Development loan sinks UK's most expensive property

Development loan sinks UK's most expensive property



he £75 million luxurious mansion, which has had £30 million worth of development, has been on the market since 2005 and has now finally been sold, but for less than half its original asking price.

The mansion, situated in Windlesham, Surrey, was once the most expensive private home on the market anywhere in the world. It is still known as the most luxurious mansion in the world and is the most expensive country property ever to go on sale in the UK.


The estate boasts 103 rooms and has 58 acres of landscaped gardens and private woodland. Its standout factor however is the 24-carat gold leaf mosaic floor feature in 24 bedrooms and 27 baths, according to property website Rightmove.


The property also boasts a cinema, two-lane bowling alley, squash court, floodlit tennis courts, a wine cellar, five swimming pools – including one attached to the master bedroom – and a helipad. The marble alone used in the house is said to have cost £9 million.


Updown Court, a Californian style residence, was bought by ex-estate agent and developer Leslie Allen-Vercoe back in 2002 for £20 million, through receivership. He subsequently spent £30 million developing it into arguably the UK’s most luxury home. Allen-Vercoe once said, “If Elton John were a house, he’d be Updown Court,” the Daily Mail stated.


But, despite the development, the house has failed to attract any interest over the last few years meaning the price has been repeatedly knocked down. Buyers were also put off by the cost of maintenance on the house which is thought to cost £1 million a year, according to the Daily Mail.


Earlier this year Allen-Vercoe, 65, defaulted on the loan he received from an Irish bank to finance the buying and developing of the property and the Irish government took over ownership of the huge mansion.


Since the Irish bank had recently passed into the hands of the Irish National Asset Management Agency (NAMA), the estate was repossessed by the state and the Irish government sold the property to a foreign businessman last month, according to the Sunday Times. NAMA had paid £20 million to the nationalised Irish Nationwide bank for the asset, taking over the loans.


‘The agents involved with the sale declined to identify the buyer or to comment on the deal,’ the Daily Mail reported.


The Updown Court website claims that the property is “the most important private residence to be built in England since the 19th century.” It also states that it is “larger in area than both the royal residences of Hampton Court or Buckingham Palace.”


The notoriety of the unsold house became so great that one observer told the Sunday Times it was ‘one of the most undesirable properties that has ever been on sale.”


Mr Allen-Vercoe’s first property purchase was at the age of 20 where he bought a local cinema he worked at using a £2,000 bank loan.

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