2nd post on this fine forum
I live in Luton and will be a first time buyer possibly later in the year. I drive, the misses doesn't, she works in Luton and is at Uni in Bedford. I don't fancy being a taxi any more than I currently am (!). We took a look around Rushden, which is close to Bedford (with a car), but the distances and time it takes will be too long when she needs to travel alone, there is no train link in Rushden. The nearest station is I believe are in Wellingborough, but on a different line to Bedford / Luton, a 10 mile train journey will take an hour with changes.
We'll also be parents by August this year so have decided if we're going to buy, it must be in either Luton or Bedford. Close to where we both work, easy access to train / motorway along with friends and family minutes away (usually I would say this is a bad thing, but we like to know our parents are close by when becoming parents ourselves).
Our top budget is going to be £140,000. With a minimum £15,000 deposit (potentially £20k, depending how long we want to wait). Must be two bed and have relatively good parking (allocated parking even better).
I'm interested in the apartments by the A6, overlooking Wardown Park. If anyone knows the area, they were built in 2004, very nice two bed apartments with parking along with 4 bed town houses. The cheapest is up for £139,950k, a ground floor apartment. The others (I count ten for sale) on the same road are up for between £144k - £160k.
Looking at previous sale prices, most of these originally went for £130-£140k in 2004, with a couple hitting £150k. Those that went for £150k I imagine will already be experiencing negative equity if they came to sell, looking at the competition of identical properties on the street.
The most resent sale price in Feb 2007 for £144k, went for £131,995 in 2004. £12005 increase in 3 years 2 months.
In Luton generally, apartments are being thrown up in the town centre. It's difficult to see where the buyers are coming from. Reductions all over the place on newly built apartments. You see the usual 5% deposit offered, to inflate the property price, the buyer feels like hes getting a good deal.
It could be a situation of "own foot, shot". The developers believed their hype "prices will just keep going up" so they kept building, only to find they've priced the development out of the market.
Or at least that's my hope
With lenders such as Nationwide pushing mortgage rates up for everyone with a deposit smaller than 25%, depsite falls in the BoE rate and lenders dropping 100% mortgages, something has to happen with prices. Luton is not a wealthy area, like all towns / cities it has good and bad, but unemployment is higher than the national average, crime is marginally higher, schools are marginally below the average A-C rate. But it has excellent transport links, airport, train, motorway and does have grand plans for development of the old Vauxhall site + expansion of the shopping centre and its these factors that make Luton attractive to us.
But then part of me wants a property that needs some work, nothing major, new kitchen, bathroom and generally redecoration in order to make a good investment. We'll be unlikely to move again until at least two years from purchase, buying at the right time could yield a very good return when we look to increase the size of the property.