New-Unique-website-photo
It’s been many months in the making with more tweaks and twists than we care to mention, but we can finally announce the launch of the brand new Unique Property Company website.

We’ve been working with the very talented MDS Group to bring about a sharp, fresh and modern transformation with massively improved user-friendliness, a beautiful slideshow of homepage imagery and greatly enhanced showcasing of the properties we handle.

Functional, simple and sexy is what we wanted and we think we’ve got it. We invite you to have a look around the site and we hope you like it as much as we do.

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UMM-Jan-2016
The sheer number of people’s homes we went to see in February really defined the month. Although this might usually be down to the time of year and the coming of Spring, traditionally the property market’s most active season, another driving factor is the upcoming change in taxation around buy-to-let property and second homes. Anyone owning more than one property in the UK is very wise to review their options right now to avoid any unnecessarily onerous obligations.

So, with that slightly dreary tax-related stuff out of the way, let’s get back to some of the incredible and unique London property that we saw last month. We really must insist you keep checking our website for the availability in March as there are some utterly incredible places coming up.

One of the very visual rewards you’ll receive for your troubles is to experience our new website, which is currently having its final touches most artfully finessed to create a greatly enhanced user experience. We’re getting rather excited about presenting it to the world and we’re certain you’ll find it a major step up from the current site. Keep watching this space.

Two interesting places that came straight to the market this month are:

– perhaps the most theatrical and dramatic apartment we’ve seen in a while, somewhat akin to a theatre stage, and no wonder given its original owner and designer was a set designer. It really is like stepping into a thespian’s mind, and directly opposite Hyde Park too – click here for more information.

And:

– a 2,500ft2 art gallery space to rent on Minerva Street E8, just off Hackney Road and within 5 minutes walk of Bethnal Green tube and Broadway Market – click here for details.

Results wise, it was something of a month of secrets uncovered, with three hidden London gems among last month’s sales agreed.

In Dalston E8, at the somewhat concealed and rather fine cobbled courtyard of Carrara Mews, we agreed a two-bedroom house we’d marketing for £775,000.

Down south, in West Norwood SE27, a tucked away converted stable block where the owners have been living and running a business for 20 years: the end of an era for them, and the beginning of a new one for the happy purchaser.

And up north in Finchley, at Percy Road N4, another converted stable of 3000ft2 where the owner had truly put their all into it and created a real marvel of a home.

Of course, a month wouldn’t be a month without some sort of action at Bankside Lofts in SE1. This time it took the shape of the letting of a one-bedroom apartment at £450 per week, with those legendary huge windows, a galleried sleeping zone and, of course, envy-inducing high ceilings at what is still one of London’s only purpose built developments of genuine lofts.

That just about sums up our February: we hope you enjoyed the read and we’ll see you next month!

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Bankside-Lofts-SE1Perennial favourite loft-dwellers’ riverside paradise, Bankside Lofts, was one of the first London loft developments south of the river and to this day continues to hold a very special place in the hearts and minds of anyone who lives there or pops round for tea.

Now wonder really. Just across the street from Tate Modern and mere seconds from the waterfront, the Piers Gough-designed mustard coloured cylinder sits at the heart of Bankside’s unique urban offering that is a delight to Londoners and visitors alike. The SE1 postcode is now London’s cultural and foodie epicentre with the best of markets, theatre, film and art. Nowhere does it as good or as much as SE1.

An early Manhattan Loft Corporation development, Bankside Lofts consists of three very distinct buildings, the most famous and recognisable being the yellow tower. And it is here that we are offering an excellent apartment to rent with particularly high ceilings and vast windows.

Bankside lofts inside

There’s a very large living and dining room, with a kitchen tucked away out of sight and a timeless black and white bathroom. Above it all, a super snug sleeping deck.

Bankside Lofts has 24-hour concierge, Japanese-style communal decked gardens a residents-only gymnasium. There is also a secure underground parking space available by separate negotiation.

The apartment is available at £460 per week from the end of February 2016 for a long-term rental.

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UMM-Jan-2016As well as December being the mildest on record, and despite heading into what is set to be a blisteringly cold January, things really heated up last month for people looking to buy and rent property.

