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November 25, 2016

Lettings fees, housing funds and stamp duty black holes

Filed under: Latest News — Instinctif Partners @ 10:07 am

Our Chairman, Nick Leeming, comments on the 2016 Autumn Statement:

Wednesday’s Autumn Statement announcement was good news for the new homes sector. The Government is now prioritising housing for those who need it most with a huge funding boost of £2.3 billion to support the building of more new homes – but the statement didn’t go far enough. We won’t see the Housing White Paper until the end of the year, but it was disappointing that stamp duty was not addressed in Philip Hammond MP’s speech.

Our recent research shows there has been a 14% reduction in housing transactions year on year as a result of stamp duty changes, and a £400 million shortfall in stamp duty revenue from residential property transactions against predicted revenue this financial year. A cut in current prohibitive stamp duty levels would help get the market moving at all levels and give welcome relief to first-time buyers, who are having to grapple with a multitude of costs including saving for a deposit and it is a shame that Government does not see them as a priority. With so many first-time buyers unable to make that first step onto the property ladder, a reform would have resulted in a chain reaction at all levels – allowing them to join the housing market.

One of the biggest housing announcements to come out of yesterday’s Autumn Statement was the abolishment of lettings fees. This appears to be good news for renters on first look but experience shows that any savings to the tenant will likely be passed on to the landlord who in turn could then pass them back on to the tenant through increased rent as they seek to cover their costs. This could prove yet another challenge to landlords who have faced a number of increased costs over recent months, including the additional 3% SDLT levied when they purchase a rental property and also the abolishment of mortgage interest rate relief which is set to commence in April next year.

Although the ban on lettings fees still requires a Government consultation before it is implemented, its impact on the UK housing market could be far reaching. Affordability issues which surround purchasing homes means that for many, the only option is to rent. We’ve seen a consistent reduction in the number of landlords buying investment properties since April this year which means that fewer rental properties are now coming on to the market. A better solution would have been to create a more competitive fee environment to ensure landlords are not further discouraged from the market.

November 22, 2016

Back to business as usual as Brexit clouds of uncertainty disappear

Filed under: Latest News — Instinctif Partners @ 6:10 pm

Ahead of the 2016 Autumn Statement, our Chairman, Nick Leeming, talks property transactions and what we hope Philip Hammond will address in his speech tomorrow afternoon.

The impact of the Brexit vote and the implementation of the additional 3% stamp duty surcharge on the purchase of second homes left the property market in a potentially turbulent position in 2016. I was therefore pleased to see activity levels in many of our 45 offices pick up in the months that followed the UK’s historic vote in June.

Our Group has reported that in the months between July and September, the number of new applicants looking to buy rose by 50%, while the number of new instructions rose by 29%.

Viewings, which were up in September by 28%, are also translating into actual sales, with branches reporting a 9% increase in the number of properties which exchanged contracts.

Despite this sunnier outlook, the market in properties that would typically make second homes and properties priced upwards of £1.5 million are facing difficulties, so it is our hope that in next week’s Autumn Statement, Mr Hammond addresses this. In my opinion, removing the additional 3% stamp duty levy will encourage more movement in the market at the upper end. Additional measures to support both downsizers and first-time buyers, such as increased support in helping them gain access to low-deposit mortgages and perhaps a stamp duty tax holiday, should also be implemented if we are to start to overcome the housing crisis.

September 20, 2016

We do like to be beside the seaside

Filed under: Latest News — Instinctif Partners @ 10:20 am

Our Chairman, Nick Leeming, provides an overview of our latest research report, which shows ocean views attract that greatest premium of any waterside view in the UK.

As we make the most of the last of the September sunshine, what better place to do so than by the water? Our latest report shows that many buyers are prepared to pay a considerable premium of almost a third for a home with an ocean view, more than 23 per cent for a home by the river and almost 18 per cent for a canal-side property.

The aspiration of owning a home with a view across water and living near features such as the ocean, rivers and canals has long been embedded in the British psyche. As an island we are surrounded by water and as a population our demand for living near the water is insatiable. As such all views across water in all the locations we investigated generated a strong house price premium for the homes they benefit – without exception.

We analysed more than 30 of the UK’s most sought-after and popular waterside locations, including Brighton, London and Bridport and found properties with a river view in Burnham Market in North Norfolk attract the greatest premium. Now often referred to as ‘Chelsea-On-Sea’, we found that a property with a river view in the popular village will be on average 86.9% more expensive than properties without this boon.

 

Type of water view Average price without view Average price with view Property price premium
No view £295,746 N/A N/A
Ocean view N/A £475,486 30.4%
River view N/A £315,453 23.6%
Canal view N/A £276,172 17.6%

 

Table 1: Top performing water views in terms of property price premium. Source: Jackson-Stops & Staff.

However, homes with views of the ocean generated by far the greatest uplift – boosting a property’s value by just shy of a third, compared to homes without this benefit. But it’s not just about the views; these homes generate substantial premiums because of the lifestyle benefits that accompany them. Walking, sailing, surfing and swimming are favourite British pastimes and, with a renewed focus on healthy living in recent years, never before has it been more in vogue to live near the water.

August 3, 2016

Property values in Roman Towns outperform UK average by more than 80%

Filed under: Latest News — Instinctif Partners @ 1:16 pm

Our Chairman, Nick Leeming, provides an overview of our latest research report, which compares property values in Roman Towns and New Towns over the past 20 years.

Thinking back to John Cleese’s famous line, ‘What have the Romans ever done for us?’, our latest report confirms that the answer should indeed be positive – especially when it comes to property.

Our research shows that property values in Roman towns, including London (Londinium), Bath (Aquae Sulis) and Cambridge (Duroliponte), outperform the UK average by more than 80 per cent and are 56 per cent higher than New Towns.

The Romans originally built Britain’s first towns over 2,000 years ago with London, Colchester and St Albans being the three largest. In contrast, New Towns were built 70 years ago following the Second World War in order to relocate those affected by bombing.

Unsurprisingly, London (Londinium) took the prime position as the nation’s top house price performer, with a total rise of 355 per cent over the last 20 years. St Albans followed a close second, with a rise of 323 per cent, taking its average house price total to £536,456.

