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The Times Bricks and Mortar - 9 March 2018

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Green-space premium
Loud and proud: statement speakers page 6
The new star villages page 14-15
2 Bricks & Mortar
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Friday March 9 2018 | the times
A country seat
beside a lake
This 18th-century mansion is ideal for a family
? and a family business, says Anna Temkin
t is thought that Oakley Hall in
the village of Mucklestone,
Staffordshire, was commissioned
by Sir John Chetwode in
celebration of his baronetcy. The
grade II* listed two-storey
mansion sits in 95 acres and was
built in the early 1700s, replacing
an older manor house dating from the
16th century. Built of brick on a
sandstone plinth, it has two fa鏰des
overlooking the lake to the north and
vast parkland to the south. The lake, one
of Oakley Hall?s most enchanting
features, was restored in 2000 and
extends to 3.5 acres.
The property is on the market for the
first time in more than three decades,
through Savills for �5 million. ?This
type of house is usually passed down
from generation to generation,? says
Tony Morris-Eyton, the head of Savills
in Telford. ?The owners have been there
for 35 years and their children have
flown the nest. It is a house of stature,
but, because it is over two floors, it is
manageable ? a lot of houses with this
footprint would have three floors.?
As you approach Oakley Hall two
sphinx-like statues with female heads
flank the entrance. The front door leads
to an elegant grand hall, which in turn
takes you to the main reception rooms,
including a ballroom and dining room. A
classical Georgian staircase leads to the
bedrooms ? there are eleven, eight of
which are en suite, in addition to a
separate two-bedroom apartment for
staff or guests.
Morris-Eyton says: ?The owners
decided to let the outbuildings [the
19th-century, grade II listed Brew House
as well as a classic Georgian stable block]
commercially rather than residentially,
but someone can choose whether they
keep them as private annexes or use
them to generate income.? Most of the
stable block has been turned into offices,
but keen riders might choose to convert
it back for equestrian use. The house is
near the North Staffordshire Hunt.
Oakley Hall also has a licence for civil
ceremonies and, although principally a
family home, it hosts up to 12 weddings a
year ? another commercial venture that
its next owner could consider.
There are
13 bedrooms
in Oakley
Hall in
which is on
sale for
�5 million
Prime properties
New England style
Hidden home
Watton, Norfolk
Iffley, Oxfordshire
WHAT YOU GET With pale-blue
weatherboard elevations, grey roof tiles
and sash windows, this five-bedroom
house has a classic New England look.
Set over three floors, it has two
bathrooms, a large reception hall,
kitchen/utility room, dining room, sitting
room, play room, study and garage. It
has a mature front garden with lawns,
trees and shrubs. It also has a shingle
WHERE IS IT? In Watton, a market
town 14 miles north of Thetford and
26 miles west of Norwich. Popular
Wayland Wood is near by.
UPSIDE Convenient location.
DOWNSIDE One bedroom is small.
PRICE �5,000
CONTACT Strutt and Parker,
01603 883606,
WHAT YOU GET Approached by a
sweeping drive, this unmodernised
grade II listed villa is believed to be
Oxford?s only example of Strawberry
Hill gothic architecture. The exterior has
a crenellated parapet and full-length
arched wooden windows, while the
interior has high ceilings, open fireplaces
and wood panelling. It has six bedrooms,
a kitchen, five reception rooms, four
basement rooms and an acre of grounds.
WHERE IS IT? In Iffley, a village and
conservation area beside the River
Thames, two miles from Oxford.
UPSIDE Privacy and seclusion.
DOWNSIDE Its grade II listing will
make the renovations more expensive.
PRICE �95 million
CONTACT Carter Jonas, 01865 565756,
the times | Friday March 9 2018
Bricks & Mortar 3
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Make the move
to a glass house
Kennington, SE11
The reception room on the ninth floor of this converted five-bedroom
water tower has glazing that frames London?s most iconic buildings,
including the Shard and the London Eye. A two-storey glass box
provides space for a kitchen, a further living room and roof terrace.
�6 million,
North Chailey,
East Sussex
This five-bedroom house
is part of a development
of two properties.
Reminiscent of a barn,
it has a pitched roof
and a first-floor living
room with full-height
glazing at the gable end
offering views of the
South Downs.
This 12,000 sq ft,
seven-bedroom house has
a reception room that
spans the entire top floor,
with full-length windows
that overlook a lake and
gardens. There is an
indoor swimming pool, a
cinema and games rooms.
�95 million,
Refurbished pile
Sherburn in Elmet,
North Yorkshire
WHAT YOU GET This refurbished
double-fronted house was once owned
by the Gascoigne family. The interior
combines stained-glass windows and
open fireplaces with modern fittings. It
has a kitchen, living room, six bedrooms
and two bathrooms. There is a rear
garden and an unconverted coach house.
WHERE IS IT? Sherburn in Elmet, a
village 14 miles east of Leeds, where
there is a railway station with services to
Sheffield and York.
UPSIDE The coach house has the
potential to be a self-contained annexe.
DOWNSIDE The garden needs love.
PRICE �0,000
CONTACT Hunters, 01937 588228,
Claire Carponen
A glazed extension has
been added to an Edwin
Lutyens-designed water
tower to create this
three-bedroom house.
The rectangular sitting
room has glazing on three
sides, a wood-burning
stove and access to a
decked terrace.
Claire Carponen
4 Bricks & Mortar
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Friday March 9 2018 | the times
Looks may win
over the Nimbys
Anne Ashworth
Property and Personal Finance Editor
tanding against a backdrop
of reclaimed red bricks
(of the fake variety) the
prime minister this week
announced plans to compel
councils and developers
to deliver more homes,
constructed from brick or
otherwise, with less obfuscation.
There may be a clampdown on
viability assessments, which enable
developers to avoid providing affordable
housing if their profit margin is less than
20 per cent. Other proposals include
adding extra floors to office buildings to
create homes. Empty shops may be
turned into housing, a sensible strategy
in the week when New Look became
another high street casualty.
Theresa May?s announcement was
made against another (metaphorical)
backdrop: more evidence from Halifax,
the lender, and RICS, the surveyors?
body, that the market in many locations
is sluggish. Yet house-hunters in search
of a bargain are on the prowl in London
(see page 9). Elsewhere, a low stock of
properties for sale is supporting prices.
