Can’t see the house for the trees: Property engulfed in ivy sells for £500,000

Only the front door and downstairs window are visible from the street.

Can’t see the house for the trees: Property engulfed in ivy sells for £500,000

A property engulfed by ivy and hidden by overgrown garden greenery has sold for more than half a million pounds.

The three-bedroom end-of-terrace property on Ruthin Road, Blackheath in south London, started with an opening bid of £470,000 and went under the hammer on Tuesday.

Auctioned by Savills, the property is “in need of complete modernisation” and comes with a rear garden of about 50ft and a garage, the company states on its website. It also has a reception room, kitchen and bathroom.

The home sold for £554,000 after three bidders battled it out during the auction, held at the Marriott Hotel in central London.

Savills auctions director Robin Howeson told the Press Association: “I think it is a really good buy, but I think you’ve got to be a brave buyer to buy it. I think that would have put people off … to deal with that level of foliage on a house.”

Property website Zoopla lists the average value for homes on Ruthin Road as £716,667 and Mr Howeson said he estimates £200,000 of work will need to be done on it.

The property on Ruthin Road in Blackheath, London (Victoria Jones/PA)
The property on Ruthin Road in Blackheath, London (Victoria Jones/PA)

“I did expect it (the sale price) to go slightly higher,” he said. “It is a really unique house. Seeing something like that with that level of work which needs doing to it coming through our catalogue in the last five years, I haven’t seen something like that.”

From the street, only the front door and downstairs window of the building are visible, with all other surfaces covered in ivy, including the roof and garden wall.

The upstairs windows of the property are also completely obscured by the extensive plant life, with the large garden shrub also overhanging the entire depth of the pavement.

The front door to the property (Victoria Jones/PA
The front door to the property (Victoria Jones/PA)

Head of Savills auctions Chris Coleman Smith, who conducted the sale and brought down the hammer on the winning bid, told the room packed with more than 350 potential buyers that “underneath all that, there is a house”.

“Look at it, I think it is brilliant. It is one of the best properties I have seen in ages – fantastic,” he said.

The house, which attracted 26 bids in total, was bought by 35-year-old Samir, an IT project manager from Croydon who said he “can’t wait to get started” on the property.

Quizzed on what his plan for the building is, he told the Press Association: “It is a six to nine-month project getting the whole place renovated and hopefully up for sale.”

Asked on what the interior of it is like, he said: “It is a nightmare inside. The whole place needs to be refurbed in terms of the windows, kitchen, everything really, plastering, everything. Even from the outside, you can’t see the side wall (because of the plants). We have taken a builder there and he said all the greenery isn’t a big issue, because what they can do is take it off and repoint everything.”

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