Jackson-Stops & Staff, the national upmarket estate agents, reports Spring sunshine in the significant increase in exchanges in its latest figures – up by 32 per cent on last year.
According to chairman Andrew Froude, green shoots are also showing in the pipeline of properties under offer. The figures are up by eight per cent, year on year, across Jackson-Stops & Staff’s 41 offices nationwide.
The gross realisation for the month was up by an impressive 39 per cent.
Andrew Froude, chairman of Jackson-Stops & Staff, said: “Our figures reflect that not only is the Spring weather unseasonably early, this is the most positive market we have seen for several years. This mood of cautious optimism has been prevalent since the second half of last year. Cathedral cities such as Chichester and Winchester, the Cotswolds, East Anglia and the South-west have enjoyed a strong start to the year. New instructions and the total number of instructions have levelled off but it is too early to say whether we are moving towards an excess of demand over supply.”
Jackson-Stops & Staff director Dawn Carritt said that the most popular such cities for homebuyers were York, Rochester and Winchester. “Prices may vary enormously from one cathedral city to another, but what attracts buyers to these areas does not,” she said. “The appeal is that there is still a good sense of community in these cities, as well as a wide variety of shopping, culture, history and period buildings — so many people are drawn to that. Not every county town can claim to have that same pull.”
Ms Carritt is selling a three-bedroom stone house in Rochester, which is famed for having the second-oldest cathedral in England — founded in 604 by Bishop Justus — after Canterbury. The house dates back to the medieval period and is on the market for £650,000.
“There has been a lot of interest in the historic side of Rochester and its period buildings,” she said, “and you will find the same is true in Winchester and York, where there are some lovely period buildings.”
She added that many cathedral cities had excellent schools near by, while elderly buyers were attracted to the convenience of having retail and leisure services consolidated in often vibrant high streets. “These cities with a cathedral hub basically work on all three levels — they attract families, the mature worker and the elderly.”
Demonstrating the strength of the Spring market, the Cirencester office of Jackson-Stops & Staff sold an idyllic stone cottage in one of the most photographed corners of the Cotswolds to a buyer who viewed it online and snapped it up immediately.
Jamie Dalrymple-Hamilton, director of the Cirencester office of Jackson-Stops & Staff, said: “Kingfisher Cottage is in Arlington Row, Bibury, photographed by thousands of tourists every year as a quintessential Cotswolds scene. The house has starred on the covers of magazines, on calendars and in countless books. The buyer is based in Bulgaria, viewed it online and made an offer straight away. It was the most extraordinary sale I have handled.”