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Top 20 UK property hotspots

By Jon Fitzsimons

http://uk.biz.yahoo.com/07102010/389/top-2...y-hotspots.html

 

One town has seen property sales rocket by 85% in the past 12 months.

 

My hometown of Ilford, on the Essex/East London border, is not famous for much. Paul Ince, the former England captain hails from the area, but that’s about it.

 

And when it comes to the property market, it has even worse pedigree – it has been described as the mortgage fraud epicentre of the UK, with a bizarrely large proportion of mortgage brokers banned for fraud operating there.

 

However, according to a new study from Halifax, little old Ilford is officially the hottest of all the property hotspots in the UK! And there I was thinking we all wanted to live on Ramsay Street.

 

I am so proud.

 

Booming home sales

 

Using figures from the Land Registry, Halifax has worked out which towns in the UK have seen the sharpest rise in home sales, comparing the number of transactions in the first half of 2009 to the first half of this year, to identify the biggest home sale hotspots.

 

And it’s my hometown that has seen the sharpest rise in property transactions, jumping a frankly astonishing 85% over the past 12 months, ahead of Croydon in second place, which saw sales rocket 73%, and Maidenhead in third place, where sales jumped 71%.

 

So what does Ilford have going for it? The first thing that springs to mind, for me anyway, is that along with Romford (which saw sales increase by 69%) it’s not very far at all from Stratford, which of course is where the Olympics in 2012 will be held. As the games get nearer, I’ve no doubt some people have already turned their minds towards how to make a few bob out of them.

 

There’s also a clutch of decent schools within a relatively short distance of the town, including the grammar schools Ilford County High and Woodford County High.

 

Let’s take a look at the 20 towns which saw sales increase by the highest percentage.

 

Town --------- / Percentage jump in property sales

 

Ilford............. : 85%

Croydon........ : 73%

Maidenhead... : 71%

Romford........ : 69%

Watford......... : 65%

 

Tunbridge Wells 61%

Enfield 60%

Orpington 58%

St Albans 54%

Bromley 53%

 

Chorley 51%

Ashford 51%

Stockport 47%

Woking 46%

Shrewsbury 42%

 

Brighton 40%

Luton 40%

Durham 40%

Bedford 39%

Aylesbury 38%

 

London calling

 

One thing that jumps out immediately when you look at the 20 towns that have seen sharp jumps in property transactions – the vast majority are found just a short train journey from London.

 

Indeed, 16 of the 20 towns are found in London and the South East – only Stockport (which, coincidentally, is my Editor's hometown), Chorley, Shrewsbury, and Durham are outside what could be classed as the commuter belt.

 

So, while the housing market in some places appears to have staged something of a revival over the past year, it seems to have been driven by transactions in and around the nation’s capital.

 

Or it's because they're the hometowns of lovemoney.com writers - take your pick as to which explanation is more likely.

 

Trains boost prices!

 

I'm guessing it's proximity to London - or at least, proximity to easy transport into London.

 

A study earlier this year by Nationwide Building Society found that for properties in London, being near to a train station could boost a property’s price by up to £20,000.

 

According to Nationwide, homes found within 500 metres of a station will be around 7.2% more expensive than an identical property 1500 metres from the station, the equivalent of £20,300. Properties found within 750 metres will carry a 5.2% premium, 1000 metres a 3.4% premium and 1250 metres a 1.6% premium.

 

The other end of the scale

 

So we’ve established that Southern towns have dominated the list of areas where property transactions have rocketed. What about the other end of the scale, the towns where property transactions have increased the least?

 

Here are the ten towns that have seen the smallest change in home sale numbers.

 

Town ---- / Percentage jump in property sales

 

Blackpool -1%

Grimsby 0%

Sunderland 0%

Newcastle Upon Tyne 4%

Walsall 7%

Fareham 7%

Wolverhampton 8%

Ipswich 9%

Worcester 9%

Doncaster 10%

 

As you can see, three towns have seen no increase at all in home sales, despite the relatively positive year the housing market has enjoyed. And while the hotspot list was dominated by homes in the south, the top 10 property coldspots are dominated by towns in the North.

 

There has always been something of a North/South divide when it comes to property, but clearly the last year has seen an essentially two-paced housing market.

 

Great news if you’re selling in the South, not so much if you’re selling in the North. However, irrespective of where you are selling, there are things you can do to make your home more appealing to the prospective buyers.

 

Don’t put them off

 

It’s pretty obvious that if there’s something about your home that puts buyers off, it will be pretty tough to sell the thing!

 

A study by the Co-op last year found that buyers judge a property with their nose – they are most likely to be put off by the smell of damp (26%), followed by tobacco (25%) and drains (19%). Personally, I’d add to that the smell of cat urine, which was pungent in one property my wife and I looked at!

 

However, it’s not just the smells. Make sure your property is tidy, and in tip-top condition. You want a buyer to be able to imagine living there, not all the cleaning and redecorating they’d have to do once they moved in! Read The top 10 property mistakes to find out more.

