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January 30, 2015

Good schools top the list for reasons to purchase property, according to Jackson-Stops & Staff

Filed under: Latest News — Four Communications @ 3:44 pm

Close proximity to good schooling is the key driver for those looking to purchase property, according to national estate agents Jackson-Stops & Staff, which identified the current top five trends in the market from across its 44 offices nationwide.

Commutability and the rise of the home office, the desire to own a contemporary property, and second home purchases with a view to moving permanently are also among the key trends. In London, some buyers wish to cash in on the value gap and move to the country, although this is not as pronounced as in the past with more and more wanting to keep a foothold in the capital.

Discussing the importance of proximity to good schools for potential buyers, Quentin Jackson-Stops, Director of Jackson-Stops & Staff’s Northampton office, says: “More and more children are flexiboarding at traditional prep schools, with parents targeting nearby villages.”

Jackson-Stops & Staff offices in Teddington, Weybridge, Newbury, Winchester, Sevenoaks, Canterbury, Wilmslow and Exeter expect to continue to see an increased demand for good family houses as close as possible to good private and highly regarded state schools. This impact is particularly pronounced in certain areas, such as fashionable Hale village in Cheshire, where Altrincham Grammar School has a powerful effect on local property prices as entrance is dependent on living within the catchment area.

Commutability, combined with the ability to work remotely from home, also ranks highly on the list. Areas like Canterbury and Rochester have been slow to benefit from the high speed rail service into London but coupled with excellent schools, have now seen a marked increase in buyers and this trend is likely to continue.

On the West Sussex/Hampshire borders, the opening of the Hindhead Tunnel has had an almost immediate impact on demand for period houses in the pretty villages either side of the A3 corridor, as the journey time to London has been reduced significantly.

Philip Blanchard, Director of Jackson-Stops & Staff’s Winchester office, says: “Buyers are particularly attracted by the one hour commute to London and with the rise of the home office, they can spend more time at home in tranquil surroundings.”

In Newbury and Goring, the prospect of Crossrail and the electrification of the western line are important factors on influencing major growths in values in the area, according to Tim Sherston, Director of Jackson-Stops & Staff’s Newbury and Goring offices.

The desire to own a contemporary property ranks third among top trends in the market, as an increasing number of buyers seek out the benefits that such properties can bring. Cheaper to maintain and more economical to run, these homes, which range from bespoke Grand Designs style builds to period-style modern houses, are increasingly finding favour.

New build houses, between £2m and £5m, in popular locations are selling well, says Crispin Harris, Director of Jackson-Stops & Staff’s Wilmslow office.

Tim Firth, Director of Jackson-Stops & Staff Weybridge, reports similar activity in Surrey. He comments: “New homes up to £5m are still proving to be highly desirable across North Surrey and Weybridge, Esher, Cobham and Oxshott. Buyers are highly selective about what they want to see at certain price points, with a cinema room a must-have for £2m plus. Lateral space is also highly coveted.”

Planning for the future is a key part of property ownership and buying a second home as an investment, with a view to retirement, also ranks highly among current property trends. This is particularly prevalent in the south-west, where a significant number of apartments built along the coast in Newquay have gone to second home owners.

Louisa Hooper, Head of the Land and New Homes department at Jackson-Stops & Staff Exeter, says: “Lifestyle buyers, who are downsizing or looking for a second home, tend to seek high specification, energy-efficient, low maintenance properties close to the sea or the moors. Some buyers will buy to let in the short term or use as a holiday home until they are ready to make the move from the family home.”

The traditional holiday villages in North Cornwall, along the South Coast, the Suffolk Coast and in North Norfolk remain popular although, as with all property outside London, the market is very price sensitive. The new Jackson-Stops & Staff Burnham Market office in North Norfolk continues to experience considerable demand for second homes, fuelled mainly by London and Northern home counties’ purchasers mortgaging their main London residences.

Commenting on the London market, Nicholas Leeming, Chairman of Jackson-Stops & Staff, says: “Some London owners will want to cash in on the value of their properties and move to the country but the majority of these will want to buy around the commuter hubs in the South and South-east, with good transport links to the capital. The London effect is not as pronounced as in the past as longer working hours and concerns over losing a foothold on the London property market increase.”


