TBS in The Sunday Times – Join The New Country Club

Government figures show that record numbers of people are moving out of London – 340,500 in 2018. Many are looking to live close to clubs with London style facilities, spas, restaurants, gyms and the chance to mingle with like minded people.  The Newt in Somerset, whilst not a members club itself, is the latest in luxury boutique destinations to hit the map and have a positive impact on local house prices, over the past five years prices for two/three bedroom cottages locally have increased by 12 per cent.

Beaverbrook in Surrey is a members club that’s drawing the local crowd by their droves. At a cost of £3000 a year, locals can only use the facilities during the week as it’s reserved for the golf club members on weekends.

One area and members club that requires little persuasion are the villages in the North Cotswolds surrounding Soho Farmhouse. Great Tew, the local village to Soho Farmhouse, will soon have another pull, ‘The Mullin’; Peter Mullin’s new vintage car museum, racetrack and 28 new residential lodges.

Harry Gladwin outlines his thoughts on how Soho Farmhouse has fuelled this kind of ‘members club’ living.

– To what extent has Soho Farmhouse revived a yearning for this kind of living? Is it used as the benchmark and blueprint for how to attract the country set? 

The experience on offer at Soho Farmhouse is very different from that of the traditional Manor House hotel / club of previous generations. Whilst Soho Farmhouse sits in a beautiful part of the country, it’s the combination of this and the cool creative vibe of Soho House which creates such a strong appeal. The opportunity to surround yourself with not only the beautiful people of Oxfordshire and the Cotswolds, but also a concentration of artists who have just dropped in from LA or taken a quick trip out from London is un-replicated elsewhere in the region. The fact that it is a primarily a private members club gives it a feeling of exclusivity without the stuffiness of a traditional country club.

I remember looking at the original drawings of the Farmhouse when they were very much at concept phase and thinking that it looked like a concept car – absolutely beautiful and incredible, but unlikely to work or that anyone would build it. The person showing me the drawings, seeing my confusion said – “Its going to offer a different vibe to anything else in the area ….you’ve been to the Maldives? – well imagine a blend of London / LA cool / the Maldives all here in the Cotswolds?…. And let’s face it, where can you get a good mojito around here on a Friday night?” As it happens I have never been to the Maldives and I hadn’t ever been that sensitive to the dearth of mojitos, but what Soho Farmhouse offers is wonderful – a buzz which you don’t find anywhere else, great facilities and a fun mix of interesting people.

– Any new clubs opening that are hoping to attract a Soho Farmhouse-type audience in their area of the country? (with our without residences for sale). 

 The next phase of the evolution of this part of the world will be the creation of The Mullin – a museum / mecca for those with high end vintage cars. With another influx of HNWIs to the Cotswolds, expect to see a further improvements in regional facilities – more foodie pubs with beautiful rooms, upgraded hotels, more cool festivals such as Cornbury, Wilderness etc. The Cotswolds are vast and multi-faceted, with the ability to offer something for everyone and for many, Soho Farmhouse etc hold absolutely no appeal. That said, a small corner in the North Cotswolds, home to Daylesford Organic and Soho Farmhouse, is absolutely buzzing and whilst all progress comes with compromises, the success of these enterprises has to be a good thing which ultimately benefits everybody.

– How has the country club concept updated itself for modern day visitors/property buyers?

 The versatility of Soho Farmhouse means that locals can dip in and out to use the gym, have a coffee, lunch, dinner or members can visit and stay for a long weekend, remaining within the grounds, or using it as a base from which to explore the Cotswolds. The buzz this creates and the quality / difference of what is on offer, means that many more people want to live within 30 mins of The Farmhouse. One could argue that the quality of what is on offer can be found or exceeded in many other parts of the region – which is true, but the experience can’t be replicated, and that is what draws people to this very specific corner of this region.

To read the full article click here; https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/join-the-new-country-club-jnt0zw8j5

TBS in Lovemoney.com – Downsizing: should you consider renting instead of buying a property?

According to data from Hamptons International over 50’s now make up 15% of rented households so far this year. Last year, the English Housing Survey revealed there were 414,000 over-65s renting privately in 2016 to 2017, a big jump from the 257,000 doing so a decade ago.

