Research by estate and lettings agent, Barrows and Forrester, has revealed that when it comes to the Birmingham North-South divide, the north wins when it comes to overall property affordability. 

Barrows and Forrester analysed house prices across each local authority within Birmingham, dissecting the city down the middle to find what the North-South divide currently looks like. 

The research shows that house prices in local authorities to the north average £194,227, while areas in the south command £209,428 - 8% more. 

In fact, all but one local authority in the south is home to an average house price of more than £200,000. 

Edgbaston is home to the highest house prices in the south of Birmingham, coming in at £233,736. Selly Oak also ranks high at £227,911, followed by Hall Green (£213,028) and Northfield (£200,456). 

Yardly is the only area to the south of Birmingham boasting a more affordable property market, with the average house price currently sitting at £177,102.

In contrast, just one local authority to the north of Birmingham is home to an average house price above £200,000. 

Hodge Hill is the most affordable of the lot at £162,579, with Perry Barr (£164,047), Ladywood (£166,796) and Erdington (£171,686) also coming in below that of any area to the south of Birmingham. 

However, at £361,906, Sutton Coldfield is by far the most expensive area of the Birmingham housing market and the only area to buck the wider trend of affordability found in the north of Birmingham. 

James Forrester, Managing Director of Birmingham estate agent Barrows and Forrester, commented:

“There is quite a noticeable North-South divide where the Birmingham property market is concerned, with the southern half boasting considerably higher house prices. However, there remain good pockets of affordability both centrally and to the north of the city centre and with such extensive regeneration plans underway, these areas are only likely to grow in value. 

We’re already seeing high demand from buyers across these areas and even further afield, which was the primary reason we opened our Lichfield branch and this ongoing buyer interest is only going to strengthen the market across Birmingham and the surrounding areas.”

Jemma Harrison, Branch Manager of Barrows and Forrester’s Lichfield branch, commented:

“Sutton Coldfield is one of the more desirable areas in the north of Birmingham but house prices have climbed incredibly high and so many buyers are looking for that next best option. While it falls outside the Birmingham boundary, Lichfield has become that option for many, as the more affordable market allows them to buy bigger, but while remaining within reach of Birmingham.”

Data tables

Data sourced from the Land Registry - UK House Price Index

View the data tables online here. 

What does your garden mean to you? For us, it can be summarised in three simple words: entertainment, enjoyment and peace. With it being such a pleasurable, versatile space, it’s no wonder several studies show that it’s within the top three priorities for a potential buyer. Surrounding your house at both front and back, it’s a large area that requires just as much pre-viewing preparation as any room inside – and that’s where we’re here to help!

Tidying the garden is one thing, but styling it is another – it’s the finishing touches you add to the space with considered layouts and accessories that will take it to the next level. So, after you’ve trimmed the hedges and pressure-washed the patio, the fun can truly begin! By bringing a flourish of style to the garden, you’ll be surpassing the viewer’s expectations, showing them the true potential of the space.

Read on for 6 tested tips that will finesse your garden with a dose of charming style.

1. Frame the front door

The first area viewers will see when they arrive is the front door, so it’s worth thinking about the inviting impression you want to create. After refreshing old letterboxes, handles and knockers, consider defining a pathway to the door with flanks of flower beds or potted plants interspersed with post lights.

When it comes to the doorway or porch, draw the eye by framing it with hanging baskets and climbing plants. Alternatively, use candle-filled lanterns of varying sizes either side of the door – mix these in groups of three for visual appeal.

2. Get in the zone

Before you start accessorising the back garden, we suggest dividing it into different areas that are suited for particular purposes. Not only will this make your space feel bigger, but it will also be more organised, allowing you to show the garden in its best light.

A few cleverly positioned dining and seating areas will help to subtly delineate your garden and enable potential buyers to envisage themselves in the space. Define the centre of the main entertainment area with a weatherproof rug, and use comfy furniture to outline the borders. For a balance of cosy and sophisticated style, use a glass-topped table and cushioned dining chairs made from natural-looking materials such as all-weather wicker or Lloyd Loom.

If space allows, channel relaxation in another corner of the garden with an outdoor sofa or swing chair and a timber coffee table. To complete the snug look and feel, add a gas or electric heater.

3. Light the way

Come rain or shine, illuminating your outdoor space with thoughtfully chosen lighting that looks just as good in the daytime as it does at night will add warmth and style. Consider the theme of your interior, and expand this into the garden. A set of bronze- and copper-toned fixtures will give an aged, antique look that’s in keeping with period houses and cottages, whereas matt black and silvered patinas will coordinate with the contemporary feel of a modern home.

