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.

Covid-19 continues to fuel demand for larger homes and more outdoor space in West Sussex according to recent research by PropCast, with 80% of houses for sale under offer or subject to contract, compared to 57% for flats.

 

The findings form part of a nationwide report, where the house selling weather forecast analysed buyer demand across England to see what percentage of houses and flats for sale were being snapped up, and how that differed between the number of bedrooms. Across England, on average 73% of houses for sale are under offer or subject to contract – substantially higher than the figure for flats (43%). Three-bedroom houses are in most demand at 76%, followed by two-beds (75%), four plus-beds (69%) and one-beds (62%). Meanwhile, one-bedroom flats are the lowest in demand at 44% – most likely due to not having a garden and with limited space indoors – along with three-bedroom flats. Flats with two-bedrooms are sought after the most (50%), followed by four-plus beds (39%).

 

I absolutely agree with these findings at Property Acquisitions. Houses will always be the most obvious choice for families relocating out of London to West Sussex, but what has been interesting to see is a shift in what my downsizer clients are looking for. Previously, a two-three bed apartment within the city/ on the outskirts would have been at the top of their wish lists but now they want to tick the same boxes a post-Covid family buyer wants. Ie larger homes, gardens, luxurious kitchens and bathrooms, potential for office space and outdoor entertaining options. The enquiries I have received over the last year from those looking to downsize are either centred around a village cottage or a substantially sized flat within a country house which boasts impressive landscaped grounds and wrap around balconies or terraces. They want somewhere they can really enjoy being at home with friends and family given they’ve spent so much time cooped up on their own at home over the last year.

 

Gavin Brazg, Founder of PropCast provides some good tips for those who are trying to sell their flat in the current market… “Over the last year, we can see buyer demand has grown to record high levels across West Sussex, and we don’t expect these elevated levels of buyer demand to peter out anytime soon. However, it’s clear to see that if you’re trying to sell a flat at the moment with minimal to no outdoor space, it is going to be harder to find a buyer quickly. My advice would be to look at the situation as if you are in a buyers’ market, which is a time where you have to change your selling strategy in order to achieve the best possible price and fast. The best way to strengthen your position is to price conservatively from the start and choose a local, trusted estate agent who truly knows the market and how best to position your home within it.”

 

The overall property market in West Sussex

Overall, according to PropCast, buyer demand in West Sussex has continued to grow since the pandemic began, with buyer demand up 95% – indicating a very hot sellers’ market. This is especially true in areas which offer a rural lifestyle and large family homes. The popular coastal postcode districts in and around Chichester – where Property Acquisitions source properties for clients – have experienced a staggering increase. For example, PO18 (to include Bosham) has seen an 89% rise in property sales, whilst demand has risen 86% in PO20 (to include Itchenor and West Wittering). Meanwhile rural villages that sit between Midhurst and Petworth (GU28), such as Lodsworth, Graffham and Lurgashall, have seen a growth of 66% – somewhere I am very active at the moment with my clients.

 

I am experiencing one of the busiest years I have ever encountered in the villages in and around Chichester, Midhurst and Petworth, especially in the Lodsworth, Graffham and Selham areas where I have had more interest here in the last twelve months than I have in fifteen years! Buyers have been making offers left right and centre during the pandemic, with almost all of these deals happening off-market, within days. Without a doubt, COVID-19 has changed people’s mindsets; not just for now but for the long-term too. They’re re-evaluating what they want in life, and where they want to be. The relaxed, rural setting that provides a variety of lifestyle-enhancing options. 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.

 

Find out more

For any questions about finding your dream home (whether that’s a house or apartment) in and around 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.

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.

It is no secret that the supply of good quality homes for sale is limited across the UK, as many homeowners thinking about selling feel they should be waiting until Spring. It may be worth reconsidering this mindset because properties in West Sussex are highly sought after – and various data specialists have confirmed they have been throughout the whole of this pandemic.

Latest analysis by UK house selling weather forecast, PropCast, has revealed which West Sussex postcode districts home buyers have fallen in love with the most since the property market reopened following ‘lockdown one.’ The study examined the percentage of homes for sale that were under offer or subject to contract in July 2020 compared to now, to see where buyer demand is the highest and lowest.

The results for West Sussex are seriously impressive and should bring hope to local homeowners that now could actually be a great time to be selling – whether on the open market or quietly.

Despite still being in another national lockdown, February’s data confirm buyer demand is strong across the whole county. In July 2020 when the initial national lockdown started to ease, this was true for only 82% of postcode districts. Buyer demand has also risen for all postcode districts between then and now, so whether, from London or the local area, buyers are climbing over each other to make serious offers on houses in rural, town, and coastal locations.

In terms of where Property Acquisitions source and purchase homes for clients, the popular coastal villages of Itchenor, Bosham, and West Wittering are in high demand, as is Chichester itself, along with some of my favourite rural villages such as West Dean, Funtington, Compton, West Marden, Lavant, Chilgrove, Singleton and Lodsworth. The pretty market towns of Petworth, Midhurst, Pulborough, and Arundel are also at the top of the list for buyers.

For example, as seen in some of PropCast’s data below, in the postcode district of PO20 (which includes Itchenor, Selsey, and West Wittering), 63% of homes for sale are under offer or subject to contract (STC) currently – a rise of 85% since July last year.

 

How postcode districts popular with our clients have performed since July 2020…

Postcode District % of homes for sale that are  under offer or STC – July 2020 % of homes for sale that are  under offer or STC – February 2021 % Difference
GU31 37% 70% 89%
GU28 32% 61% 91%
PO20 34% 63% 85%
PO18 35% 52% 49%
RH20 44% 62% 41%
BN18 36% 56% 56%
GU29 28% 49% 75%

 

So what are my clients looking for now?

I am experiencing one of the busiest winters I have ever encountered, with more buyers looking at purchasing a larger family home or wishing to downsize to a more compact property with little maintenance, settling in a more rural setting or coastal area. Whether a Grade II listed farmhouse, a rustic barn conversion, a waterfront holiday home, or a three storey townhouse, they have been making offers left right, and centre during the pandemic, with almost all of these deals happening off-market, within days.

Why is buyer demand so high?

Without a doubt, COVID-19 has changed people’s mindsets; not just for now but for the long-term too. They’re re-evaluating what they want in life, and where they want to be. The relaxed, rural setting that provides a variety of lifestyle-enhancing options. West Sussex offers a refreshing breath of fresh air, outstanding views, village shops, nestled alongside homely and warm country pubs. Considering West Sussex’s vibrant rolling countryside hills, it’s peaceful and tranquil sailing harbours, with rural villages offering local shops, fetes, and friendly market towns; it is of course the case properties here are highly sought after. Given how quickly my clients are snapping up homes through all three national lockdowns, it is very clear to see that lifestyle options like these are now just as important as bricks and mortar.

Considering selling?

If you are looking to sell a primary residence or second home in West Sussex then please do get in touch with Property Acquisitions. We constantly have a range of serious buyers registered and they might be interested in your property; potentially saving you the selling commission. Please email me at jh@propertyacquisitions.co.uk or call +44 7776452128.

Considering a buying agent?

If you’re considering purchasing a second home or a primary residence in and around Chichester, but need the support of somebody who is actually on your side rather than a seller’s, please do get in touch with me, Jennifer Hancock, on +44 7776452128 or  jh@propertyacquisitions.co.uk.

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