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.
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 (firstname.lastname@example.org), phone (+44 7776452128), or LinkedIn.