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The Times Bricks and Mortar - 16 March 2018

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Take a reality check
pages 10-11
How to embrace the Versace look page 13
What decor season are you? pages 14-15
2 Bricks & Mortar
1G P
style in SW3
This family house
in Chelsea has a
formal sitting room,
wine cellar and gym,
says Anna Temkin
t took two and a half years of
negotiations for Banda Property, a
developer, to secure planning
permission for Orford House in
Chelsea, southwest London.
Situated on Rawlings Street,
it was previously the site of a
postwar building divided into
five apartments.
The wait was worth it, says Edo
Mapelli Mozzi, the chief executive of
Banda Property: ?We have reintroduced
the formal first-floor sitting room that
was such a signature of Chelsea
townhouses in the past, but have made
the house thoroughly modern in terms
of technology and energy efficiency. We
also wanted to make sure that the layout
was suitable for family living ? a lot of
the older houses [in the area] are
dominated by staircases and the rooms
are spread across five floors, but here
you have all your living space [more than
3,000 sq ft] across two floors.?
On the market through Russell
Simpson for �million, it has four
bedrooms, four bathrooms and two
sitting rooms. Fitness enthusiasts
will approve of the gym, while
oenophiles will delight in the
climate-controlled wine cellar ? and
the large south-facing terrace, which is
ideal for enjoying a glass of wine on a
warm summer?s evening.
The interiors scheme, by the leading
design company Turner Pocock, which
was founded by Bunny Turner and
Emma Pocock, combines traditional
Chelsea grandeur with contemporary
materials. It is dominated by a palette of
classic creams and muted greys, offset by
Orford House in Chelsea, southwest
London, has four bedrooms and
is on sale for �million through
Russell Simpson
brass detailing. The kitchen features
neolith stone worktops and splashbacks,
with statement pendant lighting above
the island. In the master bathroom,
which features a walk-in shower, Carrara
marble tiles adorn the floor. The modern
artwork throughout the property has
been curated by Carrie Scott of CS&P,
an art service.
Orford House is about a five-minute
walk from Sloane Square Tube station
and ten minutes from South Kensington.
?It is incredibly rare to find a new-build
home in the centre of Chelsea,? says Jake
Russell, a director at Russell Simpson.
?The location, condition, proportions
and amenities set it apart in a market
that is very low on stock.?
Prime properties
Former rectory
Barn conversion
Kingsbridge, Devon
Cookham, Berkshire
WHAT YOU GET A Georgian former
rectory, this listed house has more than
an acre of grounds, ecclesiastical features
including vaulted ceilings, five bedrooms,
three bathrooms, two large reception
rooms, a reception hall, kitchen/
breakfast room, snug and storage rooms.
There is a converted two-bedroom coach
house with a garage/workshop.
WHERE IS IT? In Kingsbridge, a
market town in the South Hams area of
outstanding natural beauty on the
Kingsbridge Estuary.
UPSIDE Elegant yet homely rooms with
large windows and timber flooring.
DOWNSIDE The house is approached
by a drive to the rear of the property.
PRICE �5 million
CONTACT Marchand Petit,
01548 857 588,
WHAT YOU GET This 5,000 sq ft
restored home is in a new development
created from four detached barns. It
mixes original and reclaimed features
with modern fittings and open-plan
living spaces. It has five bedrooms, four
bathrooms, a dining room, kitchen,
family/breakfast room and a garage with
a self-contained one-bedroom annexe.
WHERE IS IT? In a rural spot south of
Cookham, a village on the north bank of
the river Thames known for its Stanley
Spencer Gallery. Maidenhead is less than
three miles away.
UPSIDE The mix of contemporary
design and rustic features are innovative.
DOWNSIDE It?s not in the village centre.
PRICE �85 million
CONTACT Savills, 01753 834 600,
Friday March 16 2018 | the times
the times | Friday March 16 2018
Bricks & Mortar 3
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Make the move to
a converted school
Near Spurstow, Cheshire
With its stone ogee windows, steep gables and an octagonal
clock tower, living in this four-bedroom former school feels like
stepping into a fairy tale. Built in gothic revival style in 1872, it
is set in enchanting grounds, with a parterre garden,
clipped hedging and well-stocked borders.
This five-bedroom former
school house is in
Abbotsbury, a village a
mile inland from the
Jurassic Coast and Chesil
Beach. It has high
ceilings, a country-style
kitchen and terraced
gardens backing on to
This one-bedroom
converted apartment with
a living room and
off-street parking is on
the second floor of a
grade II listed former
school. The property?s
galley kitchen is compact,
but it is dual aspect and
has wooden windows.
By a stream
Bosham, West Sussex
WHAT YOU GET This 948 sq ft
Victorian cottage has sash windows, an
open-plan sitting/dining room, refitted
kitchen with oiled hardwood worktops
and a study on the ground floor, two
bedrooms, a shower room and bathroom
on the first floor, and a double bedroom
on the second floor. There is a garden
with a terrace.
WHERE IS IT? On Gordon Terrace in
Bosham, a historic coastal village on the
eastern side of Chichester Harbour.
Chichester is five miles away.
UPSIDE It?s a popular spot for sailing
and boating types.
DOWNSIDE It has limited storage.
PRICE �5,000
CONTACT Jackson-Stops, 01243 786316,
Claire Carponen
A former grammar school
in need of modernisation,
this three-bedroom home
was built in the 1600s. It
has original features, but
the windows are small.
The layout needs thought.
To be auctioned on
March 20 with a guide
price of �0,000,
Claire Carponen
4 Bricks & Mortar
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Friday March 16 2018 | the times
The online dating
way to sell a home
Anne Ashworth
Property and Personal Finance Editor
here may be 50 ways to
leave your lover, or so
the song tells us. But if
you want to sell a house
in a neighbourhood
where the mood is
chilly, there is only one
way to end the
relationship. This is to take a reality
check, lowering your price, while
adopting the methods of online dating
? all of which sounds obvious, until you
learn how many sellers are still rejecting
such an approach. They believe their
property?s value remains undiminished,
despite the standstill in the costlier parts
of London and the southeast. These
locations rebounded rapidly after the
financial crisis, but are now held back
by deteriorating affordability and
stamp-duty rises (see page 18).
Sellers in denial refuse to see the point
of decluttering and depersonalising. The
process seems to them to be a betrayal of
the happy family life they have led in the
house, rather than a means of meeting
house-hunters? new requirements.
People looking for love on Tinder and
other dating sites are drawn to enhanced
snapshots of suitable matches. When
searching for decor tips, they are equally
enticed by the stylish images on
Instagram, and similar apps (see pages
10-11). These online preferences lead
them to demand that a property for sale
complies with the same visual standards,
unless their heart?s desire is a fixer-upper
wreck. Even in areas where the tempo is
brighter, buyers? expectations about
looks have been raised.
Some sellers may not be able to
reconcile themselves to the heightened
awareness of appearances. But they must
be prepared for a long wait for any
viewings and be braced for the impact
on the market of interest rate increases
? a high price to pay for inflexibility.
