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The Times Bricks and Mortar - 13 April 2018

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FRIDAY APRIL 13 2018
Design your own home
BESPOKE PROPERTIES THAT WON’T BREAK THE BANK
pages 8-9
What next for buy-to-let pages 6-7
Master the art deco look page 9
2 Bricks & Mortar
1G P
HOME OF THE WEEK
Space for your
family, plus cars
This north London mansion has a gym, a pool
— and auto showroom, says Francesca Steele
M
ost homeowners
embarking on a
renovation costing
several million
pounds and
requiring two
years of work
like to inject a
considerable amount of glamour: fancy
lighting systems, extensive basement
rooms, possibly a car lift.
This property on Winnington Road
in north London has all these things,
but has primarily been built as a family
home, says Marc Schneiderman, a
director at Arlington Residential, the
estate agency selling the property. “The
owners are relocating after living in
the renovated property for four years.
They thought hard about how to use
the space practically — they have young
children — and it shows. It is not a
developer’s project.”
Above the car showroom, which,
with its yellow sports cars and video
screens, looks like an art installation, is
a simple landscaped lawn with a swing
set and trampoline. The extensive living
area on the ground floor has dividing
doors between the kitchen/dining room
and family room, which can be left open
or closed for an informal or formal feel.
The house, on sale for £15.75 million,
has been rebuilt behind the original
1930s façade. It has six bedrooms, all
en suite (the master bedroom, with a
substantial dressing room, is particularly
impressive), plus a staff bedroom in
the basement, next to the games room,
gym, wine cellar and cinema room.
And, of course, that car showroom. A
triple-height feature staircase, with an
enormous pendant light, links the three
floors and adds to the feeling of vastness
and light.
Winnington Road, where the
architecture is protected by the
Hampstead Garden Suburb Trust, is
more family orientated and has fewer
empty houses than its famous
neighbour, The Bishops Avenue,
Schneiderman says. “The houses here
are large and luxurious, but there’s a
cosier, more modest feel that appeals
to buyers.”
Hampstead Garden Suburb was
designed by Henrietta Barnett in the
early 1900s as a foil to the unplanned,
high-density suburban sprawl.
It has low-rise family housing, wide
tree-lined streets and the Henrietta
Barnett School, a highly competitive
grammar that is considered one of the
best state schools in the country.
This home in
Hampstead
Garden Suburb,
north London,
has six
bedrooms and
is on sale with
Arlington
Residential for
£15.75 million
Prime properties
New-build
Village living
Lingfield, Surrey
Northleach, Gloucestershire
WHAT YOU GET Part of a new
development of 20 family homes, this
three-storey house has views over open
countryside, Siemens kitchen appliances,
a master bedroom with a dressing room,
four further bedrooms, four bathrooms,
a media room, drawing room, kitchen,
dining room, utility room and a double
garage. There are front and rear
landscaped gardens and a gravel drive.
WHERE IS IT? A mile from Lingfield
village, which has a railway station with
services to London that take 50 minutes.
Gatwick airport is ten miles away.
UPSIDE It’s excellent for commuters.
DOWNSIDE The spot might be too
sleepy for some.
PRICE £1.575 million
CONTACT Millgate Homes,
01342 393039, millgatehomes.co.uk
WHAT YOU GET This grade II listed
18th-century Cotswold stone house has
3,150 sq ft of living space, sash windows,
five bedrooms, a bathroom, dressing
room, sitting room, dining room,
kitchen/breakfast room with a range
cooker, study and shower room. To the
rear there is a walled lawn garden with
a vegetable patch and fruit trees, as well
as a greenhouse with a summerhouse
and a detached garage/workshop.
WHERE IS IT? In a Cotswolds town
nine miles south of Stow-on-the-Wold.
Northleach has a 15th-century church,
pubs, shops and a primary school.
UPSIDE The five good-sized bedrooms.
DOWNSIDE It lacks wow factor inside.
PRICE £825,000
CONTACT Strutt & Parker,
01285 627684, struttandparker.com
Friday April 13 2018 | the times
the times | Friday April 13 2018
Bricks & Mortar 3
1G P
ON THE MARKET
Make the move to
a wood-clad house
Rye, East Sussex
This attached grade II listed weatherboard property is made up
of a two-bedroom cottage and a one-bedroom apartment. On
a historic cobbled street in Rye, lined with period homes, these
well-presented properties have charm and original features.
£599,000, phillipsandstubbs.co.uk
Penshurst,
Kent
This new five-bedroom
house has upper and
ground-floor terraces and
extensive glazing, to make
the most of its woodland
setting. With doors
opening on to a balcony,
the wood-clad upper
floor feels as though
it is in the trees.
£2.5 million,
knightfrank.com
Orford,
Suffolk
A few miles from the
Suffolk coast, this grey
weatherboard
four-bedroom house with
a one-bedroom annexe
has a beachy feel. It has
a pitched ceiling and
open-plan spaces
that flow from the
kitchen/dining room to
a decked terrace outside.
£825,000, bedfords.co.uk
Period home
Binham, Norfolk
WHAT YOU GET This grade II listed
unmodernised flint and brick house has
views across a meadow to the monastic
ruins of Binham Priory. Hill House has
1,411 sq ft of living space, beams, sash
windows, four bedrooms, en suite shower
room, downstairs bathroom, sitting room
with an inglenook fireplace, dining room
and kitchen/breakfast room. There is
a garden with a flint wall and a garage.
WHERE IS IT? In a village close to the
coast in North Norfolk, with Stiffkey,
Wells-next-the-Sea and Blakeney a few
miles to the north.
UPSIDE Character by the sea and views.
