Butler Sherborn News

21st June 2017


The 9th Burford Festival drew to a close on Sunday 18th June, having benefitted from some stunning weather over the last 10 days.  The town came alive with the bunting running from the top to the bottom of the High Street and decorated shop fronts.  The events held were plentiful and varied, some of which included guided tours and talks about local history, literature workshops, open garden days, music and family events – all hosted by the local residents and businesses.


The Burford Festival, which was started back in 2001 has grown in recent years and now hails as the largest Festival in the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Beauty – with over 57 events over 10 days.  The festival is run biennially and attracts many visitors and tourists aswell as serving the people of the town and surrounding towns and villages.


The festival is a charity event organised and run by a fantastic team of willing volunteers, with the proceeds put towards future... more

20th June 2017

According to new data, renting a home is the cheaper option when compared to buying one in 54% of British cities

Recent research from property website Zoopla looked into the monthly cost of the average rental payments and mortgage payments for a 2 bedroom home in 50 of Britain’s largest cities.

The findings of this research revealed that on average, renting is £47 cheaper than buying with the average mortgage repayment at £737 and the average rental costs coming in at £670.

Over the past 9 months, there has been quite a shift in these statistics, as when the same research was carried out in October of 2016, it was more cost effective to buy in 60% of British cities.

When comparing each of the cities it was the residents of the capital that benefit the most from choosing to rent, as average mortgage payments for a London home (£3,0001) are almost double (47%) the average monthly rental payments (£1,861)

Other cities in which renting results in considerable monthly savings are Cambridge (30% cheaper), Brighton (27% cheaper) and Reading (26% cheaper).

Scotland... more

20th June 2017

In a new report from Barclays Bank, average property prices in the UK are predicted to rise by 6.1% over the next 5 years

The average property value is expected to hit £300,000 by 2021 and it is anticipated that the price gap between north and south properties will begin to close as hotspots in the north will emerge over the coming years.

The recent research from Barclays looked into a variety of factors such as current house prices, employment levels, rental trends and commuter behaviour in order to determine the up and coming property hotspots throughout the UK.

While the uncertain political and economic climate was taken into consideration, the report details that high employment rates coupled with increases in average earnings will result in rising property prices throughout the country to an average of 6.1% by 2021.

On a regional level, it is London that is expected to see the largest increase with an annual price jump of 2.2%, resulting in a huge cumulative rise of 11.8% across the next 5 years. Following closely behind is East Anglia at 9.3% and the South East with a... more

20th June 2017

The National Masters Rowing Championships Is, just as it says on the tin, the annual gathering of 'Masters' rowers from all over the country to compete on the 6 lane 2km rowing lake at Holme Pierrpoint, Nottingham. While 'Masters' are indeed rowers of more mature years it should be noted that in the world of rowing your are deemed to be a 'Master' from the tender age of 27 years!

These national races are then held as six lane side by side events over a 1,000m course, almost always into a headwind and on this particular day that wind was said to be circa 30mph and creating large hairy waves near the start. Conditions were so extreme that the whole event had to be stopped and cancelled mid-afternoon for safety reasons.

Masters are graded into age categories and our man Cuan was taking part in a coxed four for the 'F' category (over 60s). Fellow crew mates Tim, Troupy and Simon together with cox Karen made a conscious decision to shorten the strokes a little through the... more

20th June 2017

As Summer Approaches Us… As the warm British summer approaches us and we traditionally spend more time outside, it is worth considering the following:-

Noise pollution and respecting your surroundings

Much of the attraction of renting a property in the Cotswolds is to take advantage of the beautiful surrounding countryside, spending many hours socialising with friends & family outdoors. However before you go dusting off the BBQ and positioning your wireless loud speakers, it is important to consider any noise pollution clause within your tenancy agreement in order to ensure you are not in breech, thereby avoiding any potential conflict with neighbours or more importantly your Landlord!

