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.
The primary changes proposed
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
Should I act now or wait for the reforms?
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.
Managing Associate in the Real Estate department at Ince and a specialist in leasehold reform matters.
Thank you to David for his insightful piece, we certainly hear a lot of questions associated around the leasehold terms on London property, and it is undoubtably true that extensions add value to your investment. Whether this be to stabilise your pricing and market value for selling, or that its a cost you need to consider in your offer price when buying.
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.
If you have also been considering selling a property, now is the perfect time to begin the process with us.
Media Requests for UK Sotheby’s International Realty:
Deborah Battsek: email@example.com
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.
To celebrate the partnership between Gusbourne and UK Sotheby’s International Realty, we are delighted to offer the opportunity to win a bottle of Gusbourne Blanc de Blancs 2014 and a private vineyard tour and tasting for four people at Gusbourne. Simply sign up to the mailing list using the form below for your chance to win and don’t forget to share the contest with a friend.
Entries are accepted until 20th October, 2020 and the winners will be notified shortly after. One winner will be chosen at random. Prize is non-transferable and must be fulfilled before 31st September 2021. By entering this contest, entrants confirm they are 18+ years of age.
Regarding the effects of the Covid-19 Lockdown on incoming post-secondary student activity from China to the UK, existing students are making-do with online classes but have expressed missing out on the quality and efficiency of classroom teaching, in particular face to face communication with teachers and classmates. We are receiving questions about whether Chinese families will continue to send their children to the UK for education – and the answer is YES. However, it is too soon to tell the quantity.
In the short term, Coronavirus may have dampened our will to travel worldwide, and we do expect a certain reluctance to take long-haul flights. The English may fear going to the country of origin, and the Chinese may fear coming to the European hotspot where we are still in the throes of battling the virus. In the long term, there are other socio-economic and political factors at play. However, we are seeing a particularly swelling level of enquiries from Hong Kong looking at the UK as a potential “safe-haven” with the political uncertainties and the welcoming gesture made by Boris Johnson on the promises of citizenship.
For those students and families looking to emigrate out of China, achieving an education in the UK is still a desirable and valuable option. However; if we are considering Hong Kong’s situation with respect to political changes enforced by China, we may see a new wave of immigration via education.
From the Chinese perspective, UK has performed incredibly well to offer support during the lockdown and their prevention methods were also successful in flattening the curve. So will we see more Chinese students arriving to the UK post-Coronavirus any time soon? It might be a while.
Our China Desk has made a significant sale of £12 million over the lockdown period, and have continued to make strides with closing property investment deals where virtual viewings were sufficient to satisfy investor needs. While we know the bigger investors have been relatively minimally impacted, the investors with a more modest budget will wait to hedge their bets till the time they can fly over to view in person. We continue to provide a wealth of information, promoting our virtual viewings and virtual reality options to Chinese enquiries coming in from China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia, and Vancouver; thus they gain a UK Sotheby’s International Realty education in UK real estate for both clients and buyers without the classroom setting.
Surrounded by a rewarding mix of modern style and iconic history, London Dock is situated in the heart of the capital, moments from Tower Bridge, The Tower of London, St Katharine Docks and the City. With a number of London underground and Docklands Light Railway stations within walking distance, London Dock offers quick and easy access to London’s main financial centres of the City and Canary Wharf, as well as the exciting cultural and creative neighbourhoods of Shoreditch, Whitechapel and Bermondsey.
Wapping is a truly authentic destination, filled with independent cafés and restaurants, which has for hundreds of years been a vibrant part of London life. The Prospect of Whitby – London’s oldest riverside pub – was popular with Charles Dickens, diarist Samuel Pepys and renowned artists Turner and Whistler. By the river, Hermitage Community Moorings attracts sailing barges, tugs and small boats, keeping alive Wapping’s river heritage.
The effects on the property market due to Covid-19 have been clear; with the country on lockdown since the end of March there has certainly been less activity across the UK housing market. However, since the lockdown measures were lifted for estate agents last month, we have seen an increase in lettings activity and it’s clear that people are preparing themselves for life after lockdown – a massive boost for the lettings market and one we certainly all needed!
At UK SIR, we saw lettings enquiries increase by over 130% from April to May, echoing our predictions of pent up demand during the lockdown period which put almost everything property related on hold. This huge increase is partly due to the fall in demand we saw at the end of March, but this is an extremely positive change and a sign that demand for rental properties is growing much more than sales.
