A sec­ond home with a tidy tax sav­ing

The Daily Telegraph - Property - - Front Page -

These soar­ing, el­e­gant de­signs have floor-to-ceil­ing win­dows, open-plan liv­ing ar­eas, un­der­floor heat­ing, and wooden floors, and all are de­signed with stylish clean lines and neu­tral pal­ettes. The bal­conies and dou­ble height liv­ing ar­eas in the vil­las have wa­ter­side views. The homes not only look good, they are de­signed to per­form well, too. The award-win­ning Habi­tat House, a type of home that can be com­mis­sioned for around £900,000 in to­tal, meets Pas­sivhaus stan­dards, mean­ing that it is air­tight and has se­ri­ous eco cre­den­tials. The re­sult is com­fort­able am­bi­ent tem­per­a­tures year-round with­out the need for heat­ing – al­though most homes have a fea­ture wood-burn­ing stove in the liv­ing room. The ma­jor­ity also have air source heat pumps or so­lar ther­mal pan­els to gen­er­ate hot wa­ter, while se­dum roofs are a fea­ture of many garages and boat houses.

The homes’ sus­tain­abil­ity cre­den­tials are im­por­tant to the own­ers, notes Sil­ver­lake’s sales man­ager, Chris Knight. “Ours is a com­mu­nity of like­minded peo­ple, mostly fam­i­lies, who en­joy own­ing a sus­tain­able sec­ond home, which doesn’t neg­a­tively im­pact the beau­ti­ful nat­u­ral en­vi­ron­ment it’s set within,” he says.

“They have mostly in­vested here for the long term, and they recog­nise that creat­ing sus­tain­able homes and en­vi­ron­ments are good for the ecol­ogy and them­selves, and pro­vide an added at­trac­tion for the holiday home rentals mar­ket.”

Steve and Nicky Mur­ray, who have three chil­dren, have bought a three­bed­room de­tached cot­tage at the first phase, Beau­mont Vil­lage. The fam­ily, from Sur­rey, plan to let their new home as well as use it them­selves to host their ex­tended fam­ily. “We’re con­fi­dent the rental in­come will see the prop­erty ‘wash its face’ in terms of the an­nual ser­vice charge (£3,000 ex-VAT) and Coun­cil Tax (£2,054),” says Nicky.

Not all own­ers want to let out their place. To date, sev­eral own­ers at Sil­ver­lake – who in­clude ex­pats from Switzer­land and Sin­ga­pore, Lon­don­ers and those who live in “the M3 cor­ri­dor” – have placed their prop­erty in the rental pool, and you can do so all year round. “The two-bed­room cot­tages ap­peal to 70 per cent of the mar­ket,” says Knight. There are also homes that sleep 12 and can be rented out for birthdays and other events. “Be­cause of the spa, health club and water­sports ameni­ties on site, we see Sil­ver­lake as more a ser­viced ho­tel of­fer­ing than a tra­di­tional holiday let­ting.”

Un­like other sec­ond home es­tates, it doesn’t close at any part of the year, and the homes are avail­able year-round for the own­ers’ use and for holiday let­tings. But res­i­dents can’t live full time on site be­cause the homes are not des­ig­nated as a “prin­ci­pal pri­mary res­i­dence”, mean­ing in or­der to buy here one must have ev­i­dence of hav­ing a per­ma­nent home else­where.

The es­tate only opened this year – the Hur­ri­cane Spa, with its heated 65ft out­door swim­ming pool launched in March – and it is still early days to talk of rental in­come and yields at Sil­ver­lake. At its sis­ter re­sort, the Lower Mill Es­tate in the Cotswolds, also man­aged by Habi­tat Es­capes, the owner of a wa­ter­side six-bed­room prop­erty grossed on av­er­age £75,250 in rental in­come in 2017. A fourbed­room made £56,261 gross rental in­come, and a two-bed­room lake­side house made £26,800.

In time, Knight ex­pects own­ers at Sil­ver­lake should be able to make sim­i­lar lev­els of rental in­come. “We know from ex­pe­ri­ence at Lower Mill Es­tate there’s a de­mand for homes with a gen­uine 365-day rental ca­pac­ity, along­side the spa and pool ameni­ties. In the next 12 months, we’ll also open a farm shop and café.” Sil­ver­lake’s developer,

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