Property news roundup: Forget castles, detached houses are the most popular dream home

Plus rent rises slow and Essex house prices up

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The Independent Online

A detached house is the ideal UK property for most homehunters.

Nearly one in five people in a new survey by mortgage and loan broker say that this is the home that they most covet, compared to just one in 20 who would go for a castle or historic mansion.

Bunglows (just under 13 per cent) and flats (6.5 per cent) are also ahead of castles and converted barns/churches (5.6 per cent). A little cottage in the country is popular with 17 per cent - slightly highers in Yorkshire and the East Midlands - and 15 per cent would prefer a farmhouse with a smallholding of land than a city townhouse (4.7 per cent).

"Rates of homeownership may continue to decline but the idea of owning our own place remains deeply engrained," said Ian Williams, spokesman for Ocean Finance. "Typically we have fairly modest aspirations, preferring a detached house to a 'Grand Design'. And while most of us live in urban areas, the draw of rural living in the chocolate box' country cottage remains very strong."

Rent rises falling...

Rent rises across England and Wales have slowed to be just 0.6 per cent higher than a year ago, according to LSL Property Services.

Its report says that the average rent is now £741 per month compared to £736 in April 2013, although April rents are nearly 13 per cent higher than in January 2010. 

"Private renting is not in any form of crisis," commented David Newnes, director of estate agents Reeds Rains and Your Move, part of LSL. "Not only are rents rising more slowly than inflation, but the cost of private renting is also rising in line with household incomes. Even before the economic weather changed so recently, the last few years have seen rent rises dwarfed by inflation most of the time.  Meanwhile the private rented sector has absorbed millions of households while other tenures have been unable to take up the slack.

The fastest annual increase in rents is in the South West, up 4.3 per cent since April 2013, followed by a 3.2 per cent for the East Midlands and a 2.4 per cent increase in the North West.The North East has experienced the greatest drop, down by 3 per cent. Rents were also down 2.8 per cent in the East of England, two per cent in the West Midlands, and just under one per cent in Yorkshire and the Humber.

... but at new high in London

Data from HomeLet suggests that the average cost of renting a home in Greater London reached a new high last month, increasing by 9.4 per cent compared to April 2013 to £1,348 per month.

It marks the largest annual increase in the capital’s average rental figure since April 2011 and means tenants in Greater London are paying rents close to double that of the rest of the UK.Across the rest of the UK, the average cost of renting a home increased by 2.9 per cent during April to £848 per month.

Essex house prices up by 14 per cent

Over the last 12 months, house prices in Essex are up by 14 per cent, with the average house price now £303,037. The figures from Balgores Property Group indicate that house prices in Basildon have shown the highest increase, up 19 per cent, with Chelmsford up by 11 per cent, Brentwood by eight per cent and Romford seven per cent. 

Martin Gibbon, Group Director of Balgores Property Group, said: "Basildon is booming. The leap in average house prices in the area is mirrored by a huge rise in rent prices, up by 30 per cent year-on-year."