Posts filed under ‘For sale’

Britain’s smallest £1m studio is for sale

Britain’s smallest £1m studio has gone on the market, measuring a cosy 334 sq ft.

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The property is in London’s prestigious area of Mayfair and has been dubbed by estate agents as a “classic Downton Abbey style dower flat”.

The studio is part of grand purpose built Edwardian era building.

It was originally designed to be a so-called ‘dower flat’, for an aristocratic widow who holds a titled derived from her deceased husband. Upon their husband’s death, the dowager vacated the principal family homes and retreated to a smaller house in the country while retaining a small ‘dower flat’ in town.

It is the type of Mayfair home that an aristocratic widow such as Violet Crawley, the Dowager Countess of Grantham, played by Dame Maggie Smith in the current fifth series of ITV’s ‘Downtown Abbey’ might have used, suggests estate agents Wetherells.

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Peter Wetherell, chief executive of Wetherell, said: “Compact yet chic this purpose built Mayfair studio would historically have served as a dower flat for an aristocratic lady from the “Dowton Abbey” era. Now fully modernised it would provide the perfect Mayfair pad for an overseas student studying in London from a wealthy family or a socialite who wants a Mayfair address but at a lower cost.”

The studio is on Upper Brook Street, close to Park Lane, Hyde Park and Grosvenor Square. It is priced at £950,000 and has a 100 year lease. There is annual service charge of £2,200.

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October 2, 2014 at 11:41 AM Leave a comment

Is this the most affordable place to live in Britain?

Young professionals who would like to join the property owning classes ought to be scanning the situations vacant in Durham, which has emerged as the most affordable place for them to buy a first home in Britain.

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With average overall property prices of £151,765 – and flats selling for an average £142,307 – this gorgeous university city in the north east has the most conducive conditions for ascending the property ladder according to a study by Knight Frank, which compared average salaries for those aged between 22 and 39 years old, and city prices.

Nottingham and Liverpool also scored strongly, showing that for twenty and thirtysomethings keen to buy a home it is far from grim up north.

As well as affordability Durham’s big plus points include its looks: its cathedral and castle have earned it UNESCO World Heritage Status, and there are hundreds of listed buildings to admire.

Its appeal isn’t all about old stones though. The fact that Durham is a university city means there are plenty of clubs and bars and a bit of a buzz about the place. Conde Nast Traveller magazine recently named the UK’s best city, thanks to the great café culture in the city centre, the great independent shops, and the easy access to the Durham Dales and coastline. Durham also has quality theatres, cinemas and galleries, and from rowing to rugby, there’s plenty of sport ot watch or participate in.

A modern two bedroom flat in the city centre would cost around £160,000 to £250,000 according to Michael Hilden, of Bridgfords estate agents. Terraced houses offer more bang for your buck – buyers could pick up a three bedroom house for around £220,000 in an area like Clay Path, a few minutes’ walk from the heart of the city. Although Hilden warns that these houses were often used as student lets and may need some tender loving care.

For real value, first time buyers head out to one of the former pit villages a few miles out of Durham. True, they will have to commute, but a two bedroom house in Bearkpark, two miles from the city centre, would cost from around £70,000 to £100,000.

However it is worth pointing out that the green shoots of recovery have not, sadly, reached as far as Durham.

Emma Browell, of Ben Charles Estate Agents said that prices are still slipping year on year. “But there are some signs of improvement because we are selling more properties year on year,” she said.

Browell’s concern is that a future increase in interest rates – expected within the next year – could hit this fragile market and on that basis she cannot predict when recovery will begin. This means that anyone buying in the city right now needs to be in it for the medium term at least.


For sale: 

1. A smart one bedroom flat with a long lease and slap in the centre of the city could be yours for £125,000.

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2. Homes above commercial premises can offer a lot of bang for your buck and a central location so long as you can put up with the inevitable noise. This two bedroom flat is available for £190,000.

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3. Properties with a water view always carry a premium, like this two bedroom flat at Clements Walk, on the market for £199,950.

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4. A three bedroom terrace house with courtyard garden and an easy walk into town will cost £185,000.

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5. Dreamers, or those with exceptionally generous parents, could lust after this historic townhouse with views of the Cathedral and castle, on the market at £1.4m.

