The homes we most wanted to buy last year

dream home

The homes we spent our time browsing in 2016 tell us all sorts of things about where we are right now - and it seems we're hankering after a whole new life.

According to Zoopla, the most viewed properties of the year were a very varied bunch of homes - ranging from a beautiful Welsh farmhouse to a brand new lakeside home with it's own private jetty.

See also: Prime multimillion-pound central London house prices fall nearly 7%

See also: Your new year's resolution: properties with a gym

You can browse through the full top ten below.

Most viewed property of the year
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Most viewed property of the year
This unassuming three-bedroom detached house in Martins Heron in Berkshire doesn’t immediately look like the kind of property to draw the crowds. However, the fact it was used as Harry Potter’s home in the first of the films means we were intrigued to see inside this £475,000 property that was ideal for commuting.
This was an impressive seven-bedroom home in Upper Denby, on the market for £1.3 million - with plenty of rustic charm and a wood-burning stove. However, we all know the real reason this made it to the list of the most-viewed properties: it’s the enormous play area complete with pirate ship that you can just catch sight of through the lounge window.
This five bedroom relatively newly-built mansion has every whistle and bell you could wish for - from a cinema and games room to a gym, swimming pool, and a dining room that’s big enough for a grand piano in the corner. It’s still on the market for £1.05 million, and is right next to Lincoln Golf course if you fancy playing a round.
Unsurprisingly, this development project on Chadwick Road in East London has been snapped up. At just £1 million you got 13 rooms over four floors - with off-street parking for three cars. No wonder it was the seventh most popular home for us to look at, and dream that with a bit of elbow grease we could have a huge London property... and we could finally park somewhere near it too.

This is a home that comes with a dream lifestyle. For just £1.4 million, you can get an incredibly swanky five-bedroom farmhouse in seven acres of lovely Welsh countryside. You also get a two-bedroom barn conversion - either to house visiting family, or to run as a holiday letting business. The house is still in the market - so that dream could still be yours.

Ever fancy your own posh lakeside hideaway with its own jetty just over an hour from London - for just £2.8 million?

Quite a few people did, judging by the fact that this new development in Cirencester was the 5th most viewed house of the year.

For just £545,000, this 6-bedroom house in Donaghadee could be yours. The property itself is very recently developed in an elegantly rustic New England style. There's plenty of room, and a dream bathroom. But possibly the reason it features so high up the list of most-viewed houses is that it comes with a paddock and stable - perfect for anyone with horsey aspirations.
It’s easy to see why this pretty £375,000 cottage is in such high demand. First is the fact it has been rebuilt from reclaimed stone, so combines old world charm with handy modern features (like a good-sized kitchen and fancy bathroom). Then there’s the location - right in the centre of the village of Holmfirth - best-known as the setting of Last of the Summer Wine.

This impressive house in Bromley in Kent has footballer written all over it. From the pale grey colour scheme, to the acres of space, and the enormous patio for entertaining, there's plenty for a footballer to love. At just £1.7 million it’s pocket-change for them too. For the rest of us, there’s the chance to dream of a mansion within commuting distance of London for the price of a flat in Notting Hill.

There was a time when a semi-detached five-bedroom home in Hampstead Garden Suburb was the sort of thing that ordinary families could aspire to. Now it's the kind of thing we spend our time daydreaming over on property websites: marveling at a 90 foot garden and the fact it has a garage. The price tag of £2.25 million means it's the kind of house we can only ever afford to look at online - which is probably why it's the most viewed property of the year.

The list reveals exactly what we're thinking about property at the moment.

1. There's nothing positive about London property right now
In past years this list would have featured plenty of flash London pads, but they have been pushed out by two phenomena: they are way too expensive, and they are dropping in price. Why would we hanker after a property that would destroy our finances?

2. Commuting for hours is miserable
As London prices increased, we started to look further and further out of the city, with a cry of "ooh look what we could afford in Rochester!" It means last year sensible family homes - for committed commuters - dominated the top ten. This year, the reality of living far enough out to be able to buy a home is depressing - especially when you factor in public transport. So while plenty of people are looking for these properties. nobody is dreaming of them.

3. When we think of 'affordable' we're thinking further afield than Watford
The list demonstrates that beyond the influence of London there are some stunning properties at reasonable prices. The fact that so many people are viewing them means we're starting to dream about leaving the rat race for a more sensible life elsewhere.

4. The real dream is a whole new life
We don't just want a flash property, some of the properties on the list show that we really want to run a stable or a holiday let from home, which would pay for us to live far away from expensive property hotspots.

Clearly dream properties are very different from the ones we end up buying, but if these trends feed through at all into house prices, we can expect to see the slowdown in London property price rises spread further within the city. We can also expect beautiful areas beyond the capital to play a bit of catch-up in house price terms. And we can expect more people than ever to quit the rat race and find a less frenetic balance.

But what do you think? Are your dream homes on this list? Let us know in the comments.

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