Seven bargain properties: What's the catch?
In each case, the reason for the low price is that the property has a particularly short lease. And while you might feel that forty or fifty years will be enough to see you out, this is a big no-no for mortgage lenders.
Most will refuse to lend where a lease has less than 80 years to run, and once it's down to 70 years you'll almost certainly have to pay cash.
If you do buy somewhere with a lease shorter than this, you should have the right to extend it, as long as there's at least 20 years to run. You'll need to have owned the property for two years.
if the lease is shorter than this, you'll have to negotiate with the owner and ask them to extend the lease for you. Either way, lease extensions don't come cheap.
But if you're in a position to pay cash, a property with a short lease can be excellent value. We look at seven properties with short leases, and low prices to match.
Other flats in this smart portered mansion block sell for millions of pounds. It's just a few minutes walk to Marble Arch and Hyde Park, ideal for a pied-a-terre. This one-bedder is on the cosy side at 397 square feet, but is in great condition, with big windows and a lovely wooden floor. The lease has only 15 years to run, but the current owner is willing to pass on his right to extend as soon as contracts are exchanged. The flat's up for sale for a bargain £215,000 through Lords Estates.
This two-bedroom flat is currently let out: the 49-year lease is less of a problem for a buy-to-let business venture. Both bedrooms are doubles, and there's a good-sized bathroom, and a large sitting room and eat-in kitchen. It's not in great condition, though, and will need a thorough overhaul. It's up for sale with Davidson Estates, with an asking price of just £115,000.
At £850,000, you can hardly call this flat cheap - but with four bedrooms and a prime location on Elgin Avenue, it's still a bargain price. There's a large reception room, a good-sized kitchen, and a balcony as well as communal gardens. There are 59 years left to run on the lease; contact agent Sales & Lettings for more information.
This one-bedroom flat is cheap for two reasons: not only is the lease just 63 years long, it's a 50:50 shared equity ownership. There's a good sized living room and a pleasant kitchen, with the appliances included in the price.I's got more storage space than the average flat, with a useful lobby are and a hallway with two built-in store cupboards. The 50% stake is priced at a very pocket-friendly £55,000.
Horsham, West Sussex
This large two-bedroomed property comes with a lease of just 44 years, but agents Connells say they have the costings for a lease extension. A split-level maisonette, it has doors onto the rather lovely communal gardens from the good-sized kitchen/diner, and there's a garage in a separate block. It's in a great spot, close to Leonard's forest, with hundreds of acres for long country walks - and it's a bargain £180,000 from agent Connells.
There are just 42 years left to run on the lease of this two-bedroom flat close to the city centre. But it has good-sized rooms, views over leafy communal gardens and a garage in a separate block. It needs a bit of work, and the service charge is a rather hefty £3,200 a year - but the price is only £90,000 through agent Northwood.
Belgravia, London SW1
This Eaton Square flat has two ensuite bedrooms and a large kitchen/diner and living room. There's a porter, a lift, and access to beautiful communal gardens - and it all comes in at £490,000, a fraction of the cost of other flats nearby. The catch? The almost-expired lease can only be extended to 20 years, and doing that will cost £1,100,000. Contact agent John D Wood & Co if you've got the cash.