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September 24, 2014 at 10:42 AM Leave a comment

Perthshire has more to offer than world class golf at the Ryder Cup

This year’s Ryder Cup tees up on September 23 – but Perthshire has a lot more to offer than world class golf at Gleneagles.

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Average property prices currently stand at £255,378, up a resounding 5.63 per cent in the last year, suggesting that despite the uncertainties that the Scottish referendum has heaped upon the market north of the border buyers are increasingly seduced by Perthshire’s majestic countryside, its mountains and castles.

There is Perth itself, which was granted city status in 2012 to mark the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, as well as its market towns and villages.

Alastair_Houlden_8Families are drawn to Perth because of its excellent schools. Alastair Houlden, of estate agents Rettie & Co, said the most popular area to live is Kinnoull Hill to the west of the city centre. The hill has some fine detached and semi-detached Victorian houses and, as the name suggests, an elevated position which gives houses in the areas great views of the countryside around.

“You can walk down into Perth city centre very easily and there is good walking on Kinnoull Hill itself,” added Mr Houlden.

Average property prices in Perth stand at £182,047, up 7.23 per cent in the last year. In Kinnoull Hill, a four bedroom semi-detached house would cost around £400,000, or you could take on a five bedroom, detached house with a couple of acres of gardens and paddocks for around £800,000.

If you dream of a true highlands home then Robert La Terriere, of estate agents Smiths Gore recommends Aberfeldy, a market town set beside the River Tay with views of the majestic Grampians. “It is a very pretty town somewhere between lively and quaint,” said Mr La Terriere. “It is very beautiful but there are increasing numbers of young entrepreneurs setting up new cafes and shops there.”

Aberfeldy is around 45 minutes to Perth and you can be in Edinburgh in less than two hours. These distances, said Mr La Terriere, keep prices in the area relatively affordable compared to more commutable towns and villages in Scotland. Average prices in Aberfeldy stand at £260,281, up 7.05 per cent in the last year.

A three bedroom Victorian townhouse will cost from around £200,000, or you could opt for a modern – but traditional style – home on the outskirts for around £350,000 to £400,000 for four bedrooms.

To really live the fantasy highland lifestyle a country house with land close to town will cost from £400,000 to £700,000.

If even this seems too hectic, then slow things down a notch in Comrie, one of the most beautiful villages in Scotland.  This historic conservation village on the River Earn, 25 miles west of Perth, is an absolute beauty. Comrie is popular with active retirees, drawn by its strong community spirit, proximity to the Highlands, and its good local facilities which include a primary school, several pubs and cafes, and a post office. The average village property currently costs £272,299, up 7.05 per cent in the last year.

And unsurprisingly Comrie is a goldmine for gorgeous period houses. You could buy a five bedroom, detached Georgian house for around £450,000, a three or four bedroom detached house in the centre of the village for around £250,000 to £300,000, and two bedroom houses for under £200,000.

Jennifer Campbell, of estate agents CKD Galbraith, said the village’s market was strong thanks to its appeal not only to retirees but second home owners from Edinburgh and Glasgow, as well as families attracted by its good school.

It is around an hour to Glasgow and Edinburgh so it is an easy within an easy drive, it is obviously very pretty, and it has got a great little high street and fantastic walking nearby,“ she said. “It is a really close knit community with lots of clubs and societies to join, and you never hear of any crime at all.”

For sale:

1. If you want a romantic Scottish castle they don’t come much more breathtaking than Cloan, a seven bedroom house with spectacular period features and 56 acres. It is on the market for offers over £1,465,000.

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2. Live loch side in a seven bedroom house in an outstanding location, on the market for £1,350,000

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3. Perthshire isn’t all about historic houses. This modern four bedroom house is within walking distance of the Gleneagles Hotel, and is for sale at £525,000.

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4. You get plenty of house for your money in Perthshire, like this five bedroom family home on the outskirts of Blackford, on the market for offers above £379,995.

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5. In Perth itself you could buy a four bedroom period villa, on the market for £249,995.

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6. A pretty and traditional two bedroom terraced cottage in the village of Bridge of Earn is on the market for offers above £137,000.


September 18, 2014 at 10:54 AM Leave a comment

From market towns to adorable villages, Wiltshire has everything going for it

It was where the Duchess of Cornwall spent her schooldays at Marlborough College and, from adorable country villages to smart market towns, Wiltshire is a county with everything going from it.