DOWNSIDE It needs renovating.
PRICE £495,000
CONTACT Bedfords, 01328 730500,
bedfords.co.uk
Claire Carponen
Stevenage,
Hertfordshire
With small proportions,
wooden windows and
timber cladding this
three-bedroom cottage
looks like a handcrafted
cabin. It is compact and
needs modernising, but
it has charm and is one
and a half miles from
Stevenage railway station.
£469,995, putterills.co.uk
Claire Carponen
4 Bricks & Mortar
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COMMENT
Take sides on the
state of the market
Anne Ashworth
Property and Personal Finance Editor
T
he play Quiz, which
opened in the West End
this week, invites the
audience to consider
what is true, following
different representations
of the facts in the case
of Charles Ingram, the
“coughing major”. Fans of Who Wants To
Be A Millionaire? will recall the cheating
scandal that engulfed this contestant.
From my seat in the stalls, I found it
fascinating to observe which arguments
appeared to sway the voting on Ingram’s
Friday April 13 2018 | the times
JAKE FITZJONES
guilt or innocence. Much the same
is happening among property scene
spectators, who are at odds over
market conditions.
Adopting a more optimistic stance is
Halifax, which reports that house prices
are at a record high. The bank is puzzled
by the wisespread shortage of zeal for
house-hunting, especially since the
jobless count is at its lowest since 1975.
While acknowledging the slowdown, the
bank refuses to be downbeat, predicting
the market will end 2018 up 3 per cent.
The Royal Institution of Chartered
Surveyors (RICS) is more wary, focusing
on the market’s lack of momentum:
buyer demand is down for the 12th
successive month. More would-be sellers
in London are opting to stay put, unable
to take the reality check required to
attract buyers in a smart surburb.
RICS says that this disinclination to
relocate, although more marked in the
south, will hit the wider economy, with
homeowners less likely to invest on
decor and furnishings. The fall in
spending may mean that next month’s
expected decision to raise interest rates
may be less of a certainty than before.
Whatever side you take in the Halifax
v RICS debate, it’s noteworthy that both
sides agree that there is a slowdown, but
disagree on the consequences. Whatever
This one-bedroom designer flat in Lewisham, southeast London, is
for sale, along with its furniture, for £518,000 (Robinson-Jackson)
your standpoint and whatever the state
of your local market, you should still be
aware that mortgages are becoming
more expensive, regardless of what
happens to interest rates next month.
Statistic of the Week
The week’s most controversial statistic
was the claim by the housing minister,
Dominic Raab, that immigration pushed
up house prices by 20 per cent between
1991 and 2016. The figure sparked a row,
with some experts pointing out that
many migrants are tenants, not owners.
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Others wonder whether Raab’s
statement provides clues to future policy,
such as new home targets after Brexit.
The rumpus also ignited interest in
property growth since the 1990s. In 1991
the average UK house price was £57,148,
as Nationwide data shows. Today the
average is £211,792, 270 per cent higher.
Over the same period the London
average has gone from £75,322 to
£473,776. One result of this has been a
decline in affordability, making millions
reliant on private landlords, in a trend
that helps to explain other Statistic of
the Week contenders such as the 5 per
cent surprise jump to 2.5 million in the
number of buy-to-let investors, recorded
by HMRC. These indviduals seem
undeterred by tax changes, perhaps
because they trust that their clientele
is set to expand. Countrywide forecasts
that by 2025 six million households will
be reliant on the private rented sector.
For the moment, 71 per cent of tenants
in London, the largest rental market,
are happy, according to a study by
Kinleigh Folkard & Hayward, the estate
agency. Yet only 25 per cent want this to
be their long-term lifestyle, preferring
to own their own home — our Statistic
of the Week. Whatever shape
government policy takes, it must cater
for this aspiration, in all locations.
Good things in small packages
Most makeover case studies involve a
sizeable residence, but this week we
feature a bijou pad, a one-bedroom flat
in Lewisham, southeast London,
reconfigured by Maurizio Pellizzoni, the
designer who usually applies his skills to
something spacious. You can acquire the
flat and all the furniture for £518,000.
6 Bricks & Mortar
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Friday April 13 2018 | the times
MARKET INTELLIGENCE
Everything you need to know about
A series of tax changes have left landlords
reeling, but many are adapting to survive in
the new climate, as Anne Ashworth explains
O
n the first
anniversary of the
arrival of tax reforms
designed to curb
the urge to invest
in buy-to-let homes,
demand for rental
properties remains
high. At the luxury end of the market
Glentree Estates, a northwest London
agency, reports that one super-rich
tenant is prepared to pay £50,000 a
week for a place. Meanwhile, at the
other end of the market, priced-out
singletons and families still need a place
to live. In response to this growing
clientele — and despite new regulations
and penal tax changes — landlords
are continuing to join the business.
Remind me of the tax changes
If you invest in a rental home, you will
be subject to a 3 per cent stamp duty
surcharge, which raises the tax on a
£250,000 property from £2,500 to
£10,000. The charge is also payable in
Scotland, and is in addition to its land
and buildings transaction tax. If you
borrow to acquire the home, you will
no longer be able to write off all the
mortgage interest payments against
rental income. The amount you can
offset was cut to 75 per cent in the
2017-18 tax year and to 50 per cent in
the present tax year. It will be further
reduced to 25 per cent in 2019-20,
before dropping to zero in 2020-21.
You are also no longer able to deduct
10 per cent of net rents from profits to
cover wear and tear. You can claim only
when you buy new furniture. These
reforms have dented the income of
landlords with mortgages, but not all
landlords rely on finance.
What effect have the tax changes had?
