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October 29, 2014

Keep property away from politics, warns Jackson-Stops & Staff Chairman

Filed under: Latest News — Four Communications @ 2:50 pm

The fragile recovery of the property market could be threatened if politicians continue to treat housing as a vote winner in the run-up to the General Election, warns Nick Leeming, Chairman of national estate agents Jackson-Stops & Staff, with 44 offices nationwide.

He predicts a nervousness at the beginning of 2015, which will mean a slower start to the market, followed by a lull in April and May around the General Election when many purchasers may delay making decisions.
Nick Leeming said: “The recovery remains fragile in many areas outside London and politicians should guard against alarmist talk. The market for higher valued properties in the country will continue to be impacted by the concerns over the threat of mansion tax and increasing maintenance costs.”

He predicts that the London property market’s influence on the market outside the capital will be more selective. “Some London owners will want to cash in on the value of their properties and move to the country but the majority of these will want to buy around the commuter hubs in the South-east, with good transport links to the capital. The London effect is not as pronounced as in the past as longer working hours and concerns over losing a foothold on the London property market increase.”

From a lower base, country property may see a five per cent rise in average values across the board during 2015, while London will see a more modest growth of nearer 2.5%. As the economy continues to improve, demand in the middle to lower value sectors in the country should increase, although this effect will be less pronounced in the north.

Trends to watch out for in 2015 include a continued expansion of the Private Rented Sector as job mobility, costs of transaction and high property values favour the flexibility and affordability of renting.
“For investors, the long-term outlook is bright for buy-to-let, particularly in and around city locations with good transport links. The demand from Generation Rent will continue to grow for high quality homes.”

Across the 44 Jackson-Stops & Staff offices, the sentiment remains mixed for the remainder of the year.

Quentin Jackson-Stops from Jackson-Stops & Staff, Northampton, comments: “The run up to an election is always a quiet period. That is not to say that prices will fall, but rather they may stagnate to some degree, with fewer deals being done. The spring and summer of 2014 were busy, but this was largely for properties under the £500,000 mark. While there are not that many properties worth over £2m in this area, fears of a Mansion Tax are having a serious effect.”

In the south-west, Michael Clark, from Jackson-Stops & Staff, Exeter office, comments: “There are some reasons for optimism. The perception appears to be that the boom in property values in the London and the Home Counties may have slowed, as a result of which the gap in value between properties in that area and those in Devon are probably, currently, at the greatest they are likely to be for some time to come. Therefore, this would surely be the right time to buy if you are moving from the South East to the West Country. Still roughly 25% of all our buyers through the Exeter office come from London and Home Counties and we should therefore begin to see some effects of this in the coming months.”

James Wilson, from Jackson-Stops & Staff Shaftesbury, comments: “In Dorset, we remain cautiously optimistic – 2014 has been a good year with increasing confidence very noticeable in the early part of the year and the last quarter proving the strongest we have seen since opening in 2004. Despite this, there has been some noticeable weakness in the market for properties over £1 million. Worries about mansion tax, and taxation on high value property are probably going to increase as the General Election draws closer.”

In the Cotswolds, William Leschallas from Jackson-Stops & Staff, Burford, comments: “During the summer the market was bubbling at a level I would not have expected to continue for the rest of the year and it may be that vendors need to drop their prices if they wish to sell before Christmas. However there are still many good buyers in the Cotswolds market and there are still deals to be made in 2014 with offers being received now.”
In the Home Counties, Nick Ferrier, of Jackson-Stops & Staff in Midhurst, said: “The key to a good sale is immaculate presentation and pricing, plus a good agent who is capable of carrying the sale through conveyancing, given tighter lending and a more fragile market.”

Philip Blanchard, of Jackson-Stops & Staff in Winchester, said: “The major concern in Hampshire has been over £2m where very few sales have been conducted. Buyers are extremely concerned about the outcome of next year’s General Election. Will mansion tax actually become a reality? If it does, there will be a huge change in values. I can think of many of our older clients, who are living off small pensions, who bought their houses 20-30 years ago for not a great deal of money, and they are now worth north of £2m.

“If this tax does come in to being then those clients living off pensions will probably have to sell. Most of those houses are never going to make over £2m if they are in the bracket of £2m – £2.25m and some, of course, will become forced sales.

“Consequently, the majority of our sales have been in the bracket up to £2m. The market is extremely price sensitive. Mortgages are difficult to obtain, the banks and building societies are taking months to send out a mortgage offer, therefore sales are taking months to exchange, and we have never had such a high fall through rate.”

In Kent, Alastair Hancock of Jackson-Stops & Staff in Sevenoaks, said: “We have had a strong market in central Sevenoaks in the price range up to £1m, mainly because of a lack of stock. As a commuter destination and the attraction of Sevenoaks School and other high performing schools in the area, continue to attract new residents to the town. However, the market over £2m is mixed, particularly in the areas outside Sevenoaks, reflecting people’s concerns over mansion tax and stamp duty. Some sellers have been over-ambitious on price and are beginning to take more realistic view.”

