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Most sought after homes revealed

These houses were once the sole pursuit of "second steppers" – those who have already purchased a starter flat and are looking to trade up in order to start a family, or make room for a growing brood – now they are seeing activity from other groups.

Many first-time buyers are bypassing the small starter flat for a larger home, which can give much needed income in the form of renting out rooms to lodgers or friends. Rents for property have risen at a very fast pace and first time buyers are stretching themselves to get the maximum return on their investment.

Another group looking at three bed homes more than in previous years are downsizers. These are typically more mature people who are rattling around in big houses after their family have flown the nest. They are often looking for three beds as they want enough room to entertain the grandchildren or friends when they come to stay or the option to convert one of the bedrooms into an office.

Stephanie McMahon, head of research at Strutt & Parker said: "Three beds have always been popular and the economic conditions since 2008 have generated a surge in interest. We have seen a marked rise in the number of older people looking for smaller, and perhaps environmentally sustainable homes.

"Downsizing also creates the opportunity to free up capital and supplement pensions which have been hit by fund performance. In addition they often want to help their children buy homes, although ironically will be competing with them when they downsize."

A slowdown in house building has also stoked demand for three bedroom property. Focus on developing one and two bed homes for  professionals and four or five bed properties for families has meant that three bedroom houses have been neglected by the market resulting in undersupply. There is now a healthy amount of potential buyers and as a result three beds are now carrying a price premium.

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