David Boyden, Owner, Boydens
As one of the fastest growing towns in the country, Colchester has been a key market for Boydens, which has been in the Essex town since 1966. As the fourth generation to work for the family business, David Boyden is well versed in the fortunes of the property market in the town as he celebrates 40 years in the family business this year.
Boydens is a diverse, multi-disciplinary practice dealing with residential and commercial sales and lettings, block management and holiday lettings.
Colchester has always been a desirable place to live from a commuter perspective – being just one hour by train to London, it provides both a reasonable commuting distance and enables those moving out of London along the A12 corridor to obtain more for their money.
Over the last 15 years the town has been targeted by prospective developers and buyers. More areas of the town are now coming available for housing with new developments to the north of the town including green and brownfield sites (including former hospital and military land) as the infrastructure has been developed to provide good access to the A12.
Colchester has a varied employment portfolio and is well represented in terms of engineering, manufacturing, insurance, the NHS and the University of Essex which has been rapidly expanding.
In terms of housing stock, Colchester has a mix of housing types including popular tree-lined avenues as well as a large stock of flats from a construction boom in the 1990s which now offer attractive investment opportunities for buy-to-let investors.
The biggest issue for the Colchester market (in common with many areas of the country), is the lack of stock both for sales and lettings. Demand for 2/3 bed houses and bungalows is outstripping supply meaning that competitively priced property typically sees five to ten potential buyers per property.
In terms of the range of housing stock, Colchester does not have enough affordable housing stock for first time buyers or starter homes up to the value of £350k – £400k. Price rises of between 5 – 10 per cent have been typical in recent years which, as elsewhere in the country, has made starter homes less affordable and renting more common.
HIGH WYCOMBE, BUCKINGHAMSHIRE
Stephen Grace, Managing Director, The JNP Partnership
As we head into the autumn months the market is busy within the South Bucks area. Despite the odd negative article in the news following the Brexit results, JNP has found that the property market is still strong in South Bucks.
One of the reasons for this is that this is still a relatively cheap area compared to some of our surrounding towns, such as Reading and Maidenhead. Bucks is firmly on the map for commuters – we have been experiencing more ‘out of towners’ moving to the area seeking larger properties which are still commutable to London. In High Wycombe, an example of a central three bed semi costs upwards of £200,000 – or from approximately £350,000 in neighbouring villages such as Hazlemere or Prestwood.
Going a little further out, West London is only just down the road and a three bed home in W7 costs from around £500,000. So there is definitely a sense of people buying in this area wanting a little more for their money and yet be convenient for work.
We are only 25 minutes to London Marylebone on a fast train from High Wycombe – which is a big draw with commuters. In addition, we have great schools as we are still part of the Grammar School education system. We have an abundance of excellent Grammar and State schools in the area, not to mention well-regarded schools in the Private sector. Plus, Bucks really is a beautiful county to live in. We have superb landscapes and scenery on the doorstep – the Chiltern Hills, stately homes and parkland, the renowned ‘Red Kites’ of Buckinghamshire – to name but a few of the many treasures of this area.
We pride ourselves on our expert staff within our Sales and Lettings offices in Central High Wycombe and the surrounding villages. We also have a dedicated New Homes division, which ensures we are well qualified to help buyers to find the right house for them in the area, whatever their style and taste.
EALING, WEST LONDON
Ashley Rolfe, Chief Executive, Rolfe East, Ealing
Rolfe East is a fully independent estate agent, which has been established for over three decades. We are a whole-of-market agent with dedicated teams across six sites. We specialise in all facets of property, including residential sales and letting, commercial sales and letting, new homes, financial services and even a growing international property team.
We conduct the majority of our business in the solid, highly desirable London suburb of Ealing, which was the home of our first office, opened in 1983. This area benefits from great commuting links into West London, set to improve with Crossrail arriving in 2018 and driving straight into the heart of our territory. We have a strong market of owner occupiers with mid-sized properties in Northfields, Isleworth and Greenford; whilst Ealing and Acton feature large period properties both detached and semi-detached. Prices in our area start at around £250,000 and rise and surpass the £3m mark.
The aforementioned arrival of Crossrail is going to be a major boom to the area, and there are already plentiful new build developments and redevelopment projects. As the “Queen of the Suburbs”, Ealing has an abundance of parks that also produces interest in the area. The massive positive impact of the lowest interest rates since records began means as compared to a like for like sale in 2007, buying costs a third less.
In Ealing, by our experience the average sale price sits at around £650,000, whilst the rental market commands around £1600 per month. Our commission rates are agreed on a client-by-client basis as one size does not fit all. We are the sole agency with three sites in London W5 alone, demonstrating our roots and strength in this area. Our team comprises around 50 and we are certainly the only independent locally which also has an office in Sherborne. In early 2016, Rightmove data showed that we achieved the most sales agreed of any agent in our core area.