Every buyer wants to be in the right location because a property in a thriving community close to good schools and communication links is not only a more pleasant place to live, but also a good investment that will keep or increase its value.
What people don’t always realise is that, in postcode-crazy Britain, the location premium can easily travel into hundreds of thousands. Budget-conscious buyers may save considerable money if they are prepared to move to an unfashionable or remote address and take risks over the home’s future value.
Your county of choice is the key factor in determining how big a premium you’ll pay. A peaceful country spot close to a big city will attract scores of equestrian buyers — as well as competition from moneyed lifestyle buyers in search of views and acres. Scenic counties close to London command the highest prices, but the M6 corridor near Manchester comes very close.
Scotland remains one of the cheapest places to buy in Britain. Martin Long of estate agent Bell Ingram moved from the Isle of Wight to Inverness and has first-hand experience of the price differential. “If I get stuck on a valuation, I’ll mentally put the house in Hampshire, come up with a figure, then off knock 30% or 40%,” he says.
But, saving on location doesn’t necessarily entail uprooting family and horses and moving hundreds of miles away. Even in the south of England, avoiding a trendy postcode can slash several thousands of pounds off a property’s price tag. In Wiltshire, Richard Nocton of Woolley & Wallis reports: “The area between Chippenham and Wootton Bassett is much underestimated and not as fashionable as Marlborough or the South Cotswolds. Buyers often turn up a gem of a property by not discounting it on the first impression.”
If resale value is not important, choosing a house in a problem spot can help you net more acres for your money. The further you go from a motorway junction, the cheaper the property. Buyers who don’t commute can save money by choosing a less accessible area, while close proximity to a busy road is likely to bring prices down some £200,000-£300,000.
The ideal purchase would be a property in an up-and-coming area, which is relatively affordable now but will acquire value over time. While there is no guaranteed way of identifying one, some pointers can help steer people in the right direction. Look for places where new shops and services are opening, transport links are being built, and quality homes are being developed — especially if the area is close to an established, highly sought-after location.
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