Hull has more stamp duty exempt properties than anywhere else in the country


London, 27th October, 2014 — Hull is revealed as the most first-time buyer friendly city in the UK, as new figures show that the city has the highest percentage of properties for sale under the £125,000 zero percent stamp duty threshold, according to research carried out by property search engine

With 738 out of 1175 properties currently for sale in Hull being marketed at £125,000 or less, that’s almost two thirds (63%) of all available property stock in the city that is not liable to a stamp duty charge. Properties above £125,000 automatically incur a stamp duty charge of at least 1% of the purchase price.

With recent figures showing an 11% rise in first time buyers, looked at the number of properties currently for sale at or under £125,000 in 40 of the major towns and cities across the UK, and ranked them as a percentage of the total number of properties being marketed.

The data revealed that eight of the top 10 towns and cities with the largest percentage of zero percent stamp duty properties were in the north of England. Apart from Hull, more than 50% of properties in Bradford and Barnsley, and more than 40% in Sheffield, Wigan, Middlesbrough, Bolton and Liverpool, were on sale for £125,000 or less. Predictably, London fared the worst with less than half a percent – just 69 properties out of almost 27,000 across the capital – falling into the zero percent stamp duty bracket.

Several of the country’s oldest university towns are decidedly first time buyer unfriendly. Cambridge and Oxford came third and fourth respectively in the list of towns/cities with the lowest percentage of zero percent stamp duty properties, each with less than 1% of all properties for sale. While, Edinburgh fared little better at sixth, with just 4% of homes for sale in the lower price bracket.

The figures also highlighted a gulf within certain regions of the country. York and Leeds are separated by a mere 14 miles as the crow flies, yet in terms of being first-time buyer friendly, they’re worlds apart, with less than one in 20 properties for sale in York at £125,000 or less, compared to one in three in Leeds.

The following table shows the towns or cities with the highest percentage of properties for sale at £125,000 or less:


The following table shows the towns or cities with the lowest percentage of properties for sale at £125,000 or less:


Andy Hatoum, co-founder of, comments: “Our research highlights the reason why campaigns calling for an overhaul of stamp duty charges are gaining traction in the run up to next year’s general election.

“Properties falling within the stamp duty exemption bracket are now at dangerously low levels in many areas, particularly in the south and midlands.

“Unsurprisingly, first-time buyers or those looking for a bargain, have greater options in the north of the country, with higher numbers of properties for sale that are unencumbered by the added financial burden of stamp duty costs.

“More needs to be done to help first-time buyers. Although numbers are rising, getting onto the property ladder is still out of reach for many.”


Swansea is most affordable place in the UK for second steppers looking to buy first family house


  • Edinburgh is least affordable for second steppers, with average price difference of 124.7% between flat and first house
  • London – price difference between flat and first house for second steppers is £463,580
  • Four Scottish cities; Edinburgh, Dundee, Aberdeen and Glasgow, appear in list of least affordable places for second steppers
  • Two east England locations; Norwich and Ipswich, rank in the top three most affordable locations to be a second stepper

London, 20th August, 2014 — Swansea is the most affordable place in the UK for second stepper couples looking to buy their first family home, with the average price of a house only 9.6% more than the average price of a flat, according to research carried out by property search engine,

Figures show that homeowners on the first rung of the property ladder in Swansea have the smallest percentage jump to the second rung. The average price of a one to two bedroom flat in Swansea is £133,561, compared to £146,448 for a terraced or semi-detached house. That’s a price difference of just £12,887, which is around 57% of the average annual salary in Swansea, which stands at £22,829
The problem of second stepping has forced couples across the UK to stay in their first properties, which are often flats, much longer than they would like. figures reveal towns and cities around the UK where the second step, from flat to a terraced or semi-detached house, is the largest and smallest. Only major towns and cities have been considered for this research.

The east of England came out as the most affordable region of the country for second stepper couples, with Norwich and Ipswich featuring in the top three places for most affordable second stepper towns or cities. The average percentage price difference between a terraced/semi-detached house compared to a flat in Norwich and Ipswich is 18.4% and 19.5% respectively.