Enthusiasm has not been entirely
dampened. In March data from
Countrywide, the estate agency, showed
that landlords accounted for 12.9 per
cent of property purchases for the
month, which is a lower proportion
than before the anti-landlord offensive.
However, HM Revenue & Customs
figures show that there are 2.5 million
buy-to-let investors in the UK, which is
5 per cent more than a year ago and a
record high. Ludlow Thompson, the
estate agency, says that these players
consider property to be a “strong
investment”. One insider said: “It’s the
dinner-party landlords, the amateurs,
who are selling.”
A yield of 4.5 per cent may not be
bounteous, but it compares well with the
meagre returns from deposit accounts.
John Eastgate of Kent Reliance, a lender,
says: “The professionals are adapting and
surviving; realising that capital uplift on
a property is a plus and that tenants are
customers that you need to keep happy.”
A four-bedroom flat in
Hyde Park Gardens,
central London, is for
rent for £1,850 a week
(Kay & Co). Above, left:
in the Vantage Point
development in Archway,
north London, flats rent
for £675 a week (Kinleigh
Folkard & Hayward)
of rental properties are owned outright;
in 2017 landlords with no need to
borrow spent £21 million on properties,
according to Countrywide. About
16 per cent of landlords inherited the
home that they let.
Stephen Ludlow, the executive
chairman of Ludlow Thompson, says
that parents are also buying jointly with
a son or daughter.
was no legal reason why a seller could
not agree “for a specified period of time,
not to negotiate with anyone except” a
specified buyer “in relation to the sale
of his property”. Lock-out agreements
are therefore perfectly legal. In the 1993
case of Pitt v PHH Asset Management,
the Court of Appeal suggested that a
lock-out did not have to be in writing
or signed by both parties, but there are
various minimal requirements for a valid
lock-out agreement.
In Walford v Miles the House of Lords
emphasised that the prospective buyer
must agree to pay for the exclusive
negotiating period (even if that payment
is a nominal sum, such as £1), or the
agreement must be set out in a formal
deed. The lock-out should also set out
the exclusivity period and require the
parties to take steps to facilitate the
transaction.
It follows that your daughter can
certainly ask for a lock-out agreement
to secure the purchase of the house,
provided these conditions are met.
Mark Loveday
The writer is a barrister with Tanfield
Chambers. Email your question to:
brief.encounter@thetimes.co.uk
Who are the “new landlords”?
Some landlords are using a lump sum
from their pensions to acquire a property
without a mortgage. About two thirds
ASK THE EXPERT
My daughter has seen a house that
she wishes to buy. She wants to
enter into a lock-out agreement
with the seller and is willing to
pay for it, but the agents are not
keen on the idea. Is it something
that can be arranged?
In England and Wales two kinds of
preliminary agreement have evolved
to enable a buyer to secure a property
before the exchange of contracts. A
lock-in agreement requires the seller to
negotiate with a specified buyer for a
period of time.
A lock-out agreement is the opposite,
namely that for a period of time the
seller will not deal with any rival bidders
for the property. In the 1992 case of
Walford v Miles, the House of Lords
stated that a lock-in agreement is
unworkable in practice and impossible to
police. However, it concluded that there
Lock House, UK
ESTATE OF THE ART
Discover a unique selection of luxurious
properties from around the world
Refine your search
mansionglobal.com/london
In partnership with
the times | Friday April 13 2018
Bricks & Mortar 7
1G P
MARKET INTELLIGENCE
buy-to-let
of the year. Savills expects an increase
of 15.5 per cent over the next five years.
However, the growth is fastest in the
East Midlands, where rents are
outpacing inflation in locations such
as Leicester.
The average UK rent, excluding
London, is £761 a month, 1.21 per cent
higher than a year ago, according to
the index by Landbay, a specialist
lender. The size of the private-rented
sector is also expected to grow.
Countrywide expects six million
renters to be dependent on a private
landlord by 2025.
These mothers and fathers must pay
the stamp duty surcharge on the whole
price of the property — not only their
share, but they can recoup some of
this by obliging their offspring to take
in a lodger.
What’s happening to rents?
Rents are becoming more expensive,
something that will continue for the rest
What about London?
The average monthly rent in London is
£1,879. After a slowdown that began in
the summer of 2016, London rents are
beginning to creep upwards again, but
not in the more expensive boroughs.
John Goodall, a co-founder of Landbay,
highlights areas such as Tottenham in
north London, as well as Stratford
and its surrounding east London
neighbourhoods.
The rises in rents are encouraging
landlords to buy properties in these
scruffy but gentrifying areas. The
rental increases will come as a surprise
to those who believed that Brexit would
have dented the capital’s allure, but
Ludlow says: “Job creation in the capital
remains healthy, its social scene is
world-class, and new, better transport
links continue to come online.”
competition from Build to Rent, which
has 117,893 homes either available for
rent in purpose-built blocks, under
construction or in planning.
Where else are landlords buying?
In locations less affected by, or immune
to, the slowdown. Leeds, Liverpool and
Salford top the poll. Manchester offers
the UK’s highest average rental yield at
6 per cent. The index from Lend Invest
shows that Colchester (yield 3.71 per
cent) in Essex is a favourite, followed
by Northampton (4.12 per cent),
Leicester (3.9 per cent) and Birmingham
(4.6 per cent).
Are these returns close to guaranteed?
Previously landlords believed that
investing in a place with lower property
values would almost automatically
deliver a higher yield (gross rental
income expressed as a percentage of the
property price). Yet this outcome is more
likely if you invest wisely (pay a low
price), use the space in the property
efficiently, keep maintenance costs low
and time the marketing correctly.
