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It’s the time of year to dream big and wish for better things. What better way to indulge your dreams than to browse through some of the most amazing properties for sale?
Rightmove has revealed the five homes that notched up the most clicks from would-be buyers and wishful thinkers in 2019.
Most people browsing through the listings on Rightmove likely have no intention of ever making an offer on the most expensive properties in there.
But everyone can dream of owning a Scottish castle or a footballer’s mansion, right?
Miles Shipside, of Rightmove, said: “It’s great to see such a brilliantly diverse variety of homes available on Rightmove.
“And it’s no surprise to see these five properties at the top of our list.
“Each Christmas, I’m always curious to see which homes have sparked the most interest across Great Britain throughout the year.
“Suffice to say, the properties with the biggest personalities or quirkiest features are usually the most popular.
“Whether you’re seeking interior inspiration or just want to peek inside truly remarkable homes, Rightmove is the place to satisfy all your property desires.”
Here’s the Rightmove top five most-clicked properties:
London’s happiest place to live has been revealed. And for the fifth year on the spin, Richmond-upon-Thames tops the list of the capital’s happiest places.
Rightmove’s Happy at Home Index asks 22,000 homeowners across the UK to rate the place where they live.
There’s a national index and a specific one for London.
As the home to England’s national rugby stadium of Twickenham, Richmond naturally came top of the index for its top-class sports facilities.
Kingston upon Thames and Kensington & Chelsea were the next boroughs to feature in the happiest places to live list.
Fourth and fifth spots go to Camden and Wandsworth, respectively, with Bromley and Hackney also placing in the top 10.
In the national index, Hexham in Northumberland takes the No.1 spot with Richmond placed third.
Richmond’s placing is the first time a London borough has made the top 10 of happiest places to live in the UK.
Those taking part in the polling are asked about 12 specific factors that make their place a happy spot to live. These include a sense of belonging, cultural scene and green space.
A landmark construction in south London is to be the centrepiece of a new development.
The Old Kent Road gasholder will become an architectural installation as part of developer Avanton’s £230 million project.
The gasholder is one of the few remaining Victorian gasworks in London. Now a Grade II-listed structure, it was the biggest in the world when it was completed in 1881.
Known as a gasometer, this type of construction was once a common site in UK cities and is a massive container that stores thousands of cubic metres of gas.
Avanton intends to build hundreds of homes and offices on the four-acre site. The gasholder will become the centrepiece, potentially including a pavilion, water features and gardens.
The developer has also bought two other sites on Old Kent Road. In total, the company will invest £800 million across the three sites, providing more than 2,100 new homes.
Omer Weinberger, managing director of Avanton, told the Evening Standard: “The £230 million scheme will result in a significant contribution to the local community through the provision of homes, a substantial commercial offering and public open space.
“Our trio of projects will help to spearhead the transformation of Old Kent Road into a new town centre for London.
“Along this, there is the planned extension of the Bakerloo line with two new stations on Old Kent Road.”
The gap in property prices between the north and south is expected to narrow in the next five years, thanks to a rapid rise in values in the north-west.
Leading estate agency Savills has analysed the current property market and made its forecast for the next half-decade.
Savills predicts that average house prices will rise across the UK by 15.3 percent but those prices will be widely varied across the regions.
For example, the north is expected to benefit from greater rises than areas in the south.
Savills has picked out Scotland, Wales and all areas north of the Midlands as the places where prices will grow by 18 percent or more.
However, all areas in the Midlands and further south will see much lower growth.
The Savills research suggests house price growth in London will be 4.0 percent in the next five years.
While that’s much lower than previous rises, it will mean the capital’s property may return to affordability for many buyers and home movers.
Lucian Cook, head of Savills residential research, said: “We anticipate a continuation of trends seen historically, where London and the south-east underperform markets in the Midlands and north.
“This appears to have begun in 2016, coinciding with the referendum when London hit up against the limits of affordability.
“Markets further from the capital, such as Leeds, Liverpool and Sheffield, were much slower to recover post-financial crisis. They have much greater capacity for house price growth relative to incomes, even as interest rates rise.”
A £1 billion scheme will create a bustling new community close to London’s South Bank.
The gap between South Bank and Tate Modern is to be transformed when the ambitious new project gets underway.
The current vibrant South Bank ends at Blackfriars Bridge, where pedestrians then have to use an underpass to reach the Tate Modern gallery and its environs.
Eventually pedestrians will be able to walk from the London Eye right along the Thames to the Tate Modern.
The huge new project will extend the dynamism of the South Bank to include the area on the other side of Blackfriars Bridge.
A report in the Evening Standard notes that the first phase of the project, at Bankside Yards, has already started.
This initial stage will involve 240 homes and an office building in a 49-storey tower. Shops and restaurants will be houses in a row of railway arches that are to be renovated.
The next phase of the project, devised by developer Native Land, will include more homes and a hotel alongside open space.
Radical reform of Stamp Duty Land Tax would take nine out of 10 home buyers in England out of paying the tax altogether.
The effect of raising the threshold at which the tax is paid would also revitalise the house-building sector as developers react to increased demand from buyers who would be free from paying the duty.
A report entitled Stamping Down by the Centre for Policy Studies (CPS) has called on the Government to consider reforming the stamp duty system, which currently brings in around £5.1 billion to the Treasury every year.
Alex Morton, the CPS head of policy, is a former adviser to David Cameron when he was Prime Minister and has written the report.
