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The Top 10 Most Expensive Places to Live in the UK Outside of London

We all know that property prices in London remain the highest in the country, but which other towns and cities are in the top ten when it comes to house prices.

  1. Virginia Water, Surrey

With the average house price coming in at £1,617,679, Virginia Water makes it to the top spot on Zoopla’s ‘rich list’, for most expensive places to buy property in the UK. Portnall Rise is the most expensive street with the average house costing a whopping £7,046,149, closely followed by Wentworth Drive where the average house will set you back £6,496,232, North Drive coming in at £6,237,670 and in fourth place Pinewood Road at £6.196,450.

The leafy suburb of Virginia Wood has seen a rise in property prices of 1.3% since September and an overall increase of 2.6% in the last 12 months. Terrace houses were priced on average at £1,045,875 while flats and apartments came in at £533,317.

  1. Cobham, Surrey

Another picturesque town, nestling on the banks of the River Mole, in the popular county of Surrey, is Cobham, coming in at second place. Average prices of £1,239,868 make this a town only accessible to the wealthy, with a rise of 2.17% in the last quarter of 2021 and an increase of an incredible 11.09% from the same period last year. When looking at the types of properties sold, terrace houses cost around £551,532 while flats averaged at £540,350.

  1. Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire

Sitting on the edge of the Chiltern Hills, Beaconsfield is an area of outstanding natural beauty. Easy accessibility to London (25mins by train) makes this beautiful town popular with commuters. The average home here will set you back £1,232,359, representing a rise of 1.58% in the last 3 months and a yearly rise of 5.3%. The average flat or apartment will cost £591,253 whilst terraced properties show an average selling price of £648,184.

  1. Esher, Surrey

Situated on the South East side of London’s leafy suburbs, Esher is a quiet and peaceful town despite its close proximity to the capital. This town is very popular with buyers looking for the best of two worlds: the excitement of the city and the tranquillity of the countryside.  Prices here currently sit at an average of £1,146,708 which is a rise of 1.76% during the last quarter and a 4.55% increase over the last 12 months. Flat prices are averaged at £531,622 and terraced properties at £659,058.

 

  1. Chalfont St. Giles, Buckinghamshire

Most commonly known as the background of many popular shows (Dad’s Army, The Canterbury Tales, Peep Show, to name a few) Chalfont St. Giles may feel strangely familiar to those who have never actually visited there. It is also the home to Milton Cottage, where the famous poem ‘Paradise Lost’ was penned by John Milton    .

The average price of homes in this historical town is £1,139,493 which is an increase of 2.02% since the end of September and a 12 month overall rise of 9.08%. Flat prices average at £530,618 whilst terrace houses show an average price of £608,428.

  1. Gerrards Cross, Surrey

Coming in sixth place, with an average property cost of £1,057,668, is Gerards Cross. As one of the most sought after places to live in the UK, it’s not surprising this beautiful rural town has made it to the top ten. The last three months has seen a rise of 2.2% in house prices and a yearly increase of 4.58%. A flat or apartment here will set you back on average £538,058 with terrace houses averaging at £592,826.

  1. Radlett, Hertfordshire

The ancient village of Radlett dates back to before 5,000 BC and has been the home of many celebrities including Simon Cowell and the late George Michael. You can buy a home here for the average price of £1,017,483 in this beautiful town. House prices have risen on average by 1.77% in the last 3 months and 3.65% over the last 12 months. In terms of property prices flats will cost buyers £453,467 on average whereas terrace properties will set buyers back £586,602.

  1. Weybridge, Surrey

The bustling town of Weybridge boasts a fantastic high street which winds through streets of mansions and manors and is home to some of the most prestigious private schools in the country. Average house prices in Weybridge are sitting at £1,012,920 reflecting an increase of 2.15% since the end of September and a rise of 6.49% from the same period in 2020. Flats and apartments are on average £471,716 while terraced houses are currently averaging at £683,669.

  1. Ascot, Windsor & Maidenhead, Berkshire

Home to world famous racecourses, the tri-settlement of Ascot, Windsor and Maidenhead offer top quality properties in the beautiful countryside to the west of London.

Properties in Ascot are currently averaged at £990,918. This is a rise of 1.31% in the last quarter of 2020 and since September 2020 has risen by 2.63%. In terms of the types of properties, flats showed an average of £570,937 and terraced houses £600,385.