If you have a decking area, consider installing recessed floor lighting – for house viewings during darker months, this it will add an uplifting glow to the space. Alternatively, intertwine streams of festoon lights around an awning, hang them along the eaves of a shed or car port, or wrap them around a tree or two to enhance the relaxed atmosphere.

4. Play with mirrors

An outdoor mirror or two is ideal for bouncing light around the garden and, if you position them in a clever way, they can also make the space feel bigger. When placing a mirror outside, consider what you want it to reflect. Fixing it against a fence or wall to reflect flowers and foliage is much preferrable to a view of trailing drainpipes!

Think about the shape and size of the mirror, too. Going large will have the most impact, so when it comes to oversized mirrors, add one to your seating area to bounce light and reflect your table styling skills. Whether your garden style errs on the classic or modern side, a Crittall window mirror will suit the space. Give an arch-shaped one pride of place in an elegant countryside garden, or use a straight-framed square version in a more contemporary area.

5. Lift the space with colour

When it comes to nature, feel free to play around with colour to make your garden feel cheerful and inviting. For easy decorating, bring in container plants – they work especially well on a paved area or courtyard space where colour might be lacking. And if the flowers aren’t in bloom yet, then you can still add bright hues in the form of plant pots and baskets grouped together in coordinating colours.

For quaint, older houses, a fast-growing climber such as wisteria or clematis set against a wall or fence will give your space a real ‘wow’ factor. Or for a modern home, use trailing plants housed in hanging baskets to create a living wall of foliage for a more minimal approach. Wooden or galvanised metal step ladders are also a creative way to make a fun floral display.

If you have any bare patches among your flower beds, then now is the time to fill them. Bring in a selection of easy-to-maintain perennials that look good all year round such as hellebore, libertia, liriope muscari and cranesbill.

6. Keep it low-key

Remember, you don’t need to go OTT with styling or make it appear high maintenance. Keep it depersonalised by opting for furnishings that highlight texture over pattern and, unless it’s in the form of flowers or plants, accessorise with calm, neutral colours so you don’t overwhelm the space.

Keen for more tips on how to style your garden? Or do you need other advice on how to prepare your home ready to go on the market? Either way, we’d love to hear from you! Simply call us for a chat on 0121 296 2600 / 01543 226322 or send us an email at No matter what your question is, we’re always more than happy to help.

The latest market analysis from estate and lettings agent, Barrows and Forrester, has revealed how much less it can cost to live just a stone’s throw from some of the most sought after areas across eight major cities to help homebuyers cut the cost of homeownership without completely forsaking their area of choice.

The UK’s housing market is on fire. Since the start of the pandemic, house prices have increased by almost 10% due to surging demand facing off with stagnant supply. 

It is revealed that by buying a property just five or ten minutes down the road, buyers can benefit from all of the perks they’re looking for while saving an average of 34% on the purchase price. 

Next best sought after property hotspots for homebuyers

The biggest savings on offer is in Newcastle, where homes in Jesmond, an upmarket area of boutique clothes shops, cafes and cocktail bars, cost, on average, £262 per sq ft. Just next door is Byker, a less in-demand area yet one recently called ‘the best neighbourhood in the UK’, where homes cost just £119 per sq ft; a saving of 55%. 

In Leeds, Holbeck Urban Village is a desirable hotspot. A former industrial site that has recently been transformed into a stunning community tech/media hub, homes here cost £225 per sq ft. Buyers can maintain access to all of the great perks of the Urban Village by choosing to live in Holbeck, less than 1.5 miles away, where homes are 44% more affordable at £125 per sq ft.

Manchester’s Altrincham was once named as ‘the best place to live in Britain’ by The Sunday Times. Homes here cost £389 per sq ft but homebuyers can enjoy this picturesque suburb for much less money by living a few miles away in Wythenshawe where property is 40% cheaper at £234 per sq ft. 

Liverpool’s Mossley Hill is an affluent area with good schools and a low level of crime. As such, homes are expensive at £298 per sq ft. The Toxteth area, around two miles away, is home to the glorious Sefton Park. Property here is £182 per sq ft, 39% less than Mossley Hill. 

The same is true for Hammersmith in London. Homes here are 39% more affordable than in desirable, celeb-filled Kensington, less than 10 minutes away, where property costs an unbelievable £1,423 per sq ft. 

While opting for the next best option to the most desirable property hotspots in Birmingham, Nottingham, and Bristol won’t save you as much, homebuyers can still benefit by between 12% to 26% by making a slight compromise on location.

Managing Director of Barrows and Forrester, James Forrester, commented:

“Homebuying is all about aspiration and owning our own home fills us with a huge amount of pride, so it’s natural for homebuyers to want to live in the very best area we can afford.

