STILL SMILING: IN AND OUT OF THE BOOM
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.