Some local estate agents have reported that last week was one of the worst weeks of the year for viewings and home sales. Many businesses closed early and some didn’t open at all, which is hardly surprising with 16 inches of snow and temperatures dropping to minus18 degrees in one of the worst Novembers on record.
However amongst all that snow there was a ray of sunshine and Nick and Gordon Carver Residential, part of the Carver Group, have another story to tell.
“Yes! viewings were understandably lower than normal due to the atrocious weather conditions, but we still managed to secure 15 property sales for the week, which is above average for this time of year and considering the snow, is quite remarkable” said a delighted Gordon Carver.
“All our offices remained open throughout and we have to thank all our 31 staff who all managed to brave the elements to help us to a successful week.
A deal brokered by Carver Commercial has secured a new tenant for a popular former farmshop close to the A1M.
The company behind Otterburn Mill, a successful retailer that already operates two stores in Northumberland, has snapped up the retail operation at Lakeside Country Café at Ellerton, between Northallerton and Richmond in North Yorkshire.
The outlet is currently being rebranded to reflect Otterburn Mill’s successful formula of outdoor clothing and equipment for all the family, high quality men’s and ladies’ clothing, woollen goods, soft furnishings and gifts – all spread across two floors.
The company adds its North Yorkshire branch to two successful stores in Otterburn and Rothbury, in Northumberland, owned by Euan Pringle, a member of the famous Scottish woollen manufacturers.
“The opening of Otterburn Mill at Lakeside has created new jobs, with the potential for this to increase in the future,” he said.
“To find such a good quality client such as Otterburn Mill for a rural property such as this is exceptional,” said Carver Commercial director Julie Wallin, who brokered a 15-year lease. “During these challenging times in the marketplace, it proves that there are good businesses out there that are doing well and looking to expand.”
Janet Butler, Otterburn Mill’s new retail operations manager at the North Yorkshire store, said: “We’ve got everything, from the classic clothing range loved by our older customers to a wide range of outdoor gear.”
Lakeside’s bustling café is continuing to trade under the original management of Sarah and Graeme Thompson.
The Thompsons established Lakeside as a farm shop and cafe more than four years ago, building it into a strongly performing business after diversifying from pig farming and developing a butchery deliver round. They converted a grain store at their North Farm home to create the spacious retail outlet and café. Graeme has resumed his butchery round, while Sarah devotes her time to the café.
“The sale was handled very professionally and it has happened very quickly,” said Mr Thompson. “Julie has been exceptional.”
Lakeside is at North Farm, DL10 6AP, and can be reached on 01748 810320.
For more details, contact Julie Wallin on 01325 466945, or email email@example.com
A PROPERTY that has a past closely entwined with that of the region’s newest luxury hotel is on the market for the first time, having been passed down through three generations.
Cote Ghyll, in Hurworth, near Darlington, is built on land that once belonged to the estate of neighbouring Rockliffe Hall, now the region’s first five star hotel.
Homeowners David and Rosemary Gent are the third generation of the same family to live in the spacious four-bedroom bungalow, which was built by Mrs Gent’s grandfather Albert Hart in the 1950s.
He bought about seven acres – which included a gamekeeper’s cottage, some woodland and a grass paddock – of the old Rockliffe Park estate when it was broken up and auctioned off in 1948. He later built Cote Ghyll for himself and his wife to live in.
The house stands in a quiet lane that was once the tradesmens’ entrance to Rockliffe Park, off Hurworth Road.
Rockliffe Park, formerly known as Pilmore Hall, was built by the Quaker Arthur Backhouse in the 19th century. It was later sold to Lord Southampton, who renamed it Rockliffe Park. In the Second World War the hall was used as a command headquarters for the military, before the estate was divided into lots after the war and sold.
The auction of the 660-acre estate took place nearby at what was then called the Croft Spa Hotel, on September 8, 1948. Mrs Gent still has the original auction catalogue and map outlining the lots on offer.
The catalogue shows Lots 5 and 6 – bought by Mrs Gent’s grandfather – and describes a vegetable plot and poultry runs on land let by Lord Southampton to local residents. It also describes how the Keeper’s Cottage, now called Birch House, was let for a sum of “£7 per annum”.
The Hall itself was sold to the Brothers Hospitallers of St John of God, a Roman Catholic order of monks, which converted it into a hospital for disabled people. The Brothers sold the hall and remaining grounds to Middlesbrough Football Club in 1988. It is now a luxurious five-star hotel, spa and golf course.
Initially, Mr Hart lived in the Keeper’s Cottage, but as his wife grew increasingly infirm, he built single-storey Cote Ghyll and sold off the cottage and its surrounding land.
Mr Gent said: “Everyone in Croft and Hurworth knew Albert. He had a white beard, a bowler hat and he always wore a flower from the garden. He even had his own seat in the Croft Spa Hotel.”
Mr Hart bought the land and property as a home for his retirement after having spent a lifetime farming. He had even emigrated to Queensland, Australia, with his wife and five children to farm sugar beet, but returned after three years because they found the heat unbearable.
His last farm was Cote Ghyll in Osmotherley, near Northallerton, which is now a popular caravan and camping park. He named his bungalow after the farm.
After his death in 1967, his daughter carried on in the Hurworth house. In 1990, David and Rosemary extended the bungalow to make it a spacious family home for their two children, with four bedrooms, and a self-contained annexe.
Mrs Gent is a keen gardener and still has a large vegetable and fruit plot on the same site of the old land let by Lord Southampton to locals as allotments.
She said: “Everything grows beautifully there and I’m sure it’s because it has been nurtured by people growing vegetables on it for at least 70 years.
“It is just off the main road through Hurworth yet it’s so peaceful and tranquil. It’s a real gardener’s paradise.”