He says raising the threshold at which buyers must pay stamp duty from £125,000 to £500,000 would mean nine out of 10 buyers in England no longer have to pay the tax.
The current average cost of stamp duty in England is £2,300 with buyers in the south-east forking out more than £6,000 when they buy a property.
Morton says raising the threshold would cost £1.6 billion, but the spin-off benefits in increased transactions and a rise in house-building would replace that revenue for the Government.
His proposals would only affect residential property transactions. Buy-to-let landlords and those buying an additional property pay higher rates of stamp duty, and those would not change in this suggested reform.
Robert Colvile, director of the CPS, sayd: “It’s no coincidence that stamp duty is one of the taxes that people hate the most.
“It’s a huge barrier to people living in the kind of homes that best fit their families and their lives.
“And as our report has shown, the current sky-high levels are doing more harm than good.
“We urge the Government to take bold action to stamp down on stamp duty and get the property market moving again.”
London’s first new high street in a century has been given the go-ahead by councillors in Southwark.
The £4 billion plan will create a new town centre at Canada Water in Rotherhithe, on a site that includes Surrey Quays and the former Dock Offices courtyard.
The project will create around 3,000 new homes – of those, 35 percent will be affordable.
The new town centre will also include 2 million square feet of workspace for up to 20,000 jobs, and around 1 million square feet of shopping, entertainment, leisure, community and education space.
With around 12 acres of open space, the new Canada Water town centre will also include its own town square, 16 new streets and a 3.5 acre park.
Peter John, leader of Southwark Council, said: “We are delighted that this major step towards our vision for Canada Water has been approved.
“The masterplan provides the blueprint for an exciting new town centre that will provide thousands of new homes, particularly hundreds of new social rent homes, new jobs and opportunities, new open spaces and a brand new leisure centre for Rotherhithe in the first phase of the work.”
Improved transport links in the area will mean increased capacity at Surrey Quays and tow new bus routes.
Londoners spent last Sunday freely walking, running and cycling on more than 200 car-free roads last weekend as part of the capital’s Car Free Day event.
The annual event aims to give millions of residents the opportunity to experience a day without heavy air pollution and to appreciate London’s green spaces.
With pollution levels in some part of the capital at illegal levels, the imperative from the Mayor’s office is to improve air quality and eliminate the pollution hotspots blighting the lives of residents.
Now home buyers are being offered the chance to find out if the area they intend to buy in is suffering from air pollution – and if it is, negotiate a discount on price.
Using data from King’s College London, www.addresspollution.org offers an air quality report for every postcode in London based on nitrogen dioxide readings, revealing if pollution levels exceed legal limits and giving each neighbourhood a score out of five.
The website has been established as a registered community interest, not-for-profit company that runs campaigns for people and the planet.
Its aim is to give users a report they can use to lobby local councils and MPs to demand improvement on pollution levels locally and nationally.
According to its research, more than three-quarters (76 percent) of Londoners think property for sale in areas with heavy pollution should be sold or rented at a discounted price because of the negative effects on people’s health.
Almost six in 10 of those who were questioned said they’d think about withdrawing their offer on a property if they discovered it was situated in an area with illegal air pollution limits that breach World Health Organisation levels.
Humphrey Milles, the organisation’s founder, said: “Air pollution is killing people across the country and London is worst hit, but people don’t believe it will affect them personally.
“The air quality rating is a tool to change these perceptions and show just how real, and dangerous, air pollution is across the capital, including in some of the wealthiest neighbourhoods.”
A £3.7 billion regeneration project is set to transform Canning Town in London’s east end.
Around 10,000 new homes will be built as part of the development with upgrades to the local transport network.
The biggest project is at Hallsville Quarter, where 1,100 new homes will be created on a 15-acre site near Canning Town station at a cost of £600 million.
Of those homes, a third will be affordable and marketed for those on low and middle incomes.
The latest part of the project will include a retail area with shops, restaurants and facilities such as a health centre.
Canning Town has an Underground station while the Docklands Light Railway (DLR) also runs through the station.
Crossrail, the rail project to connect London’s stations from east to west, will also stop near to Canning Town at the newly created Custom House station once complete.
Average property prices in Canning Town are now £439,000.
Meanwhile, Newham Borough Council is considering planning applications for the redevelopment of Custom House, plans that include 800-900 new homes, community facilities and improved local shops.
The house price premium for living close to the UK’s top 100 state secondary schools has dramatically fallen.
According to new research from Santander, the price premium for parents keen to secure a spot for their offspring at the best non-fee-paying schools has fallen from 15 percent to 5 percent in the last year.
That means an actual financial drop of £32,100.
In 2018, parents moving into the catchment area of the best state schools were paying a premium of £51,600. In 2019, that has fallen to £19,500.
More than a quarter (26 percent) of parents said they were willing to pay a premium to ensure their child got a place at their preferred state school, with £20,000 the average extra willing to be paid.
Parents rate proximity to a good school as more important than being close to good transport links, family and friends.
Meanwhile, the Santander research has revealed that parents start thinking about school places long before their child is ready to pull on a uniform for the first time.
Seven percent think about schools when planning a family, 6 percent when pregnant and 22 percent shortly after their child is born.
Miguel Sard, managing director of Santander UK, said: “The recent property market slowdown has seen house prices in many school catchment hotspots cool significantly, giving an unexpected boost to parents looking to move near to sought-after state schools.
“With many parents planning for their child’s education straight after or even before their baby is born, and properties in top school catchments now more accessible, competition for school places looks set to be fiercer than ever.”