UK has world’s second-highest house prices beaten only by millionaire’s playground Monaco.

Researchers blame vested interests and the planning system for Britain’s ‘housing affordability crisis’, adding that our newly built homes are 40 per cent smaller than in comparable European countries.

House prices in Britain are the second highest in the world – behind only the millionaire’s playground of Monaco, a study reveals.

And newly built properties in Britain are about 40 per cent smaller than in similarly densely populated European countries.

The research shows that over the last 40 years house price growth in the UK has been faster than in any other major industrialised country, and has far outstripped earnings – causing a ‘housing affordability crisis’.

The home ownership rate has been in decline since the turn of the millennium, falling from 69.6 per cent in 2002 to 63.6 percent in 2013.

Extending the ‘right to buy’ policy from council tenants to those in housing association homes may halt this – but it would be likely to worsen the affordability crisis, adds the report.

Dr Christian Hilber, of the London School of Economics, said the cost of housing is a key concern of an ever increasing number of voters crammed into artificially limited space.

At the same time a lot of wealth lies in housing assets and there are many vested interests in keeping things this way – such as current home owners and private landlords.

However, politicians of all parties back away from major reforms out of fear of being demonised by the vested interests – relying on proposing policies to tackle the symptoms rather than the causes.

The report from the LSE’s Centre for Economic Performance (CEP) is one of a series of background briefings on key policy issues in next month’s general election.

It found that in 2014, UK house prices per square metre were the second highest in the world – topped only by Monaco and almost twice those in the US – with particularly high valuations in London and the South East where prices have soared away from the rest of the country since the 1970s.

Property prices in Greater London last year were 8.5 times more than earnings – compared to five times more for the UK as a whole.

Dr Hilber said the planning system is the main cause of the affordability crisis – especially in London and the South East. Despite population growth and rising real incomes building of new housing has been decreasing steadily since the 1970s leading to a substantial housing shortfall.

This means the main effect of policies that stimulate housing demand – such as Help-to-Buy – is to increase house prices rather than supply – meaning they are a waste of taxpayer money at best and harmful at worst.

A similar argument applies to property-related tax reforms. In supply-constrained areas higher taxes are capitalised into lower property prices.

The failure to revalue the council tax since 1992 and introduce effective property taxes has made the idea of a ‘mansion tax’ popular – and could reduce the prices of expensive houses, making them more affordable for wealthy would-be buyers.

The evidence also suggests that stamp duty land tax reduces household mobility. The resulting mismatch in the housing market worsens the affordability crisis.

The ‘bedroom tax’ is most likely to affect landlords who reduce rents to keep their tenants. This limits the potential to free up used space. It also has the potential to force tenants to relocate if there are shortages of smaller properties in some areas.

A local annual property tax with automatic annual revaluation could provide incentives to build new homes by generating local tax revenue that is tied to local development. This could help to reduce the chronic housing shortfall.

Dr Hilber said: “Research points clearly to the UK’s rigid planning system as the main cause of the housing affordability crisis.

“Demand-side policies such as Help-to-Buy don’t work in this setting because they merely increase house prices.

“The current property-related taxes are inefficient, especially the council tax and the stamp duty land tax.

"While the former is regressive and does not provide sufficient incentives to permit development at the local level, the latter hampers household mobility and generates distortions in the housing markets.

"Importantly it discourages downsizing of the elderly and upsizing of expanding young families.

“Solutions to the housing affordability crisis lie in a set of more supply-side friendly policies.

"But the obstacles to moving to such policies are vast since these policies antagonise vested interests, which appear to have been created in perpetuity.

“Yet the long-run consequences of political inaction – and the continuation of excessively low rates of new building – could prove socially explosive and economically traumatic.”

Press release ends.

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2015 new Capital Gains Tax Rules for Non-Resident UK Property Owners

From 6th April 2015 we see the introduction of new Capital Gains Tax Rules for Non-Resident UK Property Owners.

Although it has been public knowledge for a while, in just over two weeks’ time the Government is introducing new rules whereby non-resident property owners will have to pay Capital Gains Tax when they sell their property in the UK. All Capital Gains will be payable from 6th April 2015 onwards on gains arising after the rebasing date of 5th April 2015.

