Annexes are highly sought after at the moment, so much so that they can potentially add 10% to the value of a property. Our Director, Jennie Hancock, was asked by Sunday Times Home to provide a quote about their appeal and why, which was published today.

Jennie said:

“As you need to have suitable outside space of at least an acre for an annexe, you’re looking at houses priced around £1million plus in West Sussex. These tend to be in rural locations, although I have heard stories about locals in the city of Chichester itself who have converted their garages into an Air B&B. Interestingly, post Covid-19, buyers are looking out for redundant outbuildings they can turn into annexes themselves, rather than purchasing a house with one already there. This is because they recognise the added value they can bring to their home by doing it this way. An annexe that has been designed as a facility or somewhere to practice a hobby can add up to 10% onto the value. I know quite a few people who have built large working spaces outside as a result of the pandemic for example, but annexes are also popular now for parents to live in, as yoga/pilates studios, state of the art gyms or as a way of having additional accommodation you can rent out. The lettings market in Chichester is phenomenal, especially around the time of Goodwood events such as Festival of Speed and Glorious Goodwood in July, and Revival in September. One lady I know has transformed her shed into an Air B&B for this very reason, but West Sussex is also very popular for those needing accommodation for weddings or for short breaks away by the coast.”

 

Read the full Sunday Times piece here.

The Daily Telegraph asked our Director, Jennie Hancock, for comment about increased demand for buying agents in West Sussex, and the appeal of purchasing a country house off-market. We are delighted to see that some of her comments have been included, demonstrating Jennie’s expertise in the local property market. Here is the Q&A with the journalist:

 

Have you seen demand for your services increase in the past year?

I have noticed a surge in global traffic on my website over the last twelve months – up 1,368%. The top three nationalities are the UK (+1,471%), US (+60%) and China (+440%), with other top ten long-haul visitors including Singapore, Japan, India and Australia. Over 60% of enquiries I have received since the pandemic began are now from London buyers, with rural and waterside villages once sought after fifteen years ago high on the agenda once more, as the need to live close to work or a train station is replaced with the desire for amenities such as a good pub, village shop and for the coastal locations, access to the water. My local town clients are also seeking a more rural life to enjoy their retirement.

 

Why?

The pandemic has without a doubt reinforced the joys of living in a village. People are seeking village life offering beauty, peace, clean air, simplicity, charm, natural surroundings and close local communities to name a few. When we’ve been trapped in our homes, having access to stunning surroundings and beautiful walks around fields, woodlands and rivers has been a saving grace. It’s a completely different experience to living in a city or busy town. They may be a five-to-ten-minute drive further away from a main line railway station, but as more people are choosing to work from home now or only wish to travel into London once a week, they are seeking something slightly more rural. Gone are the days of being on a train at 6am and struggling home for 8pm. Instead, wellbeing and a healthy lifestyle have shot to the top of people’s priorities and requirements. More and more people are now choosing this rural way of life over urban, seeking a more relaxed and gentle pace that makes life far more enjoyable.

Many of my buyers are choosing the awe-inspiring hidden village gems over towns, where you literally step back in time. For example East Dean, Chilgrove, West Stoke and Church Norton. Venturing out between Midhurst and Petworth, you will find some more truly stunning English villages. Still within the South Downs National Park, these in particular have proved more popular with my clients over the last twelve months than they have in fifteen years! For example, Graffham, Lodsworth, Lurgashall and Lickfold.

The most sought after houses are those offering swimming pools, tennis courts, water access, water views, separate outbuildings for home office space, yoga studios or for Air B&B purposes, a separate boot room and utility room due to pets and village amenities such as a good pub, shop, village green, cricket club, croquet club and even an annual fete/dog show!

Prices are rising as a result, especially in the golden villages, which offer a good pub, shop, have a village fete and cricket green and so on, almost stepping back in time. I believe this momentum will continue throughout 2021 and into 2022, and over the long-term country houses in this area should continue to appreciate with their prices remaining high.

 

What is the minimum clients need to spend on property?

For West Sussex, most of my clients are spending between £1million-£7million anywhere from a small family home or weekend pad to large country houses with reasonable acreage and all the bells and whistles.

 

Any examples of where you have really added value in the past year?

I have an Oxfordshire client who is in the process of purchasing a house off market in the South Downs National Park just south of Petworth. They have made a very good offer in cash, and consequently the seller was encouraged by the representing professional to move out of the house into rented accommodation. This they did, in order to secure the sale. I found this property through my estate agency contacts.

I took a client to a house in the South Downs National Park which was for sale at a guide of approximately £1.5million. It had numerous viewings over a weekend and although my client was the first to offer, the offers from other buyers ended up being 20% over the asking price. I therefore advised my client to walk away so that they didn’t over pay. Not long afterwards, I found them another property off market that they are delighted with which was found through my estate agency contacts.

 

Click here to read the full article (paywall). For more details about how Property Acquisitions can help you with your property search in West Sussex, contact Jennie Hancock via e-mail (jh@propertyacquisitions.co.uk), phone (+44 7776452128), or LinkedIn.