Being a conscientious tenant, becomes more relevant in the summer months, especially when you have neighbouring properties, regardless if owners or tenants,  they too have rights and therefore it is advisable to avoid any cause they may have to report disturbances  - from barking dogs, noisy outdoor activities, fire pits or BBQ’s. Should you be planning an outdoor party; be it for a large group or just a small get together with a... more

15th June 2017

There are several different types of tenancies in England and Wales with several different types of statutory regimes.

Rent Act

Historically tenancies were covered by the Rent Act 1977. These tenancies can no longer be created and are generally dying out. However, these tenancies provided a very high level of protection to tenants for life and benefitted from below market rents.

Housing Act

The vast majority of tenancies created today now fall under the Housing Act 1988. The Act applies where tenancies are created on or after 15 January 1989 and creates one of two types of tenancies. The tenancy was either an Assured Tenancy or an Assured Shorthold Tenancy if the landlord served a section 20 notice advising the tenant that his tenancy was NOT an Assured Tenancy. An Assured Tenancy is a tenancy for life, which means it is very difficult to evict a tenant, and a tenancy at a market rent. Assured Shorthold Tenancies are created, as stated above, on the service of the Section 20 Notice or those created after 28 February 1997. The vast majority of tenancies today are Assured Shorthold Tenancies... more

13th June 2017


General Election Result


It would be unrealistic to think that the unexpected result of the General Election won’t have some effect on the country property market. People hate uncertainty and this, on the face of it, will perpetuate that.

However the Conservative party's decisive decision to back Teresa May in the forming of a new government will help while the dust settles. Hopefully after that they will, from the lessons learnt, focus on a clear strategy for Brexit, the British economy and national security. Stability and confidence is what we want and I hope that out of this scenario we will see that.

I have spoken to both buyers and sellers since last Thursday, 8th June. There is no one who is not surprised by the outcome but most seem pragmatic and take the view that life must go on and business as usual. To date we have seen limited negative reaction. Indeed a number of sales went through on Friday and it was a good day for offers as well... more

9th June 2017

A General Election post-mortem for the property industry

We now have the result of the hastily called General Election, and frankly if we all ran our businesses in the manner that The Conservative Party ran their campaign, we’d be out of business. The ruling party failed to follow that old adage of Bill Clinton’s, “it’s the economy stupid”, so the economic success of UK PLC since the Credit Crunch was completely ignored, and it is the success of British businesses small, medium and large that creates the tax revenues and inward investment that keeps this country on a buoyant footing.

So whilst we stare at the abject failure of British party politics, at least British businesses will push forward and create the fertile ground for future success, and it will hopefully be our children’s generation that sort  out the political landscape, and clear up the mess of the now failed British party political model.

This General Election “sideshow” only served to create uncertainty in a British property market already subdued in volume... more

9th June 2017

There continues to be a shortage of good quality equestrian properties available to both rent and buy in the Cotswolds and surrounding areas. The area remains hugely popular with those looking for equestrian property, and as such we have a seen a good level of competition when the right properties become available.

It is never easy to accurately gauge the rental market, as many equestrian properties do not reach the open market. The majority of the yards let by Butler Sherborn in the last 18 months have been snapped up by tenants registered with us, and therefore have never come to the market. This level of demand has resulted in some good rents being achieved.  However, running genuinely profitable equestrian businesses remains extremely difficult, and therefore rents need to remain at a sensible level to ensure that tenancies are sustainable.


We have seen a shortage of equestrian properties coming to the market to buy. This has resulted in some good sales for the right properties. However, some of the larger and more specialist properties have been taking a long time to sell, despite the fact that they are beautifully presented with all the ‘bells and whistles’. This indicates that there is currently a shortage of buyers at the very top end of the equestrian market for... more

9th June 2017


With many farmers and landowners claiming under the Basic Payment Scheme there is the ever present possibility of a Cross Compliance inspection.

