What are the Most Popular Surveys in Westminster?
Our unique data discovered that 65.07% of Westminster users opted for the homebuyers survey, with the remaining percentage choosing the more thorough building survey. It’s important to note, however, that if you’re considering purchasing an older, period home in the area, the building survey will actually be better suited.
The most popular property type in Westminster were flats, with over 54% of users requiring a homebuyers survey for this very property type. This isn’t surprising as homebuyer surveys are greatly recommended when purchasing flats or apartments. Despite this, over 20% of flat owners still arranged a building survey for this property type to ensure a thorough inspection.
After flats owners, those organising a building survey were most likely to purchase terrace properties. Due to the age of many terrace houses in Westminster, the building survey would be an appropriate choice to ensure the structure is accurately assessed and inspected. Those interested in detached homes were the least likely to arrange both survey types.
If you’re purchasing a modern home in fairly good condition, then you would likely benefit from the most common type of property survey, the homebuyers survey. However, if the home is over 80-years old, made of unusual materials or is in poor condition, then a building survey is better suited. New-build homes will require a snagging list and not a property survey.
What Types of Historical Architecture Does Westminster Have?
The City of Westminster is home to around 11,000 listed buildings and 56 conservation areas, all of which can be found on the local council website. If you’re purchasing a listed building or a property within a conservation area, you will require special permission to carry out any work on the home. For example, if the property is within a conservation area and you would like to prune or fell a tree on your property, you must give the City of Westminster Council 6 weeks notice before any of the work begins.
According to data from October 2020, ‘existing properties’ proved to be the most popular amongst Westminster movers, with 154 sold during that month. In comparison, new-build homes weren’t quite as popular with only 3 being sold during that same month. Modern homes will be better suited to a homebuyers survey. However, if the existing property you’re purchasing is over 80-years of age, you may instead require a building survey.
Westminster is an area rich in history, having been the home of the permanent institutions of England's government since around 1200. There are a number of large 21st-century developments to view as well as traditional, period homes. However, the area does have a reputation for being an expensive place to call home with the current average house price at £930,070, as of February 2020.
As many of the properties in Westminster are from the 18th century if not earlier, a property survey is essential when purchasing a house. Many of the period homes may benefit from the thorough inspection a building survey provides, whilst more modern homes or flats will be better suited to a homebuyers survey.
|New Build Sales*||3|
|Existing Property Sales*||154|
Is Subsidence an Issue in Westminster?
As you can see on Geobear’s map of subsidence in the UK, most areas around Central London have a high risk of experiencing issues with subsidence. This includes Westminster and surrounding cities. Subsidence occurs when the ground beneath a building becomes unstable, dragging the property’s foundations as it compacts. This can happen for a number of reasons, including extreme weather or temperature changes and a history of mining or other industries in the area.
Cities like London and Westminster often experience subsidence due to the immense pressure put on the ground. When densely-packed areas continue to grow, the number of properties being built in small areas puts too much pressure on the soil, causing it to compact and sink. A property survey should highlight any signs of subsidence, such as large cracks around windows and door frames.
Subsidence can greatly devalue a home and, in worst-case scenarios, can even render it uninhabitable. Proceeding with a house purchase without a professional analysis of the risk of subsidence could potentially become rather costly.
Is Japanese Knotweed a Concern in Westminster?
A high-density urban area such as Central London, with residential, commercial and development space within close proximity, often results in a high number of Japanese Knotweed infestations. A heatmap of Japanese Knotweed in the UK, created by Environment, depicts Westminster as having a high risk of experiencing Japanese Knotweed occurrences.
Japanese Knotweed is also known as Fallopia Japonica and was originally introduced to the UK when it was brought to Kew Gardens as an ornamental plant. It was a well-loved plant at first, but it soon became clear that it had very destructive tendencies for both land and properties.
Today, it can cost upwards of £3,000 to remove the dangerous plant, costing the UK around £150 million a year. Japanese Knotweed is capable of growing up to 10cm a day, forcing its way through drains, concrete and building foundations. As a result, many mortgage lenders will refuse a mortgage for a home with evidence of an infestation. This is why it’s vital you find a reliable and experienced property surveyor to inspect the home before the purchase is complete.
Your surveyor should be able to identify if Japanese Knotweed is present on the land or property. If found, do not attempt to remove the plant yourself as it will only cause further damage to your home. The plant can be treated but you will require the help of a professional.