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HH thumbTake a look at this month’s HouseHunter magazine, available as a flip magazine on our website and as a hard copy in each of our offices. Want it sent direct to your inbox in future? If so, click here to register.

There are some beautiful properties featured this month, including a characterful Grade II Listed cottage on page 16 and a sympathetically restored and very well presented property in Barrington on page 21. If you are looking to rent, turn to page 36 for a selection of our rental properties – for all available properties, for sale and to let, click here.

Did you know that 2014 saw the highest level of first time buyers since 2007? More than 311,500 people bought their first home last year, with over 50,000 of them using the Help to Buy scheme. See page 14 for more details.

Following the success of their 7 day ‘Cooking in Italy’ trips to Villa il Boschetto, Cambridge Cookery School have added three, 3-day, culinary trips to their offering this year. Find details of these and the recipe of the month on page 26.

We have feature slots available in some of our upcoming editions, so if you would like to see your local business featured in our magazine, email kmccloskey@tuckergardner.com for more details.

SAWSTONWe are continuing our investment in people and places.

With the ever demanding Cambridgeshire property market our business is growing. We therefore have a recruitment drive ongoing – details of our exciting opportunities can be found on our careers page.

We have opened a brand new TuckerGardner office. Following many years of selling in Sawston and the surrounding area, we have opened a branch in the village (pictured) – enhancing our already unrivalled coverage of the local market. Feel free to pop in to the new High Street office and meet the team, which is headed up by Geoff Doe who said:

“I am really pleased and excited that the new office is now open. The refurb team have done a fantastic job and the office looks great – in particular the black and white photo of Sawston from 1965 on the back wall. Now that the doors are open I am looking forward to seeing as many people as possible in and around the area. If you are passing the office please pop in for a coffee and take a look around the new office, or we would be pleased to come to you should you need any property related advice.”

We are investing in our existing offices too. Our Great Shelford lettings office is currently being refurbished and our Great Shelford sales office will then be having a makeover straight after, so please bear with the teams over the next few weeks. In the meantime, you can find our lettings team in the sales office over the road.

We look forward to welcoming you to our new look offices soon!

HH coverTake a look at this month’s HouseHunter magazine, available as a flip magazine on our website and as a hard copy in each of our offices. Want it sent direct to your inbox in future? If so, click here to register.

There are some particularly special properties featured this month, including our beautiful cover property which is located in the centre of Great Shelford – full details on page 6 – and a Victorian five bedroom semi-detached property in Ely, with numerous original features, on page 16.

Did you know that the number of new homes built in the Eastern region fell by 6.2% in 2014? Find out more on page 12, including how the lack of supply could be driving premium prices for new build properties.

Turn to page 24 for the recipe of the month, Pizzette Bianche, a little pizza without tomato sauce – made from scratch including the dough for the base.

We have feature slots available in some of our upcoming editions, so if you would like to see your local business featured in our magazine, email kmccloskey@tuckergardner.com for more details.

house price rise2014 was a busy year in the Cambridge property market. Although widely regarded as a year of two halves (January to June being somewhat more frantic) we did see a rise in activity and a return to form around December. In what is traditionally a quieter time in our industry we experienced excellent activity, with several sales being agreed during the Christmas week and two on Christmas Eve!

Mortgage availability continued to improve throughout the year, as did buyer demand, so it is no wonder that the city saw a 12.1% growth in property prices last year, with the average sale price rising above £400,000 for the first time to £404,085. Cambridgeshire as a whole also saw a rise in property prices, up by 5.1%.

The reform of the Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) system, effective from 4 December 2014, provided an instant boost to sales. In fact, the majority of buyers will be better off under the new system with the tipping point being £937,000. Based on 2014 sale prices, the average saving on Stamp Duty in Cambridgeshire would be £1,236.

The reform will be particularly important for first time buyers, who can often struggle with buying costs. The average price paid for a home by first time buyers in Cambridge was £208,026 – 11.5% more in November 2014 compared to the previous year. Mortgage funding advanced to first time buyers in November 2014 also increased, up 6% on the November 2013 figure. So, with less SDLT pressure, greater mortgage availability and approvals, we may start to see the pressure on the bank of Mum and Dad reducing slightly.

Over the last five years smaller properties have outperformed the wider market in Cambridge. Flats and terraced houses have both seen price growth approaching 40% over the last five years, reflecting an increasing interest in smaller properties in the city. While detached and semi-detached properties have comfortably outperformed the national market, buyers have demonstrated greater enthusiasm for these smaller homes. This is possibly driven by high demand for buy-to-let opportunities, as investors often favour the perceived property hotspots smaller homes.

