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Inside Bath flat used by Queen Charlotte for sale for £1.25million 

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Royal fans are being offered a chance to see what it was like to live like a queen in the past, as part of the Bath home of King George III’s wife, Charlotte, has come onto the market.

The building at 93 Sydney Place was where Queen Charlotte stayed when she spent time in Bath in 1817, and she used a section of the first floor as a ballroom.

Today, the entire first floor has been transformed into a stunning flat, which is currently for sale with a price tag of £1.25million. Period features that have been brought back to life in the renovated flat include a large curved door, ornate cornicing and a magnificent sun room.

Royal connections: The building at 93 Sydney Place was where King George III's wife, Charlotte, stayed when she spent time in Bath in 1817

Royal connections: The building at 93 Sydney Place was where King George III’s wife, Charlotte, stayed when she spent time in Bath in 1817

Alistair Heather, of Strutt & Parker – the estate agent handling the sale – said: ‘Queen Charlotte, consort to George III, lived at 93 Sydney Place in 1817, commemorated by a plaque on the exterior of the building, and is believed to have used the first floor as a ballroom during her stay.’

He added: ‘Bath has a great lineage of royal visitors over the years and it was very fashionable at the time of Queen Charlotte to come and stay in the city to use the Bath Spa.’

The first floor of 93 Sydney Place has been converted into a flat, which is on the market, via estate agents Strutt & Parker with an asking price  of £1.25million

The first floor of 93 Sydney Place has been converted into a flat, which is on the market, via estate agents Strutt & Parker with an asking price  of £1.25million

A decorative plaque on the exterior of the building highlights how Queen Charlotte stayed at the property during her time in the city

A decorative plaque on the exterior of the building highlights how Queen Charlotte stayed at the property during her time in the city

In times past (pictured): King George III and his wife, with his consort Charlotte Sophia, and some of their family

In times past (pictured): King George III and his wife, with his consort Charlotte Sophia, and some of their family

The space at the front of the converted first floor flat includes large doors that open out  onto a wide balcony overlooking Sydney Gardens

The space at the front of the converted first floor flat includes large doors that open out  onto a wide balcony overlooking Sydney Gardens

The flat has two bedrooms with double doors from the former ballroom leading to the largest bedroom that also contains a bath in the window

The flat has two bedrooms with double doors from the former ballroom leading to the largest bedroom that also contains a bath in the window

The flat boasts a range of features, from a sun room to 10 foot high wedding doors, which connect the main living room with the main bedroom. The doors can still be opened fully to create a dramatic front-to-back aspect through the property. 

There are also three bespoke chandeliers, which help to draw the eye to the ornate cornicing throughout the flat.

During our exclusive tour of the flat, Mr Heather explained: ‘The property is Grade I listed and recently renovated. The decorators only had to remove two layers of paint. The ceiling and cornice work is so fine.’

There are now two-bedrooms in the newly renovated flat, one behind the 10 ft wedding doors and the other in what used to be a kitchen. That room now has a mezzanine with space for a bed on the upper level and a fully-fitted shower room below.

The newly installed designer kitchen has a pop-up extractor fan set in the centre of the hob on the kitchen island and brushed brass accessories

The newly installed designer kitchen has a pop-up extractor fan set in the centre of the hob on the kitchen island and brushed brass accessories 

The balcony spans the width of the living room and enjoys views of Sydney Gardens, which is a landscaped park with a canal

The balcony spans the width of the living room and enjoys views of Sydney Gardens, which is a landscaped park with a canal

The careful renovation includes three bespoke chandeliers, other modern lighting touches, and some freshly painted ornate cornicing

The careful renovation includes three bespoke chandeliers, other modern lighting touches, and some freshly painted ornate cornicing

This Georgian shoe was found in the flat - they were  often left in buildings as a piece of history and as a mark of craftsmanship

This Georgian shoe was found in the flat – they were  often left in buildings as a piece of history and as a mark of craftsmanship

The new kitchen is now part of the main living area, which includes a large fireplace, a balcony with views across Sydney Gardens and new lighting.

Mr Heather said: ‘Due to the historical status of the building being Grade I listed, rewiring the property was very tricky.

‘The electrician used a rather ingenious way of running the wires from the switches to the chandeliers by tying the electrical wire to the end of a ferret’s tail. They then sent the ferret through into the wall using bait through the ceiling to bring it back through. In doing so, it brought the wires through.

