Paula Jones: Markets News

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The Independent Online

GOING UP...

Second-home ownership. The rise in buy-to-let has been well-documented, with more than a million buy-to-let mortgages now outstanding. But the number of people who own a property other than their main residence that is not for letting out has also shot up in recent years. The Council of Mortgage Lenders reveals that the number of second homes in England has risen by 30 per cent in the last decade, while the number of English households with a second home abroad has doubled over the same period.

WHERE IS BRITAIN'S TOP SECOND-HOME HOTSPOT? TURN TO PAGE 7

GOING DOWN...

The proportion of properties failing to sell at auction, which has fallen to its lowest level in three years. The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors reports that tighter mortgage-lending policies and concern over the future of the British housing market meant that only 57 per cent of properties that fell under the auctioneer's hammer in the last three months of 2007 were sold, compared to 69 per cent in the same period a year ago. Altogether, 4,539 properties were sold in that time, leaving 3310 properties unsold at auction houses as demand has weakened – a rise of more than 50 per cent from a year earlier.

GO FIGURE... 35%

The number of people who would be put off buying a home if it had a pink front door. Research carried out by Co-operative Bank Mortgages found that the most popular colour is white, winning favour with 29 per cent of those surveyed, followed by red (20 per cent) and blue (16 per cent). Once inside the house, 39 per cent would be deterred by a bad smell, with dampness the worst offender. Predictably, freshly baked bread was likely to tempt buyers. But no matter how sweet your home smells, you may struggle if you don't have a garden – 74 per cent of people would not consider purchasing a property without one.

Paula John is editor-in-chief of Your Mortgage

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