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Homebuyers still value traditional property features the most

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Research by the new home specialists, Stone Real Estate, has revealed that new-build homebuyers still value traditional property features the most when it comes to their homebuying hitlist.

Stone Real Estate surveyed new-build homebuyers across the UK to see what they rated as the most important factors when checking out a development for potential purchase.  

New-build developments offer above and beyond additional benefits compared to existing housing stock, such as a concierge, aftercare team and onsite amenities, but despite this, the most in-demand feature was private or shared green space in which to relax – the most important for 30% of buyers.

A car parking space ranked as the second most important factor nationally (21%), followed by the availability of amenities within the development (13%), with a close transport link ranking fourth (12%).  

High-speed internet (7%) and a good school catchment (6%) were also important, while things like a gym in the development, top of the range appliances, shared social areas, a concierge, aftercare team and perhaps surprisingly, the developer paying the stamp duty, ranked as less important for new-build homebuyers.

However, in London, while green space was the second most important factor, the close proximity of a good transport link topped the table (31%), with parking ranking third (11%), amenities within the development the fourth most important feature (8%) and the property coming with new appliances (7%), a good school catchment (5%) and the developer covering stamp duty also ranking highly (5%).

Founder and CEO of Stone Real Estate, Michael Stone, commented:

“We’ve seen a great shift in the new-build sector whereby developers are placing more focus on the lifestyle and well-being of new-build buyers, providing spaces for them to work, relax, stay fit and socialise, with an emphasis on convenience. 

As a result, buyers are now searching for the right lifestyle fit for them and not just the right property and this level of innovation by developers in order to remain competitive and stand out from the crowd has resulted in homebuyers getting much, much more for their money.

However, while these additional features are great, this research demonstrates that first and foremost, buyers are looking for the core factors in a development such as good transport links, green space, nearby amenities and car parking availability. These traditional factors should act as the backbone of all new-build developments to which a developer can hang the bells and whistles of a concierge service, an aftercare team and so on.”

UK
Factor Percentage of respondents
Private or communal green space to relax in 30
Car parking facilities 21
Amenities within the development 13
Close to a good transport link 12
High-speed Wi-Fi 7
A good school catchment 6
Top of the range appliances 5
Stamp duty paid for by the developer 3
A fitness outlet like a gym or swimming pool 1
Other shared social areas e.g. cinema room 1
Concierge 1
Aftercare team 0
   
London
Factor Percentage of respondents
Amenities within the development 8
Top of the range appliances 7
Stamp duty paid for by the developer 5
A good school catchment 5
Close to a good transport link 31
High-speed Wi-Fi 3
Private or communal green space to relax in 26
Car parking facilities 11
A fitness outlet like a gym or swimming pool 2
Other shared social areas e.g. cinema room 1
Concierge 1
Aftercare team 0

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Cost of maintaining a buy-to-let hits £12k a year in parts of the UK

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Leading property management platform, Howsy, has looked at the cost of maintaining a buy-to-let property each year and how this varies across the UK.  

Buy-to-let can be a tricky business if you don’t tackle it properly and there are a whole host of costs that can trip up the amateur investor. From the more obvious additional three percent stamp duty tax, to various other tax implications, void periods, mortgage costs, agency fees, the cost of finding a tenant, and more, Howsy’s previous research shows the average buy-to-let brings an annual return of just £2,000.

With the Government’s continued attack on UK landlords, making the most out of your investment financially can be tough and even when you consider all financial commitments for a property, many can still be caught unaware by out of the blue maintenance and repair costs. 

Buy-to-let landlords should squirrel away savings in anticipation of these events and an industry rule of thumb is an annual budget equivalent to 1% of your property’s value. 

So what does that equate to?  

Across the UK landlords should be tucking away an annual budget of £2,344 to cover repairs and maintenance, with this rising to £4,746 in London, with the North East home to the lowest repair costs at just £1,328. 

Of course, markets with higher rent returns may seem promising from an investment standpoint but the higher the reward, the higher the cost when things do go wrong. In Kensington and Chelsea, this annual 1% saving climbs to an eye-watering £12,292, hitting nearly £9,000 in both the Cities of London and Westminster.  

Outside of London, South Bucks and Elmbridge are home to the most expensive buy-to-let maintenance costs at £6,091 and £6,019 respectively.

Head to the likes of Burnley or Blaenau Gwent however, and this yearly maintenance budget drops to less than £1,000 a year.

Founder and CEO of Howsy, Calum Brannan, commented: 

“The buy-to-let sector can be a minefield for the amateur investor and now more than ever, it’s imperative that you do everything you can to maximise the return on your investment.

While technology now allows a greater level of control and service when managing your investment at a lower cost via online platforms, it isn’t just about the financial side of things. Providing a fit for purpose property is not only a legal requirement but essential to ensure a happy tenancy and a reduction in void periods.

Of course, things can go wrong and having the budget available to fix them is a must. In the worst-case scenarios, a cash pot equal to one percent of your property’s value might not be sufficient, but it should cover you for most eventualities and is a good benchmark to start on.

As with all buy-to-let investments, good preparation, organisation, and education are key, and whether you go it alone or have a great management agent if you stay on top of things, a bricks and mortar investment is still one of the best you can make.” 

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