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Property Eye#16

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These recent property news items caught our eye:-

Celebrity Watch

Out on the Street

Kym Marsh, who plays Michelle Connor in ITV’s long running soap opera Coronation Street, has finally sold her mansion in Worsley, Greater Manchester for £539,950 having cut the price six times from the original £650,000. Kym, 40, had been hoping to sell the house following the breakup of her relationship from Jamie Lomas in 2013 in order to start a new life with fiancé Dan Hooper but sadly that relationship has now also ended.

Follow in the footsteps of International Stars

The lavish Knightsbridge penthouse which has been home to both Rihanna and Tom Cruise is now on the market for £35million. Many believe this to be the most luxurious apartment in the Capital with views over Hyde Park, six bedrooms (one with Jacuzzi), its own gym, music room, cinema, therapy room and six outdoor terraces. An annual service charge of £37,162 and ground rent of £1,400 are unlikely to put off potential buyers and the selling agents are “very confident” of getting the asking price.

Starr Turn

The Times reports that 75 year old Ringo Starr has sold Rydinghurst his 200 acre estate near Cranleigh in Surrey to a Russian buyer for just under £15million. He bought the 6 bedroom Jacobean house in 1999 for £2million but is selling up so that he and his American wife Barbara Bach (67) can spend more time enjoying their healthy life styles at their house in Los Angeles where Starr admits he is “obsessed with broccoli”!

property development

Ex-School Dorm up for Sale

The Grade II listed Georgian ex-dormitory for girl pupils of Westminster School is up for sale with a price tag of £4.25million. Included in the array of former borders are Nigella Lawson, Helena Bonham Carter, Alice Eve and Grace Chatto.

A “blurred” vision?

The ex-rehearsal venue of the rock band Blur is up for sale for £4.25million. The modern five bedroom house on the outskirts of the village of Aldham near Colchester was owned by a close friend of lead singer Damon Albarn who let the band hang out and perfect their songs at the venue. There is plenty of space both inside (8,000 sq. feet + a 1000 sq. foot coach house) and also outside where there are 76 acres of landscaped parkland.

Mortgage Demand Rises

The demand for mortgages has bounced back to its highest mark since the end of 2013 according to the Bank of England following its regular quarterly review of lenders. The Bank reports that lenders expect demand to increase still further during the July to September quarter as mortgage rates continue to fall to record lows.

Train Stations May Hold the Key

An interesting idea from Estate Agents Hamptons in response to the Government’s plans to ease planning regulations to increase development of new residential properties is to build on the unused land that surrounds many UK train stations. Based on analysis they undertook of 80 stations on the edge of key towns and cities they calculate that there is scope to build around ½ million new homes within walking distance of the UK’s railway stations.

Property excavation

Unusual Crossrail Report

Regular readers of Property Eye will know that we frequently provide updates on the impact of the forthcoming Crossrail route on the local property markets but this week’s report is rather different! Crossrail is carving its Liverpool Street ticketing hall out of what was once a cemetery and “home” to over 20,000 souls from the 15th to 18th centuries. So far the excavations have yielded around 2,900 skeletons and with one area left to dig expectations are that the final figure will be close to 3,400. After analysis by experts from the nearby Museum of London the skeletons will be re-buried further down the Thames at Canvey Island.

Government to scrap zero carbon homes target

The government has announced that it is scrapping long-held plans to introduce a zero-carbon homes target next year and also binned the associated target for non-domestic buildings.

The announcement revealed that the “zero carbon allowable solutions off-setting scheme”, which would have allowed housing developers to off-set carbon emissions from developments through low-carbon projects elsewhere and also the proposed 2016 increase in on-site energy efficiency standards will not proceed.

Together the measures, which build on previous efforts to increase the sustainability of new build housing, were aimed at ensuring that all homes built from 2016 would be zero carbon – a target that was first set by the Labour government in 2006.

Reaction from the building industry was “shock” and in some quarters “anger” particularly as the government had not formally consulted before their sudden announcement.

Melanie Leech, chief executive of the British Property Federation described the move as “short-sighted” and said it would impact on the government’s commitment to long-term carbon budgets and the European Union’s obligations for nearly-zero energy buildings from 2020.

However, Stewart Baseley executive chairman of the Home Builders Federation said the move was “sensible” as in his view “the allowable solutions approach would have done little to improve the energy efficiency of housing stock as it was focused on off-site projects”.


Spurs Swell their Transfer Fund

Tottenham Hotspur has potentially boosted its transfer kitty by selling the site of the Brook House primary school on Tottenham High Road for £11million. The proceeds from the sale of the unusual asset might be used to buy a new player or two but will more likely be put towards the development of the club’s £400million new stadium at White Hart Lane.

Overseas Buyers Keen to Invest

Last weekend 200 flats at Maine Tower a yet to be built block in Docklands sold within a matter of hours – half of them to foreign buyers who will probably never see them let alone live in them. Many are expected to be “flipped” – sold on at a higher price to another investor before they are even completed.

Countries such as Switzerland and Jersey have successfully limited the sale of domestic properties to overseas investors but EU rules demand an open housing market so similar options are limited for the UK government.

House Prices Rise

Home prices in Britain have jumped over the past year with those in Northern Ireland rising by 10%, (although values there are still 43% below their 2007 peak). The overall value of residential property rose by 5.7% in the 12 months to May taking the average price to £274,000 which is 13.3% more than the average price before the 2008 crash.

“Best House in the World”

A three bedroom Oxfordshire home has been named as “the best house in the world” by The Architectural Review despite looking like a glorified wartime bunker. Property developer Mike Spink and his wife Maria paid £6.7million for the 50 acre plot before commissioning architect David Chipperfield to design a three bedroom home with a “thoroughly modern twist”. So instead of cosy rooms with roaring fires, a farmhouse kitchen with an Aga or a traditional brick exterior, the house is simple and modern to the verge of being empty. A total of 11 concrete columns hold up the front of the property making it look more like an industrial unit than a home, while the flat roof and oblong-shape make it resemble more of a bunker than a sprawling estate.

Judge Adam Caruso, a high profile architect, said: ‘To make a luxury home that isn’t pompous or a projection of the vanity of its inhabitants is a really difficult thing.  This development places a very large house in a special landscape without disappearing. The domestic outdoor spaces, which have always been an issue in English country houses, are in courtyards, which is an innovation”.

The multi-millionaire developer previously spent £42million developing a country estate called Park Place near Henley-on-Thames before selling it to Russian billionaire Andrey Borodin for £140million.

Overseas Watch

Property overseas

Puglia Italy

Britons looking for a second home in Italy but who want to avoid the hustle, bustle and overcrowded Northern cities of Florence and Venice could do well to look further south, in fact all the way south to Puglia in the heel of the country. The region offers a warm welcome, stunning architecture and succulent food none more so than Materia designated as the 2019 European Capital of Culture and just 1 hour from the international airport at Bari. As well as being significantly quieter than its northern counterparts it is also considerably cheaper and it is possible to snap up a villa with olive grove for around £100,000.

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