Roman Towns Roman Name Average House Price (April 2016) % increase over 20 years
London Londinium £630,145 354.58%
St. Albans Veralamiumn £536,456 323.25%
Chelmsford Caesaromagus £340,141 311.40%
Cambridge Duroliponte £410,800 302.46%
Bath Aquae Sulis £390,664 301.09%

 

In comparison, Basildon took the crown for best New Town performer, with a rise of 314 per cent, pipping Hemel Hempstead to the post by four percentage points (310 per cent).

New Town name Average House Price (April 2016) % rise over 20 years
Basildon £228,163 314.40%
Hemel Hempstead £367,146 309.56%
Welwyn £366,790 303.82%
Crawley £296,361 303.62%
Stevenage £278,425 301.92%

 

Roman Towns are as popular today as they were over 2,000 years ago and our research demonstrates that their popularity has directly affected property values. Well designed and future proofed, they are imbued with history and evidence of the Roman occupation is still very much visible today.

These towns were generally built in prime strategic locations guarding rivers or on elevated territory and so enjoy fantastic positions not always enjoyed by the New Towns. They have antiquity and a layering of history which make them magnets for today’s home buyers. However, we mustn’t forget New Towns, such as Basildon, Welwyn, Crawley, Stevenage and Milton Keynes, which may provide rather better value for home buyers because they are generally cheaper that the majority of Roman Towns.

April 29, 2016

Next Mayor of London must boost housing to ensure the Capital maintains its global reputation

Filed under: Latest News — Instinctif Partners @ 9:09 am

The Mayor of London is one of the most powerful people in the Capital when it comes to the city’s property market. The Mayor is able to intervene and approve developments of “potential strategic importance to London” and influence the London Plan, a citywide planning rule book that must be adhered to, as well as several other powers. What’s more, London tends to be a testing ground for government policies before they are rolled out more widely nationally. So the successes or failures of the next Mayor’s policies could well influence the direction of national housing policy.

The average property price in London is £534,785 according to the most recent House Price Index from the Land Registry, an increase of 13.9% annually – both a far higher average price and annual increase than the other regions. Interestingly however, when current mayor Boris Johnson came into power in May 2008, the average house price in London was only £351,704 – an increase of 52% in eight years. The reason for this substantial rise in value is basic economics: supply and demand. There quite simply isn’t enough housing in the Capital to meet the demand. Both of the main London Mayoral candidates, Sadiq Khan and Zac Goldsmith, have prioritised housing in their manifestos and they are agreed that we need more homes, but each differs in their proposed ways of achieving this.

In order to get London building Sadiq Khan proposes bringing forward more land from public bodies like Transport for London. He also focuses on affordability specifically and proposes to set an affordability target for all new homes built, saying that 50% ought to be genuinely affordable. He is especially keen to tackle so-called buy-to-leave and give priority to first-time-buyers and local tenants to buy new homes.

Zac Goldsmith on the other hand proposes doubling home building to 50,000 a year by 2020, ensuring that all development is in keeping with the local area; giving Londoners the first choice to buy new homes built in the Capital and ensuring a good mix between rental and ownership tenures.

Whichever way the vote goes when Londoners cast their ballot papers next week, those with the power to do so need to ensure that London maintains its panache and its reputation as a global economic powerhouse. Quite frankly, this is driven by the calibre, skills and vibrancy of the people living and working there. A good choice of homes, across sale, rental and alternative tenures, which are not out of reach for the majority of budgets, is key to ensuring this.

Nick Leeming, Chairman

April 1, 2016

Stamp duty reforms won’t deter investors as charges will be negated by capital growth within a year

Filed under: Latest News — Instinctif Partners @ 12:01 pm

The proposed reform to stamp duty for second homes likely won’t deter prospective investors judging by the analysis we’ve recently produced. Despite the rush of investors looking to capitalise ahead of the deadline on the 1st of April, our research shows that the majority of investors will see that property price inflation, within a year or less, will more than compensate them for their entire stamp duty bill – even with the 3% surcharge.

It’s likely that the biggest losers of the stamp duty reform will actually be tenants as landlords pass on their additional costs to rental prices. The table below shows how buy-to-let purchasers in eight of the ten regions will find that capital gains within a year of purchase will negate all stamp duty costs should properties continue to grow at their current rate. The only regions where predicted capital gains on an average priced home do not eclipse stamp duty costs, are the North East and North West of the UK.

The government, through its new stamp duty surcharge, is trying to make the playing field more even between property investors and first-time buyers by eating into landlords’ profits. From a landlord’s perspective it appears as though UK institutions are out to get them. Rather than this continued assault against landlords however, it would be better to address the shortage of stock in the UK through a long-term plan for the UK property market which looks beyond the next parliamentary period. The unintended long term consequence of numerous policies seeking to deter buy-to-let landlords is that this investment option becomes unattractive, as uncertainty dogs the market, leaving this country of a shortage of rental stock.table

March 7, 2016

Will they, won’t they … The UK is in a transitional phase in terms of its relationship with Europe, but what will it mean for our property market?

Filed under: Latest News — Instinctif Partners @ 12:26 pm

All markets abhor uncertainty, including the UK’s property market, which is perhaps the only thing that is certain as we rapidly approach the 23rd June and the EU referendum.

Despite the noise around the referendum and the impact on our housing market, it’s worth keeping in mind that the EU referendum is just one piece of the property puzzle. There are a range of factors in the balance including interest rate rises, the extra 3% stamp duty set to be levied on second homes as of April 2016 and international investors, particularly from China, becoming more timid in their investments in property following their own economic crises. All these components could have a greater impact on the market than leaving the EU.

Apart from individual prospective buyers and sellers being spooked by the as yet unknown consequences of potential Brexit, for the vast majority of British people the housing market and the transactions they enter into throughout their lives, are a domestic issue confined to the borders of the UK. However, the issue will come, if we do leave, of how we are perceived by international players as a place to invest and also as a place to live.

As part of the EU, this country has benefited from the economic influence that the organisation exerts on a global platform.

