Top 10 Counties Revealed to ‘Build the Dream’
Top 10 Counties Revealed To ‘Build the Dream’. Devon lands #1 slot in plot-searches as interest set to peak in New Year
The rural, unspoilt county of Devon has been identified as the most desirable county to build a home with over 18,500 online land searches conducted by self builders during 2014, according to research conducted by plot-finding websitePlotSearch, with two further counties in the South West (Somerset/Avon & Cornwall) also featuring in the Top Ten most searched locations.
And this interest in plot-finding is set to increase at the beginning of the New Year, when there is a significant peak in the number of new subscribers taking to the internet (probably using their Christmas tablets and smartphones!) to search for land to build their dream home – in fact, PlotSearch saw a 54% increase in users in January 2014 from the previous month of December 2013 whilst also welcoming 69% new visitors to the site.
Possibly the festive period has highlighted the need for more space within our current homes, or it has given us more time to contemplate self build, or even made us more conscious of reducing winter energy bills – whatever the reason, with building plots in the UK starting from £6,950 and a typical three-bedroom home costing from as little as £150,000 to build, it’s possible to create an aspirational yet affordable home in a destination of your choosing.
Finding the right plot at the right time and at the right price has always been one of the greatest hurdles to self build – in some cases taking up to two years to find the perfect plot. And if you’re one of the 7m people in the UK that aspire to building a dream home, with such a high demand for land, it’s essential to get the latest and most relevant plot information at the earliest opportunity. With PlotSearch’s new, faster mobile functionality, regular updates and email alerts, it’s now possible to gain instant access to over 8,000 plots and building opportunities across the UK and Ireland.
The Top Ten Searched Counties 2014:
1. Devon – If top-ranking county Devon is your dream destination, there is currently a choice of 112 sites with 134 building opportunities and you can start building a detached two bedroom home on a 161 sqm plot in Crediton, Exeter for just £39,950. Alternatively, also in Exeter, you could take on a £700,000 project converting an existing chapel into a dwelling of circa 3,400 sq ft.
2. The Highlands – Over 17,000 searches for land in the Highlands were conducted during 2014, so if you are thinking about escaping the rat race for the rural beauty of the Highlands, why not look at the 570 current building opportunities available on PlotSearch. For £20,000 you could purchase a 2,000 sqm plot in Thurso – the most northerly town in mainland Scotland – with outline planning for the construction of a detached residential dwelling with views across the Pentland Firth & Orkney. At the other end of the scale, if owning a 10 acre plot in the heart of the Great Glen appeals and you have £1.25m to spare, then a plot near Spean Bridge may just tick the box.
3. Kent – the ‘Garden of England’ certainly holds significant appeal with over 15,500 searches for land during 2014. By offering a convenient location for commutes to both London and the Continent, and with 28% of the county forming two distinct areas of natural outstanding beauty, ie. the North Downs and The Weald, it’s easy to see its attraction. Choices in Kent include a plot with outline planning to build a three-bedroom, end-terraced house in Rochester for offers in the region of £60,000; a £150,000 plot in Sittingbourne with detailed planning to construct a 4/5 bedroom home; or purchase a 5 acre site for £1m to build a 4-bedroom eco house in Goudhurst, 12 miles south of Maidstone.
4. Aberdeenshire – the second Scottish location in the Top Ten, Aberdeenshire holds appeal due to the number of building opportunities available and low purchase prices. Although home to one of the most famous royal residences, ie Balmoral Castle, for just £28,000 you can commence building your very own castle, or if you fancy becoming neighbours, there is a 1 acre plot in the nearby village of Ballater for offers over £150,000.
5. Cambridgeshire – Home to renown Cambridge University, the county of Cambridgeshire features No.5 on the list. Among the 144 building opportunities currently listed, includes a £45,000 project requiring the purchaser to demolish an existing former storage building and replace it with a two-bedroom dwelling of 93.7 sqm in Wisbech. For those who wish to live close to the desirable University town, there is an opportunity to build both a four-bedroom and two-bedroom home on a single plot in Duxford with the guide price of £245,000. With average property prices in Cambridge being £268,502*, this could present a healthy return on investment (naturally dependant on works carried out).
6. Somerset & Avon – At the heart of the West Country, Somerset is a destination of dramatic coastline, seaside resorts, historic market towns and stunning countryside. If coastal living is the goal, £100,000 will secure a 143 sqm plot in ‘golden sands’ Weston-super-Mare with detailed planning for a detached four-bedroom home. And if it’s good enough for ‘A-Lister’ Nicolas Cage who owns a cottage near Glastonbury, you too can purchase a 809 sqm plot with outline planning to build a contemporary four-bedroom detached home, within walking distance of the town centre.
