STILL SMIL­ING: IN AND OUT OF THE BOOM

The Daily Telegraph - Property - - Coverstory -

David McCormick knows how bit­ter­sweet a boom can be. In the late 1980s he was build­ing a house near Strat­ford-upon-Avon when houses stopped sell­ing and in­ter­est rates went up to 18 per cent. “I sold it for a lot less than I in­tended,” he says.

This time he and his wife, Alex, played it safe and bought one of the best houses in Block­ley, one of the pret­ti­est vil­lages in the Cotswolds, in or­der to do it up and live in it as a fam­ily home. They bought in 2001 for £315,000 and sat tight for eight years while their chil­dren grew up. Now they are sell­ing through Strutt & Parker (01608 650502) for £585,000. Su­perna Sethi and her busi­ness part­ner, Har­jit Singh, set up Man­hat­tan Prop­er­ties at the start of the boom and soon spot­ted the po­ten­tial in buy­ing, ren­o­vat­ing and sell­ing on. They bought their first twobed­room flat at £30,000 in Ken­ton in 1994, and turned it round for a profit in six weeks. By 2003 they were busy in May­fair and their prop­er­ties were fetch­ing £1,000 per square foot.

Now they are just bring­ing a three­bed­room flat with three re­cep­tion rooms off St James’s in Lon­don to the mar­ket with a price tag of £8.85m through Sav­ills (0207 730 0822), rais­ing their game to £2,500 per square foot. “We put all our money into prop­erty rather than a pen­sion and it has un­doubt­edly per­formed bet­ter than a nor­mal pen­sion,” says Roger Cooke., a re­tired In­dian gift im­porter. He and his wife, Elaine, bought Lit­tle Owl Farm at Ash­ton-un­der-Hill in Glouces­ter­shire 20 years ago for £280,000, and are now sell­ing it for £950,000 through Hay­man-Joyce (01386 858510). It has wide views, five bed­rooms and over two acres.

Their ex­pe­ri­ence is typ­i­cal of so many dur­ing re­cent years — the prop­erty has given them a lifestyle. Now aged 71 and 63, they plan to sell up to rent for a bit and maybe travel round Europe or visit Aus­tralia.

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