Last year, a report from global accountancy giant EY highlighted the UK as demonstrating outstanding performance in attracting direct foreign investment. If we leave the EU, would this investment be less forthcoming and would international players view our property market less favourably? The jury is out. The UK, both in and out of the EU, has been revered as an economic super power; but now the power hungry days of the British Empire are behind us, does being part of a large economic body matter more than ever?

Nick Leeming, Chairman at Jackson-Stops & Staff, comments: “If in June the UK opts to remain within the EU, we’ll quickly be back to business as usual. However, severing our ties with Europe is a quagmire of unknowns, particularly because we don’t know what a post-EU UK deal looks like.

 “In the run up to the referendum we certainly anticipate a normal level of anxiety from people who might otherwise have entered the property market or put their home on the market. The world will be watching as we cast our ballots and the big question is how global players will perceive an exit and the subsequent impact on property investment in the UK.

 “Of course, London will feel the effect if investors are deterred, but Northern cities will also share some of the impact as areas there, Manchester for example, still offer strong yields with capital appreciation and are increasingly popular among overseas investors.

 “There is a whole range of factors influencing the direction of our housing demand, not just the referendum, which means 2016 has the potential to be a significant milestone for the direction of this country’s property market.”

January 27, 2016

This is the year of the owner occupier – a development perspective

Filed under: Latest News — Instinctif Partners @ 3:13 pm

New homes are right at the top of the government’s political agenda and given the continued insatiable appetite for property, 2016 is set to be a very active one from a residential development perspective. We’re not even out of January and there are already several important trends emerging.

Developers spread their wings

Whilst the land market remains buoyant, we have seen a trend of developers looking to move outwards from more established, high capital value and high value per square foot areas into neighbouring postcodes where there is greater affordability and naturally higher levels of demand.

Developers who previously focused on prime central London locations are now spreading their wings and setting their sights on residential developments in areas including Fulham, Peckham and Vauxhall. Developments recently launched, or soon to be launched, in these areas have attracted a good deal of interest from local people.

However, the majority of developers we are working with are maintaining the same or very similar levels of specification as they migrate on the proviso that they want to maintain their brand positioning and the belief that buyers will be happy to pay a premium over the local norm for a higher quality specification and finish.

New London locations

This year will also see the growth of new residential locations in London as the desperate need for new property supply means developers are looking at previously untapped locations in order to satisfy demand. The ‘North Bank’ – the oft overlooked sister of the South Bank across the river – is now experiencing an increase in residential development. And it’s a gem. With exceptional transportation links and property costing up to 40% less per square foot than at Covent Garden, just a stone’s throw away, the North Bank will soon be a mainstay of the common vernacular.

Year of the owner / occupier

Any reduction in demand from investors in 2016, due to tighter regulations around buy-to-let, is likely to benefit owner occupiers where sentiment remains strong. With interest rates likely to stay at historically low levels for the short to medium term, high levels of employment, widespread confidence in price stability and strong demand from owner occupiers, 2016 has all the hallmarks of ‘the year of the owner occupier’ and that is no bad accolade. It does however mean that agents and developers will have to alter their sales and marketing strategies to capitalise on the prevailing market conditions.

JSS- 19 Buckingham Street LR

19 Buckingham Street has recently been converted back to residential use and apartments are on the market with Jackson-Stops & Staff starting at £2,750,000.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ben Babington, Director of Residential Development

January 7, 2016

Dorking commuters have a good deal to crow about!

Filed under: Latest News — Instinctif Partners @ 3:24 pm

Cock

The eye catching Dorking cockerel on the Deepdene roundabout.

The New Year has started with a bang in Dorking – and not just because we have seen the usual January flurry of people looking to sell up and move on, as well as prospective buyers, walking into our branch. We have also come out number one in the ranking of London commuter hot-spots for 2016, following research into property prices and commuting conditions to and from a number of traditional commuter locations orbiting the capital.

 

This week will have been a taxing one for many City workers following the Christmas break, especially given that the cost of train travel has increased again in 2016. Apparently we pay up to six times as much as European passengers, although some might find solace in the fact that the 1.1% increase annual increase in rail fares this month is the lowest in six years.

 

Dorking1

This five bedroom family home in Dorking with fabulous views of Box Hill, is on the market for £1,350,000.

Our market town, nestled beneath the North Downs, has beaten other key commuter locations following an analysis of a range of factors which not only include average house prices in the region, but length of train journey to a London station, cost of annual train fare including travel card, cost of car parking at the station and the length of time between trains.

 

Dorking boasts an average property price of £400,302 (according to Land Registry data) which is significantly lower than the average across the London market, meaning people who choose to be based here can get more for their money than further in.

 

This Victorian period home in Dorking has five bedrooms and is on the market for £1,195,000.

This Victorian period home in Dorking has five bedrooms and is on the market for £1,195,000.

The emphasis on quality of commute is also an important one. Research from the Office for National Statistics shows commuting negatively affects all aspects of personal well-being and given more people are commuting for longer (for 55 minutes a day on average – up three minutes since 20014) ensuring the quality of that journey is as high as possible is paramount. In the morning, from Dorking, you can generally find a seat, the journey is less than an hour and the annual travelcard comes in at less than £3,500.  If you miss a train in the morning you may even be able to board an alternative within three minutes.

 

If you are standing on a platform and have been waiting ages for a train you fear may never arrive, perhaps you should consider moving to Dorking! For the full table of results see the Daily Mail article featuring the research here.

 

Alan King, Partner at Jackson-Stops & Staff’s Dorking branch

November 24, 2015

A tale of two markets

Filed under: Latest News — Four Communications @ 10:25 am

Two distinct property markets have emerged in 2015, a trend that looks likely to define 2016, according to high-end estate agents Jackson-Stops & Staff, with 44 offices nationwide.

Whilst the mainstream market has prospered in recent months, the higher value markets continue to prove more difficult, as a result of stamp duty reforms back in 2014. There remains a stand-off between buyers and sellers as each remain reluctant to absorb the additional costs of the transaction. Furthermore, the country house market is losing its once strong connection with prime central London, causing further problems for the top end of the market looking forward.

