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Having seen lots of properties over two years, we were delighted when we met Murray Lee and consequently found our future home. Murray was extremely helpful and thorough throughout the purchase process ensuring that both sides were kept on top of things thus allowing the purchase to go through very quickly and with relative ease. After exchange, Murray went over and above his duties helping us with access for suppliers to measure up and even for furniture to be delivered before completion so that we could settle in our new home as soon as possible. We would definitely recommend Dreamview to anyone selling or buying a properly. Thank you Murray.

Record numbers of home wners expect house prices to rise further in 2014

A record number of households in the UK believe that the value of their home will rise over the coming 12 months, the latest sentiment index shows.

The future House Price Sentiment Index from Knight Frank and Markit Economics, which measures what households think will happen to the value of their property over the next year, jumped to a new high of 72.3 in January.

This is up from 70.5 in December, and past the previous record high of 71.1 set in October 2013. It shows that more than a half of respondents said they expected the value of their home to rise in 2014, with only 6.4% anticipating a decline.

Looking at the current HPSI, households perceived that the value of their home rose in January, the tenth consecutive month that households reported a rise in the value of their property. January’s reading is slightly lower than December’s record high of 59.4. A more detailed look at the regional breakdown indicates that households throughout the UK perceive that the value of their home is on the rise.

Households in London at 69.2 and the East of England at 64.6 reported the largest rise in prices in January, while those in the North West at 53.7 indicated that their homes had experienced the most modest increase in values.

Overall some 22.5% of the 1,500 home owners surveyed across the UK said that the value of their home had risen over the last month, up from 7.7% in January last year. Only 5.1% of households said the value of their home had fallen over the last month, giving a HPSI reading of 58.7. Any figure under 50 indicates that prices are falling, and the lower the figure, the steeper the decline. Any figure over 50 indicates that prices are rising.

Households in every region expect the value of their home to rise over the next 12 months, with expectations rising to a record high in South East at 77.9, the East of England at 76.6, the East Midlands at 73 and the North East at 71.7.  Londoners at 79 still expect stronger price growth than other areas of the country.

‘UK house price expectations rose to their highest level for at least five years in January as the favourable mortgage climate, improving labour market conditions and upgrades to the economic outlook bolstered the consensus view that property values will continue to climb over the course of 2014,’ said Tim Moore, senior economist at Markit.

‘There are now eight UK households forecasting prices to rise over the year ahead for every one household that expects a reduction in their property value. While households in the capital continue to indicate the fastest rises in current property values, the latest survey signals that other regions are rapidly catching up with London in terms of expected price rises,’ he explained.

Households in the Midlands and North East recorded the steepest jumps in price expectations since last month, helping bring down the difference between Londoners’ house price forecasts and those of the rest of the UK to one of the lowest seen since late 2011,’ he added.

Gráinne Gilmore, head of UK residential research at Knight Frank, pointed out that the expectation that house prices are set to rise is widespread across the UK. ‘The improving economic picture, coupled with the Government’s Help to Buy scheme which is helping to boost activity levels in the market is bolstering expectations of capital growth,’ she said.

‘Those who have built up most equity in their home expect prices to rise most strongly, with those aged over 55 tipping the biggest price rises over the next year. However mortgage borrowers expect slightly bigger house price rises than those who own their home outright,’ she added.


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Basement and Cellar Conversions – Points to Consider

For those that have a basement or cellar area beneath their property, there is a great opportunity to convert this and update into a living space. A cellar is usually unused, or at best is simply a storage room, much like a garage or loft. Being under the ground, cellars are also extremely prone to damp and mould issues.

To convert a cellar, you are effectively adding a room to your property and there is no reason why it cannot be both a bright and important part of your house.

There are several things to think about before pushing on with a conversion project, not least finding a reputable basement and cellar conversion company. Always ask for references and quotes beforehand, so you are aware of the budgetary requirements. It is worth enquiring about the duration of the project too, as the work can infringe upon your living somewhat. To be prepared is to be of benefit to you.

The waterproofing of a cellar is one of the most important areas of the conversion process. If this isn’t done properly, then the problem will continue until it is rectified. The waterproofing protects all the fixtures and fittings, the internal structures of the wall and helps fight the deterioration of all materials within the cellar. The last thing you want is for your furniture and floors to start accumulating mould and damp spots. Cellars are very susceptible to this, given that they don’t have natural air ventilation and are closer to the earth’s moisture from groundwater.

If the damp is very bad, then there may need to be other solutions to get round the persistent problem. Certain water proofing systems can be installed, whereby drainage channels are created, so as the water finds a way to leave the location safely, without interfering with the property’s walls.

Other good tips to try and follow are to obtain a completion certificate from your local authority and to have a building inspector to come and assess the works. This will help when you plan to move and sell your home and in turn, gain the most amount of profit from the new works.  

To have a cellar conversion isn’t a simple decision to take, but a good conversion can add value to your home and also bring delight to you as an extra space. Cellars can be used as another bedroom or play room or even a bathroom.




Golders Green, west London: one suburb, two very different neighbourhoods

It’s a given that Saturday afternoon is the busiest time of the week on the high street. Not so in Golders Green.

This north-west London suburb is home to a sizeable Orthodox Jewish community and is therefore at its quietest at that time, in contrast to Hampstead and Brent Cross down the road. Come nightfall, though, it bursts into life, with many cafés and food stores staying open until well into the early hours.

