Posts filed under ‘Interesting properties’

Living in a National Park means enjoying the great outdoors

There is something about the great outdoors, whether it be a city park or one of Britain’s great National Parks. Buyers flock to live in areas that pass the green space test and, consequently, homes with a glimpse of greenery comfortably outperform the rest of the market making them a copper-bottomed, if expensive, investment.

30.06.14 Park 6

According to one recent study by Nationwide, homes located within a National Park cost 18 per cent more than similar properties nearby, while homes within a couple of miles of one of the parks cost 8 per cent more than those just slightly further afield.

The Lake District is one of the most sought after of all the National Parks and Stephen Holland, of estate agents Carter Jonas, feels the market is reviving thanks to the area’s pull to retirees, commuters from cities like Lancaster and Manchester, and second home owners, many of whom plan to move to the area permanently in the future, and who make up an estimated 65 per cent of the market.

There is a huge choice of lovely town and village settings, but Holland says most buyers pinpoint their dream location based on exactly what they want out of the lakes.

Sailing enthusiasts, for example, head for Windermere and Bowness. “It has got the most consistent wind, the biggest marinas and the most flashy boats,” said Holland.

Average prices in Windermere stand at £359,330, up 4.41 per cent year on year, but if you want to live close to the water prices are higher than average.

Holland estimates that a two bedroom flat would cost between £400,000 and £500,000, while you could pay up to £5m for a magnificent detached Victorian home with lake frontage and mooring.

Walkers, meanwhile, are drawn to the fantastic countryside around Coniston and Keswick. These towns are a little less expensive with average prices of £319,573 and £326,393 respectively.

A typical two to four bedroom terraced cottage in one of these towns, dating from the eighteenth or nineteenth century, would cost between £300,000 and £450,000, depending on size.

The other option is to live in a bustling village, the most beautiful of which has to be the picture postcard Grasmere, set on the banks of the eponymous lake.

Grasmere’s good looks do not come cheap, however, with average prices of £478,400, up 3.46 per cent in the last  year.

Holland estimates that a two bedroom cottage in Grasmere would cost around £400,000, while you might pay £2m for a prime waterside house.

Another fantastic national park option is the New Forest. Its unique selling point is, of course, its herds of wild ponies that help make the area a perennial favourite with second home owners, retirees and commuters.

Average property prices in the region stand at £348,045, up 6.41 per cent in the last year.

Kevin Allen, Associate Director of John D Wood & Co. image 1  (1)Kevin Allen, associate director of John D Wood, said: “The top areas in the New Forest centre on Lymington as the town offers its inhabitants the very best for both sailing, easy access to the New Forest as well as all the amenities of a market town.

The manorial village of Beaulieu is similarly very popular, particularly with the London ‘set’.  It has a beautiful river, good moorings, a charming hotel, The Montague Arms Hotel, and is surrounded by open forest.”

The other main option is Brockenhurst, set in open forest, which has a key main line rail link to London (trains take around 90 minutes). “It especially popular with the families as the village has a highly regarded sixth form college, Brockenhurst College,” said Allen.

Prices across the forest do vary but Allen estimates that a two to three bedroom house would cost between around £350,000 and £500,000, while large family homes cost £1m plus. For a really grand property with little extras like a pool, tennis courts, stables and land, prices range up to around £2m.

For sale:

1. Ringwood in the New Forest has some lovely period townhouses, like this four bedroom property for sale for £475,000.

30.06.14 Park 1
2. Or live in Beaulieu, one of the nicest villages in the forest, in a gorgeous wisteria-draped country house for £2,350,000.

30.06.14 Park 2

3. But if only a thatched cottage will do, they don’t come much more chocolate box than this three bedroom house in Ringwood, on the market at £525,000.

30.06.14 Park 3

4. In the Lake District you will pay a premium for a home with a breathtaking water view, like this stunning five bedroom house right on the banks of Lake Windermere, on the market for £4,750,000.

30.06.14 Park 4

5. Not every home in this area requires a seven figure cottage. You could opt for a gorgeous traditional cottage in Satterthwaite, near Hawkshead, on the market for £350,000.

30.06.14 Park 5

June 30, 2014 at 2:13 PM Leave a comment

Smaller properties for sale in Southfields, Canterbury & Leytonstone

Britain’s smallest £1m property offered less space than a London Underground Tube carriage, it was revealed earlier this year. Zoopla looks at what other properties of a similar size are currently on the market.


Own your own tiny corner of South West London with this one bedroom bungalow in Southfields. It has been recently decorated and comes with no chain. It is currently on the market for £365,000.

24.06.14 Tiny 3

This pretty terrace house in Kent has one bedroom and a shower room upstairs, with a kitchen and living room downstairs. Subject to planning constraints, there is scope to add a single extension to the rear to relocate the bathroom downstairs in order to gain that ever important first floor second bedroom. The property has an asking price of £172,500.

24.06.14 Tiny 2

Meanwhile, this studio flat is ideal for an investor, being within a short walking distance to Leytonstone’s busy high street. It is currently on the market for £110,000.

24.06.14 Tiny 1


June 24, 2014 at 5:06 PM Leave a comment

‘Sandwich Generation’ converts rooms downstairs into extra bedrooms

The ‘Sandwich Generation’ is not only handing over cash to their loved ones – but is now sacrificing space in their home as well, new research suggests.


The phenomenon of the ‘Sandwich Generation’ evolved during the credit crisis as parents found they were not only supporting their grown up children, but also their elderly relatives. It means they’ve become some of the most hard-pressed people in society.

Until now, such support has been focused on financial support. But the new research from insurers Churchill suggests it extends to providing space in their own home.

More than half of estate agents reported an increase in new downstairs bedrooms being created.