Nicholas Leeming, Chairman of Jackson-Stops & Staff, comments: “In 2015 we have certainly seen an improvement in the middle markets where there has been sustained demand, particularly around the regional centres. However, the top end of the market continues to prove more difficult. Prime Central London is dominated by international buyers and so we are not seeing the traditional ripple effect into the country house market like we did before. This disconnect is likely to remain a market feature for sometime”

With London set to continue to hold its value thanks to its safe haven status amongst international high net worths and the strong rental returns it offers, home-grown buyers are increasingly priced out of the capital. This is in turn influences the nature of demand for the £1 million plus country house market as international buyers, as a rule, do not purchase property in the countryside, according to Jackson-Stops & Staff director Dawn Carritt.

Dawn Carritt also highlights a “mortgage famine” amongst older buyers who are struggling to get second mortgages approved at the upper end of the market. She adds: “Consequently, people are staying put in one property for many years. This trend echoes property patterns seen in the sixties and seventies where people had one family home, a trend that is unfortunately stalling the country house market.”

James Wilson of Jackson-Stops & Staff Shaftesbury has noticed this drought of London buyers commenting: “Whilst we have seen buyers come from far afield, we have seen fewer from London than had been anticipated with most of the non-local buyers arriving from the Home Counties.” Similarly, Brian Bishop of the Taunton office attributes about half of his buyers to London with the rest being local.

Alastair Hancock of Jackson-Stops & Staff Sevenoaks has noticed buyers being more resistant at the top end of the market, commenting: “2015 has been reasonably strong up to £1 million with a lack of good stock in that price range. However, over £1.5 million has been very patchy and consequently there is plenty of choice but not many buyers. That being said, I am hopeful that 2016 will be busier at this end of the market. It seems that many vendors put their plans on hold in 2015 because of the potential uncertainties over the election.”

William Leschallas of Jackson-Stops & Staff Burford adds: “The market at the moment is really sub £1 million and certainly over £1.5 million it is much more difficult.”
Whilst the top end of the market has proved a challenge, the mainstream market is prospering in many areas in the UK. The main challenge here has been a lack of good stock, meaning buyers are more price sensitive than ever.

William Leschallas of Jackson-Stops & Staff Burford comments: “The real issue we all have now is a shortage of supply. We can sell them if we have them, assuming they are at the right price, but the market remains very price sensitive.”

Furthermore, Nick Talbot of Jackson-Stops & Staff York speaks of “the market picking up with a vengeance following the election result.” However he adds: “As we have moved through to the latter part of the year, there is still a great deal of demand but we are short on supply. Going forward, I see demand only increasing but hope that we will begin to see an increase in new instructions as a result of improving confidence among vendors.”

The narrative from Chester is much the same with Nick Withinshaw offering a warning to vendors to be realistic with their pricing. He says: “If anything is even marginally overpriced it falls on deaf ears as buyers are more selective than ever before. In 2015 we have seen an improvement on the previous year, certainly in the middle sector of the market. Properties over a million continue to prove more difficult and one of the biggest problems has been a shortage of stock at all levels of the market, which I suspect will continue through the winter months and into next year. However, providing the economy remains firm, and with interest rates forecast to stay low for another year or two, next year should be promising and build on the steady growth of the previous two years.”

Michael Clark of Jackson-Stops & Staff Exeter continues: “Buyers are very discerning and extremely price sensitive. In Devon, especially, people are moving for quality of life reasons rather than for their job which means that although they are committed to the area generally, they are not constrained by time. Therefore they are prepared to wait until the perfect property comes to market at the perfect price.”

In East Anglia, the story is extremely rosy with deals being completed across the board. Tim Dansie of Jackson-Stops & Staff Ipswich comments: “Suffolk is by far the most affordable county within commuting distance of London and this is now being explored by not just those coming out of the capital but from counties such as Essex, Hertfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Kent and Sussex. If guide prices are correctly set to represent true market value and are not overstated, we are seeing early sales achieved and in a number of instances competitive interest forthcoming. With such a shortage of stock, we are hopeful prices will rise especially in hotspots such as Aldeburgh, Woodbridge and Dedham where a strong market has been recorded. We had a good start to 2015 and there is every indication that 2016 will begin in a similar way.”

Quentin Jackson-Stops has seen a similar story in Northampton. He comments: “We can look back on a year where the residential property market came strongly back to life. Once the results of the General Election were known in May, new instructions picked up in the Northampton area and year on year the volume of properties sold has increased by over 30%.

The greatest increase in sales has been in the middle of the market between £300,000 and £600,000. At the higher price levels, it has been harder to find a purchaser, clearly the result of changes to the Stamp Duty rates in 2014 which have impacted heavily on properties above £1,000,000.

The market for new homes has been particularly strong in 2015 as buyers have become more interested in energy efficiency and the technology that new homes offer in terms of their construction, systems and their fittings. On several sites, where we have been involved, new homes have been selling ‘off plan’ before construction has virtually started. Good sites for small developments are becoming harder to find and the trend for strong new house sales is expected to continue through into next year.

We expect much the same in 2016 with gently rising values for properties up to about £900,000, with the greatest rises being for properties under £500,000. The £1,000,000 plus properties will in all likelihood see little change in value in the next twelve months. However, with interest rates look set to remain low for some time yet and with mortgage finance easier to obtain, we believe that the outlook for Northamptonshire appears rosy for 2016.”

October 28, 2015

Apple Pies and Autumn Skies

Filed under: Latest News — Four Communications @ 4:03 pm

As we enter Harvest, farmers across the country are working from dawn ‘til dusk to gather in their crops before the winter frosts commence. However, for amateur agriculturists, this can be one of the most rewarding times of the year to be the proud owner of a glorious British orchard. Pies, crumbles and cider on tap, the rewards are sweet, comforting and just, for a hard day’s toil. Below, Jackson-Stops & Staff has collated some of the most impressive homes with orchards from across the country.