7. Hampshire – with a mix of national parks, coastline and excellent transport infrastructure, it’s no surprise to see Hampshire in the Top 10. However, with the New Forest and South Downs alone covering up to 45% of land, building opportunities within the county are naturally limited. However, if you take the ferry across to the Isle of Wight, you can take your pick from plots in East Cowes, Freshwater, Newport, Ryde, Shanklin and Ventnor ranging from £3,750 to £240,000.
8. Carmarthenshire – Offering one of the most spectacular and diverse landscapes in South West Wales, Carmarthenshire has been rated #8 as the most popular searched locations to build that dream home. And you can do just that for only £6,950 which will get you a plot to build a detached bungalow (or dormer bungalow) in the village of Ammanford. Alternatively, if you have £395,000, you could take on a renovation project in the rural village of Penybont in Snowdonia National Park, converting and updating a 7-bedroom farmhouse on a 26 acre smallholding.
9. Cornwall – Famed as the location for Doc Martin, Cornwall offers mild climate, rolling hills and nearly 300 miles of coastline to those self builders who aspire to a more relaxed way of living with 148 building opportunities currently available, starting at just £39,950. And if you fancy rubbing shoulders with celebrities such as Fowey-resident Dawn French, you can obtain a 516 sqm plot in Fowey with detailed planning to build a detached four-bedroom home in an elevated position with unrivalled sea and coastal views.
10. Sussex – with its pretty villages and leafy countryside, Sussex makes it onto the list as the tenth most searched location for self builders. Across the county from Chichester to Eastbourne, Hastings to Horsham there are select building opportunities ranging from £80,000 to £980,000 that includes an option to purchase a 0.3 hectare plot to construct x3 five-bed detached dwellings with double garages; or the opportunity to take on a barn conversion project to create a large family 3-bed dwelling for £625,000 in Battle.
So what can £20K buy you in terms of building plot in the UK?
• A 250 sqm plot in Durham with planning to build a three bedroom home in the market town of Crook.
• Permission to build a detached three-bedroom home in a residential street with easy access to Newcastle City Centre.
• A 647 sqm plot in Ballymena, County Antrim, NI – complete with detailed planning permission to build a detached dwelling with garage.
And if money is no object….
• The most expensive individual plot of land listed on PlotSearchcan be found on the prestigious Wentworth Estate in Virginia Water, Surrey. Here, with a guide price of £5.25m you can purchase a 1.5 acre plot with detailed planning permission in place to build a 10,000 sq ft detached three-storey residence.
• For slightly less at a snip at offers over £3.5m, and with uninterrupted views across Poole Harbour and Sandbanks, why not purchase a plot of land with outline planning permission to build a six bedroom, four storey contemporary home with indoor pool and a private slipway?
And if you thought that securing finance for self build is only for the select few, think again. Whether you are wishing to get on or move up the property ladder, with a range of specialist lenders now in the marketplace, self build is accessible for all. Unlike conventional mortgages where funds are released in a single lump sum to purchase an established ‘bricks & mortar’ property, self build mortgages are set against the value of the property you are building, with funds released in stages. Exactly when the funds are released is dependent on the lender but as a general rule you should expect to receive initial funds to purchase land with subsequent draw-downs throughout each completed stage of the build. Although rates on self build mortgages tend to be higher than traditional high-street schemes, one key advantage is that you only have to pay stamp duty on the cost of the plot of land if the cost exceeds £125,000 and not the value of the completed property. The potential financial gains from building your own home is another advantage – most self-builders find their finished property is worth much more than it cost them to build.
David Mitchell, PlotSearch Manager , adds: We know that finding and securing a plot is one of the biggest hurdles to self build, with timing being of the greatest importance. With smartphones and tablets featuring prominently under the Christmas tree, PlotSearch’s new mobile functionality will make finding the perfect plot, with genuine planning, that much quicker and easier.”
Exclusively featuring plots with planning permission, PlotSearchhas helped over 100,000 self builders find a plot of land or building opportunity since its launch in 2000. The site currently has over 80,000 subscribers actively looking for land and is the UK’s largest and most accurate database of genuine self build land, renovation and conversion opportunities.
PlotSearch Top 10 searched counties: 2014
6.Somerset & Avon:13,896
Current Opportunities across Top 10 on PlotSearch
1.Devon: x112 sites, x134 building opps, starting from £39,950
2.Highlands: x546 sites, x570 building opps, starting from £20,000
3.Kent: x47 sites, x61 building opps, starting from £60,000
4.Aberdeenshire: x264 sites, x300 building opps, starting from £28,000
5.Cambridgeshire: x114 sites, x144 building opps, starting from £40,000
6.Somerset & Avon: x38 sites, x55 building opps, starting from £67,500
7.Hampshire: x33 sites, x64 building opps, starting from £39,750
8.Carmarthenshire: x306 sites, x347 building opps, starting from £6,950
9.Cornwall: x131 sites, x148 building opps, starting from £39,950
10.Sussex: x34 sites, x44 building opps, starting from £80,000