Butler Sherborn: Ben makes his way to Stow-on-the-Wold
- Credit: Archant
Ben Way has been applying his expertise in all things equestrian for Butler Sherborn for the last five years – which has proved to be a perfect fit for both Ben and the firm as he spends his spare time competing at the very highest level in eventing.
Now Ben has moved from Butler Sherborn’s Cirencester head office to join the team at Stow – within striking distance of his Warwickshire home. As well as handling equestrian property across the region, Ben will also focus his efforts on residential, farm and estate sales.
“It’s the ideal move,” says Ben. “This is the part of the world I know best, and local knowledge is a vital asset in the property business… benefiting buyers and sellers alike.”
The Stow Office covers property in four different counties - Gloucestershire, Warwickshire, Oxfordshire and Worcestershire - and Ben joins a well-established team. Elizabeth D’Allemagne, who heads the office, has handled property sales there for 12 years; while senior negotiator Sophie Salter has 20 years’ experience.
“We’re only a few months away from the imposition of an additional 3% to the Stamp Duty levied on second homes and buy-to-let investments” warns Ben. So how will this affect the local market in the Cotswolds?
As with all these things, it’s far more complex than it at first appears. The issue is further complicated by the introduction of the new general rates of Stamp Duty, which penalise any property worth over £900,000 – but benefit those in the lower price bracket.
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Certainly London has seen a definite dampening of prices in the upper price ranges – but other factors are at play here: not least a slowing down of foreign capital chasing quality properties. “Here in the Cotswolds,” explains Ben, “we have arguably benefited from that, somewhat, as some purchasers have looked beyond the capital for better value.”
The loss of tax relief on mortgage interest will certainly affect those whose investments are highly leveraged. But a great many people will either have no mortgage on their investment or take the very straightforward exit route of putting their investment into a company. In total terms, the changes due in April 2017 will probably only have marginal impacts on the buy-to-let market.
While you can’t entirely divorce the Cotswolds from what’s happening elsewhere, this is a very beautiful, well-located part of the world. A lot of people want to live here - and there are only so many available properties to meet that demand, sustaining sale process and rentals alike. Rent rises will probably more than account for any losses incurred by landlords.
And that’s also the context in which you need to see the 3% rise in Stamp Duty in relation to ongoing house price rises. For anyone investing in a buy to let or simply a second home, an extra £30,000 on a million pound property – or £15,000 on a £500,000 one – is unlikely to be a deal-breaker but might lead to a price negotiation.
“That said, 3% is 3%” says Ben. “So if you’re buying or selling, completing before April may well prove advantageous before the penalty cuts in.”
“It’s great to have Ben joining us,” says Elizabeth, “as it’s been a very hectic 2015, and 2016 is also shaping up to be a very busy year for us. This is a hugely popular area, with a lot of enquiries coming into the office from people looking to move here from London or further afield.
“Many have very precise requirements - and there’s no substitute for local knowledge to make sure we direct them to the right town or village to meet their aspirations.
“Ben’s unrivalled knowledge of the equestrian world will help us offer a first class service for anyone looking to value, sell, let or acquire property with equine requirements – such as eventing, training, polo, stud farms or riding schools.
“But he will also be able to put his sound knowledge of other aspects of property to good use too.”
“And while 2016 looks to be shaping up for Ben professionally, he is also hopeful of this year being another successful one in the saddle aboard his flagship horse Galley Light
“I have a very exciting string of horses for the coming season with some quality young horses making their way up the grades,” he says.” But the first big target is to get Galley Light back to Badminton in May.”