Crossland Fosse, in Kempston, Bedfordshire, is a grand seven bedroom Victorian manor, built in 1889, with a pristine gated orchard that can be viewed from a sun lounger by the pool. The appearance of the house has changed very little in the last 120 years, with the interiors retaining many Victorian features, including a grand staircase with galleried landing, heavy oak-panelled doors and decorative moulded ceilings in most principal rooms. The house includes a master bedroom suite, six further bedrooms, gym, wine cellar, folly and apple store, swimming pool, grass paddocks and a hard tennis court. Although the exterior of the house has changed little since construction, the interior has been refurbished to very high standards, including a zoned heating system and an integral sound system in principal rooms. Crossland Fosse is on the market for £2,850,000 through our Woburn Office (tel: 01525 290641). For more details, click here.

Lantallack is a historic, Grade-II listed house, near Landrake, south east Cornwall, with a range of barns, delightful gardens, stunning views and a gated orchard with a wide variety of young and mature fruit trees. The property includes a master bedroom suite, guest suite, two further bedrooms, heated swimming pool, immaculately maintained gardens and two detached self-contained cottages. Lantallack is set in an Area of Outstanding Beauty, as well as being close to the south east Cornish coast, the South West Coast Path and Whitsand Bay. The property is on the market for £2,195,000 through our Exeter Office (tel: 01392 214222). For more details, click here.

Goodmans House, near Membury, Devon, is a Georgian country house with a sloping orchard and gardens, cosily nestled in the rolling Devonshire foothills. The property is Grade-II listed and records show that a dwelling has been on the site since 1332. The house includes a master bedroom, four further bedrooms, heated pool, pond, lawned gardens and three paddocks. Goodmans House benefits from being close to Taunton, the county town of Somerset and a number of excellent schools situated throughout the surrounding area. Goodmans House is on the market for £1,650,000 through our Exeter Office (tel: 01823 325144) For more details, click here.

It would be difficult to write about properties with orchards without mentioning Somerset, home to many of the UK’s largest cider distilleries and a seemingly infinite amount of independent manufacturers. East Lambrook Farm, near South Petherton, Somerset, is a Grade-II Listed village house with a detached cottage and delightful gardens and grounds, including a small orchard, set in about two acres. Unspoilt bymodern additions , the house still retains many original features including open fireplaces, exposed timbers and flagstone floors. The property consists of four bedrooms, a detached cottage, greenhouse, hard tennis tourt, garden and former pigsties. East Lambrook Farm is on the market for £850,000 through our Sherborne Office (tel: 01935 810141). For more details, click here.

October 5, 2015

Sunset boulevards

Filed under: Latest News — Four Communications @ 9:45 am

As we enter autumn, we are reminded that the summer is not eternal. The sun hangs lower in the sky, the days are getting shorter and an extra layer is now necessary when we spend time outside in the evenings. However, this time of year remains special, with glorious autumnal sunrises and sunsets to enjoy while the weather is still warm enough to enjoy time outdoors. Britain’s iconic coasts and secret beaches provide the most picturesque locations, from which to take in these scenes, with the special quality of light inspiring many artists throughout the years. With the mellow mists of autumn approaching, we have chosen a selection of our favourite seafront properties, which offer the ideal vantage point to observe this idyllic change in the seasons.

Smuggler’s Cottage, in Smuggler’s Cove, Cornwall, is a stunning property situated directly on the water and nestled away in a sheltered cove. It consists of a winter and summer cottage both with breath-taking views that extend out to sea and across the bay to the nearby fishing port of Portreath. Both cottages are modern, cool and cosy and draw in an extraordinary amount of natural light, making this property the perfect seaside get-away, regardless of the time of year. With a combined total of seven bedrooms, a kitchen, two large terraces, a workshop and six reception rooms, Smuggler’s Cottage makes for the ideal house to host friends and family. The property is on the market at a guide price of £3,000,000 with our Truro office (tel.: 01872 261160). For more information please click here.

Tamarisk, a five bedroom house in Aldwick, West Sussex, draws on colonial influences, evoking the setting of a Caribbean plantation. In beautifully landscaped gardens, with a large beachfront terrace for entertaining, just metres from the sea, Tamarisk is the perfect spot for hosting late summer barbecues and entertaining guests. With large French windows in every sea-facing room, modern décor and bleached oak floors, the house remains light at all times of the year, perfect for summer and as a winter retreat. The property is on the market at a guide price of £1,650,000 with our Chichester office (tel.: 01243 786316). For more information please click here.

Torquay rose to prominence during the Victorian era and was christened the English Riviera as a result of its warm climate and a long list of notable clientele and British nobility. If there was ever a symbol of Victorian pomp, splendour and indulgence, it could be represented by this Grade-II listed property. With a splendid central staircase, lavish gardens, grand fireplaces and a conservatory, Wylam House is definitely for those looking for a flavour of nostalgia. Despite its heritage, the house is fitted with a modern kitchen and luxury bathrooms to cater for 21st century comforts. The house has six bedrooms, a drawing room, media room and a total of about 1.5 acres of land. The property is on the market at a guide price of £1,850,000 with our Exeter office (tel.: 01392 214222). For more information please click here.

Undercliff House is a stunning detached Victorian period property in the bustling, historic town of Sandford, Kent. Boasting splendid vistas of the English channel towards France and an indoor swimming pool, modern décor and spacious gardens, Undercliff house would be the perfect spot to get away to for a week, or relocate to permanently.
There are six bedrooms, six bathrooms, a games/cinema room and a gymnasium. The property is on the market at a guide price of £1,850,000 with our Canterbury office (tel.: 01227 781600). For more information please click here.

September 28, 2015

Land Registry Eastern promise

Filed under: Latest News — Four Communications @ 3:44 pm

Buyers are looking East, with Newham in East London achieving the highest price growth in the capital at 15.5 per cent in the past year and in the East of England’s performance as the region outside the capital with the most significant price increase at 8.4 per cent, according to Nicholas Leeming, Chairman of national agents Jackson-Stops & Staff, with 44 offices nationwide, in response to today’s Land Registry House Price Index.

