Home hunt in Scotland: a unique hybrid in the Highlands for $ 2.7 million


This five bedroom, Arts and Crafts style house with Swiss influences, sits on the shores of Loch Leven near the village of Ballachulish, in the West Highlands of Scotland.

The 5,183 square foot marmalade-toned stone house called Dunbeg House was completed circa 1903 by Bishop Alexander Chinnery-Haldane, Episcopal Bishop of Argyll and the Isles, for his eldest son. The four-story main house, designed by Inverness Architects Ross & Macbeth, is listed with Historic Environment Scotland for its distinctive blend of arts and crafts and Swiss Alpine architectural styles, said David Twist, owner of home with his wife, Helena.

“The bishop, being rich, traveled a lot in Europe with his wife, and they were very fascinated by Swiss architecture,” Mr. Twist said. “And it was also the height of the Arts and Crafts movement, so the building has characteristics of a Swiss chalet and Arts and Crafts style. It is the only house of its kind in Scotland.

The property comprises approximately 4.5 acres and includes a 1,162 square foot guesthouse with two bedrooms, as well as a 1,140 square foot studio and garage. A 360-degree glass observation cabin perches the shore, along with a private pebble beach and mooring rights on Bishop’s Bay at Loch Leven.

The owners have done renovations over the past 15 years, including replacing the first and second floors, but the house has retained many of its unique architectural features, such as brass plaques engraved on each door, Helena said. Twist. An Arts and Crafts fireplace surround, with a stained glass insert in the style of Scottish architect Charles Rennie Mackintosh, may have been designed by Mackintosh or one of his students, Mr Twist said.

The main entrance on the second floor opens into a reception hall leading to a music room with fireplace. Next to the hallway is also a dining and living room with a wood-burning stove in the fireplace, as well as doors opening onto a balcony overlooking the bay which runs along both sides of the house. The balcony has a glass roof and iron columns with ornamental arches and balustrades.

Furniture is not included in the asking price, but is negotiable, said Angus Kelly, partner and office manager at Fort William in Bidwells, which owns the list.

Adjoining the living room, the kitchen has been fitted with Edwin Loxley kitchen units and granite countertops, as well as two Miele ovens and two Fisher & Paykel dishwashers. French doors open onto the balcony. An adjacent room also has kitchen units fitted with a built-in freezer and a Miele washer and dryer.

A staircase descends to the first floor, which includes an office, an office and a living room with fireplace. There is also a master bedroom, as well as a wine cellar and a drying room.

The third floor has four bedrooms, two of which have private bathrooms. The master suite, which overlooks the bay, has a dressing room with fitted wardrobes and a bathroom with a free-standing bathtub and heated limestone floors. The fourth floor is a paneled attic with skylights and two portholes.

A stream with a small bridge separates the main house from the guest house, which was completed in 2015 and has two en-suite bedrooms on the first floor. The second floor has an open kitchen and a living room which opens onto a balcony. The studio, built in 2014 in the same style as Dunbeg House, has a double garage and a studio with kitchenette and bathroom.

Dunbeg House is in the Ben Nevis and Glen Coe National Scenic Area, and the entire area is known for its impressive mountains that descend to the sea, Mr Twist said. There is world class sailing as well as skiing, rock climbing, hiking, fishing and shooting.

While the village of Ballachulish has basic amenities, Fort William, a West Highland tourist hub of around 10,000 residents, is nine miles to the north. There are bus and train connections from Fort William and the resort town of Oban, located about 30 miles to the southwest. The nearest international airports are in Inverness and Glasgow, each around two hours away, Mr Kelly said.

The housing market in the Scottish Highlands, which encompasses the sparsely populated rural northern half of the country as well as its islands off the west coast, was “reasonably stable” before the pandemic hit, and has since taken off, Mr. Kelly.

“What we’ve seen over the past 12 months is an explosion of interest,” he said. “We are finding properties that have been marketed in the past at around 500,000 or 600,000 pounds ($ 690,000 or $ 830,000) before Covid, in some cases breaking the 1 million pound ($ 1.38 million) barrier. . “

According to data from Scotland’s registers, the Scottish housing market as a whole is booming, with the average price of a residential property in 2020-2021 at 194,100 pounds ($ 269,000), up 6. 7% compared to the previous year. Home prices have risen 25 percent since their peak in 2007-08 before the global housing crisis.