However, in our major cities in particular, the top rung of the property market is often the preserve of the high-end homebuyer and so the average person tends to find themselves priced out of the market and looking further afield for greater affordability.

By shifting your search just a few minutes down the road, you’ll find there is often a considerable saving to be made that also allows you to easily access and enjoy the same areas as those paying a fair bit more than you are for the pleasure. 

In many cases, this ripple effect often leads to greater demand and an uplift in property values in these surrounding areas and so not only will it save you money climbing the ladder now, but you may well find your property has climbed in value by a greater margin when you come to sell.”

Table shows areas of UK cities where people hope to live and alternatives they could choose instead , with the average property price (per square foot) in each, alongside the % difference.
City Favoured Location Alternative Favoured location house price £ per sq ft Alternative location house price £ per sq ft Difference %
Newcastle Jesmond Byker £262 £119 -55%
Leeds Holbeck Urban Village Holbeck £225 £125 -44%
Manchester Altrincham Wythenshawe £389 £234 -40%
Liverpool Mossley Hill Toxteth / Sefton Park £298 £182 -39%
London Kensington Hammersmith £1,423 £875 -39%
Birmingham Edgbaston Smethwick £270 £201 -26%
Nottingham The Park The Meadows £284 £225 -21%
Bristol Wapping Wharf Temple Meads £489 £428 -12%
Average £406 £269 -34%

Market data sourced from PropertyData.

The latest analysis from estate and lettings agent, Barrows and Forrester, shows that the cost of council tax has climbed by as much as £145 in parts of the country, as yet another cost associated with our homes puts a squeeze on our household finances.

From groceries to utilities, the rising cost of living is causing financial instability for homeowners and renters across the country. 

One of the most significant costs associated with our homes, other than our rent or mortgage, is council tax and Barrows and Forrester has looked at how this annual cost has changed and which areas have seen the largest increase. 

Council Tax Changes

At £1,493, the average household in England is now paying 4.5% more than they were last year - that’s an increase of £64.

The biggest percentage increase in the country has been seen in Ashford, Kent, where this annual cost has climbed by 9.1%. As a result, Ashford has also seen the largest monetary increase at £145, one of 18 areas of England where the annual cost of council tax has increased by more than £100.

Other areas to have seen this cost climb by more than £100 include Runnymede, Woking, Elmbridge, Bedford, Croydon, St Albans, Reigate and Banstead, Broxbourne, Mole Valley, Craven, Guildford, Mid Devon, Rutland, East Cambridgeshire, Watford, Waverley and South Oxfordshire. 

In terms of the percentage increase versus last year, Manchester (8.7%), Bedford (8.1%), Salford (8.1%), Croydon (7.8%), Hyndburn (7.6%), Broxbourne (7.4%), Islington (7.4%), Runnymede (7.4%), Haringey (7.2%) are the areas to have seen the largest increase in council tax costs. 

The smallest yearly increases have been seen in South Somerset (1.3%), Eden (1.5%), and Bristol (1.8%).

Managing Director of Barrows and Forrester, James Forrester, commented:

“It’s certainly shaping up to be a bleak year for many households with the increasing cost of living squeezing our finances on all sides, whether it be the price of petrol, our weekly food shop, energy prices or council tax. 

There’s a very strong chance we will also see mortgage costs continue to climb as the year goes on, while the cost of renting also looks set to increase and this will put further strain on those that are already cutting back to the extreme in order to get by. 

At the same time, wages have failed to keep pace and the Government has done little to help, with the most significant offering being a very marginal reduction in National Insurance which isn’t due to be implemented until July. For those really up against it, this meagre offering is likely to be far too little too late and we need to see more action being taken now to address this dire situation.”

