The perfect example of an upbeat and positive outlook can be found in Barnstaple, North Devon’s principal town and where our company established itself way back in 1924. It’s a thriving town with a healthy mix of industry and it is possibly the oldest borough in the UK.
As a company, we are encouraged by the present market conditions and with the usual caveat of everyone needing to be realistic, transactions are being achieved. Local Chamber of Commerce meetings and discussions with a variety of businesses reflect this cautious optimism. Clearly, demand is generally not driven by jobs and company expansion in the West Country, but more by second and holiday homes, retirement and people moving to our magnificent region for the quality lifestyle.
Historically low interest rates and lack of returns from other investments underpins their interest and we are already receiving enquires from people looking to use funds, which following the radical changes to the pension regulations, can be released from pension pots, looking to both to enhance their own home purchase or buy-to-let investments.
Here in Barnstaple, our core lettings market consists of couples and young families looking for stable, long term homes and demand for two and three bedroom properties consistently outstrips supply. Modern, conveniently located housing meets the rising expectations of today’s tenants and because of the area’s economics it’s typical that average tenancies last about four years, which is great news for landlords needing to meet financial commitments.
Quite frankly, if it’s the right property at the right price in a key area we know it’ll be snapped up almost overnight for the full asking price by investors. People simply love to live here as it’s unique and nearly always sunny!
Against the background of a turbulent and changing world we feel our market is ‘set fair’, but we are never complacent, having seen a fair few ups and downs over our 90-year history.
The property market has certainly picked up this year with more and more properties coming to the market and a growing number of buyers searching for a new home. Already, we have had almost double the amount of properties going under offer over the last few months compared to December of last year. In particular, there seems to be a flurry of buy-to-let investors and first-time buyers looking for properties in the area, especially one- and two-bedroom flats. This is partly due to the local transport links, including the new London Overground Line which has helped boost the market in both Peckham and Camberwell.
Huge changes are currently taking place around Camberwell. This area used to be slandered by certain London residents and now it is commonplace to see local restaurants thriving and trendy youths queuing to get into independent bars and cafes. It’s easy to christen Camberwell ‘the new Shoreditch’, but the area definitely has its own distinct local flavour and new independent shops are popping up all over the high street. This regeneration is set to continue and we cannot wait to see how the area flourishes in the coming months.
A particularly distinct feature of Camberwell is its stunning properties. In fact, the area is home to some of London’s fi nest homes, especially the popular Camberwell Grove with its Georgian terraces, the history of which warranted an entire BBC documentary titled ‘The Secret History of Our Streets’. These homes are extremely popular with the top end of the market and exposure in the press is increasing demand.
Nunhead Green, Peckham Rye and Dulwich Park are all on the doorstep and hold events throughout the year attracting victors and local residents. Peckham & Nunhead Free Film Festival, for example, will be taking place later on in the year and the event is sure to give the area a certain buzz. It is this thriving atmosphere which is attracting more and more buyers to the area.
As an estate agency, our mission is to provide the best possible marketing and extra care for the delivery of all aspects of a move. We continually strive to be hyper- local with an abundance of knowledge of the local area to help get to the root of exactly what our vendors and buyers are hoping to achieve.
Southbourne is the most easterly part of the Borough of Bournemouth, situated between Bournemouth and Christchurch. For the last two years, the property market here has outperformed other coastal areas we operate in for two reasons: One, it was undervalued in the first place, with buyers automatically opting for better known areas such as Sandbanks and Canford Cliffs. Secondly, one of the local private schools has had a huge investment during this time which has attracted an increasing volume of wealthier parents to the area.
Southbourne Grove has an abundance of eclectic shops, delis, bars and restaurants which have become extremely popular with people who want to be close to the beach but have the buzz of being in a town.
Interestingly, the beach at Southbourne is actually a continuation of that at Sandbanks, meaning it enjoys the same award-winning blue flag sandy beaches with a level walk promenade extending from Hengistbury Head through to Sandbanks. However, it is in fact better positioned, being south west facing as opposed to easterly facing, meaning it gets the sun until later in the evening.
Property prices have gone up considerably but are still cheaper than neighbouring more affluent towns, and Southbourne has a friendlier more community feel about it because it is inhabited by a greater proportion of locals who live here permanently, as opposed to holiday-home owners who only visit a few times a year.
We recently sold a property on the seafront for £1.5million which was the most expensive house to have sold on that front.
We take a largely transatlantic approach to selling property, launching nearly all of our properties to market with an open-house event. This is quite unusual for this area but from our experience, it is the best way to enable a large volume of people to see a property with the least amount of disruption to the vendors.