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Jul 19

The latest statistics have shown that leasehold house sales are on the decline following the scandal that emerged in 2016.

New data from One 77 Mortgages, has revealed where across the UK is home to the biggest freehold hotspots to give home buyers peace of mind when looking to buy a house.

While the majority of flats in the UK are sold on a leasehold basis and have been for decades, changes to the way houses were sold over the last few years has meant that some houses are sold on a leasehold basis which can see increasing ground rents that in some cases double every 5-10 years, meaning some homeowners will be paying some eye-watering amounts further down the line.

The leasehold purchase of a house can also cause issues during a sale with them being less desirable which impacts on its market value. A leasehold house can also cause issues on the mortgage front, with some lenders refusing to lend against them if the terms of the ground rent is deemed excessive.

With this in mind, One 77 analysed data from the ONS to find where in England and Wales was home to the highest number of freehold sales in the last year, for those looking to buy without the addition of a leasehold nightmare.

Top 10

The data shows that last year, the most freehold properties were sold in Leeds, with 9,841 freehold transactions. Birmingham was the second-best option for a freehold sale with 8,752 properties sold as such, with Cornwall ranking third with 8,726.

County Durham is the fourth largest and number one hotspots in the North East with 7,255 freehold sales last year. Wiltshire, Bradford, East Riding of Yorkshire, Cheshire East, Wakefield and Cheshire West and Chester complete the top 10 in England and Wales.

Most by other region

At 4,462, Central Bedfordshire is home to the highest number of freehold sales in the East of England, with Cardiff topping the table in Wales with 4,072. Medway (3,400) saw the most in the South East, while Derby has the highest number in the East Midlands (3,257) and Bromley ranking as the London borough home to the most at 2,919.

Alastair McKee, Managing Director of One 77 Mortgages, commented: “Leasehold houses can be a tricky business and it pays to know your stuff when it comes to leasehold properties. For example, a lender won’t usually touch a leasehold house if the lease is for around 70 years or less. Typically, any mortgage lender will be looking to run terms for as much as 30 years beyond the end of your mortgage as a safeguard and so a 25-year mortgage will require a minimum of 50 to 60 years left on a lease.

While you might scrape by on a 70-year lease, the reality is that your property will be extremely hard to sell and that’s where the complications can arise from a lender’s perspective.

Of course, these issues only really apply to houses and when buying a flat you have little to worry about regardless of the lease, however, for those getting cold feet on a house purchase, there’s are plenty of freehold options as this research shows.

While you might have to search a little harder and pay that little bit more, it will more than benefit you on a long-term basis.”

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