Category Archives: Property Features

What is a flying freehold?


Even if you have a little bit of knowledge when it comes to property you could be forgiven for being slightly unfamiliar with the term ‘flying freehold’. Although it may sound like something mysterious a flying freehold is actually a part of a property that hangs over an area which belongs to another property.

When you have total ownership of a property and its land this is known as a freehold. Even though you may be able to claim that you completely own the property, if there is a flying freehold it is necessary to be clear on the details. It is true that in some cases the presence of a flying freehold has led to the breakdown of a property purchase because the prospective buyer was refused the money needed from their lender.

As a flying freehold is something of a grey area from a legal standpoint issues can arise when repairs are needed for example. Indemnity insurance can cover you and satisfy lenders in many cases. Most lenders are looking for the assurance that the flying freehold only affects part of the other property and that rights related to entry, support and shelter are enforceable.

Five reasons to build your own home

self build


On many occasions taking a bold step can lead to the kind of rewards you were hoping for and then some. Building your own home is a daring move to make but it can certainly prove worthwhile. Earlier this year, the first ever National Self Build Week was held and exploring this avenue has some clear potential advantages.

Get the exact layout you desire

Being able to have a house of your own built means that there is no need to settle for an aspect you are not satisfied with. It is your opportunity to have the specific layout and design you are looking for.

Save on bills over time

An important part of building your own home is making the kind of decisions that will serve you well for many years to come. It is possible to target an extremely environmentally-friendly property which will lessen the need to pay extortionate costs on energy bills in the future.

Live in your chosen area

Often when viewing properties you can like so much about the house but the area in which it is situated can deter you. This is another negative point that you can cross off the list when you decide to self-build.

Eliminate possible health issues

Unfortunately, some properties of a certain age may have been built with the kind of materials that can pose a threat to your well-being. As you have control over such issues when building your own home you can rest safely in the knowledge that it has been constructed in the best way possible.

Easier to afford than you may think

It is undoubtedly important to keep control over your self-build budget because it is easy to let it run away from you. The affordability of such a project does however tend to surprise people and with a new build there is no need to pay VAT. Additionally, the value of your property when it is finished is likely to be greater than the price it cost to construct.

Huf Haus - Distant dreams to crystal clear reality

Prefab homes in the UK may have once had certain connotations of inexpensive and rushed construction but the concept of the Huf Haus has left this notion behind. It is 16 years since the first Huf Haus graced British land and now the German company is continuing to demonstrate how much creativity can be allowed to flow within economically friendly and energy efficient properties.
Every one of the ultramodern Huf Haus properties has triple glazing and uses renewable energy amongst its features but the emphasis is on bringing individual visions for the ideal home to reality. With one of these homes you are required to purchase the land and the house arrives before being constructed almost like a kit.

It is the kind of open plan home you’d envisage in your fantasies and besides having the opportunity to use it as a blank canvas for your living ideas it is also highly sustainable. There may be a certain exclusivity attached to the Huf Haus with just 170 of them in the UK in 2011, but this only seems to heighten its appeal.

Innovation should be welcomed and when the result is as impressive as this it should be completely embraced. Many want to gain access to this exclusive section of the property market because the Huf Haus is proving just how terrific something can be when you dare to dream a little different.

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Pros and cons of choosing to renovate an old property over buying a new build

Old boarded up house

Nowadays new build houses are everywhere and it can be somewhat difficult to find a period property with its character still intact, however, it’s not impossible. Although new builds look great and are extremely practical with perfectly straight walls and floors they don’t generally have much of a presence. Obviously though, there are pros and cons to both types of homes and it’s important to consider them all before making any final decisions.

Pros of buying an old property & cons of buying a new build:

