Why it’s a GREAT time to buy right now

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We’ve been hearing a lot about how the housing market is slowing down, with a potential ‘mansion tax’ on the horizon and a recent tightening of the rules under the Mortgage Market Review (MMR). However, don’t let these scare stories put you off: it could be a better time than ever to buy – and here are five reasons why… 1. Interest rate rises could be further delayed We’ve been hearing about interest rate rises being ‘on the horizon’ for a while now – experts were predicting a rise in the first quarter of 2015. However, recent global economic data has pushed economic analysts to believe that interest rate rises in the UK could be delayed until after spring next year. This means that despite the onerous new mortgage rules, borrowing will still be very cheap. A recent report found that current low rates have meant that it’s been easier to buy a home – although in London it’s more expensive. This can be counter-balanced by the fact that London property generally gives a greater return on investment. There was lower growth in August, with buyers turning down higher-priced properties as there were concerns about interest rate rises. 2. London and the South East are great places to buy Housing is still in high demand in London and the South East, largely due to a lack of supply. The South East particularly has seen residents staying put with the lowest pick up in properties being listed by estate agents, as owners hope to benefit from house price growth over the next ten years or so. High prices in London have produced a knock-on “ripple effect” filtering out to the Home Counties. 3. Renting is still very expensive Renting has hit an all-time high as average residential rates reach £768 per month. [...]

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The top rental hotspots in the UK at a glance

DirectLine

Did you know that the latest government statistics reveal there to be 3 rental properties for every 7 owned properties in the UK? Interesting? Maybe, but not particularly useful. What you actually need to know is where the rental hotspots are in the UK. Our interactive heat-map places this information at your fingertips. Plug in a postcode, or cruise the cursor over the screen, and you can see at a glance where the highest proportions of rented property are and where homeownership remains the norm. With buy-to-let an attractive income investment, against a backdrop of low rates and stock market volatility, this map will instantly pinpoint promising areas. Of course, such statistics alone do not tell the whole story. You’ll still need to consider which neighbourhoods could hold a special appeal for your target tenants, and you’ll need to consider factors such as the area’s rental yield. What you will have, though, is a quick and easy way of finding those areas with the best potential, and that is one less thing to worry about. Property investors who don’t want to know the results should look away now, because we can reveal that the hottest rental areas include Inner London (with 63% rented housing), Manchester (59%) and Glasgow (53%). Rental blues are to be had in East Dunbartonshire and East Renfrewshire (both at a low 17%). How hot is the area you are considering a property in? Find out now. Source: http://www.directlineforbusiness.co.uk/knowledge-centre/landlord-knowledge-centre/rental-heat-map

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12 Eco London Property Developments

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Being green is no longer a life choice. It’s not a choice at all. Whether it is in business or residence, old property or new, being environmentally friendly and sustainable is the only option. Shrewd property developers have turned the restrictions this can pose into opportunities and they have integrated energy efficiency with the design and architecture. It can all work in harmony as a ‘super eco’ property and London has become one of the leaders in this field. Discover the Top 12 super eco London properties : in residential, business and future developments. Residential Many residences are now aspiring to achieve the standard of ‘Passivhaus’. To gain this accreditation the developer must provide a high level of occupant comfort while using very little energy for heating and cooling. The Top 5 super eco residences: BowZed, Bow, East London BowZed was designed by pioneering eco-architect Bill Dunster, who was also behind the BedZed development in south London. The building is so well insulated there are no central heating systems in the flats and it is believed to be one of the first zero carbon buildings of the area. 40% of the electricity is from photovoltaic panels and 50% from a micro wind turbine on the stair tower. Hot water is provided by a boiler powered by wood pellets and three tons is enough to fuel the four flats for a year. 100 Princedale Road, Holland Park Unlike most super eco property developments, 100 Princedale Road wasn’t started from scratch. It was part of an innovative experiment to reduce the carbon emissions of existing social homes by 80%. This three-storey property was the UK’s first certified Passivhaus refurbishment. Energy consumption has been cut by 94%, saving the tenant in excess of £900 a year on fuel bills. Octavia Housing, Notting Hill Octavia Housing is a not-for-profit [...]