The mood could be more sombre, yet
many people will still be, immediately
and instinctively, resistant to May?s
plans. These individuals will consider
that boosting the supply of homes will
affect the value of their properties. They
also fear that any development will be a
blot on the landscape, a concern that
May did not allay. She pledged to protect
the green belt (although not all such
land is verdant and lovely), but her
speech made only one mention of
aesthetics: housing must be ?attractive?.
The government must be aware that
new housing has to be contextual,
elegant and of good quality to win the
hearts and minds of those opposed to
new development. Why can it not frame
a sentence that says this?
growing preference, among millennials
and families, for New York City-style
apartment living, with services. The top
floor of a build-to-rent block may be a
shared space: great views are available to
all, not only the owner of the penthouse.
About 4.7 million households rely on
private landlords, who often see build to
rent as a niche player, catering for
hipsters. But some tenants are being
drawn to build to rent because they are
weary of the poor standard of some
buy-to-let accommodation. These
tenants may never own a home and they
want amenities, by way of compensation,
which private landlords should note.
Statistic of the Week
Our Statistic of the Week is 105,214,
which is the number of build-to-rent
homes already built, under construction,
or in the pipeline. In 2013 there were
fewer than 20,000 such homes. The
demand for purpose-built rental
accommodation, with brands such as
Tipi and Uncle, can be seen as a London
phenomenon. Yet 49,943 of these flats
are in Manchester and other cities. This
is a nationwide movement.
The popularity of build-to-rent blocks,
often run by US businesses, indicates a
Follow us
on Twitter
House numbers
Do friends say your fascination with
property is near obsessive? Lucian Cook,
the research director at Savills, has
justified your interest with his
calculations on the total worth of
Britain?s homes: �14 trillion, which
would buy you, ?Google, the
International Space Station, the top 20
UK housebuilders, all the oil left in the
North Sea, all bitcoin in circulation,
Amazon, Apple, Coca-Cola, McDonald?s,
all companies in the FTSE 100 and
FTSE 250, the top 15 mortgage lenders
and the English Premier League?. Tell
that to your friends.
Cactus chic
House plants are back in vogue (see page
11) thanks in part to the Instagram feeds
of The Sill and other names behind fern
and cacti chic (above). I have invested in
this trend with �a-pot succulents from
Marks & Spencer. They are artificial, so
they have no need for conversation, a
relief for me at the end of a hard day.
6 Bricks & Mortar
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Friday March 9 2018 | the times
Loud and proud: the speakers making a statement
uxury home developers often
boast about integrated sound
systems where you can, at the
swipe of an iPad screen, listen to
Frank Sinatra in the bath. Now
there are reports of people replacing
built-in systems with standalone speakers.
A new generation of smart, artistic
speakers mean that people don?t want
them hidden, they want them out ?
loud and proud. Jonathan Molyneux,
the manager at Bang & Olufsen?s
Marylebone showroom in central
London, says he has had clients rip out
integrated systems to replace them with
more stylish, visible sound systems.
The sculptural BeoSound Shape
speakers, amps and dampeners are
decorative hexagonal tiles that can be
covered in coloured and textured fabrics.
You can get them to match your sofa or,
as one of Molyneux?s clients did, make
them look like the Batman insignia.
Jakob Kristoffersen, the design and
concept manager at Bang & Olufsen in
Denmark, says: ?While people might not
want speakers to look like traditional
speakers, they still want something that
expresses their identity. You want to
have a dinner party and put on sounds
that mean something to you, and to have
a system that expresses who you are,
your style and taste in decor.?
BeoSound Shape works on an
algorithm giving even sounds across the
room rather than the traditional sweet
spot between two speakers. ?People don?t
sit in a chair and listen to music any
more, they tend to be socialising and
moving about,? Kristoffersen says.
Also popular is the Beoplay A9, a
large disc-shaped speaker that can be
presented on wooden legs as a piece of
furniture or hung on the wall as a piece
of art. It can be personalised with a cover
displaying your own design or
photography ? pet pictures are popular.
The Bang & Olufsen speakers, while
lovely, are expensive. The BeoSound
Shape system starts at �900 for six tiles
and the Beoplay A9 system costs from
�999. However, designer speakers are
about to become more mainstream
and affordable, with Ikea
working on a collaboration
with Sonos, which is set to
launch in stores next year
as part of its Smart Ikea
Home range.
The number of smart,
voice-activated speakers is
growing. After the success
of Amazon?s Echo speakers,
with Alexa voice control,
and Google?s Assistant,
Sonos has launched the Alexapowered Sonos One system and
Apple its Siri-controlled HomeHub.
Katrina Mills, the head buyer of audio
at John Lewis, says: ?We?ve had some
really exciting developments in the
audio market, with voice activation,
in particular, making an impact. This
year voice-activation speakers have
taken a 10 per cent share of the whole
audio market. Traditional audio brands
Bang & Olufsen BeoSound Shape
speakers, from �900 for six tiles. Left:
a Steinway & Sons Spirio grand piano
Can music influence how
we taste food? Find out at
and on tablet editions
such as Sonos, Panasonic and Sony
are starting to incorporate voice into
their hardware. We are also seeing
strong demand for products that have
a premium look and feel, and can be
incorporated into home design,?
she says.
?The John Lewis own-brand Cello
Hi-Fi, which focuses on using real
wood and premium materials sold out
in weeks, showing a clear demand for
technology that isn?t just black.?
Nothing says high-brow more than a
grand piano and these often feature in
large luxury homes, but it will no longer
matter that you haven?t progressed
beyond playing Chopsticks if Steinway &
Son?s self-playing, app-controlled Spirio
is an option ? it costs from �,665.
It is not only what your sound system
looks like, but what you play that
matters. White-noise machines are
growing in popularity, fuelled by claims
that the sound can help you sleep.
Lyz Cooper, the principal at the British
Academy of Sound Therapy, says:
?Music can have a direct psychological
effect on our minds, bodies and
emotions. White ambient natural sounds
such as lapping waves, wind rustling
through leaves and rain can be
conducive to relaxation.?
