Charles Elsmore-Wicken is the Head of Savills in Windsor, Berkshire.
Windsor has a two-tier market; buyers looking in the town centre and those in search of a country house. The property market here looks two ways: to London, for the stream of city commuters and international buyers moving into the area, and to the local area, because once here, few people want to leave.
The market under £1million, which was largely unaffected by stamp duty changes and mansion tax concerns, has certainly been more robust as demand continues to outstrip supply. The prime market has only just fully absorbed the SDLT adjustments from December 2014, which was probably postponed as buyers and sellers became distracted with run up to the General Election.
However, this year we are expecting the prime market to bounce back with some vigour, with two sales around £4million already agreed. There has been a noticeable increase in enquiries from London based buyers since the start of the year, who are very motivated to maximise on the value gap. There is a good chance that prices in Windsor will outperform the prime London markets over the next five years, so buyers feel their money will work as hard for them in Windsor as it would have done in London.
Windsor is synonymous with Royal history and pageantry but it is a location that also comes with superb family facilities; numerous cafes and coffee shops, beautifully maintained public spaces and excellent shopping. It is also brilliantly connected with two stations serving connections to London, making it perfect for commuters.
Windsor is also popular with international buyers, and they are drawn by four key factors; proximity to Heathrow, easy access to London, schools and the historic nature of the area. However, the majority of buyers come from within Berkshire or London.
Joanne Richards , Area Partner at Connells in the West Midlands, reflects on the market in Wolverhampton.
The Connells Midlands network covers a wide region starting from Birmingham City and going up through north Birmingham, right through the Black Country and reaching up to the north Midlands and Staffordshire, but it is the Wolverhampton office that has proved to be our top performing branch for the past seven years.
We secured an average of 65 new instructions per month last year in Wolverhampton. There is a real mix of properties and areas available, from one bedroom apartments up to large five bedroom detached family homes and ex-council dominated areas. We serve a varied mix of purchasers, including plenty of first time buyers, retirees and buy-to-let investors.
The local market offers something for all types of buyers and budgets but a real challenge that we are facing is a shortage of homes in the best areas. An influx of new homes has eased this a little – the Wolverhampton branch sold a total of 64 new build homes last year with a strong pipeline of instructions, there are more developments being created which will provide much needed housing stock.
A popular area in Wolverhampton is Wednesfield which is particularly attractive to buyers due to its close proximity to a range of local amenities, including the i54 business park, home to the Jaguar Land Rover manufacturing plant and Bentley Bridge retail park.
Also, the north of Wolverhampton is popular – it has good motorway links plus good schools and leisure facilities on its doorstep. Wolverhampton is very well connected – buses, a main train station and the metro which takes just over 30 minutes into Birmingham city centre.
Chiswick, West London
Mark Francis is the Managing Director of Express Property Services in Chiswick, West London.
Chiswick is a magnet for celebrities. Ant and Dec, the singer Sophie Ellis Bextor and former Dr Who, David Tennant, all call this corner of West London their home, as do many other famous names. And so have I for the past 20 years. That is why, when I see estate agency marketing which boasts W4 has great schools, plenty of green spaces, several good leisure centres and a really vibrant social scene, I can vouch for its authenticity from decades of personal experience.
My agency is in its 28th year and we specialise in lettings and due to all of the above we are never short of tenants.
With a well established and thriving terrace cafe culture Chiswick on a summer evening can feel as if you are in the Mediterranean.
Independent retailers are popular and do well in Chiswick especially on Turnham Green Terrace and Devonshire Road. The standard of cafes and restaurants is high and there is also the presence of some of the big chains, including Waitrose and Marks and Spencer.
Rental prices are creeping up as Chiswick tends to be the most popular destination among neighbouring places like Acton, Hammersmith, Ealing and Shepherds Bush.
Nearby Brentford is definitely an area which is up and coming due to massive investment in new builds lining the River Thames and the banks of the Grand Union Canal. It is becoming an increasingly popular choice with landlords and investors.
All kinds of properties are in demand in Chiswick from one to two bedroom apartments popular with young professionals, up to three to four bedroom houses for older, growing families.
We have even noticed a regular pattern we have dubbed the ‘Express Effect.’ Young professionals move in with us as a couple then two to three years later they move on to a bigger property as a family of three with a young one in tow.
One of the things that I feel makes Chiswick unique, especially for somewhere in London, is that it is safe. It is one of the only areas in the capital that I feel completely at ease with my wife or my family walking around in the evenings.