  1. If you buy an older property then you’ll generally get a lot more for your money because old houses are nowadays being over-looked for the in-demand new builds which means that you’ll get a lot more space for a fraction of the price that you’d pay for the same size new build.
  2. No two old homes are the same whereas new homes are all built to be exactly the same; if you walk into a new build home that’s exactly the same as yours then the only reason you’d be able to tell the difference is because of the contents of the house. Old houses however have individuality and personality on their side because the floors and walls aren’t even, the doors aren’t in the same place in every room and the ceilings are impractically high meaning that there’s no danger of confusing your own house with your neighbour’s.
  3. Some people love to really put their own stamp on a property and an old house gives you the opportunity to do this. Depending on the house that you choose you could be faced with a full scale renovation – which is exactly what some people are looking for – or you could choose a place that’s pretty much ready to move into, only requiring a few tweaks here and there and some work on the interior design. With a new property you don’t get this option as they’re all ready to move into with white and neutral colours throughout leaving you to alter only the colour of the walls.
  4. As well as being cheaper, older properties are generally much bigger with more, larger rooms too so they’re practical for large families as well as being a nice size for smaller households too.
  5. Many old homes have been built to last unlike new builds which are built to last only a few decades.
  6. New, estate built houses generally have small gardens, and although old town houses don’t have the huge amount of land that you can often find with an old property in the country, their gardens are still generally bigger than those that come with a new build.
  7. Because you generally save a lot of money on the price of an old house compared to the price you’d pay for a small one, it means that you have money spare to splash out on luxuries for your new home that you probably wouldn’t be able to afford if you’d spent more on a new build.
  8. Whatever you see in an old building is exactly what you get; a wooden floor for example is exactly that, wood, however, you can’t be so sure in a new house where a wooden floor could actually be all manner of materials.
  9. You’re really not limited on the type of style that you can bring to an old property; whether you prefer antique or reclaimed furniture or you have a modern style doesn’t matter because anything goes, in a new house however, period features generally look out of place in such perfect surroundings.

Cons of buying an old property & pros of buying a new build:

  1. Older properties generally need some kind of work doing to them which takes time, effort and money; new builds on the other hand are ready to move into as soon as they’ve been built so once you’ve paid for the house you shouldn’t have any unexpected extra expenses other than simple aesthetic changes.
  2. Older properties tend to need more maintenance than a new home because all of the materials are so much older; with a new house you can be assured that everything is brand new so in the case that something does go wrong it will usually be under warranty anyway.
  3. Old homes were built for old fashioned living so when it comes to modernising an old property with things like electricity, internet and phone lines it can sometimes be a little difficult.
  4. There’s no such thing as standard in an old property as everything was made to fit that particular house. If you live in a new build you have the luxury of being able to visit any shop and being almost certain that a ‘standard size’ will fit your home if you buy it; you do not get this same guarantee with an old house.
  5. If you’re taking on a major renovation then a small mistake could jeopardise the entire project as it could essentially condemn the house’s structure. With a new house, none of this renovation would be necessary as everything is brand new when you move in; the most you might want to do it to knock a wall down to give you a larger space to enjoy and that’s highly unlikely to affect the entire structure.

Essentially there are some great reasons for buying both styles of home and it’s consequently down to personal choice. There are some great old houses out there and you really can do a lot with them but be aware of the few that really aren’t worth the time and money it would take to renovate them.

Mark loves modernising old properties and furnishes them with an eclectic mix of reclaimed wooden furniture from Nottingham based, Eat Sleep Live.

Foreign investment in London property leading UK boost

The news for the UK’s housing market has been increasingly bright recently and investment from overseas buyers in London property is at the forefront of this upturn. According to The Daily Mail, the prices of UK houses were up to a new high in May, overtaking the previous record set before the recession and all its implications for the nation’s economy. Property prices have fallen in only one of the last 18 months and the average cost of a home in England and Wales is now £233,061.

Experts say that the rise has been driven by the improved fortunes for the London property sector and the weakened state of the pound has been cited as a key reason for foreign investors’ interest. Buyers from abroad have been attracted to properties in the more privileged areas of the capital and this has heightened the overall outlook for the country as a result.

This time last year, the price of the average home in the UK was £226,936, over £6,000 less than it is at present. This is undoubtedly extremely welcome news for the housing sector and David Newnes, LSL Property Services director, said: “Even taking inflation into account, the record high price is symbolic of the significant improvement in the housing market over the past year.”

Newnes also pointed to the greater level of mortgage availability as a principle factor in a boost for the industry that has taken the average cost of a UK home above the February 2008 high of £231,709.

Private funding option explored by UK housing associations


Significant changes could be afoot in the UK property industry as housing associations have been looking at the possibility of becoming privately-funded companies. The option has been explored as a way to protect the industry against the possible end to funding from the government.

In an article on the Financial Times website it was reported that the leading social housing associations have been in discussions already with advisory firms such as KPMG and BDO. The aim of these talks has been to weigh up how viable the option of private funding would be as opposed to relying on government help, something that has always previously been used.

The option of alternative means of funding has already been delved into by the UK’s housing associations as £4billion was generated in the bond markets in 2012. This was a highly significant occurrence as the amount raised for the year was nearly four times as much as the previous record.

Housing associations are said to be considering a number of other alternative funding methods including raising social housing rents, building a greater amount of private rented homes, and turning to equity investors. Places for People is among the biggest property management companies in the UK and the association’s finance director Simran Soin said: “We are working off the assumption that there will be little or no grant funding at all after 2015.”