And the music you play at a dinner
party can help to enhance the flavour
of food. Cooper says: ?High twinkly,
sparkly sounds can help to enhance
sweet flavours. Rich, warm, exotic music
will help to get people in the mood when
eating spicy food.? Developers may be
missing a trick. Many carefully curate
scents to help to sell property, but few
consider the music played while people
view. Cooper?s advice: ?If you play
classical music, people are more likely to
offer a higher price for a property
because it gives the illusion of a house
being grand. You might want a different
vibe if you are selling a warehouse
conversion in Shoreditch, though. It is all
about the image you want to project.?
Carol Lewis
the times | Friday March 9 2018
Bricks & Mortar 9
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This house
in Kensal
has four
and is on
sale for
Why �35 million is
a bargain ? for some
f you want to bag a bargain in
prime London, now is the
time. Sellers in London
hotspots have finally
lowered prices to
levels more in keeping
with a slower market
and, for the first time
in a while, popular
locations such as
Queen?s Park, Battersea
and even Hampstead
have some of the most
reasonably priced homes.
According to research
from Knight Frank, prices in
Queen?s Park, an affluent hotspot
north of Notting Hill and
Kensington, in west London, with a
popular farmer?s market and village
atmosphere, have fallen 4.9 per cent in
the past three months. The agent says
that overall prices were down 8.7 per
cent in the year as sellers finally adjusted
prices after the rise in stamp duty
introduced in 2014.
Laura Dam Villena, a partner at the
Queen?s Park office of Knight Frank,
says it has been a busy start to the year.
?Buyers are looking for value. Sellers
taking our advice and pricing correctly
are seeing a fantastic level of interest.
Two years ago we sold an unmodernised
house on Kemp Road for �6 million.
We?ve just sold an identical house, but in
better condition, for �35 million, with
buyers competing.?
In Queen?s Park you can find fourbedroom period homes for less than
�4 million. The most coveted properties
in the area are on avenues such as
Summerfield, Montrose and Hopefield,
which cost from �million. However,
bargain-hunters should consider
Brondesbury Park, just north of Queen?s
Park across Christchurch Avenue. ?Here
you can find 4,000 to 5,000 sq ft
properties significantly cheaper than in
Queen?s Park proper,? Dam Villena says.
?We are seeing local buyers move here
when they want to upsize, just as we are
seeing buyers move to Queen?s Park
from Hampstead. Bargain-hunting is all
about relative values, of course.?
Prices in Hampstead are much higher
with two
in Queen?s
London, is
on sale for
�1 million
? you will need at least �5 million
to buy a decent family home ?
but they have also adjusted.
Knight Frank?s research
shows that prime prices in
Hampstead fell 3.4 per
cent in the past three
months. Prices did dip
last year. However,
Sarah James, the head
of Knight Frank in
Hampstead, says that
local buyers keen on
upsizing within the area
must compete with
bargain-hunters from central
London, for whom Hampstead
prices look relatively cheap, and
northwest London?s schools remain a
draw. Those prepared to look south of
the river may find the best deals. Knight
Frank?s research shows that prices in
Battersea, south London, fell 5.5 per cent
over the past three months, while Savills
says that in the belt that runs from
Battersea through Clapham and
Wandsworth to the south, and Fulham,
Barnes and Richmond to the west,
values fell by an average of 1.6 per cent
in the final three months of last year and
4.2 per cent over the whole year, making
it the capital?s weakest prime market.
Fulham usually behaves more like its
central London neighbours than the rest
of southwest London, the agent says, yet
it has recorded the steepest falls in this
southwest belt, with prices down 14.4 per
cent on its 2014 peak. ?This means
This five-bedroom house in Battersea, southwest
London, is �475 million with Hamptons International
average values in Fulham, which passed
the �000 a square foot mark in 2013,
have fallen back to �0, just below the
�0 prime Battersea average and well
below Chelsea?s �600,? says Lucian
Cook, the head of residential research at
Savills. ?This repositions Fulham as a
value location for those looking to make
their equity stretch farther than in prime
central London.? In Putney prices are
only �0 a square foot, making this
riverside location even more attractive
for those looking to stretch their budget.
Alex Oppenheim, the director of John
D Wood & Co in Battersea, says that
activity for properly priced properties in
prime London has improved since the
start of the year. ?Battersea is not a
discretionary market. These are family
buyers and sellers. Many sellers waited
in the hope that there would be some
stamp duty change in the last budget. It
didn?t happen and prices have had to
shift. If you need to move out of a onebedroom flat because you have a baby
on the way, or because of a new school,
there is only so long you can wait.?
Around Battersea Park and nearby
popular streets, such as Albert Bridge
Road, you can expect to pay about
�million for a four-bedroom terrace.
Near Clapham Common North Side,
the equivalent family home can be found
for �25 million. Robin Chatwin, the
head of Savills southwest London, points
to the Shaftesbury Estate in Battersea,
where three-bedroom homes previously
selling in the millions can be found
for less than �million.
Francesca Steele
10 Bricks & Mortar
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Friday March 9 2018 | the times
The premium price o
The new
king of
the hill
hen the Star and Garter
hotel in Richmond was
turned into luxury
apartments it became
one of the most
exclusive addresses in London almost
overnight. Now another development on
the top of the hill, backing on to
Richmond Park, is turning heads.
Ancaster Gate (above), by the developer
of the Star and Garter scheme, London
Square, is a collection of seven three to
six-bedroom properties including
new-builds and three restored Georgian
mansions that made up the original
Ancaster House. It was built in 1773 for
Peregrine Bertie, the 3rd Duke of
Ancaster and Kesteven. The duke
commissioned Robert Adam, the
neo-classical architect who also designed
Kenwood House on Hampstead Heath,
north London; the property was to be a
weekend retreat for the duke and his
family. It was later sold to Sir Lionel
Darell, an MP and a friend of George III.
Since the 1880s it has been more than
a family home. For a time it was a
school, before becoming part of the
estate of the Star and Garter charity in
1915; it was used variously as a nurses?
home and a commandant?s lodge.
Prices at Ancaster Gate start from
�45 million for a four-bedroom house,
rising to �25 million for six bedrooms,
through joint selling agencies Knight
Frank and Featherstone Leigh. Three
properties are already sold.
Sandra Bruce, a sales manager for
London Square, says that interest has
been exclusively from local people
attracted by its address on the summit
of Richmond Hill.