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Top three investments for your kitchen refurbishment

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A kitchen refurbishment can seem like a daunting task when setting your budget and trying to decide where is best to invest your money. However, it is however important to remember that whilst a kitchen remodel can be expensive, it is one of the best investments you can make in your home,  as on average a new kitchen adds 4.6% onto the value of your house. There are two essential questions to ask yourself when planning a kitchen refurbishment: what will improve my family life? And what will improve the value of my house? Drawer slides and hinges When looking to save money, it is easy to opt for the cheapest option for the comparatively smaller purchases which don’t seem as important. This is where you have to assess practicality above price. There is nothing more frustrating than low hanging cupboard doors and drawers that stick. Make sure when looking for fixtures that you invest, kitchen hinges must be strong and durable in order to withstand daily and repeated use. If you have young children, consider a soft close hinge on your lower cupboards to ensure that little fingers are saved from slamming doors. When looking at overhead kitchen cabinet hinges consider gas lift door mechanisms. These operate smoothly and allow for a variety of door weights and sizes; they also prevent accidents as they lift upwards, meaning no more catching shoulders and heads on the corners of kitchen cabinets. Kitchen appliances Kitchen appliances should be chosen on the basis of lifestyle. They are one of the most used parts of a kitchen and must be functional and reliable. Quality kitchen appliances from well known brands can also add value to your house. When picking appliances it is important to consider your lifestyle and your needs, so you can correctly [...]

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Stamp Duty Mitigation

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Stamp duty mitigation can be a misunderstood process, with so many differing stories it can sometimes be hard to tell fact from fiction. In early October it was announced that house prices have risen by 9.4% in 2014. It has therefore become less financially viable for some people to choose to move house. Based on the current increase in house prices it is predicted that by 2018 75% of house buyers will have to pay at least 1% stamp duty on property purchases. Stamp duty mitigation is completely legal, yet would-be buyers often voice concern regarding the process due to misconceptions of the law. CDP Corporate have created the below infographic to tackle the most prominent myths surrounding stamp duty mitigation and provide the facts.

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Are Garden Cities the answer to the housing crisis?

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Garden cities have often been floated as the solution to the current housing crisis. In the March Budget, Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne  announced the creation of Britain’s first garden city for almost 100 years, by the Thames Estuary at Ebbsfleet.  The site currently has 150 homes built on it – and Osborne has said he’ll accelerate the process and set up an urban development corporation to get the project launched. The idea is to build 15,000 homes for 23,000 to 34,000 residents. This would be the first garden city since Welwyn Garden City in 1920. The concept originally initiated in 1898 by Sir Ebenezer Howard, in order to grow self-contained ‘communities’ with industry, agriculture and homes. Initially, the idealised garden city was promoted as housing 32,000 people on a site of 6,000 acres. The vision was to have a cluster of several garden cities as satellites of a centre city of 50,000 people. Letchworth in Hertfordshire was the first garden city, followed by Welwyn and Hampstead Garden Suburb. Plans Town planner and Wolfson Economics Prize winner David Rudlin, has also recently announced his support for the idea of garden cities, with British cities being “twice the size” in 30 years’ time – with parkland and tram lines linking them all up and hundreds of thousands of people living there. The aim is to build 86,000 new homes and house 150,000 people per town. Rudlin has proposed that the answer to Britain’s housing supply crisis would mean building into the green belt in cities as York, Norwich, Stafford, Cheltenham and Northampton. This would protect villages and local communities. The idea is to regenerate town centres and promote local growth. Towns would be able to bid for garden city status under a Garden Cities Act and ministers will provide successful applications with [...]