Landlords should also brace for
Six-bedroom Horton
Court, a grade I listed
16th-century National
Trust manor house built
from the remains of a
Norman hall, is available
to rent for £6,750 a
month through
Hamptons International
Are landlords forming companies?
The demand for limited-company
mortgages suggests that more investors,
particularly those with large numbers
of properties, are incorporating. The
main reason is to swerve the curbs on
mortgage tax relief: if you hold rental
homes in a company, you are subject to
corporation tax. This allows you to offset
expenses against your liability.
However, big set-up costs are involved
because you are, in effect, selling your
properties to the company. You may be
liable for capital gains tax and will be
compelled to pay the stamp duty
surcharge on the value of the properties.
You will also be obliged to set up new
loans and, as David Hollingworth of
London & Country, the mortgage broker,
says, the rates on this type of finance
have not dropped. The complexities
involved indicate that you need to take
tax advice and employ an experienced
conveyancing solicitor.
Are there any other legal issues?
Definitely. You must provide an
energy-performance certificate on any
new letting, and be ready for your local
area to introduce licensing for landlords;
schemes are already in place, although
their effectiveness is in question. There
are proposals for an ombudsman to
settle or redress disputes for tenants,
plus a register of rogue landlords. No
wonder experts say that you will thrive
in the landlord game only if you treat it
like a part-time job.
8 Bricks & Mortar
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Friday April 13 2018 | the times
COVER STORY
Create
the house
of your
dreams
Want a grand design but without the
expense, delay and hassle? Carol Lewis
charts the rise of the custom-built property
I
f you buy a new Fiat 500 you can
choose the engine size, body
colour, upholstery fabric and alloy
designs; you can opt for a sun roof
and a touchscreen stereo if you
fancy. However, if you buy a new
home, your choices are limited.
Many of us would rather design
our own, but we don’t want the hassle —
or the cost — of building it. The solution
is to custom-build, which is becoming
increasingly popular. It enables you to
have a property built to your design
using layouts and materials chosen
from a catalogue — just like when you
buy a new car.
“The Home Builders
Federation estimates that
67 per cent of people
wouldn’t or are
unlikely to buy a
new-build home.
The belief is that
more would if they
could have some
choice in the
design,” says
Michael Holmes,
the chairman of the
National Custom and
Self Build Association.
“There is a limit to the
number of new-build homes that
can be sold because they are not what
the public wants. If we want to build more
homes we will have to find new ways of
delivering them. Globally an average of
39 per cent of homes are commissioned
by the owner; self-build or custom-build.
In Britain it is about 8 per cent.
“The problem isn’t demand. About
one million people say they would like
to design or build their own home, yet
only about 13,500 did last year. We
are optimistic though. There is huge
capacity, and planning permissions for
[self and custom-build] grew by about
20 per cent last year.”
The government has set a target for
20,000 self and custom-build new
homes a year in England. Self-build is
when you do everything yourself,
usually by hiring architects and builders;
custom-build is when you work with a
developer designing your home from
various options.
In 2016 the goveernment introduced
right-to-build registers in England,
where you can log your interest in self
or custom-build. Local authorities then
have to provide planning permission on
enough serviced plots — pieces of land
with connections to roads and utilities
— to satisfy this demand, within three
years. Since April 2016 more than 33,000
people have signed up to the registers.
Inquiries at Facit Homes, a
custom-build specialist, have risen by
30 per cent in the past 12 months. Rhys
Denbigh, the head of new business at the
company, says: “It has taken a huge
amount of effort to galvanise the
government and local authorities
to support those who wish to
build their own home, but
it feels like the self and
custom-build tide is
finally turning.”
Demand is
outstripping supply,
however. Mark
Stevenson, the
managing director
of Potton, a self and
custom-build
company, says: “At
Potton we have had
a 112 per cent increase,
since 2013, in the number of
inquiries from people who want to
build their own home, but don’t yet have
a plot. However, inquiries from people
lucky enough to have a plot have only
increased by 69 per cent. There is a
growing gap between people’s desire to
build and the ability to actually get
building. “The situation is worse than
these percentages suggest as there is
always a percentage of people who
think they have a plot, but actually
don’t, as they cannot secure planning
permission. There is considerable
pent-up demand and with appropriate
support and direction and access to
suitable plots many more thousands
of people would be building their
own home.
“Support offered by local authorities is
patchy and the right-to-build registers
are not sufficiently accessible to identify
the growth in demand for self-building,
and therefore the support that people
need continues to be lacking.”
Capacity is not a problem, he says,
The traditional Caxton custom-build home by Potton, a self and custom-build company, at its show-home village in S
with companies such as Potton capable
of increasing output from 500 homes
a year to “in excess of 1,000 easily” if
the plots were more readily available.
Many authorities are still relying on
people to find their own plots and apply
for planning permission, rather than
helping them by providing plots on local
government land or in partnership with
developers. This is slowly changing,
with some innovative schemes such as
Graven Hill Village in Oxfordshire,
spearheaded by Cherwell district council.
Here, on a 470-acre former military
base south of Bicester, there is outline
planning consent for 1,900 self and
custom-build homes, with a primary
school, offices, shops and a pub. All
the self-build plots come with a
“plot passport”, detailing the design
parameters and palette of materials the
owners need to use to secure planning
permission in only 28 days — rather
than the usual 8-13 weeks. A third of the
homes will be affordable, with shared
ownership and Help to Buy available.
At another scheme, Carillion Igloo,
the developer is working with six
custom-build manufacturers to offer 54
homes in Heartlands, between Redruth
and Camborne in west Cornwall.