Meanwhile in Windsor and Maidenhead average prices came in at £709,988, representing a three month growth of 1.58% and a yearly rise of £541,301. Terraced houses were priced at £541,301 and apartments/flats £417,865.

  1. East Molesey, Surrey

Last, but by no means least, East Molesey comes in at number 10 on Zoopla’s ‘rich’ list. This popular commuter town has an average house price of £986,356 with a current rise of 0.88% since the third quarter of 2020 and an increase of 1.69% over the last twelve months. When it comes to property type flats average at £410,384 and terraced properties £516,166.

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Is Property Investment a Wise Move for 2022?

With property prices the highest they have been in 15 years we look at the current housing market trends and whether investing in property is the best choice for 2022.

As we move into another stage of the pandemic with possible restrictions and lockdowns looming it’s not surprising that property prices are at the forefront of the conversation. With the covid virus causing unprecedented disruption to the economy and the way people socialise and work, office space, shops and ultimately property prices have been severely affected.

Adding to the feeling of uncertainty, the expected dramatic rise in interest rates by the Bank of England, in an attempt to get inflation under control, is causing mortgage rates to rise making homeownership an impossible dream for many.

Changed planning regulations, allowing property developers to convert former offices and commercial properties into residential properties has allowed a flood of more affordable, accessible homes onto the market. Rental and property prices are not expected to go down any time soon due to a shortage of supply resulting in cheap accommodation selling/renting in record speed.

Initially the pandemic and the end of the stamp duty holiday was expected to be catastrophic for house prices but has been anything but. In fact, after an initial dip, prices in nearly all regions of the UK have been rising.

An agent from a well known high street agency commented, “We really need more stock. Warehouses, former industrial parks and if offices are empty, convert them,” she says. International markets have reopened, and international investors are coming back. Post-Brexit they are looking to invest”.

Wybo Wijnbergen, chief executive of InfinitSpace, a Dutch-based, pan-European commercial agency specialising in flexible working spaces, commented: “To say the commercial real estate sector has come under strain during the pandemic would be an understatement.

“First and foremost, the spread of the Covid-19 virus has forced offices, retail outlets and hospitality venues to close for long periods in 2020 with many companies terminating their contracts with landlords.”

He stated that there had been only £8.9 billion in sales of commercial properties in 2020, down a significant 30% from the previous year.

CBI Economics released a report in July of this year showing that 93% of businesses were keen to adopt a hybrid type of working environment with most employees working from home either full or part time, and only a mere 5% expected to be in the office full time.

“Landlords now face the task of adapting their offerings and reallocating their office space in accordance with evolving demands,” added Mr Wijnbergen. “There is a new phrase in play here as landlords struggle to ‘hotelify’ their offices.”

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Record Year for Equity Release as Parents Help Their Children Get on the Property Ladder

At the end of September, data compiled by Key, showed the value of equity release had increased by 18.8%, an incredible £884 million since the third quarter of 2020, indicating that the equity release market is firmly on target for a record year by the end of December.

Equity experts, Key, have provided figures of just over £1 billion taken out using equity release in the three months running up to the end of September of this year. Although the number of equity release plans actually decreased by 3.2%, figures were up from the same time last year by £884 million (18.8%). Equity release plans fell from 10,671 in the third quarter of 2020 to 10,333 by the close of September 2021 and remains lower than the pre-covid levels.

Many people have taken advantage of the tied up equity in their homes with the main aim of paying off debts and giving much needed financial support to family members, particularly children and grandchildren. The breakdown shows that 42% of those releasing equity for the purpose of helping family, did so for the sole purpose of helping fund a deposit for a home purchase, with 36% giving the money as an early inheritance.

The equity release market has for some time hovered around £1 billion mark most years, but Key believe 2021 to be on course to hit £4 billion by the end of December.

A little over 66% of customers were approved for drawdown plans in the 3 months, with the initial release amount being an average of £57,183 and the ability to draw a further £301.5 million.

The average age of the customer releasing equity, according to the report, is 70 years old, with nearly half falling between the ages of 65 and 74 year of age.

