Sunday, 15 March 2015

The property ladder in MK

Milton Keynes, and it's surrounding areas, has recently been cited as the fastest growing urban area in regards to population, and has become a highly attractive location to live in. This is largely due to the easy commute to London, but also because of it's growing status and surroundings.

As well as being fast growing in population, Milton Keynes has experienced the largest net increase in jobs, the second highest rate of business start-ups and strongest growth in housing supply in the country. House prices are increasing faster than nearly anywhere else in the country, according to a latest report from Bidwells property consultants.

This all sounds promising if you're a Milton Keynes resident, but what if you're an aspiring resident, wanting to rent or buy in Milton Keynes, how easily is that done?

Renting may be seen as the cheaper option, but it can also be difficult to get onto the market. Many rental agencies do not operate on a first-come-first-served basis, and therefore it's not a case of the early bird catches the worm, but it seems to be down to a popularity contest or luck of the draw. Various agencies operate in different ways: some accept all viewings and toss a coin to choose the prospective renters, others let the landlord decide, sometimes based on job, others seeming to judge by the personality of the viewer as perceived and described by the letting agent. While rented accommodation seems in high demand, it does beg to question how these landlords choose. What puts you at a disadvantage? Are you better off going in as a couple or single? Do they prefer you to work long hours or be around the house more? Do they care if you work locally or are a commuter? It probably all depends on the personality and past experience of the landlord, although technically everyone should have a fair chance. It seems that even if you call up about a property almost immediately after it's gone on the market, you're either not the first, or you're the first and they still want to show 7 other people round. In this sort of market it seems a bit pot-luck, but at least Milton Keynes is apparently the place to be, when you do finally get in somewhere!

For those able to buy, the number of new builds as well as help to buy, stamp duty reforms, planning policy revisions and revised mortgage procedures, have all had a positive impact on the market, making it much easier for buyers, particularly those buying for the first time. However, new buys can have their downsides, often taking longer than intended, which can be particularly difficult when it comes to moving house and selling, having to work out and change moving dates a number of times. In general though, now seems to be a much better time to buy than in recent years. The Help to Buy scheme has helped around 88,000 people buy a new home across the country, with over 800 new homes having been bought in Milton Keynes. As an emerging city, Milton keynes is a perfect spot for Help to Buy homes, with enough empty space in the surrounding grid-squares which are quickly popping up and expanding Milton Keynes. It's a changing place, and there's sure to be even more built over the next few years as well.

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