Despite this returning demand and rise in enquiries, while rents initially remained fairly steady, new reports suggest that achieved rent levels look likely to come down and we have already seen Landlords accepting lower offers to ensure they have a tenant and eliminate any vacancy period even if this means taking a lower rent. June through to September is typically the busiest period of the year for lettings agents but with travel restrictions still in place, we have seen hardly any corporate relocations since Q1 and the uncertainty for students surrounding their studying means the flurry of international students we normally see at this time of the year is down as well. With that said, people will always need a place to live and with the wider impact of Covid-19 on the sales market, we expect to see more would be buyers filling the void and opting to rent instead with lettings being a more stable option as the long term effects of this pandemic become more clear. For that reason I expect the lettings market to remain buoyant with more activity predicted over the following months.
Those who are looking are planning for every eventuality and the lock-down has put peoples living situations into perspective with many revaluating what they actually need and what’s most important to them. Many of the enquiries we are now seeing have requests for outside space and a home working space which shows the shift in people’s needs as working from home for many is likely to continue for some time. With the fear this could happen again at the back of many people’s minds, they want to know they are prepared for another lock-down and have the most comfortable home environment possible.
This is also evident through the increase in activity from our Country Office. The demand for country rental properties is still strong with many London families looking to either up sticks and relocate to more rural areas with good connections into London or to acquire a second home where they can all live more comfortably without feeling on top of each other in their smaller London residences which might have little to no outside space. With the “staycation” also expected to be more popular this summer with families opting to stay in the UK rather than take the risk of traveling abroad, we expect to see many people taking out short-term holiday lets with houses coming with pools and tennis courts being the most popular.
During the lockdown it was important that we did not become complacent and were there to support our clients throughout this difficult time. While the country was on lockdown we continued to advise and prepare our landlords for when the lockdown is lifted. This was a great opportunity for many of them to get their properties ready whether that be finishing off the renovations, tidying up the garden or as we saw for many – organising virtual reality tours of their homes. We wanted to ensure we were putting our clients in the best possible position to capitalise on the returning activity as soon as social distancing measures were lifted and it was thanks to this effort that meant we were ready come 13th May, with multiple offers already agreed.
Abbey Lodge is a uniquely historical house in a desirable location. The house has a rich history, and dates predominantly from the 15th and 16th centuries. Farthinghoe is a rural south Northamptonshire village close to the border of north Oxfordshire. The village has a primary school, The Fox public house/restaurant, repair garage and parish church. There is good communication with intercity train services from Bicester North to London Marylebone and access to the M40 at either J10 for the south or J11 for the north.
Enjoy your first view of this traditional country house set within 12 acres from the gravelled sweeping driveway, the solid wooden door giving access to the traditional hall with flagstone floors and high ceilings, step into a cosy TV room with comfy armchairs, cushions and colourful throws, the perfect space to lose yourself in a movie. Passing back through the dining hall a larger lounge warmed by the open fire, welcomes you with comfortable seating for all that come to stay. The indoor pool with heated pool and changing rooms is perfect whatever the season with by folding doors that open onto the gardens.
This luxury farmhouse is the perfect place from which to explore the rolling Cotswold countryside whilst still being close to the market towns of Witney, Woodstock and the City of Oxford. The farm has plenty of space with 7 bedrooms, 5 bathrooms, 3 reception rooms and a superb Johnny Grey designed kitchen. New Yatt is a small village situated 2 miles from the bustling market town of Witney. Woodstock and Blenheim Palace are 7 miles away and the “city of dreaming spires” Oxford 12 miles.
Presenting this modern two-bedroom, two-bathroom first floor lateral apartment with a large semi-open plan living room complete with a modern bespoke kitchen. The apartment is beautifully presented having been recently redecorated throughout and further benefits from access to a balcony from the living room. Turner House is perfectly located in the heart of Covent Garden and is moments from the Covent Garden Piazza benefiting from the plethora of shops, bars and restaurants the area has to offer.
To tell my story, even in brief, I have to go back…. way back…. to the late 1800’s, to my Great, Great Grandfather, Archibald Cameron Corbett.
The son of a successful Glasgow merchant and philanthropist, Archibald became one of the principle developers of east London, with some prominent areas of London and a residents society , The Corbett Society, is still named after him.
Later he became involved in politics joining the Liberal party & then becoming the MP for Glasgow Tradeston until his retirement from the House of Commons in 1911, when he was created 1st Baron Rowallan.
He was amazingly generous gifting free accommodation and in extreme examples, whole country estates and parks to the local people for their pleasure.
