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Buying Land

Buying LandWhen it comes to Buying land in the UK, the primary restriction has to do with location. Because of work and family, the majority of people in the UK cannot simply pack up and relocate, meaning they are limited to certain areas. One option for finding land for sale is through an auction. However, you can also use the services of a land agent, someone that does all the legwork for you, or, you can spend time scouting possibilities on your own.



Areas of particular interest for development at the moment are:

  • Thames Gateway (green and brownfield)

  • Swanscombe - Northfleet - Gravesend Thamesmead - Dartford - Swanley Tilbury and westwards

  • Docklands (brownfield)

  • Woolwich, Beckton, Silvertown - emerging Isle of Dogs - Canary Warf - Limehouse - mature expansion Liverpool - emerging north docks Portsmouth - Plymouth - Bristol

  • Stanstead Corridor (greenfield)

  • St Neots - Cambridge - Ely - Stanstead - corridor

  • Docklands - on the horizon (undeveloped)

  • Barry - Hayle Newport - Tilbury - Bootle Birkenhead - Thames Haven - Hull - Grimsby

    The key to finding land for sale in the UK is to keep your options open and be persistent. Remember that while you might find some locations listed in auction listings, most true land with planning permission. Then, if you can afford it, you want to choose property that is in a state of disrepair. With this, you can tear down old buildings and literally start building the home of your dreams. Just keep in mind that you probably will need planning permission build.

    Check list for land acquisition (residential, commercial, retail development

  • Road network
  • Rail links
  • Flood risk
  • Residential demand
  • Commercial demand
  • Access to site for building
  • Access to site for residential or retail or commercial
  • Electricity connection and capacity
  • Mains water connection and capacity
  • Sewage connection and capacity
  • Gas connection and capacity
  • Proximity to high power overhead lines
  • Pipeline and cable restrictions
  • Local opposition group - organisation
  • Wildlife - potential disruption or improvement
  • Environmental impact assessment
  • Legal or tax liabilities
  • Drying subsidence and landslip potential
  • Landfill issues (shallow gas, subsidence, pollution)
  • Soil survey - rock mechanics suitability for building

  • Another option for Buying land for sale in the UK is with the land agent, as mentioned. You will pay for the services but the benefits are huge. In this case, the agent keeps an eye out for you, scouting various properties based on your preferences. However, the land agent will go further by ensuring the land is safe and will even help deal on price. This way, you get the best possible land without having to take time off from work to locate it.

    If your goal were to be a self-builder, then you would be trying to find land for sale that already has the planning permission outline. For this to be successful, you need to understand that building a house in the first two years is optimal. The other option would be to find your land and realize you will make a smaller profit in a short amount of time. In this case, in addition to the initial investment on the land, you need to remember that there is also the cost for designing and building the home. For this reason, you can see that financial gain with self-build is not guaranteed. However, if you want nice land for your perfect home, a place where you will raise your family and entertain friends, then this is a viable option.

    Land Speculation

    If the planning zones change, then the person who owns the land can make a fortune as the zone moves from Greenfield agriculture to a designated site for development - either retail, commercial or residential. In SE England, agricultural land might sell for say 3,000 pounds an acre, but land with planning permission for residential development in a good location might fetch 1,000,000 an acre. That said, the land-owner may lose significant amounts of value if, during clarification of land in a "grey area", the category is confirmed as Greenfield with no to development options.

    Some investors speculate that an area close to a town will be re-zoned - they may buy land at low cost from farmers and then sell as soon as the land is rezoned to a developer. This high risk, high reward strategy has made many people extremely wealthy from one or two deals in a lifetime. Others who have speculated but the area has not been rezoned have made a loss and ended up with a piece of agricultural land with little or no income and a lot of hassle. Dealing in land is not for the inexperienced or non-knowledgeable investor. The more local knowledge, wider network and more local insights and contacts you have the higher your chance for succeeding in increasing the value of a land investment.

    -  James M

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