Sunday, February 10, 2008

The 20 best places to buy a property in Britain

The 20 best places to buy a property in Britain

Want to protect yourself against the market slowdown? Our correspondent names the 20 most fail-safe investment towns in Britain

Posted by david20040_0 @ 01:54 PM (7610 views)
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34 thoughts on “The 20 best places to buy a property in Britain

  • i can safely say chester and warrington are not good areas, these two not far from me and both dropping like a trucker in his 40ton wagon on the ice road during a defrost (channel 5 friday nights)………….lol

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  • Well I think this IS an interesting point of view. Even if there are substantial falls overall across the UK housing stock there are bound to be areas that fare better (or less badly) than others. When / If people on this site want to re-enter / enter and if they have the opportunity because prices have fallen, then the question is where would you want to buy. I am NOT suggesting you should buy on the basis of a “hot spot” but they might just co-incide with a great place to live. Personally I’m looking at South London when the East London line is completed because they currently have rubbish transport links. But I’m also looking further afield, of course when i say “looking” i mean a passing interest for places to buy once the bubble has well and truly burst.

    We will probably see more of these articles as things progress.

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  • I think I’ve said it before on here, but Chester before the business park was actually quite a depressed market (or so I’ve been told by long term Cestrians). Then the business park was built and employment figures went high, problem is the business park is the Euro HQ of MBNA and Marks & Spencer Finance, so if there is a real downturn in credit card borrowing I would expect those call centre type jobs to be particularly hard hit. I think this would really hit any city centre apartment new builds and the “trendy” areas of Hoole and Handbridge.

    I think the other major Chester employer (apart from the NHS and the county council), is Airbus at Broughton. Obviously that’s not in the greatest of shape as an organisation. I don’t think Broughton will be sold off, but I do wonder about a reduction in staffing levels in a global recession.

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  • are we not kidding ourselves, nowhere is safe. THEY MAY GO UP AGAIN. There is a direct link between interest rates and house rises not wages or employment , you could get a ninja when prices rise. the house price crash may be averted for a short time if interests are lower, but then when that bursts rates will have to rise to silly levels , would it not better to raise rates to a lot lot lot more now, it gives us time with foreigners leaving investments intact and give us time to pay our debts, what should the interest rate be , i read of one of you guys we print at 14% a year, what should savers get for investing in our dodgy island. one day the government will have to burst gold or lose its banks. u s a 1980 burst gold with 27% interest rates . this is far far worse than 1980

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  • I can’t see the list at all. 13 places are mentioned in the text – are the other 7 areas in London?

    I would have thought Glasgow would have got a mention and possibly Edinburgh: these two cities seem immune to house price falls at the moment. Maybe I should see this as an indication that Scotland’s house prices are about to head downwards soon. 🙂

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  • Here we go again with that old chestnut about Cambridge prices being unstoppable. In reality Cambridge prices are simply mental and they will go the way they did in the last crash with 30-40% drops. Cambridge is a barometer for house prices generally and the swings in this little fenland town are always magnified one way or the other. As for Carter Jonas they are probably the most puffed-up estate agents anywhere in the UK.

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  • Wishful thinking I’m afraid.

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  • Yawn, yawn…..a really ‘space filler’ article.

    The fact is that there aren’t any good places to buy in the UK with these ‘bubble’ prices.

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  • York, number two on the list – despite the fact that it regularly suffers from extensive flooding – who is going to insure these city centre properties close to the river Ouse in the future? – if the predictions on “global warming” and rising sea/river levels plus unusual weather patterns turn out to be true then 20 years from now some properties will surely be worthless.

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  • Chester maybe but definitely not Warrington, I have watched Warrington being swamped in new-build 1/2 bedroom flats with the worst quality ones being McInnery and Wainhomes (4 storey timber frames with timber floors). As for property movement, very little is changing hands at both the top and bottom of the market. Warrington is also stuffed to the gunnel’s with new-build commercial office space with the only attraction being it’s not in Liverpool or Manchester and its slap bang on the M6 and M62.

    My overall impression is that if there is any sort of recession Warrington will be crime central courtesy of it’s abundance of lowlife’s in the northern half of the town, overpriced housing and vast new-build estates full of folk mortgaged up to their eyeballs.

    I remember what Skelmersdale NewTown was like in the 1970’s and can well imagine Warrington ending up like that, not a nice thought.

    P.S. If anyone from down south wants to invest I thoroughly recommend buying as many flats as possible in Warrington.

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  • theboltonfury says:

    sold in Warrington in June 07 for 136k, next door now on market for 127k (asking price) with stamp duty paid. Warrington’s about as safe as Matt Prior under a skied hook!

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  • stillthinking says:

    They will be all be be much cheaper in 20 years anyway because the baby boomers will have started popping their clogs and remove a substantial portion of the population. So for Christ sake don’t buy anything in Paignton or Torquay.