Nina Harrison of Haringtons, a buying
agency, says: ?Prime homes overlooking
the 2,500 acres of deer-filled Richmond
Park can command premiums of up to
25 per cent. Brits and internationals,
particularly Russians, Americans and
Scandinavians, will always pay top
dollar for the traditional townhouses in
an area that seems immune to the
market conditions in other prime areas
of London.?
Harrison predicts that Ancaster Gate
?will draw families looking for a taste of
British tradition, with the benefits of
contemporary interiors?.
Emma Fletcher-Brewer, of Knight
Frank, says that Ancaster Gate?s appeal
?is different to the Star and Garter
because it offers houses, not flats.?
Anna Temkin
In Blacket Place, Edinburgh, this house is on sale for offers of over �675 million
with Simpson & Marwick. Below and on the cover this �25 million house on
Wandsworth Common, southwest London, went under offer this week with Savills
Even in a slow market people are willing to
pay up to 45 per cent more for a home that
is close to a park, reports Anna Temkin
reen spaces are two
words guaranteed to
attract buyers, even
those who are
shopping for a home
in the inner city,
which may be why a
park or garden
square adds a premium to a
property. Even those who
seldom venture to
parks in the vicinity
of their home will
tell you how much
they appreciate
this amenity.
Such is the value
placed on green
spaces that you
would assume that
they are rare. This is
not the case: only 21 per
cent of the area of towns
and cities in the UK is built
on, according to the National
Ecosystem Assessment, which analyses
the UK?s natural environment.
In London, the eight royal parks cover
5,000 acres, according to Greenspace
Information for Greater London, a group
that keeps environmental records; 47 per
cent of the city is green space, and
60 per cent is classified as open space.
This week Sajid Javid, the housing
secretary, revealed plans to build up
to five garden towns between Oxford
and Cambridge. He also warned that
councils could be stripped of their
planning powers if they failed to meet
housebuilding targets, but told
The Sunday Times that the
plans did not mean
building on the
green belt.
Research by
Savills shows that
you can expect to
pay an average of
�3 million to live
within 100m of one
of London?s parks or
gardens, and an
average of �6,000 to
live within one of the
UK?s 15 national parks.
Frances Clacy, a research
analyst at Savills, says: ?Demand
for living within one of Britain?s
national parks is such that it comes
at an average premium of 41 per cent.
In the capital, this premium increases
to 45 per cent.?
Robin Chatwin, the head of Savills in
southwest London, says: ?There has
always been a cachet for living on or
very close to a common or park in
London; some of the finest houses ?
new and old ? line these green areas
and when they come to the market,
they can command significant interest.?
Over the past few years a group of
campaigners has been lobbying for
London to become the world?s first
National Park City, a designated status
that would help to protect its greenery
and ecological life.
Sadiq Khan, the mayor of London,
supports this and most of the council
wards (53 per cent) do too.
Opinion is divided over the campaign,
but not over how parks and green spaces
affect property prices.
Alex Greaves, the head of sales at
Marsh and Parsons New Homes,
says: ?Properties with access or
views across a park tend to be some
of the most expensive in London
? even with houses that are two or
three streets away.?
Some of the most expensive
flats in the city look across
In Prestwick,
this house
has five
and is on sale
for �0,000
Trend alert Flower power
X Missoni Home
Rajmahal round
rug, �428
U Nicola Spring
ceramic vintage
flower door
knob, �25
U Missoni Home
Flowers tea and coffee
set, pieces from �.50
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X Floral Sanderson
armchair by Photoliu, �5
the times | Friday March 9 2018
Bricks & Mortar 11
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o green spaces
Buddleia needs pruning now; leave it and it will be vast by the end of the year
Springtime trends,
for indoors and out
Hyde Park, says David Adams of
Humberts estate agency in Mayfair.
Take One Hyde Park, the super-luxury
development pioneered by Nick and
Christian Candy of the CPC Group.
From one side of the development to the
other, there is a considerable price rise
for those looking across Hyde Park,
Adams says. ?It is more the view than
the access that is important in creating
the higher prices.?
Beyond London
Nick Leeming, the chairman of
Jackson-Stops, the estate agency, says
that in its latest survey 85 per cent of
UK respondents said that they consider
living near a green space to be vital.
?How much of a premium [the
property attracts], however, does depend
on the type of green space, its location
from a property and the region in which
it is situated ? and it can vary from
5 per cent to 20 per cent.?
According to Edward Lucas of Strutt
& Parker?s national country house
department: ?Many buyers are willing
There?s a
new type
of tenant
in town
to pay more due to the lifestyle
associated with living in national parks,
and they are often prime locations for
second homes. Properties in the New
Forest, for example, can cost
significantly more than nearby homes
that aren?t in the national park.?
An increasing number of commuters
and retirees are moving to towns with
access to the South Downs, such as
Midhurst in West Sussex.
Paul Machell of Strutt & Parker in
Chichester, says: ?The South Downs is
one of the most desired locations for
homebuyers in the UK. There is a
real mix of buyers, from film stars
to Londoners.
?There is the added attraction of
things such as Cowdray Park Polo
Club, and sailing and racing at
Goodwood. We have seen a trend in
more buyers coming down from the
commuter belt, choosing to escape
suburbia for a clean and green lifestyle,
often after the kids have grown up.
These are the types of buyers who
often do a three-day commute.?
V Home Loft Concept three-seat Chesterfield sofa, �9.99
W Floral painted bedside cupboard, �6
t?s still cold outside but the snow has
gone from most areas, which means
that your garden requires your
attention as part of a spring
makeover. Follow Stephen
Anderton?s tip for horticultural chic,
indoors and out.
House plants, for so long seen as
outdated, are a growing trend thanks to
social media, where people are sharing
images of cacti and aloe vera. Sales of
cacti are up 18 per cent at Wyevale
garden centres, spurred by demand from
millennials who want to personalise a
small space in a shared flat.
The passion for house plants is
even creeping into literature.
I have just read the
bestseller Eleanor
Oliphant is Completely
Fine, winner of the
2017 Costa first
novel award. The
socially awkward
heroine?s best friend
is a house plant
? Impatiens
niamniamensis (right),
or red and yellow
parrot plant, available
from Dibleys (
I suspect that the success of
the book will make this plant
fashionable again.
Also returning to fashion is
solenostemon, or coleus, a tough but
tropical-looking plant for indoors ? or
outdoors in the summer. It comes in reds
and maroons, oranges, limes and
yellows. Ideal to bring colour to a room.
