In 2005, an historic 17th-century mansion went on the market as Britain’s most expensive repossessed residence. The South African bank owner wanted to sell the property quickly but. eventually. Melville House was offered at about one-third of its prior asking price of £4.5m. The bank wanted to flog its repossession as quickly as possible and later offered the mansion on 16 acres for £1.6m. The current owner acquired it in 2009.
Clearly, Britain’s most expensive repossessed property is an architectural marvel. According to Historic Environment Scotland, Melville House is a Work of Art of high value. It is recognized for outstanding historical and architectural value. Once called Scotland’s grandest house, cautious prospective buyers in the last recession passed on the original offer and waited for a better deal to acquire 16 acres near Fife, Scotland. BBC reports say that Melville House was finally purchased for between £1m and £1.6m.
Repossession Stigma and Melville House’s “Chequered Past”
Although the home offers fascinating and original architectural features, 11 main bedrooms, and seven reception areas, its market value suffered from repossession stigma during the Global Recession environment of 2009.
Prospective buyers were wary of current market conditions and the perceived “chequered past” of the property. A patient buyer decided to purchase Melville House at an advantageous price. Melville House is now a commercial property with many upgrades.
Larger Properties May Take Longer to Sell
Property experts say that larger homes like Melville House typically take longer to sell. According to a Douglas Lyons & Lyons property group spokesperson, sellers must reduce prices of large residences like Melville House to sell them within a reasonable period of time.
Even in today’s brisk property market, the average repossession sells at a 10 to 30 percent discount. If you’re a patient property buyer, it’s possible to pick up distressed or repossessed homes at a discount and recoup a higher return on investment in years to come.
History of Melville House in Scotland
The first owner of the Melville State Bed was Protestant-advocate George Melville, the First Earl or Melville. He later became Scotland’s Secretary of State. He was a loyalist to the king during the Glorious Revolution in the 17th century. James Smith, Surveyor of the Royal Works, built the manse in 1697. Smith was also involved in the building of Drumlanrigg Castle and the Palace of Holyroodhouse. In 1592, the Melville family bought and incorporated the grounds as a folly.
- The history of Melville House includes:
- The novelist Lady Mary Hamilton was born at Melville House in 1736.
- Francis Brown Douglas, Lord Provost of Edinburgh, died at Melville House in 1885.
- Melville House became a temporary barracks and hospital in World War II.
- The property was bequeathed to Victoria & Albert Museum in 1949.
- Dalhousie Preparatory School bought the house in 1950 and sold it in 1971.
- Melville House became a private school for special needs children from 1975 – 1998.
- A private buyer refurbished Melville House as a private home in the early 2000s. The owner defaulted on payments to the South African bank mortgagee. Melville House was then heralded as the most expensive repossession in Britain.
Melville House Today
Some people want to know why it took so long to sell Melville House on the last go round. It has been called Scotland’s grandest house over the centuries. The property offers 16 acres near Fife, Scotland. Details include fascinating architectural features, 11 main bedrooms, and seven reception areas. It’s a one-of-a-kind property.
The last recession affected financial institutions, corporations, and prospective investors of property around the world. Mortgage money was tight. Fewer prospective owners had sufficient cash to purchase the property.
The recent owner reinvented Melville House as Melville Escapes. Today, it’s a posh collection of self-catering apartments. Lots of upgrades were made to the property, including two cottages, furnishings, and fittings. East and west tea houses are now open for visitors’ enjoyment.
Melville House’s west wing is a self-contained four-bedroom, two bathroom home with a living room and family kitchen. Bedrooms are arranged as a twin room and three doubles. Visitors make arrangements to stay through airbnb.
Commercial kitchens in the Melville House basement allow for easy access to outside catering on the grounds. Coach houses and courtyard stables were converted to a cinema, gym and fitness center, and treatment rooms. The property also includes a tennis court, cricket lawn, separate staff flat, converted pavilions, two self-contained wings and “an enchanting treehouse to keep lookout” over the front of the property.
UK Housing Outlook
There’s a lot of press about why Analysts cite higher inflation and bond yields as a potential threat in real estate price trends.
The history of investing in real property shows that the decision to buy property involves long-term decision-making. Don’t buy a repossession on a whim. Use prudence and planning to invest in real property for the long term.