Kim Slowe, the managing director of
Design Your Home, is hoping to do
something similar, on a smaller scale,
with 110 custom-build and 12 self-build
plots, at Squirrel Wood in Basingstoke,
Hampshire, launching this month. The
Inside a Potton self-build
home in Peterborough,
Cambridgeshire. Inset,
left: the owners of this
Potton self-build home
in Northamptonshire
took architectural
inspiration from a barn
On the cover a couple in
Highgate, north London,
went down the Facit
Home self-build route
when they failed to
find a home that suited
their needs in the area
A couple from Greenwich, southeast London, built a modular Facit
Home with a large studio on the land behind their Victorian house
development is a pilot project monitored
by Homes England (which owns the
site) and the Ministry of Housing,
Communities and Local Government.
Slowe explains that outline planning
consent has been acquired on a number
of layouts, designs and materials to
fast-track planning permission. He hopes
people could move in six months after
choosing their plot. The company is
also planning to launch developments in
Wiltshire, East Hampshire and Scotland.
“When you buy a new house the
developer dictates the layout, the
skirtings, the doors, everything, and we
have a frighteningly conservative,
old-fashioned building industry,” he says.
“We will offer five different layouts for
each of the three storeys of a house, ten
choices of skirting, 15 choices of door
knob. You can personalise your home.
“Lots of local authorities are organised
and are offering their registers to us and
have appointed custom-build officers.
Others have yet to get that organised.”
Elsewhere it is customers who are
driving demand. Sam Stevens, the head
of acquisitions at Reditum Capital, says
that when Reditum and Castle Homes
acquired a former convent in
Broadstairs, Kent, it was local residents
asking to buy plots that led them to their
plan to offer clifftop self-build
development with outline planning
permission for 12 homes.
Find your Right to Build register at
righttobuildportal.org
the times | Friday April 13 2018
Bricks & Mortar 9
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COVER: FACIT HOMES. BELOW: POTTON; FACIT HOMES
INTERIORS
G
Heavy
metal
V Georg Jensen
Henning Koppel
pitcher, £295
georgjensen.com
U Kelly
bar chair,
£2,326
essential
home.eu
St N
Neots, Cambridgeshire
X Collet table
lamp, £69
made.com
Do the
sums
0 Stamp duty You pay
tax only on the value of
the land, not the finished
property, so if this is
below the £125,000
stamp-duty threshold
you pay no tax. For
example, Heartlands
has plots from £50,000,
which means that the
property is tax-free
despite additional build
costs from £150,000.
0 Value added tax
There is no VAT on
custom-build homes,
and on self-builds
labour is VAT free and
you can claim back
VAT on materials.
0 Exemptions Self and
custom-builders are
exempt from paying
the community
infrastructure levy
charged when planning
permission is granted
for a new house.
Self-builders don’t need
to pay section 106
affordable housing
contributions either.
0 Total build cost
The UK average cost
of a self-build project is
£305,943, including land.
Custom-builds are often
cheaper; at Squirrel
Wood, two-bedroom
homes start at £250,000.
0 Finance You’ll need a
sizeable deposit because
you can borrow only
about 75 per cent of the
land cost and 60 per cent
of the build cost. The
best buy is 2.24 per cent
for three years at 75 per
cent loan to value from
the Bank of Ireland.
U Hammered
metal chips
and dips set,
£29.50
marksand
spencer.com
Compiled
by Carol
Lewis
lass ornaments, zigzag
mirrors and zebra-print
scatter cushions — as art
deco style filtered its way
into countless 1930s semis,
something got lost in translation.
Even some of the most stunning art
deco properties have fallen victim to
nine decades of domestic design trends;
sturdy farmhouse kitchens, dainty
Victorian chandeliers and 1980s-style
glass bricks do not sit well with sinuous
staircases and octagonal dining rooms.
Michael Schienke, an architect at
Vorbild Architecture, says: “Some people
decide to carry out too many ideas in
one space for fear that if they only
execute one it might not be enough.
The result can be an unfortunate mix.”
This lack of confidence perhaps stems
from the fact that art deco was a fleeting
movement. The trend — reinforced steel
frame and curved concrete constructions
— emerged in the 1920s, but was quickly
overshadowed by crisp, more square
modernism in the 1930s and, soon after,
the Second World War.
However, today’s designers are picking
out the good bits of art deco to create a
new classic yet modern look.
At Battersea Power Station in
southwest London, where apartments
in the art deco industrial building start
at £500,000, Finn Christiansen, the
senior architect at Michaelis Boyd, has
stripped back 1930s walls to bare brick
and incorporated blackened-steel
windows, concrete worktops and solid
oak shelves.
At Belsize Lane in Belsize Park,
northwest London, the developer
Godfrey London has transformed a
1930s car repair and parking depot into
ten apartments. Prices start from
£1.2 million for a two-bedroom flat.
“The luxury interior takes influence
from the simple geometric forms of art
deco style, combining them with the
latest in contemporary finishes and
technologies,” says David Ferns, the
managing director of CID Interieur, an
interior design company.
Sophie Paterson, who designed flats in
the W1 London scheme on Marylebone
High Street (apartments from
£4.1 million), points out that the 1920s
and 1930s were when the concept of the
interior designer became accepted.
“Elsie de Wolfe was one of the first,
decorating many high-end and
prestigious homes for clients,” she says.
“Prior to this interiors were more
collected than curated and were often a
mismatch of different periods and styles.”
