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

 

 

 

It is no secret that West Sussex remains as one of the top areas on the market, as buyers seek out larger homes, more outdoor space for a lovely lifestyle. With limited good quality country homes for sale either on or off market, this strong demand has meant record prices are often being achieved, with little room for negotiation. For many sellers it has created a bit of a dilemma: Yes, they may have sold their house for a great price, but they cant find somewhere else to purchase. As such, I am frequently seeing delayed completions at the moment.

The completion date is the day a buyer legally pays the remainder of the purchase price to the seller, which enables them to collect the keys and move in. This usually happens about 28 days after you have exchanged contracts and so a seller has to vacate their home within that time frame. With a delayed completion, this period can be extended – which can benefit both the buyer and the seller if managed properly.

These long stop completions are happening because sellers are feeling worried about how long it may take them to find another house. After all, theyre up against tough competition. Little properties are available; theres anything upwards of at least five-seven serious buyers per house, and gazumping is rife. All too often I hear stories about people who have had their offer agreed, only to find out days later that the seller has cheekily accepted a higher price from somebody else, causing the whole chain to fall apart. Or that the competition is so fierce that people are throwing silly money at sellers in order to secure the sale, pushing others out of the equation immediately. Many of the prime country houses are selling off market as well, so not everybody is aware of them – not unless theyre using a buying agent. Theres also sentimental reasons for sellers feeling anxious, particularly with older ones who are leaving behind a family home they have most likely lived in for a couple of decades if not more.

Therefore for sellers, having the time to find something else combined with the assurance that their home has already sold, puts them in good stead as a buyer – which is very appealing. So much so that often sellers will accept a lower price for their home if they can find a buyer willing to wait a bit until they complete (assuming the buyer demonstrates other good qualities as well, i.e. they have everything in place already to exchange quickly.)

For buyers, there are many benefits too. Firstly, its an effective negotiating tool for securing their dream country home for a lower price. It also allows time to seek planning permission, architects and builders for any alterations they plan to make. This is especially true now when Covid-19 has caused huge delays with planners, whilst builders are so busy with business there are long waiting times to book them in. For anybody moving from overseas, a delayed completion is ideal should they wish to secure the house via exchange and then wait until they are back in the UK to complete. Meanwhile a buyer has more time to secure the funds from the sale of their own home in order to complete the purchase. It can of course mean that a buyer has to move into rental accommodation temporarily should their purchaser wish to move in sooner, but Im finding that if they have found the right house, many are prepared to do that. This is definitely a contributor to how hot the rental market is round here at the moment.

For example, a recent client of mine who exchanged this month in the Petworth area has agreed a completion date for early 2022 because the vendors wanted time to find something perfect to buy. By being flexible, this meant their lower offer was accepted when compared to other bidders.

 

For more information about buying and selling this way, contact Jennie Hancock on jh@propertyacquisitions.co.uk. 

 

Lock up and leave properties are back in fashion for a variety of buyers as we make our way out of lockdown restrictions.

Factors such as being able to travel abroad again, excellent rental opportunities, Londoners seeking second homes and people wanting to visit family more are fuelling the trend, with all seeking somewhere that offers good security and little maintenance whilst away.

For the over 60’s for example, there has been a huge shift towards a more active lifestyle that embraces ease and convenience. For those looking to travel abroad for golfing holidays, cruises and bucket list adventures that can last longer than one to two weeks, lock up and leave homes are ideal. Whilst others who have been isolated from their families over the last year desperately want to see them more – particularly if they live elsewhere in the country. Popular locations for such buyers are those with communities and neighbours around in a village, town or estate, offering added security. Homes with modern facilities are also preferred over those brimming with character, as they’re well insulated, easily cared for and tend to have some kind of internal security measures in place. Apartments at the King Edward VII Estate in Midhurst are a great example. Nestled within acres of woodland, all residents benefit from high-spec security and a management service – as well as glorious gardens and grounds, a swimming pool and a gym they can enjoy without having to do anything to look after them.