Following a flurry of interest from City dwellers seeking a rural lifestyle in West Sussex over the last year, alongside a 1500% increase in UK web hits, we have expanded our team with the appointment of local guru, Jenny Prager.

At Property Acquisitions, Jenny will be responsible for sourcing and acquiring the finest homes on behalf of London and local buyers across prime rural locations such as the South Down villages of Funtington, West Stoke and Stoughton, as well as the popular waterside hotspots of Bosham, Itchenor and Church Norton. She will be working closely with our Director, Jennie Hancock, who has experienced one of the busiest years she has ever witnessed across rural and waterside towns and villages in and around Chichester.

Jenny has spent the last fifteen years focusing on buying and renovating commercial and residential buildings into exquisite homes. Key projects she sourced and managed include transforming a Grade II listed commercial Mill building in Chichester into two luxury apartments – a five storey, Georgian townhouse renovation and a two storey apartment in the heart of the town centre. Currently, she is building her own five-bedroom eco home from scratch with her family in the waterside village of Bosham, which she started in the midst of the pandemic.

Already, Jenny’s eye for finding older properties that offer huge potential, combined with her vast knowledge of the local area and her impressive book of interior design, architectural and builder contacts, have proved invaluable to the company. For example, she has already found several options for a London client who are sending their children to a local boarding school and need a countryside base in the Hartings area. They’re specifically looking for an attractive period property in need of development work, all within an active community. Another British couple are putting their children into Seaford College near Petworth and are seeking a good country family home that must have ample garden space, an external home office and storage for their hobbies, in a quintessentially English village such as Lodsworth and Graffham where footpaths and cycling routes are on their doorstep.

 

Jenny commented: “Having always adored houses, I feel extremely privileged to have been able to turn that passion into a career for many years. I am very much looking forward to finding opportunities ripe for renovation for clients that a lot of people can’t envision naturally, in investment worthy locations I know well, where I can also provide buyers with the resources and contacts they need to transform a building into their dream country home. I am delighted to be joining Jennie Hancock who has built an enviable reputation in this part of West Sussex for her property expertise.”

Our Director, Jennie Hancock added: “It is a very exciting time for Jenny to be joining the business, and already she has proved invaluable in helping me cater to demand. I am experiencing one of the busiest years I have ever encountered, with more buyers looking at settling in a more rural setting or coastal area that offers a good pub, shop, village fete, footpaths and even a cricket team. Over 60% of our clients are from London now with villages highly sought after. Itchenor and West Wittering remain popular with watersport enthusiasts, but there is a lot more interest in Bosham, Sidlesham and Church Norton too as they offer more value for money yet are only a stone’s throw away from the water. Meanwhile, pretty villages slightly further out towards Petworth and Midhurst such as Lodsworth, Graffham, Selham, Singleton, River and Heyshott have become extraordinarily popular – in fact, I’ve had more people looking in these patches during the pandemic than I have done for the last fifteen years! Almost all of these deals are happening off-market within days, usually at best and final offers, and I believe this momentum will continue throughout 2021 and into 2022.”

 

Jenny Prager can be contacted at Property Acquisitions on jp@propertyacquisitions.co.uk or +447793464490.

It was a very exciting week for me last week in terms of the press, as a couple of days after appearing in the Evening Standard, I was also quoted in The Times Bricks & Mortar regarding a piece about Londoners moving to the countryside. I had a great chat with the journalist, Melissa York, who has very kindly featured me alongside examples of buyers who moved out to West Sussex during the pandemic.

You can read the full article here (paywall).

I am delighted to have been featured in yesterday’s Evening Standard Homes & Property, in a piece about what property buyers feel adds value to a home, and what doesn’t. I had commented on a variety of factors to include how outbuildings such as home offices and separate boot and/or utility rooms for dogs can command a premium in West Sussex, but that separate reception rooms are now being prioritised over open-plan. You can read my full comment on my latest blog post, as I discuss the latest Prime Country trends I am seeing as a result of Covid-19.

To read the full article in the Evening Standard, please click here.

 

I am delighted to announce that I have had a revamp and update of my website thanks to the wonderful team at Vooba, and invite you to visit us at www.propertyacquisitions.co.uk to take a look.

Amongst the new features are a vibrant new logo and colour scheme making the website look more contemporary and visually appealing, pages have been re-structured and you can now browse on your tablet and smartphone smoothly.

My aim is to provide property buyers in Chichester and its surrounding villages and towns, as well as local estate agents, with a more interactive experience to allow for an easier and quicker way to learn about Property Acquisitions, as well as our values and ethos. You will also find useful information about Sussex life, my services, and where I operate, along with interesting news and top tips I shall be highlighting on my blog, so be sure to check this section regularly to be kept up to date on all things West Sussex property. Please do connect with me on LinkedIn where I also share all of my latest news.

I do hope you enjoy the fresh new look as much as I do. For any questions about finding your dream rural or coastal home in and around Chichester, please do get in touch via e-mail (jh@propertyacquisitions.co.uk), phone (+44 7776452128), or LinkedIn.

 

Jennie Hancock, Managing Director 

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