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  • theboltonfury says:

    enuii – finally someone who knows what it’s like to live in Warrington! Ever had to run the gauntlet outside the co-op in Fearnhead or the Spa in Padgate? The place is utterly over run with chavs and someone says it’s bomb proof!?

    I can’t believe how lucky I was to sell on Avery Close just before the prices started to tumble

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  • it_is_going_with_a_bang says:

    Interesting to see the point of view changing from

    Prices are going to rocket 40 % in the next few years ( last year )
    to
    A slowdown in Growth
    to
    A Price increases but maybe a bit.
    to
    And here are 20 places you will be safe in.

    Whats left in the “positive outlook” bag to fumble for?

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  • Su check this out.

    I find it hard to get good data on Scotland as I think ESPC monopolize it and fiddle the numbers.

    http://www.upmystreet.com/property-prices/trends/l/Edinburgh.html

    and

    http://www.upmystreet.com/property-prices/trends/l/Fife.html

    Whats with the late 2007 spike??

    Went to meet a freind in a cafe this morning in Edinburgh, teaming with the “Ya Darling” crowd having brunch. Clearly the Edinburgh mob think they are elitist and immune, the Scotsman says so, so there.

    Difficult to know what is going on up here, business as usual it appears.

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  • little professor says:

    jack c – I agree, the inclusion of York on the list is a complete joke. Not only do we get flooded every single year, they are now building a huge development on the flood plain at Gemany Beck which will only exacerbate the problem.

    Local wages are very low (I read the average wage is sub £13,000), and there are no jobs – the biggest employer is now the council, after British Sugar, Nestle and Norwich Union all decimated their workforce here.

    Yes, there is a real shortage of proper houses, but drive around the city centre and you will see new developments of “luxury flats” every few metres. These are often priced at well over £200,000 for a tiny plasterboard-walled 2 bed flat. It is these that were being snapped up by clueless BTL investors until the credit crunch, and it is these that will tank badly, leaving tons of abandoned desolate developments for druggies to move into.

    A real shame for York.

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  • Geed. Thanks for the info.

    Like you I don’t get the 2007 spike. In Dunfermline the house prices are definitely NOT going up. I’ve even checked to see what price these properties actually sold for. What I’ve figured is that the houses normally start at an O/O price then when they don’t sell they often rise a few thousand (less than 10% normally) to a Fixed Price. And get this – the actual prices they sell for are sometimes LESS than the FP!!!!

    Prices in the capital are ridiculous! Houses there are going for way over the O/O prices. But a friend who lives there tells me the new build flats are not selling though.

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  • Little Prof, thanks for the info – I used to visit York very regularly on business and unfortunately as you say the identikit appartment brigade have piled in. These appartments have (IMO) the potential to become the slums of York .

    As for building on a flood plain this is just sheer madness – if you cant get adequate buildings insurance on a property it really will become worthless as lenders wont lend against it – Caveat Emptor.

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  • Su; Good point on the transition from O/O to fixed price. O/O 150K would turn into a Fixed price of 175K which may explain the spike.

    New builds down in Leith will be the first to be hit in a downturn (If it comes that is – and I must admit I am uncertain in Scotland, I take some solace out of the fact that Scottish house prices in general lag those of the Wales and England when they are on the up so therefore i hope the same applies on the way down?). The old build sandstone tennament flats and upper end houses in good locations will be more stubborn for the simple reason that this market has more cash sloshing around. But London is on the way down so Edinburgh is not immune. Fife – same as the Leith new builds IMHO.

    You’re right though there are a lot more Fixed price properties on the market. I imagine the properties that are still O/O are being bought at levels much closer to the O/O starting price. I heard some ridiculous figures in 2006, O/O 150K going for 200K plus, just stupid. The Scottish system is ridiculously self inflationary by nature. I can’t think of any other system outside an auction scenario (with reserve) where you offer over the asking price for an asset??!!? If you go to see a car, you always offer less. If you buy a fridge, you always try to get a cheaper cash deal and if you buy a house in Wales or England, a lower offer is the norm. Offer over stoooopid system!

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  • Geed. Linlithgow can be quite pricey (probably due to the palace!) I’ve noticed the O/O prices attract between £20K – £40K over, BUT the FP’s are selling for LESS than asking price there. Buyers are obviously getting cheeky and are viewing FP’s as similar to English system.

    I’ve heard the borders prices are rising (Gala area) due to new rail link. I wonder if the trains will get through when the roads are blocked in winter.

    Since I moved east I’ve lost track of what’s happening in the west. Glasgow was still going up last time I heard.

    Before Christmas there were a awfy lot of FP’s but I’ve noticed a slight waning since the New Year. But not to worry, there’s still a lot more FP’s than this time last year! 🙂

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  • The article deserves just one type of comments:

    MAU A HA HAHAH HAHH AH AHHAHAHAHAH

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  • crash bandicoot says:

    What’s on the cards for next week? Britain’s 10 best staircases to fall down? Britain’s 10 best bridges to jump off? You already know where you want to live. Anything else is just a distraction. If you buy a house where you want to live at a price you can properly afford who gives a fig if it drops in value over the following 10-20 years.