Data Tables

Council tax data sourced from

Table shows how the cost of council tax has increase across each region between the 21-22 and 22-23 tax years
Location CT 2021-22 CT 2022-23 1 year change (2021-22 to 2022-23) £ 1 year change (2021-22 to 2022-23) %
Yorkshire and the Humber £1,341 £1,406 £65 4.8%
East of England £1,542 £1,615 £73 4.8%
London £1,344 £1,408 £64 4.7%
North West £1,299 £1,357 £58 4.5%
South East £1,711 £1,785 £74 4.4%
East Midlands £1,413 £1,474 £61 4.3%
West Midlands region £1,391 £1,451 £60 4.3%
North East £1,207 £1,258 £51 4.2%
South West £1,568 £1,627 £59 3.8%
England £1,428 £1,493 £64 4.5%
Table shows the 18 areas of England that have seen the cost of council tax increase by more than £100 between the 21-22 and 22-23 tax years
Location CT 2021-22 CT 2022-23 1 year change £ 1 year change %
Ashford £1,592 £1,736 £145 9.10%
Runnymede £1,895 £2,035 £139 7.40%
Woking £1,987 £2,124 £137 6.90%
Elmbridge £2,313 £2,439 £126 5.40%
Bedford £1,536 £1,660 £124 8.10%
Croydon £1,547 £1,668 £120 7.80%
St Albans £1,938 £2,056 £118 6.10%
Reigate and Banstead £2,068 £2,185 £117 5.70%
Broxbourne £1,550 £1,665 £115 7.40%
Mole Valley £2,172 £2,287 £115 5.30%
Craven £1,637 £1,748 £110 6.70%
Guildford £2,082 £2,190 £108 5.20%
Mid Devon £1,665 £1,772 £106 6.40%
Rutland £2,050 £2,156 £106 5.20%
East Cambridgeshire £1,555 £1,662 £106 6.80%
Watford £1,615 £1,719 £104 6.40%
Waverley £2,172 £2,274 £103 4.70%
South Oxfordshire £1,961 £2,060 £100 5.10%
Table shows the areas of England that have seen the largest % increase in the cost of council tax between the 21-22 and 22-23 tax years
Location CT 2021-22 CT 2022-23 1 year change £ 1 year change %
Ashford £1,592 £1,736 £145 9.1%
Manchester £958 £1,042 £84 8.7%
Bedford £1,536 £1,660 £124 8.1%
Salford £1,153 £1,246 £93 8.1%
Croydon £1,547 £1,668 £120 7.8%
Hyndburn £1,121 £1,206 £85 7.6%
Broxbourne £1,550 £1,665 £115 7.4%
Islington £1,215 £1,305 £89 7.4%
Runnymede £1,895 £2,035 £139 7.4%
Haringey £1,269 £1,361 £91 7.2%
Table shows the areas of England that have seen the lowest % increase in the cost of council tax between the 21-22 and 22-23 tax years
Location CT 2021-22 CT 2022-23 1 year change £ 1 year change %
South Somerset £1,564 £1,584 £21 1.3%
Eden £1,583 £1,607 £24 1.5%
City of Bristol £1,416 £1,443 £26 1.8%
City of Plymouth £1,257 £1,283 £26 2.0%
Carlisle £1,340 £1,371 £31 2.3%
City of Derby £1,196 £1,225 £28 2.4%
Allerdale £1,344 £1,376 £32 2.4%
Telford and Wrekin £1,271 £1,304 £32 2.5%
Copeland £1,279 £1,311 £32 2.5%
North Norfolk £1,483 £1,522 £39 2.6%


Estate and lettings agent, Barrows and Forrester, has revealed the five biggest homebuyer turn-offs and how much money each of them can remove from a home’s market value.

Bad/nuisance neighbours

For most people, living next-door to nuisance neighbours is a worst case scenario. Sometimes they make loud noises long into the night; sometimes they’re constantly in the garden partying; and sometimes they’re committing rowdy, even abusive behaviour towards everyone living around them. Sometimes, of course, it’s all of the above and more.

Homebuyers will move heaven and earth to avoid moving in next door to bad neighbours, so much so that a property can struggle to even garner buyer interest and the seller ends up having to lower the asking price by at least 10%. With today’s average house price, this means bad neighbours reduce value £27,376.


Poor upkeep of home’s exterior and gardens

Unlike bad neighbours, this one is completely within the control of the seller, so there’s not really any excuse for letting it happen. General disrepair and shoddy appearance have a huge impact on first impressions, completely turning off a buyer before they’ve even stepped inside the property. 

It is easy to make a home look clean and tidy from the outside, requiring only a broom, a pot of paint, and maybe a rented power washer. When it comes to the garden, if it’s overgrown or being used as a dump site, buyers are likely to already have a negative opinion of the home before they’ve even stepped foot inside it. Such is the power of this turn-off that it can reduce the value of a home by more than 14%, or £38,600.  


Evidence of pets

We are a nation of pet lovers, but we’re also fastidious when it comes to cleanliness. Evidence of pet hair in the carpets and strong odours in the air are big buyer turn-offs and can reduce their perceived value of a home by 4%, or £11,000. 


Parking problems

A convenient and secure parking space continues to be one of the most important things for homebuyers, so much so that a safe, private space can increase the value of a home by as much as £22,500 while the complete absence of a parking option will strip 7%, or £19,500, off the value of a home. 