January 12, 2015

Market Outlook 2015

Filed under: Latest News — Four Communications @ 11:15 am

The property markets in 2015 look set to be dominated by one event, the General Election. The prospect of any political change creates a degree of uncertainty and so it is likely that we will see a slower start to the year as a result.

A copy of the 2015 Market Outlook can be downloaded from here.

January 6, 2015

Homes in Faraway Forests

Filed under: Latest News — Four Communications @ 9:12 am

It was announced recently that Sam Mendes, the director behind blockbusters such as Skyfall and American Beauty, is set to direct a new adaptation of Enid Blyton’s The Faraway Tree. A family favourite since its publication in 1939, the book tells the story of a group of children and their fantastical treetop friends. Set within an enchanted forest – the story evokes the magical mystery of these wooded spaces, which represent some of the most beautiful landscapes in Britain and beyond. We have put together a selection of properties which benefit from a forest setting – homes from which children can conjure up adventures to match those written by Blyton.

Green Plat is a cottage set within the Ashdown Forest, the inspiration behind Winnie the Pooh’s One Hundred Acre Wood. The cottage was originally a single story forester’s cottage, but has been extensively renovated. Oak is a central component and the recent addition by the current owner of engineered oak flooring in the garden room and sitting room contributes to the forest feel of the home. Downstairs the property includes a beamed entrance hall, a garden room with French doors out to the terrace, a kitchen with bespoke oak units, and a sitting room with a brick fireplace. Upstairs are four bedrooms, including a master bedroom which overlooks the garden. While the idyllic surrounding forest offers peace and seclusion, a train to London Bridge station from nearby Cowden (six miles) takes just 50 minutes. The property is on the market for £925,000 with our Tunbridge Wells office (Tel.: 01892 521700). For more information please click here.

Wigoedd, situated near Pentraeth on the island of Anglesey, is a five bedroom farmhouse set in two acres of stunning gardens, of which parts are laid with paths to allow for woodland walks. The island location, combined with the surrounding woodland and orchard, gives the property a secluded and enchanted feel. The Grade-II house has an attractive Georgian façade, and includes a slate roof with high chimney stacks. The property has been fully restored over the last 30 years by the current owner, but has retained much of its character with elegant 12 paned horned sash windows, window shutters, exposed ceiling timbers and period doors and fireplaces. The property is on the market for £595,000 with our Chester office (tel.: 01244 328361).  For more information please click here.

The Cottage, located next to the village church in the quaint village of Shedfield in Hampshire, dates back to the 1800s and was originally constructed as a gardener’s cottage. The property’s secluded garden benefits from a wide range of exotic plants and trees sourced from around the world, which provide an array of colours. The pond at the bottom of the garden, which includes a duck house, is frequented by Mallard ducks, frogs, and dragonflies. A sheltered woodland area with a water feature, ferns, and grasses offers further sanctuary for wildlife. An additional feature of the garden is a children’s treehouse and play area linked to an old oak tree. The five bedroom cottage includes an entrance hall, sitting room, dining room, kitchen and a music room. There is planning consent for a double garage. The property is on the market for £699,950 with our Winchester office (tel.: 01962 844299). For more information please click here.

Upperfold House is situated at the end of a tree lined drive in deepest West Sussex. In addition to the main five bedroom house there is also a separate two bedroom cottage. The 21 acres of grounds include substantial woodland, giving the house a feeling of complete seclusion. Planning permission has been granted for a swimming pool, two bay garage, tennis court and a 2,500 sq ft Sussex barn to be constructed in the grounds. The accommodation, which extends to over 7,800 sq ft has been refurbished to high standards, yet maintains original Tudor features. Notable features include high ceilings and oak flooring throughout, and the large drawing room with elegant windows overlooking the landscaped grounds. The gardens include a croquet lawn and some magnificent mature trees including oak, cedar, maple, azaleas and rhododendrons. The property is on the market for £4,950,000 with our Midhurst office (Tel: 01730 812357). For more information please click here.