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Tuesday, December 22, 1998 Published at 13:30 GMT


What £450,000 can buy

[ image: The des res]
The des res
The Trade and Industry Secretary Peter Mandelson may have bought himself a cosy Notting Hill pad for £450,000, but in his home constituency of Hartlepool, that kind of money could buy him an entire block of terraced homes.

By fashionable Notting Hill standards, £450,000 in your pocket is not necessarily that much.

"You would normally get a two to three bedroom flat in reasonably good condition. A good size - around 1,000 square feet - but it's not going to be in tip-top shape," said one local estate agent.

Nice little earner

That's not to say Mr Mandelson did not get a very good buy. The agent says the minister showed shrewd business sense buying in Northumberland Place which is now considered to be in the heart of fashionable Notting Hill.

[ image: Peter Mandelson:
Peter Mandelson: "shrewd buyer"
"They're very good houses along there. I call them sexy houses - very cool Britannia."

And after apparently having the designers in since he took up the place two years ago, Mr Mandelson's nest will be well on the way to becoming a very nice nest egg.

"A recently refurbished house along there would normally go for around £600,000. Although I currently have an exceptional home, completely redesigned, just up the road from him on my books which is on the market for £900,000.

"He's done very well, I'll give him that," added the agent.

Through the keyhole

Like the others alongside it, Mr Mandelson's Georgian three bedroomed abode is flat fronted and whitewashed, and comes with elaborate wrought iron work around the doorway and second floor windows.

[ image: No such thing as a typical terrace]
No such thing as a typical terrace
The houses generally have a kitchen and dining room on the lower floor and a reception room on the first floor.

A master suite with a small dressing area and bathroom takes up the third floor and the houses are topped off with an extra bedroom or two with another bathroom.

They come with what estate agents describe as a "good-sized garden" - that's 30ft by 30ft - and off-street parking.

Nationally, the current average price for a terraced home is £64,478, based on figures from the April to June this year when 38,641 such houses were sold.

Thirty-nine Hartlepool homes

That national average could buy you two "very nice" terraced houses in Mr Mandelson's home constituency of Hartlepool.

According to local estate agents, there are "absolutely loads" of terraced houses on the market and you would only need to pay £23-29,000 for a home, with three bedrooms, on-street parking and a rear yard.

But with £450,000 in his hands, and an eye for a bargain, Mr Mandelson could have bought about 39 terraced houses at home.

One agency currently has a two-bedroomed terraced home on offer for £11,500. Although the house does not have double-glazing or central heating, it does have the "little Georgian windows and a Georgian door".

Or for just £500 more he could have have a four-bedroomed, three-storey Victorian home with a cellar - although it does need some structural work.

But if he was determined to buy just one place? "It would be something with loads of land and loads of bedrooms. We don't have anything on the market at that price at the moment," said the agent.

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