Discussing the state and outlook for London housing as U.K. nears the end of lockdown restrictions.
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When it comes to real estate in Bath, Christine Penny is the name that comes to mind. Spending 25 years in the property industry has allowed her to witness sweeping changes in the market. She joins UK Sotheby’s International Realty to bring Bath properties to the global market and expose listings to those who had never previously had access.
Bath is one of the most desirable places to live in the UK. The reasons why are many and varied; they include the city’s Roman heritage, Georgian architecture, great schools, stellar shopping and close links to London.
Culture. The Theatre Royal (which has pre-west end productions), The Egg, (for inspiring young thespians), Festivals that include The Literary Festival, The Mozart Fest, Bath Boules Tournament and other current food and music fixtures.
Sports. Olympic standard sports facilities at Bath University, Premiership Rugby, County Cricket, Competitive Golf, Rowing Clubs, Bath Half Marathon and Horse Racing.
Recreation. Parks, the River Avon and Canal, Cycle Paths, Spas, Rural Countryside.
Bath is synonymous with hugely aspirational property. With its magnificent Georgian terraces, crescents and streets, as befits a city with World Heritage status, Bath possesses any number of enviable addresses and for that reason, it is not surprising how many famous people over the centuries have contributed talent and vision and choose and have chosen to make this their home. From Jane Austen, Beau Nash, John Wood and Ralph Allen to (current day) Nicolas Cage, Van Morrison, Peter Gabriel, Jane Seymour and John Cleese (to name a few).
Bath is a fantastic place for families. Offering great education opportunities, many family friendly attractions and a safe, inspiring environment for children to grow up in.
Quality schooling is one of Bath’s great attractions, and the reason why many parents relocate to the city from London and elsewhere in the UK and abroad. Prior Park College, King Edward’s School, Kingswood School, the Royal High School and Monkton Combe School are leading independents. Bath also offers some of the finest state education in the country at both primary and secondary level.
Facts: Bath does not have industry or head offices. Bath is not a victim of commerce. It does however rely on tourism.
Countryside surrounding Bath: Beautiful countryside and any number of charming villages and towns surround Bath. Attractive counties such as Somerset, Wiltshire and South Gloucestershire are all in its immediate orbit.
The Mendip Hills and the Somerset levels offer a magical blend of history and legend. Overshadowed by its awesome Tor, Glastonbury is the Mendip district’s most famous town. While Wells, England’s smallest city, is dominated by its magnificent cathedral.
To the east of Bath is the rolling rural landscape of Wiltshire with its chalk horses and picture-postcard villages. Bradford on Avon is packed with specialist shops, art galleries and any number of desirable properties. Other Wiltshire villages of note include Corsham, Box and Castle Combe.
Bath has excellent transport links with mainline train service to London Paddington every 15 minutes and taking less than 90 minutes to reach central London. Bristol International Airport is a short drive away from the city centre and has flights to many European cities and holiday destinations.
The motorway network to the north of the city is also excellent with easy access to the M5 heading both south to Exeter and north to Birmingham and beyond. Junction 18 of the nearby M4 heads east towards London and west into Wales.
Bath is designated as a World Heritage site by UNESCO, it is the only city in the UK to have this honour bestowed upon it.
The city possesses a vibrant cultural scene, where the arts, food, fashion and sport all feature heavily.
2020 and 2021 undoubtedly saw a large increase in enquiries and moves from urban areas to more rural ones. There were two kinds of people: Those who moved lock stock and barrel and those who bought a place in the country and retained either their home in the city or ever downsized in the city. So far, following the success of the inoculation program, we have not seen a return to the city, with many movers now settled into their new areas and successfully working from their new home office. Locations near transport have been key and as long as there is an excellent road or rail network nearby, there has been little limit to how far from the city they are prepared to go, perhaps restricted by time instead.
For example, at the time of writing we have a couple buying a beautiful mews house within stunning rural converted stables and surrounding lakes and lawns, forming part of a larger manor house, whilst they retain their home in London. They love the idea of being close to their children and grandchildren, only a few miles away, yet they can be at their London home within 45 minutes. Our mailing list has increased exponentially with buyers looking for the perfect family house away from the city and at some point this will slow down, but right now, all the evidence is for this market to continue.
Most of the properties that have been taken up by this migratory force have been the larger family homes. Families with younger children through to late teens. Great schools nearby have been important, although many of the children stayed at their school, as long as they are boarding or commutable. At below £500,000 the market has been pushed along by factors such as the stamp duty holiday but also the pent-up need to move over the last year caused by working from home, births, employment etc. In prices over £1,000,000 it tends to be houses with great gardens and a good home office that have the greatest appeal and as said before, close to transport, yet away from the busy roads.
Buyers remain interested in unmodernised properties that they can renovate to their own specification and design but also, especially properties that are presented fully completed.
Properties in the commuter belt remain hot targets for buyers with a shortage of good stock and buyers waiting to pounce. A great house will sell very well and within a short period of time. Buyers are there waiting. Buyers from the UK and from international hot spots such as Hong Kong are longing to find the perfect house and if it is priced at the market value and presented well though all the mediums available, this really is a great time to sell or let your house. With the new school year fast approaching, buyers have every reason to capture the market today. Not only will they potentially save £15,000 stamp duty, they will enjoy their new gardens throughout this probable staycation summer.
