Monday, 5 November 2012

Top 10 homes in Britain's best postcodes

1 Somerset
Location: Bath, BA1
Guide price: £395,000
Agent: Knight Frank 01225 325999 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting FREE 01225 325999 end_of_the_skype
Bath’s Royal Crescent, designed by John Wood the Younger, is one of the most recognisable streets in Britain, if not the world. But you don’t have to be a millionaire to set up in BA1. Formerly a dance studio, this architect-designed apartment would be a perfect pied-à-terre for those wanting to explore the West Country. Alternatively it would make a great buy-to-let.

2 London
Location: Victoria Road, W8
Guide price: £8.75m
Agent: Henry and James 020 7235 8861 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting FREE 020 7235 8861 end_of_the_skype
W8, in Kensington, West London, is officially the most expensive postcode in the country. The average home comes in at £1,873,866, with many going for far more than that. This double-fronted period house has five bedrooms, parquet floors and high ceilings, as well as a stunning kitchen with state of the art fittings. One of the reception rooms is so large that it is known as “the ballroom”. Perfect for showing off your swish new address to guests.

3 Edinburgh
Location: Carlton Street, EH4
Guide price: From £750,000
Agent: CKD Galbraith 0131 240 6960 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting FREE 0131 240 6960 end_of_the_skype
On the green-leafed fringes of Edinburgh’s new town, Carlton Street is a short walk from the shops of the city centre. It combines peace and quiet with many nearby parks. This spacious apartment is on the ground and garden floors of a Georgian terrace. It has three bedrooms, a garden and three cellars.

4 London
Location: Eaton Square, SW1W
Guide price: £650,000
Agent: Savills, 020 7730 0822 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting FREE 020 7730 0822 end_of_the_skype
The setting for Upstairs Downstairs, and sometime home of Sir Roger Moore and Vivien Leigh, Eaton Square is synonymous with upmarket elegance. Prices are high, but this one-bedroom flat, on the third floor of a Grade II listed building, is more accessible than most. It needs some love, but when finished it would make the ultimate bachelor address that every taxi driver would know immediately.

5 London
Location: Lancaster Grove, NW3
Guide price: £8.5m
Agent: Aston Chase 020 7724 4724 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting FREE 020 7724 4724 end_of_the_skype
Encompassing Hampstead, Belsize Park and parts of Primrose Hill, NW3 has literary and artistic heritage to go with its eye-watering prices. This stunning Arts and Crafts-style property, for which planning permission has been granted, will have 7,880 sq ft of space and a swimming pool.

6 London
Location: Sloane Avenue, SW3
Guide price: £5.45m
Agent: Beaney Pearce, 020 7590 9500 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting FREE 020 7590 9500 end_of_the_skype
Located between the King’s Road and Fulham Road, this four-bedroom house is right in the heart of fashionable west London. Arranged over four floors, the property includes a south-west facing patio garden, a private gym and surround-sound entertainment system. There is also separate en-suite staff accommodation, for putting up your chef and butler.

7 Gloucestershire
Location: Ebrington, GL55
Guide price: £895,000
Agent: Knight Frank, 01789 297735 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting FREE 01789 297735 end_of_the_skype
This postcode includes some of the Cotswolds’ prettiest villages, including Chipping Campden. The Old Farmhouse, in nearby Ebrington, comes with four bedrooms, extensive storage and cellar. Outside is more than half an acre of attractive gardens. Friends writing you letters will feel jealous addressing the envelope.

8 Devon
Location: Roche House, Salcombe, TQ8
Guide price: £575,000
Agent: Marchand Petit, 01548 844473 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting FREE 01548 844473 end_of_the_skype
Though it might not have quite the outrageous prices of London, there is no doubting the prestige of Salcombe, in the South Hams enclave of Devon. This beautifully presented five-bedroom Edwardian terrace house has a snug and a garden. It is also just two minutes’ walk from the waterfront. Ideal for holidays – both for you and your friends, who will no doubt be desperate to come and join you.