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Make Profits Out of House Flipping

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A house flip is one of the more popular ways of making money from real estate in the United Kingdom and elsewhere nowadays. If you have even only a small capital for investment, the ability to turn an old house around and make it liveable again, and the skill to work around the real estate market, this is an exciting field to get into.   House Flipping Requires Money Don’t believe everything you see on TV. House flipping takes more than just your ability to revitalize a badly beaten property. You need money. You need a capital investment for the property and some extra stash to pay for the improvements you will need to prepare the house for staging. The amount of money you will need for your house flipping would depend on your skills in finding promise on a run-down house. The best buy, according to online estate agents UK, are those houses that may look old in the outside but is not rotten from the inside. The foundation and other structural components must be intact.   House Flipping Requires Attention and a Lot of Work The most successful house flippers are those who can double up as a handyman aside from being simply a real estate agent. Online estate agents UK believe that house flipping will require a ton of commitment to DIY projects and one’s persistence to do back-breaking work until your house lives up to a profitable market value. It must be understood that hard work does not only start with a home acquisition. If you want your house flipping efforts to be successful, you must be hands-on right from the time you start looking for foreclosed homes for sale. There are certain considerations to constitute a good buy. First, you must check the location. Nobody [...]

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Tips for Finding the Best East London Office Space

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East London is a great place to do business. It’s vibrant, thriving, well connected and home to a host of talented people. There is also plenty of excellent accommodation, although you need to move quickly to secure the best units. Demand is particularly high in this part of town. The Postcodes EC1, EC2 and EC3 are the main postcode areas you’ll be looking at, and EC3 is the main district. It incorporates Aldgate, St Mary Axe, Fenchurch Street, Tower Hill, Lloyd’s of London, Monument, Tower Hamlets, Lombard Street and Royal Exchange. For office space EC3  has a good selection, including purpose-built spaces alongside conversions and more traditional business locations. You’ll also find ‘easy in, easy out’ flexible workspaces, which are ideal for start-ups and smaller enterprises. Find the Right Letting Agent Use this postcode to begin your search online and find the kind of budget you’ll need to bear in mind for the space you want. It is then well worth contacting a professional letting agent for their advice and services. A good letting agent will have a portfolio of suitable properties available, and may also use their network to enquire about possible space from existing landlords. The clearer you can be with your specification, the easier it will be for them to help you find the right office space in East London. Know What You Want Think about your specification very carefully and know which items on your list are critical and which are ‘nice to haves’. For example, if you have suppliers regularly dropping off deliveries to your premises, you will need an accommodation with a loading bay and the road permissions for deliveries to be carried out. Equally, if you have a team of staff travelling in, you’ll want to make sure the office is well connected for public transport. [...]

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London vs New York – Where Would You Choose?

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They’re both renowned as among the world’s best cities. But when it came to the crunch, would New York or London get your vote? Similar in size, and with not too dissimilar a climate, this infographic highlights some of the other things our capital has in common with the Big Apple. When it comes to food and dining, culture and work, London is a clear winner. It has more restaurants (and more Michelin starred restaurants) and we Londoners get more annual leave than New Yorkers. We have more libraries, public open space, museums and art galleries, and the cost of living is cheaper. But when it comes to transport, customer service and culture & nightlife, NYC tops the tables. Whatever the results, we love London and we’re proud to live and work in this great city.

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Choosing A Suitable Pergola Builder For Your Project

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If you’re planning on constructing a pergola in your backyard and are looking for a suitable builder in your area, we have a few tips that can help you to make the best possible decision. A simple internet search will reveal that most homeowners struggle to make the most suitable choice in pergola builder, as their complaints abound. Often, this is a result of simply not knowing what to look for, which is why we wanted to help. Personality Issues We strongly feel that one of the most important things to look for in a potential pergola builder are personality issues. If they come across as pushy or arrogant, you might find that the finished product is nothing like how you wanted it. If they are rude or opinionated, you might find yourself avoiding discussions; a breakdown in communication can also lead to problems with the finished product. Experience When we talk about experience, we are not only referring to how long the company has been in business or how many pergola designs they have built during this time. We are also talking about how much experience the builder themselves has. Many people like to branch out and start their own companies after gaining enough years experience. You will never know unless you ask. Skill Level Your builder can tell you all about their skills until they’re blue in the face, but it won’t actually prove anything. The best way to determine the skill level of your chosen contractor is to ask for some referrals by past clients. If possible, visit these clients to see the pergola in the flesh. If not possible, make sure that you request high quality photographs (preferably those taken by the client) to do a visual inspection. Schedule Whilst you might have your heart set [...]

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