Dirty, cluttered and smelly 

It is absolutely essential that sellers clean and tidy their property before inviting prospective buyers to view it. It is easy to do and improves first impressions ten-fold. In the days leading up to a viewing, it’s always good to open the windows for a few hours and let some fresh air in to make sure that the home doesn’t smell musty and to eliminate any odours that the current owners no longer notice but strangers are likely to clock. If a house is not clean and tidy, it can again knock as much as 11% off the potential market value (£11,000). 

Managing Director of Barrows and Forrester
, James Forrester, commented:

“Homebuyers are an understandably picky bunch. They’re looking for their own version of perfection and this can differ wildly from one buyer to the next. So don’t take it personally if they aren’t all as enthusiastic about your house as you once were, or if it takes you a little while longer than expected to sell. 

Of course there are plenty of things you can do to increase your chances of impressing a buyer and securing a sale, as well as plenty of things that can do the opposite.

“Presentation is vital and you need to ensure you are presenting the best version of your property that you can, whether it be in the initial photos taken or during the viewing process. Failing to do so can not only reduce interest and see your home remain sat on the market for far longer, but it can also cost you when you finally do find a buyer.”


Table shows the impact of each issue on the value of a home based on the current UK average of £273,762
Turn-offs Impact to property value (%) Impact to property value (£)
Nuisance neighbours -10% -£27,376
Unkept garden -14.1% -£38,600
Evidence of pets -4.0% -£10,950
Parking issues such as no private parking -7.1% -£19,437
General poor upkeep -4.0% -£10,950


Average house price data sourced from Gov.UK: HPI.

Data on the impact of each issue to a property’s value sourced from Speed Property Buyers, The Express, Chronicle Live, Essex Live, and Chancellors.

Research by estate and lettings agent, Barrows and Forrester, reveals how homeowners can help to protect the environment while adding great value to their property by carrying out some eco-friendly home improvements. But which upgrades add the most value?


Upgrading a home’s insulation, specifically solid wall insulation, is one of the best ways of improving efficiency and reducing energy usage. It costs an estimated £2,750 to do but can boost property value by 3%. Based on the average UK house price of £273,762, this equates to £8,213, adding value to the tune of £5,463. This makes it the most profitable eco-friendly upgrade available to homeowners when it comes to adding value to their home, as well as reducing their carbon footprint. 

Electric car charging port

Despite the increasing popularity of electric and hybrid cars, it’s still very rare to find a home that comes with its own charge point. Installation is relatively inexpensive, around £800, and can add around 1.5% to the home’s value, adding £3,306 in value. 

Boiler upgrade

Many homes can still benefit from a good old fashioned boiler upgrade. While notoriously expensive to do, around £2,500, the increased efficiency and longevity that a new boiler provides adds around 1.9% to the home’s value, adding £2,701 in value. 

Tankless water system

Similarly, if a home uses a tank system for its hot water, in which it uses a large tank to store large amounts of water that must then be heated every time hot water is required, it’s a very good idea to replace it with a tankless heater system.  Doing so costs around £1,275 but adds 1.2% to the property’s value, a boost of £1,984. 

Double glazing

Fitting double-glazed windows throughout the home is very expensive, costing an estimated £6,575. It is, however, an essential step towards creating an energy efficient and warm home and is so important to homebuyers that the improvement adds 3% to the value of a property. Measured against the cost, this brings an added value of £1,638.

LED lighting and roof repairs

Increased efficiency and good profits can also be added through installing energy efficient LED lighting throughout the home (£1,069 profit), and addressing any faults or weaknesses with the roof (£987 profit).

Solar panels

One outlier is solar panels. Despite being one of the most common ways of improving the carbon footprint of a home, it seems they do very little in terms of added value. Installation is expensive, around £5,875, while the value added is estimated to be £1,916, a loss of -£3,959. However, there are obvious savings to be made from reduced utility bills, so if the owner is planning to stay in the home for many years to come, solar panels can still offer good savings. 

Managing Director of Barrows and Forrester
, James Forrester, commented:

“Eco-friendly home renovations and upgrades can be a brilliant way of reducing the running costs of your home, which is something that has been brought into focus due to the spiralling cost of living. 

But they don’t just reduce the day to day costs associated with our homes, they can also add value for such a time that you do come to sell. 

In addition to the financial benefits they bring to the home, they can also help us make a positive change with regards to the environment and this eco-friendly conscience is something we are seeing more and more from the modern-day homebuyer.”