Dining table, �9, and chairs, �9 for two; blue glass bulb vase, �;
dip-dye runner, �; blue wine glasses, �(
Statistic of the Week
The chancellor?s spring statement
contained some big housing numbers,
such as the � billion scheme to ?raise
supply to 300,000 homes a year by the
mid-2020s?. But since Statistic of the
Week tends to focus on the present, we
opted for data on a present trend.
More members of Generation Rent
are leaping on to the property ladder,
thanks to a tax break that is proving
unexpectedly effective. At the outset, the
first-time buyer stamp-duty exemption,
introduced in the budget on November
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on Twitter
23, was estimated to cost �5 million in
the remaining months of the 2017-18
tax year, �0 million in 2018-19,
rising to �0 million in 2022-23.
The independent Office for Budget
Responsibility now says that the bill
could be 15 to 20 per cent higher.
About 60,000 buyers have used the
concession, under which no stamp duty
is levied on the first �0,000 of a
property worth up to �0,000. These
first-steppers are choosing more
expensive properties in smarter
neighbourhoods. In London the average
price paid by a first-time buyer using the
stamp-duty exemption is �5,000 ?
18.5 per cent higher than last year, says
Johnny Morris, the research director
at Countrywide, the estate agency.
Elsewhere the average price is �2,000,
3.9 per cent more than last year.
It remains to be seen whether this
pattern will be repeated in Scotland and
Wales, which have their own versions of
the tax break. Meanwhile, the popularity
of the perk raises questions. How many
of the beneficiaries had a loan from the
Bank of Mum and Dad? And what
policies will the government adopt for
the priced-out millennials who have not
been empowered by this exemption?
Seasonal decor disorder
Are you spring, summer, autumn or
winter? Once you have decided, you
will know which style you should follow
in your spring makeover, which will be
full of zingy colours if you are an
autumn, or brimming with chintz if you
are a spring (see page 14). Since winter is
all about blues (such as those above), I
suspect that this is my category. In April,
winter will be coming to my home.
6 Bricks & Mortar
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Friday March 16 2018 | the times
Italian charm and snow for a little less
Low-key Cervinia is
set to be a base for
the third largest ski
area in the world,
says Carol Lewis
taly?s general election was a
typically eccentric affair, featuring
a pig called Babe and the country?s
notorious former prime minister
Silvio Berlusconi. Commentators
have compared the result to
Brexit after the unexpected
support for the anti-establishment
Five Star Movement, particularly in
the south, led to a hung parliament.
However, in the northern ski resort of
Cervinia in the Aosta Valley, there is a
feeling that the election will not dissuade
British buyers.
Quite the contrary. They are hoping
that plans to expand the piste area and
invest in the town will entice more
Britons to holiday and buy property.
Breuil-Cervinia ? simply known as
Cervinia ? has a low profile in the ski
property world. There are no large
international estate agencies in the area,
with most choosing to concentrate on
the resort?s more glitzy Swiss neighbour,
Zermatt, on the other side of the
Matterhorn (or Cervino as it?s known
in Italy).
Federico Maquignaz, the president of
Cervino, the company responsible for
the pistes and lifts in the resort, predicts
that investment in the area will be
?life changing?. A SwFr52 million
(� million) state-of-the-art gondola is
due to open next season between the
Trockener Steg ski area and Matterhorn
glacier on the Swiss side of the
mountain. A year later there are plans to
open a lift from the glacier to the Plateau
Rosa ski area on the Italian side. A range
of lifts is also planned for the small
neighbouring ski resort of Chamois and
a link to the ski area of Alagna Valsesia.
Millions of euros are also being invested
in snow machines.
?For the first time you will be able to
get from Cervinia to Zermatt easily,
without skiing [driving takes more than
three hours]. This will open us up to an
incredible market. We will never close
again, we will be open year round.
People will be able to fly into Turin or
Milan, spend a couple of days in
Cervinia and then transfer to Zermatt,?
Bag a
Maquignaz says. ?Our piste area will
expand from 360km to 560km, with
Cervinia at the heart of it. We will be at
the centre of the third largest ski resort
in the world ? after Portes du Soleil and
Les Trois Vall閑s.?
Maquignaz, who heads several
committees in the town and is called
Mr Cervinia by some, says that 2,000
additional hotel beds are planned for the
resort over the next two to three years.
He says there are five or six plots of land
left on which to build developments;
70 per cent of this is expected to be
hotels and 30 per cent residential. It is
also hoped that there will be more
investment in facilities and shops.
?In Cervinia we have some very good
hotels and restaurants, but the shops are
not at the same level. The connection
with Zermatt might change that by
bringing more wealthy people to the
resort and bigger brand names,? he says.
There has never been a better time to
buy a classic Umbrian farmhouse or
Tuscan villa, according to Amy
Redfern, the head of the Italian sales
team at Knight Frank.
?In regions of the Val d?Orcia [in
Tuscany] and parts of Umbria there
really are some of the best
opportunities to buy a four or
five-bedroom villa or estate with two to
five hectares for between ?1 million
and ?1.2 million. Five years ago you
could never have found a villa or
farmhouse at that kind of price,? she
says. Knight Frank is selling a
five-bedroom farmhouse with a
vineyard close to Bagni di Lucca in
Tuscany for ?1.05 million, while
Savills has a restored five-bedroom
farmhouse, with a two-bedroom
guest cottage, near Montone, Umbria,
for ?985,000.
Top: the Alpine town of
Cervinia. Above left:
one-bedroom flats in
the Residence Carel
development in nearby
Valtournenche start at
?490,000 through
Above right: this
six-bedroom chalet, in
need of refurbishment,
is on sale for ?1.5 million
with Casa & Country
This five-bedroom farmhouse in Bagni
di Lucca is ?1.05 million (Knight Frank)
Prices in much of Italy are believed
to be as low as they will go. According
to Knight Frank?s latest figures at the
end of 2016, prime prices in most areas
were down on the previous year. In
Forte dei Marmi on the Tuscan coast
a nice feel to it. And it is affordable and
accessible,? Rollason says.
Prime properties in Cervinia cost
almost half that in Zermatt ? ?7,000 a
square metre compared with ?13,000 a
square metre ? but, aside from the fiscal
fundamentals, Switzerland?s Lex Koller
regulations restrict sales of property to
foreigners in the Swiss resort. Prime
properties in Cervinia are also cheaper
than in the Italian resorts of Cortina
d?Ampezzo and Val Gardena, according
to Savills.
?If you had ?1 million in Cervinia you
could buy something really nice. In
Zermatt they would laugh at you. it
won?t go far. Even with ?5 million you
might have to wait a couple of years
for something to become available,?
Rollason says.
However, Gemma Bruce, the
managing director of Casa & Country
Italian Property, says: ?It is quite
common for buyers to start their
property search in Zermatt and when
they realise how expensive it is they
begin looking at Cervinia. Once they
come here they see it has a lot to offer. It
has a glacier with summer skiing, golf,
trekking and mountain biking. It is
beginning to attract more interest.