‘While they were doing this work in the ‘ballroom’, the ferret emerged with a bit of bonus – a Georgian shoe found between the joists.

‘Georgian shoes were often left in a building like this as a piece of history and as a mark of craftsmanship.’

Sydney Place was designed and built by the architect John Pinch The Elder, and was considered the centre of fashionable life in Bath

 Sydney Place was designed and built by the architect John Pinch The Elder, and was considered the centre of fashionable life in Bath

The sun room sits above the main entrance to the block and is the perfect spot to enjoy the summer sunshine

The sun room sits above the main entrance to the block and is the perfect spot to enjoy the summer sunshine

Sydney Place was designed and built by the architect John Pinch The Elder, and was considered the centre of fashionable life in Bath.

It was home in the 19th Century to Jane Austen, who lived at number 4, and King William IV had a home at 103 Sydney Place.

More recently, the location has found fame in the Netflix series Bridgerton, which was mainly filmed in Bath, and one of the key locations is across the street – the Holburne Museum. 

Sydney Place has good access to public transport, being a short walk to Bath Spa station, which has mainline railway services to London Paddington and Bristol Temple Meads.

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Bloom secures planning for London ultra-urban warehouse developments (GB)

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Bloom has secured planning consent for two developments in central London. The developments are located in Hackney and Brixton and are the first to be carried out by Bloom for its €290.4m (£250m) ultra-urban warehouse joint venture with Angelo Gordon to acquire and develop sites in central London. In Hackney, on a site by the A12 next to 331 Wick Road, Bloom will develop two units, totaling 14,045ft², designed by Michael Sparks Associates. Construction will start next month, with completion expected in April 2023. In Brixton, at 146-156 Brixton Hill and Units 5 & 6 Waterworks Road, Bloom will develop five units, totaling 35,360ft², designed by Chetwoods. Construction will start in September, with completion expected in August 2023.

 

Both developments will be targeting a BREEAM sustainability rating of ‘Excellent’ and an EPC rating of ‘A+’ in accord with Bloom’s core sustainability objective to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through construction and operational efficiency. The schemes will include extensive urban greening through the implementation of green walls, green roofs, increased landscaping, bird boxes, and insect hotels to significantly improve the biodiversity; renewable energy in the form of solar photovoltaic panels on the roofs; and lorry, car, and cycle EV charging points to encourage sustainable and active modes of transport as well as enhanced power capacity to accommodate future EV transport technologies.

 

Tom Davies, co-founder of Bloom, said: “Our first two planning consents represent an important milestone for the Bloom team, which is working hard to deliver high-quality and design-led industrial and logistics schemes in supply-constrained inner London sub-markets”.

 

Sam McGirr, co-founder of Bloom, said: “These planning consents for well-located sites give us the opportunity to meet the high demand for convenience and speed from businesses, such as F&B delivery, post and parcel, e-mobility, self-storage and urban logistics and consumers in the local communities”.

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Could equity release be used to help more younger homebuyers?

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Younger first-time buyers could be given more financial help from the Bank of Grandma and Grandad, through the use of improved equity release products, a new report suggests.

The document written by Tom McPhail, of consultancy The Lang Cat, claimed that younger buyers are missing out because older members of their family are unable to satisfactorily tap into their property wealth.

Mr McPhail said: ‘Releasing some of the equity in a property means older homeowners can choose when and how they share their wealth with younger generations.

‘An equity release by grandparents of say £20,000 now, could be transformational for a 20 something struggling to raise a deposit and get on the housing ladder but would make only a very modest dent to the value of the grandparent’s house.’

Releasing some of the equity in a property means older homeowners can choose when and how they share their wealth with younger generations, says new report

Releasing some of the equity in a property means older homeowners can choose when and how they share their wealth with younger generations, says new report

The report acknowledged that equity release has endured a poor reputation in the past after customers suffered ‘severe’ financial knocks.

The sector has been criticised for encouraging people to take on debt, particularly later on in life.

There has also been other concerns about equity release, such as customers falling into negative equity where the value of a property is less than the loan taken out against it when house prices fall.

The report suggested that while the equity release sector has since begun to put ‘its house in order’, it is ‘still not perfect’ and some regulatory safeguards need to be strengthened.