For example, Rouken Glen Park, a beautiful 143 acre house and park, in Glasgow was given to the citizens of Glasgow and similarly the stunning 9,000 acres of the hills to the north west of Glasgow known as Ardgoil Estate (right)
In 1901 Archibald bought the Rowallan Estate, some 6,000 acres in Ayrshire, Scotland and having already got a cold 12th century Scottish castle on it, he decided to build a bigger, modern home for the family to live in…and that’s where I grew up…my childhood home.
The New Castle
My Great grandfather, Thomas, the 2nd Baron Lord Rowallan was awarded the Military Cross in WWI for attempting to dig out some wounded soldiers who had been buried by artillery, while “under heavy fire and in full view of the enemy”, receiving a leg wound which left him with a permanent disability. He became Chief Scout of the Commonwealth and British Empire in 1945, was governor of The Bank of Scotland, received the Freedom of the City of Edinburgh and became a Knight of the Thistle, a position that merits a seat that is still an attraction on the Royal Mile in Edinburgh today. He served as the Governor of Tasmania from 1959 where there are still areas named after him. Thomas was married to Gwyn, who was the sister of Jo Grimond, Baron Grimond, the leader of the Liberal Party.
Now to my Grandfather, Arthur, 3rd Baron Lord Rowallan. A veteran of WWII he won a Croix de Guerre, a French military decoration awarded to those soldiers who distinguish themselves by acts of heroism involving combat with the enemy for his part in the 2nd world war & moved to Spain where he ran several very popular bars restaurants & night clubs.
My Father, John, 4th Baron Lord Rowallan, a chartered surveyor and highly respected international show jumping judge is now retired & lives in Scotland not far from the former family estate.
The estate and my family home were sold in the late 1980’s to pay inheritance tax and other unaffordable costs.
Since my mid-teens I have been a hard worker, working various local jobs gaining experience and always paying my way. Farming was in my blood, driving alongside the combine, collecting the corn and driving all 18 tonnes up and down the A1 in Northumberland to the depot for one job. The scenery working in Morayshire, northern Scotland, east of Inverness, was arguably the most scenic. Selling houses there was simply breath-taking.
I made a decision when living in Edinburgh to make my first proper foray into England to complete my education at The Royal Agricultural College, Cirencester, Gloucestershire the place I considered best for training to become a farmer / country estate manager. Whilst there and for a few years after, I worked in various bars /clubs and estate agencies and selling ex MOD properties for a large national developer. I had summers returning to my farming roots working on potato farms; literally working 18 hours a day, 7 days a week earning a fantastic salary and used this as both experience and to save money to contribute to buying my first house.
In 1997 I found a vacancy in an Estate Agency in in Fulham, London. Having never really been to London or indeed lived in London I saw this as a great opportunity and took it. It was there that I flourished in my early career.
In 2003 on the birth of my first child I moved out of London to a small hamlet just outside of beautiful Bath. I worked for several years for one of the world’s leading international properties companies before heading further south to Dorset to a large south western multi discipline agency. I loved that firm, but the bright lights of London beckoned again and we moved again. However, this time not all the way in.
Settling in Cobham, Surrey and now with two children, I commuted to my old London firm who had asked me back! Under my direction, this amazing local firm grew and grew in success and was ultimately bought by a large multi-disciplinary national firm before I finally settled with UK Sotheby’s International Realty. With a few tough life changes under my belt, I am now settled in my job, have a house in the leafy and beautiful village of Cobham and live in a small village outside of Gatwick, just within the Surrey borders.
We have an office right on Cobham High Street close to the meandering River Mole with its resident ducks to the vast array of local shops. From the mix of housing, some of it old and some of it new, large or small, we as a company can engage and can identify with it all. My children went to schools locally in Downside and Cobham and are now in Leatherhead. Cobham is the perfect place for someone with my story. So much of my life experience lends itself to working in Cobham.
UK Sotheby’s International Realty deals with an array of property covering the whole of the UK from our Cobham office. Last year we sold a gloriously positioned mews house in Albury at £455,000 and as I write, I’m working on a sale at around £30,000,000. We really do cover it all and will work on any house for the right client at the right price. It is all about working together, client and agent, as good advice and good marketing will result in amazing sales. It’s not the value of the property that makes UK Sotheby’s Realty so special, it’s the clients that we work with. Any price, anywhere, as long as there’s a market, we can help. Any price, anywhere, in any market, we can help.
Contact Jason Corbett
m +44 (0) 1932 860 537 Email
38 High Street, Cobham
Surrey KT11 2SJ
For questions about the event email London@sothebysrealty.co.uk.