Meanwhile, due to some of the highest levels of demand I have seen in my entire property career, Londoners are struggling to find good country houses in West Sussex around the £2million-£3million level to relocate to at the moment. Combined with the removal of the £500,000 stamp duty threshold, some have decided to postpone their ‘post Covid move out plans’ and find a temporary lock up and leave weekend retreat instead. Budgets are lower at around £800,000-£2million, where they’re seeking a smaller home with an easily maintained garden. Some may even hire a gardener or a housekeeper to keep on top of things whilst they’re not there. I have a few clients doing this at the moment, with anywhere that offers a sense of escapism and peace and quiet of interest. This could be the waterside villages of Chichester as well as rural locations on the outskirts of the city and those dotted around Midhurst and Petworth. The added benefit of purchasing this way as well is that it does allow people to see what the area is like before committing to living there permanently.

People are also recognising the income potential when owning a lock up and leave property. Homes in West Sussex can benefit greatly from sites such as Air B&B whether it’s for a wedding, Christmas holidays or for events such as Festival of Speed and Glorious Goodwood. If you’re somebody who plans to be abroad for the whole of the summer or dream of cruising the Caribbean for two months over Christmas and New year, your home can also make a lucrative income whilst you’re away. If the property is easy to maintain, it’s relatively hassle free, and any costs associated with employing a cleaner and a gardener to keep on top of things in between lets should be covered nicely.

So there are many benefits to owning a lock up and leave property – they truly can be an investment not to be missed. If you need help in your search then please do get in touch with myself, Jennie Hancock, via e-mail (jh@propertyacquisitions.co.uk), phone (+44 7776452128), or LinkedIn.

The world’s greatest flower show may have been pushed back to September due to the pandemic, but green fingered horticulturists are fully embracing their gardens this summer – in fact, they have been for the last fourteen months!

Having been cooped up at home for over a year this is of no surprise – for those lucky to have outdoor space that is. People who have been living in apartments haven’t had quite the same luxury – not unless they have a ground floor flat or live somewhere with communal gardens to enjoy.

This is very noticeable with the enquiries I have received from both local and London property buyers. Homes with pretty gardens have always been very popular, but outdoor space has never been quite so important like it is now. It’s not just about having a large freshly mowed lawn anymore.  Other aspects are now expected, many of which feel like we’re taking a step back in time to how gardens used to be.

What do country house hunters ask for in their gardens now?

  • Colourful flowers and shrubs for every season
  • Vegetable / kitchen garden
  • Walled garden
  • Summer house to relax and unwind in, offering a sense of escapism
  • Stone bridge
  • Green house
  • Treehouse
  • Shaded areas with mature trees
  • Wild meadows
  • Glorious communal gardens for apartment owners – this is especially true today, particularly from downsizers. They are either looking for a smaller village house or homes within grand country houses which boast spectacular gardens and grounds they can enjoy. The King Edward VII Estate in Midhurst is a classic example of this, where you can find a one/two bed-apartment for less than £500,000.

 

With this list, I am reminded of one of my favourite proverbs…. “A society grows great when old men plant trees in whose shade they know they shall never sit.” I feel today’s country house buyer is inheriting a part of the history of a garden, along with the love and devotion given to it, because the previous owners would have spent a lot of time designing the grounds and spending money to care for them. Of course, people are also looking for all the mod cons such as patios for al fresco dining, swimming pools, tennis courts and so on as a result of Covid-19, but the generation of 2020/2021 are inheriting these glorious established gardens from their parents or grandparents which we haven’t seen for sale for decades, and are now selling them.

For example, I recently acquired an attractive period house in Harting off-market. Nestled within a tranquil village setting which has no passing traffic – a rarity in today’s world – the house had a glorious well-established garden that offered seclusion and amazing views – exactly what my client was looking for. They were the only buyers to view the house and consequently I was able to secure it for them.

Last year in Slindon, I found a stunning village home for a client with land, beautiful gardens and grounds that had been well maintained by the previous owner for many years. The house benefitted from colour and variety in the flowers and shrubs, mature trees to sit under in the shade plus a kitchen garden and walled garden. There was also a spectacular magnolia tree, an archway which led to an apple and pear orchard and a pergola covered in climbing roses and honeysuckle. These were key selling points for my client. The property sold off market where again, they were the only buyer.