The Government advises non-resident property owners to record the condition and value of their property as at 5th April 2015. Therefore it would be prudent to commission a professional valuation to make a formal and reasoned record of the value on this date. Going forward, it will carry greater weight in ten or twenty years’ time if it is contemporaneous.

The Government’s guidance states that the rate of Capital Gains Tax for non-resident property owners will be the same as for nationals: 18% or 28% for individuals, 28% for trusts, and the annual exempt amount will be the same. The tax rate for individuals depends on the amount of taxable UK income the person has.

It has been quite common for non-resident property owners to own their properties in special vehicles but there is now a growing trend to transfer these properties into a UK resident’s name. Provided there is no debt on a property, the transfer, if it is a gift, will be exempt from Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT).

When property is sold in the UK the vendor has to report the disposal on a NRCGT return and pay any Capital Gains Tax due within 30 days of the day after the date the property sale is completed, or if they are already enrolled in the UK’s Self-Assessment they pay this as part of the normal end of year tax payment.

As tax is a legal charge and this is a very complex area, it is essential that advice is taken from a qualified solicitor as well.

Press release ends.

ABOUT NEW FOREST, SANDBANKS, UK COUNTRY HOUSES AND ESTATES PROPERTY SEARCH AGENTS AND PROPERTY BUYING ADVISORS, SANDS HOME SEARCH

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Property market 2015 preview – What effect will the General Election and recent Stamp Duty changes have?

If you’ve got it, don’t flaunt it in 2015. That’s the message circulating at the top end of the prime property market on the run-up to one of the longest, and strangest, pre-election campaigns in history, the outcome of which will affect the workings of the country-house market for years to come. As Government and Opposition continue to target the estimated 2% of the population who buy and sell houses for more than £1 million, to the benefit of the 98% who don’t, the continuing uncertainty in the market-place has already dented sales of properties valued at more than the proposed ‘mansion tax’ threshold of £2m.

Even more so those valued at £5m- plus, says Rupert Sweeting of Knight Frank, who, in 2014, saw a ‘significant’ increase in the number of off-market sales at this level, as vendors and buyers sought to maintain a low profile. ‘Almost a third of Knight Frank’s deals in the country have been by this method, reflecting vendors’ desires to sell quietly and buyers not wanting to be seen to be buying expensive property,’ he reveals.

When Chancellor George Osborne announced his surprise overhaul of Stamp Duty (SDLT) in his Autumn Statement on December 3, his supporters felt that he had done much to kick Labour’s dreaded ‘mansion tax’ proposals into the long grass. However, this notion was instantly rebutted by Ed Balls, confirming his intention to proceed with his plans for such a tax should Labour return to power at the General Election.

As buyers, vendors and estate agents around the country digest the implications of the new SDLT regime, Lucian Cook of Savills comments: ‘The new graduated system of SDLT bands will mean savings for about three-quarters of a million home buyers across England and Wales, who will benefit from reduced SDLT on transactions up to £937,000. By contrast, about 17,000 transactions above £937,000 will carry an increased SDLT burden.’

He explains: ‘For example, the new SDLT rate payable on the purchase of a £2m house is now £153,750, compared with £100,000 at the old rate, an increase of £53,750; that payable on a £3m house is now £273,750 as against £210,000 (+£63,750); that payable on a £5m house is now £513,750, as against £350,000 (+£163,750); and that payable on a £10m house is now £1,113,750, as against £700,000 —an eye-watering increase of £413,750.’

Argues Mr Cook: ‘Although reforms at the lower end of the SDLT rate bands are well overdue, and will benefit those trying to get on or trade up the housing ladder, particularly if they live in London or the South-East, we estimate that about £2.2 billion of SDLT receipts—more than one-third of total SDLT revenues—will come from fewer than 5,000 sales of property worth more than £2m, less than 0.5% of all transactions. This surely puts an end to any argument that these properties are under-taxed and further significantly undermines any case for a “mansion tax”.’