He said: “Buyers are seeking areas offering the best value and proximity to work, which reflects not only the performance in the East of England, where the Cambridge effect and regional investment are bearing fruit, but also in boroughs such as Newham and Barking and Dagenham. On the wider front we are seeing a continuing trend of higher property values for reported sales, but of more concern is the reducing numbers of properties coming to the market. However this supply constraint in the middle markets is not being matched in the higher value sector, where many properties are struggling to find buyers at their current guide prices, mainly because of the effect that the stamp duty increase last year has had.”

August 11, 2015

Relocate to a holiday escape

Filed under: Latest News — Four Communications @ 11:23 am

The long weekend is a time for celebration, with hundreds of events held annually the length and breadth of the country. We have chosen a selection of properties across the country, which could offer a permanent base or a holiday home in locations renowned for their late summer celebrations.

The Dartmouth Royal Regatta, which takes place from 27th to the 29th August in the historic sailing town of Dartmouth, is one of the most famous regattas in the UK. Sails, a brand new development due for completion next month, benefits from having a prime position on the harbour front, commanding far reaching views of the coast. The three bedroom, three bathroom leading penthouse in the development, makes the most of these views, with vast windows throughout and airy open plan living, dining and cooking space. Furthermore, there is a large roof garden with an al-fresco dining area, complete with outdoor kitchen and built-in seating area. The penthouse is accessible via a lift and also comes with a secure parking garage and storage ‘pod’ in the basement. The property is on the market for £1.5 million with our Exeter office (tel.: 01392 214 222). For more information please click here.

The historic Goodwood House and Estate, home to the Goodwood Retro weekend which takes place from the 28th to 30th August, is just a few miles away from The Old Rectory, a mid-Victorian rectory situated in the village of West Stoke, within the South Downs National Park. The seven bedroom property was built in 1875 and is approached by an impressive long tree-lined driveway, set in about 3.5 acres. The mature gardens and grounds encompass both a paddock and formal gardens, in addition to a number of outbuildings, including a brick and tiled studio, covered parking and stabling. The idyllic countryside location is just four miles away from the charming town of Chichester, which boasts a good selection of shops, bars and restaurants. A mainline station, which provides regular services into London, is also found in the town, with services running into London Victoria in 1 hour 36 minutes. The property is on the market and price is upon application, with our Chichester office (tel.: 01243 786316). For more information please click here.

Beaumaris Medieval Festival on the Isle of Anglesey is an annual celebration, which takes place from the 29th to the 31st August, involving a number of exciting family activities, including lively battle re-enactments. 2 Pen y Parc is a charming period property situated just one mile from the castle in Beaumaris, with striking views of both the sea and the Snowdonian Mountain range. Originally part of the Williams-Buckley estate, the property forms the central part of the main house, set in approximately 15.5 acres. The interior has been finished to a high specification with two luxurious fitted bathrooms and a well-appointed kitchen. Although situated in a rural position, the property is within close proximity of both Beaumaris and its local amenities and the A55 expressway, which allows for travel along North Wales and into England. The property is on the market at a guide price of £430,000, with our Chester office (tel.: 01244 328361). For more information please click here.

The Newlyn Fish Festival is one of the most popular bank holiday events held in the south-west, which takes place on 31st August, Bank Holiday Monday. Blue Elvin is situated just a short walk from the festival’s venue of Newlyn Harbour, one of the most active commercial fishing harbours in Britain. The five bedroom property benefits from fantastic panoramic views of Mounts Bay and St Michael’s Mount and has been designed by a local architect with modern luxury living in mind. The property has a strong emphasis on modern technology, with the designer appliances and bathroom fittings reflecting the contemporary design of the property. The property is located close to the cultural, coastal town of Penzance, famous for its collection of museums, shops and art galleries. The property is on the market at a guide price of £1.15 million, with our Truro office (tel.: 01872 261160). For more information please click here.

August 10, 2015

Cambridge trumps Oxford and tops the property league table for average price growth in university markets

Filed under: Latest News — Four Communications @ 1:37 pm

With the start of a new university year looming, the city of Cambridge has topped the price growth tables for university property markets, according to new research for upmarket national estate agents Jackson-Stops & Staff, with 44 offices nationwide.

As well as trumping Oxford in the university league tables, Cambridge has shown double the average price growth of its historic rival, with average prices increasing by 20 per cent in the last 12 months, 10 per cent more than Oxford and 14.3 per cent more than the national average.

Canterbury, York and Northampton also performed strongly showing price growth of 16 percent, 11 per cent and ten per cent respectively with a total of 28 towns and cities recording growth in excess of the national average. Other top performing cities include Reading, Bristol, Brighton, Luton, Oxford, Sheffield and Exeter, with average growth for the top ten markets at 15 per cent.

Whilst Cambridge outperformed Oxford in terms of average price growth, this was driven largely by detached property values with prices rising 36 per cent from £665,650 to £903,038. Larger properties are attractive to buy-to-let investors, with a guaranteed pipeline of student tenants. However, when assessing other property types, Oxford shows considerably higher growth rates, particularly for flats where it tops the price growth tables with 36 per cent.

Jackson-Stops & Staff has more than a century of experience in the prime property market throughout the UK with offices in university cities across the country, including Exeter, London, Chester, Canterbury, Northampton, York and Norwich.

Whilst the majority of the top performing towns are in the south of the country, York bucks the trend by recording double digit price growth, sitting above Oxford, Exeter, London and many core areas within the Home Counties.

York showed particularly high levels of growth for large, five plus bedroom homes, recording a 29 per cent increase in the last 12 months for this type of property along with Exeter at 27 per cent, Bath at 22 per cent, Bangor at 20 per cent, Chester at 15 percent and Oxford at 14 per cent. Similarly, Canterbury topped the price growth tables for four bedroom homes at 24 per cent with Bangor and Cambridge close behind showing 22 per cent and 19 per cent growth respectively. London remains the most expensive location to buy all types and size of property and so larger homes outside of London and the Home Counties represent strong investment opportunities, with buyers able to cash in on the student rental market within these university towns.