Recorded on Wednesday 13th May, 2020
1800h GMT | 0700h Tahiti
Join Guy Bradshaw, Director of London Residential at UK Sotheby’s International Realty, as we discuss the property market in French Polynesia. Jacques Menahem, Owner of French Polynesia Sotheby’s International Realty will give us an overview of the benefits of owning a private island, including price points, the right steps to take, and what to watch out for. Explore the benefits of having property in French Polynesia as we’ll answer questions about permanent residency vs. secondary home and island ownership. Find out what you need to know to invest, buy and rent property in that region.
We know your circumstances are changing, and with that comes questions about your future. Shereen and Diana are on hand to discuss both sales and lettings, to make it through the COVID-19 lock down. Every situation is different, and it’s worth a chat with the team about how to reposition yourself for the market when the lock down is lifted. Let’s discuss marketing and investment strategies.
When buying, selling or letting a home, research is usually the first step. You will want to know which areas are best for your lifestyle, which agent to use and what prices of properties are within the vicinity. Diana and Shereen have led many of their clients through this process from the very beginning. Assisting with research in terms of property portals, sending property links to one another and ensuring there is complete clarity when providing up to date and market chat. Both our brokers are always happy to answer any questions a buyer, seller or tenant may have through the process right until closing.
If you are looking to enter the UK property market; whether renting, buying or selling, now would be the time to recalibrate. In a time where most of us have the freedom to think about your next move, take a moment to gather your thoughts and assess whether you are in the best position to move forward. If you are already on the market maybe it is time to strategise with an exceptional agency and look at a new approach on how to maximise your property on the market. We can ensure that that you have everything needed when the market is ready to rebound.
This is the important part of your quest when looking at property in London – reaching out to the right people and being able to communicate to the right brokers. For top-of-the-market properties, you want to be sure that your brokers are able to bring you qualified buyers and tenants – quickness ensures that your property will continue to bring high yields. You want brokers who understand how to handle a prime central London sale or let; even outside of the current situation, London properties often have parameters and limitations on ownership. Now that new legislation is changing constantly to keep pace with the effects of the pandemic, you need to be sure that your broker can guide you through whilst making the most of this opportunity. Diana and Shereen are always ready to make and take video conference calls to ensure they are connecting with their clients first hand.
A two-bedroom apartment in the anticipated Marylebone Square development. This is a spacious two-bedroom apartment within the building, located on the eastern side along Cramer Street. The apartment is designed so that natural light floods the apartment and open plan living. The apartment measures approximately 1399 sq.ft. and benefits from an additional study in addition to the two bedrooms. Marylebone Square is a collection of 54 high-end apartments, carefully chosen boutiques and restaurants, and a versatile community hall.
UK Sotheby’s International Realty presents this stunning three-bedroom, three-bathroom apartment (approximately 1512 sq ft) located within an opulent stucco building in the heart of Mayfair. Spread over three floors this impressive first floor apartment comprises a stunning 15ft reception room, retaining its original period features and boasting two large French windows opening onto a south facing balcony overlooking Charles Street. There is a bright fully fitted and equipped kitchen with high end appliances, a separate utility cupboard with separate Miele washing and drying machines. Charles Street is located on one of Mayfair’s most prestigious addresses and is conveniently located for all the excellent shopping of Selfridges and New Bond Street , the dining (Sexy Fish, Scotts, Annabel’s & Arts club) and within walking distance to Hyde Park, Green Park and St James’ Park and great transport for Green Park and Bond Street Underground.
Get to know our W1 team
London’s most desirable locations start with a W1 postcode
Our team has +18 years of experience in Soho, Mayfair, Marylebone, Fitzrovia, St. James’s
Shereen joined the team in 2013 and undertook her first multi-million pound deal within her first few months, progressing quickly to the position of senior associate. Coming from a background in law and finance she has been at the forefront of associating herself with people from different continents, creating long lasting relationships with her clients and extending her help beyond just agency. Shereen loves W1. From Soho to Mayfair to Marylebone. the hustle and bustle that part of London offers, so she tends to spend most of my time in those districts, ensuring she is aware of everything that is going on from new restaurants to sold prices.
As one of the senior figures of the team, her expertise in this location and field is second to none. With over a decade of experience in the property industry and a wealth of local knowledge within Prime Central London, in particular W1 which she loves, it’s clear to see the repeat business and referrals that she receives. Diana has worked with many of the UK’s largest estates, including the Grosvenor Estate, the Crown Estate and other key private clients within Prime Central London. Diana provides a seamless service from beginning to end, maintaining constant contact 24/7 and is always available to advise or assist.