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Advice needed for where to buy in South Belfast

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Hi all, I hope you can help - we're new to NI and are totally at a loss to figure out where to buy in South Belfast!  Our budget is up to GBP 350K and while fortunately we don't need a mortgage we can't make head nor tails of whether an asking price represents fair value.  We'd like a traditional red brick townhouse with original features and are happy pay for a fixer upper as long as total costs (including refurb) come within the 350K range.  We like urban living and schools are not an issue, but the house needs at least to be able to hold its value reasonably well going forward, and safe enough to walk around at night (as far as cities can be safe).  We saw this one advertised but seems expensive and the area appears a bit studenty.

http://www.propertynews.com/Property/BELFAST/TRLTRL72381/45-Ashley-Avenue/396855208/Page1

 Would really appreciate any advice on areas to focus on, what our budget could get us, and really to stop us from making a silly mistake because of lack of knowledge of Belfast.  We ask estate agents but never get a straight answer.

Thanks in advance!

 

 

 

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You're right in that Ashley Avenue has a fair number of rented houses in it. I've had my eye on 45 for quite a time. It's rather lovely and a bit of an original gem. It was first on at £375K and has been reduced. Personally I think the estate agent in question has a habit of pricing things high and hoping to strike it lucky. I presume it is the road that is putting buyers off. The basic rule for the Lisburn Road and its side streets is those to the right (when travelling away from Belfast) are more student/rented, those to the left are the smarter ones. You'll see this clearly in the size and asking price.

As to where to live in South Belfast; there is at least one recent thread discussing this. It should be easy enough to find.

Edited by The_Equalizer

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Anything by Simon Brien or Templeton Robinson is usually a good 10-20% over valued.

They usually get the best listings in the BT9 area.

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That's an exceptional house, but it's head-and-shoulders above any other house in that street; i.e. the average house in that street is nowhere near as nice as that, which I think might make it difficult to sell the house (it's been on the market for quite some time).

I think you'd be safer sinking your 350K into an area that's more consistently up-market, i.e. the other side of the Lisburn Road or Malone somewhere.

 

Edited by JoeDavola

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I would recommend looking in BT7/6 area off the ormeau or Ravenhill road. As with the Lisburn road, the nicer side is on the left of ormeau road as you come out of the city, beyond ormeau park (over the bridge). Some of the nicest Victorian townhouses in Belfast in my opinion with a mix of professional people. Streets like Park Road, North Parade, South Parade, St Jude's Avenue. This is an example of a nice house on a good street which needs work and is priced accordingly https://www.propertypal.com/6-fitzwilliam-avenue-ormeau-road-belfast/424090

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I would tend to agree with Joe. 

Never buy the best house on the worst street. Always better to have the worst house on the best street.

You want a finished house or one that needs work? In Malone I would say 5-10% above RV is the norm. 92 Marlborough Pk North needs work and current bid is £300k with an RV of £360k. Small at 140SqM.

RV on 45 Ashley is £230k. Wrong side of the road sadly for such a nice house. Much bigger house but it is all about location. 

 

Edited by mmca22gr

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On 07/10/2016 at 0:17 PM, mmca22gr said:

I would tend to agree with Joe. 

Never buy the best house on the worst street. Always better to have the worst house on the best street.

You want a finished house or one that needs work? In Malone I would say 5-10% above RV is the norm. 92 Marlborough Pk North needs work and current bid is £300k with an RV of £360k. Small at 140SqM.

RV on 45 Ashley is £230k. Wrong side of the road sadly for such a nice house. Much bigger house but it is all about location. 

 

Guys you put too much faith in RV. Remember we normally dont trust Estate Agents or valuers here. RV was carried out in a rush, mostly by untrained valuers. why do we only trust them.

In the example above, just because the bids are below RV, in the first example doesn't mean the house is good value at that price.

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I put the right amount of faith in RV. The value are relative to each other. I bought a house around the time of the RV valuations and they were about right (slightly under) and also comparable to the properties nearby. The RV is measuring the size of the property in a given area. I don't need to look at the RV of 45 Ashley Ave to know that £350k is too much for the street/area. Never mind the fact that it has been on the market for over a year. If 5 other houses in Ashley Ave sell at arounf the RV then once can understand why 45 can't sell for such a large premium.

