The population of Britain is rising at an alarming rate and accommodating everybody in suitable housing is becoming difficult. On top of that is the unstable monetary system. Rising house prices are formidable for those looking to get their first foothold on the property ladder and the threat of a house price crash has those already paying mortgages on the edge of their seats.
The outlook for those in property sales is just as unstable as for buyers. In some areas, business is booming and in others, it is struggling. When local authorities build new houses they are obliged to get an assessment from The Environment Agency. However, the agency is now finding that when they recommend no building because of flood risk, the authorities are often ignoring them and going ahead with the project regardless.
It has also been publicised that the cost of keeping back the forces of nature is becoming too high for authorities to manage. Because of this, in some places, they have decided that defences against rising water levels will no longer be maintained, allowing nature to take its course.
The problem for house buyers is that insuring your property against flooding is either going to be at astronomical premiums or non-existent. Estate agents can advise about the risk of flooding to property but it is important to do your own research, possibly even speaking to The Environment Agency yourself to check out your possible investment.
Labour plan to build 3 million new homes by 2010 but the Association of British Insurers claim that a third of these are at serious flood risk. This will lead to estate agents holding a plethora of properties that are un-saleable, uninsurable and uninhabitable.
The Chief Executive from The Environment Agency is urging insurers to refuse insurance on flood risk properties in an attempt to force the government to rethink their attitude to building on flood plains. Somehow, I think it will be the general house buyer and not the government that will suffer if this happens.
Even if your house does not suffer flooding, it is possible, with 2,000 energy installations at high risk of flood damage, that power to homes will be lost, causing more insurance problems in relation to electrical equipment.
More than half of all homeowners in the Boston area of Lancashire are at very high risk of their homes being flooded and this is a problem estate agents in the area have to contend with when trying to market their properties. Is it any wonder property sales in the area are falling?
On a lighter note, the quaint village of Cerne Abbas in Dorset has been given the prestigious accolade of the most desirable village in Britain. Estate agents actually have long waiting lists of people wishing to move into the area and property sales are booming.
With its listed cottages of brick, flint and stone, good quality schools and low crime rate, prices start at an astronomical half a million pounds. Despite this, estate agents are finding that the step back in time is a huge attraction. Set at the base of a valley, mobile phone signals are not able to disturb the peace and tranquillity of a village supported by a strong community spirit.
At the grander end of the scale, estate agents seem to have had no problem marketing the most expensive new build property in the UK. Just the brochure for this property comes with a 1,000 pounds price tag. An Israeli diamond millionaire has just paid 35 pounds million for the mansion that boasts a 750,000 pounds stone staircase, a 100,000 pounds hand carved stone fireplace, a gym, steam room, hair salon, nightclub and swimming pool with gold mosaic tiles among other attributes. The armour plated door alone would set you back 50,000, pounds the price of a small house itself up north.
Looking like something out of a James Bond movie, the pool room converts into a ballroom and all electronics within the house including lights, music, infrared cameras, heating and air conditioning can be controlled electronically from anywhere in the world. Why you would want to turn your heating on from the other side of the world is beyond me but unique selling points make property sales a lot more attractive.
Property expert Catherine Harvey looks at the fluctuations in property sales throughout the UK.