 

Appealing to the buyer

 

Of course, the other side of that coin is to ensure there is something about your house that turns the buyer on, that gets them excited about owning it.

 

Sadly, all buyers are different, so there’s no hard and fast rules. However, I’d definitely recommend having a read of Sell your home like a Norwegian and make thousands for great ideas on easy ways to make to make your home far more alluring, and make a few extra quid on the side!

 

*****

 

It is amazing to think that people are still looking for "hot" spots in the UK.

Do they really mean "less cold" spots?

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Where it is really cold, they know how to sell homes

Sadly, all buyers are different, so there’s no hard and fast rules. However, I’d definitely recommend having a read of Sell your home like a Norwegian and make thousands for great ideas on easy ways to make to make your home far more alluring, and make a few extra quid on the side!

Sell your home like a Norwegian and make thousands

http://www.lovemoney.com/news/make-good-pr...sands-4156.aspx

 

Scandinavian style

If you buy a house in the UK you can expect to get taken to the cleaners. We have the smallest homes and the most inflated prices in Europe, and the filth comes free.

 

In Norway, the cleaners get taken to the house. Every seller either hires a cleaning company to scrub their property until it is spotless, or spends a week or two (or three) doing it themselves.

 

So far, so Scandinavian. But it doesn't stop there. They also remove nearly all their furniture, leaving only the odd decorative sofa, dinner table, bed and rug to make the place look stylish and desirable. They declutter every corner and hide it in their loft, garage or parents' house until the property is sold.

Then they add nice little touches, like decorative candles, bowls of fruit, and fresh flowers.

When a friend sold his small £150,000 flat in Oslo, he also paid for the wooden floors to be polished, and replaced every single kitchen unit. Because that's what they do in Norway.

In the UK, we simply open the door.

 

Pining for the fjords

Now I don't expect us to go to the same extremes. For a start, we're British, and instinctively suspicious of people who try too hard. And to be honest, we're muckier than those squeaky clean Scandis.

The Norwegian property market also works differently, with people attending at special pre-arranged mass viewings, whereas UK buyers turn up willy-nilly, often over several weeks or months until the property is sold. Living in a show home for such a long time isn't easy.

 

But next time you sell, give it a go. We applied Norwegian methods when selling our three-bedroom terrace in Lewisham, south-east London, and it worked a treat.

 

Made in Norway

Or rather, Ingrid (my girlfriend) worked a treat. I watched amazed as she boxed our belongings and shoved them into the shed. I muttered something about the rainforest when she came home laden with multi-packs of kitchen roll. And I fled the house when she unleashed her arsenal of cleaning products.

We painted the more eccentrically-coloured rooms magnolia, replaced the kitchen sink and worktops, and installed some spotlighting. The makeover cost us £500.

Our house looked like a show home when the estate agent returned to give us his final valuation, and he upped the price by £7,000.

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Top 20 UK property hotspots

 

Let’s take a look at the 20 towns which saw sales increase by the highest percentage.

 

Town --------- / Percentage jump in property sales

 

Ilford............. : 85%

Croydon........ : 73%

Maidenhead... : 71%

Romford........ : 69%

Watford......... : 65%

 

Tunbridge Wells 61%

Enfield 60%

Orpington 58%

St Albans 54%

Bromley 53%

 

Chorley 51%

Ashford 51%

Stockport 47%

Woking 46%

Shrewsbury 42%

 

Brighton 40%

Luton 40%

Durham 40%

Bedford 39%

Aylesbury 38%

 

Also a different perspective on this would be the 'desirability factor'.

 

In that most of the towns in the above list are seen as being far more desirable places to live, than the surrounding towns in the nearby locales - in the case of some of them, you'd have to wonder whether folks had gone crazy but none the less....

 

Watford I suppose is the first real town of any significance that is outside of North-West London. Personally I'd not want to live there. However it does have plenty of employment, good transport links, parks, big stores, shopping centres (the horror!). It's also an okay commute on the Met line etc into central London (every day would be hellish though unless you got a seat and a really good book).

 

St. Albans is another case in point. People in that Hertfordshire/ Bedfordshire etc nexus see it as being 'posher' than the surrounding towns. They'll pay a premium to live there as opposed to Hertford, which is a perfectly decent place.

 

The commuting factor is one thing, the fact that St. Albans is not Luton is the other.

 

Stockport is another case in point. Parts of it are highly desirable to professional classes working in central Manchester. It's the Edgbaston or Sutton Colefield of south Manchester. It's also got good transport links etc and is close to a lot of very pretty countryside. It's also not Burnage, Moss Side etc.

 

Brighton. Well it's the only largeish city (maybe Bournemouth counts too) that's a resort, that's by the seaside in southern England. It's also (still) seedy as hell in parts. This is what attracts a lot of people, I think. Also the Gay Pound, The Porn Pound, The Commute to London Pound, The Jacasta and Oliver Pound. It's quite a nice place in parts. London prices for property though and the salt air will paintstrip any dwelling within 1 mile of the sea.