The property, which is on the market with Carver Residential (part of the Carver Group) for £650,000, has a large 1.3 acre garden, woodland, orchard and vegetable plot, as well as a double and a single garage.
Carver Group director, Gordon Carver, said: “There is a fascinating amount of history tied up in this lovely property, and it’s very rare to come across a home that has never been on the market before – let alone such a gem as this.”
Gordon Carver director of Nick & Gordon Carver Residential (Part of the Carver Group), said everyone involved in the property sector – including homeowners – was likely to be relatively reassured.
“After some of the more alarming forecasts of what George Osborne might have announced, we can now breath a sigh of relief,” he said, adding that capital gains tax rates of as much as 40 or 50pc had been floated recently but failed to materialise, as did a rumoured removal of the £10,100 annual exemption.
“The fact that things have remained the same for the majority of people is great news for everybody,” said Mr Carver. “It will also continue to encourage people to invest in property by buying to let, providing much-needed affordable rented property for young people and others still struggling to find lenders willing to give them mortgages.”
Mr Carver also predicted the relatively light-touch measures affecting the property sector would provide a welcome tonic to the region’s housing market after a recent lull, caused by people hanging on for the Budget – and more specifically – the Chancellor’s announcement about capital gains tax.
“For example, I have a major client with substantial funds who has been awaiting the outcome of the Budget before making an offer on one of our properties.
“Now he knows he’s going to be paying 28pc capital gains tax rather than 40 or 50pc, I’m confident he’ll make a move. We are pleased to report that almost as soon as Mr Osborne sat down on Tuesday, the phones started ringing again.”
As of tomorrow 21st May 2010 the government will be suspending the use of Home Information Packs (HIPs) with immediate effect. Homes sold on or after tomorrow will no longer need a HIP pack.
What does this mean for you? If you are putting your home up for sale on or after 21 May 2010 you will no longer require a Home Information Pack (HIP). However Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) are to be retained. Sellers will still be required to commission an EPC, but they will no longer need to have received an EPC before they place their property on the market.
The recent change in the stamp duty land tax limit for first-time buyers from £125,000 to £250,000 was brought in to boost the housing market.
However Gordon Carver (director of the Carver Group) has recently commented in an article “It would be more beneficial to first-time buyers in the more expensive South, since the average house price for first-time buyers in the North-East is £120,000″*.
Stamp duty land tax replaced stamp duty in 2003. SDLT is a tax you pay on the purchase price of a property or land in the UK. SDLT limit normally starts at £125,000, but if you’re buying your first home after the 25th March 2010 the threshold rises to purchase prices over £250,000.
This new threshold for first-time buyers does come with some strict conditions. You must never have owned a house or flat within the UK or anywhere in the world. If you are purchasing a property with someone else they must not have owned a property either.
*Original article appeared in the Northern Echo on 25th March 2010, which you can read here.
The owner of a home with a unique sitting room feature is appealing for more information about its history.
THE owner of a home with a unique sitting room feature is appealing for more information about its history.
Much of that time has been spent painstakingly renovating the property, which along with four other homes, forms part of Barton Hall – the oldest part of which dates from the 1670s.
One of the most distinctive features of Mr Radford’s feature-packed four-bedroom home can be found in the sitting room, in the form of seven extremely rare tiled friezes depicting medieval hunting scenes.
The panels, which are made up of individually painted and fired tiles sized 9x3ins (approx 23x8cm), were made in 1913 by Carters of Poole, in Dorset. The firm latterly became the famed Poole Pottery business. The works are attributed to James Radley Young, and the largest friezes measure 15x3ft (38x8cm).
Mr Radford said: “I’ve spent some time looking into the background of the friezes, but there are still many unanswered questions about them.”
He knows nothing about who commissioned their creation, for example, or why, beyond the fact that the pottery had salesrooms in Manchester and Newcastle around the time they would have been ordered.
His search took him to an open day at auction house Bonhams in Leeds, where pictures of the friezes captured the attention of Antiques Roadshow’s expert Eric Knowles. He valued them at several thousand pounds.
Although the Radford family are on the move – the house is up for sale with Carver Residential part of the Carver Group – Mr Radford, a former businessman who now renovates houses for a living, says the fascinating tiles are going nowhere.
“Because they are bedded into a solid cement backing, the walls would have to be dismantled for the friezes to be removed,” he said. “It would be great to find out a bit more about them before we leave though.”
Gordon Carver of the Carver Group and director of Carver Residential, said: “These friezes are a very striking feature of what is a very interesting home. We’d be delighted to help Mr Radford find out a little more about their history.”
A DEAL brokered by Carver Commercial part of the Carver Group has helped bring a prominent empty shop back into use, creating 20 jobs into the bargain.
Sainsbury’s has just opened a new convenience store at 63-65 Duke Street in Darlington, following an extensive refit for the c.2,700sq ft (c.250sq m) premises, which had been empty for some time and were last used by an estate agency.
Carver Commercial director Julie Wallin said: “Sainsbury’s have done a fantastic job on the Duke Street outlet. It’s an excellent shop fit and a huge transformation of the building. It’s also great for the street scene.”
Ms Wallin said the latest Darlington letting came at time of increased inquiry levels in the retail sector across Carver Commercial’s core South Durham and North Yorkshire patch.
“There is still a shortage of freehold properties and plenty of good cash buyers around, particularly in the owner-occupier sector,” she added.
“Investors are beginning to return to the market, enticed by the continuing low interest rates. We are also seeing general signs of confidence returning, with an increase in new start-up business inquiries.
New store manager Rick Turnbull said the opening had gone extremely well.
“We’re in an excellent position here, with high footfall levels and a great local community.”