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Property Eye#22

Property Eye

In Property Eye we provide a weekly roundup of recent property news items:-

Celebrity Watch

Phil Neville sells up in UK

Phil Neville, who now lives in Spain working as the assistant manager for La Liga club Valencia, has put his Cheshire mansion on the market.

The 10,000ft2 detached family home comes with 6 bedrooms each with their own ensuite plus what the local selling agent describes as the “ultimate lifestyle statement”. Features include a leisure suite consisting of a cinema, gym, spa AND steam and sauna rooms; passenger lift access to all four floors; three large reception rooms, his and her dressing rooms, swimming pool and an indoor football pitch.

Brother Gary continues to invest

Meanwhile Phil’s brother Gary Neville and his co-developer Ryan Giggs have secured funding from a joint venture between Singapore-based Rowsley Ltd and Beijing Construction and Engineering Group (BCEG) to fund the new mixed-use St Michael’s Manchester development scheme, which is believed to be worth around £200m.

Rowsley Ltd is invested in by Peter Lim, who part-owns Salford City FC with Giggs and Neville and also has a stake in the pair’s Hotel Football in the city, which is also part owned by Phil Neville, Paul Scholes and Nicky Butt. These are the first investments in Europe by the firm, which will own a 75% share in the St Michael’s development for £40m investment. BCEG is already involved in the £800m redevelopment of the area around Manchester airport.

Construction is expected to start in the second half of 2016 and is scheduled for completion in three years’ time.

Compensation if you can’t get a ticket to Hamlet

With tickets selling out in one day a year in advance you may have been one of the thousands left disappointed and deprived of seeing Benedict Cumberbatch perform Hamlet. But you and any of his fans can gain some compensation by staying in the Grade II-listed home in which he filmed scenes for the TV series Sherlock. The actor recorded A Scandal in Belgravia in the six-bedroom mansion in Wales with co-star Martin Freeman. There is accommodation for up to 10 people and the entire home is available to rent on Airbub.

Madge and Richie’s Home for Sale

The Beverly Hills mansion that Madonna shared with Guy Richie from 2003 to 2012 is back on the market with a £17.8million price tag. She bought the French country-style mansion for £7.6 million and sold it nine years later for £12.4 million. It has nine bedrooms, 15 bathrooms, cinema, two offices, gym, two guest houses, tennis court and a pool.

Beach house is a boyband haunt

For just £572 per night you too can rent the Wow Beach & Pool House in Shoreham-By-Sea – advertised as the coolest weekend retreat in the UK and used by stars such as former JLS bandmates Aston Merrygold and Marvin Humes. The six bedroom house is a regular fashion-shoot location, and is now available for rent.

House prices

Pace of House Price Growth falls to Slowest for 2 years

House prices have grown at their slowest since June 2013 but the continuing chronic supply problem is likely to soon reverse the trend.  The average cost of a home in the UK rose by 0.3% this month to £195,279 which meant that on an annual basis the rise of 3.2% was down from 3.3% last month and a peak of 11% this time last year.  (Figures from Nationwide).  But as a result of the chronic shortage of supply BNP Paribas Real Estate are predicting that the average price will rise by nearly a third to £260,000 over the next four years.

Still Cheaper to Buy than Rent but the gap is closing

First-time buyers can save nearly £700 a year by purchasing a home rather than renting one according to mortgage lender Halifax. The typical monthly cost of buying a three-bedroom house in the UK for first-time buyers was £666 in June, £56 less than it costs to rent the same type of property.

BUT the gap has narrowed during the past year from £85 a month in 2014 – a 34 per cent drop reflecting the fact that the typical price of a first-time buyer property has risen by 8 per cent during the past 12 months and at the same time, average mortgage costs for people buying their first home have increased by around £40 a month. Monthly rents are only around £8 more expensive.

Companies choose Southampton for point of entry to UK Rental Market

Rockspring Property Investment Managers and its US joint venture partner Atlas Residential have purchased a 145,544 sq ft site from Southampton City Council. The transaction represents Rockspring’s first move into the private rental sector, and Atlas’ first venture within the UK.

Atlas Residential is one of the largest private rental sector operators in the United States, having owned and managed over 75,000 apartments with a transaction value of over $7bn.

The development is within walking distance of the popular leisure and retail areas of the marina and Oxford Street in Southampton, and is set to deliver 211 one and two bedroom apartments to the rental market. Work on the development, which has been contracted to Hampshire & Regional, is due to start on site immediately, with the first phase completing in the fourth quarter of 2017. The total development costs of the project are estimated to be £36m and the development will be delivered in several phases over the next two years.

Houses in commuter belt

Are these the next top commuter towns?

Writing in the Times newspaper this week reporter Claire Carponen selected the following lesser known commuter towns which experts felt offered the potential for strong house-price growth, present and future regeneration and improved or improving transport links.

Bicester Oxfordshire

The main reasons for selection are existing links to M40, the forthcoming new rail link to Oxford and London Marylebone and the prospect of a new 13000 home development. But with house prices  already having gone up by 15% in the year to May it may be best to get on the bandwagon soon.

Rochester Kent

Redevelopment of the Chatham dockyard has dramatically improved the area and a new station with longer platforms is coming in December. House prices up by 19% in year to May.

Market Harborough Leicestershire

Only 1 hour from London by commuter train, good schooling and a bustling atmosphere with attractive prices – £400,000 for a 5 bed town house.

Dalkeith Midlothian

Seven miles from Edinburgh with a new railway station opening in the next few weeks which will give a commuting time of just 18 minutes. Prices are expected to rise dramatically having already gone up by 15% in the past 8 months.

