Property How to find the next property hotspot
Some pundits are predicting a 21% rise in house prices over the next five years. This isn’t a particularly drastic increase, less than 4% a year, but any news of an improvement in the property market is good news. And now Zoopla, the property website, has come up with a tool to help you make the most of a rising market. It is in the form of a heat map which shows areas with comparatively high house prices, property hotspots, in red and those with low prices in blue. In between the two extremes are shades of orange and yellow.
The idea is that you zoom in on an area you are interested in and identify the hotspot areas marked in red. What you are looking for is a yellow or even blue area that lies between two or more red hotspot areas. In theory, prices in this area should be pulled up by its more expensive neighbours – in other words you have just identified the next up and coming neighbourhood.
There are a couple of problems with the system. The closer you zoom in, the less accurate it becomes, because you might have a single house that sold at a very high price and that distorts the average house price in the surrounding streets. The other problem is that you can’t look at a particular street – only a group of streets in an area. Also, the map might be reflecting sales prices as they were 2 or 3 years ago. Even so, this is a very useful tool for identifying areas worthy of closer inspection.
If you pick out a few streets in the area you are interested in, you can then go onto the Land Registry website, put in each street name and look at individual house sales on each street over the last few years. Buying a house is not just about finding a home; it is also one of the most important investments you will ever make. Choose wisely!