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We pick four mini country estate renovation projects for sale

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Renovation projects are proving to be one of the stars of the show for the housing market during the pandemic.

Some are currently fetching seven figure sums despite often needing substantial amounts of cash spent on them just to make them habitable.

A leading estate agent reported dozens of viewings being booked on such a property within hours of it going on the market, due to its appealing countryside settings in Devon.

A renovation project in Totnes, Devon: Moore Farm is for sale for £1,025,000 and comes with several outbuildings, one of which has planning consent to turn into two five-bedroom homes

A renovation project in Totnes, Devon: Moore Farm is for sale for £1,025,000 and comes with several outbuildings, one of which has planning consent to turn into two five-bedroom homes

People are often attracted to renovation projects because they allow buyers to put their own stamp on them from the beginning.

And of course, there is the potential to make a profit – most look for around at least 20 per cent – through capital gain. And additional income could be generated by turning outbuildings into holiday lets, for example.

Renovation projects also tend to offer plenty of space, a highly desirable commodity amid the pandemic. Such properties with outbuildings mean there can be thousands of square feet of floor space on offer, as well as acres of land surrounding them.

Ultimately, whether a project works comes down to a buyer’s unique circumstances, their budget and the time they have to invest in it. As such, it is important to do plenty of research before embarking on such a venture.

We speak to Richard Speedy, who heads up the Exeter branch of estate agents Strutt & Parker, for his views on taking on a small country estate renovation project. 

We then go on to list four such renovation projects around the country with price tags of between £500,000 and more than £1million.

Why do people take on renovations projects?

Mr Speedy said: ‘Buyers are attracted to renovation projects because they like to have a blank canvas that they are able to put their own stamp on.

‘They don’t necessarily want to pay for someone else’s renovation in the past that might not be to their taste – a blank canvass enables a buyer to be more creative and pick the fixtures and fittings they want.

‘Building projects tend to attract people who are looking at a longer-term project for themselves or those who might want to make a profit when it comes to resell – normally they look for a 20 per cent profit.’

He added: ‘A farmhouse in the countryside is simply the most desirable property for many at the moment due to the pandemic and the popularity of space.

‘With Moore Farm – a renovation project in Devon – we have had a variety of buyers including those who want to keep the farmhouse for themselves and convert the barns that already have planning permission for income – either as holiday lets or long-term rental properties.’

What sort of features are people looking for the most?

Mr Speedy suggested that for renovation projects, people tend to prefer Georgian or Victorian period homes that still maintain original features and some character that comes with an older home.

‘People can look past dated bathrooms and kitchens should a home have high ceilings and inglenook fireplaces,’ he said.

‘That said, we do however see buyers who are interested in renovating all types of homes. Even a nondescript 1970s bungalow can be turned into a home worthy of Grand Designs with a little creativity and a good architect,’ he added.

What might have changed in the past 18 months due to Covid?

One of the main challenges to the property market off the back of the pandemic is a lack of stock, according to Mr Speedy.

‘This is especially true in the hottest markets, as it is here in the South West,’ he said.

‘The knock-on effect is that people who might once have been a bit more reluctant to a renovation are now considering them in droves. 

‘They would rather take on the work with a property that is in the right location and has the right features now more than ever. 

‘A property like Moore Farm might have been on the market prior to Covid for a few months, but within two days of bringing it to market we had booked in more than 60 viewings and it will be going to best and final offers in a couple of weeks.’

What are the potential pitfalls to look out for?

Mr Speedy said: ‘When it comes to buying any property, getting a thorough survey done is the best starting point. This is especially important considering that some of these renovation projects have been standing for 100, 200 or even 300 years. 

‘A survey will uncover problems that could cause a headache further down the line such as subsidence or even if the roof is about to cave in. 

‘For more substantial building projects, it is also worth bearing in mind that the cost of materials and labour has increased in the past 18 months and could continue, therefore its best to build extra allowances into a budget for this and to get a builder lined up as soon as you can. It’s not unheard of for buyers to bring builders along to second viewings to get an opinion.’

How long do renovations projects take?

Renovation projects such as the farmhouse at Moore Farm can normally be completed within four to six months, Mr Speedy suggested.

‘This, however, depends on the work the buyer wants to be carried out – but with this home the buyers can live in the home while it is being renovated should they choose to,’ he said.

‘Building a home from the ground up does naturally take considerably longer – I would say that normally this should take between a year and 18 months, and a big part of this is laying the groundwork and foundations to be able to build upon it. As the stone barns at Moore Farm already have permission, the buyer can really hit the ground running and get the building project underway.’

