The advent of the Internet has made accessibility to property information far more available than ever. This is particularly useful for investors who need to ascertain what prices are being paid in the market if they are to be able to make the right investment decisions.
One of the most important recent developments in this respect was the decision of the Land Registry to record the prices paid for all property transactions. If you are scared of missing out on important news and information, don’t be.
Here at Property Hawk we are committed to bring you all the latest information on the residential investment market as soon as it happens.
Now it is possible to get a really good ‘feel’ about what an area is like without even stepping outside your front door. A company called CACI limited have set up a ‘geodemograhpic classification tool’ called ACORN. This data groups every community in the country into 56 neighbourhood categories based on their socio economic characteristics. The website www.upmystreet.co.uk carries some of this basic data. Using the postcode of any property and the associated ACORN classification you can get a pretty clear impression of the character of an area without even setting foot outside your front door. As well as the ACORN classifications the website also provides a whole range of data and information about local facilities in the area. One particular interesting feature is the ability to view a graph of house price performance over time and then compare one area against another.
If you want to know more about what is happening in a town or locality with respect to redevelopment or regeneration proposals. Try using one of the search engines like Google. Type in a suitable search phrase and see what comes up. For instance, by typing in “Regeneration & Hastings” you are alerted to the fact that there are big plans for the Town. You can then see what these plans are by going to the Regeneration Company’s web site.
Check out what the socio economic profile of the area is on www.upmystreet.co.uk together with average prices for the different types of property. Finally, have a look at one of the property portals to look at individual properties for sale and see if there are any bargains. I would always strongly recommend a visit to the area and that you undertake a proper viewing before seriously considering buying. You can only do so much online. Nothing beats the actual sights and sounds to get the ‘real’ feel of an area and the local market.
How to find out about regeneration initiatives?
Probably the best way is to keep an ‘eye on’ the national papers. The Sunday editions are particularly good and carry extensive coverage of regeneration developments. I also use a property industry publication called Property Week, which I subscribe to. The Internet is always a useful source. Try doing straight searches through a search engine either using key words such as “UK regeneration” or more specific area based terms such as; “Hastings regeneration”.
The two big Government backed regeneration organisations are the ODPM and English Partnerships. Use their websites to get up to date information.
Some of the biggest regeneration initiatives taking place currently are reviewed below.
1. The Thames Gateway
The Thames Gateway comprises of 500,000 acres of land east of London. It is the biggest ‘brownfield’ site in Europe. The Government aims to have 60,000 houses and 180,000 new jobs in it by 2016.
Set within the Thames Gateway (see above). Stratford is not only on the line of the Channel Tunnel link to Paris but also is in the area to be redeveloped as part of the 2012 London Olympics. This area is already under development by a consortium that own 73 hectares of land and propose to develop Stratford City which when complete will comprise of 1.3 million square metres of mixed uses including residential and retail.
3. Olympics 2012
The site of the London 2012 Olympics encompasses land to the north east of London in the Lower Lea Valley. A projected £3.9m of regeneration and development will transform this neglected area into 200 hectare Olympic site. As well as providing facilities for the event, it is also proposed to build 9000 new homes in the area. The site adjoins the Stratford City development.
The scale of these two developments dwarfs other regeneration proposals in the UK, of which there are many. One area in the north that caught my attention was a former seaside town.
Urban Splash is a developer that is not only well known but also respected for their work in regenerating areas of inner city Manchester have teamed up with English Partnerships to try and work some of their magic in the faded northern seaside resort of Morecambe. The aim is to rejuvenate the area around the art deco Midland Hotel and turn this small seaside town (pop 45,000) into the ‘Brighton’ of the north.
One of the best ways of finding out what is going on in the local development market is to read your local paper. If you do this on a regular basis you should be kept up to date with most planning and development proposals. In my home city Nottingham, it was a standing joke amongst my colleagues in the Council that if we really wanted to know what was going on you needed to read the local evening paper, The Evening Post. This even related to projects we were working on! If you don’t trust the aptitude of your local ‘rag’ then there is always direct contact with the council. Go in to the offices and see what they are up to. If you are on the Internet you could always look at their site or even do a search on the area you are interested in. It’s amazing how much information is now online.
With all this information literally at our ‘fingertips’ it is now easier than ever to research and find an investment bargain. To have a look at some of the most useful and interesting sites on the Web have a look at our Recommended Links. If you want to know more about using this information to find property investments which are likely to outperform the market, try consulting the Landlords Bible.
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