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U.K. city holds a one-pound home fire sale

Stoke-on-Trent city council in England holds a one-pound home fire sale for first-time buyers.
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Josephine Lim, April 24, 2013 11:48:15 AM

You wouldn’t believe the price of a few houses in the city of Stoke-on-Trent in England. The city council is currently selling 35 homes for one pound and they’ll be another 89 homes sold in the near future. Property will be assigned randomly and most homes are two-bedroom units, but there are a few three-bedroom houses and flats available. That’s right folks, 124 homes for one pound or $1.56 in Canadian for first-time home buyers. Now that’s an epic fire sale.

With our housing prices continuing to rise, it’s more expensive than ever for first-time home buyers to make their first purchase. If you’re a Canadian who has the documentation to reside permanently in the United Kingdom, finish reading this piece before you jump on a plane and fly across the pond.

The council is selling the homes because they’re in a pretty bad condition. Councillor Janine Bridges told the BBC that they’re hoping people who move in will transform the neighbourhood since the homes have been empty for some time. The Cobridge neighbourhood, where the houses are located, isn’t a popular area, a real estate agent told the BBC.

Along with the rock bottom price, city council is hoping to entice buyers by offering loans of 30,000 pounds for home renovations. There is some criteria for applicants: they must have lived in the city for at least three years; they must have an annual joint income between 18,000 to 25,000 pounds a year or a maximum income of 30,000 pounds if they have children; they must have been employed for the last two years; and the home must be their main residence for five years. Also, if the first-time home owners sell the place within 10 years, city council will receive a cut of the profits. But the fire sale has definitely caught the attention of many residents with more than 600 people expressing interest.

It sounds like a lot of restrictions for homebuyers, but if they’re willing to wait out the renovations, properties could reach a maximum value of 55,000 to 60,000 pounds, a real estate agent told the BBC. That could be a great turn of profit in the future, but it does depend whether the project is successful in revitalizing the neighbourhood. It’s quite the long-term investment, but for any first-time home owner searching for a home in the area, it could pay off handsomely.

Meanwhile, it’s definitely much cheaper than the average U.K. house price, which sits at 163,943 pounds during the first quarter of 2013. And house prices are expected to continue rising for the rest of the year, a housing economist told the Guardian.

Plus, who knows, these one pound fire sales could become a trend to transform derelict properties. In February, Liverpool City Council announced they were selling 20 rundown one-pound properties in the Kensington, Granby and Picton area.

If it weren’t for the high-cost of living, U.K. could be a great place to buy your first home.

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Josephine Lim


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