Golders Green is used to contrasts, as two very different neighbourhoods fall within its precincts.

Firstly, there’s Golders Green itself, a cultural and religious hub with shops and eateries spread along Golders Green Road and the Temple Fortune section of Finchley Road. Then there’s Hampstead Garden Suburb, a mix of quiet residential streets and green spaces.

Shops in Golders Green include kosher delis, butchers and bakeries, plus major coffee chains. Golders Green Road has Carmelli, renowned for bagels and Solly’s for shawarma.

Here, too, are several sushi restaurants, signifying the area’s expanding Japanese population.

Temple Fortune boasts a Waitrose, M&S Food and smart boutiques. Piacere serves fabulous breakfasts and coffee, and Nu Nosh – formerly the Din café – is always packed.

Residential streets are tucked behind the main roads, which meet at the crossroads opposite the station. Many houses were built in the 1920s and 1930s and have been extended, had garages converted into extra accommodation and front gardens paved over to cater for the cars of the large families who live in them.

The best roads in Golders Green border Golders Hill Park, with its small zoo, tennis courts and a popular café.

Residents in one of these roads, West Heath Avenue, weren’t too happy back in the autumn of 2009 to find their normally peaceful street besieged by crowds of screaming teenagers. The reason? It was the location of the X Factor house where the finalists – Olly Murs, Jedward and eventual winner Joe McElderry among them – were staying.

Hampstead Garden Suburb, referred to by locals simply as the Suburb, lies east of Temple Fortune. It was the brainchild of philanthropist Dame Henrietta Barnett, who, appalled by London’s slums, decided to create a community where people of all classes and incomes could live side by side.

Work began in 1907 and the Suburb is recognized as one of the finest examples of early 20th-century domestic architecture and town planning. It’s characterised by wide, tree-lined streets, a variety of architectural styles – including charming Arts and Crafts-style cottages and grand Lutyens-designed buildings in Central Square – and homes separated by hedges rather than walls.

Thanks to the efforts of the Hampstead Garden Suburb Trust in preserving its unique qualities, it remains largely intact, though, nowadays, homes are beyond the reach of buyers in all but the highest income brackets.

The majority of the buyers in Golders Green and the Suburb are families.  Many move in from more urban areas once they settle down and look for a long-term home. There is a greater mix of cultures in Golders Green, with more international buyers from the US, Asia and Europe.

Apartment blocks cater for first-time buyers as well as downsizers moving from family homes. In Hampstead Garden Suburb, we see many people trading up and down, and it is very common to see the younger generation buying the smaller homes to stay close to their families.

I bedroom flats start at around £250,000 and 2 bedrooms from £350,000.

3 bed cottages in the Suburb start at about £650,000 and in Golders Green, three-bed homes start at a similar level – although, again, the space would be considerably bigger. In the Suburb, larger homes start at £1.5million and in Golders Green at about £1million.

Plenty of rental properties are available, from around £750 per month for a studio to just over £1,000 for a one-bed flat.

The area is rightfully proud of its excellent state schools, in particular Brookland and Garden Suburb primaries, and top-performing girls’ secondary Henrietta Barnett.

Transport links are a further asset: Golders Green station on the Northern Line is in Zone 3; an annual Travelcard covering Zone 1 costs £1,424. For more intrepid travellers, regular National Express coaches run from the bus station to Stansted and Luton airports and the North.

This is a link for the present Barnet Council Tax banding



(A similar article appeard in the METRO today)



Tips on Choosing Right Home Builder

The money that you would invest in building your dream home could probably be one of the biggest investments of your lifetime and thus, it is very important to hire professional home builders. Working with proficient builders will undoubtedly gift you a quality home within your budget. Moreover, you can enjoy a hassle-free building experience.

The following tips will help you to stay away from cowboy builders and find a trusted builder in London for your dream home.

1. State Your Needs Clearly

Before you kick off your dream home construction, clearly define your needs to the builder and check if they can fulfil your needs. Needs here refers to type, layout and design of the home, specific features and other architectural requirements.

2. Get Reference of Previous Clients

Ask the builder to provide details of clients for whom he has worked previously. A genuine builder will not hesitate in providing details of his clients.

Collect the details, contact them and ask about their experience with the particular builder, their attention to detail and level of trendy craftsmanship. Also, do not forget to ask whether their projects were completed on time and within budget. Based on their feedback, you can decide whether you should deal with that builder or not.

3. Check If the Builder Is Licensed and Insured

Even though all states do not ask for licensed builders, it is always wise to hire only licensed and insured builders. You can always expect best quality and professionalism from a licensed builder. Visit the state authority website to verify if the builder is licensed.

Check if the builder provides comprehensive building warranty and if he has proper insurance cover.

4. Open Lines of Communication

Hire a builder who patiently answers all your queries, comes up with suggestions and provides best solutions to meet your needs.

5. Visit Completed Projects

Don’t simply judge a builder by cost. Good design along with quality products and materials defines a quality home. Tour some of the recent projects completed by the builder you choose. This is indeed a best option to verify how much importance the builder gives to quality.

6. Check Online

Search online about the builder you have decided to deal with. You will get to know if any complaints have been registered against them. Another best option would be visiting forums. There are forums that are solely meant for builders where you can find positive and negative reviews. Based on the reviews, you can decide to work with the builder.

“There is nothing like staying at home for real comfort” - Jane Austen. Consider the above tips and choose best builders in London as it is the most important and critical step in building your dream home.