Drop in elite London property prices

In recent months, the price of property has been on the increase in London while falling in the majority of the north of England. May signalled a halt however, with a drop in the prices of property in Belgravia and Knightsbridge. According to the independent estate agent Knight Frank, house prices decreased by 0.2 per cent in Belgravia in May and 0.3 per cent in Knightsbridge.

Despite the slight decrease in these districts, the survey from which these figures were presented also indicated that property prices in central London are on the up for this year by 3.2 per cent. As the scale of the UK’s economic struggles took hold there was a market low experienced in March 2009 but prices are up a huge 58 per cent when compared to that period.

As reported in The Independent, Knight Frank’s Head of Residential Research Liam Bailey noted that the statistics reflected a slight change in purchasing attitudes in the industry. He said: “There is a discernible shift in the market, with anecdotal feedback confirming that buyers are willing to agree to purchases, but only when prices are realistic.”

In the first four months of this year, there was an increase of 28 per cent in the amount of sales of properties worth less than £2million in the capital. The property market in London has been in stark contrast with other areas of the UK, with the average price of a home in Kensington and Chelsea as high as £1.1million.

Hope for the UK’s housing market

It has not been an easy time for the UK’s housing industry in the last few years but there has been a suggestion that there is reason for optimism in the shape of a rise in mortgage lending. The Council of Mortgage Lenders has announced that there was an increase in gross mortgage lending by 4 per cent for April, when compared with the figures for March. This took the amount spent on this area to £12.1 billion for the month and it represented a huge increase of 21 per cent from April last year, though it is important to acknowledge the stamp duty concession that was ended at this time.

Encouragement can also be taken from the news that prices of houses in the UK are up by 2.7 per cent for the year up to March. The figures come from the Office for National Statistics and although there is cause for positivity it has been pointed out that the increase in English and Welsh prices have been offset to a certain extent by those in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Foreign investments have been cited as a contributory factor in a 7.6 per cent increase in house prices in London for the 12 months up to and including March this year. The value of housing in England rose by 3 per cent for the corresponding period, while property prices in Wales are up by 1.2 per cent. In contrast, house prices are down by 2 per cent in Northern Ireland and 1.7 per cent in Scotland. These figures hint at recovery for the market but experts have indicated that the steps are still very gradual at this moment.

£2billion spent on temporary accommodation for the homeless

The UK housing industry has struggled considerably in recent times and there has been further indication of this with the revelation that almost £2billion has been spent in the past four years on arranging temporary accommodation for homeless people. As the wider difficulties experienced by the country’s housing market have spread far and wide this has led to £1.88billion of expenditure going towards renting accommodation for families without a home. According to an article in The Guardian, a number of factors have been cited as contributing to this, including the rising house prices, a cut on benefits and the increase in private rents.

The homeless families concerned have been housed in hostels, bed and breakfast surroundings and shelters in cities around the UK. It has been suggested that many more families could lose their homes as a result of the benefit cuts that are reportedly set to see around 7000 families in London receive over £100 less each week. The UK’s housing industry has seen the number of new houses starting to be built decrease by 8 per cent in the past three months, according to The Department for Communities and Local Government.

The short-term measures that have been taken to alleviate the pressure caused from so many being left without a home have been at great cost and housing minister Mark Prisk has expressed his concern at families being rehoused in unfamiliar areas. He said: “There is absolutely no excuse for families to be sent miles away without proper regard for their circumstances, or to be placed in unsuitable bed and breakfast accommodation for long periods of time.’’

Terrace house price disparity indicative of UK market

The current imbalanced state of the housing market in the UK has been further emphasised by the revelation that terrace houses are available for as little as £1 in some areas and as much as £250 million in others.

In an article by the Guardian, it was discovered that a Carlton House Terrace home in the St. James’s area of the City of Westminster is on sale at a quarter of a million, making it the highest price a property has ever been on the British market for. Conversely, there are Victorian terrace homes in Stoke-on-Trent available for just a pound.

The £250 million central London house is described as 30 times larger than a typical home in the capital and the price tag is 700 times more expensive than the average London property price of £370,000. The derelict homes in Stoke are to be sold in the area of Cobridge initially, with more to follow, and £30,000 loans are being offered to carry out repairs on the properties. There are certain criteria that need to be met in order for buyers to be eligible for the loan, including applicants having a joint income of between £18,000 and £25,000, as well as being in employment for at least two years.

Although at the very opposite ends of the scale, the simply colossal difference in the prices of these properties helps to portray the image of the housing market and the wider economic difficulties the UK continues to experience.