One of our buying agents, Jenny Prager, is a specialist in finding and renovating properties for buyers due to her vast experience in doing just this herself. For example, Jenny recently finished building her dream eco home in Bosham near Chichester, having knocked down a bungalow which was previously on the plot – increasing the value tremendously. The Daily Telegraph very kindly splashed across their property pages at the weekend how she did it following a really fun photo shoot. The piece really is a wonderful article to read if you love property as much as we do, so here’s a link to have a peek.

Meanwhile, should you like the sound of building your own dream home from scratch, Jenny may just be the lady you need to help you find the ideal spot. Do get in touch for a no obligation chat – she’d be delighted to hear from you. Do mention you saw her in the Daily Telegraph too! jp@propertyacquisitions.co.uk.

 

Jenny Prager, who bought a bungalow in Sussex, demolished it and built a new house

Inside Jenny Prager's house

The swimming pool, built with the new housePhoto captions: Daily Telegraph / Andrew Crowley

 

 

 

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.

Picture Credit: Alamy/The Times

 

Having been born and bred in Chichester, our Director, Jennie Hancock, knows the local area like the back of her hand. With over 30 years’ experience of working here too, she also boasts impressive knowledge and acumen of the country house market. Therefore, when The Times Bricks & Mortar asked us for comment on Chichester’s property market, we jumped at the chance to be interviewed and were delighted to see Jennie’s name quoted throughout.

Read the full article here (paywall).

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.

The demand for larger homes and more outdoor space across every county in England is showing no signs of slowing down, with three-bed houses the most desirable and one-bed flats the least. Property Reporter has kindly quoted our Director, Jennie Hancock, about buyer demand in West Sussex, as the county ranks joint third in the market analysis from house selling weather forecast, PropCast.

You can read the full article in Property Reporter here.

Our Director, Jennie Hancock was quoted in the Financial Times over the weekend about the West Sussex property market. Opening up the article, Jennie talks about how she has seen more demand in the Lodsworth, Graffham, Selham area in the last twelve months than she has in fifteen years, with buyers asking for a village shop they can walk or cycle to, a church, croquet and local dog shows. She also talks about how most of her country house purchases for clients are done off-market.

Read the full piece here. (Paywall)

 

We are delighted to have been quoted in today’s Sunday Times Home, about the appeal of outdoor entertainment features such as swimming pools, tennis courts, croquet lawns and so on for today’s country house buyer. Our Director, Jennie Hancock, said:

“Generally, families coming out of London with children pre university are now looking for English holidays in their home if they have the money to do so, where friends and family can come and stay and enjoy their outdoor entertainment features. For example in West Sussex, they’re looking for swimming pools, tennis courts, a substantial bbq area and a property that has the maturity of a garden that’s not overlooked. There is a definite change in the dynamics of what buyers are wanting now, and my perception of that is that people who would have normally travelled to Mallorca, Greece or the South of France spending £10,000 plus for their family summer holiday, are now looking at using that expenditure to highly invest in their outdoor facilities instead. For the waterside and rural villages in and around Chichester – for example Itchenor, Bosham, Lodsworth and Graffham – you would be looking at paying around £2million plus to have all of these features. However, for this type of client, I also recommend they look for houses around £1.5m-£1.75million where there’s plenty of land to dig out a pool and a tennis court. This doesn’t need to be costly as it can be done at a reasonable fee. The other benefit for doing it this way is that they pay less stamp duty too.”

 

Read the full Sunday Times Home article here (paywall).  

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.

 

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