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Homes choice at Liberty, Wainscott
Homes choice at Liberty, Wainscott

Although house prices have so far held firm in many areas, affordability for hopeful first-time buyers in 2011 is more favourable than at any time in the past dozen years, says a survey by Britain's largest lender.

According to the latest annual Halifax First-Time Buyer Review, the monthly mortgage costs as a proportion of income have fallen below the long-term average and some 40 per cent of local authorities across the country are now affordable for first-time buyers.

People in the South East have benefited most from the change, with almost three-quarters (73 per cent) of first-time buyers in the region not paying stamp duty due to the recent change.

Nearly a quarter of a million homeowners are "property millionaires" because they live in homes which have broken through the seven-figure barrier. An additional 12,800 property millionaires were created in 2010, equivalent to 35 each day - despite the subdued nature of the housing market.

According to the most recent figures one in every 118 homes is now worth £1 million or more, a total of 226,344 - compared with one in 97 when the market peaked in summer 2007.

Chesterton Humberts is giving property owners a new year incentive by freezing VAT at 17.5 per cent on fees earned through newly-signed sales instructions until February 28.

Chesterton Humberts will pay the extra 2.5 per cent themselves, as long as sellers instruct the company as sole agents at their standard commission rate and contracts are exchanged on or before April 30.

For more information visit www.chestertonhumberts.com or contact your local office.

Staff at the Bearsted office of Ward & Partners - part of the Arun Estates Group - had an extra reason to toast in the new year.

Despite fierce competition from right across the Arun network, which stretches from metropolitan Essex right down to the Isle of Wight, senior branch partner Jonathan Woolgrove and his team won Top Office at the annual company awards ceremony.

More details at www.platinumpropertypartners.net

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