A top-end London-based property developer has announced that it will be raffling off a turn-key luxury apartment on Exhibition Road in South Kensington, using one of its own projects to launch a new online raffle platform for high-value properties.
“We’ve been developing properties in Prime London for the past five years and have watched the evolution of property raffle sites with interest,” says Jonny Jackson, co-founder of Gatsby Property and the new platform, Cadivus (which translates to “windfall” in Latin). “For us, we felt like there was a real gap in the market at the top end and our aim was to put our money where our mouth is and raffle off one of our own newly refurbished apartments in one of the Capital’s most sought-after locations.”
The two-bedroom, two-bathroom apartment is located opposite the Science Museum, on Princes Gate, and has been done up to a high-spec finish with fittings from the likes of Camerich and Buster & Puch. It has not been marketed on the open market before this, but has been valued at £2m.
The property has been refurbished by twenty-something developers Jonny Jackson and Harry Dee, via their five-year-old firm Gatsby Property. It is, they claim, the first turn-key property in PCL to be raffled. The pair has previously delivered around ten residential projects in Yorkshire and across prime London (including on Holland Park Avenue, a first-floor flat on Park Street in Mayfair, a duplex on Highbury Hill, and a flat in Marylebone’s Ivor Court).
Raffle tickets are being offered for £10 each. The winner’s pot includes the fully-furnished flat (on a long 964-year lease) plus stamp duty fees, the first year’s service charge, council tax and legal fees. Cadivus is aiming to sell a minimum of 300,000 tickets (£3m).
The new raffle platform has ambitions to legitimise an often questionable approach to property sales… There have been quite a few property raffles in recent years, but these are nearly always one-off deals. Some have worked out well for both buyer and seller (e.g. “Win A Country House” saw a Marie Segar of Warrington win an £800k home in Lancashire for the price of 20 £2 raffle tickets), but others have been more problematic. The owner of a £1.7m Aberdeenshire mansion, for example, managed to sell just £250,000-worth of tickets (10,ooo at £25 each) last year, even after delaying the prize draw twice. She eventually stayed in the property, giving away the proceeds in cash prizes and charitable donations – and ending up with a net loss of over £30,000. Another raffle – run as a spot-the-ball competition for a £3.6m family home in Berkshire – was withdrawn and the money refunded, after insufficient tickets were sold. A raffle in Durham, meanwhile, failed to sell 10,000 tickets at £5 each for a £43,000 property, and gave away a cash prize of £7,000 instead.
One ongoing one-off property raffle, “Win a Mega-Home”, has been trundling along since the beginning of the year and is due to close on 31st December. It’s offering a six-bedroom Huf Haus in Hampshire for £25-a-go. This competition needs to sell a minimum of 170,000 individual tickets to make it work (a maximum of 250,000 are available, giving a potential range fo £4.25m – £6.25m) – but it sounds as though sales have been slow so far: the property’s owners have added a £160,000 Aston DB11 V8 as a runner’s up prize to sweeten the pot. Estate agents Hamptons and Savills have previously tried to sell this property through more traditional means, with asking prices ranging from £2.65m to £3.25m.
UPDATE, 10th January 2019: The “Win a Mega-Home raffle failed to sell enough tickets to warrant giving away the Huf Haus. One winner was awarded a cash sum of £110,070 instead.
“It has been quite an experience and we have tried everything to sell enough tickets,” said property owners and raffle organisers Mark and Sharon Beresford. “We made sure everything was legal and above board and satisfied the Gambling Commission. Of course we’re disappointed that the house hasn’t been won as we want to move to Sussex to be near family. When we called the winner, they were overcome and we’re so happy for them and can’t wait to present them with the money.”
Jackson and Dee are looking to simplify and legitimise the property raffle process with the launch of Cadivus. The new platform has put a lot of work into the Ts&Cs, using competition compliance service PromoVeritas for all of the legalities and to ensure everything works according to UK Gambling Commission rules. Entrants need to answer a question to buy tickets to avoid the raffle being classified as gambling.
The platform, which will focus on higher-value homes, has put a six-month timeframe on the first raffle. If insufficient tickets are sold to meet the apartment’s reserve value, Gatsby will keep the property, and Cadivus will dish out cash prizes instead (with winners selected by PromoVeritas).
Update, 29th June 2019: Cadivus failed to sell enough tickets to warrant giving away the Gatsby apartment. Just £227,000 was raised from the raffle; only £53,500 of that is being awarded as a prize in lieu of the two-bedroom flat; the other £173,500 is being kept by the property developers to cover costs and taxes associated with running the raffle.
Jonny Jackson Co-Founder of Gatsby Property & Cadivus: “We’ve been developing properties in Prime London for the past five years and have watched the evolution of property raffle sites with interest. For us, we felt like there was a real gap in the market at the top end and our aim was to put our money where our mouth is and raffle off one of our own newly refurbished apartments in one of the Capital’s most sought-after locations. This is the first time that this property has hit the ‘open market’ – the eventual winner is 150 times more likely to win when compared with the National Lottery.”
Harry Dee Co-Founder of Gatsby Property & Cadivus: “Our aim was to put a contemporary spin on what was a very traditionally laid out apartment. With views into the Royal College of Art we wanted to open out the living space and create a natural flow throughout the apartment whilst honouring its history and location. We’ve thought carefully about the design details to create a space offering an aspirational lifestyle centred around luxury and culture.”