Liverpool's housing bargains, millionaire buyers, and the rise in service charges: Property news

A rundown of the latest property statistics

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The Independent Online

New analysis from Which? Mortgage Advisers shows areas of England and Wales which have seen the largest increase in property prices in the past 12 months, but are still below £200,000. Liverpool's central “L1” is the top area on the up, with a price increase of 41 per cent, to an average of £120,000. Second and third were Conwy's “LL27” in North Wales and Bradford's “BD1”.

Neighbourly duties

Neighbours are more likely to be entrusted with housesitting duties than friends and relatives when people go away on holiday, according to a study from travel website The majority of those who ask their neighbours said they also trusted them to not snoop through their belongings. The research also revealed that 11 per cent of people don't ask anyone to check up on their home when on holiday.

Spring cleaning duties

Seven in 10 people will have a go at a spring clean this season and will each spend on average 11 hours doing so. The figures from British Gas show the cleanest city is Norwich where residents spend 15 hours on the yearly scrub.

Man cave or She shed?

Two-thirds of homeowners and tenants have a shed in their garden, according to figures from garden retailer Waltons. Of these, half use their sheds as storage but given the choice the most popular change of use would be into a summerhouse, followed by a “man cave/she shed”. Around 44 per cent of people polled also said that one of the features they look for when choosing their new home is a shed in the garden. Meanwhile, the annual search for the nation's finest sheds is now underway. Sponsors Cuprinol are working with Airbnb to encourage people to take holidays in these classics of microarchitecture as 'shedcations'. To enter go to

Cash buyers for £1m-plus homes

More than 7,200 £1m-plus homes are being bought a year without mortgages, says Bower Private Clients, with the average cash buyer spending £1.75m. London heads the locations list, followed by the South-east and South-west.

Home extensions

A third of homeowners have carried out a home extension or significantly improved their home in the past five years. said that updating kitchens and bathrooms topped the list of improvements, followed by investing in energy efficient measures including new boilers, central heating systems and double glazing. However, only 48 per cent of homeowners informed their home insurer about major work they have carried out on their property.

Financial stress

A report by Sainsbury's Bank looking at the biggest financial challenges facing families indicates that three-quarters of people have some kind of financial stress. Around 5 per cent of those said their biggest concern was the cost of housing, on a par with their children's financial future and interest rate rises.

Home sales on the move

Home sales in February were more than 9 per cent higher in England and Wales compared to the same month last year. The largest jump was in Poole, up 21 per cent with particular demand for flats in Sandbanks. The report from Your Move also indicates that Hull's average house prices were up 0.9 per cent month-on-month to a new high of £111,409, thanks in part to its City of Culture status. In London, house prices leapt £36,903 in the past year. 

Rising service charges

Property service charges are rising rapidly with a third of management companies increasing fees in the past two years. The average charge leaseholders pay to cover their share of building maintenance is now £1,863, according to Direct Line. Its figures show charges for newbuild properties are £2,777, 96 per cent higher than the average for an older property.

Next door

Birmingham residents make the most helpful neighbours according to a survey by Anglian Home Improvements while those in Edinburgh claim to know their neighbours the best and those in Leeds the least.