With the attention of the residential property sector focused firmly on the outcome of the General Election, leading agents expect 2015 to be a year in two or even three parts, with a window of opportunity in the first three months of the year, followed by a pre-election lull and a post-election period of reflection, and little serious activity taking place at the top end of the market before September.

Even in the Cotswolds, which was Knight Frank’s star performing area in 2014, Atty Beor-Roberts in Cirencester isn’t expecting to see many high-profile launches in the first half of the year. Although no one quite knows what will happen after May, he wouldn’t be surprised to see owners of high-value houses in London preferring to stick with a smaller house in town and buying a second home in the Cotswolds with the money they would save in SDLT by not going for a bigger house in the capital.

But not everyone wants to sit on the sidelines while Westminster performs its ritual dance and Strutt and Parker believe that, this year, the early bird will catch the juiciest worms. Mark Rimell, whose remit covers much of the South-East, has claimed pole position with the relaunch on Boxing Day of Grade II-listed The Laines, at Plumpton, East Sussex, at a slightly revised guide price of £3.15m.

Nestled in 5.3 acres of gardens and grounds on the edge of Plumpton village in the lee of the South Downs, The Laines has been the much-loved family home for the past 18 years of the actor James Wilby—best known for his roles in Maurice, Gosford Park and A Handful of Dust—his wife, Shana, and their four children. Prior to that, the former village rectory, built in the 18th century with 19th-century additions, of traditional Sussex knapped-flint walls under a hipped tiled roof, belonged, for 45 years, to Maj Bruce Shand and was his daughter The Duchess of Cornwall’s ‘perfect’ childhood home.

This delightfully quirky, rambling family house has four main reception rooms with classic Georgian proportions, high ceilings, fine working fireplaces and French windows opening onto the east and south terraces plus seven main bedrooms, three bathrooms and a shower room on the first floor. All the main rooms have wonderful views of the lovely gardens, partially designed by Lanning Roper and lovingly maintained by Mr Wilby. It comes with a three/four-bedroom cottage, which has been let to provide a useful income.

Simon Backhouse of Strutt & Parker in Canterbury is taking the bull by the horns in next week’s Country Life of the 350-acre Linton estate at Linton, four miles from Maidstone, Kent, at a guide price of £7.3m for the whole or in up to 15 lots. For sale for the first time in more than 50 years, following the Daubeny family’s decision to relocate overseas, the estate, which dates from the mid 18th century, was divided in the late 1970s, when the mansion house and northern parkland were sold off.

The estate, which is classified as residential and therefore subject to the new SDLT regime, has a large portfolio of houses, including the main estate house—the four-bedroom Cuckoo Field House – a Victorian model farm-building complex with potential for redevelopment, six cottages, further outbuildings with development potential, a range of modern farm buildings, a cricket ground and 140 acres of Grade II*-listed parkland.

Source: Country Life

Press release ends.

ABOUT NEW FOREST, SANDBANKS, UK COUNTRY HOUSES AND ESTATES PROPERTY SEARCH AGENTS AND PROPERTY BUYING ADVISORS, SANDS HOME SEARCH

Sands Home Search are independent Property Search & Relocation Agents who specialise in finding and acquiring the finest property for sale in The New Forest, Sandbanks, the UK Country House market and in Cape Town South Africa for private, corporate and international property buying clients. Sands Home Search are now part of VIP International Homes, estate agents in the New Forest, Sandbanks, Hampshire, Dorset and in Cape Town, South Africa.

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UK Mansion Tax Status as at October 2014

There has been much talk about the so-called “Mansion Tax” but a distinct lack of clarity with regard to detail. This paper sets out what is known and what the implications would be if it were to be implemented.

The origins of the so-called “Mansion Tax” go back to the Liberal Democrats’ Party Conference in 2009 when Vince Cable proposed a 0.5% annual occupancy tax on homes with a value in excess of £1m. In November 2009, this proposal was revised upwards to a 1% tax on homes worth more than £2m, an idea taken up by Labour’s David Milliband the following year. The LibDems have continued to press, unsuccessfully, for a Mansion Tax since coming to power as part of the coalition government.

