Our Top 5 Most Viewed Properties In May

MCR Homes has a range of developments across the UK, offering both apartments and townhouses for buyers and renters alike. Today we want to take a look at some of the most popular properties currently listed, to see what makes these developments so special. 


These are our top 2 viewed properties in May. 


Stockwood Gardens


Situated in South Luton on the fringes of Stockwood Country Park, these properties have been highly sought over in recent months. With excellent transport links to London, it’s no surprise that this development has been gaining attention. 


Stockwood Gardens offers 11 blocks of luxury apartments with a mixture of 1 and 2 bedroom properties to suit all budgets and needs. The interior design of these apartments is contemporary and sleek, and there are communal gardens as well as ample parking for residents and guests. This development also offers a Help To Buy Scheme which makes this a great choice for first-time buyers. 


The Old Works


The Old Works in High Wycombe is a popular development and has been gaining a lot of attention from potential buyers in recent weeks. With its idyllic location as well as transport links to Heathrow Airport and London Marleybone; this is a great option for young professionals or first-time buyers. 


Wycombe offers a relaxed lifestyle with plenty of restaurants and bars close by, meaning whether you prefer the hustle and bustle of London or a peaceful suburban lifestyle, The Old Works can accommodate this. With its bright and spacious design and choice of 1 and 2 bedroom properties – this is a great choice for those on any budget. 


Harden Park 


It is no surprise that this stunning development has gained attention online, particularly as we head into the summer months. Harden Park is a collection of eco-living properties in Alderly Edge that truly brings together modern living and environmental consciousness. North Cheshire is an idyllic and quintessentially English location perfect for those who enjoy pubs, parks, and a relaxed lifestyle. 


Harden Park is a community of homes that can be accessed by a private road and you will be able to make your home on a 4.5-acre patch of land. With detached and semi-detached homes on their roster – these homes are ideal for those looking for their family home. Each of the homes comes fully fitted with lighting, wardrobes, and kitchen appliances to make it easier for you. With high-quality ecological features such as woodlands and a lake on-site – these properties will make impressive homes. 


The Wharf


Situated in Altrincham, voted Best Place to Live in 2020, The Wharf has proved popular so far and many of the properties have been sold. These luxury apartments are set on the banks of Bridgewater Canal and offer excellent transport links into the centre of Manchester. Bringing together a thriving setting alongside a relaxed suburban lifestyle; these 1,2, and 3 bedroom apartments are perfectly suited for first-time buyers, young professionals, and families alike. 


Enjoy a communal roof terrace giving a view over the canal as well as ample parking for guests and residents. This development also offers shared ownership to help those on a tight budget. 


St Bartholomew’s Place 


St Bartholomew’s Place is situated in the historical setting of Rochester and boasts views over the Medway River. Founded in 1078, St Bartholomew’s has a long history and is even the home of a listed building that acts as a focal point in our development. We are excited to transform this building into 155 new homes consisting of studio, 1, 2, and 3 bedroom townhouses. 


The site is close to Victoria Gardens, and you will be able to enjoy luxury high-end living without losing any heritage. This project is currently under construction and looks to be a popular development. 


What Can Homebuyers Get For £250,000 in Different Regions?

The housing market has seen a huge spike this spring. As we come out of lockdown more and more people are putting their houses up for sale or looking for a home to make a fresh start.

This surge in the housing market has been the biggest in a decade, and for those selling their homes, it is incredibly good news. The extension of the stamp duty holiday is a likely contributor to this rise in buyers, and the number of people completing transactions below the stamp duty threshold of £250,000 only looks to increase into the summer months.

So what can you purchase for £250,000?

MCR Property Group is going to explore the current housing market and assess what you may be able to get for under £250,000 in each region of England.

North East

The North East includes stunning locations such as Filey, Scarborough, Northumberland, and more. This picturesque part of the UK has the lowest average house prices – with that of a 3-bedroom home averaging at £152,034.

When looking for a home that is below £250,000, you will be surprised at how much value for money you can enjoy. It is not uncommon in this region to be able to purchase a completely refurbished 3-4 bedroom house for this price.

North West

The North West includes places such as Manchester, Liverpool, and Cheshire – and in this region, the house prices in this region have seen the biggest leap in recent months of 7.3%. The average price of a 3 bedroom home here is £193,357.

Depending on which part of the North West you look at, the prices could fluctuate a lot. However, for under £250,000 you could feasibly get a 2-3 bedroom house with a decent-sized garden in this part of England.

The Wharf in Altrincham is one of our latest developments, and you can get a 1-bed full ownership apartment from £189,950-£212,950. Although not a house, these luxury apartments are a great choice for first-time buyers, and their location in the thriving Cheshire town of Altrincham makes them a popular choice.



One of the most stunning regions of England – Yorkshire is a popular place for tourists and homebuyers alike. Despite this popularity though, the price of a 3 bedroom home averages at just £188,538.

In Yorkshire, you will notice a focus on nature, and many of the homes on the market have historical value or natural features. For £250,000 you could purchase a stunning open plan bungalow, a 3-4 bedroom house, or a cottage in the countryside.

West Midlands

One of the main things to note about this region is the time it takes on average to find a buyer. It takes only 6 days on average to find a buyer, making it the fastest turnaround in England. For a 3 bedroom home the average is £218,545 – making it the priciest so far.

For £250,000 you could purchase a simple 3 bedroom semi-detached home with a sizeable garden and driveway. This is ideal for those looking for a family home.

East Midlands

As we move across the other side of the midlands, we see a decrease in the average price, this time at £211,814. If you are looking to move somewhere more rural and make a fresh start post-pandemic, this is a great region to choose.

For £250,000 you could purchase a small 3 bedroom cottage set away from the road and with a small garden.

South East

As we move further south and toward London, there is a clear increase in the average price of a 3 bedroom home, and in the South East, this is a whopping £372,655. Locations like Kent are idyllic and popular so it is no real surprise that homebuyers jump at the chance to move here.