Meanwhile in West Wittering, I showed a client a stunning house which had a wild meadow, landscaped gardens, mature shrubs and trees with views over farmland which the buyers fell in love with immediately. They made an offer the next day.

To stand a chance of owning such a garden as above, you need a budget of at least £1million in West Sussex and be able to act quickly. Homes with this type of offering are being snapped up, often with multiple bidding wars from competitive purchasers if they’re on the open market. Having said that, many of these transactions are happening off market where the competition is less intense as most buyers don’t know they’re for sale unless they’re using a buying agent. This is one of the many reasons house purchasers ask me for help with their search because I am aware of what is being sold discreetly. Often, my clients will be the only buyer looking at the property as a result.

 

Find Out More

For any questions about finding your dream home with a glorious garden, please do get in touch with myself, Jennie Hancock, via e-mail (jh@propertyacquisitions.co.uk), phone (+44 7776452128), or LinkedIn.

Lodsworth – West Sussex

 

The pandemic has without a doubt reinforced the joys of living in a village. Offering beauty, peace, clean air, simplicity, charm, natural surroundings and close local communities to name a few, I feel very blessed to have been living in one myself over the last year. 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. And now that we are able to see people again, just walking around my own village reminds me how close knit all the neighbours are with each other. It’s a completely different experience to living in a city or busy town.

More and more people are now choosing this way of life over urban, seeking a more relaxed and gentle pace that makes life far more enjoyable. This is the busiest year I have ever had with property buyers, with over 60% of clients now from London, most of whom are choosing villages over towns. My local town clients are also seeking a more rural life to enjoy their retirement.

There are many well-known villages in and around Chichester to choose from, but there are also some awe-inspiring hidden gems where you literally step back in time. If you’re the type of home-owner keen to explore off the beaten track villages, yet still be close to daily necessities, excellent schools and a variety of activities, you may wish to consider these rural wonders…

 

East Dean

A lovely sleepy village part of the Upper Lavant Valley, offering a traditional village pond setting with fabulous walks on its doorstep. There’s also a very good pub called the Star and Garter. If you pop across to the next village in Charlton, there’s another called The Fox Goes Free.

 

Chilgrove

Gin and vodka lovers will know this picturesque village is home to Chilgrove Spirits, which is not only sold in local shops but also the likes of Harrods, Fortnum & Mason and Majestics. Most people don’t actually realise Chilgrove is where it is as it’s quite hidden to passers by, but located at the foot of the south downs, there are some super walking trails that take you up to Kingley Vale Nature Reserve or the South Downs Way. There’s also a superb 18th Century inn, The White Horse that’s definitely worth a visit for lunch in between your property viewings.

 

West Stoke

Ideal for those who love their watersports as well as their country walks and cycling, this is a highly regarded South Downs village very close to the waters of Chichester Harbour, Bosham and the Witterings, as well as Goodwood, Kingley Vale Nature Reserve and the South Downs. There’s also a village hall and Wellies Tea Rooms which serves lovely lunches, coffees and teas. For such a small village, it has a lot going for it!

 

North Marden

Another village you may miss on your travels if you didn’t know it was there is North Marden. In the heart of the South Downs National Park, it boasts a stunning 12th Century church with farms and cottages scattered around commanding far reaching views. It’s very much one for those who are looking for a ‘sleepy’ tiny village. There aren’t any shops or a pub, but Chichester is just 7.5 miles away whilst the surrounding villages have some exceptional pubs and shops to enjoy. There are plenty of bridle and foot paths in North Marden however, with easy access to local golf courses, the coast and good schools too.

 

Church Norton

Houses rarely come up for sale in Church Norton as there aren’t many, but its fabulous beach, walking routes and church make it one of my favourite hidden villages. This attractive hamlet sits on the edge of Pagham Harbour Nature Reserve, with nearby Selsey providing all the local shops and facilities you need.

 

Sidlesham

Sidlesham is a large parish which boasts a great pub (Crab & Lobster), church and a primary school. There are wonderful walks, views and also sitting on the edge of the nature reserve, it’s really popular with bird watchers.

 

The South Downs – West Sussex

 

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!

