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PrimeResi Quarterly Journal

The handbook of the luxury property industry

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Sold (down the river?): A bittersweet success story in Kensington

Our resident doer upper Alan Page has finally sold his rather lovely Kensington renovation project – but a George Osborne-shaped cloud has managed to take the shine out of...

Our resident doer upper Alan Page has finally sold his rather lovely Kensington renovation project – but a George Osborne-shaped cloud has managed to take the shine out of the celebrations…

I should be celebrating. I should be over the moon. We finally sold the little house in Kensington.

So why are we less than jubilant, feeling only relief?

Well, it’s taken forever to sell the house and required some pretty dramatic price drops to get a deal done. That’s why.

By my reckoning, the state of the market has cost me at least £250,000. (And that’s just me. I only own half the property.)

I’m not basing that figure on an aggressive initial price expectation. Indeed, I’ve allowed quite a decent discount to the original asking price in my calculations.

So you can see why I’m not exactly popping the Bolly (apart from the fact that I don’t drink).

We haven’t lost money. We’ve actually made a reasonable, if smaller than expected, return. Deduct the opportunity cost however and we probably move into negative territory. All thanks to George Osborne and his new confiscatory SDLT rates.

Fortunately we bought very well, poured money into rebuilding a near derelict but ultimately very pretty property and put enormous effort into the project.

In doing so we risked a very large proportion of a lifetime’s accumulated pennies only to have these savings threatened and ultimately diminished by a smug draper’s son.

Forgive me if I sound more than usually bitter. Actually I don’t care whether you forgive me or not. I think I have every reason to feel the way I do.

The current inhabitant of 11 Downing Street has proved an arch exponent of knee-jerk political expediency.

In one sound-bite-friendly tax change he single-handedly brought chaos to the £2m+ end of the London property market. All because he was afraid that a much less onerous Labour ‘mansion tax’ would sweep him out of office.

He has gone on to compound this by strangling the buy-to-let market with more new taxes.

The end result of all this: the complete opposite of everything he was supposedly trying to do.

Prices for young first time buyers have continued to soar. Rental property is becoming harder to find and more expensive. And the world’s wealthiest are opting to put their money anywhere other than London.

For the sake of a few votes, Osborne has chopped London off at the knees. Thanks George.


Catch up on all the latest from the Doer Upper (a.k.a. Alan Page) at his blog here, or follow him on Twitter @beachcomberpage

The views of contributors are not necessarily those of PrimeResi or its publishers.

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