Property Projects

Mrs P and I go for a walk pretty much daily. Some walks are a bit further than others. Some routes we do more than others. Most of them involve walking from home, down through Bournemouth Gardens and on to the pier. There is one route we regularly do which is a little further from home. During Lockdown 1, a year ago, when we had oodles of time to kill, we used to walk there. But it took several hours to walk that loop, so these days we drive to the starting point at Canford Cliffs.

It’s a nice area, affluent, with a smart but small high street. There’s a Mazda dealership on the corner. We bought our little Mazda 2 from the place about a year and a half ago. Baffi Pizza at the other end of the street does the best pizza in the area. In between there is a lovely bakery and a selection of estate agents, selling expensive local flats and houses.

And a bit further down the road is Lochfyne, an excellent seafood restaurant. Their social media feed is currently raging against Brexit. They are unhappy. Our divorce from the EU has seen British fish exports to the continent slashed. Scottish salmon and shellfish suppliers have seen exports drop by up to 98%. Catastrophic. But my sympathy for their plight is rather limited. Their social media feed in 2015 and 2016 argued for Brexit, on the basis it would be great for British fishing.

We walk from the car down to the beach and then loop back through Lilliput, where we often buy coffee and cake from either Mark Bennetts Bakery or Rockets and Rascals cycle shop/cafe, depending upon who has the shorter queue. The road back to the car from there takes us through the gloriously scenic Parkstone golf club.

Just before we get to the golf course are a pair of semi detached properties. A year ago, it was in a bit of a state. But workmen have been busy restoring them, particularly the left hand one. It’s now pretty much finished and is listed on Rightmove. Having spent a year looking at the outside being put right, I can now have a nosy look at the inside. It’s very smart and modern, don’t you think? I like it. And yet. I think it’s lost a lot of the character it once had. Which is a shame.

Mrs P and I have had our own flat valued recently. We would quite like a flat with a large balcony or, better still, a terraced house. We were quite happy with the figure we were given for ours. It’d be easy to sell our flat at the moment, and we’d likely get our asking price. Londoners are desperately seeking to exit the big city. It’s definitely a sellers market at the moment.

Our problem is finding a reasonably priced house with garden or sun terrace. Those are two features that are in high demand, unsurprisingly. We both love the semi detached house we’ve watched being renovated. But at £825,000 it’s well out of our financial reach. Although we didn’t need to see it on Rightmove to know that. The Ferrari parked out front was the real giveaway.


Not For Sale

My neighbour has wanted to sell up for ages. Her flat is above mine, and is virtually identical. She’d held off for about nine months, because there’s a problem with the roof. The solution was identified last autumn and a plan put in place to fix it this spring. The block will be swallowed up with scaffolding for three months when work begins.

My neighbour didn’t want to wait that long. So she put the flat up for sale last December. She’ll have to put several thousand in a trust of some sort to pay her share for the roof repairs. She needed a quick sale. Because it’s hard to sell a flat that has been swallowed in scaffolding. It’s off putting. And the lease is down to 84 years. For practical purposes, she’d need to sell before it before it gets down to 82 years. But even at 84 years, there are mortgage providers who won’t lend.

She did have a buyer. About six weeks ago. The For Sale sign turned into a Sold sign. And then, almost as quickly, she didn’t have a buyer. The Sold sign was swapped back for the For Sale sign. Did the works put them off? Or the short lease? Or both? I do not know.

As of today, no mortgage providers are currently lending. For good reason. There’s no doubt where the economy is heading, and house prices will head in a similar direction. Lending money against a sale price that will turn into a property with negative equity within weeks is not responsible lending. Estate agents are not actively selling properties either. It’s hardly ‘essential’, in the short term. A double whammy for buyers and lenders.

I suspect my neighbour – along with thousand upon thousand of other home owners looking to sell – is completely screwed. She’s cannot sell for several months. It’s unlikely she’ll sell this year. If she tries to sell within the next year or two, she’ll take a big hit on her desired asking price. A very big hit, I’m sure. She will also probably now need to extend the lease, which will cost her a tidy sum. She would have done well to have extended it jointly with me, but that ship has passed.

My lease has over 174 years to run. Which will make it a ton easier to sell when the time comes. However, I have no great desire to sell at the moment. We’ll tolerate the building works when they come. We’re happy at Chez Denness.


#TBT Home

I recently popped back home. Define home? We can have several places we think of as home, can’t we? But I think that the place you grew up will always register as ‘home proper’. For me, that’s a small town in the far north western suburbs of London. It’s right on the border, with a small part of the town actually seeping into Hertfordshire. The rest of the town, that part sitting within the borders of Greater London, still has a county address though. Middlesex, which was abolished in 1965, lives on today only in Continue reading