This compares with Edinburgh, which came out as being the least affordable place in the UK for second steppers based on the percentage difference between the price of a house versus a flat. Couples in Edinburgh looking to buy their first family home face a mammoth 124.7% extra or £180,285 more to purchase an average terraced/semi-detached house (£324,874), compared to a one to two bedroom flat (£144,589). With the average salary in Edinburgh around £31,040, that extra cost to step up is 581% more than the average wage.

Predictably, London is the least affordable city when you look at the actual amount of money required to jump from the first rung to the second rung of the ladder, with couples facing the prospect of having to find an extra £463,580 to move from a flat to their first house. That’s a staggering 1079% of the annual central London salary of £42,970, which explains why many couples have to move out of the capital to second step. figures reveal that Scotland actually has the two least affordable places for second steppers, with Edinburgh closely followed by Dundee, where couples looking to buy their first family home are looking at an average additional cost of £79,089 to do so. Aberdeen and Glasgow also feature high up on the list, with average second steps of £101,718 and £53,040 respectively.
The following table shows the most affordable towns or cities for second steppers looking at the price difference of an average 1-2 bedroom flat compared to a terraced or semi-detached house:

Screen Shot 2014-09-03 at 12.29.53

The following table shows the least affordable towns or cities for second steppers, looking at the price difference of an average 1-2 bedroom flat compared to a terraced or semi-detached house:

Screen Shot 2014-09-03 at 12.30.41

Andy Hatoum, co-founder of, comments: “These figures show that the gap between the first and second rung of the property ladder in many areas of the UK remains too wide for many couples to consider buying their first family house.

“The second step is the often the hardest step to take on the property ladder. But it’s also the most important for many couples, as this is the property they stay in for years to raise a family. It’s not just the price differential between a flat and a house, there’s also the additional costs of purchase such as stamp duty, extra mortgage and furnishing costs that need to be met.

“Many couples have to put off moving, and accept they might to have to raise a family in cramped conditions and in areas not necessarily suited to bringing up children. Inevitably, relocation becomes a topic of conversation around the dinner table, but this is not always an option if work or family commitments mean they have to stay local or face horrendous commuter journeys.”


New mortgage rules: Advice for borrowers

mortgage agreement

New mortgage rules have been introduced by the Financial Conduct Authority (FSA) on the 26th of April that require mortgage lenders perform a full affordability check on applicants to ensure that they can afford their mortgage now and in the future.

There are a number of actions you can take to improve your chances of getting a mortgage and minimise delays:

Review and keep hold of your payslip and bank statements

Applicants will be required to supply a number of documents that prove income and expenditure which include 3 to 6 months payslips, bank statements and detailed outgoing figures. Self employed applicants will be required to provide track records going back up to 3 years and evidence of work in the future.

Avoid gambling, going overdrawn and using payday loans as they are viewed negatively by lenders.

Create a budget plan

Lenders use affordability calculators that take account of all spending. They will access if you can afford to pay for your repayments now and in the future. Ensure you have sufficient disposable income for all your outgoings and the new mortgage. Also take into account surprises such as a rise in interest rates. Make sure you include any payments that will no longer exist after a new mortgage is taken out and avoid taking out any new debt.

Ensure you’re on the electoral role

This will help lenders identify you. If you are not already on there you can apply to get on the electoral register for free on GOV.UK.

Check you credit report

Lenders use credit agencies to determine your affordability and risk. You can obtain a copy of your credit report from credit agencies such as Experian and Equifax for a statutory price of £2. Make sure that all the details on your report are correct. Contact and try to resolve any issues with the companies in question directly.

Where can I afford to live in London? | Find a property for Sale


London’s last 100k homes

We found just five properties in London advertised for less that £100,000, excluding retirement properties, shared ownership homes and those sold at auction.

This may be the last time we see properties under £100,000 being sold in the capital – well on land least, as the only homes available in this category are houseboats.

Take a look and let us know what you think:




UK House prices in 2014

The latest house price index from Halifax has revealed that prices in the three months to December were 7.5% higher than in the same three months the previous year.

These latest (Halifax) figures show just how tricky it is to gauge exactly where the property market is on its road to recovery.Nationwide’s last figures showed a 1.4% rise in property prices in December, while Halifax reveal a 0.6% decline, which is what we would typically expect to see as activity drops off before and over the festive period.