For £250,000 you will likely be able to find a terraced home with 2 bedrooms and the size of the home will be modest. Your outdoor space will likely be minimal but it is a good option for those looking to downsize. One of our developments currently under construction – St. Bartholomew’s Place in Rochester, offers luxury studio,1, 2, and 3 bedroom houses starting at £154,000.


South West

The South West has a slightly more modest average price for a 3 bedroom home coming in at £291,861. For £250,000 and under you could find a lovely spacious terraced home with 3 bedrooms and a garden. The main draw in this region is the plethora of green spaces to enjoy locally.

Boulevard View is one of our properties on the outskirts of Bristol in the ever-popular South West of England with local transport links to the centre and national transport links as a few miles down the road is the international Bristol airport. For prices starting at £145,000, you will be able to purchase a 1 or 2 bedroom apartment with a fully fitted kitchen fridge freezer, washer dryer, oven hob, and hood microwave. These properties also come with a fully tiled bathroom with a shower and shower screen.


It is no surprise that London is a steep hike above any of the regions we have discussed today. For a 3 bedroom home, you would on average pay £644,648. Even with London being the only region to suffer a price drop of 1.1% in the last 12 months, it is still worlds away from other areas of the country.

If you had a budget of £250,000 and were searching for a home in London, you’ll be able to purchase a sleek and modern apartment with 2 bedrooms. Outdoor space is unfortunately not commonplace in London, which is why this part of the country is more popular with working professionals.

One of our developments, The Old Works, is located in Hig Wycombe which is only a 30-minute commute from London. These apartments range from 1-3 beds and start at a price of £189,950. Often, when considering your options close to London, searching further afield may be the best option.

MCR Property Group has a range of stunning properties for sale across the UK. Browse our active listings to find your forever home.

Via RightMove


Stunning Spring Walks Near Altrincham

Altrincham is a thriving town in Trafford, Greater Manchester. Voted the ‘Best Place To Live In 2020’ this area is rapidly growing in popularity and is the perfect place to call home.

This lively town has a lot to offer and here you can enjoy some of the best restaurants and bars in the North West. From comforting Italian cuisine at Sugo Pasta Kitchen to Porta’s Spanish-influenced menu – you’ll always enjoy a brilliant day out in Altrincham. 

Today we are going to take a look at some of the best beauty spots in and around Altrincham for you to add to your spring bucket list.


Broadheath Canal Waterways


If you are looking to stay local to Altrincham you can always take a stroll along the banks of Bridgewater Canal in the Broadheath area. The canal traces a path through Altrincham and up towards Lymm and is the ideal spot for a low-impact stroll with your family or friends. Travel for as long as you wish and take in the beauty of the waterways while maintaining easy access to many of Altrincham’s amenities. If you walk toward Viaduct Road, you will be able to stop off at a new cafe opened by ex-Rugby player Alex Shaw. Kickback Coffee is housed within one of the railway arches and is perfectly positioned on the banks of the canal for dog walkers and cyclists alike.


Dunham Massey 



Dunham Massey is a popular National Trust site in Cheshire and boasts another sanctuary for Red Deer in the North West. There is a rich history on the grounds of Dunham Massey – with 45 listed buildings on the property. 


Dunham Massey Hall is a stunning historical site built in 1616 by sir George Booth, who received one of the first Baronetcies by King James I. It is a Grade I listed building and offers tours inside the premises throughout the year. 


This park, in particular, is popular with the locals due to the stunning lake that sits in the middle of the park, as well as its cafe which serves food and drinks both for takeaway and seating in. The most wondrous thing about Dunham Massey is witnessing its foliage bloom and change through the spring and summer months. This scenic and accessible walk is ideal for both elderly adults and children and offers the perfect place for a Sunday Stroll.


Dunham also has plenty of fallen tree trunks and branches that are perfect for kids to climb on and play with. As well as this – Dunham is the perfect place for den building, and they sell ice cream to put a smile on any child’s face!


Tatton Park

Perhaps one of the most famous walks in the Manchester area is Tatton Park. Tatton Park is located in Knutsford and is synonymous with its red deer which roam the ground throughout the year. Tatton Hall was built at the end of the 17th Century and has been both a residence for the Lord Chancellor of England as well as a tourist attraction. The house and gardens are popular with guests and as a National Trust site – this area is protected and maintained to the highest standard. 

Only a 16-minute drive from our Wharf Road development, Tatton Park is the ideal escape from city living and provides a wonderful day out for the whole family. Whether you choose to have a calming stroll by the lake, explore the woodlands, or visit the house, gardens, and carousel ride; there are plenty of things to do. 

After a stroll around the park as well as up toward Knutsford at the far end of the park, you can grab a seat at the Gardener’s Cottage cafe and enjoy some delicious food and drink.


Tatton is a location that has something for everyone. for dog walkers it offers vast grounds for your furry friend to run around and enjoy (and a lake to swim in). Tatton has a farm that allows visitors throughout the year including a play barn for your kids to meet some cute animals and if you visit the gardens your child can amuse themselves in the maze too. For those who are green-fingered; Tatton Park hosts the RHS Flower Show every July with a wealth and breadth of stunning garden displays, artwork, and food for sale. Tatton also has food festivals and other activities throughout the year guaranteeing that there is always something fun to do during your visit. 


Spud Wood 


Spud Wood is a less well-known beauty spot close to Altrincham and truly serves as a hidden gem for visitors. It is situated in Lymm and comprises a small woodland walk as well as a canal pathway that runs along The Bridgewater Canal, incidentally the same canal beside which our Wharf Road development resides. 


Spud Wood is named so because it used to be a potato field, but today it is a popular spot for dog walkers and has a wide array of wildflowers and native grasses to enjoy. Perhaps if you are lucky, you will see the signs of a Badger set within the woodland. 


The best reason to visit Spud Wood is not the destination itself, but where you can walk from this location. Travelling one way within 15 minutes you can reach a charming English pub called ‘The Barn Owl’ and enjoy a pint while looking out onto the water. And heading the other way, if you stroll along the canal for around 40-50 minutes, you will reach ‘The Swan with Two Nicks’ in Little Bollington, and from there it is just a 30-minute walk to Dunham Massey. 