It called for several issues to be looked at, including early redemption charges on equity release products.

It said that most providers apply a simple sliding scale of charges, for example 10 per cent in year on to 1 per cent in year 10.

However, it claimed that some providers apply an early redemption charge based on prevailing gilt rates at that time, putting customers at an ‘unfair disadvantage’.

This is because the fees are not transparent as there is no way a customer can know in advance whether they’d be liable for a charge and if so, how much. 

In the past, customers have also fallen foul of the small print on their equity release loans when it comes to early-redemption penalties – such as couples who must pay an exit fee unless both of them need to go into care.

The report also raised questions about interest rates on equity release products. It said providers should be consistent with their lending criteria and not move the goalposts after customers have taken out a loan, as this can make it harder for them to access a top-up loan in the future, potentially forcing them to remortgage. 

Equity release products could help people access their property wealth to help younger members of their family onto the property ladder

Equity release products could help people access their property wealth to help younger members of their family onto the property ladder

The report argued that equity release products could help people access their property wealth to help younger members of their family onto the property ladder.

Mr McPhail added: ‘Raising a deposit has become an increasingly significant barrier to getting on the housing ladder, with increasing numbers of first-time buyers having to rely on financial help from older generations.

‘Releasing some of the equity in a property allows older homeowners to choose when and how they share their wealth with the younger generation.

‘This more targeted approach gives them greater control to use their assets to the maximum benefit at the point of need.’

Raising a deposit is a barrier to getting on the housing ladder, with increasing numbers of first-time buyers having to rely on financial help from older generations, says the report's author Tom McPhail

Raising a deposit is a barrier to getting on the housing ladder, with increasing numbers of first-time buyers having to rely on financial help from older generations, says the report’s author Tom McPhail

Equity release: How it works and advice

To help readers considering equity release, This is Money has partnered with Age Partnership+, independent advisers who specialise in retirement mortgages and equity release. 

Age Partnership+ compares deals across the whole of the market and their advisers can help you work out whether equity release is right for you – or whether there are better options, such as downsizing. 

Age Partnership+ advisers can also see if those with existing equity release deals can save money by switching. 

You can compare equity release rates and work out how much you could potentially borrow with This is Money’s new calculator powered by broker Age Partnership+.* 

 * Partner link

Jonathan Harris, of mortgage broker Forensic Property Finance, said: ‘Equity release has historically been viewed as a ‘murky’, high-risk sector, fuelled by minimal regulation, poorly-qualified advisers, only a handful of lenders and extortionately high interest rates.

‘Fast forward to today and we see a dramatically transformed sector, benefiting from strict regulation, highly-qualified advisers, multiple lenders and access to very competitive interest rates. 

‘Not surprisingly, equity release is now a viable and growing market for older borrowers looking to utilise the gains seen on property prices to bolster lifestyles, as well as pass on wealth to children when they need it.

‘Those considering equity release should make sure they understand the implications and involve family in any decision-making. It is always important to seek advice from suitably-qualified advisers.’

It comes as a separate report by Legal & General suggested that one in every £90 spent by retired Britons is funded by equity release.

It said that equity release funded an estimated £3billion in retirement spending last year, although it didn’t mentioned the money going to younger generations towards buying a property.

Instead, the report’s survey of 2,000 homeowners found that those with equity release have most frequently used the product to finance home improvements, at 26 per cent.

It said equity release is also being used to support costs such as medical expenses at 17 per cent, maintaining living standards in retirement at 16 per cent, and paying off personal debt at 16 per cent, for example paying off interest-only mortgages. 

It suggested that equity release is likely to play an increasingly important role in financing care-related expenses, with 19 per cent of prospective homeowners citing it as a consideration.

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Allianz Real Estate buys prime office building in Rome (IT)

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Allianz Real Estate, advised by Dils, has acquired an office property in the centre of Rome. The transaction, worth circa €175m, is one of the most important to have been carried out on the real estate market in Rome in recent years.

 

The building, consisting of eleven storeys, comprising nine above-ground and two underground, has a gross lettable area of circa 22,000m² and has undergone a major refurbishment, offering the highest environmental sustainability and energy efficiency standards (LEED Gold Certification). The strategic location, between the CBD and Termini Station, is enjoying great success, especially among corporate occupiers. 

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