In East Anglia, Tim Dansie, of Jackson-Stops & Staff in Ipswich, said: “We started to see the long awaited interest coming out of London, with properties in Fulham and Wandsworth selling at close to £3m and translating into quality country properties at over £1m less.

“Autumn began well, with a number of sales agreed in the first week of September. We expect this activity to continue but with a watchful eye on guide prices quoted. Even quality property with too high a price tag is just not being looked at.”

October 23, 2014

Properties for the eagle eyed golfer

Filed under: Latest News — Four Communications @ 3:19 pm

The recent resounding success of the European Ryder Cup team at Gleneagles has reignited the nation’s passion for golf and with it the desire to live overlooking a course. Apart from the obvious advantage for those who prefer an early tee time and enjoy the 19th hole there are other significant advantages. Golf is by the very nature of the rules of the game quiet and remarkably courteous. From tee to green there is an unusual combination of keen competition and amazing tranquillity. This air or peace and tranquillity spreads to the surrounding area and properties backing onto a course have the additional benefits of a rural outlook which is likely have even more protection from development than that offered by many of our planning laws. We have selected a number of properties which benefit from their proximity to golf courses.

Augusta House in Wimbledon is the latest offering from award-winning developer, Newcourt Residential. The six-bedroom property backs onto the Royal Wimbledon Golf Course and has views over the course from the top floor bedrooms. The property has an indoor swimming pool, sauna, steam room, media room, and wine room; in total offering over 7,800 sq ft of accommodation. The house, which includes a smart drawing room and grand dining room, also includes a more informal floor, containing an open-plan kitchen and family room. At the back of the property is a beautifully landscaped garden complete with a bespoke garden studio, and integrated dining area. The property is on the market for £6,950,000 with our Residential Development department (tel.: 020 7664 6649). For more information click here.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Connaught Square is a collection of 14 two and three bedroom luxury apartments backing onto the Royal Winchester Golf Course. Residents can benefit from the spacious rooms which have been designed to emulate the Georgian architectural style, while also taking advantage of the contemporary features, such as the secure underground car park. Each of the apartments includes either a balcony or terrace from which you can enjoy views of the course. Prices start from £750,000 for a two-bedroom apartment. The property is on the market with our Winchester office (tel.; 01962 844299). For more information click here.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Idehill Manor is a Grade-II listed medieval house, once owned by King George II, situated in the small rural village of Farway, East Devon. The property boasts its very own 18 hole championship golf course, which includes a par six 740 yard hole, the longest hole in the British Isles. The house itself includes nine bedrooms, six bathrooms, and an attractively beamed kitchen, with two French windows looking out onto the garden and swimming pool. There are 51 acres of grounds, which includes an attractive water garden. The property is on the market for £2,200,000 with our Exeter office (tel.: 01392 214222). For more information click here.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Fairway House, situated in the highly desired Wynyard residential estate, four miles from the town of Billingham, County Durham, is a contemporary home finished to the highest standard. The house adjoins the ninth fairway of the 18 hole championship Wynyard golf course and benefits from views over the course. The five-bedroom property includes three reception rooms, a drawing room with gas fireplace, a dining room and a garden room with folding doors to a sheltered terrace. The contemporary kitchen has a range of stainless steel integrated appliances, and includes double doors reaching out onto the exceptionally landscaped garden, which includes two carp ponds connected by a waterfall. The property is on the market for £1,300,000 with our York office (tel.: 01904 625033). For more information click here.

October 14, 2014

A slice of stately splendour

Filed under: Latest News — Four Communications @ 4:27 pm

Living in a stately home is a dream shared by many, in particular avid fans of period dramas which feature beautiful castles, manors and mansions in all their splendour. Those who live in large country houses benefit from spacious rooms, huge grounds and striking period features, often designed by an eminent architect of the past. However, keeping such a large house does not always complement a modern lifestyle, where few people have the resources to keep a large team of staff to maintain their home. To enjoy the benefits of living in a country house without taking on the whole estate, it is becoming increasingly popular to purchase an apartment created from one wing of a large stately home. Below is a selection of such properties, which allow owners to fulfil the fantasy of owning a large house in the country, while enjoying the convenience offered by a smaller property.

