the South of the country, Northern regions of Yorkshire and Humberside and the East Midlands are still not in the position to increase property market prices. This is possibly due to the recession causing buyers to become cautious and allowing themselves time to browse the market for their ideal home. Still unsure of the future of the economy people are less likely to settle for less than best and are assessing the resalable value of each property as a precaution.

Buyers are also becoming more aware of paying over the odds and the value of assets has dramatically increased following financially crisis. Those lucky enough to have a deposit can shop around for the best mortgage deals with fixed rates at an all time low. With higher demands from buyers and fewer properties available potential buyers searching for property and researching the market got through a record 1.25 billion web pages last month. A high percentage of these searches were made on phones and mobile tablets, suggesting a new generation committed to finding the right deal anytime of the day or night. This in turn has prompted more regular contact with estate agents, provoking bidding wars for that dream home.

New home prices in the UK up 1.9% in last month

While the majority of people living in our neighbouring Emerald Isle struggle in negative equity house prices across the UK have increased by 1.9% in just one month with the average price of a new home jumping from £231,797 to a considerably higher £236,122. Between March and April this year a price growth of 6.8% in Greater London and Yorkshire and Humberside seeing a growth of 4.4% means developers can only hope the growing increase reflects economic repair at its best with a route out of the recession clearly marked ahead. Not all regions however saw positive annual price growth with East Anglia suffering its lowest price drop since April 2012.

The government initiative Help to Buy scheme has catapulted the new homes market into the spotlight with 60 % of London’s new homes being bought by international buyers and an ever-increasing desire to live in a new property in the Capital. This in turn however, has resulted in a decreased supply and with fewer new homes being built to keep up with demand and the number of new homes falling further in April the prices will inevitably continue to grow, becoming even more out of reach to the initial target group of the scheme. In the hope this price increase plateaus until an increase of new homes are available on the property market we can only rely on the news from NHBC that new home registrations have increased by 22% in the first quarter of 2013 and the governments £2.2 billion Affordable Homes Programme, set to deliver 170,000 new homes by April 2015.

Positive housing market figures show sales up 18%, house prices up 3% year-on-year

The latest year-on-year figures show that house sales have gone up by 18%, and the average price for a residential property in England and Wales has risen by £6,726. Also noted in the figures recently released via the April LSL/Academetrics index is that a monthly increase of 0.3% has caused the average house price to increase by £707 in just the last month.

Despite this general positivity in housing market figures, it is believed that the overall 3% annual price rise has been largely caused by property prices in London going up. However, various regions of England and Wales outside of London have seen an annual house price rise, such as 3.8% in East Anglia and 1.5% in the South East. There were also rises in the West and East Midlands, the South East, South West and North West. Despite these positive rises, none can compare with an annual rise of 10.6% seen in Greater London.

Areas with a negative change include a 1.3% drop in the North, and 1.1% in Wales. Yorkshire and Humber housing prices remained exactly the same as they were 12 months ago.

It is believed the main reason behind the positive change in house sales comes from a greater variety of affordable mortgages on the market. Cheaper mortgages combined with low interest rates have caused generally better conditions for potential house buyers.

The government’s recent Funding for Lending Scheme (FLS) has also had a positive effect, making it easier for banks and building societies to provide lending to a greater number of borrowers.

However, LSL Property Services added a caveat to the figures, saying that by withdrawing London house sales from the picture, the overall rise in the UK is only 1.1%.

Last 12 months shows greater home affordability for key public workers

A recent survey of various professions has shown that many people find housing to be far more affordable than in recent years. Of towns and cities in the UK, 38% are now deemed to be affordable as far as home purchase is concerned, in comparison to 4% in 2008. This change has been even more noticeable in Scotland and Wales compared to England.

The last time affordability was considered to be stronger than this was back in 2003 when affordability was measured at 43%. However, this was before the house price boom which saw many people left behind, according to new research released by the Halifax.

The figure has been calculated by surveying professionals working in key public sectors such as teachers, police officers, fire fighters, paramedics and nurses and measuring their ability to purchase their own home. The survey also uses a benchmark ratio of average house price to average earnings.

Of all the professions surveyed, paramedics have seen the greatest difference in terms of towns becoming affordable to buy a home in. Over the last 12 months alone, the number of affordable towns for this profession has risen from 18% to 50%; police officers saw a similar increase from 18% to 49%. The other main public sector workers surveyed have not been left behind however, with the number of towns affordable to nurses rising from 7% to 35%, fire fighters from 1% to 31%, and teachers from 11% to 40%.

