Knotweed, Neighbours and More: Factors That Can Affect Mortgages and House Prices

Japanese Knotweed


When buying or selling a property, you may find your mortgage rates or house prices hit by factors you didn’t previously consider. Japanese knotweed is a stand-out example thanks to its potential to destroy a property’s foundations, with other mortgage rate factors including proximity to mobile phone towers, traffic and noise pollution playing a part.

If a home is seen as an “at-risk property” by lenders, it can be difficult to get a mortgage. Here, we list the most egregious factors mortgage lenders look out for when deciding mortgage rates and, by extension, house prices.

Japanese Knotweed

Japanese knotweed made its way to Europe in the 1850s as it was seen as an attractive, easy to maintain option for gardeners. By the time the plant had embedded itself into the make-up of Britain’s ecosystem, though, the damage had already been done with the consequences still present today.

The major issue with Japanese knotweed is its potential to destroy the foundations of homes, as well as the expensive process of destroying the plant. Since the plant’s roots grow so deep, only professionals can certifiably destroy the presence of the species which leads to high costs on the part of the property owner.

Since 2013, it has been law within the UK to state if Japanese knotweed is present in the property via a TA6 form which factors into a conveyancer’s assessment. As an extension to this, those selling the property via a mortgage will need to provide assurances to the lender via a professional action plan, as the existence of the plant or a history of it can be a nightmare for both buyers and sellers.

Mortgage lenders will typically follow guidelines established by the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors, but this varies on a lender-to-lender basis. Overall, the existence of Japanese knotweed is far from a positive for sellers and buyers. On average, its existence knocks off a massive 10% of the value from a house price which equates to £20 billion off the UK’s housing market.

Neighbours, Location and Other Factors

Loud, inhospitable neighbours and worn-down neighbouring homes can drive down the value of a property. Buyers will be put off by a bit of noise during a house viewing or an unkempt neighbouring garden, so keep that in mind when selling.

In addition to the above, proximity to high areas of traffic, air pollution and constructs like mobile phone towers and power lines can impact house prices. Poor or obstructed views can be a major stumbling block too.

Furnishings and Interiors

While you may think your orange shag carpet and royal blue wall combo is the next big thing, most people probably won’t share your taste. It’s worth investing in neutral palettes and tones as a bad bit of décor and furniture can make a bad impression on a potential house buyer.

Structural and water damage, too, may not be obvious at first, but if a conveyancer or lender finds these issues, then it won’t be good news for the valuation. If the house is an at-risk property as a result,  then rates may be pushed up.

Local Employment Rates

Local and national employment rates can impact house price and mortgage rates. If a house is situated in an area of shrinking economic interest, then people will be less interested to move into that area. By extension, housing demand drops with house prices in tandem.

More broadly, if employment rates are low nationally, then this will have a negative impact on mortgage rates. The more unemployed people there are, the less likely it is for people to make repayments on their mortgage.  Fewer buyers on the market will only increase mortgage rates as lender anxiety rises.

Thinking of Buying or Selling?

Whether you’re new to the market, enticed by the Help-to-Buy scheme or wish to apply for a self-employed contractor mortgage, our experienced financial experts can help with residential mortgages.

Article By Mark Hughes

July 8th, 2019

Mark has 15 years’ experience within the financial industry working for high street banks and specialist brokers and now focuses on Bridging finance and Second charge loans.

He would describe his style of brokering as being heavily based on knowledge and efficiency.

See more articles by Mark

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