9 Buckinghamshire
Location: Chalfont St Giles, HP8
Guide price: £1.85m
Agent: The Frost Partnership 01494 872233 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting FREE 01494 872233 end_of_the_skype
Within easy commuting distance of London, but with all the charm of the country, it’s easy to see why this Buckinghamshire address has become one of the most sought after in the Home Counties. This six-bedroom house, the Old Mill, could hardly be more picturesque. The River Misbourne runs through the pretty gardens.
10 Surrey
Location: Gillespie House, Virginia Water, GU25
Guide price: £405,000
Agent: Barton Wyatt 01344 843000 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting FREE 01344 843000 end_of_the_skype
In a recent survey, Virginia Water was the only postcode outside London to make it into the top 10 most expensive in the country. This two-bedroom apartment, with a private terrace overlooking gardens, lets you live in glorious prime commuter-land, for the price of a one-bedroom shoebox in parts of central London. Shared leisure facilities include a large indoor heated swimming pool.

Friday, 2 November 2012

New flat for sale in Baltimore Wharf, London E14 - 3 bedrooms

Property features

  • Open planned living area
  • Dual aspect apartment
  • En-suite bathrooms
  • Floor to ceiling windows
  • Leisure facilities and health club operated by Nuffield
  • New landscaped open space
  • An upgraded DLR station at Baltimore Wharf
  • Entry phone and CCTV systemsHigh specification finish
  • 999 year lease

Property description

Plot 1344

A 3 bedroom 4 bathroom penthouse apartment of 3, 586 sq ft located on the 13th floor of this modern development in the heart of Canary Wharf.

Premier at Baltimore Wharf: A collection of lateral penthouses and double height duplexes, sitting astride the development that has come to define docklands living.

Exclusive waterside apartments, finished with an uncompromising eye to quality and detail. Waterside properties that combine expansive space with elevated views of the city and central London. Where peace meets tranquillity and wide-open space. Where a perfectly landscaped private boulevard meets personal concierge. And where an impressive list of amenities is now joined by London’s most radical residential urban gym and leisure facility. All just 5 minutes from Canary Wharf.

Baltimore Wharf

Baltimore Wharf is a luxury lifestyle universe: From the ultimate pied à terre to a double-height duplex, set around a perfectly landscaped boulevard of clean lines and reflections within a sweeping curve of the Thames.

The styles of apartment at Baltimore make up a vivid, luminescent spectrum, from suites to penthouses. Each apartment is defined by exquisite attention to detail, quality of materials and a sense of light and function that has distinguished decades of Ballymore developments. 

With the high gloss of retail, dining and the most stylish and cutting edge leisure facilities in the capital all designed into the development, an apartment at Baltimore is a destination in its own right. Few homes in London have such a dynamic array of downtime possibilities, designed to combine total peace and privacy with the buzz of fashion, food and night-life. Go to work, work out, stay out, stay home, sleep tight – this is London life at its most fantastic, thrilling and luxurious.

The apartments at the Baltimore development are amongst the largest of their kind in the city, with generous balconies punctuating the smooth lines of Baltimore's striking architecture.

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

2-Bed Flat For Sale In FREEHOLD!!, Trafalgar Road, Moseley, Birmingham, B13 8BL

A Freehold 2nd Floor Two Bedroom Apartment in a converted period Victorian property located on Trafalgar Road within Moseley Village. Situated in a fantastic location nearby to Cannon Hill Park and within close proximity of Birmingham City Centre.

Key features:

  • Freehold 2nd Floor Two Bed Apartment
  • Hallway
  • Large Lounge
  • Fully Fitted Kitchen
  • Bathroom
  • Gas Central Heating and Intercom System
  • Large Communal Garden
  • Off Road Parking

Full description:

A Freehold 2nd Floor Two Bedroom Apartment in a converted period Victorian property located on Trafalgar Road within Moseley Village. Situated in a fantastic location nearby to Cannon Hill Park and within close proximity of Birmingham City Centre.
This spacious apartment benefits from being Gas Central Heating throughout and an Intercom System.
Comprises of; Hallway, Large Lounge, Fully Fitted Kitchen, Bathroom, Two Double Bedrooms, Large Communal Garden and Off Road Parking.