Trafford has many brilliant green spaces to enjoy, and Altrincham is easily accessible from some of the best beauty spots in Manchester. Consider one of our luxury apartments at The Wharf, Altrincham this year and find your perfect family home. 


Sprucing Up Your Garden For Spring

Spring is in full swing, and as the weather gets hotter and days are longer, pricing up the garden is a great idea. A garden is an important feature of any home, and as we reach the warmer half of the year we can look toward our gardens to bring some vibrancy, life, and colour to the property. 


Here at MCR Homes, we understand how crucial an outdoor space is for any home, and today we want to discuss some of the things you can do to spruce up your outdoor space for spring and summer.


Hang baskets 


One of the easiest ways to spruce up the exterior of your home for spring is to invest in a couple of hanging baskets. Hanging baskets can be placed on either side of your front and back door, and can display small flowers such as lobelia, marigolds, busy lizzy, and pansies. Hanging baskets can not only add a splash of colour to your garden but they can improve your kerb appeal, which is essential when it comes to selling your property. 


Create a seating area 


Part of creating a usable outdoor space is investing in a seating area where you can host parties or simply soak in the sun on a lazy Sunday. Consider laying a new patio or wooden decking and invest in rattan furniture which will elevate your garden and bring an air of luxury to your outdoor space.


Trim your trees 


Whether you are green fingered or a gardening novice – one essential skill to have is pruning. Pruning your large shrubs and trees is a simple way to get rid of deadwood and flowers, as well as tidy up wild-looking branches that look overgrown and messy. Part of maintaining a garden is keeping it tidy, and trimming your trees as well as other large shrubs can immediately vamp up the space and elevate it. If you are unfamiliar with how to prune a tree; simply choose a branch, locate a space just above the leaf node, and cut. Always cut just above the node to avoid damaging your plant. 


Plant flowers 


A colourful flower display is always a winner in a spring and summer garden, and there are two main ways you can approach this task. The first is the easiest and involves purchasing a cottage seed mix that typically contains poppies, cornflowers, and other colourful British flowers. You can sprinkle this on an empty flowerbed and throughout the spring and summer, you will see colourful blooms. The other method is to buy bedding plants from the garden centre and plant them yourself. If you are going for a certain colour scheme or style in your garden being able to plant flowers in an order that suits you can be useful. If you have a lot of space you can even create a display such as those you would see at a country garden.


Trim the lawn 


If you have not yet mowed your lawn this year, now is the time to do it. Over autumn and winter, your grass typically will lay dormant and grow very slowly. But by the time warmer weather hits you’ll need all hands on deck to trim it back and get it looking tidy and trim once more. By trimming your lawn every 3-4 weeks, it will stay looking beautiful all summer long. 


Reasons To Move To Manchester

Manchester is the fifth fastest growing property market in the UK and it is easy to see why. This vibrant and diverse city has been on the rise for decades and it has become its own cultural hub of the North. Since the Victorian era people have flocked to Manchester for a lucrative and happy life, and the lifestyle in this northern powerhouse is largely the reason. 


Today we are going to take you through some of the reasons you should consider renting or buying with MCR and moving to Manchester. 


The people 


It’s a well-known fact that people from the North are inherently more friendly than those in the South. Once you decide to make your home in Manchester it won’t take long to make friends with your community. People in Manchester are sociable and chatty, they love a good pub, and they are always up for a laugh. Even in the midst of the city, you’ll experience a much friendlier and more relaxed life than in London. 


The pubs


There’s a running joke in Manchester that you can’t walk more than 20 metres without seeing a Gregg’s bakery, and this is also true for pubs. Manchester has a whopping 1912 pubs, including 416 in the city centre itself. While travelling in Manchester you’ll never be too far from the comforting atmosphere of a proper English pub. Manchester is also home to The Old Wellington which was built in 1552 and still stands proud in the city today – albeit a few metres away from its original location. 


The education 


Manchester is perhaps most famous for its Universities, with The University Of Manchester being the largest in the UK. Manchester is known for birthing some of the greatest scientific and mathematical minds in history including Alan Turing, Ernest Rutherford, and Brian Cox. Manchester Metropolitan University is also known for its exploration of science and the arts. There are also some outstanding high schools and colleges in Manchester such as Urmston Grammar School and Altruncham Grammar School. 


The business 


There are over 100,000 companies currently situated in Manchester and the city invests heavily in many sectors including: property, finance, manufacturing, creative and digital technology, and energy. It is the largest growing economy outside London and may one day even overtake the capital. For those looking to move somewhere with job opportunities and great career prospects, this is undoubtedly the place to be. 


The scenery


Manchester differs from its southern counterpart in one important way: nature is on our very doorstep. When you move to Manchester you can enjoy stunning walks a small distance away such as Tatton Park in Cheshire; The Peak District; and The Pennine Trail. Most people are dog lovers in Manchester and this is very much ingrained in the culture of the people. 


Manchester is a beautiful city and one you don’t want to miss out on. Consider browsing our properties in the North West today to find your perfect home in Manchester. 


Government announces re-introduction of 95% mortgages for homebuyers

Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced plans to turn generation rent into generation buy. A new help-to-buy scheme will bring back 95% mortgages for those living in England and Northern Ireland from the 1st April. Alongside the extension of the stamp duty holiday, this will help many homebuyers get on the property ladder in 2021. 


COVID-19 saw some huge changes with regards to 95% mortgages and they became pretty much obsolete. In February 2021 there were only 5 95% mortgage products available compared to 391 in March 2020. This has had a huge impact on homebuyers who may have suffered financial strain during the pandemic and therefore have been unable to save a hefty deposit. 


As the housing market began to bounce back during the pandemic, this brought with it a rise in the average house price to £251,500. This has been a blow to many first time buyers who have been looking to purchase, and as such the number of properties bought by first time buyers with a mortgage below 10% has decreased by 80% since last year. 


