One-on-One interview: Jules Miller-Cheevers of Watermark, The Cotswolds
Name and business title: Jules Miller-Cheevers, Sales & Marketing Director, Watermark, The Cotswolds.
Where is your firm developing new homes? Watermark is a luxury property development in The Cotswolds, on the picturesque lakes of South Cerney, Gloucestershire. This glorious setting is in Europe's most secret location, an area of 40 square miles, with over 125 lakes, one and half times the size of Jersey and the Chanel Islands and in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
This limited last phase of new homes are located on The Peninsula and Summer Lake with outstanding views. Most water sports are available as is walks, bicycle trails and everything for nature lovers. With its world renowned reputation, the Cotswolds' idyllic rolling countryside remains a highly aspirational destination and with excellent transport links directly into Paddington in just one hour and twenty minutes, commuting from the capital is realistic.
What types of properties is Watermark building? The limited last phase of elegant New-England style properties on The Peninsula and the Summer Lake range from four- to seven-bedrooms and feature light open plan living areas, vaulted ceilings and French doors, which lead out onto large lakeside decks. Homes have bespoke fully fitted kitchens with granite work tops, oak flooring throughout and luxurious under floor heating. Many of the master bedrooms feature private balconies overlooking the lakes and are ideal for nature watching. A number of the properties even feature their own private jetty for mooring a small boat.
As standard with all Watermark properties, the homes are built with eco-friendly features, such as energy efficient heat pumps which provide filtered air heating and cooling to each home, and are constructed using timber sourced from sustainably managed forests.
How much does a new home by Watermark cost to buy? Of the two lakes remaining, The Peninsula is the jewel in the crown, with only three plots available on a peninsula of land projecting into a 140 acre sailing lake, these plots are claimed to be the finest plots in the whole of the Cotswold Water Park, we have completed six- to seven-bedroom houses selling from £1.175m up to £2.5m.
The Hampton properties at Summer Lake are impressive four bedroom New-England-style homes with outstanding lake views priced at £725,000.
What makes a Watermark home stand out from the crowd? All our houses are built in a New England style, which are usually open plan with double height living rooms, which gives that instant ‘I am on holiday feel' then combined with their eco-friendly specifications, which puts them in the top 1% of houses built in the UK and that each one allows owners a degree of flexibility and design, which makes them unique in themselves.
Have you noticed any particular buying trends recently? At Watermark we have noticed an increase in interest from people looking to escape to the country and get more property for their money. Also, as Watermark is only an hour and a half from London our savvy purchasers have realised that by selling their primary London home (which has often become overly large for their needs) they can have the best of both lifestyles with two properties. By moving to a smaller home in London they can benefit from a pied-a-terre and comfortably afford to buy a three- to four-bedroom country home. Watermark owners benefit from 24 hour security and an onsite management team and so have a hassle-free country home to enjoy whenever they wish. Watermark has proved popular with families and those with grandchildren due to the array of activities available onsite and in the local vicinity.
Is your company currently offering any incentives or discounts to homebuyers? All owners at Watermark get added value with the use of membership to the adjacent Four Pillars Hotel gym and spa and the nearby golf clubs - Wrag Barn and South Cerney. The abundance of activities to hand mean there are year round options to both owners and visitors which combats the unpredictable English weather and importantly drives rental returns.
Would Watermark, The Cotswold appeal to property investors? Watermark offers a sound buy-to-let investment. Renting out a property in an area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, such as South Cerney, with an array of land and water based activities that can be enjoyed through the seasons helps achieve good rental revenues. With an average occupancy of 60% annually, our owners at Watermark with homes based on one of the lakes achieve between 6-8% per year.
There are only 25 houses left for sale and after which, the Local Planning Authorities of the Cotswold District Council will not allow any further second home development. It is therefore very likely that these houses will become even more exclusive in time owing to their limited availability and values are likely to increase.
What is Watermark's USP? Watermark is the outstanding leader in their field. Exceptional quality of build combined with a truly prime location and outstanding personal service has meant that Watermark has sold over 350 Lakeside Homes over individual settings on various lakes over the past 20 years.
Which of Watermark's current houses do you think stands the best chance of winning a What House Award? I am confident that all of our properties at Watermark are worthy award winners!