The difference between now and 12 months ago, when we were seeing this type of conflicting data, is that at that time there were very few new properties coming onto the market and very few people buying.

Now buyer confidence is back with a vengeance in many parts of the country, fueled by a continued supply of cheap mortgages and a more buoyant economy, and it’s only a lack of supply that is holding them back.

The slight worry is that mixed in with this confidence is a degree of fear, especially amongst first time buyers, that if they don’t take the plunge now they will be left behind as lack of supply and buyer demand drives prices higher and out of reach.

The next few months are going to provide a crucial indicator as to where we are in the housing market cycle. The market is building up a head of steam but there will be concerns that property prices are starting to rise at an unsustainable rate, especially in London and the Home Counties.

The hope is that we will see more steady growth at the start of 2014 supported by a much stronger supply of new properties coming onto the market.


Advice on buying a property

Home for saleFinding a property

There is a growing trend that has been moving from prospective buyers looking in estate agents’ windows to looking for property on line. The problems is that there are so many property websites on the internet to choose from that offer property for sale adverts from various agents. This is where Placebuzz can help. The search engine aggregates properties found on other property websites so that you can search them all from a single place. When you search for property, you also get up to date average prices in the area  you are looking based on what’s currently on the market. Finding the right property may take a while, so do ensure that you register on the site so that you start receiving instant alerts of properties matching your search as soon as they are advertised.

It’s all about location

When looking for a property to buy, it’s becoming increasingly more important for buyers to try and find a property near work.This makes absolute sense as for a lot of people, most of the time is going to be spent at work. You may be unaware of areas within your budget that have decent transport links which are going to get you to your work in a reasonable time. Placebuzz is your friend here offering an excellent research tool for finding the right property. If you live in London,  try out the commute search. You simply enter the location of you work and your budget and it suggests areas where you can live. It will also provide you with up to date area and transport information. For more information about this feature, read our previous blog around discovering new areas to live.

Viewing properties

Here are some useful tips to keep in mind when looking for the house of your dreams:

  • Don’t loose out, make appointments and view the properties as soon as possible. If you leave it too long the property may get snapped up.
  • Try to arrange for viewings on your lunch hours or on the way to and from work.
  • Make as many visits as you need and bring a builder with you if needed to find out what you may be letting yourself in for.
  • Check the history of the property. If it’s been rented for a long time, it may have had many landlords who may have done the minimum in repair and maintenance.
  • Be careful for signs of a superficial renovation that is hiding more serious work to be done.
  • If you’re thinking about buying a property to renovate and sell on, check how long it’s been on the market first. If it’s been on the market for a very long time, this may indicate that there isn’t a lot of profit to be made. Placebuzzz provides you with the date the property was first instructed.

Making an offer

You may be very tempted to put a low offer but be careful if you find the ideal home. If it seems to be priced right, consider offering near or the full asking price as you’ll be taken  more seriously. This will also make it less likely for another party to step in. You probably also want to ensure that all internet adverts for the property have been removed once your offer has been accepted.


One in three property chains fall apart for various reasons so communication is the key here. Under current British house-buying and selling practice, little can be done to change this. Some welcome improvements have been introduced by the  Government that require Home Information Pack (HIP) to be provided to prospective buyers on request. Stay in touch regularly with your solicitor and estate agent to make sure everything is on track and bear in mind that you need to be flexible if you want to keep the chain going.


Top 5 UK house prices league by location in the past year


The average house prices in the UK slipped last month by 0.4pc according to Nationwide index figures. Over the past year there are winners and losers. Let’s take a look at the top 5 price hikes in pictures over the past 12 months.

Number 1 house price riser – Brighton

Houses for sale in Brighton are up 6pc to £314,209

Brighton – Number 1 house price riser

Second house price riser – Nottingham

Houses for sale in Nottingham are up 4pc to £143,476

Nottingham – Second house price riser

Third house price riser – Aberdeen

Houses for sale in Aberdeen are up 4pc to £229,450

Aberdeen – Third house price riser

Fourth house price riser –

Houses for sale in Cambridge are up 3pc to £328,735

Cambridge – Fourth house price riser

Fifth house price riser – Liverpool

Houses for sale in Liverpool are up 2pc to £146,880

Liverpool – Fifth house price riser