by Mark Johnston
Buying an Ex Council House.
As raising a deposit for a mortgage can take years now for the average first time buyer and even then many potential buyers are priced out of the market, it now seems that many ex-council estates are slowly starting to fill up with first time buyers that are eager to get themselves onto the property ladder at an affordable price.
A few years ago buying an ex-local authority property was the preserve of the buy to let investor but now the UK’s stock of around 2 million ex-local authority properties has started to look attractive to the first time buyer.
Property prices present the most compelling reason for buying an ex council property as they are not just cheaper they are often massively so.
Property experts state that price can vary according to the nature of the building and the location of the property but even the very beat ex council developments will be cheaper than new builds.
A report published in the Telegraph recently suggested that if councils sold all the homes that become free in an average year they could potentially raise £4.5 billion in revenue.
It was also suggested that this revenue could then be ploughed back in to 170,000 new build properties in cheaper parts of the country.
However these types of houses have gained a bad reputation in the past and can have a certain unattractive stigma that comes with them.
While most ex council house have seamlessly merged in to the market since ‘right to buy was introduced in the 80’s buyers still have to balance the benefits of great location, great space and of course great price with the ex council stigma.
One of things to bear in mind is that councils bought many Victorian and Georgian houses that were originally built for private sale as part of grandiose regeneration schemes, many of which came to nothing.
Many ex council houses often have more space, tend to be built with thicker walls and have better layouts than private developments. Also in many cases they are in or very near to desirable locations for city workers.
Although buyers should also beware as some ex council houses are not always hidden gems. Some lenders are reluctant to lend on ex council houses are in general they do not go up much in price compared to normal houses.
Before buyers commit to buying an ex council house they should find out when the property was originally bought from the council as according to housing charity shelter “if the current owner bought the property from the council with in the last 3 years they will have to pay all or part of the ‘right to buy’ discount back to the council”.
All this said each local authority property is different and it is u to the individuals looking to buy to judge the area and decide whether it is a good investment or not!
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