Sunday, 1 January 2012

Affordable home ownership options explained

If you think owning a property is out of your price range, think again. There are several affordable home ownership schemes that could help you climb the property ladder

Affordable housing schemes exist to help people who are priced out of the open market buy a home of their own. There are a wide range of schemes that can help you do this. We've listed the main home ownership options below.
FirstBuyThe Government’s new £250 million scheme is coming into force in September. FirstBuy unites the Government and housebuilders who will each provide a 10 per cent equity loan (interest free for five years) to 10,000 first-time buyers.

The buyer must raise five per cent of the home price themselves, which is then added to the 20 per cent equity loan already provided by the Government and housebuilder. The buyer then organises a 75 per cent mortgage on the remaining cost of the property.
The scheme is open to first-time buyers who have a combined household income of £60,000 or under. It is also dependent on the buyer raising five per cent of the cost of the home, which must be new build.
Shared OwnershipShared ownership means buyers purchase a part share (between 25-75 per cent) of a new build property in a selected development, and pay a subsidised rent for the remaining part.
After 12 months, they can then choose to purchase additional shares based on the market value of the home at the time, and their rent will be adjusted proportionately.
When the buyer wants to sell, they will receive the proportion of the proceeds according to the percentage of the property they own. For example, if they have a 75 per cent share, they’ll receive 75 per cent of the selling price.
Rent to BuyThis scheme allows people to rent a newly-built housing association property at a reduced rate - typically 20 per cent less than the current market rental value. The subsidised rental period is designed to let people save a deposit which is then used to purchase a share of the home.
The rent is payable for a predefined period, usually either three or five years, after which the renter is expected to buy the property on shared ownership terms.
Affordable housing – what's it for?Jamie Ratcliff of the Homes and Communities Agency says these options aim to get buyers into the property market. “Affordable home ownership schemes are an excellent way to get a step on to the housing ladder in a sensible and affordable way, and with the potential to move on to full ownership at a time that suits the buyer.”

For details on eligibility and to apply for many of these schemes, you should contact your local HomeBuy agent.

Star homes: the top ten UK celebrity villages

Take a closer look at our most picturesque villages and you’ll see flocks of footballers, actors and models nestling in the undergrowth. With that in mind, we went in search of England’s top ten

