A $631,000 Private Scottish Island Offers Peaceful Retreat In Loch Lomond Surroundings

If your lockdown has sparked a love for solitude, then this uninhabited Scottish island–on sale for offers over $631,000–could be for you. That is, if you don’t mind sharing it with a few wallabies.

Inchconnachan on Loch Lomond is being sold by the Colquhoun family who have owned it since the 14th century. The wallabies were brought to the 103-acre island in the 1940s by Fiona Bryde Colquhoun, later Lady Arran. She established a colony of the freely roaming marsupials, earning it the name ‘wallaby island’. It is believed that some of them are still thriving on the island.

The Highland island–which sits in Loch Lomond, one of the U.K.’s largest freshwater lakes set about 33 miles from Glasgow–hit the market today. It is accessible by boat from the village of Luss and is part of the Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park, which has impressive mountain scenery.

As part of the sale, buyers get an exclusive boat access point at Luss and have the opportunity to build their own home on the island–the property comes with planning consent replace a derelict 1920s timber bungalow for a 5-bed lodge house, boathouse and pier.

Cameron Ewer of Savills, the agency who is jointly selling the property with Knight Frank, says, the property “is an extraordinary opportunity to acquire a beautiful and completely private, yet accessible, retreat and create a wonderful new residence there.”

Commenting on its modest price tag, he says, “there hasn’t been another Loch Lomond island for sale with planning permission in recent times and it is expected to well outperform its sale price.”

He adds, “For those seeking peace and seclusion, yet wanting all that this part of Scotland has to offer in the way of nature and water-based sport and activities, this is surely the ultimate prize.” The area offers many outdoor pursuits including wakeboarding, sailing, mountain biking, kayaking, wildlife, angling, and hill walking, according to its sales details.

Inchconnachan is covered in ancient oak woodlands and features secluded bays that attract otters and deer as well as a variety of birds including the endangered game bird known as capercaillie, and an occasional pair of nesting ospreys, according to the sales details.

Set just off Loch Lomond’s southwest shore, the island is part of the Colquhoun-owned Luss Estate–Inchconnachan translates to Gaelic as Innis Chonachain meaning the Colquhoun island. It includes a timber house built in the 1920s reputedly for retired tea merchant Admiral Sullivan in the style of an Indian tea plantation bungalow.

The property later became the holiday home of Lady Arran who held the record for being the fastest woman on water. The Scottish aristocrat reached a top speed of 102mph in a powerboat on Lake Windemere in 1980, claiming the Seagrave Trophy, according to the sales details.

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London’s Prime Property Market Sees Surge In Demand From Hong Kong and Mainland Chinese Buyers

London’s prime housing market is seeing strong interest from Hong Kong and mainland Chinese buyers, with real estate agents reporting above-average levels of investment.

London-based estate agency Beauchamp Estates reports that over the past 6 months it has sold more than $374 million worth of luxury London residential property to Hong Kong buyers in prime locations including Knightsbridge, Belgravia, and Islington, in its new wealth survey. 

Purchasers from Hong Kong and mainland China now account for 15% of its international buyer home sales above $1.2 million and 20% of deals above $12 million across prime central London–overtaking investors from Russia and India, it says. The data covers the period between December 2019 and June 2020.

These buyers are typically purchasing either new homes or historic properties with newly refurbished super-luxury interiors, Marcus O’Brien, of Beauchamp Estates Private Office, says in the report.

The sales include the “landmark” $264 million purchase of 2-8a Rutland Gate–a 45-bedroom mansion in Knightsbridge– and a 6-bedroom Belgravia Gate penthouse flat in Belgravia, both of which were bought by Hong Kong billionaires through Beauchamp Estates.

Increased levels of demand are believed to be driven by on-going political unrest in Hong Kong, which began last year when China’s parliament announced plans to implement a new, sweeping national security law.

At the Coda development in London’s Battersea, there has been a significant spike in deals and enquiries from Hong Kong nationals since plans for the law were announced, according to its developer Avanton. Of the 130 flats on offer, 35 have sold, 30% of which were to overseas buyers, with the majority from Hong Kong.