It is certainly true that decent weather gets people out and about looking for a new home in a way that rain, snow, cold and grey skies do not. So instead of wondering where the next call or enquiry might come from, we wondered where the next spare moment might appear as buyers and tenants alike came out to play in surprisingly large numbers.

But the action wasn’t only limited to people looking for a property to buy or rent. Sellers and landlords took it up on themselves to join the party and we had some beautiful property come onto the market, including a couple of fabulous London lofts.

At The Paragon in Bermondsey, SE1, one of our favourite school conversions in the capital, we took on a beautiful double height apartment of 3,000ft2 for £1.795m . In need of a little bit of TLC to restore it to its former glory, or of course a total remodelling as Londoners are wont to do, the option to own this amount of living space in SE1 at this kind of price is rare indeed. Set on the top floor, the loft is flooded with natural light and currently arranged with 2 bedrooms on a mezzanine level and is bright and white throughout, having been lived in for years by dedicated minimalists. The apartment also has a private roof terrace along with one of The Paragon’s most seductive advantages, a share of the freehold.

Over in Battersea, a superb 2-bedroom loft converted from a former library, available to rent for £895 a week. The centrepiece of the apartment is a studio-style 26ft living room with double height ceilings and windows, open-plan to a kitchen with breakfast bar. Also on the ground floor is the second bedroom (or cinema/media room), a guest shower room, and a utility room on the ground floor. Up on the mezzanine are a study area and the Master Bedroom with its en-suite bathroom and dressing area. The specification is a stunning slice of contemporary lifestyle including a fantastic one-off staircase by Philip Watts, offset by wonderful natural light from the full-height windows. Outside, a terrace at the front of the apartment leads to a mature communal garden. A secure, allocated parking space is also included. Furnished to a high standard and available immediately.

These two examples of our December intake have helped us head into the new year fairly well stuffed with mews houses, loft apartments, converted factories, warehouses and schoolhouses, plus all manner of unusual and one-of-a-kind property not just in London, but across the UK.

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UMM-JULY-2015
Highly active and hugely sensitive would be our description of the property market right now. We’ve certainly reached a plateau for asking prices, so if you’ve been holding off putting your place on the market in order to max out your property’s value, there’s really no longer any reason to wait. And plenty of good quality buyers makes it an easy environment to be selling in.

As we’d hoped and mentioned in September, stock levels of property for sale have risen as word got round that prices were levelling off. This has resulted in some damn good new instructions and a lot of new enquiries.

A few standouts include a fantastic 1 bedroom loft at Alexandra Studios in Clapham Junction at £695,000; 4 apartments in Shepherdess Walk N1 from the pioneering developers Solidspace, with prices around £2million; and a jaw-dropping loft on Shoreditch High Street at £3.95million.

Sales in London have been good too, and we’ve been busier here than we’ve been since the summer. A couple of sales we’re rather pleased about include exchanging contracts on the live/work house at Havelock Walk in Forest Hill SE23, an artisan-filled mews where sculptors, designers, jewellery makers and other creative types open their doors to showcase their wares. And at The Lightworks in Brixton we’ve agreed terms on another live/work property, this time at a converted lightbulb factory hidden away in Brixton SW2.

Outside the capital the market is less intense, although it has to be said that some of the properties we are taking on around the country are every bit as well-designed as those in London. Proof that you can live in an amazing space in almost every county. Our regional business is still in its infancy but we’ve proved we can generate plenty of unique interest and that we have something extra to offer than conventional local estate agents. More on this in the coming months.

Lettings stock, in our part of the market at least, remains low as anything that comes onto the market gets snapped up immediately. You’d think this would send prices into orbit, but the high level of availability for conventional rental property is keeping rents where they are. Tenants have a lot of choice right now and they don’t have quite the willingness to pay over the odds for a unique property in the way that buyers sometimes do. Clearly there’s no investment opportunity seen in paying above-market rents.

We hope that’s given you some insight into the world of individual property for sale and for rent in London and around the UK. We’ll be back next month with more thoughts.

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