The cheapest and most expensive places to buy property
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From derelict homes in run-down areas to £42 million mansions, we investigate extreme UK property prices.
In the great property boom of 1995 to 2007, millions of Brits found themselves priced off the property ladder as prices tripled in 12 years. Today, a typical British home costs an average of £161,094, according to July's Halifax House Price Index.
Empty homes going cheap
Then again, as I often remark, "averages invite comparisons" – in other words, any national average won't reflect the housing market in your area.
To reveal the extremes of the British property market, I've been looking for the UK's cheapest and most expensive homes currently for sale. Let's start by finding some ultra-cheap homes in need of plenty of care and attention...
Buy in Stoke for £1
Yesterday, the Daily Mail revealed what could well be Britain's cheapest road to buy a home in. As little as £1 might buy you a home in Bond Street in Tunstall, a suburb of Stoke-on-Trent.
Fed up with rising rates of vandalism, squatting, burglary and arson, Stoke-on-Trent City Council is aiming to sell run-down homes in Stoke for nominal sums. As part of an urban-regeneration scheme launching in 2013, backed by the council and £3.6 million of public money, you could theoretically buy one of thousands of empty properties in Stoke.
According to Council Tax records, there were 4,763 empty properties in Stoke in January 2011, 2,793 of which had been empty for six months or more. By turning abandoned properties into liveable homes, the council aims to improve living standards for all local residents.
Regenerating ghost towns
Of course, paying a quid for one of these derelict properties in the Potteries would be the start of a long journey. These broken-down buildings will require hundreds of hours of effort and thousands of pounds of improvements to make them habitable. Hence, perhaps only tough builders and hardened developers and investors need apply.
In addition, once you've renovated one of these properties, you have to live in it for five years before you can sell up and move on. Then again, to sweeten the deal, you get a £30,000 low-interest loan under the Housing Market Renewal Grant scheme.
In certain parts of the UK, notably the north of England, the Housing Market Renewal Grant scheme is being used to inject new life into former industrial centres turned into 'ghost towns'. To reverse a lack of investment in housing stock and deal with ever-rising waiting lists for council housing, the Government is putting tens of millions into this and similar 'kick start' schemes.
Other bargain basement buys
The Daily Mail claims that the cheapest house currently going to auction is the two-bedroom terraced home at 25 Faraday Street, Ferryhill in County Durham. In theory, it could be yours for £2,500, but this is merely the starting bid. Of course, this property needs to be fully refurbished before it could be rented out or resold. It's being auctioned on Thursday by Robinsons Auctions.
The other 115 northern properties currently up for auction with Robinsons include these 10 low-cost buildings in need of repair. As you'd expect, these potential homes are not in terribly good condition and most are in down-at-heel areas:
- £7,950 for the three-bedroom terrace at 12 East Coronation Street, Murton
- £7,950 for the two-bedroom flat at 23 Lyndhurst, Pallion, Sunderland
- £7,950 for the two-bedroom terrace at 24 Poplar Terrace, West Cornforth
- £12,000 for the two-bedroom terrace at 29 The Centre, Evenwood, Bishop Auckland
- £12,000 for the two-bedroom terrace at 5 Mayfair Road, Darlington
- £14,950 for the three-bedroom terrace at 12 Station Road, West Cornforth
- £14,950 for the two-bedroom terrace at 25 Almond Court, Shildon
- £16,000 for the three-bedroom terrace at 51 High Street, West Cornforth
- £19,950 for the two-bedroom terrace at 80 Sixth Street, Horden
- £22,500 for the three-bedroom terrace at 6 Tankerville Street, Hartlepool
As you can see, prices for terraced properties in run-down parts of County Durham and Teesside are incredibly low – demonstrating yet again that property markets are local, not national. Indeed, £22,500 wouldn't even buy you a one-car garage in my part of Hampshire.
Having been born and having spent my early years in the north east, I am distressed that communities and properties have become so run-down in large swathes of my homeland. Clearly, falling unemployment and rising crime have blighted these areas, their residents and the housing stock itself.
London's lap of luxury
Up at the very highest rungs of the property ladder lie some of the UK's most expensive properties. Many of these mega-mansions are for sale in upmarket parts of London such as Kensington, Chelsea, Mayfair and Westminster.
For example, if you won the £148 million jackpot currently up for grabs in the EuroMillions lottery, you could easily afford one of these five posh properties in England's capital city:
- Tregunter Road, Chelsea – A mere £42 million buys you two adjoining semi-detached villas that you could convert into a spacious, 11-bedroom London residence.
- The Bishops Avenue, Hampstead Garden Suburb – If you have £40 million to spend, then grab this eight-bedroom "imposing, newly built, ambassadorial residence" to get £50,000 in change.
- Hamilton Terrace, St John's Wood – £37,500,000 bags you this 10-bedroom, stylish, detached home "newly built to the highest of specifications, with interior designed by Bill Bennette".
- Lanterns Court, 38 Millharbour, Canary Wharf – Fancy becoming a landlord to the rich? Then £36 million will get you a 20-bedroom apartment block in the new financial district.
- Wilton Row, Knightsbridge – A snip at a mere £32 million, this six-bedroom, Grade II-listed townhouse was once "home to the late Baronet, Sir Percy Loraine, a British diplomat".
Once again, I think these prices are absolutely crazy, but no doubt some mega-rich foreigners will snap up these properties, eager to invest in a London bolthole. Personally, I wouldn't like to have such huge sums riding on London property when the 'euro tsunami' finally hits these shores!