 

Graffham

Graffham offers plenty of walks, cycling routes, two pubs (I highly recommend the White Horse Graffham), church, recreational ground, an outstanding Ofsted rated primary school, and one of the best village shops around that stores everything you could possibly wish for.

  

Lodsworth

It’s not often you can say a small village is home to an excellent pub (The Hollist Arms), award winning shop, church, brewery (Langham), croquet club, tennis courts, hall, a recreational ground, an outdoor gym, playground and a cricket team! Not to mention a vineyard next door (Upperton), with the Cowdray Estate just a five minute’s drive away where you will find a golf club, café and farmshop. But that’s exactly what Lodsworth has to offer – plus plenty of cycling and walking routes on your door step, as well as homes brimming with character.

 

Lurgashall

This is a very pretty English village setting centred around a traditional village green where you will find the ever popular, Noahs Ark Inn, located. There’s also a village shop and post office with a wide range of shops nearby in Midhurst or Petworth.

 

There really are so many lovely hidden village gems in this part of West Sussex, with other favourites of mine including Heyshott, Selham, Lickfold, Boxgrove and The Mardens. For any questions about finding your dream village home in any of these locations, please do get in touch with myself, 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.

The waterside villages in and around Chichester are hugely popular with walkers, cyclists, families and those who enjoy sailing, paddleboarding, kite surfing and so on. However, it’s not just a playground for holidaymakers…

 

Half of the enquiries I have received at Property Acquisitions since the global pandemic began have been from those seeking these waterside locations. Many of them have been cooped up in their homes during the last twelve months – whether working or home schooling (even both!) – so Covid-19 has fuelled the desire even further for a gentler pace of life on a more permanent basis.

 

Various evidence suggests living by the sea can actually have a positive impact on people’s health and wellbeing, and with many stretches of water in and around Chichester, there are plenty of spots to relax and unwind. Without a doubt, living here taps into our basic senses, creating a feeling of tranquillity and escapism for anybody… from watching gentle waves rolling into shore or hearing the wind chiming concerts of ropes clinking against sailing boat masts, to enjoying the smell of fresh clean sea air.

 

As a result, property buyers are prepared to pay a premium, especially in the more popular locations with the focus very much being around having a good sea view or direct access to the water, rather than square footage. There are a variety of properties to suit all budgets however, from as low as half a million up into the millions.

 

Here are some of my favourite waterside hotspots for buyers… 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Witterings

East and West Wittering are home to stunning unspoilt coastline. West Wittering is notorious for its long golden sandy beach, popular with runners and dogs walkers as well as those just wanting to lay down and relax by the sea. On calm days, you’ll find the beautiful blue waters dotted with paddle boarders, kayaks and families splashing about in the shallow waters, whilst kite surfers and wind surfers flock when the wind picks up. It’s also incredibly clean being a Blue Flag beach, views are to die for whether the tide is in or out and in the carpark there is The Beach Café which has a superb reputation for its food, drinks and staff. Meanwhile East Wittering has a thriving local community and offers residents a variety of independent shops cafés, and a pretty shingle beach.

The most sought after properties are the large-detached houses dotted along East Strand and West Strand, which rarely come up for sale because they tend to go from generation to generation. Generally, the original owners would have bought these in the 1950’s most likely for under £50,000. Commanding panoramic views over the Solent with direct access to the beach in front, and being so rare, these sell for around £3-£5m if not more now.

 

Itchenor

Itchenor is a very pretty sailing village famed for its yachting facilities, the world renowned Itchenor Sailing Club, and its harbour. A popular hotspot is The Quarterdeck Café behind The Street, which a lot of the locals use when they sail, whilst Andy at the Itchenor Ferry is also a key part of the village. He runs his ferry and water taxi services regularly, linking Itchenor to the footpaths over at Bosham, or he will take you to your boat on the moorings.

In terms of the housing market, there are many picturesque Sussex cottages, but there tends to be a huge premium on the plot value with views and water access all high priority. For example, I recently went to sealed bids on a £3.5million property which was being sold off-market on one of the village’s most sought after waterside addresses. It came with a jetty and stunning water views but needed updating, and all of the interested parties were cash buyers. All represented by buying agents, the property sold well over the asking price. If you have a lower budget however, then it is possible to buy houses close to the water on The Street in Itchenor. These tend to be terraced houses ranging from £900,000 for something that needs some work, up to £1.5million.