Whilst price stagnation and deflation is concentrated in the North of England and Wales, with the average fall for the bottom ten performing markets at -4 per cent, York and Sheffield are two of the top ten performing towns and cities, with Manchester and Scottish university cities also performing strongly. With steady levels of growth in place in some of these larger urban hubs, the north of England and Wales will hopefully see a ripple effect into some of the smaller university centres.

Nick Leeming, Chairman of Jackson-Stops & Staff, comments: “Britain is renowned for having some of the best universities in the world, rich in heritage and history, and offering some of the most sought after property stock in the country. It is no coincidence that high levels of price growth correlate with some of the UK’s best universities where there is a strong demand for rental properties for students and this seems to be having beneficial effects on northern cities, such as York, Sheffield and Manchester, which have typically seen slower levels of growth and a more fragile state of recovery following the recession.”

The data was sourced from home.co.uk July 2015 by Insight Advantage for Jackson-Stops & Staff and is based on average asking prices.

August 6, 2015

UK interest rates have been held at the record low of 0.5% for another month by the Bank of England, it was announced today.

Filed under: Latest News — Four Communications @ 2:06 pm

Nicholas Leeming said: “The decision to maintain interest rates at the current, historically low levels comes as no surprise. However Mark Carney has been careful to flag that interest rates will edge higher in the longer term as the economy continues to grow and inflationary pressure on wages increase. Property buyers should recognise that rates will move towards more sustainable, long term levels and so budget for higher mortgage costs accordingly. Vendors should be aware that any such increases will create resistance to overly high guide prices.”

July 16, 2015

Here comes the sun

Filed under: Latest News — Four Communications @ 1:04 pm

Now that the weather is heating up, home owners across the UK can enjoy spending time in their gardens once again, along with the much-loved British summer house. These structures offer space for relaxation, hobbies, entertaining and enjoying the sight of a garden in full bloom. We have chosen a selection of properties with the most attractive summer houses, offering ideal garden retreats for whiling away warm evenings.

Pantons is a stunning Victorian home in Dallington, East Sussex, situated in the heart of the High Weald area of outstanding natural beauty, across which the property has far reaching views. The house itself sits in 1.2 acres of land and has a large mature garden with many trees and flower beds. The summer house is found in and amongst the greenery at the bottom of the garden, next to an ornamental pond. The house has five bedrooms, many reception rooms and a spacious kitchen with a walk in larder. Uniquely for a 19th century building, the property is not listed, an attribute which allows future owners to extend the home, with planning permission already in place for a two storey 1,528 square foot extension. The property is on the market for offers between £900,000 and £950,000 with our Tunbridge Wells office (tel.: 01892 521700). For more information please click here.

The ultra-modern summer house at The Cottage in Heyshott, near Midhurst, West Sussex, sits across a courtyard from the main house and could act as its own separate abode. French doors open onto a spacious sitting room, adjacent to which is a kitchen with all modern appliances. The summer house also has a double bedroom, a wet room and underfloor heating throughout. The main house dates back to the 17th century and is situated on the edge of the South Downs, an hour outside of London by rail. The house has four bedrooms and three reception rooms, one with vaulted ceilings, which contain several inglenook fireplaces. The spacious kitchen/dining room is very light, having recently been extended to take advantage of the views over the garden to the open fields beyond. The property is on the market for £1,475,000 with our Midhurst office (tel.: 01730 812357). For more information please click here.

Ilton Court, situated in the village of Ilton, near Ilminster, Somerset, is thought to date back to 1550, although the current house was built in the 17th century. The house has attractive gardens which run to 1.716 acres and in which its summer house is nestled away, adjacent to rose bushes and a small pond. The thatched summer house comes complete with cupboards, a refrigerator and an open fire. Other notable features in the garden include a pergola, butterfly garden and a stream with a small bridge. The Grade-II listed property still retains many period features including its stone fireplaces. The house is situated just a short walk from the village cricket ground, pub and village hall. The property is on the market for £799,500 with our Taunton office (tel.: 01823 325144). For more information please click here.

Happisburgh Manor, in Norfolk, is a magnificent eight bedroom manor house set in 12 acres of grounds, which look out over the north Norfolk coast. The property includes a summer house that opens out onto a heated swimming pool and hot tub. The area is designated as being of outstanding natural beauty, with long sandy beaches stretching in every direction from the house, making it an ideal base for those interested in walking, bird watching or sailing. The property itself is Grade-II listed and includes striking period features such as wood panelled walls, stone floors and charming fireplaces. The property is on the market for £790,000 with our Norwich office (tel.: 01603 612333). For more information please click here.

July 8, 2015

Summer Budget reaction

Filed under: Latest News — Four Communications @ 12:45 pm

A new downsizing market will emerge as a result of the inheritance tax reforms, according to leading property expert Nicholas Leeming, chairman of national estate agents Jackson-Stops & Staff. He said: “The changes in inheritance tax are a step towards encouraging older home owners to downsize and so free up larger properties for families who need more space.”

Nicholas Leeming also highlighted that changes in buy to let tax relief will hit many small and older private investors. He said: “This a major blow to a sector that is heavily reliant on private investors and who provide a crucial supply of property to the private rental sector.”

On the move to abolish permanent non-dom status, he commented: “It is vital that the capital retains its attraction to non doms. The stricter rules being applied to non doms, while having some merit, will inevitably further dampen demand from international buyers in central London where the market for higher valued properties has already slowed sharply following last year’s changes in stamp duty. This will affect the London economy, impacting restaurants, clubs and retail in prime central London.”

June 25, 2015

Homes out of this world

Filed under: Latest News — Four Communications @ 4:31 pm

London’s Madame Tussauds has unveiled a new exhibition of waxwork models dedicated to famous scenes from Star Wars. The exhibition celebrates the upcoming seventh instalment of the saga; Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens, scheduled to be released later this year. More than 180 sculptors worked for over a year to create 11 scenes, including making a 220kg Jabba the Hutt and spending 1,000 hours on Chewbacca, with the combined cost of all the figures estimated at £2.5 million. We have pulled together a collection of homes which benefit from striking contemporary architecture, reminiscent of Star Wars’ galactic vessels and ideal for any buyers with a love of the space age.