Property prices have remained steady,
unlike some other areas of Italy, but
there is more demand than there is
property coming on to the market.?
Cervinia doesn?t have the classic
Alpine beauty of Zermatt, but it has a
charm not found in many purpose-built
ski resorts. There is also a movement to
improve the architecture, an example
being the recently opened Aux Pieds du
Cervinia?s main street, which has small Roi, an eco-hotel and spa.
independent shops, contrasts with the
The property developer Les Maisons
high-end boutiques of Zermatt.
des Alpes is part of an international
However, Jeremy Rollason, the
consortium that plans to build
head of Savills Ski, says: ?It
the Hotel Gran Baita, with
would be rather nice to
residences, on the site of
maintain Cervinia?s
the former hotel in the
earthy charm; after
centre of Cervinia,
all, it is why people
which has stood
go there.?
empty since a fire in
Cervinia (at
the 1970s. One of
10 miles
2,050m) has a lot
the resort?s main ski
going for it: it was
will run into the
named the fifth
back of the hotel,
most resilient ski
making it an unusual
area in the world ?
Zermatt was ranked
property. They are also
64 miles
first ? in a recent ski
putting the finishing
report by Savills. ?What is
touches to Residence Carrel
good about Cervinia? The food,
? eleven apartments in two
the golf course, its dual seasonality, that
new-build, traditional-style chalets just
it is Italian, but has access to the Zermatt outside the village of Valtournenche (at
ski area, and faces the Matterhorn. It has 1,524m), with spectacular views across
the golf course to Cervinia and the
Matterhorn. The apartments, priced
from ?490,000 for a one-bedroom 60 sq
house prices were down 13.3 per cent,
m flat to ?790,000 for a 100 sq m twoin Val d?Orcia in southern Tuscany
bedroom penthouse (,
they were down 11.1 per cent, and in the including all furniture and accessories, as
Maremma, southwest Tuscany, they
well as a residents? lounge, terrace, bar,
were down 9.5 per cent. Savills data
spa and gym, and a shuttle bus to the ski
shows prime property prices in Italy
lifts or into Cervinia. The apartments are
are also down, 30 per cent on their
being sold under the Residenze Turistico
2008 high.
Alberghiere scheme and need to be
Annabelle Dudley, the head of Italian available for rent when not in use.
and Spanish sales for Savills, says
There are few resale properties in the
British vendors who have been sitting
village, although a six-bedroom chalet in
on their sales for some time have now
need of refurbishment, close to the piste,
re-evaluated their prices.?
with a large garden and views across the
Redfern says: ?British sellers might
valley, has come available with Casa &
lose on the price of the property, but
Country for ?1.5 million.
they will gain when converting back
Massimo Fiorio of Les Maisons des
to sterling.?
Alpes says: ?Valtournenche is only a
The uncertainty over the recent
ten-minute drive from Cervinia, has a lift
election, though, is not dissuading
connection directly into the ski area, and
buyers. Dudley says: ?I haven?t noticed
property prices about 20 per cent
any dent in inquiry levels or retractions cheaper than the resort, but it is hardly
of offers or sales fall through.?
talked about.?
8 Bricks & Mortar
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Friday March 16 2018 | the times
Deptford: the east?s
latest hipster enclave
s residents will tell you,
Deptford, in southeast
London, is a place with a long
and complex history.
Originally named after the
deep ford that crossed the River
Ravensbourne, a tributary of the River
Thames, Deptford was on the ancient
road from London to Canterbury and
was mentioned in Chaucer?s Canterbury
Tales. Its dockyard, founded by
Henry VIII in 1513, became Britain?s
pre-eminent Tudor shipbuilding outpost,
crucial to the defence of the realm and
its trade. After the dockyard closed in
1869, an area previously known for being
indispensable to the Empire slid into
decline, turning from a cattle market
into a military and industrial zone, and
eventually into severe decay.
Today, however, this corner of
London, situated less than four miles
from London Bridge, is making a
comeback as one of the city?s
fastest-growing regeneration hotspots.
The evidence of rapid change is apparent
when you take a stroll around: hipster
caf閟, such as the vegetarian Waiting
Room on the high street, are a few
minutes? walk from student pubs, such as
the Royal Albert on New Cross Road.
Panda Panda, a Vietnamese street food
outlet, is highly regarded, while those
with a taste for craft beer head to The
Tap Room on Deptford Market Yard.
As the young professionals arrive, so
too do new developments. Pocket
Living, the compact-home developer,
is refurbishing an old propeller
factory, turning it into a development
of 14 one and two-bedroom flats.
These homes, with high
ceilings and timber floors, are
on Arklow Road, which is
about a ten-minute walk to
Deptford or New Cross
stations. The block has been
designed with artwork by
Jessica Childs, a local artist,
and features a communal
garden and cycle parking.
?Most homes are being sold
to owner-occupiers, so it will
have a strong community feel
from the outset,? says Lucian
Smithers, the sales and marketing
director for Pocket Living. Flats
start at �0,000.
Meanwhile, a purpose-built rental
block of one, two and three-bedroom
flats between Deptford and New
Cross, by Uncle, the British arm of
the Canadian company Realstar, is
fully occupied.
But Deptford?s housing stock is varied.
For family homes, the St John?s and
Pocket Living is refurbishing an old propeller factory in Arklow Road,
Deptford, above, into one and two-bedroom flats, left, with prices
starting at �0,000. The development also has a communal garden
Deptford Park conservation
areas feature an impressive
stock of Victorian houses,
with three-bedroom homes
costing about �0,000.
As well as an influx of
hipsters there has been a
resurgence of cultural
institutions, such as The Albany, a
well-known performing arts venue,
and Trinity Laban conservatoire of
music and dance. Daniel Thomas, a
senior valuer at Keatons, the estate
agency, says: ?Deptford has massively
changed over the past 18 months and has
undergone significant gentrification. The
high street has been completely redone
in the past two years and we are seeing
quite a few independent businesses
opening, particularly restaurants. People
are emigrating from other areas of
London, such as Islington and Kentish
Town, because it?s still central, very well
connected, but more affordable.?
Like many areas undergoing swift
gentrification, parts of Deptford can be
scruffy and noisy, particularly near
Goldsmiths, University of London, near
New Cross station. Despite this, the area
is superbly connected to central London,
with New Cross, New Cross Gate and
Deptford stations. A train from Deptford
to London Bridge takes about ten
minutes and it?s an easy cycle to
Greenwich, Blackheath and Peckham.
David Byers
the times | Friday March 16 2018
Bricks & Mortar 9
1G P
The growth of rattan
There is a
telephone pole
in my garden,
with overhead
wires supplying
my neighbours.