Stand-out examples of art deco can be
found by the coast. The grade II listed
Marine Court in St Leonards-on-Sea,
East Sussex, completed in 1938, took
inspiration from the ocean liner RMS
Queen Mary. One end of the 14-storey
apartment block imitates the curved
bridge of the transatlantic liner. There is
a three-bedroom flat in Marine Court,
in need of refurbishment, on sale for
£310,000 through Wyatt Hughes, the
estate agency.
Homes in the Belsize Lane development in northwest London are from £1.2 million
for a two-bedroom flat. Inset below: Gatsby bar trolley, £299, atkinandthyme.co.uk
Less is more: master
the art deco look
The rules
0 Keep it simple. “The look is defined
by a graphic style, contrasting black and
white with enhancing materials such as
brass or chrome,” says Helen Fewster,
the head of Suna Interior Design.
Choose classic chequerboard flooring for
a bathroom or hall, or geometric designs.
0 Pull back floor coverings. “Carpets
were rare, so you will often find
quality timber boards or
parquet flooring
underneath,” says
Trevor Yorke, the
author of Art Deco
House Styles.
0 Take a second
look at the
fireplace. “Often
with a stepped
profile and covered
with beige and
brown tiles, they are
the most distinctive
fitting of an art deco
interior,” Yorke says.
0 Spend money on the bathroom.
“Avoid bright colours, which will date,”
says Karen Howes of Taylor Howes, the
interior design practice. “It is much safer
to use neutral tones and bring glamour
through mirror, metals and pattern.
0 Go for balance with twin basins,
identical mirrors, “skyscraper”
U Monocles tall cabinet, £7,633
essentialhome.eu
U Form teapot, £150
tomdixon.net
On Hayling Island, Havant, a four-bedroom home is £1.225 million (Henry Adams)
wall-lights or armchairs. “Cubism had
a strong influence on art deco design,”
says Victoria Atkin, a co-founder of the
furniture company Atkin and Thyme.
“Choose pieces with defined structural
lines and incorporate symmetrical
motifs; symmetry was one of the
movement’s most palatable features.”
0 Embrace curves. Go for armchairs
with shell backs, decadent sofas and
walnut-veneered cabinets, either
original or reproduction.
Melissa Shervington of
Amity Properties, an
estate agency in the
West Midlands,
says: “If you have a
curved wall, use the
space as a seating
or vanity area.”
0 Pare back
chrome and
mirrors. There’s
nothing relaxing about
constantly catching
glimpses of yourself in a
reflective surface.
0 Don’t obsess over angles. “Art
deco is a strong look and you might have
a few too many sharp angles to retain a
cosy space,” says Victoria Harrison, of
the design platform Houzz. “Give the
original look a soft twist. For example,
an angular art deco pendant light fitting
or mirror can be softened if juxtaposed
with an abundance of houseplants.”
0 Don’t rip out original metal
windows. Seek faithful replacements
from Crittall, or take expert advice on
adding double-glazing. Curtains and
coverings can be a challenge. “Keep it
simple by having a well-lined, long drape
to the floor. Go with a bold, bright colour
in a rich velvet, or if you’re confident,
use a more busy deco pattern; a great
feature when the curtains are closed.”
0 Stay away from wallpaper. “Art
deco properties rarely used decorative
wall coverings, definitely nothing with
natural elements such as flowers, but
rather abstract patterns (shells and
herringbone were common) at best,”
Michael Schienke says.
Jayne Dowle
10 Bricks & Mortar
1G P
LUXE
Friday April 13 2018 | the times
In partnership with
A capital makeover by the great estates
Central London is
being regenerated by
the country’s richest
families and trusts,
reports Carol Lewis
F
or more than 300 years
much of central London
has been owned by the
landed gentry: the dukes
of Westminster and
Bedford, the earls of
Cadogan and the Crown.
Yet far from being
outdated relics of the feudal system,
the owners of the great estates are
reinvigorating London’s villages. They
act as landlords, owning the freehold of
many properties, but also as managers
and investors in the local area.
Peter Wetherell, the chief executive
of Wetherell, a Mayfair-based estate
agency, says: “What the great estates
bring to the party is longevity. Some
did fall behind and some areas suffered.
For instance, Marylebone High Street
was run down, but is now thriving, and
Regent Street was where you went
for kilts and cashmere, now
you have Apple and
Burberry.”
Many of the
estates have invested
heavily in their
neighbourhoods.
The Crown, the
Sovereign’s public
estate, has spent
£500 million sprucing
up St James’s and
£1 billion on Regent
Street. The Howard
de Walden Estate has
transformed Marylebone High
Street into an upmarket urban village,
and the Grosvenor Estate has done
similar things for Mount Street in
Mayfair. Much of this was enabled by
the expiry of long-term leases, giving
the estates flexibility to sell properties
and move tenants, and some have
bought new properties too.
However, Luke Mills, the head of
residential sales at CBRE, the real estate
company, says that the rejuvenation is
not only about the buildings. “It’s about
the public realm. The great estates have
control and can invest in a spectrum of
works, and they are seeing the returns.
If you don’t have single ownership, but
a range of different landlords, they
have interest only in the maximum
returns for their buildings
not the [in between]
spaces.
“Cadogan [Estates]
describes it as
curating. For
instance, we know
people need a post
office, but having
a post office may not
pay you back in rent.
Yet if you are trying
to curate an area it is
worth taking the hit,
which you can do if
you own the whole estate.
“It is almost universally accepted that
placemaking, or curating, in this way
works for the great estates and the Reits
[real estate investment trusts] that have
followed their example — British Land
has taken a similar approach in
Broadgate and Bishopsgate, and Land
Securities in Victoria — and it is an
Mount Street in Mayfair
is part of the Grosvenor
Estate. Left: on Sloane
Square in Chelsea an
apartment with three
bedrooms is with Russell
Simpson for £6.95 million
approach now working for the next
generation; Argent, the developer, in
King’s Cross is proof. Fifteen years ago
warehouse conversions in King’s Cross
sold for about £500 a square foot.