The Help To Buy Equity Loan Scheme will be open from April 2021 and will run until the end of 2022, with the aim of encouraging the younger generation and first time buyers to step up onto the property ladder instead of renting property. 


Who is eligible? 


Any household that is ‘creditworthy’ will be eligible for this scheme. If your household is struggling to save a large enough deposit, the scheme will help facilitate your purchase with a reduced deposit being allowed, as low as 5% according to Which. It only applies to properties that cost £600,000 or less, and only applies to standard residential homes and therefore will not include second homes or buy-to-lets. 


The scheme could potentially see a slight rise in interest from the current level of 3-3.5% for 90% mortgages to 3.5-4% for the new 95% mortgages. However, lenders may adjust their rates and offer lower deals. 


Neal Hudson, housing market analyst for BuiltPlace, states “A 95% mortgage is no help in London and other expensive parts of the country because you bump up against the affordability tests. It will really be most help in the Midlands and the north.” It is important to consider that these changes are aimed at helping the market as a whole and not a group of individuals.


As the world looks to get back to normal in the coming months, it is important for schemes like the help-to-buy and stamp duty holiday to be in place for those who need financial assistance. 


If you are looking for your new home in 2021, MCR Homes have a range of houses and apartments that offer help-to-buy schemes. Enquire today to learn more. 


Via The Guardian

Is The Housing Market On The Rise During COVID?

The housing property market has been a question on many lips in recent months, and contrary to what many might assume; it is on the rise in most areas. The UK property market has seen a small boom in the last few months with the HMRC estimating 121,640 sales in January which is a 24.1% rise year on year compared with January 2020. 


However with the stamp duty holiday ending in April – will this remain the case? 


As of now, property markets across the UK are open which means that estate agents are able to conduct in-house viewings and buyers can move home. As specialists in the property field, MCR Homes will be able to provide expert guidance to those house hunting in 2021. Despite the lockdown measures currently in place, many are taking the opportunity to move and there was an increase in home sales from 152,480 to 346,360 from Q2 to and Q4 of 2020, respectively. Stamp duty changes put in place by the government during this period is likely a contributing factor to this growth. 


For many people now is the right time to make a change after almost a year stuck looking at the same four walls. If you are looking to move out and make a fresh start post-pandemic, now could be a good chance to take the bull by the horns and do it. 


Since last summer, the housing market has been on the rise from approximately 40,000 sales in . The stamp duty changes put in place by the government during this period are most likely the cause. The stamp duty cuts vary however buyers at the moment could stand to save thousands on their purchase. It is important to note that this ends on the 31st March 2021. Take your chance before it is too late to take advantage of these changes. 


In 2020, The Land Registry calculated that property prices went up by 8.5% year-on-year. The average value of a UK home now is £251,500, making the opportunity to take advantage of stamp duty cuts now more advantageous than in the coming months.


As the housing market continues to change in the coming months – you can consider getting in touch with us here at MCR Homes to facilitate your house move. Whether buying or renting your next property, don’t hesitate to get in touch for advice.


Housing Market set to surge in spring

House prices look set to rise in spring as the property market sees a surge across the UK. MCR Property Group alongside many other developers will likely see a surge of interest in homes and rentals across the country.  


The UK housing market is experiencing high demand as the country starts to come out of lockdown restrictions; and the recent Stamp Duty and Help To Buy Scheme news has only boosted it more.  


House prices look to receive a 0.8% boost of £2,484 in March and buyer’s demand has risen higher than any point in the last 10 years. Rightmove states that the number of buyers making enquiries on new homes are at a record level. 


The spring selling period traditionally shows a boost for the housing market, but in the first week of March 2021 alone there was a rise of 12% compared to March of 2020. 


It is important to note that there is a shortage of stock on the market at this time; and competition has likely also been a contributing factor to the price hike. 


Rightmove’s House Price Index offers a comprehensive view of the current figures and shows the biggest surge in the spring market that has been seen in the last decade. 


For sellers – the news only gets better as sold STC properties currently make up almost two thirds of every agents’ supply. It means for those looking to sell their home now is a great time to consider putting their home on the market. 


For those who are eagerly awaiting upcoming assets to the market – browse the properties currently for sale and rent at MCR Property. Liaising directly with the developer can save a lot of hassle and money, and could see you in your new home by summer 2021. 


Via In Your Area

Stamp Duty Holiday Extended

The chancellor has announced an extension to the stamp duty scheme in England and Northern Ireland by three months until the end of June. 

The stamp duty holiday has been running since last July, allowing homeowners to forego paying stamp duty on any house under a value of £500,000. Property purchase tax on the first £500,000 of a home purchase was suspended saving home buyers thousands of pounds on their move. 

Extended stamp duty holiday rates:

  •         Up to £500,000 – no stamp duty
  •         £500,001 to £925,000 – 5%
  •         £925,001 to £1.5m – 10%
  •         Above £1.5m – 12%

The scheme was set to end on March 31st, but has now been extended to June 30th to help buyers in this difficult time. 

Stamp Duty Land Tax is paid by all buyers upon purchase of a home in England and Northern Ireland. Since July the stamp duty purchase tax rate has been increased to help improve the housing market and allow those who have taken a financial hit due to COVID to move house easier. 

Wales and Scotland have had similar relief for their respective taxes – and these schemes are due to end on March 31st. 

After June 30th, the nil band rate will rise to £250,000 which is double its normal rate. This will return to £125,000 at the end of September, starting from October 1st.

Rishi Sunak says the move was ‘to smooth the transition back to normal – and we will only return to the usual level of £125,000 from October 1st.’

The Stamp Duty Holiday was introduced last summer to help buyers who may have seen a financial hit due to COVID. The scheme was also aimed at helping the property market stay running throughout the pandemic – and this scheme has helped to increase January year-on-year purchases to 121,640 sales in 2021 which is a 24.1% increase from 2020.*

MCR Property Group joins other property development companies such as Knight Frank who say that the stamp duty changes will provide relief for those buying and selling homes.