Regionally, the most positive change has been in Scotland where six towns have switched from being unaffordable to affordable, whilst in the West Midlands a negative trend has seen five towns become unaffordable.

Of specific towns and cities, Port Talbot in South Wales is now the most affordable UK town to live in, whilst unsurprisingly, London is the most expensive.

New build prices outperform the rest of the UK housing market

Recent figures released by the Halifax have shown that the average cost of a new build home is now 9% more than the average property in the UK housing market, at an estimated £233,822. Over the last five years the price of the average new build has increased by 12%, but over the last ten years the increase stands at a very respectable 40%, from £166,473. In Greater London this rise is even more meteoric, standing at 57% to £415,540. As with all averages, some areas must balance out the local rises and in this case new builds in the north have fallen in value by 10% to an average of £157,190.

The types of new build properties sold have been identified and the most popular on the UK housing market are definitely flats, possibly because they typically come at the lower end of the market. In 2012 37% of new build homes sold were flats as an average across the country but in London this figure is perhaps unsurprisingly much higher at 88%. Terraced houses are the next most popular buy across England and Wales, averaging 24% of sales but again there are regional variations. In Yorkshire and the Humber region terraced properties were the most popular, with 30% of all new build sales being of this type of home.

UK Housing Market

The new mortgages director for the Halifax, Craig McKinley, believes that this rise in popularity of new build homes is down to the various new mortgages on the uk housing market aimed at new home owners, including shared equity. Builders often have their own incentives to bring to the table and the sometimes dishearteningly large deposits needed for older homes are not so much of a problem for anyone planning to buy a new build. With government incentives being aimed at first time buyers and buyers of new homes, the market in this area is very buoyant.

Property prices rise slightly in England and Wales

Figures released recently by the Land Registry show that property prices of residential property in England and Wales rose by 0.1% in March with a rise in the year being 0.9%. The House Price Index also is broken down by region, and it showed that the greatest monthly and annual rise was experienced in London with a rise of over ten times the national average over the year (9.6%) and twenty five times the monthly rise (2.5%).

Of course, with rises like this in one area, there must be falls to give an average of less than 1% rise and the worst figures come from the North East with an annual fall of 5.5% and the North West, with figures relating to March only showing a decrease of 2.5%.

Property Prices

Despite the general rise in property prices, even allowing for some areas doing less well, the number of homes sold in January 2013 was lower by 5% from January 2012 with only 41,763 sales. Repossession rates have improved however. In January 2013 there were 1,317 possessions across England and Wales compared with 1,602 in January of 2012. This shows a decrease of 18% with the worst figures coming from London and Wales, where repossessions have increased by 28% and 24% respectively.

Despite the increase in property prices being relatively small and the number of transactions being fewer than the same period in 2012, the figures are seen as encouraging, with some commentators foreseeing a resurgence in the first time buyer market and homes being bought by people on lower incomes. Government lending strategies which will be coming on stream should help people who want to buy their first home and there is a huge number of people who would have bought in better financial times who are still an untapped market.

Hidden fees warning to UK property buyers

Many lenders have dropped their fixed rate lending costs in recent weeks and months, making the market one of the most competitive for some time – some lenders have rates on offer which are the lowest since 2007 on four year fixed rate mortgages. While this is a good deal and will enable some borrowers who were not able to prove affordability before, it is essential to keep an eye on fees which some lenders are charging, as they are considerably higher than they were some years ago. It has been estimated that in fact fees now stand at a 25 year high. Added to these fees there are some very high deposit requirements which, taken together, make some of the apparently too-good-to-miss deals simply too good to be true.

To get one of the cheapest fixed rates on the market at the moment, a very tempting 1.99%, a borrower would have to put down a 40% deposit and pay an arrangement fee of £1545. It begs the question whether someone who needs to shop for the very lowest deal on market would have the funds available to take advantage of this deal, meaning that the very lowest rates will not be going to those who need them most.

Lenders justify these high fees because the borrower has the peace of mind of a fixed low rate but with most financial analysts saying that the chances of interest rates rising any time soon are slim. For people for whom the very lowest rate is not so important, but lower upfront fees and deposits are an issue, there are a number of mortgages in the 90% LTV (loan to value) range with higher interest rates but with no fees or some with fees considerably under £1000. For those who want to buy a home but don’t have current large savings, the option of a higher interest rate and no upfront fees is enticing and in many cases makes buying a home possible.

Buying Houses since 1972