Hollywood comes to the Thames Valley

A new film studio extending to a million square feet on the outskirts of Reading is on schedule for a grand opening in the next few months.

The venture at the Thames Valley Science Park in the village of Shinfield will create around 3,000 jobs.

It’s reputedly costing its backers in the region of £200m to get up and running.

The property experts at Lambert Smith Hampton believe the development of a “cine valley” in the Thames Valley will give the area star rating for home buyers and boost the local economy.

“Shinfield Studios choosing Reading as its base is a major coup for the town,” says Emma Jones, regional sales and marketing director for Bellway Homes.

Her company is building two-, three- and four-bedroom homes at Long Acre ten minutes’ drive from Reading town center.

Currently the studio bosses have permission to use their site in Shin field only until 2026 “but a planning application is being drawn up in the hopes of making the arrangement permanent”.

Meanwhile the drama of the Stamp Duty Holiday and how long it will last is causing sleepless nights for home buyers facing a real-life cliff edge that could cost them dear.

As things stand right now, all properties sold for up to £500,000 since July last year have been exempted from the sales tax.

For properties priced above half a million, the amount to pay is calculated as the cost moves through a series of price bands, like income tax.

The levy is due to revert to pre-pandemic levels at the start of October.

The initiative was introduced last July to support the housing market and the overall economy while the country was in the grips of the virus. It worked.

The saving has been worth up to £15,000 to buyers in expensive areas like South Bucks where a humble home with very few bells and whistles can easily fall within the highest tax band.

As from the beginning of July, stamp duty will gradually revert to non-discounted levels come the start of October.

In the first month after the tax reform came into force, transactions leading to house sales shot up by 14.5 per cent.

Last August the number of houses and flats sold rose a further 15.6 per cent.

The original deadline of March for the rate to return to the pre-pandemic norm was initially extended to June 30.

Now it’s being tapered out and comes to an end on September 30.

Pressure is mounting to complete house purchases and gain the price of a new kitchen.

Hamptons with offices across Bucks and Berkshire say houses are selling faster than ever before.

“Last month the average home in Great Britain took 23 days to sell, making April the fastest single month to sell in the last decade.

“The average seller had an offer on the table within 17 days of coming onto the market compared with 26 days in April 2019,” the agency reports.

“A lack of choice meant a record 41 per cent of homes which sold in April received offers from three or more buyers.

“Last month there were 20 per cent more applicants than in April 2019.

The number of homes remains at a six year low with stock shortage most acute in rural areas.

“All of this means that prices continue to rise. Prices across Great Britain rose 8.6 per cent in February, fueled by low stock.”

Pictured is a three-bedroom, three reception room thatched cottage with newly built studio.

The main house started life in the 1600s as three farmworkers’ cottages.

The agents at Hamptons’ Great Missenden office where Greenways is for sale describe it as a prize for “ a true golf enthusiast”.

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