9:13 AM, 7th June 2011, About 13 years ago
A property investor spent a little more than a penny and bought a former public toilet to convert in to a family holiday home.
The anonymous investor paid £104,000 for the two-storey loo with outline planning permission on the promenade at Sheringham, Norfolk.
The guide price of between £30,000 and £40,000 was pushed up by the attractive location and spectacular views.
Auction House, the firm selling the lot, explained the winning buyer was a builder experienced in converting unusual buildings.
Perfect for conversion
Auctioneer Bryan Baxter said: “It’s a two storey loo building perfect for conversion to a home. The gents were downstairs and the ladies upstairs.”
The building was sold by North Norfolk District Council to fund a replacement toilet block. The promenade has had temporary toilets for the past five years, when the toilets closed.
Other popular unusual property investments do not have to be £1 million projects like those featured on TV’s Grand Designs.
Garage blocks are popular in many places where homes come without enough land to build their own.
Buying a block is often a good investment – the land is in a residential area with road access that is often considered for prime for development.
Renting out the garages is also profitable with low overheads.
Another option is buying in a block and selling the leaseholds to local homeowners while collecting repair and maintenance costs by way of a service charge.
Many homeowners are selling garages off to raise cash – a pair of semi-detached roadside garages in Amesbury, Wiltshire, were offered for auction recently. The block has a rear sun terrace and planning permission for conversion in to a home.
The sale was cancelled when they failed to meet the reserve, thought to be around £50,000.
Another block of 10 freehold garages in Southampton is due for auction soon with auctioneers Clive Emson.
The average rent is £328 a year with a few pounds ground rent.
More esoteric investment opportunities for property investors are likely to surface as councils and government departments are forced to sell off their assets to fund spending cuts in coming months.