Labour has promised to introduce a Mansion Tax if they win the General Election in order to raise an expected £1.2bn to help fund the National Health Service. Meanwhile, the Liberal Democrats appear to have dropped the idea of a Mansion Tax in favour of additional Council Tax bands at the top end.

The Conservatives remain strongly opposed to any form of Mansion Tax. A number of economic thinktanks are also against the idea. Both the Institute for Fiscal Studies and the Adam Smith Institute have suggested a revised Council Tax system would be more efficient and fairer.

Labour’s current proposals are so far very light on detail.

What has been reported thus far is as follows:

– Homes valued at £2m+ would be liable for the Mansion Tax. The rate has yet to be specified and it is not clear whether it would apply just on the value above £2m or on the total value

of the property.

– The £2m threshold would rise in line with average property prices to prevent more properties being drawn within the scope of the tax. Exactly how this would work in practice has not

been revealed.

– It will be a progressive tax with possible bands mirroring those applied to ATED (Annual Tax on Enveloped Dwellings), i.e. ranging from £2m+ to £5m, £5m+ to £10m, £10m+ to £20m and £20m+. Again, there is no indication yet of what the rates would be for each band, although Ed Balls recently stated that those owning properties worth £2m-£3m would only pay an extra £250 a month through this new tax. This suggests that those owning properties valued at over £3m will pay substantially more in order to raise the targeted £1.2bn tax revenue.

– Labour will also look at asking overseas owners of second homes in the UK to make a larger contribution than people living in their only home – again, no further detail on this.

– As with the Government’s new tax on properties bought through companies, owners will be able to submit a self-valuation to HMRC.

– A relief scheme – or allowing those on modest incomes (defined as falling below the prevailing higher or top rate income tax brackets) to defer payment until the property is sold – has been suggested to protect “asset rich, cash poor” households. The relief clause has been reported as allowing owners of £2m+ homes on low incomes to roll up their liabilities until they are clawed back from their estates when they die. However, there is no information on the detail behind either idea.

Details of the Liberal Democrats proposals for additional Council Tax bands at the top end (i.e. above the current top rate Band H) have not been published.

There are a number of issues connected to both Labour’s and the LibDems’ proposals, which can be summarised as follows:

– Fairness: the tax would not impact equally upon all owners of £2m+ homes: households which are not otherwise wealthy but who have seen the value of their homes rise over time may struggle to cope and possibly be forced to sell.

– Tax rates: no rates have yet been specified and it is not clear whether the tax would apply just on the value above £2m or on the total value of the property. There is clearly a big difference between the two calculations.

– Location differential: a “one size fits all” approach for every location seems inappropriate.

The average house price in London, for example, is much higher than the rest of the country. The same issue applies to the raising of the threshold in line with average price rises.

– Cost of implementation: in order to assess fairly who will pay the tax, a value will need to be attached to each property, especially around the thresholds which are likely to prove contentious. Home owners submitting self-valuations might find that HMRC disagrees with their assessment and may end up having to pay for a professional valuation.

– Tax revenue: no-one knows for sure exactly how many £2m+ properties there are nor what the banded tax rates will be – thus how can we know how much tax will be raised?

– Tax creep risk: there is a risk that the threshold of the Mansion Tax might be lowered as has already happened with the lowering of the threshold for ATED and the ATED related CGT (Capital Gains Tax) charge.

– Impact on property values: buyer appetite will likely evaporate for properties within a range above the threshold – perhaps up to £2.2m or £2.3m – which will see owners needing to come below £2m if they wish to sell. On the other hand, given the £3,000 per annum cap for properties between £2m+ and £3m, its impact on homes within this band may be limited.

What are the potential implications?

There is currently too much uncertainty surrounding the Mansion Tax to be able to make an informed judgement about how to react to it. Firstly, we do not have sufficient detail about the tax rates which will be applied, nor how it will work in practice. Secondly, it is not possible at this point in time to predict who will win the General Election. Prudence suggests a watch-and-wait approach whilst at the same time preparing a selling strategy should Labour or the Liberal Democrats come to power next May.