A total of 13 per cent are using the extra sleeping space for an adult child moving back home, while 11 per cent are using it for elderly relatives.

Martin Scott, head of Churchill home insurance, said: “Putting in a downstairs bedroom can be a very practical solution for homeowners, whether they may be finding space for a growing child, helping to care for elderly relatives or making visiting friends feel more comfortable.

“The cost of converting a downstairs room is likely to be significantly less than moving home, so while high property prices continue to be an issue, homeowners are making sensible changes to what they already own.”

He added it is important homeowners make their insurer is aware of changes to their properties as an increase in the number of bedrooms or occupants within the household could affect home insurance cover and policy limits.


June 24, 2014 at 8:00 AM Leave a comment

Houseboats seduce even Hollywood stars to step aboard for a life afloat

When he is not in Hollywood there is nothing the Twelve Years a Slave actor Chiwetel Ejiofor likes better than messing about on his houseboat. And he is not alone.

Chiwetel Ejiofor

The number of people being seduced by life afloat is on the rise with an estimated 30,000 people now living aboard 15,000 boats in the UK, ranging from the super luxurious to the frankly rather ramshackle.

Beryl McDowall, general secretary of the Residential Boat Owners’ Association, believes the recession has driven an increase in the nation’s boat-dwelling population. “People say to themselves: “Ooh it is cheap accommodation, cheaper than a house, but we encourage people to do as much research as they can before they go out and buy a boat. It is a lovely life, but it is not easy.”

Nigel Day, director of River Homes, which specialises in selling residential boats, agrees that house boat sales held up well in the recession – as did prices. “I think that because there are only so many out there they tend to hold their price pretty well,” he said.

He agreed that prices compared to bricks and mortar can be enticing. “You can get 13,000 or 14,000 sq ft on Cheyne Walk, Chelsea, for £800,000,” he said. “On land you would pay twice that.”

Steve Sutton, director of Premiere Houseboats, is based at Port Werburgh, Kent. He says the upturn in the market is prompting a buying boom because people who had struggled to sell or remortgage their homes during the recession in order to buy a boat are now on the market. “I really need more boats to sell,” he said.

Would be boat buyers need to have some equity since it is almost impossible to get a mortgage on a boat. And this is not a cheap lifestyle. As well as the cost of the vessel itself – which can range from under £100,000 to well over £1m –  Beryl points out that owners must  pay council tax, insurance, and for various licenses and registration documents.

They also have to pay for their moorings, a fee that can range from around £1,500 a year to up to £20,000, depending on where they choose to “park” their vessel. Buying a boat without a mooring is a huge risk since a shortage of spaces could mean you end up with a boat but nowhere to float it.

Another issue is that boat life is hard work. Maintenance is an “endless task”, said Beryl, and not always glamorous. Chemical lavatories must be emptied and every bit of water you need will have to be carried on board.

“We have unfortunately seen quite  a high churn of people who have bought a boat selling up after about a year and going back on land,” said Beryl.

Nigel feels most people who buy a boat stick with it. But what he has noticed is, alongside the usual artists, musicians and sculptors who are attracted to living on a boat, an increasing number of forty and fifty something (male) divorcees. “I think it is their chance to do something a bit whacky and different and start the next chapter of their life,” he said.

For those who can cope with the hard work the advantages of living on a riverboat are, says Beryl, many. “You can go away whenever you like and you can take your home with you,” she said. “There is a good community spirit among boaters and they will always help out where they can. You make a lot of friends living like this.”

Steve agrees: “I have sold to everyone from builders to bankers who would not mix on land,” he said. “But on boats there is no pretension and everybody just gets on.”

For more information on riverboat life, contact the Residential Boat Owners’ Association (

Boats for sale

1. At the absolute top end, life afloat can cost you well into seven figures. Luxuriously appointed Dutch barges which are easily as big as a terraced house have been appearing on the market over the last few years. Currently for sale is a 1,500 sq ft vessel moored beside the River Thames at Fulham, priced at £1.05m.

28.05.14 Boat 1

2. For a more traditional experience (on a relatively shoestring budget) £120,000 will buy you a one bedroom flat bottomed Dutch barge, moored at Burgoine Quay near Hampton Wick.

28.05.14 Boat 2


3. A floating home can cost well under six figures. You could tour the River Avon aboard a two bedroom houseboat, on the market at £89,000 and currently based at Bidford-on-Avon, Warwickshire.

28.05.14 Boat 3



May 28, 2014 at 10:56 AM 1 comment

Entire property portfolio for sale totalling 20 properties

Almost 100 rooms in a dozen streets outside of Manchester have been put up sale at the same time.

10.03.14 BTL 3

An investor is selling the entire property portfolio ahead of his retirement from the bricks and mortar industry.

A total of 20 properties are available as part of the portolio, which is being offered for sale for £3,800,000.

10.03.14 BTL 1The estate agent handling the sale, Flax & Co, explains there is a total of 80 letting rooms.

However, this can be extended to 87 if smaller rooms are made use of and rented out to tenants.

The 12 roads where the properties are located are in the Fallowfield and Withington areas.

They include Albion Road, Carill Drive, Cawdor Road, Delacourt Road, Filey Road, Furness Road, Heyscroft Road, Landcross Road, Mabfield Road, Moseley Road, School Grove and Whitby Road.

Similar properties for sale: 

1. Twenty bedrooms in Winterbourne for £1m

10.03.14 BTL 4

2. Twenty bedroom terrace in South Kensington for £7,950,000

10.03.14 BTL 5

3. Twenty-seven bedrooms in Tiverton for £1.2m

10.03.14 BTL 6

March 10, 2014 at 5:24 PM Leave a comment

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