This move from the government however is not cheap, and Laith Khalaf who is a financial analyst at AJ Bell states: ‘It’s not a cheap measure, estimated to cost the taxpayer around £1.6bn.’

What can be said however is that this move will likely encourage buyers and sellers to enter the market in the next few months to make the most of this tax break.

MCR Property Group offers expert advice and a range of both residential and commercial properties for sale and rent. Contact our team today for the latest development news and enquire about properties already on the market. 

Source* BBC News

The right time to buy

Learn to determine when it is the best time for you to buy a home.

Several factors can influence whether it may be the right time for you to buy a home. You need to make sure you consider the complete picture before deciding.

Your Personal Situation

Owning your home requires a lot of commitment when considering managing a mortgage, on going maintenance, insurance, taxes and utility bills. Before you are ready to take these financial responsibilities you need to ensure you are ready to buy. Purchasing a home is a long-term decision that can make the homeowner less flexible in future, for example moving locations for a new job becomes more complicated when you own a home. So, before you commit to any financial decisions, be sure to determine that the location or neighbourhood you choose to search around is where you are most comfortable living in.

Interest Rates

Ideally, you want to take advantage of lower interest rates to reduce monthly payments and the total amount paid over the lifetime of your mortgage. The interest you pay is dependant on the current market, the lender you choose and the type of mortgage product you get and many other factors. Generally speaking, mortgage lenders will offer lower interest rates to borrowers with a stronger credit score.

The Property Market

Many regard ‘A buyer’s market’ as the right time to buy a home as there are more homes for sale than buyers looking to purchase them – giving the purchaser more bargaining power. Sellers in these markets tend to offer more competitive pricing, meaning that you are more likely to get more home for your money plus, more homes to pick from.

Up Front Payments And Final Costs

Home buyers are expected to make a down payment also known as ‘deposit’ for the home. Typically, a larger down payment will result in lower monthly payments. In order to qualify for a mortgage, you will need to save at least 5% – 20% of the cost of the home you would like. If your deposit is lower than 20% then your mortgage provider may require you to pay insurance or fees.

The Time Of Year

According to market trends, more homes tend to go on sale during summer and spring months – when the weather is better and children are not in school. Looking for a home during these months will give you a broader choice of homes to pick from.

It is almost impossible to pinpoint the ‘perfect’ time to buy a home or to apply for a loan as it is dependant on the market situation as well as your personal situation. In most circumstances, people don’t have the option to put their life on hold whilst looking for the perfect time to buy. If you consider the long term benefits of buying a home and the longevity of the period that you are likely to live in the home then the positives will almost always outweigh the negatives. If you do, however, get a comprehensive financial plan that takes your individuals needs and goals into account then you’ll be able to reach this major personal decision at a right time for you.

Five steps to saving for a deposit

Saving for a deposit for a first-time buyer can be one of the toughest hurdles. Acting quickly can you an advantage, letting you seek government help, signing up for high-interest savings accounts where your hard earnt money will grow the fastest. Below are tips to help you get on the property ladder faster.


Help To Buy ISAs

Help To Buy ISAs can be one of the best ways to save for a deposit. The government will add 25 per cent to your savings, up to a maximum of £3,000, you can also receive anything up to four per cent in tax-free interest over the duration of your saving.

Help To Buy ISAs don’t only apply for first-time buyers, they can also be used if you already own a home or if you’d like to save as part of a property club.

  • Savings are capped at £200 a month
  • A maximum £1,000 initial deposit
  • It will take more than four years to save £12,000
  • After four years you’ll be able to unlock £3,000 of government help

Bank Smart

When saving for a house you don’t want to be wasting your time on banking gimmicks and unwanted services so don’t waste your money on monthly subscriptions. On the other hand, perks such as money back on purchases can be worth it so shop around before choosing your bank.

Manage Debt

If you have a credit card, we recommend you pay any debt off to avoid hefty interest charges.

Loyalty Cards

Don’t dismiss how advantageous loyalty cards can be. Shop with loyalty cards regularly. Take advantage of extra-points deals and money off coupons.

Go Outdoors

Take advantage of your local parks, design yourself a free outdoor training program instead of going to the gym. You can also join many outdoor local sports clubs, their subscriptions are often much cheaper than most gyms.

Everything you need to know about Help to Buy

The Government’s ‘Help To Buy’ scheme aims to help buyers who have a deposit of at least 5% to buy a new-build home up to the value of £600,000. The Government will lend eligible buyers up to 20% of the value of your new build home via an equity loan – you will then only need to secure a mortgage for 75% of the property’s value.

About Help To Buy

Help To Buy is a Government backed scheme which allows eligible buyers to buy a new-build home with a 5% deposit – therefore only requiring a 75% mortgage with the remaining 20% funded by the Government through an equity loan.

In the past four years the Help to Buy scheme has helped more than 200,000 people buy a newly-built home. The scheme now accounts for one in 12 of all first-time buyers making homeownership more achievable for people up and down the UK. If you’re a first time buyer it can be difficult to raise a large deposit to purchase your first home. With Help to Buy you only need just a 5% deposit to get a mortgage.

How Does It Work

  • The scheme is available on new-build properties under the value of £600,000.
  • The Help To Buy equity loan can be paid back at any time during your time at the property or on the sale of your home.
  • The equity loan is interest free for the first five-years although you may still have to pay interest on your mortgage.
  • Help To Buy is available to all new homebuyers not just first time buyers.
  • You won’t be able to sublet your home.
  • Help To Buy is only available on new-build homes in England.


Paying Back The Loan
Once you purchase your home, your home will be in your name, which means you can sell it at any time. You won’t have to pay your equity loan back until you decide to sell your property or at the end of your mortgage period. You can however, pay some of your equity loan back sooner. You are entitled to pay either 10% or 20% of your equity loan back as long as your loan equates to a minimum 10% of the total value of your home.