What should you do now?

There is currently too much uncertainty surrounding the Mansion Tax to be able to make an informed judgement about how to react to it. Firstly, we do not have sufficient detail about the tax rates which will be applied, nor how it will work in practice. Secondly, it is not possible at this point in time to predict who will win the General Election. Prudence suggests a watch-and-wait approach whilst at the same time preparing a swift selling strategy should Labour or the Liberal Democrats come to power next May!

SOURCE: CHESTERTONS

Press release ends.

ABOUT NEW FOREST, SANDBANKS, UK COUNTRY HOUSES AND ESTATES PROPERTY SEARCH AGENTS AND PROPERTY BUYING ADVISORS, SANDS HOME SEARCH

Sands Home Search are independent Property Search & Relocation Agents who specialise in finding and acquiring the finest property for sale in The New Forest, Sandbanks, the UK Country House market and in Cape Town South Africa for private, corporate and international property buying clients.

TEL: 01425 462 549

(from outside of the UK 0044 1425 462 549)

WEBSITE: www.SandsHomeSearch.com

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TAGS: New Forest, Sandbanks, England, Property, Sale, Buy, Selling, Buying, Search, Homes, Houses, Country Homes, Property Search Agent, Relocation Agent, Property Buying Agent, Property Buying Advisor, Relocation Company, Property, Real Estate, Country Houses, Country Homes, Country Estates, Period Property, Equestrian Property, Farms, Waterside Homes, Town, City, Village, For Sale, Period Property, Rectories, City, Buying, Selling, Renting, Homes, Houses, Estate Agents, Property Search, House for sale, Property Prices, Property Market, Property Agents

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Million pound plus home sales reach record high in the UK

The number of property sales worth at least a million pounds in the UK is at a record high, according to latest research from Lloyds Bank.

There were 6,143 million pound property sales in the country in the first half of 2014 which is equivalent to 33 transactions everyday over the period.

The 6,143 million pound property sales in the first half of the year represented a 46% increase compared to the same period in 2013 when sales totalled 4,198.

Indeed, million pound home sales have grown by 345% since the first half of 2009, when sales in this market segment were at their lowest point in the past decade.

However, while million pound home sales outperform the rest of the market, they are still a very small share of the overall market. The 46% increase in million pound home sales in the first half of the year significantly outpaced the 26% increase in the sale of properties below a million pounds over the period.

Despite this large increase, the sale of million pound properties accounts for just 1.3% of all national residential sales although this share has more than doubled since 2009. But even in London, million pound sales account for just 7.6% of all sales.

There were 1,360 homes sold for at least two million pounds in the first half of 2014, some 43% higher than over the first six months of 2013 when the number of sales totalled 949.

Homes selling for at least two million pounds accounted for 22% of all million pound plus home sales in the first half of 2014. This proportion had edged down marginally from 23% in the same period a year earlier. As a proportion of all sales, homes sold for over two million pounds account for just 0.22%.

Some 70% or 4,259 of all million pound home sales in Britain during the first half of 2014 were in London. The capital is followed by the South East with a share of 16% or 1,096 and the East of England at 6% or 109.

All regions have recorded an increase in sales in 2014 compared to the same period a year earlier. The largest percentage rises in million pound home sales were in the North East with a rise of 150%, the West Midlands with an increase of 100%, South West up 87% and the East Midlands up 80%.

In the two regions with the largest concentration of million pound sales, London and the South East, transactions rose by 47% and 41% respectively.

The research also shows that close to a quarter of all million pound homes sold in Britain during the first half of 2014 were in the prime property locations of Kensington and Chelsea and Westminster at 13% and 10% respectively.

Cheshire East and the City of Edinburgh recorded the highest number of million pound sales outside southern England.

‘The number of homes sold for at least a £1 million is at a record high, with this sector of the housing market growing by almost a half in the first six months of this year compared to the same period in 2013,’ said Sarah Deaves, private banking director at Lloyds Bank.

Source: Property Wire

Press release ends.