You may be concerned about the snow
on your garden, but it can be a good
thing in a bad winter because it insulates
the ground and the roots from colder
sub-zero air temperatures. So stop
worrying and instead get out your
secateurs. Among the plants that require
attention is buddleia, which needs
pruning now. Leave it alone and it will
be vast by the end of the year.
Take it back to a framework of
well-spaced older branches. The same
applies to your purple-leaved elder
and ?Diabolo? ninebark (Physocarpus);
if you want bold, richly coloured
foliage, prune now.
Coloured-stemmed willows and little
spiraea bushes, should also be cut back,
but spare the bridal wreath spiraeas,
which will be opening their white
flowers next month. Do not prune
them until after they flower.
Milder spells are perfect for planting
or moving evergreens, including hedges,
because it?s warm enough for the roots
to start growing, so they will establish.
Water them in well after planting,
tall plants may need a cane to support
them for a few months until
they have put down
firm roots.
A well-rotted
compost heap could
be doing good
around your plants.
Spread it 10cm
thick wherever
there are hungry
plants: roses,
clematis, fancy
bamboos, peonies.
Be careful to put
only 2cm to 3cm
around peonies; too
much and they cease to
flower. Look out for the early
lemon-coloured peony with the awful
name Paeonia mlokosewitschii
and bright scarlet buds nearly as
good as the flowers. Permanent
container plants need a spring feed.
Maples, camellias, bay, box, bamboos,
hydrangeas, agapanthus . . . scrape
off any loose compost and put on a
fresh 5cm layer, enriched with
extra-slow-release fertiliser granules.
Worn or bald patches of lawn can
be repaired now, either by slotting
in a bit of turf from elsewhere in the
garden or by loosening the soil and
sowing new seed. If the turf wore
thin there in the first place, new turf
is probably better than seed. Scatter
some granular fertiliser on the soil
under the new turf to get it off to a
fast start.
the times | Friday March 9 2018
Bricks & Mortar 13
1G P
or art enthusiasts, artwork
is as much a part of their
home as the furniture.
And when it comes to
homebuyers and owners,
the range of art and how
it is displayed takes
on another dimension.
Knight Frank?s Wealth Report,
published this week, shows that art is
the top-performing luxury asset class of
2017. Katie Trueman, a co-founder of
Highline Art Partners, an art curator,
says: ?From the most affluent collectors,
we are seeing demand for the
highest-quality works by the biggest
names, ranging from the old masters
and impressionists all the way through
to contemporary art. Impressionist and
modern art is particularly increasing in
demand, with the leaders of this field ?
Picasso, Monet, Signac and Magritte
? being the most desired.?
Some of the most decadent art
displays in London can be found at
One Hyde Park, the super-prime
development by the Candy brothers?
CPC Group, where flats sell for
� million. It is a haven for plutocrats,
many of whom take a keen interest in
art. The interior designer and founder of
Elicyon, Charu Gandhi, has designed 14
of the 85 apartments. ?Our clients want
to make sure the artwork is not an
afterthought. They want it to be
considered early on in the project. Right
from the start we have to think about
where we place key pieces.?
For example, a four-bedroom
apartment at One Hyde Park, recently
completed by Elicyon, has two white
sculptures by Helaine Blumenfeld to
greet you at the entrance; as you look
down the corridor to the reception room
you see a cast-iron Antony Gormley
sculpture on a lit alabaster plinth; pieces
by Joan Mir� and Serge Poliakoff also
feature. A Damien Hirst and a Roy
Lichtenstein adorn the kitchen walls.
Stroll over to the
snug, or television
room, and you?ll
be struck by the
Andy Warhol
series above the
sofa. Among
the bedroom
highlights are
pieces by Banksy
and David
Gandhi says her
clients? budgets
can reach millions
of pounds for
artwork. ?Often we ask galleries to lend
us the pieces, even for a day, and try to
have a session on site where the client
can see them in situ. The alternative is
that we use 3D modelling and show the
options to the client that way.?
An increasing number of interior
designers are working closely with art
advisers and galleries, not only to ?test?
A Jessica Zoob canvas (London Connoisseur) in the Taylor Howes office in Cheval Place, Knightsbridge, London
Homes that are a
blank canvas for art
A two-bedroom flat in Mayfair, London,
has replica prints of Michelangelo?s
Creation of Adam. The flat is on sale
for �9 million through Knight Frank
considering where to place pieces. For
example, sculptural and digital works
can be placed in rooms with strong
natural light, which would pose
conservation risks to paintings.?
One of the apartments
at One Hyde Park,
designed by Elicyon,
features Andy Warhol?s
Cow Series, among work
by other artists.
Left: Geode Bunch
framed graphic art by
Marmont Hill, �1.99,
to put their clients? collections in the
best light. ?When it comes to displaying
pieces, it is always about the control of
light,? says James White, co-founder of
March & White, the international
architecture and interior design house.
?There have been times when we have
had to bring in automated retractable
blinds to follow the sun, so that some
pieces don?t get too much light exposure.?
Trueman says: ?Collecting different
mediums [digital art, sculpture, paintings
and photography] can help when
How to hang it: tips from the experts
Karen Howes of the luxury interior
design practice Taylor Howes says:
?When it comes to positioning artwork,
always take into consideration key
vistas; it is good to have the eye lead to
something dramatic, for example at the
end of a hallway, or a statement piece
above a fireplace. If it is a painting, a
general rule of thumb is to assess the
eye level of the viewer and hang the art
accordingly, but one also needs to take
into account the scale [of a piece] against
the ceiling height.?
Nadia McCowan Hill, style adviser for
Wayfair, the home furnishing website,
says: ?Larger art pieces are often more
expensive, but you can still achieve a
super-luxe, yet affordable, look by
creating a gallery wall with a selection
of smaller prints. To give your
arrangement a premium feel, try to
find a common thread, either via
colour or subject.?
Framing is as important as the art.
?It can make or break a piece,? says Suzy
Hoodless, the interior designer who
worked on the conversion of the old
BBC Television Centre in White City,
west London.
For homes with a central staircase,
having many pictures grouped together
on the wall beside it works well, White
says. ?It?s called a ?heavy hang?. If it is a
listed building, you could have frames
that are more traditional and gilded.?