Make the most of viewings

Use the information available to you to find out as much as you can about a property, such as; using the photographs, floorplans, virtual tours, online brochures and local information that is available with most properties.

As soon as you have established the property is of sufficient interest for you, book a viewing with the agent.

Also, don’t forget to take a camera and tape measure on every viewing you go on – the camera is so you can avoid having to rack your brain about which property had the features you remember it doing. With cameras built in as standard on most mobile phones, this is easier than ever. But remember to always ask permission with the agent or owner before taking any pictures. The tape measure is for you to see if your current furniture will fit in the rooms.

Before you have even chosen to view a property, it may be worth spending time creating an image of your perfect home. Make a list of the various features you want this perfect house to have. These features should cover the obvious check list such as the rough size of the house and the number of bedrooms and bathrooms but also criteria relating to the location or house type in which your home will be located.

If you’d like to know more about our developments prior to viewing then please get in contact with our sales consultants will be more than happy to help.

A guide to mortgages

In order to buy a home, you may require borrowing money from a lender. Often this process can appear complex, but in fact, there are only some basic things you need to take into consideration.

These are the main considerations when applying for a mortgage:

What Is A Mortgage?

Understanding the different types of mortgages available and the mortgage process can help you know when you might be ready to reserve a property or make an offer. There is a wide range of borrowing products and mortgages available to pay for a home. In fact, there are hundreds of types of mortgage products and several mortgage types depending on your circumstances. Getting a mortgage will be one of the biggest financial decisions you’ll make, so it is important to get it right.

This guide aims to help you decide where you can best source helpful advice from mortgage specialists and advisors.

There are many mortgages on the market and they are very competitive so it can be hard to understand what is on offer. It is a good idea to get advice from your bank as well as a number of independent mortgage advisors before coming to any decisions. An independent mortgage advisor is a specialist with in-depth industry knowledge of the industry. They’ll look into a range of mortgage products made available by the different lenders to find you the best mortgage to suit your needs at your budget.

What To Look For In A Mortgage

It is important to understand all factors associated with a mortgage product, it is not always a case of looking for the lowest interest rates but elements that will benefit your needs.

There are other factors which also contribute to the total amount you pay back to the lender over time.

APRC: (Annual Percentage Rate of Change) takes some mortgage fees into account as well as the interest rate and expresses it as a percentage.

Deposit Amount: The higher the deposit you put down the lower the interest rate you are likely to get.

The Standard Interest Rate: Your mortgage will switch once your fixed rate deal ends.

The Frequency Of Interest Charged: Daily interest tends to work out cheaper, however, there are options to pay it monthly or annually. will it be paid daily, monthly or annually? Daily interest works out cheaper.

Flexibility: Would you like to have the flexibility of being able to overpay your mortgage or being able to take a break from making payments without being charged.

Length Of Fixed Rate Vs. Variable: Are you happy with having an interest rate that is fixed for a long period or would you like to have more flexibility? Charges will be issued if you choose to switch your mortgage deal before it ends.

Mortgage Advice: Lenders and financial advisors are closely regulated and when they recommend a mortgage to you they must offer advice. When recommending a mortgage they will assess your income in order to establish your ability level to meet mortgage repayments. Mortgage advisors will look into your day-to-day spending. The process is there to protect you and to ensure you purchase a mortgage that suits your needs.

Despite the fact that mortgage advisors and lenders must offer advice, you can choose to reject advice and find your own mortgage deals based on your research and decision process.

Choosing to apply for a mortgage without advice is called an ‘execution-only’ application. Getting advice when moving forward with a mortgage will enable you to have more rights if the mortgage turns out to be unsuitable for your needs. If it came to a stage where you needed to make a complaint regarding your mortgage then you could make a complaint for financial miss-selling if the advice you were provided with turned out to be unsuitable for your circumstances.

If you don’t take advice then you take full responsibility for your mortgage decision. You could therefore potentially end up with a costly mistake in the long run.

If you don’t understand restrictions properly when applying for a mortgage then you can potentially be rejected by your chosen lender.

Reasons To Use A Mortgage Advisor: 
-They have vast experience in completing mortgage paperwork and therefore will be able to complete your application faster
-They will assess your finances to see if you can afford a mortgage
-The advisor will have access to exclusive deals with lenders which are not otherwise available to the general market
-An advisor will help you understand the costs and features of a mortgage that go beyond just the interest rates
-They will only advise you on a mortgage that they believe is suitable for you and will inform you on which mortgage you are likely to get

Mortgage Advisor Fees: Mortgage brokers might charge you depending on the service and product you choose. In some cases, other advisors will be free to you but they’ll receive a commission from the lender.

Typical Mortgage Fees:
There are some upfront fees that you must consider in addition to mortgage costs. Mortgages can vary therefore ensure you take into consideration all fees in addition to the interest rate. Typically you will pay interest on the capital you borrow and possibly other charges as well. These include solicitor’s fees for the purchase, insurance for the property and sometimes but not always, ground rent. In order to not pay interest, it is recommended to pay the fees upfront rather than adding them to your mortgage as you’ll pay interest on the fees applied for the length of the mortgage.

Mortgage Fees:
A booking fee of £99 – £250
An arrangement fee of up to £2,000
A mortgage valuation fee (typically £150 or potentially more)

How much can you afford to borrow for a mortgage? 
Before applying for a mortgage, you need to think about more than just whether you can afford the monthly repayments. Mortgage providers will look at your income and outgoings to see if you can keep up with repayments if interest rates rise or your circumstances change.

There are some major upfront costs that also need to be factored in when deciding whether or not you can afford a mortgage. You’ll need to ensure that you have enough money saved to cover all the costs demanding by a mortgage product.

Below is an overview of costs you are likely to incur when buying a home

Stamp Duty: Is a government tax paid on homes sold at £125,001 or more. As of April 2016, for people who are purchasing a second home, there has been a 3% increase for those buying a second home or buy-to-let property.

Deposit: This is the amount you put towards the cost of the property when you buy your home.