ABOUT NEW FOREST, SANDBANKS, UK COUNTRY HOUSES AND ESTATES PROPERTY SEARCH AGENTS AND PROPERTY BUYING ADVISORS, SANDS HOME SEARCH

Sands Home Search are independent Property Search & Relocation Agents who specialise in finding and acquiring the finest property for sale in The New Forest, Sandbanks, the UK Country House market and in Cape Town South Africa for private, corporate and international property buying clients.

TEL: 01425 462 549

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Hampshire’s country houses set the pace

A flurry of desirable historic properties has fuelled a lively spring for the county.

‘We are back to a shortage of prime Country properties for sale in Hampshire and The New Forest which is again leaving many buyers frustrated as these properties are again often getting sold discreetly to the best connected buyers before they reach full open marketing,’ says Shaun Ascough of Sands Home Search ( 01425 462 549 ) prime Country property search and buying agents.

The sale of one of Hampshire’s loveliest houses, the secluded, Grade II-listed Cheriton House at Cheriton, near Alresford, has ‘set the benchmark for what a classic country house in the county should be trading at in the current market,’ says selling agent George Clarendon of Knight Frank in Winchester.

The handsome Georgian house, built around an earlier farmhouse in the late 1700s and set in 20 lush acres of gardens and parkland, was launched in Country Life (April 2, 2014) at a guide price of £5.5 million, and found a Hampshire-based purchaser within a matter of weeks, with competition from both expatriate British and London buyers.

‘Given the confusing reports on the state of the UK housing market currently circulating in the national media, this sale is encouraging both for buyers and vendors. Better still, Cheriton has been bought by a charming family, to the delight of its previous owners, who had lived there for 45 years and are downsizing to a smaller house in the village,’ adds Mr Clarendon.

One swallow does not a summer make, but the message was reinforced the following week, when the same agents launched another Hampshire gem, Dummer House at Dummer, six miles south-west of the commuter hub of Basingstoke, at a guide price of £5m. Painstakingly rescued by its American owners, who bought it in 2000, Dummer House also dates from the late 1700s and, like Cheriton House, was regularly visited by the Prince Regent during his pursuit both of the stags of the Hampshire Hunt and the celebrated Mrs Fitzherbert, whose brother lived nearby.

Dummer House also sold within a few weeks and Knight Frank also found buyers for Appleshaw Manor, near Andover (launched the same week as Dummer House at a guide price of £3.65m) and The Old School House at Highclere, which needed renovation and came to the market at £4.25m. A handful of private sales provided the icing on the cake.

‘With the cream of this year’s Hampshire houses either sold or in the process of selling, the market has started to wind down with the approach of the school holidays. But there are still a few interesting houses out there for buyers prepared to take a long-term view,’ says Nick Ashe of buying agents Property Vision.

You can hear a pin drop at The Old Manor, Ellisfield, five miles from Basingstoke, says Ed Cunningham of Knight Frank ( 020-7861 1080 ) who is selling the historic manor house, with 78 acres of gardens, farmland and woodland on the edge of the Candover Valley, on behalf of the de Ferranti family trust. A guide price of £5.75m is quoted for the Grade II*-listed manor, which nestles within the village conservation area and now needs updating throughout.

At the time of the Domesday survey, the manor was part of the Bishop of Bayeux’s estate. In 1496, it was held by one of Henry VIII’s favourites, Sir William Sandys, who later became Lord Chamberlain and was created Baron Sandys. In 1657, the 5th Lord Sandys-whose father, the Royalist Col Henry Sandys, was fatally wounded at the Battle of Cheriton in 1644-sold the manor, which was later divided before being re-formed by the Earls of Portsmouth in the late 18th century. The present manor house dates from the late 17th century, with 18thand early-20th-century additions.

The house has accommodation on three floors, including a large entrance hall, four main reception rooms, a garden room, a kitchen/ breakfast room, eight bedrooms and four bathrooms. There is a two-bedroom gardener’s cottage in the grounds, along with a Grade II-listed timber-framed barn, a Grade II-listed stable block and a partly converted brick-built barn.

