This Week in Property: The Latest News with Gill Fielding

Take a look at what our CEO Gill Fielding has to say about this week’s property news…

Caravans are in!

About 15 years ago I took our children on a caravan holiday and I say ‘I’ pointedly because my husband (who had the distinct disadvantage of being brought up ‘posh’) wouldn’t come. At the time caravans had a tacky reputation and were kitted out in velour and mdf. But not now! Caravans are now more comfortable inside — most new models come with fridge-freezers, ovens, fixed beds, separate shower room and toilet, central heating, extra insulation, air conditioning, panoramic windows, wi-fi functionality and the option for satellite TV.

The pandemic has changed how we see caravans and various caravan producing companies are reporting a massive increase in orders over the last year. The average cost of a caravan is about £20k – £25k but the more luxurious bespoke versions can be up to £100k but they are still cheaper than buying a holiday cottage and you have the advantage of being able to go to different places each holiday. Mind you they do have to be stored between excursions and that can be expensive too.

It’s an odd craze but understandable in a pandemic. A Caravan is yours and can be kept clean, you don’t have to worry about social distancing and you can go on holiday when, and as often, as you like. They fit the pandemic lifestyle but will it last? My view is that it won’t. When the pandemic is over people will go back to foreign holidays and hotel luxury. No matter how comfortable a caravan might be, being cooped up in a small space with family members will quickly lose it’s appeal when we have other options available. I expect a flood in the second hand caravan market about this time next year!

One Person’s Organ…

As a property investor one of my principles is to make all properties fit for purpose and to suit the maximum number of people.

That’s why the light, bright, white or magnolia approach is considered most suitable and many times I’ve had to repaint over purple or bright green walls but I’ve never had to cope with a full sized pipe organ in a small terraced house!

There is a house in Bristol which has just been sold which frankly is a house built around an full scale, pipes an’ all, fully functioning organ which goes up through the house with the various parts of it on the landing and in the upper rooms. It was reported on the BBC so have a look for the pictures!

It was built for a lady who played the organ in church and her husband decided she needed to be able to practice at home so built the organ. It is a small terraced house so I wonder what the neighbours thought of that. The lady lived to the grand old age of 98 and now the house has been sold for an undisclosed price.

Sadly I expect the first thing the  new owners will do is to rip out the organ and that leads me to the tip of the day: don’t make major, or unusual, changes to a house unless you intend to live in it for many years because most people won’t like it and the price you can get for your property will diminish and it’s likely to be difficult to sell.

Lovely though this story is I can’t help thinking that the property must have been sold for a fraction of its true price because one person’s organ is another person’s pain in the proverbial!

Pandemic Okey Kokey

We have all been made aware of how the pandemic has changed our lives and that we won’t ever go back to how we once were and there are suggestions that we won’t ever go back to full time office working for instance. Well there are already signs that we ARE going back to how we once were with the latest figures from the property portal Rightmove.

A few weeks ago they were quoting that people were moving out of the centre of towns and cities and into the suburbs and now already there are signs that people are moving back the other way!

There has been a surge of demand for rental properties in the centre of London where rents have soften due to people moving away. It seems that people actually like living in city centres and are taking advantage in the short term drop in rents to get into good locations.

A study by Rightmove revealed that searches for properties in zones 1 and 2 had risen and specifically searches had risen by 111% in Battersea just south of the river Thames and 126% in Nine Elms in south west London.  It seems that the country life has already lost its appeal for some and no wonder as there are so many other social, cultural and personal benefits to living right in the centre of town.

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