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Lighter living


less-demanding aspects of flat living. Sit back and enjoy. We look forward to hearing your views.


The Leaseholder IN THE NEWS


“NOT EVERY BET IS GOING TO PAY OFF,” SAYS GOOGLE


Google has dropped its property search function on worldwide maps. Six months ago, Google unveiled its property mapping function – and looked set to dominate the sector - however it was recently announced that plans would be shelved. “This feature wasn’t used as extensively as we would have liked,


and proved difficult to maintain, so we’ve removed it,” said a Google spokesperson. “Note that all Google Maps layers are not going away, just the real estate layer, which was our first foray with displaying vertical industry information via the maps interface.” The spokesperson continued: “This also allows us to prioritise


resources and focus more on our core commitment to search, local search and building maps that provide a digital atlas of the real world. Google likes to experiment because we believe that’s the best way to create ground-breaking products and features that make a difference in people’s lives. But not every bet is going to pay off.”


SUPER-EXPENSIVE FLATS


One Hyde Park, the block of flats to beat all blocks of flats, was unveiled recently. Only for the super-rich and with an asking price upwards of £6,000 per square foot, the luxury development – designed by Lord Rogers and overseen by the playboy duo known as the Candy brothers (right)– is said to be the most expensive residential property in the world. It is reported that one of the penthouses sold for £135 million – this is the price


of living in decadent style with all the mod cons. As you can imagine, levels of security are high, with iris-recognition systems in the lifts, panic room (for when you put down your deposit!) and bullet proof glass. Fifteen different types of precious marble have been used in the construction and many an oak tree has suffered for the cause. One Hyde Park has it all; a private cinema, a 21-metre swimming pool, saunas, a gym, a golf simulator, a wine cellar, a valet service, concierge and room service from the Mandarin Oriental next door. The cheapest property in the building, a one-bedroom flat, is said to cost £6.75 million, with developers claiming that the majority of apartments cost between £27 million and £33 million. Even the service charge would make your eyes smart a little – £150 per square


metre per year. On this basis some owners can expect to pay more than £100,000 annually. Ouch!


38 www.flat-living.co.uk


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STAMP DUTY TAX INCREASES TO 5%


From 6 April 2011, those buying properties worth £1 million or more will see the amount they pay in stamp duty rise from 4% to 5%, but research from Investec among estate agents, property developers and mortgage brokers specialising in this market reveals that 52% expect this to have no impact on prices. Some 45% expect prices to fall slightly as a result of this, but none of those interviewed believe there will be a sharp fall as a result of this rise in stamp duty. Jack Jones of Investec said, “The high-end property market appears


to be quite robust to adverse changes in tax. This is probably because the market is still seen as being very attractive, with opportunities for both British and non UK buyers. The sector is very different to any other residential property market, and this is demonstrated in its recent strong show of resilience. Sales are still strong and demand for million pound plus properties although down, remains high.” To put the stamp duty rise into context, if you fancy buying that £6.75 million flat at One Hyde Park, the stamp duty alone will cost you almost £340,000!


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