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Consumer group wants property details to include price per square foot

The influential lobbying group the HomeOwners’ Alliance wants estate agents to quote the price per square foot of properties to allow buyers to make more meaningful assessments of a property’s value.

In a blog on its website, the HOA says that British agents generally describe property sizes in terms of numbers of bedrooms, burying the number of square feet of space within the home in the small print of the details. 

“Estate agents are usually uncharacteristically quiet about it. In many other countries, people talk mainly about the area of a property. Square footage tells us about the size of the house, but not about its value. To get an idea of the true value of a house we would have to start talking about the pounds per square foot. And that we never do” says the HOA.


The blog then quotes - and praises - an example by the agency YouHome, which the association says is one of the few to include price per square foot information on its details. The agency carries details of two nearby three-bedroom terraced houses in the Notting Hill area of London, one selling for £2.2m and one selling for £3.5m.

“You would assume that one must be much bigger than the other, but then look at the pounds per square foot – the Campden Hill Road one went for £2400/sqft, while the Kensington Place £1550/sqft. The places are almost exactly the same size, but one is going for more than 50% more per square foot than the other. If the buyers had that information, they could have made a more meaningful comparison than one based on the number of bedrooms,” says the HOA.

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    Or the buyers perform a very simple mathematical calculation. Do they really need to be Spoon Fed every bit of information. There are many more factors than simply price per sqft to determine value.

    Algarve  Investor

    Yes, but it's an important one nonetheless. Wouldn't you agree?

    Terence Dicks

    Agreed Ray.

  • Trevor Mealham

    Now do they want an internal sq ft or the external footpint.

    Can we also have a want that consumer groups actually have to understand industries to comment.

  • Richard Copus

    "To get an idea of the true value of a house we would need to talk about pounds per square foot". Following EAT's headline yesterday: "Over 50% of new homes too small for families", I wonder what effect this would have on the resale value of some of these boxes?!

    Trevor Mealham

    Equally a 1 bed with 1 bath, a 2 bed with one bath, a 3 bed with one bath. What's in a house isnt alway per Sq proportionate as any valuer knows. Often knowing an applicants list and buyers speed want to move can make thousands of pounds difference.

    Even AVM's can only calculate on historic data and fail to take into account good schools closing, or new roads going in.

    Willing buyer who can get funds / willing seller

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    I would also add in other parts of the world, labor and materials are a lot cheaper. This is why they look at square footage as many buyers renovate a space to what is right for them.

    The UK we have expensive property and expensive labor and fittings. This is why people pay a premium for a property which is practical and has a good finish.

    Kristjan Byfield

    Actually think labour and materials are very reasonable in the UK and there are lots of very reasonable property price locations as long as you dont want to live in London that is!

    Trevor Mealham

    @ Kristjan Byfield

    So your also saying in some areas you feel the opposite applies too :-)


    I guess we have differing idea of reasonable for labour and materials, or maybe we are just in different areas KB! -What are your thoughts of Price per square foot?

  • Kristjan Byfield

    Of all the things to campaign for!?! All properties must have an EPC which states sq metres so, if you have an agency which doesnt do floor plans, it is still a fairly easy calculation. Very strange indeed. Maybe our industry is getting so fantastic now that these minor things are the only weaks left to make?


    Yes epc Do show square foot but how accurate are they? if a property is £1200 per square foot and the calculation is out could be expensive mistake.

  • Trevor Mealham

    Maybe some consumer groups are picking on bits they don't understand Kristjan

  • Richard White

    Can we also be told how many bricks were used in the building of the property and how many sugars the foreman liked in his tea? All very important stuff.

  • Terence Dicks

    Well said Richard White!! Seems to me the HOA is attempting to justify its existence by coming up with suitably ridiculous ideas.

    How about they do something useful and try to stop unscrupulous agents from manipulating photographs before they are put on the portals.

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    The Gross Area listed on the EPCs are (usually) grossly inaccurate and not measured in accordance with any property measuring guidelines. Caveat Emptor. I would also say Terence that it is Agents unscrupulously manipulating Photographs, some of the best agencies are doing this and not just the back street unscrupulous ones! Now if there was a code in place that had to be followed, wouldn't that make sense.

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    I would say that EPC's tend to be more accurate than chartered surveyors in my experience. Maybe its because of the regulatory monitoring of the accuracy of EPC's compared to the door in your face attitude off RICS if you complain to them.


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