Here are Mr Speedy’s top renovation projects for sale around the country, available via Strutt & Parker

1. Five-bed Farmhouse, Totnes, Devon, £1,025,000 

This five-bedroom farmhouse in Devon's Totnes is on the market for £1,025,000, with best and final offers by midday on Monday August 2

This five-bedroom farmhouse in Devon’s Totnes is on the market for £1,025,000, with best and final offers by midday on Monday August 2

The property includes several outbuildings, one of which has planning consent to turn into two five-bedroom houses

The property includes several outbuildings, one of which has planning consent to turn into two five-bedroom houses

The outbuildings could be turned into holiday lets as the South Hams has access to some of the country's best beaches

The outbuildings could be turned into holiday lets as the South Hams has access to some of the country’s best beaches

Updating required: The main house includes exposed beams and brickwork on the walls, including in the kitchen

Updating required: The main house includes exposed beams and brickwork on the walls, including in the kitchen

Moore Farm dates back to the 1800s and requires updating, but has scope for an annexe.

There are exposed beams, windows seats and fireplaces, including an inglenook in the drawing room with an original bread oven.

It comes with several outbuildings, one of which has planning consent to turn into two five-bedroom houses.

Mr Speedy said: ‘Moore Farm offers a rare opportunity in a great location with a range of options with what people can do. We have had interest from families who have moved into the area and are currently renting, local people who want to upsize and those who want to retire in the countryside with the option of a home that can provide an income for them.

‘The South Hams with it’s rolling hills and access to some of the country’s best beaches provides many with a lifestyle they can only dream of. As such the property here has really been flying off the shelves here since the property market reopened last year. Moore Farm is a prime example of how a property can generate interest extremely quickly and will sell fast with best and final offers.’

2. Five-bed house in Shocklach, Cheshire, £980,000

The property is accessed a private driveway leading to a part-cobbled courtyard with a range of outbuildings that include seven barns.

The property is accessed a private driveway leading to a part-cobbled courtyard with a range of outbuildings that include seven barns.

The outbuildings are includes with this five-bedroom Georgian property in Shocklach, Cheshire, which is on the market for £980,000

The outbuildings are includes with this five-bedroom Georgian property in Shocklach, Cheshire, which is on the market for £980,000

There are several outbuildings that could be converted into additional accommodation subject to planning consents

There are several outbuildings that could be converted into additional accommodation subject to planning consents

The interior includes some dated features - such as the fireplace surround - that can be updated to create a modern family home

The interior includes some dated features – such as the fireplace surround – that can be updated to create a modern family home

This five-bed Georgian property in Cheshire includes a main house covering more than 3,000 square feet and outbuildings extending to more than 7,000 square feet.

While the main house needs updating, it has the potential to become a welcoming family home. 

The property is accessed via a five-bar gate and a private driveway leading to a part-cobbled courtyard with a range of outbuildings that include seven barns. Planning permission for the barns is for two three to four bedroom properties.

3. Barn conversion, Baconsthorpe, Norfolk, £900,000

Pitt Farm Barns is in Norfolk and includes an extensive range of traditional barns that made up a cattle yard and grain store

Pitt Farm Barns is in Norfolk and includes an extensive range of traditional barns that made up a cattle yard and grain store

The property is being sold with a price tag of £900,000, with the seller retaining one of the barns on the development site

The property is being sold with a price tag of £900,000, with the seller retaining one of the barns on the development site

Access to the seaside: The property is in Baconsthorpe, which is about four miles from the north Norfolk coastline

Access to the seaside: The property is in Baconsthorpe, which is about four miles from the north Norfolk coastline

Pitt Farm Barns is an extensive range of traditional barns that made up a cattle yard and grain store.

It has planning permission to convert the barns into five homes. The planning permission is for six barns but the seller is retaining one of them.

The property is about four miles from the north Norfolk coastline, which offers sailing walking and other leisure facilities.