.In South Belfast I monitored TR website for last two years since they show current offer prices until the house goes sale agreed. I kept the data in a spreadsheet and that is where I got the 10% above RV. Not scientific at all but also not plucked out of thin air, just using the data available. Buying a house is a personal thing. I might like a house that you don't so the price asked vs price paid vs RV are all pretty much secondary (within reason).

There are some outliers in every sample size but if you can get a 3/4 bed detached house in South Belfast for less than RV then you are doing well. 

If only we could get free and easy data from Land Registry then we would not have all this speculation.

For info, I am not an EA or buying a house or selling a house or won more than one house. 

 

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5 minutes ago, mmca22gr said:

If only we could get free and easy data from Land Registry then we would not have all this speculation.

We may not be able to get the data reliably or for free, but it's always worth investing some money on performing searches on houses comparable to what you are thinking of buying. For what will be the biggest purchase of your life, spending less than £100 doing a set of searches might land you with some info that would put you in a strong place in terms of negotiations.

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1 hour ago, JoeDavola said:

We may not be able to get the data reliably or for free, but it's always worth investing some money on performing searches on houses comparable to what you are thinking of buying. For what will be the biggest purchase of your life, spending less than £100 doing a set of searches might land you with some info that would put you in a strong place in terms of negotiations.

Totally agree. Usually you know you are going to like (or even buy) a house once you walk through the door. People spend more time thinking about buying a pair of shoes.

I think this thread give some very good advice to the OP. I even agree with Zamo that TR and SB tend to overprice houses but funny enough they tend to sell at those higher prices so we must be wrong. I have been on both side of the EA. When you are a buyer you think they are telling lies. When I have been a seller and see the offers made I think to myself - I bet those people think the EA is a liar. Houses often go for a long time with no offers then one creates a flurry  and the house is sold shortly thereafter. The other bids are often validation that someone else thinks the house is worth a certain amount of money. 

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6 hours ago, 2buyornot2buy said:

This one must have sold about 7 times now.

 

http://www.propertynews.com/Property/Belfast/DMG1602/270-Stranmillis-Road/397756336/

 

On, off, on, off, on, off...

Lovely house from the outside, plenty of character.

Drop it to £200K and then let it find it's price (I'm assuming there'd be more than one person bidding).

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8 minutes ago, 2buyornot2buy said:

It's rented. Sheer greed. Didn't sell at 235, isn't selling now.

I think there's a significant percentage of the market that is stuck in that kind of limbo. Know of a few other houses that people have been trying to sell for years; they'll do everything but drop the price (and they own the houses outright).

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On a South Belfast related note; is anyone else surprised that this sold for anywhere near this amount:

http://www.propertynews.com/Property/Belfast/TRLTRL52471/B13-Malone-Square/397892529/

Nearly half a million for a 3 bed apartment, even if it's a big one in a posh area...perhaps some people just have deeper pockets than I realized.

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Doesn't surprise me one bit. Retirees, probably BT9ers. Sold their own pad probably bought for 100k and sold for 900k. 550k to live on with the final salary pension. 

I know someone who bought a flat in this block at peak for their child. Probably lost 250k. They don't care. Who would when you've been given a free million for being born at the right time. 

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27 minutes ago, 2buyornot2buy said:

Doesn't surprise me one bit. Retirees, probably BT9ers. Sold their own pad probably bought for 100k and sold for 900k. 550k to live on with the final salary pension. 

I know someone who bought a flat in this block at peak for their child. Probably lost 250k. They don't care. Who would when you've been given a free million for being born at the right time. 

"Easy come easy go" - in other words...

I guess I'm still thinking of that sum of money being an amount that someone would actually have to earn...

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On 12/10/2016 at 0:29 PM, mmca22gr said:

I put the right amount of faith in RV. The value are relative to each other.

No they are not. They were carried out my a multitude of different people, Some with very little experience. They were also carried out at different times and them back dated to a value they should of had a few years earlier. 

I am not saying their valuations are too low, indeed for many properties the RV valuation may have been too high. I am just pointing out that, in my opinion they are a poor baseline.

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48 minutes ago, BelfastVI said:

I am just pointing out that, in my opinion they are a poor baseline.

I'd agree with your scepticism, but one useful purpose they do serve is as a supposedly objective view of a property's value at a given point in time.

So when you have buyer, seller, estate agent and even bank involved in a negotiation, all with their own ideas of an accurate value, would you have any suggestions for a substitute?

