In January 2006 flats made up 57% of all new housing built in the UK, compared to only 24% of detached houses.
Commenting on these figures property developer Liz Hodgkinson said: “Over 72 per cent of all properties bought in London are now flats, and in 2004, 40 percent of all homes built by Barratt, Britain’s biggest housebuilder, were flats. This is more than twice as many as ten years previously. Flats can be safer, warmer, cleaner, easier and cheaper to run and also friendlier than houses. They are ideal for single people, young couples, busy workers, older people downsizing, or in fact anybody who does not want the fuss and bother of looking after an entire house”
Buying a flat to live in or to let is different from buying and living in a house. For example, apartments are sold leasehold rather than freehold which means buying a length of tenure rather then the property itself. This can have serious implications when the freeholder suddenly hikes up the service charges or lands tenants with a six figure sum for exterior decoration.
A new book How to Buy a Flat has just been published to help buyers avoid the common pitfalls when purchasing a new home. This highly accessible guide explains the complicated leasehold laws governing flats and gives expert advice on how to live amicably in an apartment building. It covers:
The ideal handbook for first time buyers, flat owners and property developers this book provides all the information they need to know in order to avoid making a serious and expensive mistake.
“She’s written a book ‘How to Buy a Flat’ which does exactly what it says on the cover, in language that is simple but not patronising and could help you avoid buying a disaster.” Urban Life
“Do you prefer living in a house or a flat? This book certainly deals with the best type of flat to buy, legal problems, how to increase your flat’s value, letting a flat, what can go wrong and buying abroad. There are no legal documents reproduced in its pages, but the information is more than adequate.
The book does have two brilliant ‘extras’. The introduction .is worth its weight in type. It gives you arguments for and against living in a flat. It can really help you to decide ‘House or flat; and once you have read the introduction, your choice could go either way. Then, if you decide flats are for you, keep on reading.
The author is not only an experienced property developer, she is also a journalist, and it shows in the easy-to-read style. She describes a lease as “legally-binding, written in off-puttingly archaic and tortuous legalese”. 0h how true.
Even her history of apartments is entertaining, as is the practical advice contained in the subsequent pages. A must for flat-buyers; £10.99 in major bookshops and online retailers.”
The Index: Sep 2006