A second home with a tidy tax saving
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,