Can I get rid of
the eyesore?
attan furniture
is popular again
with interior
stylists and
directors of furniture
companies, so don?t be
surprised to see chairs,
loungers, ceiling shades,
tables and bed frames
made from the material in
shops this spring.
Rattan is a vine-like
plant that is part of the
palm family, grows
naturally in rainforests
and regenerates quickly.
It has a lot going for it: it
is sustainable and bendy,
which makes it easy to
weave. It is also light,
meaning that it is easy to
move, and it is cheaper
than wood.
As with anything that
was popular in the 1970s,
the crucial factor to
incorporating rattan into
interiors, according to
Victoria Harrison, the
editor of,
an online design platform,
is not using too much of
it. Think orange velvet
sofa with rattan sides,
she says, not full-on
Abigail?s Kitchen.
Jessie Hewitson
U Elmley
rattan ceiling
shade, �
U Retro-style
rattan basket
armchair, �3.59
U Fusion rattan baskets, from �
V Salbe side
table with rattan
shelf, �9.99
X Dakara cabana,
two-seat sofa pod, �9
V Akaros rattan
lounge chair and
footstool, �0
is a
The first thing to establish
is who owns the pole.
Most are owned by
Openreach (formerly BT
Openreach), although a
few are owned by other
companies. The pole
should carry the owner?s
mark to identify it.
Next, find out if the
pole is covered by a way
leave agreement, which
gives a utility company
the right to keep its
equipment on your land.
Way leaves can be old,
although Openreach has
a central register of them
and can supply you with a
copy if one exists. A way
leave covers things such
as maintenance of the
pole, and requires a
landowner to be paid a
small rent.
Check the way leave to
see what it says about
termination and removal
of the pole.
Generally, removal
of telegraph poles and
lines are governed
by the Electronic
Communications Code
that came into force on
December 28, 2017. Part
six of the code (which
appears in the first
schedule of the Digital
Economy Act 2017)
includes provisions about
the removal of equipment.
The new code reduces
a landowner?s rights to
require removal
compared with the
Code 1984, which it
Many way leaves, or
?code agreements?, can
only be ended on limited
grounds, such as where
the landowner wants to
Giving notice to end a
way-leave agreement is
more favourable to the
operators. Before the
equipment can be
removed, there is a
requirement to give the
operator reasonable
written notice and meet
one of the narrow
conditions in paragraph
37 of the code.
So, if you want the
telephone pole
removed, you will need
to check for a way-leave
agreement and meet the
requirements of the code.
10 Bricks & Mortar
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Friday March 16 2018 | the times
It?s time to take a price reality
Want to sell your
home? Take a lesson
from Tinder, and
follow this guide
from David Byers
arco Nardi and
his wife, Anne,
assumed they
would have no
problem selling
their home in
west London.
They first placed their property of
2,761 sq ft over four floors on the market
for �65 million 14 months ago.
Today, without a single offer having
been made, except for one that Mr
Nardi describes as ?very cheeky?, they
have agreed to reduce the asking price
to �25 million and move on to their
fifth estate agency.
The couple, who run a publishing
house that specialises in illustrated
books, are aghast. They thought their
1878 artistic heritage property with
light-filled rooms and high ceilings
would be easy to sell.
?Our property is still waiting for a
brave suitor,? he says.
While Mr Nardi and his wife have
dropped their price, experts say too
many sellers are still in a state of
profound denial about the realities
of a slowing market.
?For many sellers, the reality of the
modern market can be quite brutal,?
says Ellie Rees, the creative director at
Brickworks London, an estate agency.
?Their property is not worth what they
think it is, and it?s not worth what many
estate agents tell them either. Some are
quicker to take this on board, but others
are not so quick.?
With the market slow, people now
have to work harder than ever to sell
their home. Here are some key things
that may help the process along.
If the price is wrong, it might
not sell for years
Mr Nardi and his wife have had to slash
their price repeatedly to try and attract
buyers. Make sure you get yours right
from the get-go. ?If you overcook on
price at the beginning, the
property could end up
sitting on the market for
years,? says Alex Lyle,
the director of sales
at Marsh & Parsons,
an estate agency.
?Make sure your
agent understands
the market and
that the price is
right. If they give
you what seems to
be an unusually high
asking price, you have
to wonder about their
Choose the right agent
first time around
The longer your house remains on the
market, the harder it is to sell, so in a
slow market it is crucial to find the
right agency from the start.
The key questions to ask include: does
the agency understand your area well?
This nine-bedroom Queen Anne-style house near Sherborne, Dorset, comes with a two-bedroom coach house. It is on the market for �5 million through Jacks
Meet all the staff involved
in selling your home
Before deciding on an agency, don?t only
meet the manager, but also the other
staff, including valuers and negotiators,
who will be at the frontline of selling
your property. ?Are they enthusiastic?
Are they competent?? says Mr
Lyle. ?How big is the team,
and how mature are they?
These are all key to
getting your house
Get the photography right
?Property websites are like Tinder for
houses,? says Phoebe Oldrey, an interior
designer from Smartstyle Interiors, a
design company based in Tunbridge
Wells, Kent. ?People are going to fall in
love with your home by looking at
photographs before they walk through
the front door.
?It?s amazing how many people
clear their homes up before viewings,
but take useless photographs. I?ve seen
people who had a photo of a bathtub
with a potty in it. People are going to
think you let your child wee in a bath.
No one is going to want to take a bath
in that.?
Get repairs done
?Too many people
can?t be bothered
to deal with their
skirting boards,
or to touch up their
paintwork; they
just assume their home is
so marvellous it will sell
without them making an effort,?
Ms Rees says. ?In a buoyant market you
might not have to do this, but in a slow
market everything has to be presented
absolutely beautifully. We provide
clients with a snagging list and tell
them we?ll take it on if they do the
work first. Otherwise, there?s no point
and everyone?s going to be wasting
their time. First impressions are critical.?
Hire some furniture for viewings
If your furniture looks tired, you
could hire some designer items while
your home is on the market.
Maurizio Pellizzoni, the interior
designer, specialises in taking staged
photography, and will frequently rent
the perfect sofas and tables from
furniture stores for the photos.
Getting a typical Chelsea flat
photographed with hired furniture
costs about �000, and a house
�,000, he says. If you keep the
furniture for two months while your
house is on the market, it will set you
back about �,000. ?You?ll get the
money back ? and more ? when you
sell the house,? he says. Many top-end
buyers choose to take the furniture, too.
Does it deal with a lots of homes in your
price range; and can it can reach buyers
from far and wide?
In Southwell,
this five-bedroom house
is on sale for �85 million
through Humberts. Left:
Marco Nardi and his
wife, Anne, have dropped
the price of their
four-bedroom home
in Kensington, west
London, from
�65 million to
�25 million
On the cover in
Templecombe, Somerset,
this seven-bedroom
house is �85 million
with Jackson-Stops
Spruce up your rooms for viewing
It sounds obvious, but make sure
your house looks its best. Buy some
flowers to make rooms more appealing
(orchids are recommended) and put
fresh linen on your beds.