4. Six bed house, Rhiwbryfdir, Wales, £500,000

This six-bedroom house in Wales was original converted from two properties, and once again needs to be renovated

This six-bedroom house in Wales was original converted from two properties, and once again needs to be renovated

The interior needs extensive updating, including the kitchen - but it could be transformed into a beautiful family home

The interior needs extensive updating, including the kitchen – but it could be transformed into a beautiful family home 

The property is the cheapest in our list, with a price tag of £500,000, despite enjoying spectacular views across the Snowdonia countryside

The property is the cheapest in our list, with a price tag of £500,000, despite enjoying spectacular views across the Snowdonia countryside

The property extends across 2,400 square feet and comes with an impressive 22 acres of land and a river frontage

The property extends across 2,400 square feet and comes with an impressive 22 acres of land and a river frontage

This six-bedroom house in Wales was original converted from two properties. It now needs renovating once again to become a family home.  

It extends across 2,400 square feet and comes with an impressive 22 acres of land and a river frontage. 

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Detached homes see average values up £60k during the pandemic says Halifax

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The pandemic property boom has been driven by a surge in demand for larger homes, new research has revealed.

The average value of a detached home in Britain has risen at almost twice the rate for flats, according to the data from Halifax and IHS Markit.

Buyers can expect to pay on average £425,177 for a detached property, which is an increase of £60,556 or 17 per cent since March 2020.

Buyers can expect to pay on average £425,177 for a detached property, which is an increase of £60,556 or 17 per cent since the March 2020

Buyers can expect to pay on average £425,177 for a detached property, which is an increase of £60,556 or 17 per cent since the March 2020

It compares to an increase of around 9 per cent for a typical flat during the same period, where values have risen on average £13,325 to an average of £158,992.

At the same time, the average price of a terrace property has risen 15 per cent or £27,715 to £213,798, while semi-detached also rose 15 per cent or £36,841 to £280,090.

HOUSE PRICES BY PROPERTY TYPE
All Houses All Buyers UK Flat Terraced Semi-Detached Detached
% Change (since Mar ’20) 15.40% 9.10% 14.90% 15.10% 16.60%
Price Change (since Mar ’20) £33,820 £13,325 £27,715 £36,841 £60,556
Average price Dec 2021 £276,091 £158,992 £213,798 £280,090 £425,177
Source: Halifax/IHS Markit        

The data also highlighted the widening of the gaps between each type of home, with flat owners expected to spend an extra £54,806 to upsize to a typical terrace house, compared to £40,416 in March 2020.

At the same time, those currently in a terrace would need a further £66,292 to own a semi-detached home, compared to £57,166 in March 2020.

Meanwhile, home movers hoping to switch from a semi-detached to a detached property need an additional £145,087, compared to £121,371 in March 2020.

REGIONAL HOUSE PRICE CHANGES BY TYPE
% Change (since Mar ’20) All Flat Terraced Semi-Detached Detached
East of England 13.00% 7.40% 14.20% 14.80% 14.30%
Northern Ireland 14.30% -2.40% 15.20% 16.70% 13.40%
South West 18.40% 10.90% 19.00% 19.50% 20.20%
London 6.40% 0.70% 6.80% 7.60% 12.40%
Scotland 12.10% 9.60% 14.20% 13.70% 16.30%
West Midlands 14.60% 7.10% 12.60% 15.50% 17.40%
East Midlands 15.50% 12.10% 16.50% 17.50% 19.00%
North West 18.20% 13.40% 18.80% 17.00% 21.90%
Wales 21.90% 11.70% 25.10% 21.20% 24.40%
North East 14.40% 14.30% 19.80% 11.80% 15.50%
South East 13.10% 7.40% 13.70% 13.80% 15.40%
Yorkshire 16.50% 4.30% 15.40% 17.00% 18.30%
Source:  Halifax/IHS Markit        

Wales and the North West saw the greatest increase in detached home prices, up 24.4 per cent and 21.9 per cent respectively.

The most expensive detached homes are in London, at an average £910,568. The 12.4 per cent increase is almost double the average of all property types in the capital.

Russell Galley, managing director, Halifax, said: ‘Record numbers of moves have been taking place throughout the pandemic, with the demand for detached homes now greater than for any other property type, meaning the competition for those looking to buy an often larger property is fierce.

‘As employers began to crystalise longer-term plans for home and hybrid working, buyers have been able to consider homes further afield as the need to commute falls away, with properties previously considered too remote now giving families extras like garden rooms and home offices.

This trend means Wales, with its beautiful countryside and lower relative property prices, saw the strongest growth in detached homes over the past two years.’