 

Bosham

The waters of Bosham sit between two tidal creeks and are very popular with sailors, migrating wildfowl, as well as those who enjoy their sunsets and walks too. Many feel Bosham still has an enchanting old world feel to it, and it is arguably one of the prettiest Harbour villages. There are some excellent tea rooms and some great independent shops within Bosham Walk. One of my favourite pubs is The Anchor Bleu – a 300 year old building which overlooks the water and offers an exquisite alfresco dining setting. This area has become a very popular place for people to live, in fact, one of our colleagues is building a house here now as we speak!

The main coastal address is Bosham Hoe. A large proportion of people are permanent residents, but there are still small cottages occupied by weekenders from London, which cost between £800,000 – £1million. You can also find lower prices further down the lane in a quiet cul de sac called Tuffs Hard. Here there are semi and detached 1950’s houses with nice gardens, garages and water views for around £950,000/£1million. These rarely come to market however and are like gold dust for weekenders in particular, as they’re ripe for renovation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Church Norton

Church Norton is a secluded spot that’s a part of Pagham Harbour, offering a quieter pace of life and better value per square foot when purchasing property. People like it here because there’s a lot less traffic, plus it boasts a quiet shingle beach and a small church enriched in history which is thoroughly enjoyed by walkers and birdwatchers due to its rural peaceful setting.

Properties rarely come to market in Church Norton, so buyers will pay a premium to live here. Typically, homes vary from a farm cottage and a modern 80’s home to a stunning Georgian house, so there is something for everyone. Prices start from approximately £500,000 and can go up into the millions.

 

Birdham

Birdham is another popular sailing village, where you will find a number of boats moored at Chichester Yacht Basin and Birdham Pool – the largest purpose built marina in Chichester Harbour. There are some lovely walks on the Manhood Peninsula whilst the village boasts a cricket club (Stirlands), Birdham Animal Feeds which specialises in raw dog food and natural treats, and Birdham Stores.

On the way into the village is Church Lane there are a variety of 1950’s, 1980’s and period houses, with prices starting from around half a million. Lock Lane and Martins Lane are closer to the water where you’re probably looking at around £1million plus for a property, whilst Westlands Estate sit right on the water, comprising of small bungalows ripe for renovation up to large detached houses. Depending on what you are buying, homes here could cost anything from £1million -£3million plus.

 

Dell Quay 

Dell Quay is a very quiet and tiny village nestled deep within Chichester Harbour. It has a great sailing club offering a relaxed, friendly feel as well as the Crown and Anchor pub which sits right on the water’s edge and is renowned for producing exceptional food. Dell Quay is often a pit stop for walkers due to its surrounding footpaths, as well as those crabbing from the quay at high tide.

 

For any questions about finding your dream rural or coastal home in and around Chichester with Property Acquisitions, please do get in touch with Jennie Hancock via e-mail (jh@propertyacquisitions.co.uk), phone (+44 7776452128), or LinkedIn.

As we fast approach one year since the UK’s first national lockdown, I have noticed a surge in global traffic on my website over the last twelve months – up 1,368%. The top three nationalities researching owning a property in West Sussex are the UK (+1,471%), US (+60%) and China (+440%), with other top ten long-haul visitors including Singapore, Japan, India and Australia. 62% 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.

So what trends am I seeing in the Prime Country property market as a result of Covid-19?

 

Premiums for water access or views

Due to their popularity, buyers are prepared to pay a premium to own their slice of property heaven by the water. The premiums paid are very much focused around having a good sea view or direct access to the water, rather than square footage as a result. Generally, the houses requiring renovation attract the higher premium, for example, a two-bedroom run down bungalow on a large plot with water access and sea views would be in huge demand as the new owners have the benefit of doing their own thing to it. Anything that can be renovated quite substantially are like gold dust for buyers.

Large detached houses dotted along East Strand and West Strand in West Wittering rarely come up for sale because they tend to go from generation to generation. Generally, the original owners would have bought these in the 1950’s most likely for under £50,000. Commanding panoramic views over the Solent with direct access to the beach in front, and being so rare, these sell for around £3-£5m if not more now.