Over and above the benefits of rubbing shoulders with the rich and famous over a pint at your local, having a celebrity neighbour in your village could actually increase the selling price of your home by five to ten per cent.
That’s the estimate of Simon Ashwell, Head of Savills Weybridge who says the buzz created by celebrities drives his local market.  “Does it add to the area? I would say, yes, it does,” he concludes. 
It’s a view shared by Knight Frank’s Judith Archer, used to handling celebs buying north Cotswolds bolt-holes from her office in Stratford-upon-Avon.  “It does make the areas more sought after, more fashionable…it adds that element of being a bit exclusive,” she says. “It’s amazing how word of someone living in an area can get around."
Most celebrity villages are clustered around beautiful well-connected areas that would attract a high price tag, but both Archer and Ashwell note that in the current market, homes with celebrity appeal are easier to sell.
Here’s out pick of England’s top celebrity villages in which to buy.
1. Kingham
Voted England’s perfect village several times over, Kingham, near Chipping Norton in Oxfordshire, is home to former Blur guitarist-turned-cheese-maker Alex James. Called Notting-on-the-Hill by locals, this unspoilt spot, with two hotels, one shop, and an excellent village pub, The Plough, is unique among villages in the district because of its direct train link to London. Daylesford Organic, grocer to stars like Kate Moss, Jeremy Clarkson and Liz Hurley living in nearby Cotswolds villages, is on the outskirts.
2. Alderley Edge, Cheshire
Alderley Edge in Cheshire, bristles with footballers and wags such as Rio Ferdinand and Gareth Barry. Named after The Edge, the National Trust owned cliffs that offer fantastic views across Cheshire and Manchester, it forms part of the Golden Triangle of villages that includes Knutsford and Hale popular with football stars like Mikael Sivestre, Wayne Rooney, Carlos Tevez, and Wes Brown.
3. Chalfont St Peter, Buckinghamshire
Chalfont St Peter, Buckinghamshire, near High Wycombe and Rickmansworth, is close to Pinewood and Elstree Studios,  Eton and Heathrow are a stone’s throw away and the train to London’s Marylebone is 30 minutes from nearby wealthy Gerrard’s Cross. The village takes in Chalfont St Giles and Little Chalfont, and is also the gateway to the Chiltern Hills. Noel Gallagher, Fern Britten, Cilla Black, Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt and Ozzy Ozbourne all have homes close by.
4. Bucklebury, Berkshire
Bucklebury, Berkshire, leapt into the spotlight when Wills married Kate. It’s the home of Michael and Carole Middleton but its wooded country lanes are thick with secretive multi-millionaires who retreat to this beautiful country setting to ensure their anonymity. Other well-known figures who live close by include John Madjeski, Chris Tarrant, Kate Bush and Melinda Messenger.
5. Cobham, Surrey
If you visit Starbucks in Cobham, Surrey, on any given morning, you’re bound to see a Chelsea footballer – or a wag.  Former Chelsea manager Jose Mourhino stipulated players should live no further than fifteen minutes from the club’s football practise ground and it’s a legacy that continues today.  Dubbed England’s Beverly Hills, along with nearby Oxshott, the area is home to Frank Lampard and John Terry, as well as Eamonn Holmes, Andy Murray, Freddie Flintoff and Peter Andre.
6. St Georges Hill, Surrey
Up the road, St Georges Hill, Surrey, attracts a different sort of set.  In the 1960s it was a great escape for John Lennon, Ringo Starr, Cliff Richard, Elton John and Tom Jones.  These days the 3.9km squared private estate is full of Russian oligarchs and Bollywood stars, not to mention City financiers – former HSBC boss Michael Geoghan lives there, as well various telecommunications chiefs. With excellent connections to London, Heathrow and the countryside, it’s an ideal hideout for a high-flyer.
7. Walberswick
Walberswick, a tiny, picturesque fishing village in out of the way Suffolk, is the ideal location for celebs escaping the limelight. Linked to neighbouring Southwold by a footbridge spanning the River Blyth, it’s been a bolthole for screenwriter Richard Curtis, (Four Weddings and a Funeral, Love Actually) and partner Emma Freud. Michael Palin started up Southwold Electric Picture Palace and Twiggy, Gary Lineker, Griff Rhys Jones, Alan Rickman and Bill Nighy have homes in the area. 
8. West Wittering, West Sussex
With a beach hut fetching £60,000 from local resident Keith Richards a few years ago, West Wittering, West Sussex, is firmly on the celeb-friendly map. The beautiful seaside town 6.5 miles south of Chichester is loved for its long sandy beach and Nicholas Lyndhurst and Michael Ball also live in the village. Inland, nearby Midhurst and Pulborough are thick with polo ponies and sports cars, not to mention secretive celebs, who flock to these villages with views of the South Downs and good connections to London and Gatwick airport.
9. Salcombe, Devon
Everyone loves a good beach house and there are few better places to be on the Devon coast than Salcombe. Be prepared to cough up £500,000, though.  That’s the average house price in this quaint spot, beloved by Sir Michael Parkinson, Kate Bush and Sir Clive Woodward, making it one of the most expensive places to live in England outside London.
10.  Ponteland, Northumberland
Newcastle footballers head to Ponteland, Northumberland one of England’s wealthiest villages, just on the outskirts of Newscastle-upon-Tyne.  Darrass Hall is the exclusive estate to which the likes of Alan Shearer, Chris Morgan and Steven Taylor flock. Meanwhile, further north, Pippa Middleton could be bringing along the Glosse Posse when she visits her old flame George Percy, son of the Duke of Northumberland, at Alnwick Castle.

Star homes: How a rock legend can make a property more valuable

Fancy living down the road from The Beatles’ old flat? Turns out lots of people love to live in rock'n'roll localities and their music connections can add to an area's popularity and value, as Pierre De Villiers discovers

They may have a reputation for wrecking rooms, but when it comes to making homes more desirable, rock stars are in a league of their own.
Mention that a flat or house on the market was once occupied by a music icon, and potential buyers happily queue around the block. “Buyers are often attracted to the idea of living somewhere connected to a celebrity – particularly if it has been their home,” explains Peter Bevan of Sotheby’s International Realty. “Having a famous owner is certainly an immense benefit when promoting it.”