Valuation Fee: Mortgage lenders will need to value of the property you will be lending against this is to establish how much the lender is willing to lend to you against the value of the property. Typically, a valuation fee can cost anything between £150 – £1,500 based on the property’s estimated valuation. The valuation conducted by the lender will not encompass a full structural survey so the valuation may not identify areas where repairs or maintenance that might be needed to be done. The full report is conduction by a surveyor – mentioned below.

Surveyor Fee: Before you buy a property it is vital that you get the property checked by a surveyor. Any potential issues will be flagged up by the surveying report. The extent of the report is dependant on your requests and the lender’s requests. There is a range of surveys, from a basic ‘Home Condition Survey’ (around £250) to a ‘Full Structural Survey’(around £600). When considering the period of time you are likely to live at your new home and the potential money you could save on repairs in the long-run then it pays to conduct a good survey.

Legal Fees: It is the norm to need a solicitor or licensed conveyor to carry out all legal work when buying and selling your home. Legal fees can differ vastly depending on the law firm and the level of work needed to be conducted. Some of the work will also include; local searches to find if there are any plans in place that may cause an issue for you.

Electronic Transfer Fees: Is the lender’s fee for transferring the mortgage capital from the lender to the solicitor.

Estate Agent Costs: These are costs incurred by the seller to cover the costs of the estate agent’s services. Typically these costs range from 1% – 3% of the sale price plus 20% VAT.

Buildings Insurance: The lender will require you to take out buildings insurance to protect your new home against damage from floods, fire, subsidence and anything else that may cause damage to the property.

Leaseholders’ Cost: If you purchase a leasehold property then you will have to pay ground rent and service charges to the company that own the freehold. Service charges and ground rent admin fees are dependant on the property. Leasehold costs are an important factor when running a property so it is important that you do your research into charges demanded by the freehold owner.

Essential home packing tips


Tip 1 – Declutter

It might sound like the last thing you would want to make time for before you move house, but a good declutter can be a useful exercise.

If you declutter all areas of your house including; loft, garage, the shed etc then you will get to grips with exactly what you own. Having a new beginning like a move tends to help us focus on what’s got to go.

If you need any further encouragement to do this, then financially it will really help you during a very expensive time. The more things you remove then the less it will cost you to move your possessions.


Tip 2 – Plan what will live where

After a good declutter you should have a great idea of what’s in your home and what you will need to move into the new home.

A great tip here is to sit with a plan of your old house and a plan of your new house and write down what you want to move where – this will help with how smoothly your move-in day goes. A quick sketch of the floor plan will suffice for the job.

Tip 3 – Colour code your move

From the rough plan you’ve created, you can add a bit more clarity by colour coding what items need to go in which room. Now you need to make that a reality. A tip is to use sticky dots on the floor plan you’ve drawn up of the new house and colour code each room a different colour. Then go round the house and colour code the items I want to move into each of the rooms.


Tip 4 – Create a hierarchy of boxes

It is all well and good having colour coordinated boxes piled up in the correct room however what do you do when you find yourself in a room full of boxes? This is where we suggest you take labelling to the next level so you can find the ‘essentials boxes that you need to unpack immediately vs. the ones that can wait.

Our tip is to pack the essentials for each room and label them up with a star or some icon that make it’s clear that it’s an essential box.
Ensuring that you have what you need first; opened and ready to go.

Tip 5 – Keep the valuables and essentials with you

On moving day itself, you don’t want to run the risk of not being able to get your hands on what you need when you need it.

You never know what might happen when moving home, you might experience delays and you don’t want to be trying toiletries, bedding etc in an unfamiliar house when you’re tired and ready to sleep in your new home.

Tip 6 – Prioritise

Now you have got all the boxes in the right rooms in the new house – it’s time to work out what you’d like to unpack first! At this point the mammoth task can seem daunting.

Prioritising can really help with this as you want to be sure that you don’t spend half the day unpacking all your best china when you are better off spending time on what matters. After all, you can get the rest of your family to help with those items when they arrive!


Tip 7 – Use momentum

Although leaving boxes for another day is very tempting the trick is to not to stop where possible. Try and unpack while you have the energy and momentum to do so.

Leaving boxes for too long means they are likely to become invisible to you – before you know it, it’s three months down the line and your boxes are still lying around the house.

9 Reasons to Live in Bristol

1. The Best Place to Live

The Sunday Times Best Places to Live Guide chose Bristol as the best city to live in Britain in 2017. The city was also been named as one of the The 10 happiest cities to work in the UK by The Guardian.

2. A City Full of Creativity

The city has a rich creative background, home to the Oscar award-winning Aardman creators of Wallace and Gromit, Chicken Run and Creature Comforts. The infamous Banksy also helped to put Bristol on the map for street art, which has lead to the city hosting the biggest street art festival in Europe, Upfest.

3. Rich and Interesting History

Bristol is the global capital of natural history programme making. Over 25% of the world’s natural history films are made in Bristol, with the majority of these at the BBC’s Natural History Unit.

4. A Night to Remember

The city’s nightlife has a proven reputation, the club Motion has been named as one of only two UK venues to reach the top 20 clubs in the world.

5. Shopping Capital of the South West

Bristol has all of the shops you could ever want, but without the cramped mayhem or huge crowds you’d get in London. There’s something for everyone, whether it’s the huge 4-floor Primark, fancy Quaker Friars or the independent shops of Gloucester Road.

6. Unrivalled Views

The Clifton Suspension Bridge’s spectacular setting on the cliffs of the Avon Gorge has made it the defining symbol of Bristol, drawing thousands of visitors a year just to stroll across for views of the ancient Avon Gorge, elegant Clifton and the magnificent city beyond.

7. One of the Best Universities in the UK

Whether you are planning to move there for your own education, or will inevitably start a family there, then you will be pleased to hear that not only have the city’s secondary schools been named among the best in the country, but it is also home to two universities – including the University of Bristol, which has been ranked among the Top 20 in the UK.

