Cornwall LivingIssue #82
Homes by the sea
From the best locations to tips on building your own, we take a look at property in Cornwall in a bid to help you find your dream home near the coast.
From ultra-modern new builds on the water’s edge to carefully restored character homes in the country, Cornwall’s property market is as diverse as the landscape itself. Over the next few pages we’ll speak to some of Cornwall’s leading property agents and experts, unveiling popular locations and ones to watch, also seeking advice for anybody looking to buy, sell or self-build. Then, to round it all off, we’ll be talking to some of Cornwall’s finest interior and homeware brands, arming you with all the inspiration you’ll need to decorate your home, whether you’re just moving in or preparing to go to market.
“the timeless coastline, miles and miles of unspoilt landscape, stunning views and natural habitats, to name just a few things that make Cornwall so incredible!”
The draw of the coast
To begin we do a little digging into what really sets Cornwall’s property market apart. Jo Ashby from John Bray and Partners points out “the timeless coastline, miles and miles of unspoilt landscape, stunning views and natural habitats, to name just a few things that make Cornwall so incredible!” On the property available here, Ben Wakefield, Partner at Falmouth-based agents Harding & Wakefield explains: “Cornwall has something for everyone, with an eclectic range of property and locations to suit all tastes.”
Spending time by the sea is a huge draw, says Jackie Stanley’s Padstow Office Manager, Simon Poole. “Cornwall also has so many different environments to choose from, from seaside resorts to moorland isolation; villages and hamlets to city living, yet by Cornwall’s very nature, wherever you live you are never far from the coast.”
Managing Director of the Mather Partnership, Pete Courtis, agrees that Cornwall allows people the opportunity to live the dream lifestyle. “The atmosphere around the county is so friendly, making it an ideal place to bring up a family, to retire to, or to enjoy a fantastic work/life balance.” Sean Johnston, Partner at Philip Martin Estate Agents in Truro also suggests that it’s perfect for different types of investors, with a strong holiday and residential lettings market.
As Martyn Rohrs from Rohrs & Rowe puts it: “It’s all about the lifestyle,” one which Nicola Markham, Group Sales Director at Acorn Blue describes as “permanently wonderful.” Martyn continues: “Many purchasers seek a home that’s able to offer a change of lifestyle, but they’d also like it to be in an amazing location and for it to create an income that enables them to either retire early, or work a great deal less.” You only need to look at a property named Gweath, currently in the Rohrs & Rowe portfolio, to see what Martyn means.
Perhaps most importantly for many of us is that Cornwall offers a wide variety of properties to suit all budgets, from starter houses to multi-million pound super homes. And in this modern age, as Ben Davies, Head of Residential at Savills Cornwall explains: “The increased availability of superfast broadband across Cornwall is enabling more families and couples to make the move.”
The current market
So what does the current market look like? With Brexit looming, is property still a good long-term investment? Fortunately, the general consensus among our experts is a positive one. Indeed, as Sean Johnston points out, the Rightmove Price Index reports that house prices in Cornwall over the past year were up 3% on 2017 and 9% up on 2015! He explains that Brexit-related uncertainty “has not thus far been too disruptive to house prices and movement.” In fact, Simon Poole explains: “We found the last few months of 2018 very strong in terms of sales, which bodes well heading into 2019.” Martyn Rohrs tells us that while a looming Brexit brought uncertainty to London and parts of the south east last year, “Cornwall bucked the trend. People’s desire for a better lifestyle continues to drive the market, and I’m sure will also make property here a very good investment.”
The devil’s in the detail
Martyn Rohrs tells us: “The key to selling the best properties is attention to detail at all stages of the sale, something we pride ourselves on and our clients tell us we are very good at.”
Location, location, location
When looking to buy property location will be near, if not at, the top of your list, but where to start in such a beautiful county?
On the south coast, Pete Courtis points out the likes of Porthleven, Praa Sands and Coverack on the Lizard. Indeed, Martyn Rohrs tells us that the Lizard has seen a surge in interest, thanks to stunning scenery, tranquil beaches and property that’s particularly good in value when compared to more renowned Cornish locations.