HH cover thumbTake a look at our first HouseHunter magazine of 2015, available as a flip magazine on our website and as a hard copy in each of our offices. Want it sent direct to your inbox in future? If so, click here to register.

2014 was a busy year in the Cambridge property market, with the city outperforming Cambridgeshire as a whole with a 12.1% growth in property prices. Learn more on page 12.

Following the inevitable festive over indulgence, I’m sure many started the year with the usual good intentions of getting more exercise, drinking less and eating healthier food. If, like me, you have well and truly fallen off the wagon, you may be interested in this month’s feature from Cambridge Food Tour. Whether you are new to the city or maybe just want to get to know the Cambridge food scene better, their tours will help you discover delicious local food and drink. See page 18 for more details. If you’d rather try your hand at cooking something new, turn to page 24 for this month’s recipe, Frascarelli al Peperone.

We have feature slots available in some of our upcoming editions, so if you would like to see your local business featured in our magazine, email kmccloskey@tuckergardner.com for more details.

MarathonAfter completing the Edinburgh Marathon back in May 2013 Andy vowed “never again!”. However, on the 26th April he will be donning his running shoes once again, this time to complete the London Marathon in aid of Parkinson’s UK.

His decision to apply for a place with the charity was down to his Dad, who has lived with Parkinson’s for over 10 years now. His Dad has always hoped that with better research a cure may be found for the condition, or just better treatments.

Parkinson’s UK fund ground-breaking research into the condition and also offer support for those affected and their families.

Andy needs to raise £1,900 to run for Parkinson’s UK and needs all the help he can get in reaching that target – even the smallest amount will help if you can spare it.

To donate visit Andy’s fundraising page.

Thank you.

New YearWith a busy end to 2014 we now all too quickly find ourselves racing into 2015 full of festive overindulgence, with great plans to join the gym, quit smoking or maybe drink and eat less. All very reasonable ideas and no doubt thoughts of these good intentions will come and go as we progress through the year. However, if your New Year plan is to move house we would recommend taking positive steps during the next few weeks and avoid procrastinating – we can all be guilty of this, especially when faced with sticking to our resolutions!

The well known saying ‘the early bird catches the worm’ has never been more relevant. There has never been a better time to sell – with increasing buyer demand, encouraged by greater mortgage availability and the positive 2014 Stamp Duty Land Tax reform, we anticipate a strong start to the year as we approach what is traditionally one of the busiest times in our industry. Sellers grasping the nettle and being proactive will no doubt feel the benefits of stealing a march on the competition, securing sales to buyers who presently have little choice.

If moving is on your mind why not pour yourself a drink, grab your favourite chocolate bar and put the gym membership on hold – maybe don’t light a cigarette but do give us a call and talk through how we can help make your move happen and fulfil at least one New Year’s resolution!

stamp dutyWhether you are a buyer or seller (or both!), the recent announcement of the new Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) system is unlikely to have passed you by.

The government’s reform of the ‘slab style’ system to one that it is fairer and more progressive, effective from 4 December 2014, was welcome news to most. Under the new system anyone buying a home costing under £937,000 should pay less or the same SDLT.

However, the new system is not just helping buyers. Since the reform we have already agreed sales on two properties which we feel have directly benefited from the new rules. Both properties had sales agreed just over the previously tricky thresholds of £250,000 and £500,000, showing that there is now less of a barrier at these levels resulting in the sellers achieving a better price and the buyers paying less tax.

To find out the tax payable on your property purchase, enter the proposed purchase price into the Stamp Duty Land Tax calculator.

foodbank elyFollowing last year’s success we decided to run our Ely Foodbank Christmas Appeal for a second year.  Thanks to the people of Ely and the support they have shown with donations, the Christmas Appeal has once again been a great success.

We have collected enough donations for the foodbank to be able to hand out Christmas Hampers alongside the emergency food packages that are given out over the festive period.

TuckerGardner would like to thank everyone that has made a donation, hopefully spreading a bit of festive spirit to those that otherwise may not have had it.

Christmas 2014 lightsThe 10th Ely Christmas lights switch on takes place tomorrow, Friday 28th November. From 4pm on the Market Square there will be a night of free entertainment, with craft and charity stalls, a funfair and Santa’s Grotto. Our Ely team will be there too, offering mince pies, mulled wine and balloons to get everyone in the festive mood. We hope to see you there!

Also this weekend is the Ely St John’s School Christmas Fayre. From 1.30pm to 4pm this Saturday (29th), there will be lots of stalls, food, a raffle, tombola, face painting, sand sculptures, craft, sweets, popcorn, hook the duck and more! All proceeds will go to the Friends of Ely St John’s School, who are raising funds for a theatre visit to the school, more visualisers, cd players for audio books and other educational material which are much needed by the school.