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World Heritage status boosts property values

Living near a world heritage site in the UK might mean putting up with a lot of tourists but it certainly helps property prices with new research showing homes in these locations are worth 27% more. Whereas the average UK home is valued at £284,127, properties in or near locations with World Heritage Status awarded by UNESCO status can carry a heftier price tag of £77,993, according to research from property portal Zoopla. The Orkney Islands are the UK’s most affordable World Heritage Site to buy a property near while homes near the Palace of Westminster and Westminster Abbey are the most expensive. Homes close to the Neolithic monuments in Orkney currently cost an average of £130,169, coming in at 178% less than the average house price near to a World Heritage Site in the UK at £362,120. UNESCO sites in Bradford and Liverpool are the least expensive urban sites. Saltaire, an industrial village from the second half of the 19th century within the city of Bradford is the most affordable urban site with a typical property here costing £155,868. Liverpool’s Maritime Mercantile City, includes the Albert Docks and the largest collection of Grade I-listed buildings anywhere in the UK, has a typical property price of £167,771. Zoopla analysis found the longer an area has enjoyed World Heritage Status, the higher the property values are, as the area reaps the economic benefits. The first 10 UK locations to be granted World Heritage Status between 1986 and 1987, including Bath, Stonehenge and Blenheim Palace, have an average value of £424,873, compared to just £274,611 for the locations chosen since 2000. In July of this year the Forth Bridge in Scotland became the UK’s latest World Heritage Site. Located between Edinburgh and Dunfermline, average homes in the area currently cost £202,011. The traditional World Heritage Sites in London are the most expensive to live near. Properties in the proximity of the Palace of Westminster and Westminster Abbey are comfortably the priciest heritage location in the country, with a typical value of £1,715,292. ‘Bradford and Liverpool offer fantastic opportunities for potential buyers to live in cities which have shaped world culture,’ said Lawrence Hall of Zoopla . ‘Britain’s World Heritage Sites have contributed massively to our history and our research shows that living near to one can add significantly to a property’s value. Looking at the most recent site to gain World Heritage Status, home owners near the Forth Bridge could expect to see property values increase in future, as the full benefits the award brings to the area begin to be felt,’ he added. Continue reading

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Residential rents in Australian capital cities up 0.1% month on month

Residential rents across Australian capital cities were virtually unchanged in October, down by 0.1% over the previous month, according to the latest index data. Rents were lower in four of the eight capital cities covered by the CoreLogic RP Data rental review report and the annual rate of change increased slightly from 0.5% in September to 0.6% in October. There is an ongoing softening in the rental market, according to CoreLogic research analyst Cameron Kusher, who said that with just two months remaining to the end of the year it seems that rental growth will be very soft over 2015 as a whole. ‘The construction boom across the capital cities, coupled with slowing population growth, low mortgage rates and the recent heightened level of activity from investors are the major contributing factors to the slowing rental growth,’ he explained. He pointed out that Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane have continued to record rental rises over the last year however, each city is seeing a slowing in the pace of rental growth relative to 12 months ago. 'Clearly, the increase in investment stock is providing landlords with little scope to lift rental rates while the low mortgage rate environment provides little incentive to push yields higher,’ Kusher said. A breakdown of the data shows that rental rates were $483 per week and they have increased by just 0.2% over the first 10 months of the year while they have risen by 0.6% over the past 12 months. Only Sydney and Melbourne have recorded rental increases greater than 2% over the year. Rents have fallen over the year in Perth and Darwin, while the remaining capitals have seen rents rise by less than 2% over the year. It is anticipated that the rate of rental growth will continue to slow over the coming months due to increased supply of housing and rental stock and slower migration rates. Looking across the individual capital cities, over the past year, Sydney and Melbourne have recorded the greatest increases in weekly rents. Over the past month, weekly rents have moved lower across every capital city except Sydney, Hobart and Canberra where they rose and in Melbourne where they were unchanged. Over the past three months rents are lower in all capital cities except for Sydney and Melbourne. Continue reading

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Sales of affordable homes in London fall substantially, new data shows

Sales of affordable homes in London more than halved in the first eight months of 2015 compared to the same period last year, according to a new analysis. The lowest value segment of the market, homes under £250,000, saw a 51% decline in sales, the steepest of any price point across London, the report from Cushman & Wakefield also shows. The data shows that just 10,449 homes in this band were sold in the first eight months of this year compared to 21,337 in the same period in 2014 as the supply of homes coming to market below £250,000 dries up. Total sales of London residential properties fell from 79,226 to 58,322 with volumes in the first eight months declining across the board. A range of factors have contributed to the decline including mortgage availability, the General Election and changes to Stamp Duty which have made buying property over £1 million more expensive. However, the contrast in the rates of decline between price bands is stark. Sales of homes over £250,000 declined by an average of 17%, far less than the 51% drop off below the quarter of a million mark. ‘While Stamp Duty’s impact on sales is undeniable, the rate of decline for homes below £250,000 is far more severe than above the much talked about million pound threshold. Even sales of London’s most expensive homes, above £10 million, where Stamp Duty costs are highest haven’t dropped off to the same extent,’ said Candice Matthews, a director in Cushman & Wakefield’s London residential team. ‘The biggest problem at the value end of the market in London is lack of supply and our analysis is a clear indictment of London’s increasing unaffordability. Rising prices have steadily eroded the number of homes coming to market for less than £250,000. Londoners with this budget are instead being locked into renting where they often face much higher monthly outgoings as a result,’ she added. Since December 2014, stamp duty has been applied like income tax: 0% up to £125,000 of the purchase price, at 2% between £125,000 and £250,000, at 5% over £250,000 to £925,000, at 10% over £925,000 to £1.5 million and at 12% for everything above. David Ramsdale, research analyst at Cushman & Wakefield, believes that the Government is likely to look at revising the tax over the next 12 months, particularly once the Stamp Duty revenue figures for the financial year are released next summer. ‘We believe the greatest focus needs to be on homes below £250,000. One thing that would help affordability in London would be to adjust the Starter Homes Initiative. This helps first time buyers under 40 years old get on the property ladder by making homes available at 80% of the market value up to a limit of £450,000 in the capital,’ he explained. ‘The transaction figures suggest this should be lowered to the national figure of £250,000 in order to have a significant impact,’ he added. Continue reading

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