Key’s chief executive, Will Hale said that the notable increase in lending was partly due to a rise in homeowners in their later years opting to move from an ordinary mortgage product to lifetime mortgage.

“We’ve seen increasing numbers of people using equity release to support families, manage their current borrowing and use the historically low rates to remortgage their existing equity release plans,” he commented.

“While many plans have been put on hold during the pandemic, we also expect to see the return of people looking to boost discretionary spending as they look again at how to fund their later life ambitions.”

Equity Release Council’s chief Executive, Jim Boyd, put forward the suggestion that the data showed “the benefits of accessing property wealth are routinely shared across the generations and increasingly woven into the country’s social fabric”.

“Significant funds continue to pass directly to family members and other beneficiaries, making equity release a multigenerational financial planning tool.” he added.

“The ability to ‘recycle’ housing wealth is transformative for many families when it comes to younger generations’ ambitions to progress in life, from buying a home and getting married to continuing in education and starting a business.

“Unlocking property wealth is not the right choice for everyone, and one of the benefits of the equity release advice process is that it can unearth other solutions, from savings or investments to unclaimed pensions or benefit entitlements. With longer lives, people’s needs change over time and the questions prompted by considering equity release can help identify the best way to use different sources of wealth at different stages of life.”

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Mortgages

Bank of England Rises Base Rate to 0.25%

The Bank of England has increased the base rate from a record low of 0.1% to 0.25% on Wednesday of this week. The decision was made in an effort to get the ever increasing inflation rate under control. With inflation rising to a whopping 5.1%, significantly higher than the targeted 2%, and the highest seen in the last ten years, the B of E is under tremendous pressure to find a way to bring the CPI inflation rate down.

Against all expectations, the base rate was kept at 0.1% last month. Bank of England’s policy maker, Michael Saunders, stated that he had voted for the rise to 2.5% and said to expect further increases in the short term.

The last time the base rate was increase was in August 2018 from 0.5% to 0.75% where it remained until March 2020. It them was reduced to 0.25 and further lowered to 0.1%.

The Monetary Policy Committee, in this month’s meeting, took a vote to increase the base rate, with eight to one members voting to increase the base rate to 0.25%, and just one person, Silvana Tenreyro, voting to keep the rate at 0.10%.

The MPC said that there was a high expectation that the inflation rate would stay around the 5% mark for the winter months and would rise to as much as 6% by April 2022. The CPI (Consumer Price Inflation) is predicted to fall in the second half of the year.

The MPC suggested that even though the Omicron variant is likely to impact the economy in the short term, the increase is ‘warranted’ because of the uncertainty surrounding the virus.

Director of Legal and General Mortgage Club, Kevin Roberts, said: “Whilst last month a rise was expected, consensus appeared to be for the status quo this month, therefore this decision once again comes as a surprise.

“It would appear the need to tackle rising inflation outweighs the many other factors currently at play. However, it’s important to put any rise in context: this is an increase from a historic low and will primarily help to give the central bank the option to reduce rates again, should it need to inject more life into the economy next year.”

Personal finance specialist at Nutmeg, Annabelle Williams, added: “The Bank of England’s economists previously predicted inflation could reach a worrying five per cent by spring next year, but on Wednesday data showed that the rate of price rises already breached that level in November.

“These rapid price hikes have come at a time when the tax burden is increasing and the worsening Covid situation makes the outlook for businesses and employment uncertain.

“It’s a toxic mix and the Bank of England has been forced into taking action by raising interest rates before the economy takes a turn for the worse.”

Kevin Roberts went on to say that the increase will inevitably have an effect on mortgage prices but to not to be too worried as lender competition will help to keep the price increases to a minimum.

He added: “People tend to fear higher interest rates as it makes borrowing more expensive. But we ought to bear in mind that this is a small increase and rates are not going back to anything like ‘normal’ levels any time soon.”

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Mortgages

Almost Half of All First Time Buyers Rejected for a Mortgage

According to a recent report released by Alderidge bank, since the beginning of the Covid pandemic, 45% of first time buyers were rejected when applying for a mortgage.

The First Time Buyer index, which was developed and first published pre covid, shows that only 35% of the 2,015 survey participants, were successful in securing a mortgage deal on their first attempt. This figure has significantly dropped from 48%, seen before the initial covid lockdown.