REGIONAL HOUSE PRICES BY PROPERTY TYPE DURING THE PANDEMIC
East of England All Flat Terraced Semi-Detached Detached
% Change (since Mar ’20) 13.00% 7.40% 14.20% 14.80% 14.30%
Price Change (since Mar ’20) £36,767 £13,340 £34,669 £45,351 £63,141
Average Price Dec 2021 £319,447 £192,721 £279,087 £352,699 £505,379
Northern Ireland All Flat Terraced Semi-Detached Detached
% Change (since Mar ’20) 14.30% -2.40% 15.20% 16.70% 13.40%
Price Change (since Mar ’20) £21,448 -£2,327 £14,027 £22,012 £25,600
Average Price Dec 2021 £170,946 £94,922 £106,105 £153,917 £217,226
South West All Flat Terraced Semi-Detached Detached
% Change (since Mar ’20) 18.40% 10.90% 19.00% 19.50% 20.20%
Price Change (since Mar ’20) £44,773 £17,038 £38,716 £49,973 £76,380
Average Price Dec 2021 £287,774 £173,502 £242,285 £306,171 £454,133
London All Flat Terraced Semi-Detached Detached
% Change (since Mar ’20) 6.40% 0.70% 6.80% 7.60% 12.40%
Price Change (since Mar ’20) £31,724 £2,657 £33,159 £44,891 £100,525
Average Price Dec 2021 £525,351 £371,744 £520,359 £635,422 £910,568
Scotland All Flat Terraced Semi-Detached Detached
% Change (since Mar ’20) 12.10% 9.60% 14.20% 13.70% 16.30%
Price Change (since Mar ’20) £20,795 £9,789 £18,433 £23,357 £39,783
Average Price Dec 2021 £192,988 £112,075 £148,224 £193,975 £283,214
West Mids All Flat Terraced Semi-Detached Detached
% Change (since Mar ’20) 14.60% 7.10% 12.60% 15.50% 17.40%
Price Change (since Mar ’20) £29,778 £8,625 £20,532 £33,265 £57,685
Average Price Dec 2021 £234,263 £129,851 £184,061 £247,881 £389,553
East Midlands All Flat Terraced Semi-Detached Detached
% Change (since Mar ’20) 15.50% 12.10% 16.50% 17.50% 19.00%
Price Change (since Mar ’20) £30,275 £13,536 £24,346 £33,919 £57,186
Average Price Dec 2021 £225,106 £125,563 £171,686 £227,336 £358,441
North West All Flat Terraced Semi-Detached Detached
% Change (since Mar ’20) 18.20% 13.40% 18.80% 17.00% 21.90%
Price Change (since Mar ’20) £32,591 £14,070 £24,426 £31,917 £63,229
Average Price Dec 2021 £211,954 £118,979 £154,308 £219,294 £351,887
Wales All Flat Terraced Semi-Detached Detached
% Change (since Mar ’20) 21.90% 11.70% 25.10% 21.20% 24.40%
Price Change (since Mar ’20) £36,917 £11,570 £30,111 £34,639 £62,688
Average Price Dec 2021 £205,579 £110,318 £149,966 £197,768 £319,492
North East All Flat Terraced Semi-Detached Detached
% Change (since Mar ’20) 14.40% 14.30% 19.80% 11.80% 15.50%
Price Change (since Mar ’20) £20,162 £11,527 £20,071 £17,666 £37,373
Average Price Dec 2021 £159,694 £92,214 £121,187 £166,876 £278,863
South East All Flat Terraced Semi-Detached Detached
% Change (since Mar ’20) 13.10% 7.40% 13.70% 13.80% 15.40%
Price Change (since Mar ’20) £43,298 £15,502 £38,704 £49,203 £78,220
Average Price Dec 2021 £374,454 £223,610 £320,944 £404,648 £586,781
Yorkshire All Flat Terraced Semi-Detached Detached
% Change (since Mar ’20) 16.50% 4.30% 15.40% 17.00% 18.30%
Price Change (since Mar ’20) £27,192 £4,708 £19,442 £29,624 £50,192
Average Price Dec 2021 £192,210 £114,535 £146,081 £203,805 £324,581
Source: Halifax/IHS Markit         

North London estate agent Jeremy Leaf said: ’Soaring demand for detached homes is not surprising as we are seeing buyers prepared to stretch themselves to purchase properties which they regard as for the longer term, rather than settling for smaller houses or flats. 

These buyers are often using money saved during lockdown by not going on holiday or other spending, to contribute towards their deposit. They are also taking advantage of continuing low interest rates even though the threat of higher repayments and inflation is looming.

‘Detached homes have long been the pinnacle in terms of what people aim for when buying property. They are popular because they offer flexibility, privacy, control and independence, which isn’t always the case with semi-detached or terraced properties where there is an element of shared space or boundaries, increasing the risk of conflict.

