Who owns the ground under your house? Property news roundup

Plus, effects of mortgage rate rises, estate agents keen to diversify, and prime central London

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A new publication from the Land Registry called Historical Rights provides useful information about who owns the land below your home. It includes sections on who can take minerals away (even if the owner of the surface disagrees), chancel repairs (liability to pay for the repair of local Anglican parish churches), and manorial rights (who can hunt or fish).

Prime prices

House prices in what estate agents call 'prime' central London have risen sharply, according to Knight Frank, up from £3.7 million on average between March and May this year, to £4.7 million between June and August.

Its latest report shows that Italians have been the largest group of overseas buyers in 2014 so far, accounting for six per cent of sales in this price band, followed by French (4.1 per cent) and Russians (3.8 per cent).

Meanwhile, estate agent W.A. Ellis reports that the lettings market for prime central London is also buoyant, with a 14 per cent increase in tenancies starting in August compared to the same August 2013.

Two thirds of estate agents keen to diversify

Around 68 per cent of high street estate agents are happy to consider bringing in a range of tailored services for homemovers, according to a survey from Move with Us.

Elements of such a bundle of services would include a combination of listing a property for sale on Rightmove and/or Zoopla only, taking professional photos, writing the property description as well as handling viewings and negotiations if required.

Move with Us also reports that 70 per cent of estate agents have seen competition increase in their local area with a rise in the number of new offices opening nearby in the last three months. 

Base rate rise misery

Almost two million homeowners would be unable to afford mortgage repayments following a base rate rise of two per cent, according to research from investment specialists Nutmeg. A third of the 4,000 homeowners polled said they wouldn’t be able to afford their mortgage if rates rose to 5.5 per cent.

One in eight homeowners - and nearly a quarter of those in London - said they were concerned that they had bought their property at the peak of its value. A similar figure said that they felt pressured by society to become a homeowner.

However, almost two thirds expect that their property will give them better long-term gains than other investments such as a portfolio of stocks and shares.