 

Luton. God knows what would possess anyone on this earth to pump up the property prices in Luton (?). Being as objective as I can, I'd say transport links, airport, jobs, cheaper houses than the surrounding area (although not if they continue to rise at 40% they won't be). Vauxhall didn't close, gods knows what else.

 

Durham. Is a nice compact little city with a lot of history, a successful university, decent transport links, close to some beautiful countryside and is not Sunderland etc. In practice the commute to Newcastle, Sunderland, Middlesborough would be manageable.

 

Aylesbury. Same sentiments as Luton. What a craphouse. The only reason I can think of, is that it's quite prosperous despite the plague of chavs. Vile looking place though. What was a beautiful Georgian/ Victorian town centre was torn apart by an endless succession of hideous ringroads and grey concrete carparks. If you can ignore that, you can find some beautiful georgian/ victorian villas there. At least they didn't pave over the parks and the swimming baths/ leisure centre is quite nice.

 

London calling

 

One thing that jumps out immediately when you look at the 20 towns that have seen sharp jumps in property transactions – the vast majority are found just a short train journey from London.

 

Indeed, 16 of the 20 towns are found in London and the South East – only Stockport (which, coincidentally, is my Editor's hometown), Chorley, Shrewsbury, and Durham are outside what could be classed as the commuter belt.

 

The original author's London-centric view has completely missed the point on this one. The other places listed are commutable towns to other cities elsewhere in these islands. Does he think that the only city people commute to is London? Does all life end somewhere south of Northampton??

 

Shrewsbury has enough industry etc to sort itself out. you could also easily commute to Birmingham, Leomington Spa, Warwick, or South to Herfeord, Gloucester, Oxford etc.

 

Trains boost prices!

 

I'm guessing it's proximity to London - or at least, proximity to easy transport into London.

 

According to Nationwide, homes found within 500 metres of a station will be around 7.2% more expensive than an identical property 1500 metres from the station, the equivalent of £20,300.

 

Properties found within 750 metres will carry a 5.2% premium, 1000 metres a 3.4% premium and 1250 metres a 1.6% premium.

 

Seems obvious enough. More and more reason why towns with good transport links, particularly train, coach, bus etc will prosper.

 

Here are the ten towns that have seen the smallest change in home sale numbers.

 

Town ---- / Percentage jump in property sales

 

Blackpool -1%

Grimsby 0%

Sunderland 0%

Newcastle Upon Tyne 4%

Walsall 7%

Fareham 7%

Wolverhampton 8%

Ipswich 9%

Worcester 9%

Doncaster 10%

 

As you can see, three towns have seen no increase at all in home sales, despite the relatively positive year the housing market has enjoyed. And while the hotspot list was dominated by homes in the south, the top 10 property coldspots are dominated by towns in the North.

 

Since when were Ipswich, Fareham or Worcester in 'the North'?

 

A lot of the above towns are contracting around their central hub. Blackpool is a one or two trick town. Decent place if you like that faded glamour sort of feel. Hey Trams!

 

Grimsby - stinks of fish almost as bad as Hull. Lots of industry there, but very little actual desire to live there if it wasn't for the industry itself. That coastline has a strange sort of attraction if you like Northern Germany, Netherlands etc.

 

Sunderland - a town struggling with its future. Could be an excellent place to live, as it has everything there including a compact centre, good transport links including rail and the light rail metro linking to Newcastle etc. Problem is the whole thing is based on heavy industry and there's a much smaller percentage of it.

 

Newcastle - could have an amazing future. It's the biggest place in the north of England and is a major transport hub. It will and is contracting a bit though. Some of its suburbs are hellholes and on their arse, but the city proper itself has a lot of going for it.

 

One thing the author fails to mention was that these places had their property boom based on thin air. Then they went pop in 2008 and headed back to 2002/ 2003 prices. The second wave of puffery (QE 1) didn't do much, because most folks can instinctively feel bullshit when they sense it. Most folks would be puzzled as to why property was rising again in the face of economic stress. Particularly in places that are going through it.

 

There has always been something of a North/South divide when it comes to property, but clearly the last year has seen an essentially two-paced housing market.

 

I guess the 'problem' is that the south of England particularly is successful and remains so and by that dint, expensive. Surely some larger corporations are looking at their operational costs and (if they want to remain in the UK) and eyeing up far cheaper places to operate. I've never understood the fundamental business decision (other than a historic attachment to the area) to base your manufacturing/ distribution hub in the south of England.

 

Companies could cut their operational costs by 50% per year just by moving their offices etc to somewhere on the 'sub' list. Crazy really.

 

*****

 

It is amazing to think that people are still looking for "hot" spots in the UK.

 

It seems there are still some thinking that buying property will lead to an increase in Capital Values at this time.

 

Of course buy in the right places at the right places and you will likely make a mint if you hold the right property for xxx amount of years and see another bom after said bust.

 

Problem seems to me that a lot of places haven't had a 'proper bust' yet, they've just trued to re-invig their boom.

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