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Its proximity to London via the M4 means that prices in the east can be high, elevated by commuters, but the further west you cast your house hunting net the more likely you are to find a property bargain.

In the last 12 months, average prices in Wiltshire have begun slowly rising. They have now topped the £250,000 Stamp Duty threshold to stand at £263,705, up 6.39 per cent year on year.

andrew romeWiltshire is where Sting and Trudie Styler have their country estate, in the Woodford Valley, just north of the cathedral city of Salisbury. While most of us will sadly not be on the market for a Grade I listed Elizabethan pile there are some lovely stone and thatched cottages in the villages within the valley to settle for. “It is utterly gorgeous countryside,” said Andrew Rome, a partner at Knight Frank.

The most sought after villages in the valley include Great Durnford, notable for its mellow pink brick cottages, where a chocolate box three bedroom cottage with views across the valley would cost in the region of £600,000. Another good choice is Middle Woodford which has its own primary school, rated “outstanding” by Ofsted.

A little further west is the presently slightly unremarkable market town of Chippenham. However, when electrification of the Great Western Railway is completed in 2017 it will cut train services from Chippenham to the capital to around an hour and it is forecast that prices could rise by as much as 20 per cent as a result.

At present, you could buy a two bedroom flat for around £120,000 or a four bedroom family house (modern or period) for between £300,000 and £400,000.

Caroline Dobson, of Chappell & Matthews, is a Chippenham resident herself. “It is a typical historic market town, with a market square and some listed buildings around it,” she said “It is a nice place to live, there are some good independent restaurants and every May there is an International Folk Festival, which really brings a lot of people.

“It is perfectly placed between Swindon, Bath and Bristol, and a lot of people come here because they don’t’ want to pay Bath prices.”

Chippenham also has some lovely satellite villages most notably Castle Combe, six miles to the north west, which director Stephen Spielberg chose as the quintessential English village location for War Horse. “It is very quaint and olde worlde,” said Chris Scothern, of Atwell Martin estate agents.

The downsides of this are twofold. Prices are high and, warns Scothern, if you do spend circa £500,000 on a two bedroom character cottage in Castle Combe you might find tourists peeping through your windows.

A more pocket friendly option is Kington Langley, three miles north of Chippenham, which is around half the price of its more pretty rival. “It is a great village,” said Scothern. “Why is it so much cheaper? It is more of a mixed area, I suppose, and Castle Combe has just become really, really popular over the years.”

For sale: 

1. Traditionalists will ooh and aah over this two bedroom stone cottage in the heart of Castle Combe, on the market at £485,000.

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2. But you do get more for your money in nearby Kington Langley, like this four bedroom house for £575,000.

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3. Homes in Chippenham, like this four bedroom terrace for sale at £399,950, are tipped for major price growth thanks to faster train services to London from 2017

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4. Buy a home in the Woodford Valley and you can count Sting among your neighbours. This five bedroom house in Little Durnford is for sale at £1.275m.

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5. This historic four bedroom cottage in Marlborough has lashings of character, and is on the market at £525,000.

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August 27, 2014 at 9:58 AM Leave a comment

Is it really possible to buy a house for 80p?

With house price rises hitting double digits, house hunters would be forgiven for thinking that it is impossible to buy cheap housing. Not in Sicily, where 20 houses have reportedly been put on the market for the price of one euro – or around 80p. But does such cheap property exist in Britain?

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It may seem unlikely, but Britain does have equally cheap bargains – although they may be far and few between.

Lawrence and Teresa Poxton bought a home in Staffordshire last month for just £1 after the council put the property and 32 others onto the market at the extraordinary low price in a bid to get people living in the area again.

The bus driver and his wife were picked from hundreds who applied for one of the homes.

Similarly, a three bedroom bungalow in Doncaster was put up for sale at auction earlier this year with starting bids of £1. The property included a kitchen, lounge, and a bathroom, but needed extensive renovation works.


A little more expensive, but still a relatively bargain compared to Britain’s average house price of £275,721 is this one bedroom property for £12,000.

The property in Newcastle’s Washington has been recently redecorated and has communal gardens with private parking for residents.

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Auctions are a great way to find a bargain, with this two bedroom house in Burnley having had a starting bid of £15,000. It has been refurbished to a degree, but requires some finishing off.

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August 8, 2014 at 4:35 PM Leave a comment

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