A recent government announcement was presented by the media as the most significant milestone in property ownership in decades. The answer to the question in the title should therefore be an emphatic “Yes” but is that a little premature?
The rights of leaseholders to extend a lease or to acquire the freehold are well established. The process is currently governed by the provisions of the Leasehold Reform Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 (as amended).
Further to the government announcement in January 2021 (following Law Commission recommendations), the statutory landscape in England will change.
The timing and to what extent however remains to be fully determined.
Abolition of “marriage value”, being a sum that is linked to the increase in value of the property after a lease extension and payable to the landlord where the unexpired term of the lease is 80 years or less.
The right to extend the term of the lease of both flats and houses to 990 years at a zero ground rent.
The valuation of the premium payable will be simplified and an online calculator introduced.
Leaseholders would be able to agree a voluntary restriction on their development of the property (adding a storey for example) in order to avoid payment of development value.
A right for leaseholders to buy out the ground rent without having to extend the lease.
The future ground rent in new residential leases to be zero
The government announcement has undoubtedly placed landlords, leaseholders and buyers in a difficult position.
There is no timetable in place for the enactment of the proposals. There is no guarantee that the legislation will reflect the proposals. The proposals will inevitably be subject to scrutiny and challenge by freeholders on human rights grounds.
For example, there are freehold owning charities who rely on the income from ground rents and premiums (including marriage value) to fund charitable initiatives – how will this income be replaced?
A leaseholder with a lease that is approaching the 80 year mark ought to take urgent advice on their options as a decision to wait for the reforms could have significant financial implications.
Leaseholders of shorter leases ought to undertake a very careful analysis of the possible scenarios and the likely financial outcome of each.
For instance, the premium to extend a short lease in Prime Central London could be several hundred thousands of pounds (or more).
To delay an extension whilst awaiting the reforms could significantly increase the premium payable. If marriage value was to be abolished in the reforms this might negate the increase in premium.
There is however no certainty that the marriage value will be abolished entirely meaning there would be significant risk in deciding to wait for the reforms in such circumstances.
We would recommend that discussions take place at an early stage with an experienced lawyer and valuation surveyor to consider the various outcomes so that each route can be properly evaluated. There may also be opportunity for offers to be made to landlords who do not wish to wait for the outcome of the reforms.
There is a lot more to come in this story. Assuming the government does press ahead it could be 2-3 years before we know the extent of the changes to the statutory landscape.
If this is a subject you would like to learn more about please get in touch to schedule a call with David or myself.
The first quarter of this year has been extremely busy in the residential market, with our team agreeing significant sales on a weekly basis with both our locally based clients, and we have naturally also seen an increase in remote purchases from our international clientele.
As we head positively towards air corridors reopening and with a large backlog of interest from international buyers planning to fly in to London we are expecting a highly active Q2 & Q3 in sales.
A wonderful four double bedroom family house nestling in around 1.4 acres that is tucked away in the ever popular village of Shamley Green.
Full of beautiful character, the house lends itself to home working and to families of all ages. With an in and out driveway behind substantial electric gates, there is both a good front garden and large rear. Rising to the rear, the garden is laid to lawn and is bordered by gardens, woodland and pastureland. There are several patios and seating areas and other buildings with lapsed planning permissions.
Mentioned within his autobiography, Tanyard Farm is Richard Branson’s old family home and has potential to expand as required with lapsed planning for additional buildings in the garden.
This four-bedroom home lends itself well to home working families. Located in the heart of Shamley Green, one of Surrey’s most popular villages, this is an area of pretty, conservation villages benefiting from the stunning Surrey Hills Area of Natural Beauty and is just over 5 miles to the south of Guildford. Tanyards Farm is just a short distance from the cricket green, village store, cafe/delicatessen and two local pubs.
Undoubtedly full of interesting history and in such an amazing location, tucked away, yet with a short stroll of 2 local pubs, this house really has it all. Awesome schools on the door step, shopping nearby and London only a short car/train journey away.
In his 1998 autobiography, Losing My Virginity, the Virgin founder mentions Tanyard Farm. It was where Branson’s first business ventures began with the planting of a Christmas tree farm within the 1.4 acre grounds. Branson had hoped to sell the trees but hadn’t counted on rabbits eating their way through the plantings before they were anywhere near fully grown.
世界富豪都愛的繁華衛星城：Esher, Weybridge, Ascot, Cobham
l趕快聯繫 Catharine Che 車倩毓
Head of Asia Department 亞洲區總負責人
Residential Development & Investment 住宅項目及投資
For more information about the program:
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Britain’s Most Expensive Houses follows top agents from UK Sotheby’s International Realty as they offer insight on some of the most spectacular properties on the market. Channel 4 picked up on the need to provide a little escapism whilst also acknowledging a world-wide trend as people sought properties with more space in light of the pandemic and the stamp duty holiday. The documentary will air at 8PM on the 28th of December.
Emergencies should be reported immediately. Tenants of our currently managed properties have been notified of the process via email.
Questions? Contact us to manage your property:
Andy Berthier (MARLA)
Head of Property Management – Residential Lettings
D: +44 (0) 207 495 9590
E: +44 (0) 203 131 0080 (Emergency out of hours)