Charlotte Dover, Associate of The Buying Solution covering the Cotswolds, Oxford, Cheltenham and Bath, reveals how she’d spend her lottery winnings
You’ve won the lottery! Your wealth advisor has recommended how much you should put away to pay for necessary and important elements such as pensions, investments and charitable donations. They have allocated £3m of the remaining pot to invest in property. What would you buy?
Having only relocated from south-west London to Charlbury, in Oxfordshire, within the last 12 months, I wouldn’t be looking to move again so soon. Charlbury currently suits us very well: we have access to lots of walks, all important pubs and local shops and our house is within walking distance of the station with a direct link to Oxford, for theatres and restaurants, and London, to catch up with friends.
I’d be inclined to put some of the £3m aside to help with a move in the future but the lion’s share I’d invest in some buy-to-let properties. Despite the additional 3% Stamp Duty Land Tax rate and the changes to tax reliefs for landlords, I still believe that sensible investments in the rental market are worth considering. I’d use the experience and knowledge gained as a lettings agent in London for 10 years, as well as my work for clients of TBS looking to rent, to make a few shrewd investments.
One place which always has a high demand for property from tenants is Oxford and I’d focus on finding a little house in Jericho first. The location is perfect. It’s an area that’s popular with students as well as families, it’s easily accessible from the train station and the city centre and there are lots of fun bars and restaurants locally on Walton Street.
I’d probably buy a two-bedroom house as it avoids having to apply for an HMO [houses in multiple occupation] licence. Oxford, due to its large student population, can be stricter than other cities, requiring all HMO properties to have a licence. Having said that, if I found a really good three-bedroom house, I’d be tempted to go for it and apply for a licence as demand is strong. Tenants could either be students, young professionals or even families who are basing themselves in Oxford but commuting to London for work. It would probably cost me between £600,000 and £700,000 for a two- to three-bedroom Victorian terrace with a small garden.
While it would be good to have foot on a rung of the Oxford property market, I don’t think it’s likely to increase substantially in value quickly as Oxford has already seen marked increases in property values over recent years. Where I do see opportunity when it comes to value is in Cheltenham. With all the investment going on in the town centre—and the likes of John Lewis and The Ivy opening up—Cheltenham is becoming a very viable, and better value, alternative to Oxford.
My second investment buy would most likely be a two- or three-bedroom apartment in a Regency or Regency-style building in Montpelier or Tivoli. It could suit young professionals or parents with children at school locally wanting a pied-a-terre or, with the fast road and rail connections, anyone who is working in Bristol, Bath or Birmingham. It would likely cost between £500,000 and £600,000 and if there happened to be gaps between tenancies, I’d like to use it as a base to take advantage of all the festivals that take place in Cheltenham throughout the year.
My final investment would be in a little house slightly outside prime Cheltenham in an area such as Leckhampton or Charlton Kings. The aim would be to let the house to the family market looking to get their children into some of the fantastic primary schools. It would probably be a three-bedroom semi-detached house with a garden, and likely to cost just over £500,000,
If there was anything left over in the pot, I’d keep it as a holiday fund; for warm weather, I’d head off to Franschhoek in South Africa whenever I could and would likely spend the rest on annual skiing holidays. Rather than sticking to the same resort year after year, I’d like to spend the next ten years exploring different ones all over Europe.