‘Price growth has been strongest in Wales because often affordability is greater in those markets in the first place. We have noticed the drift from the centre of towns and cities to the suburbs, country and coastal areas as people get more accustomed to hybrid working and not having to spend as much time in the centre. They are looking for higher-quality outside space and the ability to work comfortably from home.’

Separate research by Coutts found that demand has also been high for luxury leafy lodgings in the capital.

It said that sales for super prime homes worth £10million or more jumped from 56 in 2020 to 106 in 2021.

Peter Flavel, of Coutts, said: ‘For many investors these prime and super prime properties provide the opportunity to put funds into assets that offer the space they need as hybrid living continues to influence lifestyle choices.’

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Lisa Smith travelled to Turkey to study under Isis propagandist, court told

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Lisa Smith, a former Defence Forces member who denies membership of Islamic State (Isis), travelled to Turkey to become a student of a famous Islamic convert who wrote Isis propaganda, the Special Criminal Court has heard.

Michael O’Higgins SC, for Ms Smith, read out a message exchange in 2013 between his client and an American Islamic scholar John Georgelas, who was living in Egypt at the time.

Counsel said Mr Georgelas asked Ms Smith to travel to Egypt to study under him and said he would pay her to help his wife, Tania Joya, take care of their children.

Ms Smith replied: “I wouldn’t dream of accepting any money for looking after your children. If I can get the benefit of your knowledge as your student that would be more than enough payment for me.”

Mr Georgelas left Egypt with Ms Joya and arranged to meet Ms Smith in Turkey.

Ms Joya, giving evidence for a second day, told Mr O’Higgins that her husband was clever and manipulative and in 2013 was communicating with Ms Smith every day over the internet.

She said he was a respected scholar who could “overwhelm” people with his knowledge of scripture. She told Sean Gillane SC, for the prosecution, that Georgelas wrote for magazines Dabiq and Rumiyah that publish Isis propaganda

Ms Smith (39), from Dundalk, Co Louth, has pleaded not guilty to membership of an unlawful terrorist group, Islamic State, between October 28th, 2015 and December 1st, 2019. She has also pleaded not guilty to financing terrorism by sending €800 in assistance, via a Western Union money transfer, to a named man on May 6th, 2015.

Her trial is continuing in front of Mr Justice Tony Hunt, Judge Gerard Griffin and Judge Cormac Dunne at the three-judge, non-jury court.

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Rioja Estates and TORG International partner for two outlet village projects

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TORG International has partnered with leading UK outlet developer Rioja Estates for the development of two new outlets in Sweden and the UK, Malmo Designer Village and Grantham Designer Outlet Village. Both schemes have already secured planning consent, with Grantham being under construction with the opening scheduled for Autumn 2023. The Malmo outlet is expected to open in Summer 2025.

 

Conveniently located in close proximity to the Danish border, Malmo Designer Village benefits from a significant catchment area. The scheme is expected to rank in the top 25% of outlet centres in Europe in terms of traffic and is predicted to generate above-average sales density.

 

Grantham Designer Outlet Village is located on the country’s third most travelled motorway, the A1 connecting London with Northern England, and is projected to attract 3.5 million visitors annually. A lack of retail competition in the immediate area means that Grantham Designer Outlet Village will achieve significantly greater penetration of its catchment than the UK outlet industry average of 3%, namely for Phase One 7.7% and for Phase Two 8.5%.

 

Says Robert van den Heuvel, Partner Development & Leasing TORG International: “It was at Mapic 2021 that we established this new collaboration with Giles Membrey and his team at Rioja Estates, whom we have known for many years. We were impressed by the quality of their two latest developments in Sweden and the UK and are therefore delighted to be able to share our enthusiasm with the tenant community and industry at large.“

 

Adds Barbara Horatz, Partner Marketing & Retail TORG International: “We feel that both developments meet all the key criteria for a successful future outlet – the strategic location on a major motorway axis, important catchment, strong tourism potential, significant size, qualitative and sustainable architecture. There are not many strategic spots left in Europe for outlet developments and we definitely consider Malmo and Grantham as two of them.”

 

Concludes Giles Membrey: “We see Malmo and Grantham as the beginning of a great collaboration for our two companies –  there are many more opportunities for joint outlet developments that we see ahead of us and that we are already discussing, be it in Europe or in any of the other major markets globally.”

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