£29m Fine & Country listing available as the real thing or NFT
Hampton Hall has, according to the selling agent Fine & Country, “over 29,116 square feet of beautiful bespoke design, presented in Cotswold stone, flanked by Corinthian fluted columns and a 380 feet frontage. In excess of 70 magnificent rooms catering for dinner parties, guests, family, entertainment; in fact, this home will cater for your every whim.”
It is also remarkable in another sense as it is also available as a non-fungible token (NFT), so a buyer can purchase either of the versions; the real brick and mortar building, or a representation of the property that will only exist in the metaverse.
For many, especially in the slow UK real estate environment where the sale of property by private treaty has not really changed much since 1925 (when the existing protocol to transact land and property was last tinkered with) all of this may sound a little too much like science fiction.
But for those in the know, although Hampton Hall in Oxshott is very much a real prize property, adding the ability to buy its digital twin as an NFT raises awareness of the property. Across the pond, in America, they have already gone several stages further.
If you look at Natalia Karayaneva’s company Propy, they have been around some time and already transacted over 1,000 properties utilising the higher stages of blockchain technology.
Last October they were ramping up ways to give agents the ability to earn cryptocurrency tokens and personal NFTs on the Propy platform. For those not following all of this, technology and adoption of doing things differently by younger people may leave agents behind.
As Natalie puts it: “As cryptocurrency becomes more popular amongst younger buyers and sellers, agents need a solution to help them, Propy makes the process easy – and we can even help clients sell their home as an NFT, significantly reducing the overall closing time and costs vs. a traditional sale.”
Many may feel that the Metaverse and all that entails, like the blockchain and smart contracts, are a passing fad, but if you look at the people who are funding and sitting on the boards of companies like Propy you can see that they are very serious about changing how the property asset is transacted.
For what has been a very legacy and paper-based industry, new technology is being leveraged to give super-fast ways to transact, and this plays exactly to the digital native mindset of the people who are now coming of age and want to do property.
When I started selling property in the mid-1980s, the mobile phone at that time was hardwired into cars. A handset the size of two bricks was considered cutting edge. By 2030, spurred on by the pandemic and the need to adopt new technologies to trade in a non-face to face way, real estate will be in a very different space, with all the stakeholders communicating at speed, utilising completely different operating systems accepted as the truth by all stakeholders.
2021 remortgage trend shows borrowers are looking to hunker down
Despite 2021 being a bumper year for the property industry with a huge wave of homes being sold, helped by government tax giveaways around SDLT, there were also other trends taking place, especially in the world of the mortgage business.
According to a report from Legal Marketing Services, 52% of remortgage business in 2021 was in the five-year fixed-rate vertical, meaning that those with existing mortgages needed to step into a new mortgage deal and chose to fix not for two years, but five.
This means that a lot of people have taken a long term view that in 2022, interest rates were going to rise, as proved by the fact we are now at a 0.5% Bank of England base rate.
What the report commissioned by LMS also showed was that of the total amount of people who remortgaged last year, nearly half were taking out extra equity.
Now that could be to consolidate debt or to take out cash to fund a new business or even for a deposit for a family member looking to buy, as the bank of mum and dad is increasingly becoming the best place for first-time buyers to get a large enough deposit to get on the housing ladder.
The big problem on the horizon is that there are a lot of mortgage borrowers with fixed two-year deals and five-year fixed-rate deals that evaporate in 2022, which means they will have to secure a mortgage on a new deal, based upon a Bank of England base rate that is five times larger than when they last needed to get a mortgage.
This extra cost to finance homes may on the surface not seem such a heavy burden, but with new punitive personal taxation rules biting in April, high utility costs and rampant inflation at over 5%, many households in 2022 will be feeling the financial squeeze.