Reports suggest that farmers can expect to be inspected at least once in every seven years. With an increased emphasis on farm inspections from the Rural Payment Agency and growing numbers of unannounced inspections, or inspections with under 24 hours notice, it’s important to know the areas where you may fall foul of the regulations.

Who is effected?

All claimants under the Basic Payment Scheme, Countryside Stewardship and  Environmental Stewardship.  Landowners whose land is claimed under the Basic Payment Scheme by tenants or those who own livestock.

Who inspects and Why?

The Rural Payment Agency (RPA) undertake the majority of inspections, other bodies may inspect regarding other environmental schemes, animal welfare and for farm/crop assurance purposes... more

25th May 2017


The shop was opened by a local, Joanna Virgin, in partnership with Polly Jaffé and Patrick Neale who have a thriving bookshop of the same name in Chipping Norton.  Joanna grew up in the Cotswolds and attended a local prep school, Kitebrook. Following university she worked at Waterstones and then at HarperCollins Publishers before going to work in the book trade in New York. Joanna returned to settle in the Cotswolds with her husband and children and taught at various schools in the vicinity.


A voracious reader, Joanna’s passion and knowledge of literature is evident in the broad and varied selection of books on the shelves and her enthusiastic ability to make insightful recommendations. Unlike the staple high street bookshop, Jaffé and Neale offers a colourful variety of titles with many little gems to be found alongside more mainstream authors. 


From the outside, the shop looks deceptively small and quaint.  Do not be fooled: once inside... more

24th May 2017

We are in that period we always fail to recall from whence we were last here, with the market in hiatus prior to a General Election. This of course is just what we needed in the property industry after, as an EU negotiator put it, "the cat fight in the Conservative Party" that gave us the wholly unnecessary European Referendum. So we were reeling from the severe contraction in market volume as a result of the outcome of the Referendum before the election came along (general uncertainty having caused many prospective Sellers a bout of decision paralysis in 2017), and now the situation is further compounded because of “politics”.

I have personally been in the industry for 34 years, and these are a wholly unique set of conditions that we are trading through. So we ought to ask, “who are the beneficiaries”, for there is always an up-side for someone?

By and large the market is skewed towards giving an advantage to buyers and you would think that with historically low numbers of properties coming to the market, and the cost of borrowing also at an historic low, that this should continue fuelling demand for the more limited number of properties available, and therefore prices should be continuing to rise - BUT, this is not what is happening.   When the word "uncertainty" comes in to the mix, this is the curse of all markets, be they financial, property or otherwise.

The reality is that this represents an advantageous time to buy, given that the "froth" that has been in the market for some time has come off, which is not to say that property prices are dropping, because they aren't, they are just... more

15th May 2017

Serendipity in Sutton Courtenay - "Yes, but is it worth the commute?" We think so.

We have recently researched the reasons why people move out of the Capital. The majority of applicants move out for their children, either for schools or a better quality of life. Affordability and lifestyle change have jumped up the list. Modern mobile technology has also enabled greater flexibility to work from home either part or full time. As travel within London becomes more difficult, more people are realising that commuting from the country can take less time than from their existing London base.

Those who will have to commute daily will remain within 1 1/2 hours of the Capital. Lifestyle movers will tend to move outside the commuter belt and live in the more scenic, coastal or rural areas

Evergreens' location, space, light, intuitive design and top quality fittings make this one of the most desirable properties in one of South Oxfordshire's most prestigious villages.

Secluded at the end of a tree-lined lane, Evergreens was built as a private commission... more

12th May 2017

The Butler Sherborn team share their selection of great local community events as well as favourite places to visit. Explore the city of Oxford and the wider county to discover its hidden secrets.

12th May 2017
Issy Rush Jansen - Interior Designer

Award winning Interior Design firm Issy Rush Jansen Ltd create elegant timeless interiors for private and commercial clients in the Uk and abroad. Having recently re-located from West London to Oxford, we caught up with Issy to ask her for some top tips when redesigning your home.