Declutter the rooms so people can
appreciate their true size, and remove
excessive family pictures from rooms,
which buyers don?t tend to like.
It?s also worth checking which way
internal doors open. ?A lot of houses
contain doors that open outwards,
into a corridor, rather than into a
room ? it feels fiddly for people to get
into a room if they?re walking around a
door that protrudes outwards,? Ms
Oldrey says. It may be worth having
them rehinged, if possible.
the times | Friday March 16 2018
Bricks & Mortar 11
1G P
y check
Expert advice
0 ?We had a situation yesterday where
we met a family who wanted to instruct
us as their third agent. We were trying
to help them declutter, and they were
really put out and offended, and unable
to emotionally detach themselves. Our
relationship with them is not going
forward, and now they?re looking for a
fourth agent.? Ellie Rees, creative
director at Brickworks London,
estate agency
0 ?People are not reacting quickly
enough to the realities of the
marketplace, and they don?t listen to
the advice given to them by people
who know what they?re talking about.
If a property sits on the market for a
month, then two months, and then
six, you need to act decisively to sell it.
Invariably, the reason they?re not
listening is because the problem is the
price they?ve put it on for.? Alex Lyle,
director of sales, Marsh and Parsons,
an estate agency
0 ?If you must cook a fragrant Indian
curry, ensure that the extractors are
on full, with the kitchen windows open.
Scented candles help, but not when
they smell like lavatory deodorisers.?
Trevor Abrahmson, managing
director of Glentree International,
an estate agency
0 ?An unfurnished property, or a
small space, can make it hard for people
to imagine what it would be
like to live there, while a tired-looking
home can portray lower quality.
Often, the price has to be reduced as
a result.? Marina Collett, a partner
at TPS Furnishings, which arranges
home makeovers for those looking
to sell
Make your home smell sweet
Much has been made of properties
selling better if they smell like coffee or
fresh bread. Yet Ms Oldrey says this has
been overstated. In her experience, a
neutral smell is fine ? but far too many
still smell odorous.
?I?ve been to houses where people
spent all day cooking Brussels sprouts
or pungent fish,? she says. ?It?s
extraordinary people don?t realise
this will be a bad idea.?
What you
in the
On our
and online
at thetimes
Check your lease
If you?re selling a flat, check the length
remaining on the lease. If it is less
than 80 years, you?ll struggle to sell
it because buyers will often find it
difficult to get a mortgage.
Many buyers and lenders insist on a
minimum of 90 years. It isn?t cheap,
though ? bringing a 60-year-old lease
up to 100 years can cost as much as
�,000. It?s often a bureaucratic
process, involving lengthy negotiations
with your freeholder. Get it sorted
before putting your home on the
market, or at least start the process
so that buyers can see that the issue is
being addressed.
Rinse and repeat
If a property has been on the market
for a while, get it photographed again
to make it look fresh and interesting
when people come across it. This
increases your chances of selling it.
Penthouses in the Landmark Place development in east London start at �74 million and have views of Tower Bridge.
Below, inset: in Shoreditch, east London, this four-bedroom penthouse is �75 million. Both are available through Savills
Room at the top: why buyers are
passionate about penthouses
itans of industry like to feel
that they are above the rest of
us and nothing reinforces that
more than a home on the top
floor ? after the corner office
it is the most coveted of locations. So
much so that, despite estate agents
bemoaning that property prices in prime
central London are subdued, penthouses
can still have a 17 per cent premium.
Data from Savills shows that the
average price for a prime central London
flat is �900 a square foot, whereas the
price for a penthouse in the same
location is �200 a square foot.
The price per square foot
doesn?t do justice to what
is on offer though: at
20 Grosvenor Square
residents can have
wardrobes ? ?the
best way to protect
fur coats and
expensive clothes
from moths? ? as
well as �0,000
H鋝ten Vividus beds
and �,000 Toto
lavatories. If you fancy the
idea of moth-free cashmere,
an 11-layer mattress and heated
lavatory seats, you still can, but you will
have to settle for a lower floor because
the penthouse at 20 Grosvenor Square
has just sold. The price paid hasn?t been
disclosed, but flats in the Four
Seasons-serviced development, by
Finchatton and Qatari Diar Real Estate,
start at about �.5 million.
At a slightly lower price point, if not
vantage point, is the penthouse in
Rathbone Square, Fitzrovia, which
comes with a cosmetics fridge in the
bathroom and built-in jewellery safe in
the dressing room. The four-bedroom,
four-bathroom flat on the seventh floor
of this development by Great Portland
Estates comes with a �75 million price
tag. Almost all penthouses come with
24/7 concierge services, spas, gyms,
swimming pools and private dining
rooms with top-rated chefs on speed
dial. Many also come with five-star
hotel services and top-level
security services.
Stephen Holmes of
Savills in Kensington
says: ?Penthouses find
their roots in 1920s
New York, when it
became fashionable
to add another
?house? to the roof
of buildings. While
the term is often
used to describe a
top-floor apartment, a
true penthouse is set
back from a building?s
outer edges, with the
remainder of the roof space used to
create a terrace.
?While the buyer profile is varied,
penthouse owners can include
high-profile individuals wanting a
discreet and secure place to call home, as
well as others attracted to owning a
statement or trophy address.?
So prestigious is the concept of the
The four-bedroom, four-bathroom designer penthouse in Rathbone Square,
Fitzrovia, central London, is on the market for �75 million through Savills
This three-bedroom penthouse in
Thames Reach, Hammersmith, west
London, is �8 million (Knight Frank)
penthouse that some developers are
trying to expand its allure to the flat
below. W-One International is selling ?a
three bedroom sub-penthouse? at The
W1 London on Marylebone High Street.
?The sub-penthouse is the sister to a
four-bedroom penthouse that has sold,?
it says. The flat, priced at �.5 million, is
lovely, but no amount of marketing will
elevate it to the top floor.
Not all penthouses are created equal,
though, with the one at the South Bank
Tower, by the developer CIT, being the
antithesis of that at 20 Grosvenor
Square. Instead of an array of interior
design features, this vast (4,375 sq ft)
duplex is being sold as ?shell and core?
? or, in other words, unfinished. Buyers
who don?t want to employ their own
architect and interior designer can take
advantage of a proposal by Dara Huang,
an acclaimed designer at Design Haus
Liberty, the architecture and design
company. The price, fitted out to
Huang?s design, is � million.
Penthouses are not exclusive to
London, but they do tend to be more
common in cities where land prices are
at a premium. However, they aren?t all
urban new-builds: Strutt & Parker is
selling a three-bedroom penthouse at
the top of a grade II listed country house
near Sevenoaks in Kent for �15 million.
It?s also selling a penthouse on top of a
grand Victorian mansion in Tonbridge,
also in Kent, for �35 million.
