A four bedroom house outside the cathedral city of Wells
$2.9 MILLION (2.4 MILLION BRITISH POUNDS)
Built on the footprint of a former agricultural building, this modern House is situated on 4 acres in Binegar, a small village in the Mendip Hills, five miles east of the cathedral city of Wells in the south west region of England.
The house extends over a single level, with living and sleeping areas in an open plan under skylights. “It’s very unusual to have a house of this size with such a modern approach, as most homes in this area are more of a period or traditional,” said Lucy Drane, senior appraisal specialist at The modern housethe listing broker.
The sellers, Katherine and Geoff Ladd, worked with the Bath architect Michael Williams “to keep the palette of materials very simple, including wood and microcement,” said Ms. Drane. After a year of construction, the couple moved into the house in 2019.
The house meets passive house standards to minimize energy consumption, use of triple Internorm glass, mechanical ventilation with heat recovery, rainwater harvesting and a biodigester recycle organic waste. Reclaimed wood is everywhere (Siberian larch lines the exterior of the house) and the terrace is made from recycled plastic. “Our underfloor heating rarely kicks in because the house is so efficient,” said Ms. Ladd.
A long driveway leads to the house from a local road. The main entrance is through a wooden atrium with a clear polycarbonate ceiling, which opens onto a foyer and a long great room with vaulted ceiling. Mrs. Ladd designed the kitchen, whose black appliances offset a 10-foot island with a steel top. A sliding glass wall opens from the kitchen to an aft deck.
Floor-to-ceiling shelves along a wall separating the living room and bedroom. All four bedrooms are the same size and one has its own bathroom. The identical relationships were “a diplomatic affair for their children,” Ms Drane said.
Several hundred yards from the house, the Ladds built a separate cabin with a bathroom and kitchen, which the couple rent out on a short-term basis. “It could easily become overflow accommodations for the house,” said Ms. Drane. The couple also “feral againthe property and added a pond, Ms Ladd said. “So much wildlife has come back,” she said.
Binegar is a farming village of about 355 people in Somerset, one of the seven counties that make up the South West region of England. wells, known as the smallest city in the country and a tourist attraction for its 800-year-old cathedral, is 8 kilometers to the west. “It’s lovely and rural, but you have Bath and Bristol both about 40 minutes away, Bristol airport 30 minutes away and good rail links into London from Castle Cary,” said Mrs Drane, about 12 miles south. London is about 125 miles northeast.
In a well-known post-pandemic story, buyers in Wells are faced with scarce supplies and rising prices. The Covid-19 pandemic “accelerated the market in Somerset exponentially,” said Nathan Emerson, CEO of Feature brand, the membership body for real estate professionals. “It became a popular place for people leaving big cities.”
According to data from the British real estate site Move rightUntil 2021, prices in Wells averaged £329,520 ($401,000), up 8 percent from the 2019 average. In the South West region, prices rose 12 percent in 2019, although they fell 3 percent in 2021.
“It’s calmed down a bit because the people who would move here have moved here, but it’s still a seller’s market,” said Adam Holland, director of the Netherlands and Odam agency in Wells. “We haven’t had such a small inventory of real estate in the 20 years we’ve been in existence.”
Britain’s split from the European Union has also been a factor, “with a new batch of people coming back from Europe,” said Matthew Clarke, an associate at the Greenslade Taylor Hunt agency in Wells. “We also see expats returning from Hong Kong.”
Adding pressure to the market, Wells’ status as a tourist destination makes it popular for short-term rental investors, said Ollie Jones, branch manager at the Allen & Harris agency in Wells. “While downtown Wells has limitations, other cities have fewer, and it’s an increasing opportunity in our area,” he said.
Although prices vary in the area, Mr Clarke estimated the average price of a detached house at £550,000 ($670,000), rising to £750,000 to £1 million ($913,000 to $1.22 million) near the cathedral or close to a school. “The highest amount was recently £1.35 million in the city centre,” he said. Semi-detached terraced houses sell for an average of £325,000 ($395,000), while apartments range from £200,000 ($243,000) in new construction to £300,000 ($365,000) “for nicer apartments in older buildings closer to town.”
Holland said a “modern four-bedroom detached house” in Wells would cost around £500,000 to £600,000 ($608,000 to $730,000), while a three-bedroom semi-detached terraced house would cost on average around £330,000 ($400,000), and a two bedroom apartment approximately £165,000 ($200,000).
As Britain continues to struggle with rural housing shortageBuilding new homes in Somerset is challenging “because of the huge waves of protected land and national parks, along with huge building restrictions,” Mr Emerson said. “These areas that attract people are areas where not much is being built.”
Who buys in Wells
Domestic buyers are strengthening the property market in Wells, “which is driven by two forces,” said Mr Holland: “One is education, because people want their children to go to the excellent local schools. And the other is retirement, with people who seek a different pace of life, with access to both the big cities and the countryside.”
The pandemic tipped the balance to younger buyers. “As Covid allowed mobility, the region’s schools, coastal access and commuter links started to attract more families,” he said.
While Londoners make up part of the area’s market, buyers from the nearby cities of Bath and Bristol are more common, says Cathy Morris-Adams, managing partner at the Magnet agency in Wells. “It’s more of a place where the locals like to live,” she said. While demand from foreign buyers is low, she said, it has surged in nearby Bruton, which is what Condé Nast Traveler has done. called “the coolest town in the West Country.”
There are no restrictions on foreign buyers in England, said Dominika Bullegas, a real estate attorney at the London law firm Healy. “But it’s not easy for a non-UK resident to get a mortgage,” she said, adding that specialist lenders, international banks or mortgage brokers can sometimes help.
After a seller accepts a buyer’s offer, attorneys (known as attorneys) on both sides collect documents, including proof of funds, and conduct a series of property searches. “We also recommend a questionnaire to determine the condition of the house,” said Ms. Bullegas.
The buyer’s attorney provides a “contract package” of documents and collects a deposit totaling 10 percent of the purchase price.
For UK buyers, the process takes five to seven weeks, Ms Bullegas said. “But foreign buyers can wait two months or more. The UK is completely flooded with non-UK buyers, and everyone has a very heavy caseload.”
Languages and currencies
English; British pound (1 pound = $1.22)
Taxes and Duties
Foreign buyers face significantly higher taxes and fees than domestic buyers, according to Justin Bryant, director of Blackfriar’s Tax Solutions in London. “The government has been working hard on foreigners for the past ten years,” he said. “Before 2013, foreigners were not even taxed on property investments in the UK.”
The primary tax on the sale of real estate, the progressive Stamp tax land tax (SDLT), has grown to a top rate of 12 percent, which applies to sales of £1.5 million ($1.83 million) or more. Since 2016, the government has also 3 percent surcharge “If you already own a property anywhere in the world,” said Mr. Bryant. And there is a 2 percent levy to non-UK buyers, introduced in April 2021 to cool the market. “It’s all had a huge effect,” said Mr Bryant. “Prime central London never regained its prime.”
Brokerage commissions in England range from 1 to 1.25 percent, said Lodestone’s Morris-Adams. Annual property tax on this property called council taxes in England, a total of about £3,000 ($3,620), according to Mrs. Ladd, the seller. Monthly electricity bills total about £250 ($305), she said.
Lucy Drane or Charlie Arden Brown, The modern house011-44-20 3795 5920