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Mind the Gap

With the chasm between prices in the capital and countryside at its widest, Londoners are cashing in and heading for the hills, finds Cheryl Markosky in the latest version of the Winkworth Country Life special.   After a difficult start to the year, which has been linked to the poor weather and flooding, the coun­try market is on the rise. ‘We’re seeing spring arrive with a great deal more optimism,’ explains David King, Director of Winkworth’s Country House Department. ‘The economy’s picking up, interest rates are low and the London property boom is starting to impact on rural regions.’ Mr King suggests that spectacular price increases in the capital—Winkworth figures show prime areas rose by 20% in the second quarter last year—have made Londoners sit up and take notice of the high worth of their metropolitan homes, compared to lower values in the country. ‘Young couples are rapidly realising they can sell their £1.5 million Clapham box and buy something palatial further afield for £750,000-800,000. They get a great deal more for their money—a four- to five-bed­room family home with a sizeable garden and a far better lifestyle,’ adds Mr King. Leftover profits are spent on school fees and, some­times, a city pied-à-terre to aid commuting or to keep a toehold in the London market. Highly commutable areas just beyond the M25 are benefiting greatly from this new city-to-country trend. Ian Fraser, Director of Winkworth’s Beaconsfield office, is finding buyers from Ealing or Chiswick—where homes fetch about £1,000 per square foot—can purchase something for half that amount in his area. ‘A quick 25-minute train journey from Beaconsfield to London Marylebone and extremely good grammar schools are both substantial draws for leaving the Big Smoke in favour of Buckinghamshire,’ he points out. The arrival of more Londoners expecting high-end shops and services is also leading to higher quality retailers in Beaconsfield itself, which is undergoing development to upgrade the heart of the town. A number of buyers from London, as well as those from further up the Thames Valley, such as Reading, Woking and Ascot, are investing their cash in Newbury. Ian Haines, Director of Winkworth’s Newbury office, reports that the market is competi­tive, with buyer registration up 50% on last year, although new stock is down by 40%. As ever, says Mr Haines, buyers are fight­ing over the archetypal Georgian rectory on the edge of a picturesque village. ‘It can be challenging for vendors at the top-end of the market if they haven’t got the perfect property—for example, if it’s disadvan­taged by traffic noise or by pylons disturbing the view.’ A big plus is the planned electrification of 14 miles of track between Newbury and Bedwyn on the Great Western branch line, which will significantly reduce the present hour-long journey time to London Paddington. ‘This would make a huge difference to the area and push up Newbury values,’ notes Mr Haines. Currently, a three-bedroom period village cottage starts at about £400,000, and it’s possible to find a premium, four-bedroom family home for £800,000. Buyers from Fulham, Putney, Clapham and Wimbledon are also snapping up prop­erty in Petersfield, Hampshire. Typically, young couples, who are about to start families or already have small children, are attracted by the Hindhead Tunnel—which was constructed three years ago and trimmed 25-30 minutes off journey times into the capital—and the town’s position in the South Downs National Park. Their main competition for the best homes is retirees from the surrounding villages. With prices rising by 10-15% over the past year, Andrew Beecheno, Director of Winkworth Petersfield, says now is the time for Londoners to take advantage of the market in the capital and splash out on a country pile. ‘Expect to pay £1.25 million for a five-bedroom detached house on Heath Road—a street which is highly attractive to metropolitan migrants, as it overlooks the heath and lake,’ he says. A variety of good grammar, church and state schools is tempting many Londoners to Tunbridge Wells, especially as the move needn’t spell the end of their city careers. ‘There are fast trains taking only 45 min­utes, while the average journey’s about an hour into London Bridge, Charing Cross or Cannon Street,’ says Alasdair Gibson, Director of Winkworth’s Tunbridge Wells office. A four- to five-bedroom, centrally located property near the train station and good primary schools costs between £750,000 and £900,000. ‘Some families choose more rural areas further out where they can find bigger homes ideal for multi-generational living. They’re large enough to accommodate children, and eventually, visiting grandchildren,’ he adds. Down in the West Country, it’s not just Londoners flooding the housing market. Simon Jacobs, Director of Winkworth Devizes, is starting to see the effects of Army 2020, the relocation of 20,000 British troops from Germany to the UK. Along with the 5,000 troops redeploying to South Wiltshire, another 2,500 are being sent to the Tidworth Garrison and RAF Lyneham in the north of the county. ‘Many will be encouraged to buy houses in the area and, when they’ve finished their stint, a good number may choose to remain here,’ explains Mr Jacobs, who is also a council­lor for Wiltshire Council’s district of Devizes and Roundway South, and believes this influx of military personnel will have ‘a huge impact’ on Wiltshire’s economy. However, economic resurgence is already underway. The forthcoming electrification of the Chippenham line will cut down jour­ney times to London by 15-20 minutes and ease traffic on the A303 and M4. In addi­tion, a consultation has been launched about reopening Corsham station between Bristol and Swindon, where Bath Spa University already has a postgraduate faculty. ‘We’re looking at about 50-60% growth on last year. There’s a real buzz out here in Wiltshire, with a sense of urgency we haven’t seen since before the economic crash,’ sums up Mr Jacobs.   The full version of the Winkworth Country Life specialis available here.   All text supplied by Country Life. Visit countrylife.co.uk

With the chasm between prices in the capital and countryside at its widest, Londoners are cashing in and heading for the hills, finds Cheryl Markosky in the latest version of the Winkworth Country Life special.