Data Tables

Average house price data sourced from Gov.UK: HPI

Renovations information sourced from My Household Quotes. My Job Quote, Checkatrade, and Homehow


Table shows eco-friendly home upgrades alongside estimated cost and added value based on the UK average house price of £273,762 (Jan 22)
Eco-friendly renovation / improvement Estimated average cost Estimated added value (%) Estimated added value (£) Added value (£) minus cost
Upgrade insulation (solid wall insulation) £2,750 3.0% £8,213 £5,463
Electric car charge point £800 1.5% £4,106 £3,306
Upgrade boiler £2,500 1.9% £5,201 £2,701
Tankless water heater £1,275 1.2% £3,259 £1,984
Upgrade window double glazing £6,575 3.0% £8,213 £1,638
Energy saving lighting / LED £300 0.5% £1,369 £1,069
Roof £7,500 3.1% £8,487 £987
Fitting solar panels £5,875 0.7% £1,916 -£3,959


Spring is a wonderful time to sell your home – the buds are budding, gardens are springing into life, and a little bit of sunshine makes everyone’s home look better. Plus, buyers have traditionally always started home searching in the spring, and the property portals tell us this is still the case today.

If you’re thinking of selling your home, or your home is on the market right now, you may have some questions about how to make your move a success. Here are some of the questions we get asked at this time of year by our clients at Barrows & Forrester:

“My house has been on the market since wintertime – now my garden is flowering, should I get new photographs taken?”

Winter garden photos can look a little, well, sad. Bare trees and shrubs, bare earth and leaf-covered, muddy lawns can all be a bit off-putting to buyers. So when your garden starts coming back to life, it’s a really good idea to get some fresh and colourful images taken to showcase it to buyers and sell your home. At Barrows & Forrester we offer new foliage images free of charge to our clients, to make sure their images online are always current and as attractive as possible. Why not ask your agent if they can do likewise?

If I get an offer now, when should I expect to be moved by?”

Nationwide, the current time from accepting an offer to handing over the keys is around 12 weeks, but this can vary hugely depending on your buyer’s position, finance needed, any complications with your sale and much more. If you have a straightforward sale to sell your home, no chain and your buyer doesn’t need a mortgage, then you should be moved by the summer, or around 10 weeks. Any complications or chain delays can more than double this, so ask an expert about your specific situation. We’re always happy to offer our advice on timescales and what to expect. Just give us a call on 0121 296 2600 or 01543 226322 and let’s have a chat.

I don’t know how I’m going to keep my house tidy during the Easter holidays! Should I take a break from the market?”

We feel your pain! Trying to sell your home with children off school is never an easy task, but there are some things you can do to help make your viewings successful and stress-free:

“I’m thinking about moving home – is now a good time?”

A great question! We’re sure you’ve heard it’s a ‘seller’s market’ right now, and has been pretty much since the start of the Pandemic. But things are starting to change. More homes coming to market means more competition for buyers, and that creates downward pressure on house prices. We expect prices to remain strong for at least this year, and probably into next year, but we think the days of huge scarcity are now behind us. What does this mean for you if you’re thinking of selling? Well, if we’re right and property prices have peaked, you can feel confident you’d be selling your home at the top of the market. Whatever your situation, selling now when you know it’s a strong market is going to give you a more predictable sale price than waiting until next year and facing an unknown property market.

What are most buyers looking for right now?”

Some homes are inevitably in more demand than others – our buyers are looking for specific features, like work-from-home space, and often want a home with potential to extend. Bungalows seem to be very popular right now, as are homes with land. Whatever your home has to offer, we’d love to have a chat with you and tell you whether we have buyers registered who are looking for a home just like yours. Just give us a call on 0121 296 2600 or 01543 226322 or drop me a line at to get the ball rolling.

I thought this was supposed to be a seller’s market, but my home still hasn’t had much interest. What can I do?”

It’s hugely disappointing when you’re excited to put your home on the market, and no one seems interested. Especially if neighbouring properties are selling fast around you. The three key drivers of any successful property sale are presentation, price and promotion: how well your home is presented to the market, and whether it competes on how modern rooms like its kitchens and bathrooms are; whether the price is competitive and not over-optimistic; and finally, but probably the most important of the three, how your home is marketed.

The images, written description and brochure are more important than most people assume, and just improving them can have a dramatic impact on how much interest a home receives. We’ve taken on , styled them and changed the photography, and sold them straight away without changing the price at all! So if you’re not sure if your marketing is really showcasing your home, we’ll be frank, and tell you honestly if it is. Send me a link to your home at and I’ll tell you how you can improve your marketing and attract the right buyer.

“Our garden is looking lovely, but it’s still a bit muddy. Can we ask viewers to take off their shoes before they view our home?”

Yes! We always take off our shoes before going into a home, and so we expect the viewers to do the same. Carpets with muddy footprints aren’t attractive to buyers, so let’s make sure yours stay clean!