If your budget can stretch to it, you
may want to consider commissioning a
bespoke piece, says Rebecca Hughes, a
London-based luxury interior designer.
6 The Affordable Art Fair in Battersea
Park, south London, runs to March 11
percentage. The standard conditions lay
down detailed procedures where the
seller wants to forfeit the deposit or
the buyer wants the deposit back.
In some circumstances a court may
order repayment of a deposit under
section 49 of the Law of Property
Act 1925.
However, with many off-plan sales,
sellers often take a much smaller
reservation deposit or fee before
contracts are exchanged to secure the
property for the buyer. The buyer signs
a reservation agreement, often at a sales
fair promoting the development scheme.
Reservation deposits are not governed
by the Standard Conditions of Sale or by
the Law of Property Act and the terms
of agreements will vary.
Reputable sellers use the form of
reservation agreement suggested by the
National Home Builders Council
(NHBC), allowing a buyer to cancel ?at
any time? and get back the deposit. The
NHBC form allows sellers to deduct
?any reasonable administrative and
other costs incurred in processing and
holding the reservation (shown as
estimated retention)? from the deposit.
NHBC reservation agreements do not
allow sellers to deduct all their
administrative costs, but only those
connected with the deposit listed as an
?estimated retention? in the agreement.
You therefore need to check the
precise terms of your reservation
agreement to see what the seller
can deduct, but if you have used
the NHBC form of agreement, the
seller can only deduct the costs set
out in the agreement.
Mark Loveday
The writer is a barrister with Tanfield
Chambers. Email your question to:
Is that a Warhol? Yes, it comes with the house. Anna Temkin
looks at how paintings are taking centre stage in developments
pieces for private clients, but also to rent
them for show apartments. ?The idea is
that a buyer comes to see the apartment,
likes it and wants to buy the artwork
with it,? Gandhi says.
Designers commissioned by
developers often
like to work with
artists who are local
to the scheme. Sam
McNally, a design
director and
co-founder of
Echlin, a design
studio says:
?We?ve recently
been working with
a gallery that
supports established
and emerging artists
based in South Kensington called
Cadogan Contemporary. For this service
we pay a rental fee, which helps the
artists, and the works can be sold with
the house.?
Lighting is everything
Directional spotlights, well-lit plinths
and in-wall picture-hanging systems are
among the techniques used by designers
We paid a �500 deposit on a new
house, but after problems with the
scheme we withdrew from the
purchase. Can the builders refuse
to give us back the deposit?
Deposits are an invariable feature of contracts for the
sale of land. The Law Society?s Standard Conditions of
Sale (used in most residential sales in England and
Wales) suggest that the buyer pays 10 per cent of the
purchase price as a deposit when contracts are
exchanged. The parties may always agree a different
14 Bricks & Mortar
Pasquale Natuzzi
asquale Natuzzi, 77, founded one
of Italy?s largest furniture
companies, the Natuzzi Group,
which became revered in the
Eighties for its trademark
leather sofas.
The son of a cabinet-maker, he opened
his first workshop, selling upholstered
sofas and armchairs, at the age of 19 in
Taranto, Puglia. He later moved to
Matera, but after a fire destroyed his
factory in 1973 he transferred the
business to Santeramo in Colle, where
the company has its headquarters.
Three of Natuzzi?s five children work
for the group, which has expanded and
reinvented itself as a lifestyle brand. It
now produces everything from beds and
tableware to vases and ceramics. Its
leather sofas are made under the Natuzzi
Editions label, while its high-end
furniture and accessories are produced
by Natuzzi Italia.
W What is your biggest source of design
inspiration? We are fortunate because
we live in a region full of heart and
history. My home is 20m from our
headquarters in Puglia. You wake up in
the morning and see so many colours;
you get inspiration from everything ?
the sky, the countryside, the landscape.
W Maximalism or minimalism? I prefer
maximalism. Big is beautiful.
W Your prediction for the next big
interior design trend? For us it is the
integration of technology. Our focus so
far has been on harmony, where we
combine style, function, material and
colour. Now there is the smart home
where you don?t need to touch any
buttons, you just say, ?I want to read?,
and the sofa will communicate with the
curtains and the light, and all the
mechanisms in the room. We are
working on our smart-home project. It is
a big challenge.
W If you could live in anyone?s house
whose would it be and why? I like to be
with my wife and my children, so
wherever they are, that?s my desire.
W When decorating what do you
splurge on? Things like a sofa, a bed and
a dining table, because you can keep
them for 10, 15, maybe even 20 years. It?s
like a relationship ? it?s important to
dedicate time to them.
W Which designers do you admire?
Mario Bellini [the architect who
designed the headquarters of Natuzzi
Americas in North Carolina]. He?s one of
the best in the world.
Anna Temkin
Natuzzi: The Italian Harmony Maker by
Luca Condosta is out now, LID
Publishing, �.99
1G P
Friday March 9 2018 | the times
Let the
search for
the rural
idyll begin
David Byers and
Gabriella Bennett
look at which villages
are grabbing buyers?
attention ? and why
arely, if ever, does
anyone compare the
hilltop villages of the
C魌e d?Azur or
Alpes-Maritime to
the small Welsh former
mining hamlets near
However, older Britons selling their
homes in France and returning to the
UK have started to head for the tranquil
communities of Pembrokeshire in west
Wales to live in rural isolation and save
money for their retirement.
Carol Peett, the founder of the small
West Wales Property Finders, a buying
agency, says that she has found homes
for at least a dozen clients returning
from France since last summer, and the
inquiries are still coming in. ?Because of
Brexit, they decided that it would be too
difficult to live there and so wanted to
come home, but, much to our surprise,
they?re deciding to explore
Pembrokeshire, which is rural and
escapist, yet more affordable.?
She says most of her clients are
in their fifties or sixties and want
somewhere peaceful to retire to after
having lived abroad.
There are about a million Britons
living abroad in the EU, according to the
Office for National Statistics, including
157,062 in France, and it is likely that
their rights will be protected post-Brexit.
However, agents say that some older
Britons remain anxious and are
considering selling and coming home.
Whether returning from the
Continent or escaping from a city, many
Britons are consumed by the search for
the tranquil village idyll. Here?s where
they?re buying and why.