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  • These areas are probably where all the KF partners have their huge pads. Amazing the dosh you can make from answering the phone and handing out glossy brochures. KF – putting the **** into country properties.

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  • Crash bandicoot said “You already know where you want to live.”

    Suppose I want to live in Edinburgh. I’ve got some friends there, some good schools, decent shops, some nice areas. But I don’t fancy living in Wester Hailes which is probably the only area I could afford to live in.

    Therefore whether you already know where you want to live or you want to look at various options, it’s all meaningless unless you’re rich enough to afford a house in your chosen area. 🙂

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  • They mention Bath, which I think was 13 on the list. Yet Bath fails one of the author’s main tests. While we have had restricted planning, there is a huge expanse of former industrial land, the Western Riverside area, that is close to the centre, and has recently been approved for a residential, commercial and retail development. It will be huge. Add this to all the “luxury flats” soon to be available in the city centre as they redevelop the Southgate complex and bus station, we will be swamped with property in a few years’ time. Georgian townhouses may avoid the worst of the downturn, but anything else will be very vulnerable.

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  • Edinburgh sounds great! Courtesy of Alex Salmond’s threats to leave the union and Crash Gordon’s abject crawling after him, you can get anything on the UK taxpayer there…

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  • ‘Research’ from the ESTATE AGENCY KnightFrank… The Sunday Times lets itself down again by even reporting this ‘research’.

    “‘People want to come here,’ says Mark Johnson, head of sales in Knight Frank’s Milton Keynes office.” Yes, of course they do Mark. The ‘research’ may have been the question: “Right, how can we get some free column-inches in a national newspaper whilst at the same time boosting the sales at our 20 worst performing branches?”

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  • Sacred Contracts says:

    I posted a comment which the time declined to publish – all I asked was:

    Is this written by an estate agent?

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  • crash bandicoot says:

    Su, what I meant was if you know that you want to live in Edingburgh what’s the point in being told that Oxford or Cambridge are the best places to buy houses? There is no sense in it. Secondly, although your income will always restrict the area that you can afford to live in to some extent, the current overvaluation of houses means that you are currently faced with two choices. Either buy somewhere that you don’t actually like that much or don’t buy at all. What is needed (and what must happen) is a return to a position where a sensible sized salary can (sensibly) buy a sensible sized house in a sensible location. Does that make sense?

    I was only trying to point out that the article is largely irrelevant at best and fundamentaly wrong at worst (there is actually nowhere that you should be buying houses at the moment).

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  • Crash bandicoot.

    In that case, I guess I agree with you. 🙂

    although re. your initial point, I’m fairly flexible as to where I want to settle. I’d be happy in Fife, Edinburgh, the borders, the Highlands…. My final decision will take into account affordability in the various areas as well as other factors like education, crime etc.

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  • crash bandicoot says:

    Su, as our oppinions are converging I will say one thing then shut up. Affordability will always play a part in the decision on where to buy. It should not however be as important as it is now, with vast areas of the country ruled out of most people’s budget.

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  • “It should not however be as important as it is now, with vast areas of the country ruled out of most people’s budget.”

    hear, hear!

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  • The issue is the fixation with housing as an investment vrs a place to live. Investments go up and down. Has anyone noticed how the politicians (Thatcher in Texas; Blair in NYC; and many MPs (Kinnocks for instance, with bolt holes in Europe) exit as soon as they can and leave the mess behind. They have managed to off shore jobs to such an extent that the Poles, Eastern Europeans and Africans are heading home as the standard of living is better there. Says something. You cant asset strip a great country, without the house owners getting burned in the process. Everyone is in the game for what they can get out of the system now, no one, especially the politicians, really cares about the future of the UK. The next big shift will be the pensioners who can not afford to live here any longer dumping their houses, moving to France, Spain, Portugal, Greece etc. and the housing market being swamped with their homes. We have created an environment that is going to see many decent people absconding from their huge debts further increasing the pressure on the value of houses. The inevitable tax increases folowing the Olympics will further inhibit the ordinary persons ability to finance home ownership. We are probably looking at a long term, perhaps 20 or more years of decline, then when we become the outsourcers for China, India etc. things may pick up. But we are in for a long, bleak future. We are reaping what we sowed.

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  • Hi
    I would be interested to know whether the opening of the Hindhead Tunnel will have marked effect on house prices in the Portsmout/Southsea area as I am looking to relocate to the south coast area but not to likely to be able afford Brighton housing prices.I would need to be able to cover the Hants and surrounding counties plus journeys into London occasionly.I would be interested to know what its like living and commuting in this area and also would it be a worth looking at buy to let in this area.
    many thanks

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