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Property Investment: Choosing the right area

Most home buyers would like to be sure that the value of their property investment will appreciate over time, and that means they need to spend at least as much time choosing an area as they do deciding what features they want in a home says Berry Everitt of the Chas Everitt International Property Group.

Although all property values fluctuate in line with overall economic conditions, some areas do definitely hold steadier than others in bad times, and perform better than others in good times.

And typically, these are the areas that lie close to centres of economic activity, and are perceived to offer the best combination of other sought-after attributes such as good schools, convenient shopping and recreation facilities, short commutes, low crime and high levels of home maintenance.

Unfortunately, however, there is a really severe shortage of homes for sale in many of these areas at the moment, and they are becoming increasingly pricey, so many buyers are looking further afield in the hope of identifying those suburbs that will become tomorrow's most desirable addresses - and the best property investment.

In this respect it often pays, of course, to try those areas adjacent to the most sought-after ones, but suburbs further afield may also be good prospects for property investment, especially if they are close to a new business node. Another good indication that an area is up-and-coming is when many existing owners there are renovating or extending their homes - and raising the average home price in the process.

Meanwhile, prospective buyers should not lose sight of other factors that will affect their quality of  life wherever they choose to live. For example:

- Does the area you like have a strong community spirit, or do residents like to keep to  themselves?
- Do the schools in the area achieve good results?
- How long will it take you to get to work?
- Are there any plans in place for major commercial or infrastructure developments that could affect property demand and values?

It is, of course, impossible to find out everything about an area before you move there, but an experienced, qualified estate agent familiar with the area will be able to give you most of the information you want in a very short time - and, of course, point you in the direction of the best buys and property investment the area has to offer.


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