The Valleys
Villages in west Wales appeal to those
planning for retirement because they are
remote. One of the most popular areas is
around Llangwm, a former mining and
fishing community of 450 homes on the
western bank of the Cleddau Estuary,
which is also known for its annual
scarecrow display. The village?s history
can be traced back to an early Viking
settlement, and has fishermen?s cottages
and sweeping views.
Hook, near by, is also sought after for
its breathtaking views, woodlands and
established cricket club. ?Several couples
coming from France bought three or
four-bedroom bungalows with gardens
in the Hook or Llangwm area with
wonderful views,? Peett says. ?They
did not want to have to move again, so
chose to buy in a village with a superb
community spirit, village shop, post
office, pub, chemist and within a few
miles of the county town.
?Others with larger budgets bought
houses with holiday let potential in
popular holiday areas in Pembrokeshire,
such as Nevern, St Davids, Tenby and
Manorbier, to have an income.?
If you have the budget, a
seven-bedroom house with its own
beach and bay, as well as an infinity
salt-water swimming pool at Freshwater
East is on sale for �35 million with
West Wales Properties. A four-bedroom
detached house in Hook, with 40 acres,
a boathouse and uninterrupted estuary
views is available for �0,000. You
can get a spacious property for less,
however. A three-bedroom period
house in Hook, with a conservatory
and south-facing garden can sell for
as little as �5,000.
Younger families wanting to be in a
less remote location are heading for the
villages of Monmouthshire, which are
pretty but also only 40 miles from
Cardiff. Anthony Clay, a partner at
Knight Frank in Cardiff, says: ?You
have that triangle between Chepstow,
This fourbedroom
in West
Surrey, is
on sale for
�1 million
This six-bedroom house in Penn, Buckinghamshire,
is on the market for �65 million with Knight Frank
Abergavenny and Monmouth that is
very pretty. We get a lot of inquiries
from people in London and the
southeast, who have decided that their
house is no longer going up by �000
a month, so it?s time to make a move.?
A four-bedroom house in the
Monmouthshire countryside costs
between �0,000 and �0,000,
whereas a village house costs �0,000,
Clay says.
Close to the action
Research by Savills shows that villages
in Surrey, Buckinghamshire, Cheshire
and Cambridgeshire continue to be the
most in-demand in Britain because of
their proximity to cities.
According to the research, the Surrey
ward of Clandon and Horsley, near
Guildford ? taking in the villages of
West Clandon, East Clandon, East
Horsley and West Horsley ? had the
largest number of sales worth �million
or more between 2012 and 2017 of any
rural ward in Britain, with 171 sales.
Sunningdale ward (featuring the village
of Sunningdale), near Windsor and
Maidenhead, had the joint second
largest, with 147 sales.
The ward of Penn and Coleshill in
Buckinghamshire ? including Penn
the times | Friday March 9 2018
Bricks & Mortar 15
1G P
On the waterfront at Hook Quay in Haverfordwest, Pembrokeshire, is this
four-bedroom cottage. It is on the market with Fine & Country for �0,000
With six bedrooms and a two-bedroom cottage, this property in
Trefach, near Newport in Pembrokeshire, is �0,000 (Savills)
Street, Winchmore Hill, Coleshill,
Beacon Hill and Penn ? also achieved
147 sales worth more than �million. The
county is always a big draw for buyers
because of its excellent schools. The
ward of Chalfont St Giles, also in
Buckinghamshire and featuring Chalfont
St Giles, Dibden Hill and Jordans,
achieved 115 such sales.
Chris Moorhouse, the head of Savills
in Beaconsfield, says: ?Penn is close to
Beaconsfield, close to the M40 and close
to London. It?s also a vibrant village. It
has a good doctors? surgery, a sports and
social club with tennis courts, and
several pubs.? The large number of
excellent schools, including Tylers
Green, a state school in the village, and a
host of private schools, also attract
buyers. This isn?t the full story, however.
In the northwest, the ward of Prestbury
in Cheshire East ? which takes in the
villages of Prestbury, Dale Brow, Bradley
Mount, Butley Town, Newton, Over
Alderley, Greendale, Kirkleyditch and
Mottram St Andrew ? had 77 sales of
�million or more.
This put it tenth on Savills?s list. And
villages in the Shelfords and Stapleford
ward, in South Cambridgeshire (Great
Shelford, Little Shelford, Newton and
Stapleford) appeared 19th on the list,
with 60 sales of �million or more.
Bakeries and Arts and Craft
In Scotland some of the most popular
In association with
Where next?
Discover Britain?s best places to live in our exclusive 48-page magazine. Out March 18.
villages combine stunning views
with Arts and Crafts heritage, and
hearty food.
Buyers searching for rural life within
a stone?s throw of Glasgow have raved
about the Three Sisters Bake in
Killearn, Stirlingshire, where the
gluten-free chocolate orange cakes
have been known to sell out before
midday. The popular caf� and village
lie in prime commuter territory;
residents can reach Glasgow ? 16 miles
south ? in less than an hour during
the week and ramble through the
bucolic surroundings, or simply enjoy
their spacious whitewashed cottages,
at the weekends.
The average property in this affluent
hotspot costs �3,669, up by 1.4 per
cent in a year. Neighbours include
working mums wearing Whistles clothes
and cool dads, who have given up their
jobs in the city to start tech companies
from their man caves in the garden.
It seems as though every other house
has an artist?s studio in West Kilbride,
North Ayrshire ? Scotland?s first
craft town. The village retains a
traditional vibe thanks to a winding
high street leading to a sandy beach
and the Seamill Hydro hotel.
The Seamill area is the place to
move for architect-designed homes
or Victorian villas clustered close to
the coast; these have views to the
Isle of Arran.
The most in-demand properties are
those with glass extensions or
floor-to-ceiling windows, ideal for the
painting and drawing for which the
village is famed. A typical West Kilbride
home costs �5,915, up 4.5 per cent on
March last year.
18 Bricks & Mortar
1G P
Friday March 9 2018 | the times
Aspen: the billionaires? playground
It?s less about skiing,
more about kudos for
those buying in this
exclusive US resort,
says Liz Rowlinson
hen the
Hunter S
to be sheriff
of his local
county in 1970, he said that Aspen
should be renamed Fat City to deter
investors sniffing around. The small
Colorado silver-mining town had always
attracted counter-cultural intellectuals
such as Thompson, who feared the
arrival of ?greed heads and land-rapers?.