Today the best properties sell for
£2,000 a square foot.
Who’s who
0 Grosvenor The 7th Duke of
Westminster and his family are
the richest of the aristocratic
landowners in central London
and preside over 300 acres of
prime property in Mayfair
and Belgravia.
0 Cadogan The Earl of
Cadogan owns the secondlargest private estate in London,
with 93 acres in the Royal
Borough of Kensington and
Chelsea, southwest London.
0 Bedford The Russell family,
the dukes of Bedford, originally
owned Covent Garden, although
much of this was sold by the
11th Duke. However, the family
remains the largest private
landowner in Bloomsbury,
north London.
0 Portman Viscount Portman
and his family own 110 acres
of Marylebone, central
London. It is one of the oldest
of the London estates, dating
from 1532.
0 Howard de Walden The
descendants of the 6th Lord
Howard de Walden own
92 acres of Marylebone.
0 The Crown This is the
Sovereign’s public estate and so
is not owned by the royal family
or government. It includes land
and property worth about
£12 billion, taking in swathes of
St James’s and Regent Street in
central London. The estate is
run by commissioners,
accountable to parliament, and
any proceeds go to the treasury.
“Placemaking has impact, because the
rest of the market hasn’t risen at that
rate. There are also some estates coming
through with the potential to benefit
from placemaking. Knight Dragon on
Greenwich Peninsula [in southeast
London] and Capco in Earl’s Court
[west London] could both learn from
the more established estates.”
Research by Pastor Real Estate
demonstrates how landowner
investment in placemaking can
elevate an area and increase the value
of property there. In the ten years
from 2007-17 property prices in St
James’s rose by 170 per cent; in Fitzrovia,
147 per cent; Mayfair, 124 per cent; and
Buckingham Gate and Westminster,
106 per cent.
The most expensive average prices
are in St James’s, at £2,582 a square
foot, Mayfair at £2,383 a square foot,
and Knightsbridge, £2,270 a square
foot. Four neighbourhoods have
top-end prices above £5,000 a square
foot: Knightsbridge, Belgravia, South
Kensington and Mayfair — all areas
controlled by the great estates.
David Lee, the head of residential
sales at Pastor, says: “Many of the
top-ranked areas have had significant
investment and careful curation by
landowners. London’s great estates
help improvements happen on a
grand scale. Grosvenor’s reinvention
of Mount Street has reaped dividends
for residential prices in close
proximity, as have the continuing
changes on the Howard de Walden
Estate in Marylebone.”
Leo Russell, the sales negotiator
at Russell Simpson, an estate agency
in Chelsea, says: “Cadogan Estates
has redeveloped Pavilion Road and
Sloane Street [in Chelsea] and it has
made such a difference to the area.
“It has created a village within the
city. Often cities are so big that they
lose their identity, so this is important.
Recently we had an international
buyer who asked to be on one of the
major estates because he knew how
well-preserved and managed it would
be. People want to be part of London’s
rich history, they want to buy into
that premium.” And, it seems, are
prepared to pay for it.
Need inspiration? Look to the Greeks
C
lose to Portobello Road
market in west London,
famous for its antiques, stands
Havona House, influenced by
antiquities of another kind.
The design of the newly completed
house is modelled on the Tower of the
Winds, the clocktower in Athens.
Although the inspiration came from
a monument built in about 50BC, the
building techniques are distinctly 2018.
Mat Snelling, the director of the
architectural and bespoke division of
Chesneys, explains that his team had to
attach a 15-tonne, hand-carved
limestone frieze featuring three Greek
wind deities (there are two more on the
rear of the building) to a steel frame
before the walls of the house were even
built. “Unusually, we started at the top
while the builders were still digging the
piling 80ft below ground,” he says.
The ornate façade has a hand-carved
portico with fluted columns and carved
Corinthian capitals. Above this is a
Seven-bedroom Havona House in
Notting Hill, west London, is on the
market for £25 million with Rokstone
mini-portico around a first-floor window
and a balcony, giving this floor the air of
a piano nobile of a neoclassical villa. The
building is topped with a 250kg polished
bronze Neptune weather vane. Despite
its ornamentation, the house doesn’t
look out of place nestled among the fine
Victorian terraced homes of Notting Hill.
Inside the 10,000 sq ft, seven-bedroom
house almost everything is bespoke, says
David Hadris, the operations director at
SJ Henderson & Co, the builder, from
the fireplaces and stair railings, to the
40ft drop chandelier by Curiousa &
Curiousa and the elaborate coving and
ceiling roses crafted by George Jackson,
the heritage cornicing company.
“It is very bold and striking and about
as grand as it could be, but there is all
the modern technology, Lutron [lighting]
controls and a lift,” Hadris says. “This
space is very rare for Notting Hill. We
tried to achieve openness and to have
the light coming from the back through
the stairs to the front. It is all about
curves, and there are no sharp angles.”
Downstairs there is an open space
of epic proportions with an enormous
kitchen, dining and living room with
two-storey doors that open on to a
terrace. Below is what is claimed to be
the largest private pool in London (70ft
long), although should you not fancy a
dip the floor raises to cover it, turning
the room into an onyx-walled ballroom,
albeit with a steam room and sauna.