Three miles from Alton, on the northern edge of the South Downs National Park, lies the picturesque village of Bentworth, voted last year’s Hampshire and Isle of Wight Village of the Year. Bentworth dates from Saxon times and boasts several important manor houses, including Bentworth Hall and Gaston Grange-the latter built in 1890 by Col Gordon Gordon-Ives, who inherited the Bentworth Hall estate on his mother’s death in 1897, but continued to live at the Grange until his own death 10 years later.

Knight Frank quote a guide price of £11m for Gaston Grange, which comes with 198 acres of formal gardens, paddocks, woodland and farmland. The house has been painstakingly modernised by its current young owners, who had envisaged a lengthy occupation, but now need to change direction.

The Grange stands at the end of a long tree-lined drive and has 9,370sq ft of relaxed living space, including entrance and reception halls, three reception rooms, a kitchen/ breakfast room and a wet bar. The vast master suite comes with ‘his’ shower and ‘her’ bathroom at either end; there are six further bedrooms, four bath/shower rooms and a one-bedroom staff flat. Sports facilities include stabling, a games room, a swimming pool and a manège.

Source: Country Life

Press release ends.

ABOUT NEW FOREST, SANDBANKS, UK COUNTRY HOUSES AND ESTATES PROPERTY SEARCH AGENTS AND PROPERTY BUYING ADVISORS, SANDS HOME SEARCH

Sands Home Search are independent Property Search & Relocation Agents who specialise in finding and acquiring the finest property for sale in The New Forest, Sandbanks, the UK Country House market and in Cape Town South Africa for private, corporate and international property buying clients.

TEL: 01425 462 549

(from outside of the UK 0044 1425 462 549)

WEBSITE: www.SandsHomeSearch.com

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TAGS: New Forest, Sandbanks, England, Property, Sale, Buy, Selling, Buying, Search, Homes, Houses, Country Homes, Property Search Agent, Relocation Agent, Property Buying Agent, Property Buying Advisor, Relocation Company, Property, Real Estate, Country Houses, Country Homes, Country Estates, Period Property, Equestrian Property, Farms, Waterside Homes, Town, City, Village, For Sale, Period Property, Rectories, City, Buying, Selling, Renting, Homes, Houses, Estate Agents, Property Search, House for sale, Property Prices, Property Market, Property Agents

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The UK country house market June 2014 update

Arabella Youens of Country Life takes the temperature of the country house market at this half point in the year, talking to experts about what buyers and sellers can expect in the coming months.

Crispin Holborow, Savills.

‘There’s a real buzz at the top end of the market. Outside of London and the Home Counties, Savills have seen a 70% increase in applicants registering in April this year for £5 million-plus properties.

In this bracket, it’s all about the return of the British, who are back and buying again, and are responsible for the majority of the most recent transactions.

They appear keen to get on with it before prices rise-which they believe will happen. Another indication of positive sentiment in the market is the fact that, in the past few years, little has sold privately. However, we think the gap between buyer and seller expectations is reducing and the private market is gaining strength. Geographically, early signs suggest that the Hampshire market is back and the Cotswolds continues to be strong.

The Wiltshire market, stretching from Salisbury to Bath, is attracting buyer attention as it still looks like fair value compared to, say, parts of the Cotswolds plus it benefits from a number of well-known good schools and it doesn’t take much longer to get into London.’

Mark Charter, Carter Jonas.

‘This time last year, demand was rampant for properties below £1 million and beautiful cottages in desirable villages just flew. This spring, however, as the price differential between London and the country hit boiling point, we’ve seen a surge of activity in the prime country-house market, specifically in the £1.25 million to £2 million bracket.

Confidence in the "commutable" country-house market is almost fully restored and there is insatiable appetite from London buyers seeking the perfect family house in Oxfordshire. Cotman House (which had a guide price of £1.95 million) was marketed as the "perfect country house", offering the three Ps (pretty, proportional and private) and was launched in COUNTRY LIFE on April 23. There were more than 30 viewings, dominated by London-centric families. We received a superb response and it sold for significantly over the asking price.’

