According to recent research by Halifax, the number of first time property buyers reached 335,750 across the UK in 2016, the highest level since the beginning of the 2007 financial crisis. What’s more, the average first-time buyer house price is higher than ever before, passing £200,000 for the whole of the UK and £400,000 in London.
However, these nation-wide figures mask a growing problem In the capital, where the average deposit put down by first-time buyers has now reached an incredible £100,445, increasing by 276% in the past decade.
While headlines have abounded about London property prices flattening out or even decreasing at the high end of the market since last year’s Brexit vote and the increase in stamp duty, prices have been growing faster than ever in London’s cheaper boroughs, as families scramble to find affordable properties in the suburbs. Many of the capital’s cheapest boroughs are set to catch up with the city-wide average house price, currently standing a little under £500,000, in the coming years.
Meanwhile, a new report by the National Housing Federation estimates that renters would need a total household income of almost £130,000 a year to be able to save up a deposit for an average London home by 2021. That’s based on being able to save £2,300 a month; more than the total take home pay of someone on London’s median salary of £34,000. For many Londoners renting in the capital, saving for a deposit is a distant dream. Unsurprisingly, then, there has been a growing exodus of people in their 30’s from London in recent years.
For those already on the property ladder, the increase in house prices is good news, as long as in absolute terms it continues to outstrip price inflation in other parts of the country. However, the rest of the UK is starting to overtake London’s growth in percentage terms and this will steadily erode the price gap, especially in those areas like the South East which are already expensive. For those looking for a new property within London, however, the high stamp duty and estate agents fees involved often means moving house is more expensive than ever.
If you’re a property owner in London, especially if you’re in zone 1-3, but are looking for more living space without vastly increasing your commute, opting for a loft conversion remains the simplest and best-value option. Not only will you get to stay in the area you love, but you can achieve the same kind of size increase that you would get from a larger property further afield for less money.
Moving in itself costs an average of around £30,000, just in stamp duty and fees, which is half of the cost of an average loft conversion, and then you have to take into account the large price gap between, say, a three bedroom house with one bathroom and a four or five bedroom house with two bathrooms. Not only is a loft conversion better value for money than moving to a bigger property, it can also be significantly quicker and easier.
Landmark Lofts is part of the Landmark Group - the only group in London specialising in the project management of loft conversions, extensions and refurbishments to include a Chartered Building Company (CIOB), Chartered Architectural Practice (RIBA) and to be regulated by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS). The Landmark Group specialises in the project management of loft conversions, extensions and refurbishments.