A whopping 45% of first time buyers reported that they were rejected on their first application with 20% of those also being rejected multiple times when applying elsewhere.

The most common reason for rejected first time buyer mortgage applications is poor credit history with 21% of participants stating this as the main cause for not being successful in securing a mortgage.

Administrative errors accounted for another 21%, whilst 20% of those surveyed, claimed to not be able to afford the large deposit needed for the purchase.

With 49% of prospective first time buyers having some sort of disruption to their jobs, lenders were understandably more cautious when it came to accepting applications, making it much harder to secure a FTB mortgage.

The report showed that 35% of participants were put onto furlough but had now returned to work. Just under 10% had remained on furlough, with a further 5% being made redundant or having significant reduction in income since the onset of the pandemic.

The head of mortgage distribution at Aldermore, John Cooper commented: “It’s easy to see from the research why many first time buyers can feel disheartened by the challenges when looking for their first home. They shouldn’t despair though as there are many options open to them. Specialist lenders, like Aldermore, are opening up the market to those with complicated income streams or past credit issues ensuring that no borrower, whatever their background, feels excluded from the opportunity of getting on the housing ladder.

“I would also recommend getting help from a broker, which can be a great boost in navigating the many pitfalls and confusing processes. They provide a whole of market view and cut through the jargon to provide options specific to a new buyers’ individual circumstances.”

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Mortgages

Upcoming Challenges Could See Many BTL Landlords Exiting the Sector

Recent years have been fairly unkind to the UK’s buy-to-let landlord community. With further tax hikes on the cards over the coming years, it is entirely likely that more BTL property owners than ever before will struggle to make meaningful profits.

Aside from this, there are those who see other issues on the horizon that could result in an exodus away from the sector. Specifically, the adoption of mandatory energy performance improvement measures is likely to represent a significant challenge for landlords and investors across the country.

Current figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) indicate that most private rental homes across the country have a better-than-expected median energy efficiency score. However, this average score is still significantly lower than the wider average for the housing sector in the UK.

In England, the average rented detached property has an energy efficiency score of 58. This increases to a score of 60 for semi-detached rental properties, 62 for terraced homes and 68 for maisonettes.

Average scores are similar in Wales, coming out at 56, 61, 61, and 68, respectively.

With the exception of flats and maisonettes, all of the scores are significantly lower than general national averages. Data from the ONS suggests that the average home energy efficiency score in England is 66, and in Wales is 64.

The main issue facing landlords is the government’s goal of ensuring as many homes as possible have an energy efficiency score of at least 69 by 2035.  Something that is likely to prove difficult or impossible for many landlords who own housing stock in need of significant improvements to hit this target.

Speaking on behalf of Propertymark, policy manager Timothy Douglas emphasised the challenges on the horizon for many UK landlords.

“It is now well over twelve months since all properties rented on a relevant tenancy in the private rented sector in England and Wales must meet the EPC band E rating, so it is good to see letting agents and landlords meeting the requirements and adhering to the rules – everyone wants to see rented property that is safe, secure and warm,” he said.

“However, the government’s latest proposals for EPC band C presents a much tougher challenge for many properties across the country,”

“With the wide range of property types in the private rented sector and proposals for a £10,000 cost cap, landlords across the country are being presented with financial and practical challenges, which if not tackled, could result in a reduction in supply and landlords exiting the market.”

Whether the issue results in a mass exodus from the sector remains to be seen, but it will inevitably mean major costs being incurred by many landlords across the country.

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Winter Competition – Adopt a Reindeer!

Visit and follow our page on Linkedin and comment on the post shared describing your best Christmas foods, we want to see what your favourites are! You will be entered into a prize draw and the winner will adopt a reindeer throughout winter, paid for on your behalf from UK Property Finance.

How to enter this competition:

1. Follow us on LinkedIn.

2. Comment on the post.

3. If chosen, you win the competition.

4. You adopt a reindeer with costs covered by us.

The lucky winner will be announced on 21/12/21.

In addition to knowing you’re providing a future for our farm, you also get:

Adoption certificate

Photograph of your chosen animal, with a personalised note from our farmers.

A family pass to visit the farm (1 visit per year valid for four people).

Email updates about your animal with video content.

Please like and share the post to give your friends and family a chance of winning this prize too.

Good luck!

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