It is hard to imagine Thompson
residing in America?s most iconic and
expensive ski resort today.
Fur-clad A-list locals such as the actress
Goldie Hawn and trust-fund children
populate its heated pavements and
high-end boutiques ? Paris Hilton got
engaged there in January ? and the
town includes the property interests of
50 Forbes billionaires, according to
Aspen Journalism, such as the Russian
or selling
Trust us to take care of
your transfer.
No transfer fees for private clients
Lock in a rate for the future
0207 294 7971
International money transfer from
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businessman Roman Abramovich and
the founder of Amazon, Jeff Bezos.
Snow-sure, high-altitude skiing
across four Rocky Mountains
aside, much of the appeal of
Aspen for property owners is
off the hill ? it?s about the
kudos of owning a trophy
home close to top-quality
restaurants, hotels (the W
Aspen is due to open next
year) or even the annual
blue-sky thinking conference
at the Aspen Institute.
Thanks to historic
anti-growth laws (the spirit of
Thompson lingers), property in
Aspen is ?a scarce commodity
chased by the world?s richest people?,
says Gary Feldman, a local estate agent
for Sotheby?s International Realty.
?There haven?t been any new condo
blocks since the 1970s. Development
projects tend to be refurbishments. Entry
level for a condo is $750,000 [�3,000]
to $1 million, with duplexes or
townhouses in the downtown area
$3 million to $5 million.?
Sales rose 16 per cent last year
compared with 2016, says Jason
Mansfield of Knight Frank, the estate
agency. ?Most of our clients are
interested in a substantial property in
Aspen?s downtown and have $10 million
to $20 million to spend. There?s been a
shift in interest away from log-cabin,
ranch-style properties towards more
modern steel and glass properties.? In
Willoughby Way, Aspen?s Billionaires?
Row, there is a seven-bedroom
ultra-modern home for sale for
$35 million through Sotheby?s.
In Aspen fractional-ownership
schemes are a great feeder market, says
Feldman. ?Buyers start by spending
$300,000 on a fraction, decide they like
the downtown, then invest in a detached
home for $5 million-plus.?
Oil and cattle barons from Texas and
high-rollers from Chicago, California
and New York have been among the
buyers at the Dancing Bear Aspen, a
Timbers private residence club in
downtown Aspen, where you can buy a
one-eighth deeded share (six weeks of
use) of a 2,000 sq ft three-bedroom,
three-bathoom apartment for $875,000.
Owners have access to Aspen?s only
rooftop bar and caf�, gym, spa, games
room, wine room, restaurant and
concierge ? they pay for it via the
service charges of $21,670 a year.
Paul Kleinkorte of Pure International,
the estate agency, is confident that the
scheme will persuade Europeans to
hop on a ten-hour flight to Denver.
?Although much of our business is in
Austria?s Arlberg region, or with Timbers?
You can buy a
fractional share (six
weeks of use a year)
in a three-bedroom
apartment in Dancing
Bear Aspen, a Timbers
private residence club,
for $875,000 through
Pure International.
Top: in Aspen?s
Billionaires? Row is
a seven-bedroom
modern home on sale
for $35 million through
Sotheby?s International
Castello di Casole in Tuscany, we have
been getting inquiries about Aspen,? he
says. ?There?s also an increasing appetite
for serviced properties where you can
just show up and everything?s ready for
you: at the Dancing Bear you feel part of
an exclusive club; there are only 19
apartments.? The first Timbers fractional
scheme began 15 years ago about
eight miles west of Aspen in Snowmass,
a quieter village with a larger (and
easier) ski area that is popular with
families. ?Condos here are 40 per cent
cheaper than Aspen,? says Eric Berg, the
private office adviser at Engel & V鰈kers
estate agency. ?Buyers should expect
more [price] uplift in the next few years
now that the financial crisis has stalled.?
Also more affordable than Aspen is
Vail, one of the largest ski areas in the
US, which is only a two-hour drive from
Denver, instead of Aspen?s five. The
resort was purpose-built in the 1960s
and has a younger, livelier vibe, with
many day-trippers from Denver.
There?s an adage: Vail is Wall
Street and votes Republican,
while Aspen is Hollywood and
votes Democrat. There is
certainly a rivalry between the
two; as one Vail local says:
?Aspen is a Victorian town
full of fake people and Vail is a
fake Tyrolean town full of real
people.? Vail is more about the
skiing than the scene, and is
home to the great ski racer
Lindsey Vonn.
According to Timbers, the median
price in Vail for a property is $1 million,
compared with $3 million in Aspen.
At the Sebastian, a Timbers private
residence club in the heart of Vail, you
can buy a share in one of the hotel?s two
or three-bedroom flats from $355,000
through Pure International. For this you
get a deeded fraction offering two weeks?
usage in the winter and two in the
summer, with the possibility of more.
There is an outdoor pool, wellness
facilities, children?s area and restaurants.
Apart from top-class amenities on site,
the appeal is that you can swap your
weeks for time at any of the 16 Timbers
Resorts, be it Cabo San Lucas in Mexico,
or Castello di Casole.
In its latest report on ski property,
Savills put Aspen (at ?29,700 a square
metre) above Vail (at ?24,400) in its
prime price league, but puts Vail higher
in its ski conditions resilience index that
ranks resorts by snowfall, reliability,
season length, altitude and temperature.
Either way, they?re both well placed to
hold up against climate change.
The rich list
Aspen is one of the topperforming luxury property
markets in the world, according
to Knight Frank?s Wealth
Report published this week.
The estate agency?s
international residential index
is headed by Guangzhou, China,
where luxury property prices
rose by 27.4 per cent between
December 2016 and December
last year. This was followed by
Cape Town, where prices rose
by 19.9 per cent, followed by
Aspen (19 per cent), and
Amsterdam (15 per cent).
However, the highest price per
square metre is still to be found
in Monaco, where $1 million
(�9,155) buys you just 16 sq m
? for the same price you could
buy 22 sq m in Hong Kong,
25 sq m in New York and
28 sq m in London.
The city with the highest
number of wealthy people is
New York, where 1,167,131
households have an annual
income of more than $250,000
(�9,665) ? London has
272,604 such households.
New York is considered the
most attractive city for the
wealthy to live in, with
London close behind it.
Carol Lewis
Журналы и газеты
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The Times, journal
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