Andrew Barry is the Managing Director of Peter Alan in Cardiff.
Cardiff is a thriving city with an individual character and a population of around 324,800. Ranking highly in various ‘best places to live in the UK’ polls, the Welsh capital provides an excellent quality of life due to low unemployment and living costs compared to the rest of the UK.
There are a range of neighbourhoods within Cardiff each of which have a different charm and add to the diversity of the city. With easy access to the city centre and its amenities, great transport links, and close proximity to the university campus and Heath hospital, Roath and Cathays are popular locations for young residents and students. This is a cosmopolitan area full of a variety of restaurants and shops with a thriving rental market as a result of the high student population and low crime rate. Albany Road, City Road and Wellfield Road are the main areas and the Victorian terraced streets get bigger towards the north east, where there are larger properties. Detached town houses sell at £400,000-£550,000, semis and terraces range from £210,000 to £400,000, and smaller terraces start from £125,000.
North Cardiff neighbourhoods, such as Lisvane, Whitchurch and Cyncoed command higher asking prices as they are more suburban and popular with families and professionals as they benefit from well-respected schooling, feeding to Whitchurch and Cardiff High. These districts have a village feel, but are a stone’s throw from the city centre and major transport links. Cyncoed and Lisvane are generally considered to be some of the wealthiest residential areas of Wales, with average house prices over £400,000 and many properties selling for in excess of £1 million. We have enjoyed considerable success with our growing PA Black brand in this area.
Recent regeneration has transformed Cardiff Bay into an area which is popular with investors and young professionals. The waterfront area is home to many apartments, hotels, bars, restaurants, along with the Welsh Assembly building and the Wales Millennium Centre art centre.
Due to an increase in demand for higher-end properties, we have recently increased the coverage of our premium brand, PA Black, to all of our Peter Alan branches in Cardiff. PA Black is a powerful brand, with a clear focus on quality and distinction, which is now recognised for selling properties in the upper-end of the Welsh housing market. Last year was PA Black’s most successful to date as sales grew by 35 per cent year-on-year.
Kellie Marsh is the Lettings Manager at Robinson & Hall in Bedford.
Bedfordshire is increasingly becoming a more sought-after area in which to live, attracting young professionals who can benefit from the best of both worlds, with the bright lights of London only 36 minutes away on the train and the beautiful countryside on their doorstep.
Young families are also attracted to the area, looking for properties within the catchment areas of the many good private and state schools, ensuring they secure that all important place for their child.
Due to this increased demand, properties have let within days of them coming onto the market. Three bedroom houses with gardens and garages are generally the most desirable, however in recent months any property from two to five bedrooms has been letting quickly. With increased demand comes increased rent and prices are steadily rising.
Stock levels remain low and although there has been an increase in the number of buy-to-let landlords who are looking to invest in properties now to avoid the potential rise in stamp duty in April, more properties are required to match demand. Due to the lack of stock tenants are requesting longer tenancies, averaging three to five years to ensure they can secure their perfect home for as long as possible.
With over 130 years’ experience, Robinson & Hall is a leading regional firm of chartered surveyors, auctioneers, planners and estate agents. We have developed into a modern multi-disciplinary practice offering a comprehensive range of services, including residential lettings, commercial sales and lettings, auctions, rural property and business, planning and development, renewable energy and architecture and building surveying.
From our offices in Bedford, Buckingham, Colchester and Ipswich we have earned a strong reputation for delivering a first class professional service, coming from a genuine commitment by the partners and staff to provide the best possible advice. With our core values of client care, professionalism and excellence, we aim to deliver effective property solutions for both long established and new clients. In 2015, over 80 per cent of clients used us again or recommended us.
Andy Plaistow is the Branch Manager at Robinson Michael & Jackson in Gravesend, Kent.
The Gravesend housing market is extremely buoyant with many buyers still flooding out of London in favour of the larger family homes in the town, especially in popular residential areas such as Riverview Park, Windmill Hill, Pepper Hill and the very attractive outlying villages of Higham, Shorne and Meopham.
Demand for buy-to-let properties was huge in 2015 and we are expecting a further strong surge early in 2016 – which has come about because of the Chancellor, George Osborne’s, new stamp duty reform that is forcing completions by 1st April to avoid the higher rates payable by investors after that date.
The highest demand right now is for two bedroom terraced houses and purpose-built flats as they attract the professional type of tenant that most landlords crave.
First-time buyers are in abundance too, and this market is developing with friends, partners and relatives – such as brothers and sisters – combining incomes and buying jointly to get on the housing ladder.
Prices in Gravesend and the surrounding villages have risen by between 10 per cent and 20 per cent in 2015, with most properties achieving over and above asking prices due to the massive demand.
Ebbsfleet International Station and its associated high-speed rail link to St Pancras and mainland Europe, as well as the proposed Paramount Theme Park at the nearby Swanscombe Peninsula, have brought further improvements to the region and attracted a high volume of new buyers to the area.
Robinson Michael & Jackson has the shortest average time of property from instruction to sale in the whole DA12 area, and it has the widest available stock of properties that, in turn, has increased the level of buyers.
That said, there is plenty of competition and we have to go that extra mile to win the instructions – which is fine by us. Being open seven days is essential in our area, and our longer opening hours have helped us maintain our market leader status.