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Garage sells for pounds 7m

The stunning contemporary house known as the Garage tucked into a corner next to the Old Rectory in Chelsea has sold before its official launch for close to itspounds 7m asking price.

The Garage, in Old Church Street, was bought by the property developer Bernard Elliott. It is a long, mainly single-storey house and its gardens consist of a series of courtyards sunk into the centre of the building, with an indoor swimming pool in the final section of the house.

Hall of fame

The Hampstead house once owned by Sting is now for sale through Savills. Sting is not the only famous inhabitant however, as a blue plaque for prima ballerina Tamara Karsavina, who lived there in the 1950s, testifies.

The ivy-clad Queen Anne house has three reception rooms, five bedrooms, a staff flat and plenty of parking. It has a wide frontage on to Frognal and is listed Grade II. Savills' Hampstead office is asking pounds 850,000.

VAT rules change

New value-added tax rules will encourage developers to knock down and replace old buildings rather than retain historic facades. Previously, any developer who kept part of an existing building was VAT exempt, but that is to stop. On a more positive note, developers converting commercial, agricultural or industrial buildings to housing will gain VAT relief.

Rent holidays

Foxtons has a short-let department which finds tenants for as short as three weeks while you are on holiday. It let a two-bedroom flat in Kensington for pounds 800 a week to a woman from the Far East coming to London for a month. Another woman rented her two-bedroom garden flat for pounds 600 a week while she went on a six-week holiday in South America. It helps to have a smart, central property. If you qualify, call Guy Griffin at Foxtons on 071-370 5433.

Bonny banks to let

The ultimate escape from London is available to rent for pounds 7,500 a year. Bell Ingram are seeking a tenant for Inchconnachan, a 100-acre island in the middle of Loch Lomond. Access is by boat from Luss public pier. The island has a four-bedroom house with electricity and a telephone, plenty of woodland and only birds for neighbours. A five-year tenancy is on offer, with an option to extend. Contact Bell Ingram on 0738 621121.