Anorak News | Property – Picking Your Spot

Property – Picking Your Spot

by | 4th, December 2006

BETWEEN 1991 and 2001, homes in Weybridge, Surrey, rose in value by, on average, 175% from £120,000 to £329,000.

The housing boom was in full flow and any property owners in London and the surrounding environs were making money on paper.

That’s the thing with property: just like shares, the value of your investment can go up and down. It’s a warm tingly feeling to know that while breathing you have made money. Only, you haven’t – at least not until you sell up and take the profit.

Then you might well have another problem to deal with. Unlike shares, your main source of income might be tied to where you live. Unless you plan to live al fresco, are moving into a retirement village or prison, you will need a new home.

The sensible move is to look to move somewhere on the up – a property hotspot where more money can be made.

It was once easy to find them: you looked for towns on the London commuter belt. But they are all now expensive. Indeed, if you want to buy in the Home Counties, chances are you will have to pay a great deal of money. You make your money on one property only to spend it all on another.

Places yet untouched by the hike in property prices do exist. In 2004, house pieces in Todmorden, West Yorkshire rose by a not inconsiderable 50.7%.

Identifying the hotspots

Although the boom has slowed, there is still profit to be made. Here are some ways to spot the next place to be gentrified and attract new money.
1. Look for areas close to places where the boom has already taken hold. The locals will have sold up, taken profits and be on the hunt for somewhere new and more affordable to live.

2. Look out for affluent brands moving into the area. The once sparse high street now has a Pizza Express restaurant, coffee shops, a Waitrose – all middle-class brands that pull in the money and gentrify the town.

You can conduct research into the commercial landscape by calling the local council’s planning office. Ask them what has been applied for. Contact local estate agents dealing in commercial property and ask them about the market: are any new shops moving into vacant lots? Are rental prices rising?

3. Find out what the Government is planning for the area. Is there to be a new road? A new train station? A new superstore? A new industrial waste processing plant? Go to and click on “How do I contact my local planning authority?” to find out more.

4. Look at the Land Registry. For £3 each you can find the price paid on most properties sold since April 2000. You can search by borough, region or postcode sector. If you are buying a home, take a look and see how your property stacks up alongside others in the street.

And lastly, if you are a risk taker, consider being a pioneer. Move into an area before the rush and take a chance. But remember, there is the chance the area won’t take off…

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Posted: 4th, December 2006 | In: Money Comment | TrackBack | Permalink