House prices in Cambridge are up astonishing 34 per cent over the last five year, significantly outperforming the rest of the East of England in the property market.

A recent report from Norwich and Peterborough Building Society has shown that house prices in Cambridge have soared over the last five years. Property values in the area are almost 20 per cent higher than the rest of the region, which rose at a significantly lower rate of 9.4 per cent over the same five year period.

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Seven town houses in Bristol will become the first straw-built properties in the UK to achieve the standard construction certification that twill give high-street lenders the confidence to hand out mortgages. It means that when they are finished in a few weeks time, they can be offered on the open market to any buyer rather than through housing schemes. Straw has long been recognised as a low-cost and widely available food co-product that offers real potential for ultra-low carbon housing but there have been concerns about fire resistance and stability.  To find out more about the tests required to obtain certification, read the full Guardian article here.

OTMScreen

OnTheMarket, which launched on Monday, hopes to provide a credible alternative to Rightmove and Zoopla who currently dominate the property portal market in the UK.  Set up (and owned) by a consortium of estate agents, including the likes of Savills and Knight Frank, the site launched with 5,000 estate agent branches represented, creating a real alternative to the big boys.  On first viewing the site seems very clean, uncluttered by advertising, which makes a refreshing change.  It also comes without some of the misleading market comparison tools offered by other portals.  Estate agents have long complained that the street level market statistics are misleading at best and downright unhelpful at worst.  Too often buyers will use the average price figures to argue (often wrongly) that a property should be a different price.   Buyers also get to see the full property history, including time on market and any price reductions.  This might be great for buyers but less so for vendors.  Given that estate agents act for vendors not for buyers.I can see why this new portal has appealed to so many estate agents.  However, time will tell whether it can compete against the might of Rightmove and Zoopla. Click here to take a look at the new portal.

According to property analyst Hometrack, property prices in Cambridge have risen by £40,000 on average since November 2013, some 13% above last year’s levels.  Buyers are now paying £338,500 for the average house in the City.  This compares with £403,200 in London.  A booming local economy coupled with a lack of supply have fuelled these rises and the big question is what will happen in 2015?  Recent changes to Stamp Duty is likely to encourage buyers at the lower and middle ends of the market, although uncertainty about May’s General Election and worries over the proposed Mansion Tax may damp things down a little.

George Osborne has said stamp duty will be cut for 98% of homebuyers in his Autumn Statement to the Commons.

The chancellor said that from midnight the current system, where the amount owed jumps at certain price levels, would be replaced by a graduated rate, working in a similar way to income tax. The new stamp duty rates at different band levels will only apply to the part of the property price that falls within that band, so there will no longer be a huge jump in stamp duty, for instance, on a property costing £500,001.

Under the new rules, no tax will be paid on the first £125,000 of a property, followed by 2% on the portion up to £250,000, 5% on the portion between £250,000 and £925,000, 10% on the next bit up to £1.5 million and 12% on everything over that.

If anyone needed proof that the Cambridge property market is on fire, they need look no further than this piece in the Cambridge News that highlights 10 of the most expensive houses on the market.  From Roebuck House at £2,500,000 to Warkworth Street at £1,350,000 there is something for everyone, as long as everyone has very deep pockets.

Building houses on green belt land close to transport links has been identified as crucial by a new report which found Cambridge to be the country’s third least affordable city.  To read more click here.

Cambridge’s property prices have grown faster than London since the financial crisis, according to property analyst Hometrack.  London Love Business reported that Londoners, are pretty smug about how the price tag of their property is a national obsession. But Cantabrigians, the residents of Cambridge, just stole your thunder.  To read more click here.

It’s Open Cambridge this weekend, an annual event that gives locals and visitors alike a glimpse of the city’s hidden treasures, including places usually closed to the public from Cambridge Fire Station to college gardens and libraries.  To mark the event, the Cambridge News invites you to test your knowledge of our favourite City.  Click here to take the quiz.

According to Rightmove, the average time to sell a home in Cambridge is just 27 days compared with 41 in London.  A recent article in the Guardian quoted the AstraZeneca factor as one of the key reasons behind the frenetic activity, with the pharmaceutical company due to relocate its global HQ.  The average price for a home in Cambridge is now more than £419,000, having jumped by 20% over the past year, according to Nationwide building society.  To read the full article click here.