 

COUNTRY_HOUSE_MARKET_V6_pic1

After a difficult start to the year, which has been linked to the poor weather and flooding, the coun­try market is on the rise. ‘We’re seeing spring arrive with a great deal more optimism,’ explains David King, Director of Winkworth’s Country House Department. ‘The economy’s picking up, interest rates are low and the London property boom is starting to impact on rural regions.’

Mr King suggests that spectacular price increases in the capital—Winkworth figures show prime areas rose by 20% in the second quarter last year—have made Londoners sit up and take notice of the high worth of their metropolitan homes, compared to lower values in the country.

‘Young couples are rapidly realising they can sell their £1.5 million Clapham box and buy something palatial further afield for £750,000-800,000. They get a great deal more for their money—a four- to five-bed­room family home with a sizeable garden and a far better lifestyle,’ adds Mr King. Leftover profits are spent on school fees and, some­times, a city pied-à-terre to aid commuting or to keep a toehold in the London market.

Highly commutable areas just beyond the M25 are benefiting greatly from this new city-to-country trend. Ian Fraser, Director of Winkworth’s Beaconsfield office, is finding buyers from Ealing or Chiswick—where homes fetch about £1,000 per square foot—can purchase something for half that amount in his area. ‘A quick 25-minute train journey from Beaconsfield to London Marylebone and extremely good grammar schools are both substantial draws for leaving the Big Smoke in favour of Buckinghamshire,’ he points out.

The arrival of more Londoners expecting high-end shops and services is also leading to higher quality retailers in Beaconsfield itself, which is undergoing development to upgrade the heart of the town.

A number of buyers from London, as well as those from further up the Thames Valley, such as Reading, Woking and Ascot, are investing their cash in Newbury. Ian Haines, Director of Winkworth’s Newbury office, reports that the market is competi­tive, with buyer registration up 50% on last year, although new stock is down by 40%.

As ever, says Mr Haines, buyers are fight­ing over the archetypal Georgian rectory on the edge of a picturesque village. ‘It can be challenging for vendors at the top-end of the market if they haven’t got the perfect property—for example, if it’s disadvan­taged by traffic noise or by pylons disturbing the view.’

A big plus is the planned electrification of 14 miles of track between Newbury and Bedwyn on the Great Western branch line, which will significantly reduce the present hour-long journey time to London Paddington. ‘This would make a huge difference to the area and push up Newbury values,’ notes Mr Haines. Currently, a three-bedroom period village cottage starts at about £400,000, and it’s possible to find a premium, four-bedroom family home for £800,000.

Buyers from Fulham, Putney, Clapham and Wimbledon are also snapping up prop­erty in Petersfield, Hampshire. Typically, young couples, who are about to start families or already have small children, are attracted by the Hindhead Tunnel—which was constructed three years ago and trimmed 25-30 minutes off journey times into the capital—and the town’s position in the South Downs National Park. Their main competition for the best homes is retirees from the surrounding villages.

With prices rising by 10-15% over the past year, Andrew Beecheno, Director of Winkworth Petersfield, says now is the time for Londoners to take advantage of the market in the capital and splash out on a country pile. ‘Expect to pay £1.25 million for a five-bedroom detached house on Heath Road—a street which is highly attractive to metropolitan migrants, as it overlooks the heath and lake,’ he says.

COUNTRY_HOUSE_MARKET_V6_pic2

A variety of good grammar, church and state schools is tempting many Londoners to Tunbridge Wells, especially as the move needn’t spell the end of their city careers. ‘There are fast trains taking only 45 min­utes, while the average journey’s about an hour into London Bridge, Charing Cross or Cannon Street,’ says Alasdair Gibson, Director of Winkworth’s Tunbridge Wells office. A four- to five-bedroom, centrally located property near the train station and good primary schools costs between £750,000 and £900,000. ‘Some families choose more rural areas further out where they can find bigger homes ideal for multi-generational living. They’re large enough to accommodate children, and eventually, visiting grandchildren,’ he adds.

Down in the West Country, it’s not just Londoners flooding the housing market. Simon Jacobs, Director of Winkworth Devizes, is starting to see the effects of Army 2020, the relocation of 20,000 British troops from Germany to the UK. Along with the 5,000 troops redeploying to South Wiltshire, another 2,500 are being sent to the Tidworth Garrison and RAF Lyneham in the north of the county. ‘Many will be encouraged to buy houses in the area and, when they’ve finished their stint, a good number may choose to remain here,’ explains Mr Jacobs, who is also a council­lor for Wiltshire Council’s district of Devizes and Roundway South, and believes this influx of military personnel will have ‘a huge impact’ on Wiltshire’s economy.

However, economic resurgence is already underway. The forthcoming electrification of the Chippenham line will cut down jour­ney times to London by 15-20 minutes and ease traffic on the A303 and M4. In addi­tion, a consultation has been launched about reopening Corsham station between Bristol and Swindon, where Bath Spa University already has a postgraduate faculty. ‘We’re looking at about 50-60% growth on last year. There’s a real buzz out here in Wiltshire, with a sense of urgency we haven’t seen since before the economic crash,’ sums up Mr Jacobs.

 

The full version of the Winkworth Country Life specialis available here.

 

All text supplied by Country Life. Visit countrylife.co.uk

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