Further investment in London’s prime market is predicted after the British government announced yesterday it will offer a citizenship path to British National Overseas (BNO) passport holders in Hong Kong in response to China passing the controversial law two days ago. There are up to 3 million people who are eligible for U.K. residency.

Jeremy Gee, of Beauchamp Estates says that, “an estimated 10% –or 30,000– of these passport holders could potentially purchase in prime central London meaning there could be a significant uptick again going forward.”

According to a separate report by London-based real estate agency Aston Chase, Hong Kong and Chinese interest in London homes had been rising since protests begun in March 2019 though enquires had waned at the beginning of the year and during the Covid-19 U.K. lockdown.

Aston Chase says there has been a spike in Hong Kong nationals with existing homes in London upsizing into substantial family homes. These buyers have traditionally bought smaller, often new-build properties either to rent or for their children to use while studying in the U.K., it says.

According to Gee, London has long been a popular location for Hongkongers looking to both relocate and buy a second home. “Many have family members living here and they are drawn to its culture and its education system,” he says.

There are now some 218,975 properties in London owned by Chinese and Hong Kong buyers, with 98,725 owned by Hongkongers and 120,250 by mainland Chinese, according to researchers at Beauchamp Estates.

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Sean Connery’s Former South Of France Seafront Villa Lists For $33 Million

On the French Riviera, Sean Connery’s former James Bond-worthy home is on sale for $33 million.

The 1920s seafront mansion lies on a rocky cliff in the French resort city of Nice, overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. The 5-bedroom, 10,700-square-foot villa has two swimming pools, two guest villas, and just over an acre of terraced Mediterranean gardens.

The Belle Epoque-style home is the former long-time home of the Scottish actor who is best known for playing the role of James Bond in the spy film franchise during the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s.

Connery and his French Moroccan artist wife Micheline Roquebrune, who is originally from the region, are thought to have owned the property in the 1980s and 1990s. The house, which overlooks Port de Nice and lies 30 minutes from Monaco, is still referred to locally as “Sean Connery’s home”.

Known as Villa Le Roc Fleuri, its exterior exudes old-school French Riviera glamour, with its classical French-style architecture and commanding position on Cap de Nice, affording it elevated, westerly panoramic views of the Mediterranean Sea, Nice, and the mountains behind, from its rooms and revamped gardens.

Noting its ritzy location, selling agent Edward de Mallet Morgan of Knight Frank says, “one of the wonderful things about the French Riviera is the sense of stardust–a favorite haunt of royal families as well the likes of Coco Chanel, Pablo Picasso, Grace Kelly, and Sir Sean Connery.”

He adds, “[the villa is] within easy reach of Nice, Cap Ferrat, and Monaco… and has jaw-dropping views along the glittering Cote D’Azur as well as more land and grounds than you would usually get for such a waterfront property. You have the sea view, but also the coastline and inland view, so even at night-time, the view twinkles with lights.”

Inside, it has a deluxe contemporary interior, with 3 reception rooms, 5 bathrooms, a wrought-iron decorated lift to all floors, a gym and fitness room, a hammam with changing facilities and shower, entry phone system, utility room, cellar, and a staff flat above the attached garage, according to its sales details.

The newly landscaped gardens cascade down the cliffside and are formed of wide terraces with neat lawns, an abundance of brightly coloured plants, shrubs, and palm trees, stone walls and a path that winds down to a coastal road on the seafront, according to its sales details.

Offering a private and tucked-away setting, Villa Le Roc Fleuri lies behind an imposing gated entrance and is approached by a gently sloping drive overlooking its gardens. On the grounds, there are 3 gated road entrances to the house, a saltwater swimming pool, two, two-bedroom guest villas, and 5 parking spaces.

Referring to its link to Connery, de Mallet Morgan says that, “not since selling Coco Chanel’s old villa, La Pausa, have I experienced as much press and buyer interest for a villa sale on the French Riviera. The James Bond factor simply does not get any cooler.”

The home is being sold by Knight Frank

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