Carol Lewis
the times | Friday March 16 2018
Bricks & Mortar 13
1G P
here is one real
knockout star of The
Assassination of Gianni
Versace: American Crime
Story series on BBC Two:
Villa Casa Casuarina,
Gianni Versace?s Miami
mansion, on the steps of
which he was shot in 1997, and its
over-the-top interiors.
In the opening sequence of episode
one, Gianni is in his enormous
double-king-size bed (sheets in the
Versace mansion had to be custom-made
to fit) staring up at the clouds on his
muraled ceiling, Florida sunshine
streaming in through stained-glass
windows. He takes his breakfast in a
hot-pink dressing gown beside fountains
and his swimming pool, which is inlaid
with 24-carat-gold tiles imported from
Italy, and grabs his house keys from a
gold Versace-print plate. One room
resembles a shell grotto, the walls
lined with tiny pebbles. There are
leopard-print sofas, tasselled cushions,
gilt mirrors, white orchids in vases.
These scenes were filmed in his house,
which was built in 1930 to resemble
Alcazar de Colon in the Dominican
Republic, the house built for Christopher
Columbus?s son. It was bought by
Versace in 1993 and was where he hosted
parties with Madonna, Diana, Princess
of Wales, and Elton John. Now it is a
hotel, where a night in Versace?s suite
costs $1,799, and is the third most
photographed home in the world,
after the White House and Graceland.
Versace had ?the most outrageous
taste anybody has ever seen, but the
underlying message is absolute
freedom?, wrote Cathy Horyn, the
Vanity Fair journalist, in 1997 after
she spent time in the mansion.
If the show is inspiring you to throw
off the shackles of restrained good taste
and giving you bling envy, you can buy a
UK-based Versace-designed home of
your own. Aykon London One, one of
the towers in the Nine Elms
regeneration area next to
Battersea, southwest
London, is due for
completion in 2020
and its interiors have
been created by
brand Versace.
The lobby,
amenities and
interiors for each
apartment are
designed and fitted
out by Versace Home,
as is the gym (with
Versace-themed punch
bags and towels), indoor
swimming pool and spa, roof
garden and cinema. Think Greek and
Roman mythology and Medusa head
logos, gold-plated chandeliers and
Jonathan Adler Baxter sofa, �595,
Constantine accent table, �5, and
Vienna large chandelier, �195
Jonathan Adler Nouvelle console,
�850 and Maxime lounge chair
in Rialto Charcoal �750
Drummonds showroom featuring pink bath tub and Cole & Son palm-leaf wallpaper by Maurizio Pellizzoni
Gold and bold: the
Versace look is back
Take a leaf out of Gianni and Donatella?s book because
luxury decor is all about maximalism, says Laura Whateley
marble floors, bathrooms and kitchens.
The only sticking point is that a
two-bedroom apartment costs
�8 million.
It would be more
affordable to kit your
own home out with
Versace accessories
? though only just.
An Arabesque
amber water
goblet by Versace
costs �6, and a
gold and
elaborately painted
porcelain sauceboat
�2, from
Fun, irreverent maximalism
is big at the moment, say designers,
with bright colours, textures, metallics
and a hint of art deco Miami retroism
replacing sensible greige interiors.
Who would not want to have a bath in
Drummonds?s new shocking-pink
standalone tub, with gold taps, styled in
a showroom inspired by Bel Air
mansions, designed by Maurizio
Pellizzoni, against a feature wall of green
palm-leaf print wallpaper by Cole & Son
and a shiny black and white tiled floor?
Even Ikea has issued advice on how to
get Versace?s ?eclectic, opulent? style in
your home. Try its Omedelbar
leopard-print rug (�); Henrika, bright
turquoise, silky striped cushion (�;
Dotorp brass-effect chandelier (�); or
Tillagd gold-coloured cutlery set (�).
Gold is everywhere. Jonathan Adler,
the furniture designer whose latest
collection includes a Nouvelle console
mirrored with gold and blue zigzag
patterns, and another decorated with
geometric pastel-coloured shapes and
gold legs, says he wasn?t always a gold
person, ?but then I dipped my toe in and
Linwood?s luxury
Metropolis fabric
collection, from �.30 a
metre. Inset above:
Edgar Ramirez as Gianni
Versace in BBC Two
series The Assassination
of Gianni Versace
now I am a complete addict: all gold
everything. The primacy of gold in our
culture isn?t random, it?s visceral. Gold
makes life more bold, glamorous and
memorable. Gold is more than a colour,
it?s a feeling.?
Carlo Ninchi and Vittorio Locatelli
of the interior designer Oneroom
specialise in extravagant designs. In their
gallery, four-storey warehouse in
Shoreditch, east London, they have
papered the walls of some rooms gold,
mixing in art installations, designer
furniture, such as a Tom Dixon Pylon
chair, and an original Fracanzano
painting of two male wrestlers that they
bought from the Gianni Versace estate.
?Our interiors take shape through
unexpected alchemies, the result of
which is a balanced eclecticism that
mixes styles, materials and colours,?
Locatelli says. ?Our inspiration finds
references from high culture as well as
popular culture. Each piece that we
propose to our clients is carefully
selected after complex research for its
uniqueness, beauty and functionality to
the project. At the end of the process,
order and calm arise from chaos to
create an original interior.?
Inside Palace View, a luxury housing
development next to Lambeth Palace in
central London, the designers of one of
the show flats ? Stephanie Koball and
Hannah Lodge of Hatch Interiors ?
went for a ?bold luxe? look, combining
distressed brass, satin chrome and gold
tones for a ?statement-metallic palette?.
They also used monochrome print
fabrics, accent cushions and 3D chevron
wallpaper. In the bedrooms there is
rose-gold wallpaper, an upholstered
four-poster bed, and an electric green
and gold feature chair, which help to
make the bedrooms an ?inviting, lavish
escape?. Two-bedroom apartments cost
from �195 million.
Donatella Versace?s staple luxe
leather trousers are being channelled in
interiors too ? on walls and floors.
Popular with Middle Eastern designers,
camel leather, which is stronger than
cow leather, is used on camel-coloured
kitchen and dining room chairs for the
interiors of Paddington Gardens (flats
from �5,000).
Wealthy clients of Sophie Paterson, an
interior designer who has worked at The
W1 London in Marylebone, are
increasingly requesting dressing rooms
with a display area for their Herm鑣
Birkin bags and Jimmy Choo shoes, with
lighting to highlight key wardrobe pieces.
It?s about going all out for yourself,
rather than worrying about a neutral
scheme that will appeal to others.
?Separate dressing rooms and
bathrooms are almost an essential
requirement for our clients now,?
Paterson says. ?We have installed fridges,
mini kitchens and sitting areas within
dressing rooms previously. People are
now thinking about how they want to
use their space and customising their
homes to their specific needs, rather
than worrying about how many
bedrooms the house has and what
impact the changes they make will have
on the resale value.?
14 Bricks & Mortar
1G P
Friday March 16 2018 | the times
Designer living in Greenwich
How to kick your
Sophie Ashby, the founder of Studio
Ashby, is the interior designer of the
moment, in high demand with
everyone from wealthy individuals to
savvy developers. She has worked on
developments such as Battersea Power
Station in southwest London and One
Crown Place on the edge of the City.