A real example – Cotman House in Oxfordshire, launched in Country Life on April 23 with a guide of £1.95m, was marketed as ‘the perfect country house’. There were more than 30 viewings and it sold for significantly more than the asking price.

Rupert Sweeting, Knight Frank.

‘Although Land Registry figures show a 26% increase for sales of £2 million-plus homes, Knight Frank’s sale of property priced at more than £5 million has exceeded this: 31% up on the same six-month period a year on.

There are several areas where there have been recognisable increases and these include Hampshire, where sales of properties going for more than £2 million are up 40% for the first half of 2014, compared to the first half of 2013.

This is possibly a reflection of a return of buyers from City-based jobs; there has been an increasing number of sales in north Oxford, with demand from those looking to take advantage of the good schools.

And lastly, there have been some large estate sales, including that of Shakenhurst, under competition. In addition, there have been a number of off-market deals of property where vendors have been keen to avoid the "hassle" of an open-market campaign.

One could argue that house prices are hardly shooting up in the country market, but what we have seen is a return of confidence, with competitive bidding becoming less of a rarity. Advertised in COUNTRY LIFE on April 23, with a guide of excess £6 million, Charles Hill Court had three parties bidding and it sold for considerably more.’

James Mackenzie, Strutt & Parker.

‘In the prime country-house market, we’re almost completely beholden to international buyers- or to expatriates based overseas. We launched Cliff House near Dover in Kent with a guide price of £4.5 million. We were close to a deal with a Belgian, when, at the last minute, a Russian buyer flew down on his helicopter and paid the full asking price.

For UK buyers, places such as Bath, Cambridge, Winchester and, of course, Oxford are doing really well-city living seems to be very popular at the top end of the market.

We’re telling everyone to get on with selling now, however, as, come October and party-conference season, we’re likely to hear about the General Election and "mansion tax"-that’s on everyone’s radar now. I can’t remember the last time I talked to a buyer who hasn’t mentioned it.’

Dawn Carritt, Jackson-Stops & Staff.

‘What we’re really seeing emerge in this market are well-researched buyers. They’ve thought about what they want and what they can afford. There might be fewer viewings, but they’re of much higher calibre. I think this is down to the cost of moving- these days, everyone is mindful of that.

The mid-sector country-house market- that is, good family houses in good condition and with some land-is brisk, whereas at the very top end of the market, people are pickier and more price-sensitive. They’re more thoughtful about whether they need all the extras.

Hotspots are those areas with good links to London. Most people these days feel they need to be seen in the office, so areas such as Winchester, around Haslemere, Canterbury, parts of East Anglia that have good services to Liverpool Street and anywhere within easy distance of Milton Keynes are popular.’

Source: Country Life

Press release ends.

ABOUT NEW FOREST, SANDBANKS, UK COUNTRY HOUSES AND ESTATES PROPERTY SEARCH AGENTS AND PROPERTY BUYING ADVISORS, SANDS HOME SEARCH

Sands Home Search are independent Property Search & Relocation Agents who specialise in finding and acquiring the finest property for sale in The New Forest, Sandbanks, the UK Country House market and in Cape Town South Africa for private, corporate and international property buying clients.

TEL: 01425 462 549

(from outside of the UK 0044 1425 462 549)

WEBSITE: www.SandsHomeSearch.com

CORPORATE VIDEO: www.YouTube.com/User/PropertySearchAgents

Follow us on Facebook: www.FaceBook/pages/UK-Property-Search-Agents-Sands-Home-Search

TAGS: New Forest, Sandbanks, England, Property, Sale, Buy, Selling, Buying, Search, Homes, Houses, Country Homes, Property Search Agent, Relocation Agent, Property Buying Agent, Property Buying Advisor, Relocation Company, Property, Real Estate, Country Houses, Country Homes, Country Estates, Period Property, Equestrian Property, Farms, Waterside Homes, Town, City, Village, For Sale, Period Property, Rectories, City, Buying, Selling, Renting, Homes, Houses, Estate Agents, Property Search, House for sale, Property Prices, Property Market, Property Agents

(from outside of the UK 0044 1425 462 549)

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