Property news roundup: Is it worth dressing an unfurnished property to attract tenants?

Plus, first time buyers' wishlists, latest house prices, and home buying costs

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The Independent Online

Not all properties on the online property portals look their best in the galleries of photographs which accompany their details. But the results of an experiment by online letting agent Upad suggests that temporarily furnishing a property does make a difference.

In December 2013 Upad advertised the same property twice, one listing had photos of the property entirely unfurnished, the other contained sofas, beds, blinds, rugs and tables from Landlord Furniture specialists Loft Interiors.

After three weeks, 25 per cent more people had clicked through the furnished property and 75 per cent more had enquired about it. The eventual tenant came via the furnished property ad.

Three bedroom home tops wishlist for first time buyers 

First time buyers are nothing if not optimistic according to according to figures from Clydesdale and Yorkshire Banks which shows that a three bedroom house is the ideal choice for almost a third of those surveyed, with a quarter saying they would prefer a two bedroom flat. Only seven per cent are aiming at a one bedroom flat.

Nearly two thirds of Londoners are opting for a flat in contrast to Wales where 87 per cent would prefer a house.

Andrew Pearce, Retail Director for Clydesdale and Yorkshire Banks, said: "Many are now aiming for a larger property as their first home as they believe this is a good investment for the future."

House prices up 5.5% in the last 12 months

The latest figures from the Office for National Statistics also show that:

* The average UK house price was £250,000 in December 2013.

* House prices grew by 5.7 per cent in England, 4.8 per cent in Wales, 0.5 per cent in Scotland and 4.8 per cent in Northern Ireland.

* English house prices were powered by rises in London (12.3  per cent), the East (4.6 per cent) and the West Midlands (4.3 per cent) - excluding London and the South East, UK house prices increased by 3.1  per cent

* In December 2013 prices paid by first-time buyers were 7.4  per cent higher on average than in December 2012

It costs around £10,000 to buy a home

Property portal Zoopla has estimated that the cost of buying an average home - including Stamp Duty and legal fees - is now £10,000.