Tonbridge Kent

Somewhat overshadowed by near neighbours Tunbridge Wells and Sevenoaks but 10% to 15% cheaper and with new retail outlets and an improving high street plus good commuting links to London. Prices up around 16% in the year to May.

Huntingdon Cambridgeshire

Commuting to London is an hour but Cambridge is the more likely workplace. The bus takes an hour and costs £6 but improvements to the A14 scheduled for 2020 will make driving by car quicker and easier. Prices although substantially cheaper than Cambridge have rocketed in the past year.

Bedford Bedfordshire

Only a further 20 minutes away from London by train than St Albans but 20 to 30% cheaper Bedford is described as a “well-kept secret”.

Newport Wales

With a new retail centre on the horizon and with train times likely to improve once electrification of the line is complete in 2017 Newport is seen as ready for takeoff. There is a long way to go however as prices dropped dramatically during the downturn and new build flats which cost £120,000 before the recession are now selling for £80,000 to £90,000.

Preston Park Brighton Sussex

This suburb of North Brighton is separated from central Brighton by the park and is becoming increasingly popular with young professional families and London commuters – train to the capital is around 1 hour. Prices have risen around 11% in the year to May.

Preston Lancashire

A town which is within easy commuting distance of both Manchester and Liverpool. Electrification of the Manchester train line is due for completion in 2016 and houses remain sensibly priced.

Property Investment

Property Investment Opportunity

With recent volatility in the financial markets many investors are looking to the property market as an alternative or additional option for their funds. LCP, the Guernsey quoted residential investment company, has launched a residential fund, London Central Apartments III (LCA III) which offers investors shares in a portfolio of around 50 properties across London with projected returns in excess of 10% per annum over a five-year period.

LCA III is seeking to raise £100m after which it will continue to expand its portfolio, acquiring, renovating, letting and managing a combination of studio, one- and two-bedroom units.

The minimum subscription is set at £75,000 for direct investors but LCP are also hoping to attract investment from regulated entities such as SIPP, SSAS and ISA funds for which there is no similar limit. LCA III is also sharia-compliant.

LCP is regulated by the Guernsey Financial Services Commission and listed on the Channel Islands Securities Exchange.

Retail Bosses select “Select”

Former Marks and Spencer chief executive Lord Stuart Rose and former BHS boss Terry Green have each invested an undisclosed sum in the developer Select Property Group which also involves Angus Monro, former chief executive of Matalan and Instore, and Trevor Moore, former chief executive of Jessops and HMV, who both hold board-level positions.

Until recently, Rose sat on the board of Land Securities, the UK’s largest commercial property organisation.

Unlike many other property developers who focus on development and outsource the sales and operational activity to third parties Select controls the whole process and manage every aspect of the investment lifecycle.

The company currently operates in the student accommodation market where it has a total of 969 units spread across six operational schemes in the UK with a further three schemes in development to provide an additional 366 units by September. The group is also delivering the residential aspect of a £750m mixed-use scheme on the former BBC site in Manchester and has a further flagship site of its CitySuites brand aimed at the business traveller in development at another Manchester city centre site.

house construction

Latest figures show a sharp fall in the number of new homes

Worrying statistics released by the government show a decrease of 14% between the first and second quarters of the year in the number of new builds. Work began on 32,280 new homes in the three months to June compared to 40,300 starts in the first quarter.

With only 73,580 homes started so far this year and a falling trend it looks inevitable that the industry will once again  fall significantly short of the target of 250,000 homes a year needed to keep pace with demand.

There is hope that recent government announcements around releasing brownfield land and relaxing planning laws will help boost supply as they come on line, but leading industry figures say that much more needs to be done with ideas such as freeing up local authorities to build, boosting shared ownership, releasing public land for housing and more proactive provision of finance for small developers all amongst the suggestions.

Large Housing Association to Move Away from Social Housing

Genesis has said it would move away from social housing altogether. Genesis’s chief executive Neil Hadden said the housing association would drop subsidised rents and instead focus on shared ownership, market rent and outright sale, claiming the government was “no longer interested” in low-cost rented housing.

Genesis, which has 33,000 homes in London, now plans for its development portfolio to be split 50/50 between shared ownership and market sale or market rent. It had previously promised a third of its properties would be affordable and social rent.

Many housing associations are looking at increasing their number of for-sale and for-market rent properties — but dropping affordable rents altogether is extreme. “Neil Hadden has done the housing sector a great service by being brave enough to open up the debate we need to have in response to the Budget and the clear direction of government policy,” said Richard Petty, lead director for residential advisory at JLL.

Genesis could potentially deregister with the Homes and Communities Agency. Hadden argued this would be unlikely to happen within the next 12 months but said Genesis could become “something different” from a housing association.

Petty added: “Neil is not saying that Genesis should abandon its social purpose — rather to redefine it. The most important thing is that the sector as a whole increases the supply of new, affordable homes, rather than arguing about tenure.”


Invisible Hampstead Home up for Sale

Although just eight feet stands above the ground Langtry House in Hampstead Heath, London, has three bedrooms, a cinema, wine cellar and gym hidden in its subterranean design.

At first glance it looks like a discreetly hidden grey paved parking space but beneath this unassuming patch of land lies a prime piece of London property worth £4.5m. The unusual design was the result of planning permission that dictated a new home could only be as high as the row of garages it replaced.

The three-bedroom, three-bathroom home which has 3,500 sq ft of living space goes so deep underground that the living room has a 25ft high ceiling. The sleeping quarters are also generous in size. The principal bedroom has a dressing area and direct access onto the patio garden.

property plans

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