If you have any questions at all about any of the points raised in this article, or you’d just like a friendly, no-strings chat about your house sale, we’d love to help you. Call me on 0121 296 2600 or 01543 226322, or email me on and let’s get you moving.

James Forrester, proud owner of Barrows & Forrester across Birmingham, Lichfield and the surrounding areas. 

Research by estate and lettings agent, Barrows and Forrester, reveals which areas of the rental market are currently most in demand amongst tenants, based on the ratio of available rental properties that have already been snapped up. 

The Barrows and Forrester Rental Demand Index monitors rental listings across the nation, taking an average demand score for each English county based on which of them has the highest number of properties already let as a percentage of all rental listings. 

The analysis of all 49 English counties shows that, on average, 40% of all rental properties listed on the market during the first quarter of 2022 had already been taken by tenants keen to kick off the new year in a new rental property. 

The hottest rental spots in the current market?

West Sussex, where a huge 69% of all rental properties had been already let in Q1.. 

Demand is also strong in Cornwall (65%), Wiltshire (63%), Suffolk (60%), Bristol (59%), the Isle of Wight (57%), Dorset (56%), Shropshire (55%), Rutland (55%) Somerset (54%) and Cambridge (54%)..

But not every area of the market is benefitting from a surge in tenant activity so far this year. 

Rental demand is at its lowest in West Yorkshire where just 19% of all listed rental properties has been taken by tenants.

Leicestershire (22.9%), West Midlands County (23%), the City of London (26%), Merseyside (27%), Lancashire (29%), East Riding (30%), South Yorkshire (31%), Tyne & Wear (31%), and Lincolnshire (32%) also ranked amongst the coldest spots in the current rental market.

Managing Director of Barrows and Forrester, James Forrester, commented:

“We’ve seen a fairly strong start to the year where rental demand levels are concerned, although it’s fair to say that an air of pandemic influence remains despite a return to normality after what has been a strange few years, to say the least.

Demand across more urban and industrialised areas of the is still slightly more muted compared to pre-pandemic levels, while country and coastal pockets of the market continue to see very high demand. 

It will be interesting to see how this balance shifts over the coming months as we expect that demand for rental properties across major cities, in particular, will start to build considerably.”


Table shows demand for rental homes in English counties as of Q1 2022
Location Q1 2022 Demand %
West Sussex 69%
Cornwall 65%
Wiltshire 63%
Suffolk 60%
Bristol 59%
Isle of Wight 57%
Dorset 56%
Shropshire 55%
Rutland 55%
Somerset 54%
Cambridgeshire 54%
Gloucestershire 53%
Essex 52%
Buckinghamshire 52%
Bedfordshire 51%
Hertfordshire 50%
Bath and North East Somerset 49%
Northamptonshire 48%
Surrey 47%
Herefordshire 46%
Kent 46%
Norfolk 45%
Northumberland 45%
East Sussex 45%
Warwickshire 45%
Cheshire 44%
Hampshire 44%
North Yorkshire 43%
Berkshire 42%
Cumbria 42%
Derbyshire 41%
Greater Manchester 40%
Oxfordshire 39%
Durham 38%
Devon 37%
Staffordshire 35%
Worcestershire 35%
Nottinghamshire 33%
Greater London 33%
Lincolnshire 32%
Tyne and Wear 31%
South Yorkshire 31%
East Riding of Yorkshire 30%
Lancashire 29%
Merseyside 27%
City of London 26%
West Midlands (county) 23%
Leicestershire 23%
West Yorkshire 19%
England 38%


The latest research by Birmingham estate and lettings agent, Barrows and Forrester, has revealed which pockets of the property market present homebuyers with the best chance of a below average carbon footprint but with the added bonus of below average property values. 

The research by Barrows and Forrester analysed data on CO2 emissions per capita across each county, as well as the cost of buying a home. Across England as a whole, we produce 4.9 tonnes of CO2 emissions per capita (or person) each year, while the current average cost of a home is £280,921. 

There are just 22 counties where the total CO2 emissions per capita come in below the national average of 4.9 tonnes a year, with just eight of these also offering more affordable property values when compared to the national average.

UK Hotspots for a low carbon footprint and below average property values

At just £120,228, County Durham is the most affordable spot to buy a home for those who may be conscious of their carbon footprint. The county sees just 4.5 tonnes of carbon emissions generated per person each year and is 57% more affordable to buy a home versus the national average.

In fact, the North East is home to the top two most affordable options for a low carbon lifestyle. The average property price in Tyne and Wear is just £157,163, 44% below the national average, while the average person in the county generates just 4.2 tonnes of C02 per year. 

Merseyside (4.3) and West Yorkshire (4.7) are also home to below average carbon emissions while property values come in 38% and 35% under the national average respectively. 