Tomorrow the latest of her designs
goes on display in Greenwich
Peninsula, southeast London.
Ashby has designed the
interior areas of one of
the five blocks of flats
that form Upper
Riverside. The
development will be
within the 150-acre
docklands site close
to the
O2 arena that is
receiving an
�4 billion
regeneration by the
developer Knight Dragon.
The Upper Riverside
blocks of flats, designed by Som,
the architect agency responsible for
the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, are stepped
? with communal and private roof
gardens ? towards the river. At the
bottom is a landscaped park. A 5km
walkway will run alongside the towers.
It has been designed by the architect
Diller Scofidio + Renfro, which worked
on New York?s High Line.
The inside areas of each of the five
riverside towers have been put together
by different interior designers, with the
first two blocks designed by Tom Dixon
and State of Craft, the London studio
that designed the flats in the Shard.
Dixon, best known for his lighting
designs, has put together the look for
the lounge and spa, which will feature
a swimming pool, a steam room, two
gyms and a communal roof terrace.
Ashby?s designs can be seen in the
reception, communal areas
and apartments of the third
block, as well as the
showroom, left, where
she combines modern
takes on retro styles,
including rattan
chairs and
light shades. Rather
than the usual beige
painted walls of
new-build flats, Ashby
proposes painting some
walls in deep greens and
blues, although buyers have
a choice about this. The flats
start at �5,000.
The first residents are expected to
move into the Upper Riverside
neighbourhood this autumn. So far
about 1,500 homes have been delivered
on Greenwich Peninsula; eventually
the area will have 15,000 homes. It is
estimated that the project, which
began in 2012, could take a further
20 years to complete.
Carol Lewis
It?s crucial to discover
which seasonal
colour palette you like
best ? then stick to it,
says Jessie Hewitson
he interior stylist Sophie
Robinson is on a mission
to reduce our habit of
painting our homes
neutral colours. With
a strategy resembling
the 12-step programme
offered by Alcoholics
Anonymous, she wants to help us to
give up our addiction to painting our
walls grey.
Her method is colour psychology, a
framework for using colour and pattern
that is more sensible than it sounds. It
takes four ?looks? and groups them into
seasons ? spring, summer, winter and
autumn ? with each season using
different shades and colours to create a
distinct style. Once you establish which
season you like best, you know which
colours, patterns and types of furniture
will work with each other. The idea is
that you are not overwhelmed by new
trends ? you need not be aware of
them, even ? because you will be
focused on one style. Choosing colours
colour pots
and rug
Where next?
Discover Britain?s best places to live in our exclusive 48-page magazine.
Out this Sunday.
won?t be difficult because the choice
will be more narrow.
Robinson, who is also a presenter of
the BBC One programme DIY SOS, is
running colour events at Habitat this
month; two-hour masterclasses to teach
people how to be bold.
A quick glimpse around her home in
Brighton, East Sussex, proves that she is
not only talking the talk, she?s walking
the walk. Her living room wallpaper is a
the times | Friday March 16 2018
Bricks & Mortar 15
1G P
grey addiction Super sofas
V Simon two-seat sofa, Grace Kelly cotton, �0
W Brix two-seat
sofa, acor blue, �5
Fran Hickman
V Halston velvet
two-seat sofa,
grey, �9
prism triangle pattern in pink, lilac,
purple, blue, yellow, orange and brown
hues. A teal-coloured velvet sofa is set
off by clashing Liberty-print cushions.
On the floor is a red, brown and blue
Turkish-style rug.
Colour psychology, devised by the
psychologist Angela Wright in the 1990s,
is the interior design version of Colour
Me Beautiful, the 1980s fashion trend
that categorised people as autumn,
summer, spring or winter. Once you
were given a season, you were told which
colours suited you best.
?I think this theory empowers people
to be confident with colour and
patterns,? Robinson says. ?A lot of people
worry about cost or can?t choose a
colour, so they end up going for grey.
There are so many lovely wallpaper
products out there, it?s difficult not to get
pulled every which way.?
With each new season, the big
interiors brands try to persuade us to
repaint our homes teal, millennial pink,
or cactus green with copper accessories,
but Robinson thinks we should find a
style and stick to it. ?When a trend
comes along you might think, that?s not
my look, I will leave it behind,? she
says. ?While I love Pinterest
and Instagram, I am
concerned that it?s
encouraging us to
blindly copy trends.?
Arguably, since the
1990s, when interest
in the Kelly Hoppen
interior design
aesthetic peaked,
we?ve all been living
neutrally. The interior
designer Mhairi Coyle
says that it?s time
to change. ?I love correct or
bold use of colour,? Coyle says.
?Colour adds a spot of personality.
In London we tend to use less colour as
we have smaller spaces, but if you have
good light and good proportions, it?s
easier to be bold. Colour in hallways is
always a brilliant thing. You can go dark
or really colourful. If you have a small
space with no light, painting it white
will just make it cold.?
Which season are you?
Spring homes have lots of busy prints
and light, bright colours, modern design,
pale wood furniture and glossy surfaces.
The style is upbeat, optimistic, energetic
and youthful; think Cath Kidston.
Summer homes are English, elegant,
V Amabile
maxi sofa,
plush rose,
V Grayson
two-seat sofa,
Gail Bryson Soni
Cerulean, �100
Winter warmer: hallway painted in
Farrow & Ball Babouche (No. 223),
estate emulsion finish, � for 2 litres
muted and feature subtle colours, with
a soft, romantic style and a bit of
formality. ?Summer people are attracted
to tradition and will look towards the
past for inspiration. They will have a
love of nature and the overall look is
understated,? Robinson says. The
designer Rose Uniacke oversaw the
design of the Beckhams? home in
Holland Park, west London, which is
done up in classic summer style.
Autumn is Robinson?s
season. It?s cosy, homely,
intense and uses rich
colours, such as
teal and mustard
yellows. Autumn
homeowners will like
vintage, upcycling
and handmade
items. An autumn
person loves
travelling and will have
handpainted furniture
from India. ?William
Morris is 100 per cent
autumn,? says Robinson.
Winter is stark with graphics and a
cutting edge style (like that of the
designer Abigail Ahern). ?A lot of
interior designers fall into this category.
It?s the best of everything. But you can
get polar opposites. The John Paulson
minimalism and handleless homes can
fall into this category, but you can also
find a crazy maximalist home,?
Robinson says. Colours are strong and
high-impact, and include cobalt blue,
mimosa yellow and blacks.