58 Tongdean Avenue’s pitched roof, porthole windows and glass galleries on the first and second floor landings give the property, situated in Hove, East Sussex, an almost rocket-like look, whilst also complementing the architecture of the neighbouring 1930s properties. A stunning central atrium sits at the heart of the property, with light pouring into the space from the glass ceiling above. The six bedroom house has been fitted out with the latest in modern technology, including a state-of-the-art swimming pool terrace with far reaching sea views. A separate self-contained annexe has a private rooftop terrace, offering the ideal space from which to star gaze. The property is on the market for £2,350,000 with our Arundel office (tel.: 01903 885886). For more information please click here.

Blue Elvin, situated on the outskirts of Newlyn, near Penzance, Cornwall, has won awards for its contemporary architecture, which mirrors that of a lunar base. The cedar clad elevations and glass balconies offer a contrast of texture and colour, with the huge windows allowing for sweeping views over Mount’s Bay. The internal technology reinforces the house’s status as a property built for the future, with solar panels installed to heat water, underfloor heating and a heat recovery ventilation system. There are five bedrooms, two of which benefit from access to balconies, in addition to an external courtyard and lawned gardens. The property is on the market for £1,150,000 with our Truro office (tel.: 01872 261160). For more information please click here.

Five bedroom Little Wilbur, situated in the village of Holme-Next-The-Sea, in Norfolk, was finished last year, making it one of the most modern homes available in the area. The brick and flint elevations complement the traditional local style, while the contemporary cedar cladding and unique curved roof provide striking additions. Internally, the two storeys are linked by striking curved stairwells, illuminated by inset feature lighting. The first floor sitting room offers a unique living space, with sliding aluminium doors opening onto a covered balcony, with views over the dunes to the coast. The property is on the market for £1,295,000 with our Burnham Market office (tel.: 01328 801333). For more information please click here.

Hafod is a contemporary four bedroom house situated in the town of Budleigh Salterton, on Devon’s south coast. The property has been designed to mirror the architectural style of an observatory allowing for panoramic views of the coast. The house has been imaginatively designed utilising carefully selected materials, including an oak frame structure which forms two tiered timber and glass balconies at ground and first floor. The 37 foot main reception room stretches the entire length of the house and is flooded by light through the floor-to-ceiling glass doors, which open onto the garden. The property is on the market for £1,375,000 with our Exeter office (tel.: 01392 214222). For more information please click here.

June 4, 2015

Far from your average home

Filed under: Latest News — Four Communications @ 3:29 pm

Last month saw the latest film adaptation of ‘Far from the Madding Crowd’ hit cinemas, 141 years after Thomas Hardy published the novel, forever cementing his place as one of Britain’s greatest authors. This most recent cinematic version stars Carey Mulligan as Bathsheba Everdene and Belgian actor Matthias Schoenaerts as Gabriel Oak, but in many ways the true star of the film is the rolling countryside of Dorset, thinly disguised as Hardy’s ‘Wessex’, where much of the filming took place. The following is a selection of some of the very best properties that Dorset has to offer.

In keeping with the principal residence featured in ‘Far from the Madding Crowd’, Dairy House Farm, situated in the village of Kington Magna is a beautiful period farmhouse. The property has four bedrooms, a hall, drawing room, snug, garden room and a timber barn with two stables. The house is Grade II listed and was built in the late seventeenth century with later additions and a complete renovation in 1990. However, perhaps the most beautiful feature of Dairy House Farm is its surrounding gardens and paddock. The gardens are peaceful and extensive, yet designed to be manageable. A fruit cage, fenced kitchen garden, lawns, various shrubbery and herbaceous borders and an orchard offer both manageable and pretty grounds.  The property is on the market for £1,250,000 with our Shaftesbury office (tel.: 01747 850858). For more information please click here.

22 Bladen Valley, situated in the sought-after village of Briantspuddle, is a beautiful thatched cottage, forming one end of a row of similar style properties, built just after the First World War. The cottages were built as part of the Debenham Estate in the Arts and Crafts style, with the style designed to blend sympathetically with the local aesthetic. The cottages were originally built as part of an innovative housing plan by Ernest Debenham, the grandson of the Debenhams drapery and department store empire. The early twentieth century property included sought-after features such as an inside lavatory and a pig pen. The three bedroom property has been renovated to the highest standard but retains its rustic feel with many wood-burning stoves in its living spaces and an AGA stove in the kitchen. The front and rear gardens extend to approximately three quarters of an acre. The property is on the market for £450,000 with our Dorchester office (tel.: 01305 262123). For more information please click here.

Old St. James’ served as the Chedington Parish Church until 1980 when the building was deconsecrated and subsequently converted into a residential dwelling. Built in 1840 from hamstone the building was designed by Taunton architect Richard Carver and originally consisted of just a nave and chancel, with the baptistery organ chamber and south porch added later. The property has lost none of this original character, with stained glass windows, a wood burning stove, galleried landing and arches with carved wood screens still featured inside. More recent additions include solid oak floors, staircase and joinery, granite worktops in the newly fitted kitchen and new bathroom suites. Old St James’ also benefits from four spacious bedrooms, many of which offer scenic views out over the half an acre of secluded gardens. The property is on the market for £745,000 with our Bridport office (tel.: 01308 423133). For more information please click here.

Constructed of red brick and rendered elevations under a pitched clay tile roof, Little London Farmhouse dates back to the Edwardian era. Recently refurbished and extended, standing in three quarters of an acre with spectacular views, the property occupies an elevated position, with views towards Duncliffe Hill. The house has just undergone a thorough renovation and extension and now comprises sensibly configured accommodation with light rooms and good ceiling heights. The property includes two wood burning stoves, an open fire in the sitting room, bespoke handmade timber-framed windows and a master bedroom with far reaching views. The house benefits from a  newly built fitted kitchen with an oak-framed glazed breakfast area and vaulted ceiling. The property also has three additional bedrooms with three bathrooms, a porch, hall, sitting room, dining room, snug and an office. The property is on the market for £740,000 with our Shaftesbury office (tel.: 01747 850858). For more information please click here.

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