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1 hour ago, BelfastVI said:

No they are not. They were carried out my a multitude of different people, Some with very little experience. They were also carried out at different times and them back dated to a value they should of had a few years earlier. 

I am not saying their valuations are too low, indeed for many properties the RV valuation may have been too high. I am just pointing out that, in my opinion they are a poor baseline.

In fairness BVI they have been subject to valuation appeals for ten years now. Any random significant outliers have probably gone through appeal with actual comparable sales figures quoted and valuation robustness challenged. I'm not saying they are brilliant, but on the whole not too bad. A good baseline imo. 

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Thanks to delusional buyers & agents South Belfast is looking relatively cheap for home hunters in Derry 

https://www.propertypal.com/new-homes-ebrington-park-ebrington-park-limavady-road-londonderry/426054

https://www.propertypal.com/2a-talbot-park-talbot-park-culmore-road-derry/426313

https://www.propertypal.com/17-bayview-gardens-limavady-road-derrylondonderry/423994

https://www.propertypal.com/the-fairways-at-dunnwood-waterside-derry/422793

https://www.propertypal.com/3-waterfoot-park-waterside/420646/photo-5

All of these are ridiculously overpriced and much smaller than the fish eye lens view suggest with minimal garden.

Phil & Kirsty have been visiting Derry for Location location location which has pushed up prices & pleased the developers no end. 

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In fairness those probably won't sell. With the exception of the Talbot park house which looks like it's been reduced recently. There are only a few Street in Derry I'd be happy to live in and would probably have to pay a premium to get a house there, but it's nothing like south belfast. Look at the established streets off the limavady road/Culmore road, the same houses would cost 2 times as much in SB. Easy. 

Edited by 2buyornot2buy

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20 hours ago, BelfastVI said:

No they are not. They were carried out my a multitude of different people, Some with very little experience. They were also carried out at different times and them back dated to a value they should of had a few years earlier. 

I am not saying their valuations are too low, indeed for many properties the RV valuation may have been too high. I am just pointing out that, in my opinion they are a poor baseline.

for houses in a given street the valuations are a reasonably good comparison to each other. In the absence of anything better (such as online land registry data) then it is about as good as we can get. For the purposes of this discussion they do have some value - You may be right that they are a "poor baseline" but they are our only easily accessible baseline. The RV tells me that Ashley Ave is about £200k for a house.

https://lpsni.gov.uk/vlistdcv/propertylist.asp?di=03&dn=Belfast+City+Council&wi=0000001447&wn=Windsor&si=0000001075&sn=Ashley+Avenue&ns=287216&ne=287230&rs=15&re=29&type=O&group=2

Other factors are important  - you can't equate a house with a B rated EPC with an F rated because the RV are the same. Use all the data you can get and weight it accordingly. Try the exercise that I did - track properties in an area on a spreadsheet. Record asking price, Offers, Size, RV, if they need work done, EPC, time between for sale and sale agreed. If you find that those priced at , for example, 10% under RV sell pretty quickly while those that priced at  10% over RV don't sell for months then the RV is telling you something even if it is a poor baseline.

 

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On 14/10/2016 at 6:02 PM, 2buyornot2buy said:

In fairness BVI they have been subject to valuation appeals for ten years now. Any random significant outliers have probably gone through appeal with actual comparable sales figures quoted and valuation robustness challenged. I'm not saying they are brilliant, but on the whole not too bad. A good baseline imo. 

Only owners who believed the valuations were too high have appealed. I imagine that those who though they were too low stayed quiet.

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On 15/10/2016 at 1:17 PM, mmca22gr said:

Other factors are important  - you can't equate a house with a B rated EPC with an F rated because the RV are the same. Use all the data you can get and weight it accordingly. Try the exercise that I did - track properties in an area on a spreadsheet. Record asking price, Offers, Size, RV, if they need work done, EPC, time between for sale and sale agreed. If you find that those priced at , for example, 10% under RV sell pretty quickly while those that priced at  10% over RV don't sell for months then the RV is telling you something even if it is a poor baseline.

 

I am afraid the ECP are a con. They are based on the building control requirements at the time the house was built. For example a house obtaining a B in 2006 was to a far lower stranded with no reference to air tightness etc. The house gets a B (or a ratio) because of its performance compared to the standard at the time. A house built after that will be built to a far higher standard and even if it too gets a B it will be far superior to the B in 2006. Indeed a C in recent houses will be much better than a B in 2006. Its a con.

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