"Firstly, your main priority is to work with building contractors who you either know and trust or who come through a trusted recommendation. My company, Issy Rush Jansen Ltd is aligned with a RIBA qualified architect, a chartered structural engineer and a fantastic multi-disciplinary contractual team, who deliver projects of the highest standard, on time and within budget. However, often we are called in when another building company has not done or completed competently what they set out to do, so my advice would be, to anyone starting out on an extension or building work, to always always always go for a recommendation or through a trusted source.


Secondly, functionality - of course a home ideally looks and feels wonderful, well balanced and well proportioned, whilst reflecting who the family are, and how they want to live - but the adage that design is not just how it looks but how it works is absolutely true - your space needs to function fantastically... more

3rd May 2017

We are seeking an RICS qualified Senior Estate Manager for 1 day a week (est.) to lead the management of a significant mixed rural estate in north-west Oxfordshire with in-hand farm, let residential portfolio, managed woodlands, shoot and country house.

The position will involve dealing with key strategic and the more complex technical management matters, overseeing staff and being the key contact for the Estate owner.

The successful applicant will be fully supported by the existing management and bookkeeping team based in our Cirencester office.

The role would be for this particular estate only and would especially suit a self-employed, part time or perhaps semi retired agent.  The basis of employment can be tailored to suit i.e. employee, consultant or contract basis.

All applications or enquiries to Richard Greasby – richard@butlersherborn.co.uk or 01285 883740.

25th April 2017

In our news article dated 14th March 2017 we reported the Government’s plans to significantly increase Probate Fees, the principle of which has been highly criticised.  It was reported at the end of last week that those plans have now been abolished so from now on at least there won’t be any changes with Probate Fees remaining at £215 per application (with a reduction to £155 if solicitors are acting). "This is very welcome news" comments Richard Greasby, head of Butler Sherborn’s professional valuation work.

Sam Butler of Butler Sherborn has welcomed news of the General Election on Thursday 8th June.


“By drawing a clear line under the uncertainty caused by the Referendum last year, Mrs May has set out to secure a mandate from the nation to press ahead and achieve a positive outcome for the United Kingdom post-Brexit. We know from history that at times like this we need strong leadership, and I admire her decision.


“This will be good news for the economy and consequently those wanting to buy and sell property, who will now be able to move home with renewed confidence.”

We are very lucky to work and live in the Cotswolds.  The countryside looks fabulous, particularly this Spring in the sunshine, and it is accessible to those who have to commute.  There is so much on offer from places to eat, things to do, cultural and sporting, and a wide variety of excellent schools.  What an area to bring up children!

The Cotswold country property market has not been immune from the uncertainties created by Brexit, the economy, global politics and the punitive increase in stamp duty at the higher end.  As a result, the reality is that we are in a buyers market.  Buyers know exactly what they want and what they will pay.  It is very expensive to move and this is exaggerated by house prices not rising at the moment.  This has had a downward effect on prices and supply.

Sellers want and need some certainly if they are going to move.  Currently the market is short of stock but as time goes on buyers and seller’s expectations should increasingly... more

6th April 2017

The valuation thresholds have reduced which means more properties will be caught by this tax net.

Like many of our farming and property owning clients, if you own a company that owns residential property in the UK then you have probably heard of ATED.  This is a tax charge that was introduced on the 1st April 2012 with tax payments based on the value of the properties owned.  When it was introduced it was only for properties in excess of £2.0 million however it now applies to properties worth more than £500,000.  The base date for values has been April 2012 (unless the property has been purchased since) however another important change is that the tax returns for 2017 through to 2023 will be based on values at April 2017. Reliefs for farmhouses, for example, are still available but returns are still required.

With the threshold falling and average house prices rising the revaluation will  bring more properties into the ATED net therefore in order to plan properly for next year’s return we advise thinking about commissioning valuations shortly.  This could be especially... more

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