And now for the good news...

The Jewish Chronicle - - CLASSIFIED -

SO WHAT’S pos­i­tive about the mar­ket at the mo­ment? Quite a lot, say some North Lon­don agents. There is still de­mand for Ge­or­gian houses in ev­ery price bracket, ac­cord­ing to Stan­more agent Pre­ston Ben­nett. It is not just au­then­tic homes of the pe­riod that are ap­peal­ing to mod­ern buy­ers ei­ther. Neo-Ge­or­gian is just as pop­u­lar. Th­ese more mod­ern prop­er­ties, in­spired by 18th-cen­tury ar­chi­tec­ture, are mod­elled on the pe­riod’s pure classical lines, sym­met­ri­cal ex­te­ri­ors, well­pro­por­tioned rooms, high ceil­ings and im­pos­ing columned en­trances.

“Ge­or­gian homes are very pop­u­lar. We have seen a def­i­nite in­crease in Ge­or­gian style prop­er­ties,” says Sam Keen of Pre­ston Ben­nett. “They of­fer spa­cious ac­com­mo­da­tion that is ideal for fam­i­lies. Typ­i­cally dou­ble-fronted, they have larger win­dows or more win­dows, as well as higher ceil­ings to re­flect the pe­riod style, which give them a lighter, airier feel.”

Pre­ston Ben­nett has a num­ber of Ge­or­gian and mock-Ge­or­gian homes avail­able at the mo­ment. For ex­am­ple, a Ge­or­gian style five-bed­room dou­ble fronted house is on the mar­ket for £750,000. In sought-af­ter Gor­don Av­enue, Stan­more, the prop­erty has a 21ft lounge, TV room, din­ing room and kitchen/break­fast room with in­te­grated ap­pli­ances. The mas­ter bed­room suite is par­tic­u­larly im­pres­sive, with fit­ted wardrobes and en-suite bath­room. The en­trance is clas­si­cally styled with a pil­lared porch and there is a dou­ble-length garage.

Also avail­able in Stan­more, there is a Ge­or­gian-style de­tached prop­erty in Rees Drive, with classical front porch and im­pres­sive 10ft-high ceil­ings to the ground floor. At 26ft long, the kitchen/ fam­ily room is cer­tainly the heart of this home, equipped with in­te­grated fridge, dish­washer and mi­crowave. The first floor of­fers five bed­rooms and three bath­rooms and the mas­ter bed­room has an en-suite bath­room and a dress­ing area. Price is £1.15 mil­lion.

In Edg­ware, a neo-Ge­or­gian fivebed­room, two-bath­room house is now avail­able for £950,000. A fam­ily home, it has three light and spa­cious re­cep­tion rooms, util­ity, kitchen and sep­a­rate break­fast room. The mas­ter suite has en-suite bath­room and dress­ing room, while each of the re­main­ing bed­rooms fea­ture fit­ted wardrobes.

If you want the orig­i­nal Ge­or­gian, it is go­ing to cost you a lot more. Pre­ston Ben­nett has one ex­am­ple on its books for £7 mil­lion. In three acres of land­scaped grounds on Stan­more Hill, the grade II listed Rook­ery com­bines pe­riod in­te­ri­ors with mod­ern lux­u­ries. As well as an in­door swim­ming pool with whirlpool spa bath, there is a sauna, squash court, games area and flood­lit ten­nis court. Pe­riod fea­tures in­clude sash win­dows, wall mould­ings and trompe l’oeuil ceil­ing dé­cor.

Much of the prop­erty story is one of gloom at the mo­ment. Rus­sell Hunt runs Prop­erty Hunter, a prop­erty-search agency. The son of the late Sir Peter Hunt, for­mer chair­man and man­ag­ing di­rec­tor of Bri­tain’s largest prop­erty com­pany, Land Se­cu­ri­ties, he sums up feel­ings with force. “The Lon­don prop­erty mar­ket is a pre­car­i­ous place,” he says. “The av­er­age es­tate agency is cur­rently try­ing to off­load 64 prop­er­ties, com­pared to 54 last year, and a lot of them are over­priced and in poor lo­ca­tions.”

But even Mr Hunt can find a pos­i­tive mes­sage. “It is a fact of eco­nomic his­tory that over long pe­ri­ods of time, Lon­don house prices rise by more than in­fla­tion,” he says. “Av­er­age ask­ing prices in the cap­i­tal have jumped by more than three per cent in the last month and de­mand is still out­strip­ping sup­ply in prime lo­ca­tions. In the right parts of Lon­don, prop­erty prices will re­main con­stant and the mar­ket will stay strong through­out the year, but you just need to know where to look.”

And Tim Ger­rard of Pre­ston Ben­nett says that the out­look is bright. “In con­trast to re­cent neg­a­tive me­dia cov­er­age, over­all it has been a good start to 2008,” he says. “The mar­ket is re­al­is­ti­cally go­ing to be harder this year, how­ever, early signs are that con­di­tions are sta­bil­is­ing. Prices are not as frag­ile as some would have us be­lieve. Some prop­er­ties are get­ting more at­ten­tion than they were six months ago and prop­erty prices are main­tain­ing their lev­els in and around Lon­don.

“There are cer­tainly buy­ers out there. Three- and four-bed­room fam­ily homes, in par­tic­u­lar, are sell­ing well as there is a short­age of th­ese com­ing to the mar­ket in the Metropoli­tan area. In­ter­est­ingly, the higher end of the mar­ket is also as buoy­ant, which will in­crease con­fi­dence and in turn fil­ter down to all lev­els. In­deed, we have many in­ter­ested buy­ers around the £1 mil­lion plus mark, so I re­main op­ti­mistic about the spring mar­ket.” En­tries are in­vited for the 2008 Ge­or­gian Group Ar­chi­tec­tural Awards, spon­sored by es­tate agent Sav­ills. The Ge­or­gian Group Awards, cov­er­ing the UK, Chan­nel Is­lands and Isle of Man, are now well es­tab­lished as an an­nual event that recog­nises ex­cel­lence in the restora­tion of Ge­or­gian build­ings. Awards are also given to the best new classical build­ing and to the best new build­ing in a Ge­or­gian set­ting. The dead­line for en­tries for the award is July 18, 2008. Visit www.geor­gian­group.org.uk or www.sav­ills.co.uk for fur­ther de­tails

Ge­or­gian-style home in Gor­don Ave, Stan­more. Agent: Pre­ston Ben­nett

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