6 Habitat is holding two colour
workshops for home improvers at
its Tottenham Court Road shop in
central London on March 27 and 28
for � (
U Onassis
sofa, petrol
blue, �895
U Piped classic two-seat
sofa, Nordic linen
midnight blue, �890
U Hampstead
velvet sofa, �400
U Lampert velvet sofa, Verona emerald, �695
by Holly
ran Hickman, 34, founded
her London-based design
studio four years ago. She has
worked on a range of residential
and commercial interiors,
including the Emilia Wickstead
showroom in Knightsbridge, west
London, and Chess Club, a members?
club in Mayfair, central London ? the
butterfly motifs on the walls were
inspired by the Turin apartment of
the Italian architect Carlo Mollino.
Hickman developed an interest in
interior design while at art school.
Before establishing her own studio, she
worked across the Soho House Group?s
properties. She also collaborated with
Waldo Works, the architectural and
interior design practice. Her favourite
room at home is the bathroom.
0 What is your biggest source of
design inspiration? Travel and art
0 Chintz or minimalism? Minimalism.
0 What is your design essential? A
clear intention.
0 Your favourite interior design
?quick fix?? Careful lighting; light
is a powerful tool that can enhance
any space.
0 Your prediction for the next big
interior design trend? I would like
to see greater environmental
responsibility built into the way we make
things, but it will be probably be
a new shade of blue.
0 The design pitfall to avoid?
Downlights. They always remind me of
gallery spaces when a home should be
warm and inviting in contrast.
0 If you could live in anyone?s house
whose would it be and why? I would
like a house in the sun. John Lautner?s
modernist Goldstein House perched in
the hills of Beverly Crest, Los Angeles,
would do. It is surrounded by lush
vegetation, offers stunning views and
eliminates the distinction between
indoor and outdoor.
0 When decorating what do you
splurge on? A good kitchen and
bathroom are worth spending
money on.
0 What would you save on?
This and that, with the help
of Ikea. It?s brilliant; Ikea?s
Scandi pieces can be easily
incorporated into any
0 The best piece of
design advice you have
ever received? Be
0 What is your
favourite thing about
your home? The
comfort that it brings
? that, or the
working fireplaces.
Anna Temkin
18 Bricks & Mortar
1G P
Friday March 16 2018 | the times
In Money
Fix your eye on the northwest
Forget Balham. It?s
all about Blackburn.
Francesca Steele
assesses the state of
the housing market
A question of
money: our
experts? response
to your queries
Isas 2018: how
to invest your
allowance before
the deadline
Best-buy loans
f you want to make money, head
northwest. This is the message to
investors as house prices slow
across much of the UK, but rise in
the northwest of England. In
Blackburn, Lancashire, house
prices year on year rose 16.4 per
cent in January, according to Your
Move, an estate agency.
What is happening in London?
Prices in London fell by 2.6 per cent in
the 12 months to January, according to
Your Move?s latest report, although there
have been increases in boroughs such as
Bexley, southeast London (up by 4.5 per
cent over the same period) and Waltham
or selling
Trust us to take care of
your transfer.
Forest, northeast London (up by 3.1 per
cent). The most expensive boroughs
suffered the most: in Wandsworth,
southwest London, the average house
price tumbled by 14.9 per cent, from
�5,460 to �5,568.
Other indices show a similar picture.
Knight Frank reported that prime
London prices were down by an average
of 1.6 per cent over the past quarter.
Capital Economics, a research
consultancy, says: ?London can no
longer be characterised as a sellers?
market. A shift in attitude among sellers
combined with lower buyer numbers has
sharply altered the balance of power.
?With few forced sellers, thanks to
London?s buoyant labour market, prices
are more likely to slide gradually lower
than to slump. We have pencilled in a 3
per cent fall this year and a 5 per cent
drop in 2019.?
What?s going on up north?
House prices in the southeast have fallen
0.5 per cent in the past year, according
to Your Move, but in the northwest they
have risen by 4.6 per cent, and by
0.3 per cent in the past month. Aside
from Blackburn streaking ahead, in
Warrington prices rose 10.3 per cent, in
Greater Manchester prices rose 4.3 per
cent and in Merseyside, 8 per cent.
Why? It is in large part down to the
investor market. Despite tax changes
that have dampened the buy-to-let
market, many investors have been
drawn to the north by the low house
prices and growing yields.
JLL, a property company, lists
Manchester as its No 1 prospect
for residential price growth
over the next five years. It
predicts a rise of 4.2 per cent
over that time, compared with
an average of 2.4 per cent
across the UK.
?Manchester is firmly
established as the second most
important economic hub in the
UK,? says Stephen Hogg, the lead
director of regional residential at
JLL. This is partly because of the
city?s graduate retention rate: half
of Manchester?s graduates stay in
the city for work.
And elsewhere?
The northwest is only one of four
regions to reach record prices in January,
according to Your Move ? the East
Midlands, the southwest and Wales have
too. Leicester and Nottingham in the
East Midlands are also places to watch,
the agent says.
JLL also tips Birmingham for price
appreciation, based in part on
employment growth. More young
professionals are looking for affordable
cities to work in and move to, and
Birmingham is set to benefit.
Institutional investors have also
This seven-bedroom Georgian house in Kidderminster,
Worcestershire, is on sale for �25 million through Knight Frank
invested heavily in the build-to-rent
sector in the city, including Exchange
Square, a joint venture of 600
homes between Nikal and LaSalle
Investment Management.
In South Kensington,
southwest London, a
two-bedroom flat in a
mansion block is on
sale for �975 million
through Strutt & Parker
No transfer fees for private clients
Lock in a rate for the future
0207 294 7971
International money transfer from
The Times and The Sunday Times
This three-bedroom beachfront apartment in Bracklesham, West
Sussex, is on the market for �5,000 through Strutt & Parker
Residential lending fell in the
last quarter of 2017, according
to Bank of England data
released this week. Mark
Harris, the chief executive of
SPF Private Clients, a
mortgage broker, says: ?This
may be down to a traditionally
quieter period of the year for the
housing market, lack of stock,
continued uncertainty over Brexit and
fears regarding potential future interest
rate rises.? It is important to note that
remortgaging rose as interest rates
remain low (they are expected to rise
twice this year from the present rate of
0.5 per cent) and that the number of
first-time buyers has increased.
Russell Galley, the managing director
at Halifax, says: ?While we expect price
growth to remain low, the low mortgage
rate environment combined with a
shortage of properties for sale should
continue to support house prices.?
A reversal of fortunes in cities
Regional cities are closing in on London
in terms of property price growth. House
prices in Edinburgh, Birmingham and
Manchester are set for a rise of between
20 and 30 per cent over the next four
years, according to Hometrack, the data
analyst. Since 2009 London has soared
ahead of other cities, with an 86 per cent
increase in house prices, but growth in
the capital is stalling. The average city
UK house price grew by 4 per cent last
year, and in London by 1.6 per cent.
However, in Edinburgh house prices rose
by 7.7 per cent. In Birmingham they grew
by 7.3 per cent and in Manchester by
6.7 per cent. Cities near London also
started to see slowing house price
growth, with prices in Oxford and
Cambridge, which have soared in recent
years, falling to 1.1 per cent and -1.1 per
cent respectively.
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