In 2008 Sotheby’s had the opportunity to promote one of the most famous flats in the world. Located on the fourth floor at 57 Green Street in Mayfair, Flat L was occupied by The Beatles in 1963 – the only time the Fab Four all lived together. While the home was sold for a large sum in 2009, the building’s status as an important part of Beatles history has made other flats at 57 Green Street hot property.
“The fact that The Beatles lived in the building is such an interesting piece of history,” says Charles Lloyd of Savills Mayfair who is looking after the sale of a two-bedroom flat at 57 Green Street. “It’s a bonus and a point of interest that buyers can tell their friends about.”

A property made famous by musicians not only boosts sales in the building but gives the surrounding area a lift as well. For rock and pop fans, purchasing property in Mayfair is like buying a stairway to heaven with Jimi Hendrix having lived at 23 Brook Street and the Bee Gees at 67 Brook Street.
“If a rock or pop star is connected to an area it can enhance its prestige,” says Bevan. “Locations such as Mayfair have long lasting star appeal that supports its intrinsic desirability.”

The fact that Freddie Mercury lived at 1 Logan Place in Kensington has certainly had a positive knock-on effect on other properties in the area. “We recently sold the property right next to 1 Logan Place and we had a lot of potential buyers asking about the Freddie Mercury house,” says David Terrar of Bective Leslie Marsh. “People found it fascinating that such a big star lived next door and would certainly pay top dollar for a place nearby.”

With so many people enamoured with star musician homes, many estate agents are happy to tell potential buyers where a property fits into London’s rich music history.

Frank Harris estate agents highlight the fact that Bob Marley lived at 34 Ridgmount Gardens in Bloomsbury, where they are overseeing the sale of a four-bedroom flat, while the link between Cheyne Walk in Chelsea and The Rolling Stones is played up by Chasemore Property. “I’m really keen to tell people about the role that Cheyne Walk played in the lives of The Rolling Stones,” says Suja Thomas of Chasemore Property, who promotes properties in a street nicknamed ‘Rolling Stone Row’ after Mick Jagger, Keith Richards and Ronnie Wood all lived there at some stage. “It’s nice to think you can own a property in a place that was so liked by a famous rock band. It makes the area seem even more special than it already is.”

Thursday, 29 December 2011

Wood-burning Stoves in 2011: A Beginner's Guide

High oil prices and eco concerns have led to a surge in demand for wood-burning stoves…

Wood-burning stoves are hot property at the moment. From traditional use in country cottages to cutting edge architecture, they are the latest word in green heat.
Suzie Nightingale from Stovesonline says that demand has become overwhelming: "We’ve probably sold three to four times the number of stoves in the last two years. We didn’t even have time for a break last year."
So who wants one? "It’s a whole range, from people interested in saving the planet to people who want to save money.
"But we also deal with a lot of architects who are building them into their plans because they know having a secondary green heating source will be looked on favourably by planners."

Hit With Buyers

Estate agent Tom Deville at Savills in Nottingham says that wood-burning stoves are increasingly popular with potential buyers.

"People love them, they make a nice homely feel, and buyers are often aware that they’re cost effective and better for the environment. They probably don’t add anything to the value of a property, but they make it more desirable and saleable."

Although most of the wood burners Tom sees are very traditional, he is encountering more and more contemporary designs.

"People like them if it suits the property. We sold a converted barn recently with a chimney breast in the middle of the room and a double glass-sided log burner. It made the room complete."
So what is all the fuss about? Why are stoves so popular? There are four main reasons:

1. They’re very energy efficient
Everyone likes an open fire, but the efficiency of burning logs in a grate is very low. An open fire has to suck a lot of the (warm) air out of the room, and it is replaced by cold air from outside.
An open fire is estimated to be only about 20-25 per cent efficient, but it can be much lower, even falling into negative efficiency, potentially making your room colder than before you started!
But a modern wood-burning  stove can run at over 80 per cent efficiency. So if you put your logs in a stove instead of on a fire you will benefit from at least three times the amount of heat.
In addition, you may be able to use the top of the stove to boil a kettle or make toast, and some models even have ovens built in, so you can bake a cake while you’re warming your home.