8. European Green Capital of the Year

Bristol was the first UK city to win the prestigious award of European Green Capital for the year 2015. The city’s 40 years of pioneering environmental efforts were rewarded along with their willingness to take risks, look at new ideas, and  make ambitious plans for the future.

9. The Floating Harbour

Once a busy dock where sailors and merchants would trade goods and set sail for voyages of discovery, Bristol’s Harbourside is now an attractive, modern development filled with restaurants, bars, shops and hotels.

How long does it take to sell a house in Bristol?

Bristol is the capital of the South West, known as the star performer property market for the second year running. According to recent research by Strutt & Parker, the city is pulling in higher proportions of Londoners that have been falling for Bristol’s lifestyle and charm. When it comes to the property market it’s the city centre locations that have been racing ahead, the diverse local economy is ahead of its counterpart locations such as Cheltenham (6.4% house price growth), Exeter (5.8% house price growth), Bath (4.7% house price growth) and Winchester with a small growth of 1.7% growth over the last year. According to Knight Frank (October, 2017), Bristol is way ahead with 7.4% growth over the last year.

It is little wonder why Bristol has become so popular with home seekers, as Britains fastest-selling property market, homes on average take just 34 days ‘subject to contract’ to sell – making Bristol one of the speediest property markets in the UK. The regional city offers good career opportunities, a contemporary lifestyle and a good standard of living that appeal to those who have been priced out of the capital’s property market.

Strutt & Parker research shows that compared to the UK average of 61 days to sell, 63 in London and 93 in prime central London locations, Bristol in Somerset is headlining the property market. A sizeable proportion of metropolitan middle-class Londoners are leaving the capital for a city that has most of the benefits. Plus, you get more for your money, despite the buoyant market!

Finding the perfect location

Picking an area to live in isn’t easy or just about your available budget, it’s all about choosing a location that suits your family and your lifestyle. Read on to find out what to look for when choosing a new area to live in.

How to choose an area to relocate to

Before you look for your dream property, you need to decide on what area works best for your lifestyle needs. Choosing a location to move to can be one of the most important decisions you make, make the wrong decision and you will either be unhappy with your move choice or you will have to face the cost of moving once again.

There are plenty of reports available on the web on local house price reports – we recommend that all customers do their due diligence, however, this guide aims to create a checklist of factors to consider before moving that look outside of the box and from a home-seekers perspective.

Choosing an area within your budget

First and foremost you need to decide on an area that is within your budget and the type of property you’d like to live in. Decide roughly how much money you want to spend and how much equity (if needed) you can raise. See here for further advice on mortgages or finding the right time to buy.

What to consider when moving to a new area

If you’re moving to a different region, part of a town, country, or the world, then choosing a specific area is more difficult. It came take the time to get to know the area well enough to truly know whether you want to live there. Many factors cannot be made apparent when only being a visitor to the area. The UK housing market is highly dependant on the local market. Thorough research into individual streets can ensure that you are confident enough to when considering a potential offer for a property.

Decide on the type of property you want to move into

There are a number of things to consider:

  • What is the minimum number of bedrooms the property needs to have for you to consider?
  • Would you prefer garden space or a prime city centre location?
  • Would you like a new build property, a conversion or a property you can renovation?

Choose what type of area you want to live in

There are a number of things to consider:

  • Would you like a lively place with lots of life?
  • Do you want to be somewhere more rural and quiet? Do you relish the country lifestyle?
  • Are you willing to drive far to reach local amenities or do you want to be in walking distance of local shops?
  • How long does it take to get to work? To see friends?
  • Do you need to be in the local school catchment area?
  • Are there community grounds and leisure facilities available?

Look Into Transport Options Are To You

Undoubtedly popular housing areas tend to have excellent transport connections whether that be nearby access to the train station, bus and tram stop or good access to the motorway and aren’t too far from the airport. Noise pollution is something that should be considered especially if you prefer living in a more tranquil area of the country. Check the local flight path and motorway prevailing wind direction as any noise pollution will travel with the wind.

Opting For Areas With Reputable Schools

Where there are better schools there are more desirable properties on offer. There is a direct correlation between higher house prices, lower crime rates and overachieving school statistics. Well-educated children believe in their capability to be successful outside of the school environment and their ability to land a good job when they leave school.

Are there good employment opportunities available

Ambitious people may require access to larger cities with greater employment markets available. Moving to a big city, however, is not for everyone, if you’re moving from the countryside, consider how you are going to have to adapt your work-life balance.

Before relocating for a job or relocating to find a job make sure you do your research.

There are a number of things to consider:

  • Are you going to be forced to a long time commuting?
  • Are there alternative transport options?
  • Does the job provide the work-life balance you desire?
  • Have you done research into industries needing workers?

Number of home movers in the UK hits 10-year high

The number of homeowners moving house is at the highest level in 10 years, according to analysis by Lloyds Bank, despite warnings that the level of transactions has slumped.

Lloyds found that the number of homeowners getting a mortgage for a new home increased by 2%, up from 361,300 in 2016 to an estimated 370,300 last year.

This particular part of the market has been stimulated by continued low mortgage rates and higher demand for homes.

The estimated total number of mortgages last year was also the highest since 2007, at 729,300. This is up 4.1% from 700,800 in 2016, and 18% higher than the low in 2009, but far below the peak 10 years ago at 1.0138m.

Andrew Mason of Lloyds Bank, said: “We’ve seen a slight increase in the number of homemovers following a weak 2016. This could be down to low mortgage rates, rising house prices and high employment levels.

“House price increases will have boosted equity levels for many homeowners, enabling movement along the housing ladder. For the first time, home movers are choosing to pay an average deposit of over £100,000, with Londoners putting down nearly double this.”

“Taking advantage of increased equity levels by putting down a bigger deposit can really make a big difference towards what home movers can afford and can be the difference between a good home and the right home.”

The capital was the only area of the UK where there was a decline in the amount of mortgages secured by homemovers – down 6% last year as the market slowed due to a crunch on affordability and a slump in transactions.