However, Northumberland is the county to head for, for those who value their carbon footprint first and a bricks and mortar bargain second. 

The average person in Northumberland generates just 2.1 tonnes of C02 emissions per year - by far the lowest level of all counties. What’s more, at £184,928, the county is also home to some of the lowest house prices in the land, coming in 34% below the national average.

Greater Manchester, the Isle of Wight and Cornwall complete the list of counties offering both below average property prices and a below average carbon footprint. 

Managing Director of Barrows and Forrester, James Forrester, commented:

“As a nation, we’re becoming increasingly more aware of our impact on the planet and the vital role we play in making a difference. This is no different when it comes to our homes and there are a wealth of things we can do in order to make a change. These range from improving energy efficiency, using greener energy, growing our own food and doing away with single use plastics, to name but a few.

However, it can feel like an uphill struggle at times and so purchasing a property in an area with far lower carbon emissions is a good place to start for those who want to surround themselves with like-minded individuals. The good news is, it doesn’t have to cost you an arm and a leg and there are a number of counties where both CO2 emissions and property prices sit below the national average.”

Table shows the eight counties where both CO2 emissions and property prices sit below the national average

County Average house price Average house price vs national average CO2 emissions (tonnes) est - total per capita
Durham £120,228 -57% 4.5
Tyne and Wear £157,163 -44% 4.2
Merseyside £174,997 -38% 4.3
West Yorkshire £183,484 -35% 4.7
Northumberland £184,928 -34% 2.1
Greater Manchester £205,622 -27% 4.2
Isle of Wight £250,247 -11% 3.3
Cornwall £270,458 -4% 4.6
England £280,921 N/A 4.9
Sources - UK House Price Index (Aug 2021 - latest available) LG Inform

The latest research by Birmingham estate and lettings agent, Barrows and Forrester, reveals where homebuyers can cash in on the biggest asking price reductions in an otherwise red hot housing market. 

Barrows and Forrester analysed current property listings for homes that have seen an asking price reduction to highlight which regions currently offer the biggest discount. 

Across Britain, those properties currently on the market to have seen a drop in asking price expectations are 6% more affordable than when they first entered the market - an £18,000 reduction for homebuyers looking to snap up a bargain. 

The British region in which the average price reduction is highest is the North East where, on average, asking prices reduce by 8.3%. With an average regional house price of £202,936, this marks a potential saving of £17,000.

In Scotland, price reductions are averaging 6.8%. With an average price of £184,149, the potential saving for buyers is £12,600. 

The West Midlands (6.2%) offers savings of around £17,200; the North West (6.1%) offers savings of £14,300; while Yorkshire & Humber (6.1%) and Wales (6%) offer potential savings of £12,800 and £14,400 respectively.

Elsewhere, the South East (6%) offers savings of £27,400 and the South West (5.6%) offers savings of £20,300. 

Despite having the third-lowest percentage discount in Britain at just under 5.5%, London’s high house prices mean this is a potential saving of £45,800, while the East Midlands (5.2%) and the East (5%) offer savings of £14,000 and £19,400 respectively. 

Managing Director of Barrows and Forrester, James Forrester, commented:

“Despite record high house prices and consistent levels of buyer demand, it is possible to find properties that have lowered their asking price expectations in the current market. 

The reasons for this differ from home to home, but it might be down to impatient sellers wanting to move quickly, a structural problem coming to light after the home was already on the market, or a simply case of being situated in one of those rare pockets of low demand. 

While it’s advisable to move quickly in current market conditions, it always pays to do your research and see how long a property has been listed for, as well as enquiring as to the level of attention it has received. By doing so you can identify if an asking price reduction is imminent or if you can simply secure one during the negotiation process without having to wait.”

across London boroughs for homes that are still on the market having seen the asking price reduced, ranked from highest % aveage discount to lowest.

Location Average asking price Average asking price reduction Potential reduction £ Potential price after reduction
North East £202,936 8.34% £16,918 £186,018
Scotland £184,149 6.83% £12,571 £171,578
West Midlands region £277,229 6.22% £17,231 £259,998
North West £234,196 6.11% £14,309 £219,887
Yorkshire and the Humber £210,728 6.10% £12,847 £197,881
Wales £238,770 6.04% £14,426 £224,344
South East £459,999 5.95% £27,391 £432,608
South West £364,958 5.55% £20,268 £344,690
London £833,994 5.49% £45,784 £788,210
East Midlands £271,891 5.18% £14,080 £257,811
East of England £384,561 5.05% £19,430 £365,131
Great Britain £296,950 6.08% £18,048 £278,902
Source -Zoopla