2. They’re carbon neutral

Wood is the original carbon-neutral fuel. True, it releases carbon dioxide when it’s burnt, but the amount given off is the same as was stored by the tree when it was growing.
And, if the tree were left to rot in the woods it would produce the same amount of carbon emissions as are released by burning it.
Most firewood in this country comes from sustainable sources, so for every tree cut down another is planted, and the carbon released from the felled tree will be absorbed by another tree.
And, with the aid of new technology, a wood-burning stove can be even greener.
With the cleanburn or cleanheat system the gases created when the wood is burnt are circulated back into the stove and burnt off. This increases heat and reduces emissions. 

3. They're Clean

Both in terms of smoke and the amount of ash produced for the owner to clean up, modern wood burners are very impressive.
Even in daily use the stove should not need cleaning out more than every few weeks. In fact, a bed of ashes helps the wood to burn.
And if the stove has self-cleaning airwash glass a clear view of flickering flames is guaranteed.
As for the emissions, many stoves are now clean enough to be legally used in urban smoke-free zones. 

4. They look great

There are many manufacturers, both here and abroad producing the comforting traditional-style wood burners that look fantastic in period properties.

But if you fancy something a little more adventurous, the ultra modern freestanding stoves with big glass windows certainly make a statement.

In traditional black iron, shining steel, or even a white ceramic finish, there is something to suit every décor.


What do you burn?

It depends on your stove. You can have a wood only, a multi-fuel, or a pellet stove, which burns small pieces of compressed sawdust that are automatically fed into the fire.

Most people use logs, but they should be dried under cover for a year to reduce the moisture content.
And, if you want to save money, your fuel doesn’t have to cost you a penny.

Eco consultant Donnachadh McCarthy, whose new book Easy Eco-auditing is coming out in the new year, uses his wood burner, combined with an ingenious Ecofan, that distributes the warm air around the house, as the sole heat source for his terraced home.

So far Donnachadh not spent a penny on fueling his wood-burning  stove.

"I get all my wood between my house and the corner shop. You’ll be amazed how much wood people throw away. I get untreated wood pallets from a local plumbers merchant who used to pay a guy to take them away.

"And a lot of people doing up houses throw away good wood. You can use it all, as long as it’s not painted or treated."
Geoff Hogan from the Biomass Energy Centre approves of using waste wood, but advises caution: "You have to be particularly careful with wood that has been treated for outdoor use, such as fence posts," says Hogan.

"In the past CCA, which contains arsenic was commonly used. And you have to avoid wood treated with halogens, chlorine, fluorine and bromine, or treated with heavy metals."

Smoke-free zone?

There’s no fire without smoke. And, particularly in America, people are starting to be concerned about the levels of particulate pollution produced by burning wood.

Geoff Hogan doesn’t believe that we should be overly concerned.  
"It is a potential problem, particularly in built-up areas, but the particulate emissions are three to four times less than with an open fire."

And, says Hogan, if you’re planning to use a wood-burning stove in an urban environment, you will have to use one that complies with the Clean Air Act, and will have been designed to have even lower particulate emissions.

How much?

Wood-burning  stoves usually cost between around £400 and £2,000, but you could spend up to £6,000 for something very special.
Stoves suitable for use in smokeless zones are more expensive, starting at around £750.
But installation is costly. For a standard Victorian house budget for £800 for materials alone.
Donnachadh McCarthy‘s 5 Kw Clearview Pioneer burner cost £800, but installation, including a new chimney flue, added another £2,000.

Moving Story

Anna Travers and her family are selling their Tenterton home, which comes with a wood-burning  stove in an inglenook fireplace.
"Having lived with open fires before I definitely prefer the wood-burning  stove," says Anna.  "I don’t use it every day, so I just clean out the cinders when they become too bulky, about twice a year.
"It’s far more efficient than an open fire, you can forget the central heating when it’s on because the heat filters through the house. "We’re downsizing, and I’ll be sorry to see it go."
Can I have one?

1. You need a chimney with a large enough flue to cope with the output you’ll need for your room. If you haven’t got a chimney can you use a twin wall flue system. Ask your supplier for advice.

2. Check the prevailing wind. If it blows back down the chimney you’ll may need to fit a vent to the top of the chimney.
3. If you live in a smoke-control area (check on Smoke Control Areas ) look for an approved wood-burning stove. 

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