Jemma Scott, Partner at The Buying Solution, says; “We have noticed a real increase in the more mature ‘lifestyle’ renter. These silver surfers are choosing to remove themselves from the shackles of homeownership and hand the responsibilities of home maintenance back to landlords. Many of our more mature rental search clients are definitely baby boomers who benefitted from a huge house price growth, are mortgage free and likely haven’t rented since their student days. Often they will have sold the historic (and crucially empty)  family home to release some equity to the children who are often struggling to get on or climb the housing ladder, maybe buy a little buy to let flat in town and invest the rest for retirement. It becomes a fun project rather than the trudge of shabby bedsits they remember from their student days but there is definitely an education process we go through and downsizing from the family home comes with its own issues – we usually go through an adjustment process whereby they have to reevaluate how they want to live without acres of gardens and 1000’s of square footage to look after.

 One client I have worked with recently wanted a mini version of their sprawling Oxfordshire home ‘in town’ but with a bit of handholding, with some creative thinking and a fantastic garden designer we were able to find quite the opposite – a riverside penthouse with a south facing balcony and a stunningly adorned south facing balcony on a long term lease – no service charge, an in house gym and a concierge to deal with all the deliveries, dry cleaning and plumbers booked at the Landlords expense– they commented they couldn’t believe it took them so long…

 There are also a real shortage of decent rentals and hot competition for the better ones – we have worked with clients who want to jump into ‘flexi-living’ but are frustrated by what is openly available – as with the ‘for life’ purchase the best options often trade off-market so the same crucial local networks and connections apply when we are securing the ultimate downsize as they do when we are purchasing that classic Old Rectory in the village which comes to market once every 40 years.”

To read the full article click here; https://www.lovemoney.com/news/86741/downsizing-renting-buying-property

TBS in The Times – Melanie Cantor: I move house every two years

Author and showbiz agent Melanie Cantor moves house every two years but is this sensible? Jonathan Bramwell speaks to The Times

British homeowners are now moving less – on average every 21 years according to Zoopla.  Melanie Cantor, a former showbiz agent and author, is attempting to bring the average down as she has bought and sold 18 times since 1982. Her first home was in East Finchley, north London: a two-up, two-down house that she bought with her ex-husband in the early 1980s for £35,000, then sold for £58,000 two years later. She then bought three homes in Hampstead Garden Suburb, two in Crouch End, plus houses in Belsize Park and Hampstead, all in north London; Whitstable, in Kent; two in the Cotswolds; a flat in Old Street, east London; and two properties in Mayfair, central London.

Melanie loves doing up houses and the challenges involved, she also gets ‘itchy feet’ if she stays in one place for too long. She’s had amazing experiences and met great people but is it worth it right now?

Jonathan Bramwell says: “We did have clients who used to move every two to three years, but with higher stamp duty for more expensive properties and a flatter market it is less common.

“A lack of supply usually means you have to pay full price, which means you are at risk of it not making commercial sense if you take a two-to-three-year outlook. There are always exceptions to the rules, but we would advocate being very cautious on doing this at present.”

To read the full article click here; https://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/bricks-mortar/melanie-cantor-i-move-house-every-two-years-2jkhhcjr5

TBS in the Daily Mail – Howzat for a home?

The Cricket World Cup is underway, drawing a billion viewers worldwide. England are also soon to play their fiercest rivals Australia and all the hype is encouraging thoughts of a home, either with its own cricket pitch or close to one.

Langton House, the childhood home of Robert Baden Powell in Kent, has its own cricket pitch and pavilion all maintained by groundsmen within 12 acres. The present owner runs a ‘house team’ – it helps he has five sons! Langton House is for sale through Knight Frank for £3.95 million.

For most cricket lovers just being close to a good club is enough to satisfy their appetite for the game. Jonathan Bramwell, Head of The Buying Solution, says; “Having a cricket club close by will undoubtedly aid the sale of a house, particularly if you are selling to people who are newcomers to the area. Many clubs nowadays have barbeques on match days, bars in the club house and have youth sides for both boys and girls, so it’s a way the whole family can quickly make friends. And you never know who’ll you play against. Sam Mendes, the film director used to turn out for my home team of Shipton Under Wychwood.”

To read the full article click here; https://www.dailymail.co.uk/property/article-7217059/Living-cricket-ground-real-match-winner-comes-making-friends.html