An increasing number of families are leaving the capital to trade in screens
for hide-and-seek, wild swimming and lots of fresh air. Mark Lawson, who
covers High Value Residential and Rural Estates at The Buying Solution,
talks to The Daily Telegraph about the rise in city
folk uprooting to the countryside to “re-wild” their
Mark comments: “The Cotswolds are a key focus for clients of The Buying Solution,
with 41 per cent of our buyers moving from their primary address in London
to the country. Most are in their 40s, and the dream is kids running wild and
playing by the stream. Don’t be fooled – they still want to play on social
media, but at least they have more of a balance. Potentially they will be less
streetwise, but more rural-wise, able to identify an oak tree and still play
with conkers, says Lawson.”
Recent data from the ONS show a record 340,500 Londoners left the city last
year and according to Hamptons International, Londoners
purchased £30bn worth of property outside the capital in 2018.
Locations in the west such as Cornwall is the most popular relocation
destination for Londoners with children up to 9 years old, while Oxfordshire,
Essex, Hampshire, Berkshire and the Cotswolds are also highly
Throughout the 19th and 20th centuries
a string of literary luminaries and artists called The Cotswolds home – The
Mitford sisters, John Singer Sergent and Laurie Lee to name but a few. Nowadays
with the festivals, galleries and cultural hubs it continues to attract a
certain crowd. Country Life highlights that 70% of the UK’s film and TV
industry professionals own a house in the Cotswolds.
Jonathan Bramwell Head of The Buying Solution says; “The Cotswolds provide that cultural fix for those moving from other areas in the UK, particularly Londoners who are used to having world class exhibits, festivals and culture on their doorstep. The area is home to some of the most famous ‘creators’ – for example Damian Hirst has a home between Broadway and Winchcombe, Toddington Manor. His workshop and gallery near Stroud, the ‘Science Studios’, is a real draw for locals and visitors alike. The sculptor Hamish Mackie is also based close-by in Hook Norton, near Banbury.
The many festivals in the Cotswolds tend to draw the crowds – the popular Longborough Opera festival, near Stow On The Wold, is a summer spectacle in June. Cheltenham is also home to an array of events such as the Literature Festival in October and Jazz Festival in May attracting some world class names to the stage. Bath too, positioned in the northern tip of the Cotswolds, is a cultural hub with its links to Jane Austen and also boasts a fantastic theatre.
Stroud is an area which tends to draw an array of homeowners
interested in immersing themselves into the locality. There have been calls for
it to be a ‘town of culture’ from local MP’s. The fringe festival in September,
popular organic farmers market and position as a meeting point between the five
valleys make it a very attractive choice. House prices close by also represent
excellent value when compared with villages in the North Cotswolds.”
To read the full article pick up a copy of this week’s
Cotswolds edition of Country Life
Will Watson, Head of London, The
Buying Solution weighs in on the impact of Boris and Brexit on the city’s
high-end residential market:
“This huge uncertainty is in actual
fact creating more and more opportunities for those braver buyers who see now
as the time to invest with a long term view many buyers are now thinking we are
at the very bottom of the market. The currency play means in some cases buyers
can achieve a circa 50% reduction on prices since 2014, a combination of
reduced values and the discounted sterling. These buyers could well be the ones
who look back in five years plus having bought very well. It is all about
targeting the vendors that need or want to sell.
A few clients have indicated that another referendum is the only way to resolve the current turmoil in government. A simple vote on whether we leave with no deal or we except what Europe is offering us. Otherwise there is a concern that there will be further delays until January and who is to say we would be any closer to a deal then. For those thinking of selling now, there is very much a market provided the pricing is sensible.
Plenty of buyers are looking and are
frustrated by the lack of available stock. We are still seeing competitive
bidding for best in class property and prices remaining firm. Anyone holding
dollars is in a particularly strong position; we’re seeing American and Middle
Eastern buyers looking to invest with very much a long term view of holding
onto the property. Ultimately London is London and regardless of Brexit, the
fundamentals remain unchanged – a financial capital, rule of law, the time
zone, the education system, robust regulatory framework, culture, healthcare,
connectivity and of course an excellent choice of good quality housing stock.”
As art lovers arrive in London in October for Frieze, Will Watson, Head of London, features in Vogue, Tatler, House & Garden and GQ discussing properties to captivate creatives and art collectors.
Every October, artists, gallerists, dealers and art collectors from around the world gather in London for the annual Frieze art fair. Regent’s Park is taken over by vast tents, containing many multi million pounds worth of art from contemporary marvels to Old Masters. Although the city’s celebration of visual art reaches a peak during Frieze week (3-6 October) it has long been a popular base for those who work in creative circles. Chelsea was historically the old art quarter, while today’s art crowd is more likely to be found in the East End. Mayfair has long been the hub for the great commercial galleries, many of which have been in the area for generations, and it remains a focal point for the international art scene. This tradition has continued with the recent addition of Finchatton’s Twenty Grosvenor Square, one of the most ambitious new developments in the capital. Built on the site of the former European head quarters of the US Navy, it comprises 37 apartments, designed by Ficnatton and serviced by Four Seasons. Inspired by the area’s grand Georgian past the building offers soaring high ceilings (perfect for grand art work) and high sash windows overlooking the leafy garden square. Meanwhile Lodha has commissioned French artist and designer Pablo Reinoso to create L’arche, a six metre arch way as part of its Lincoln Square development by the Royal Courts of Justice.
Will Watson, Partner at The Buying Solution says ‘A high number of our clients are art collectors, and many are seeking museum standards within the properties they purchase. High ceilings, generous wall space, and more neutral backgrounds are on the wish lists of the big collectors, as well as consideration for how pieces can be hung or displayed to enhance the effect. Also security is paramount, as is accessibility with regards getting the pieces inside.”
Albert Einstein said ‘…in the middle of difficulty lies opportunity’ – this statement is particularly true of today’s property market and it could be the time to bag a bargain.
New figures released by Nationwide highlight that there was an increase in the number of buyers in August, albeit a slight one. According to Knight Frank, sales over £1million are flying high, especially in the West Country, Surrey and Dorset. There is likely to be a huge purchasing opportunity over the next few months as we enter unprecedented political times. The other incentive is cheap mortgages which are expected to fall further.
As prices in the rest of the country come down, the Cotswolds property market, particularly the North Cotswolds market, remains healthy.
Harry Gladwin Partner at The Buying Solution says; “ Whilst no one location is immune, the North Cotswolds and North West Oxfordshire remains exceptionally sought after and best in class properties over £1m continue to sell under competition. If one drew a triangle from Oxford to Stow on the Wold to Banbury, I cannot think of a time when there have been fewer £1m+ houses to buy and that represents a real opportunity for sellers. In terms of activity from a buyer’s perspective, the challenge is finding stock to buy. The ‘flight to quality’ continues – when the market is generally weak and buyers feel uncertain, the smart money tends to gravitate towards the most sought after regions and the prime locations within those.”