Swaylands, situated just outside the village of Penhurst, Kent, was once in private ownership but now is divided into 28 apartments. The large property is surrounded by the most spectacular countryside within the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The house has a colourful history with both royal and literary connections, and dates back to the mid-19th century, with castellated turrets, mullioned windows and imposing archways. The apartments now offer luxurious and spacious accommodation, all updated for 21st century living whilst retaining many period features. There are also 40 acres of communal grounds with a tennis court and gym for residents to enjoy. Prices start at £750,000 for a three bed apartment. The properties here are on the market with our Tunbridge Wells office (tel.: 01892 521700). For more information please click here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Aldersyde House, situated two miles south of the city of York, is a Grade-II listed Victorian mansion which has now been split into 14 apartments. The Oak Room is a two-bedroom apartment, which includes some of the original house’s most attractive period features, including a striking marble fireplace, which incorporates sculpture from a renowned Yorkshire craftsman, GW Milburn. The owners are able to enjoy a communal orangery and the gardens which surround the property. The property is on the market for £475,000 with our York office (tel.: 01904 625033). For more information click here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

New Wardour Castle, situated one and a half miles from the village of Tisbury, Wiltshire, was once a private house built for the Arundell family, but is now separated into 10 apartments. The Grade-I Listed Georgian house is surrounded by extensive grounds, which include a pristine lawn and striking hardwood trees. Just one mile away sits Old Wardour Castle, which was partly destroyed by Oliver Cromwell’s civil war army. The top floor flat includes five bedrooms, a fitted kitchen with granite worktops, marble clad bathrooms and a magnificent double aspect drawing room with breath-taking views. The property is on the market for £895,000 with our Shaftesbury office (tel.: 01747 850858). For more information please click here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gayhurst House, an Elizabethan mansion situated on the outskirts of the village of Gayhurst, Buckinghamshire, is steeped in history. In 1581 Queen Elizabeth I gave the estate to Sir Francis Drake as a reward for his military services. The house has since been owned by Sir Everard & Lady Digby, notable for their involvement with the Gun Powder Plot and Guy Fawkes.  Along with Bletchley Park, the house was conscripted to the World War II efforts, acting as a base for intelligence officers attempting to crack the Enigma Code. Apartment 19 is a two-storey property, comprising of four bedroom suites, three reception rooms and a bespoke Robinson Cornish kitchen.  It is full of attractive features, including fine high ceilings, impressive windows and historic panelling.  The property is on the market for £760,000 with our Woburn office. (tel.: 01525 290641). For more information please click here.

October 1, 2014

We plough the fields and scatter

Filed under: Latest News — Four Communications @ 12:40 pm

Many aspire to some degree of a self-sufficient lifestyle and, for those lucky enough to possess a home with a kitchen garden, taking produce straight from the vegetable patch to the pan is a reality. As autumn rolls in, keen gardeners are reaping the benefits of a meticulous planting schedule earlier in the spring. Home harvesters can now collect ripened fruit and sprouting vegetables from their kitchen gardens and orchards and stack them in the larder, share them with friends or deliver them to the local Harvest Festival. We have collected below a selection of homes with kitchen gardens, which allow home owners to enjoy the fruits of their own labour.

Brushford Barton, situated in the village of Winkleigh, between the national parks of Exmoor and Dartmoor in Devon, boasts a kitchen garden that has been carefully cultivated and developed by the present owners. The walled garden produces such a bountiful harvest that there is sufficient surplus to donate significant amounts of produce to neighbours and local pubs each year. Beyond the walled garden is an orchard. The rest of the gardens are so striking that they are opened annually to raise money for the local church. Internally, the house boasts six bedrooms in addition to a separate cottage and large barn which is used for hosting parties. The property is on the market for £1,550,000 with our Exeter office (tel.: 01392 214222). For more information please click here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chrishall Grange is a Grade-II country house situated in the hamlet of Heydon, 12 miles to the south of Cambridge in East Anglia. To the north of the house is an immaculate walled kitchen garden which includes raised beds, a fruit cage and greenhouse. The second walled garden contains a swimming pool and stands adjacent to a formal garden with planted flower beds. The property itself dates from 1689 and, with its spacious reception rooms, eight bedrooms, separate two-bedroom cottage and party barn, is an ideal home for hosting weekend house parties; the perfect opportunity to use up the produce grown in the garden. The property is on the market for £3,450,000 with our Newmarket office (tel.: 01638 662231). For more information please click here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pembroke Manor Estate, situated in the quiet hamlet of Blackboys, between the towns of Heathfield and Uckfield, East Sussex, includes not one, but two listed properties. The first, Pembroke Manor, is a six-bedroom country house, thought to date from the 16th century and the second, Stonebridge House, a timber-framed barn conversion with a separate staff flat. There are plentiful opportunities for growing fruit and vegetables: in addition to a fenced vegetable and fruit garden and two green houses, there is an arable field which is currently sown to wheat. The estate is on the market for £2,750,000 with Jackson-Stops & Staff, Tunbridge Wells (tel.: 01892 521700). For more information click here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Willersey Barn, situated in a rural location close to the village of Broadway on the boundary between Worcestershire and Gloucestershire, dates from 1860 but 50 years ago was substantially rebuilt and extended.  Stretching to the north of the property is an old orchard, with an avenue of fruit and Wellingtonia trees. Within the avenue is a walled vegetable garden and adjacent to this a children’s play house, ideal for young gardeners to store their trowels and shovels. The barn itself includes three bedrooms and there is a separate unconverted barn, which has the potential for conversion into additional accommodation. This property is on the market for £1,175,000 with Jackson-Stops & Staff, Chipping Campden (tel.: 01386 840224). For more information please click here.