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BelfastHouseHunter

Belfast Apartments, Rates And Service Charges

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Long time lurker here..finally decided to sign up.

Been looking at some of the big Apartment developments in Belfast, Particularly the Bakery, Obel, Victoria Square and St Annes.

Heres an example of a one bed at the Obel, priced at £100,000.

http://www.propertypal.com/6-02-obel-donegal-quay-belfast/150094

Still overpriced in my opinion, too small, elextric heaters etc...

Anyway, if one was to buy one of these apartments, does anybody know what the hidden charges are on top of a mortgage? Do you have to pay rates and a service charge?

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You will definitely have rates and a management charge which may be quite expensive.

Also ground rent to the freeholder - generally about £200 per year.

On the plus side buildings insurance will be included in the management charge so you'll just need contents insurance.

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Basically, buy with your eyes wide open….

Thanks for the detailed reply Lagansider, you've brought up a lot of valid points to consider. In looking at all the apartments for sale in Belfast nowhere is it clear what other charges are applicable, even on the promotional material. It really puts me off even looking further into an apartment, at least with a house you know how much you can budget year to year.

I'd still be interested to hear however if anybody knows the current charges in these places.

Using the One Bed Apartment mentioned above on Sale at £100,000. At a guestimate im thinking:

Rates £600 p/a

Service Charge - Ive heard about £3 per square foot? So 500s/f x £3 = £1500

This quick estimate works out at £2100 per year for a one bed apartment? Does that sound too high?

An 80% LTV FTP buyer mortgage (3.7%APR) for 100k works out at ...£413

Total Cost

£413 + £175 (rates and service charge)

£589 p/m for a one bed apartment in the Obel........the thing is....a lot of people will see that as good value.....I think id rather have a house.

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Management fees, as pointed above are the cost of administering maintaining and insuring the elements of the development that you have a legal interest in. When you purchase a house on a new development you dont only take ownership of the house but you have part interest in the open parks, cycle paths, landscaped areas etc. you need to know that these are adequately insured and no liability can spill over the safety of the limited liability of the management company. You need to know that these are being maintained and someone is administering this. For this you are charged around £80 to £150 per year. There will be more if the roads remain private and there are pumping stations etc.

If you buy an apartment you are also buying a share in the common area and the elevator along with the car parking area, the gates etc. You alse only own from the paint in. You dont own the outside walls of the building. So the structural insurance and maintaince etc needs to be looked after. The elevator is expensive to be maintained. But you own a part of it. The bill, in part is yours. The common area needs to be heated, cleaned etc. The overall cost will vary but a £1,000 pa is not uncommon.

Rates are not a hidden cost, they go to the government asd have nothing to do with the developer.

The management fee and the cost to heat/maintain a property should be factored into the buying process. It is dead money and the person buying the property off you will factor it is.

With my VI hat on I would have to say a modern new house, with a low management fee (no internal common area or lifts), with a low heating cost has a dramaticly lower 'servicing cost 'than a equally priced 15 year old house or apartment'. People,pay alot of attention to the running costs of cars when purchasing them and I would advise them to pay equally as much attention to the running costs of a dwelling they are considering buying as well.

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Notice the listing below and the service charge and rates really shocked me.

I know JoeDevola had a thread on how much you would pay for an apartment and he discussed service charges.

http://www.propertynews.com/Property/Belfast/ECSECS26505/605-Park-Avenue/

This is £1264 service charge, £1443 rates and "costs" £160,000.

Thats £225 per month before you even pay the mortgage. :o

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To the OP, I would not consider buying in Obel if I were you; I have a friend who lives there and the quality of the finish is very poor - I shudder to think what state it will be in 10 or 20 years from now.

Notice the listing below and the service charge and rates really shocked me.

I know JoeDevola had a thread on how much you would pay for an apartment and he discussed service charges.

http://www.propertyn...05-Park-Avenue/

This is £1264 service charge, £1443 rates and "costs" £160,000.

Thats £225 per month before you even pay the mortgage. :o

This is a nice apartment block, I know someone who lives here, but they have to wear ear plugs several nights a week to block out the noise from stiff kitten nightclub opposite. Oh and they were living beside some....shall we say 'working ladies' for a while too.

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