Raffles serviced apartments for The Old War Office, Whitehall

Located in the heart of Whitehall, the former government building, which has housed secretaries of state Lord Kitchener, T. E. Lawrence and John Profumo as well as Winston Churchill during World War II will be transformed into a five-star 125 key luxury hotel and 85 studio-to-five bedroom apartments.

Property research portal PrimeResi have now reported that the Hindujas and OHLD – owners of the Grade II listed building, have secured a deal with Raffles to operate the five star hotel and serviced apartments. The EPR designed scheme will be called “The OWO” and is expected to open its doors in 2022.

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Land registry (UK HPI)
June Av. price

Monthly change

12 month

Kensington and Chelsea£1,191,616-1.1%-12.6%
City of Westminster£938,596-5.1%-8.8%
  • England house prices grew by 1.7% in the year to November 2019, up from 1.1% in October 2019.
  • The West Midlands was the fastest growing region with annual growth of 4.0%. The lowest annual growth was in the East of England, where prices fell by 0.7% over the year to November 2019, followed by London where prices increased by 0.2% over the year.
  • In London, average house prices increased by 0.2% in the year to November 2019, up from a fall of 0.5% in October 2019.
  • The average property price in the Camden is now £862,799 representing an annual increase of 6.8%.
  • In November 2019, the most expensive area to purchase a property remained Kensington and Chelsea, where the average cost was £1.19 million.
  • Transaction volumes for November are estimated at 102,050, up 1.9% on a year ago, after a monthly increase of 3.2%.

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HPR successfully raises funds for £27m hotel project

Hyde Park Residential was appointed to raise £3m for the project after senior debt had been secured. This phase of the project includes the acquisition of two properties, one in the centre of Cambridge and the other in Glasgow (pictured above) and the redevelopment of the sites into two hotels.

With a Gross Development Value of £27m the two hotels of 57 keys and 98 keys respectively are set to open to the public within 18 months following a multi-million pound redevelopment program.

Nicholas Portelli, founder of Hyde Park Residential commented “we are very pleased to have assisted our client secure the necessary funding for this ambitious and very exciting project. We are confident that we will be able to provide investors with similar opportunities in the near future and we look forward to more successes in 2020”.

“Our client’s intention is to create a portfolio of properties initially in key urban locations across the UK, combining affordable luxury accommodation with creative and guest-centric design” Nicholas added.

The main focus will be to offer  an affordable pricing strategy, delivered to a 4-star plus fit out but without the food and beverage components of a full-service hotel. The portfolio will expand to locations such as London, Edinburgh, Cardiff, Brighton and Bath.

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Lowering Stamp Duty

Alex Morton, the Head of Policy at the Centre for Policy Studies think tank argues in the report ‘Stamping Down’, that stamp duty has distorted the market to such an extent that the costs of cutting it are far lower than generally realised.

The report quotes evidence that shows that a 1% cut in stamp duty rates increases housing transactions by around 20%. It also shows that more housing transactions lead to more homes being built, as developers respond to market incentives and the fact that more people are in the market to buy new homes which makes it easier to sell new build properties.

The report carries on to say that ‘if  transactions were returned to their historic level through other reforms, the boost from stamp duty on top of this would be high, to the point where raising the SDLT threshold could be nearly cost-neutral if accompanied by a 3% surcharge on properties purchased by non-resident overseas buyers – i.e. as investments rather than homes to live in’.

Robert Colvile, Director of the Centre for Policy Studies, said: “It’s no coincidence that stamp duty is one of the taxes that people hate the most. It’s a huge barrier to people living in the kind of homes that best fit their families and their lives. And as our report has shown, the current sky-high levels are doing more harm than good.

“We urge the Government to take bold action to stamp down on stamp duty, and get the property market moving again.”

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Nicholas Candy eyes UK property group Capco

CGI of Capco’s Earls Court project in Central London

Further to some speculation over the weekend Capital & Counties Properties plc (“Capco“) announced this morning that a consortium led by Candy Ventures, an investment vehicle of Nicholas Candy, is in the early stages of considering a possible cash offer for the entire issued and to be issued share capital of Capco.

Earlier this year, Capco proposed to split its prime London estates of Covent Garden and Earls Court, then last month said that there was progress with parties interested in buying the Earls Court mega project.

UK-based Capital & Counties shares traded 9% higher this morning on the news reaching a market capitalisation of £2.1 billion.

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