Well, not exactly worth dying for, but perhaps died and gone to property heaven. Over the coming months, we are going to feature some of our favourite properties from around the world that inspire us. This comes alongside our intention to shortly start marketing the very occasional outstanding property for sale, outside of London and even overseas, but we intend to be incredibly selective as to the kind of property we represent.

Anyway, for this month, our 1st choice of Property to Die For. Marcio Kogan’s Panama House is a residence designed for art. Located in São Paulo, Brazil, the house makes a powerful but subdued statement in its low, open, elongated elegance — a hallmark of Kogan’s architecture.panama-terrace-2

All levels of the three-storey house — including the bedrooms, office, gardens and patio — are used to display the owner’s substantial collection of predominantly modern Brazilian art and sculpture. The site of Panamá house is located in one of the garden neighborhoods, just some blocks from Paulista, the financial center of the city of São Paulo.

The box form is Kogan’s favourite motif – occurs time and again but in carefully nuanced combinations: precisely planed concrete boxes within boxes and timber slatted boxes that open outwards towards a slimlined lap pool, perhaos with no dorrs to mark inside our outside. panama-outside

 

 

 

The elegant economy to Kogan’s use of columes translates to a very real sense of freedom. The result is airy, light-washed spaces that seem barely tethered to the ground, an apt escapist image perhaps for Sao Paulo’s congested megapolis 

The sliding vertical wood lathes that form the brise soleils for each room’s facade, are also an important part of establishing the prevailing openness. The brise soleils also provide comfort and privacy, and enable the control of the artworks’ exposure to direct sun. Most beautifully, they also create the soft play of light that matches the overall linear shapes — created by creases in window treatments, the floor boards, the rows of pillows on long sofas, the stone work outside — continuing the elongated language of the entire building.

panama-inside-out-night

The interior plan is organized into 3 floors and a sub-solo. Upon entering the lot, a tree-covered patio leads the guest to the door. A social hall distributes part of the program of the house: a library, vertical circulation, the utility rooms and the living room. From within the library you can see, in front of the exterior stone wall, a Maria Martins sculpture, reposing over a reflecting pool. The living room has large spans that open, in their entirety, to the garden, building a spatial continuity between interior and exterior. In the garden, the pool, mirrors the stones of the wall.

All in all, our of our top 10 houses in the world!

panama-pool
panama-hallway

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Firstly, sincere apologies for not uploading our blog for a while now. Many thanks for all of your emails asking when the next blog is due and also for your many positive comments. All we can say in our defence is that the last few months have been exceptionally busy and this is the first real opportunity we have had to concentrate on updating our blog.

The reason for the title of this article, is because for the first time in about 16 years of being involved in marketing property in London, here at Unique, we are all rather bemused and somewhat confused about the absolutely vast variance in opinions on what any property is now worth. Since the end of 2007, we have of course encountered the most dramatic global financial downturn in most living memory with virtually no business arena uneffected. In the London property market, we have all experienced incredible movement, both in values and also demand. For the 2nd half of 2008 and into Spring 2009, it appeared that buyers had left the planet, any aspect of confidence had disappeared completely and unless there was a ‘distress sale’, the property market appeared to have come to a shuddering halt.

Lofty Values
Lofty Values

Since the summer of 2009, there has been the most remarkable turn around in virtually every area of the London Property Market. At the moment, we are recording more new enquiries from buyers on a weekly basis than at the height of the market in mid 2007! Furthermore, in the case of several very recent sales, we have recorded prices in excess of values quoted in 2007.

But at the same time, there is still a significant gulf in the opinions with value of a property from buyers and sellers. We just had a case of a sale of a small 1 Bedroom Artist Studio House in Belsize Park where opinion was signficantly divided. It was on the marekt at £725,000. The price we valued this property at was about £100,000 in excess of what the vendor had thought it was probably worth in the current market conditons and after the intial 4 weeks of marketing, it appeared that the vendor might have been correct. We had two offers of £600,000 and £625,000. But within another week. we received several more offers with the end result of having to go to sealed bids and eventually agreeing a sale at the full asking price.

Combine the current level of demand with the fact that the availability of properties to buy is at it’s lowest level for many many years now, the confusion as to potential value continues. We are amazed at some values being quoted by estate agents. We recently valued an interesting contemporary house in Hampstead. The vendor was in receipt of 4 valuations from various estate agents that varied from £1.8m – £2.75m! Despite the range of valuations, the vendor actually thought their house was probably worth in excess of £3.5m. For what it’s worth, our valuation was £3m based on as much recent comparable evidence as possible. But how on earth did professional estate agents provide valuations up to nearly 35%+ apart?

Of course, valuing a property for sale, as an estate agent, is underpinned by a wave of hidden agendas. It is very usual for the valuers at many agents to have a specific target of new instructions they msut obtain each week and by having such a target, it is not unknown for the valuer to go in and hugely overvalue the property in the hope that they can win the instruction and then spend the next few weeks, badgering the vendor to reduce the price! Not a practice that goes on at UNIQUE. You can be assured of that!

Still, despite being in this business for 16 years now, nothing should surprise us anymore and from our perspective, just carry on trying to locate London’s more unique and unconventional properties for our every burgeoning data base of buyers.

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