The Highland region, with its vast expanses of land, towering mountains and spectacular coastline, has been popular in recent years with affluent buyers seeking privacy on land estates, as well as buyers of second homes, including a lot of London, looking for a more rural life.

The pandemic, which shut down the Scottish property market from March to the end of June 2020, intensified these drivers when business picked up, agents said.

“The market foreclosure resulted in a huge pent-up demand, coupled with a reassessment of people’s lifestyles and priorities, which only motivated the desire to relocate,” said Suzanne Moss, senior associate director at the office. from Strutt & Parker in Inverness. Last year, she said, the company transferred ownership of “about a year of sales over a much shorter period.”

Sales have accelerated further this year, with the pandemic “completely transforming the way people want to live and where they want to be,” said Tom Stewart-Moore, rural agency chief at Knight Frank Edinburgh. “We see a lot of people leaving towns and villages.”

Although Britain is currently a global hotspot for the coronavirus and new cases in Scotland have tripled since mid-August, the death rate had not increased significantly as of September 12, according to the map of the New York Times Coronavirus World.

“Threats of new strains of coronavirus have only increased attention to Scotland as a desirable location,” Ms Moss said. “Here you can get excellent value for money, and because the landscape is less densely populated than elsewhere, it is particularly attractive.”

Demand is outstripping supply so dramatically across Scotland, Mr. Stewart-Moore said, that by the end of 2021 house prices could rise as much as 10% year on year. “We are seeing huge amounts of people visiting the properties – more than I have ever seen before – and they are all well over indicative prices,” he said.

Home prices in the Highlands range from £ 250,000 to £ 400,000 ($ 345,000 to $ 553,000) for a cottage and from £ 400,000 to 750,000 ($ 554,000 to $ 1 million) for a family home, said Mrs. Moss.

“Properties with land or large units can often exceed 1 million pounds ($ 1.38 million),” she said.

Land estates in Scotland can reach over £ 10million ($ 13.8million), said Robert McCulloch, head of the Scotland Estates and Farms Agency for Strutt & Parker. Such domains have generally attracted wealthy international buyers, although what motivates these buyers may change.

“I’ve spoken to interested buyers from the United States who have cited Scotland’s maritime climate appeal and safety in light of the extreme weather conditions many have experienced in recent months,” Mr. McCullogh.

International buyers have declined amid the pandemic, but they have not disappeared, with some buying unseen properties, Mr Stewart-Moore said. “Although we’ve done videos in the past, we’ve really never done virtual viewing,” he said. “But it’s something that has become a mainstay, and people will expect that in the future.”

Foreign homebuyers come from all over the world, agents said, including the United States, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Australia, New Zealand, the Netherlands. Bas, from France, Switzerland, Austria, Spain and Italy.

Homes priced over £ 1million were typically sold to foreigners before the pandemic, but now buyers from other parts of Britain are competing for these properties, Mr Kelly said: ‘We We are seeing more and more people leaving the Edinburgh and Glasgow areas, and more inquiries from all over England, not just London.

There are no restrictions on foreign homebuyers in Scotland, and buyers will need a Scottish lawyer, said Ross Low, partner and head of agency and valuation in Scotland for Bidwells.

“Scotland has a very distinct and ancient legal jurisdiction,” he said. “For example, in Scotland we may report ‘bids on’ a price, which means we expect a higher bid to be submitted by a buyer.”

Most lawyers charge 1-4% of the transaction price, depending on the sale, agents said. The seller pays the real estate agent’s commission of 1 to 3 percent.

The buyer is responsible for the tax on buildings and land transactions, the rates of which vary from 0% to 145,000 pounds ($ 200,584) and gradually increase to 12% beyond 750,000 pounds (1 million of dollars). If Dunbeg House were to sell at its asking price, the tax would be 198,350 pounds ($ 275,000), Mr. Low said. Buyers who already own a home are charged an additional 4 percent.

Mortgages from Scottish banks are available to foreign homebuyers, Mr Low said.

English, Gaelic, Scottish; pound sterling (1 pound = $ 1.38)

Annual taxes on Dunbeg House are 3,264 pounds ($ 4,500) and taxes on the cottage are 2,200 pounds ($ 3,000), Kelly said.

Angus Kelly, Bidwells, 011-44-139-770-7645, bidwells.co.uk

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