Prices in the nearby pretty sailing villages of Itchenor and Bosham share a similar story. There is a huge premium on the plot value, with views and water access all high priority. For example, I recently went to sealed bids on a £3.5million property which was being sold off-market on one of Itchenor’s most sought after waterside addresses. It came with a jetty and stunning water views but needed updating, and all of the interested parties were cash buyers. All represented by buying agents, the property sold well over the asking price.

 

Separate outbuildings that can be turned into a facility or somewhere for a hobby

The great thing about rural homes around the £1million plus mark, is that generally they already have the land to build on. Today, any type of outbuilding that has been designed as a facility or somewhere to practice a hobby can add up to 10% onto the value of the home. For example home offices, an annexe or yoga studios are very popular at the moment. I know quite a few people who have built large working spaces outside very recently as a result of the pandemic. Broadband speeds are obviously very important to buyers who now as a result. They’re also a great way of getting additional accommodation you can rent out, as the lettings market in Chichester is phenomenal, especially around the time of Goodwood events. One lady I know has transformed her shed into an Air B&B for this very reason.

 

A separate boot room and utility room

With the dog market taking off during the pandemic, a separate boot room and/or utility room has become much more valuable to country buyers, as they’re great spaces for washing the mud off your dogs after a lovely walk in the local countryside.

 

Moving to second home locations permanently

Another trend starting to emerge is for second homeowners looking to live permanently where they have enjoyed their weekend getaways over the years. For example, we have a client who purchased a second home in Itchenor in the 90’s, and are now looking to upgrade within the village full-time.

 

Village amenities

Village necessities have also changed, with buyers wanting to ‘step back in time.’ Recent clients from London are requesting the 50-year time lapse when choosing a village home now, seeking the quintessentially picturesque village life set up. They’re now asking for a village shop they can walk or cycle to, a church, croquet, cricket lawns, gardens open to the public, summer fetes and even local dog shows.

 

Moving further away from train stations

Around 20% of my buyers who have moved out from London over the last year no longer want to be within ten minutes from a main railway station. One of my clients is looking for a country house between £3.5-£5million in the Midhurst area. That is slightly further out from the closest main line into London, but Haslemere train station is still only a fifteen-twenty-minute drive for when they need to get there. Instead, they are focusing on seeking their “forever home” which boasts a superb country lifestyle, is right on their doorstep and somewhere they can have a good home office.

 

Goodbye open plan

Before the pandemic, people were very keen to have a kitchen breakfast room, but now they’re wanting separate reception rooms in order to have some privacy. Therefore, open plan properties are currently attracting a more limited market. I’m hearing reports of owners of older properties actually putting walls back in! The lack of separate reception rooms could devalue a rural home at the moment, by up to 5%.

 

The villages most popular with my clients

Rural Villages Waterside Villages
Lodsworth Itchenor
Balls Cross Bosham
Graffham Dell Quay
Duncton West Strand, West Wittering
West Stoke Birdham
Singleton Chidham
South Harting Church Norton
Heyshott Emsworth
Lickfold East Strand, West Wittering
Treyford

 

 

In summary…

The coronavirus pandemic has fuelled a vast number of people moving out of London and into the villages in and around Chichester. This migration is creating a shortage of good country houses to purchase. This time last year it was comparatively easy to find something, but as the number of prospective buyers focusing on the area grows there is an increase in scarcity value. 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.

The positive of Covid-19 is that it has forced people to re-evaluate their lives. City and urban life just is not appealing anymore, whereas villages just outside of Chichester’s city centre are in increasingly high demand. Pretty villages slightly further out, such as Lodsworth, Graffham, Singleton, Heyshott, and Treyford for example have become extraordinarily popular of late – in fact, I’ve had more people looking in these patches during the pandemic than I have done for fifteen years. 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 – especially as many proved over the last month to their employers they are able to operate efficiently remotely.

 

For any questions about finding your dream rural or coastal home in and around Chichester with Property Acquisitions, please do get in touch via e-mail (jh@propertyacquisitions.co.uk), phone (+44 7776452128), or LinkedIn.

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