Hydraulics of a different sort are in
play elsewhere: there is a car lift allowing
three vehicles to be driven into the house
and automatically lowered and parked in
the basement, or called back up at the
touch of a smartphone. With all its
bespoke touches it has the feeling of
having been commissioned to live in, but
Hadris says that the developer, Albert
Bridge Properties, has always intended
to sell the house, which took four years
to build. It is on the market through
Rokstone estate agency for £25 million.
Carol Lewis
View the UK’s most
luxurious residential
properties
In partnership with
mansionglobal.com/
london
14 Bricks & Mortar
1G P
Friday April 13 2018 | the times
OVERSEAS
Why the sun is shining on Valencia
LEONID ANDRONOV/GETTY IMAGES
Those looking for
an alternative to
Barcelona are heading
to Spain’s third largest
city, says Hugo Cox
A
s political instability
mounts in Barcelona,
the southeastern port
city of Valencia —
Spain’s third largest
city — has attracted
interest over the
past year from
second-home buyers seeking a sunny,
accessible and good-value urban home.
Those who held back from buying in
Barcelona in the lead- up to the Catalan
independence referendum on October 1
last year received little reassurance in
the days and weeks that followed. On
the day of the vote images of violent
clashes were beamed across the world’s
media as police stormed polling stations
A five-bedroom villa with a pool
near Malvarrosa beach, Valencia, is
€1.35 million with Engel & Völkers
to prevent the vote — ruled illegal by the
Spanish government in Madrid — from
taking place. The atmosphere in the city
remains fractious. In March there were
further clashes between demonstrators
and police after the arrest in Germany
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International money transfer from
The Times and The Sunday Times
of the former leader of Catalonia,
Avenida Reino de Valencia to a
The old city of Valencia,
Carles Puigdemont. “International
Modernista apartment in Pla del
adjacent to the Eixample
buyers were reluctant to commit to
Remei, Gran Via Marques del Turia,
district, which is popular
purchases in Barcelona. The southern
for €1.675 million.
with UK homebuyers
cities, Valencia in particular, have proved
“Despite its central location it is very
a popular alternative,” says Jesús
quiet, well served with a range of retail
Encinar, the founder of Idealista, the
outlets and good restaurants, as well as
Spanish property website.
green spaces,” Rubio says.
Besides Valencia’s political stability,
The latter are concentrated along
VALENCIA
the economic case is compelling.
the Jardin del Turia, the parkland
Airport
According to Idealista, the average
famous for its futurist museums on
Jardin del Turia
asking price for a home in Valencia
the old site of the Valencia’s Turia
Patacona
in the first three months of this
River, which was diverted to the
City centre
year was €1,743 (£1,515) a square
western edge of the city after a
metre, a 60 per cent discount on
flood in 1957.
Eixample
the Barcelona average of €4,334 in
The mix of easy access, good
the same quarter, and 51 per cent
services and green spaces has helped
less than the average in Madrid, which
homes in the area achieve a price
was €3,540.
premium on the rest of the city. At
“You can get a villa with a pool for
€2,826 a square metre at the start of
Two miles
less than €220,000, or a flat in the city
2018, according to Idealista, the average
for €120,000. The city is not as
asking prices in the neighbourhood are
internationally known as Barcelona,”
nearly two thirds above the city average,
says Sonia Fabra at the Valencia office
although they are still more than a third
of Engel & Völkers, the estate agency.
cheaper than homes in Barcelona.
The city is certainly moving in the
To the northeast of the city, adjoining
right direction with house prices. After
the beach, are the purpose-built
the sharp falls across Spain in the wake
residential communities of Patacona.
of the financial crisis, Valencia’s property
The mix of apartments and townhouses
market has shown steady gains. Between
with communal swimming pools and
the peak in spring 2007 and the low
playgrounds make the area popular
point in autumn 2014, average sale prices
with family buyers from abroad.
in the city halved, according to Idealista.
Engel & Völkers has a range of
Since then they have gained 25 per cent.
properties, starting at €190,000 for
Another appeal of Valencia is its size.
a one-bedroom apartment.
“Nothing is more than 20 minutes away,”
The beach is a focus for owners,
says Irene Rubio of the Valencia office of
Rubio says. As well as warmer summers,
Lucas Fox, the estate agency. “The city is
increasing the opportunities for beach
easy to navigate by foot and you can get
lounging, the winter temperatures are
anywhere on a bike in minutes.”
slightly milder in Valencia than in
The most popular spot for UK buyers
Barcelona, increasing the appeal of visits
is Eixample, she says, adjacent to the
year-round. The summer highs tend to
cobbled streets of the city’s celebrated
hover a couple of degrees below those
Scotland
old city and containing much of
of more southerly destinations such as
Go wild: why native
Valencia’s commercial centre. The area
Alicante, increasing the appeal in the
plants are the best option
includes Calle Colon, Valencia’s busiest
high season too. “Valencia’s average of
shopping street, the main railway station, for a spring garden
300 sunny days makes it a very pleasant
thetimes.co.uk/property
Estacion del Norte, and Valencia’s
city to live in,” Fabra says.
famous colosseum-like bullfighting ring.
“The properties here are secured,
stately buildings with high ceilings, or
spacious flats with luxurious features,
and are very popular with Spanish and
international buyers,” Fabra says.
The area also has Valencia’s smartest
residential neighbourhood, Gran Via
Marques del Turia, which is particularly
popular with affluent buyers from
abroad, according to Rubio. Homes here
include a number of buildings in the
Modernista style (the Catalan modernist
movement) as well as early period
apartments and new-builds.
Lucas Fox has a range of homes for
sale across Eixample, from a renovated
In Pla del Remei, Gran Via Marques del Turia, this five-bedroom
two-bedroom flat for €300,000 in
Modernista apartment is on sale for €1.675 million with Lucas Fox
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