Martyn also recommends the Seven Bays area in north Cornwall, explaining: “The area to the south of Padstow was very popular last year. With a combination of spectacular surfing beaches, dramatic coastline, excellent outdoor lifestyle facilities and access to some of the best individual restaurants in the country, you can understand why!” To find out more about the Seven Bays and the property Rohrs and Rowe are marketing there, turn to page 40.
Falmouth has also proven popular, with Savills’ Ben highlighting it as the south coast’s most appealing town. He also explains that Truro remains popular, being Cornwall’s educational centre and only city. Philip Martin’s Sean elaborates: “Truro is always going to be popular. Thanks to its excellent shopping centre, private and state schools, mainline links to London and the Royal Cornwall Hospital, it appeals to a selection of different buyers.”
Meanwhile, Jackie Stanley has witnessed a surge of interest on the north coast. “Villages like Mawgan Porth are going from strength to strength,” explains Simon. “Padstow continues to grow in popularity, and Wadebridge is also hugely popular, with a wealth of independent shops, cafés, restaurants and schools increasing its appeal for families.”
So what advice can Cornwall’s property experts offer when it comes to finding the right property?
Jo Ashby says: “Work out what’s important for you – is it peace and quiet? Being close to the beach? Focus on a location, get to know the agents that cover that area and keep in touch. Or, use a property search agent who can short list the kind of properties you’re looking for, analyse pros and cons and negotiate on your behalf.”
“It’s an age-old cliché, but to say ‘location is key’ really isn’t very far off the mark,” explains Ben Wakefield. “Knowing where you want to be and what you want from your surroundings is vital.” If you’re unsure, he suggests immersing yourself in the different areas you’re considering for a few days, to really start enjoying what the county has to offer.
Pete tells us: “Your search for a Cornish property will be governed by location and particularly what you have to spend. But there is a wide choice available and don’t forget, for those moving from the London and south east areas, Cornish prices may still look ‘cheap’ by comparison!”
Wherever you decide to buy, Nicola Markham, Group Sales Director at Acorn Blue says: “Cornwall offers so much to those seeking a work life balance, it’s a great place to call home.”
A hidden gem
Jo Ashby from John Bray says: “Trebarwith has remained a well-kept secret, close enough to tap in to the buzzing hot spots on the north coast but less populated and with easy access to Bodmin Moor.”
Looking to sell?
Ben from Savills suggests: “Try to get personal recommendations [for agents] and be prepared that some properties may take longer to sell than expected.”
From the ground up
Perhaps you’re looking to build your dream home from the ground up. If so, you’ll be very well served here in Cornwall, with a number of fantastic companies each bringing decades of industry experience to the table. So where to start?
Chris from RA Design tells us: “For us at present a lot of self-builders are looking at renovating and building near the sea. We’ve seen an influx of work in Porthleven. St Ives, Carbis Bay and Marazion are also popular areas.”
On the project itself, Chris says: “My main advice would be to do your research and appoint the right professionals to help you. The first thing to do is secure a site you’re happy with, ideally with planning permission already granted. Failing this, make sure you’ve had advice on the possibility of gaining permission. This is best done by speaking to an architect or architectural technologist at a very early stage, as they can advise on the possibilities and whether a pre-planning application is required.” Chris continues: “Once this is done, put together some ideas of the things you would like to include and put together a brief for the designer to work to. At RA Design we usually ask for bullet points of the key things you want including. This will allow us to start the design process, also giving you ideas and options. The design process, in our view, works a lot better when both parties can freely throw around ideas.”
This ethos is very much shared by the expert team at Lilly Lewarne Architects. Company Director, Gill Moran, elaborates: “If you’re thinking of self-building in Cornwall, we suggest seeking the advice of Cornish architects who have, over many years, developed detailed design knowledge. This will save you money in the long run and guide you through the process in a professional manner.”
Cornwall is a unique environment in which to build and, particularly in coastal locations, requires a more carefully considered approach to design than projects in other areas. Lilly Lewarne consistently deliver in such locations and the proof really is in the pudding – click here to read a recent glowing review!
Nick Long, Managing Director of Legacy Properties & Homes, tells us that careful planning and thoughtful design is paramount when building their luxury properties and contemporary homes.
“Meticulous attention to detail is integral to building premium coastal developments; and throughout the whole process – from concept through to design, build, and completion. We work extremely closely with our architects and in-house spatial designers to ensure our builds maximise living space, take advantage of available light/views, plus are sustainable and robust to the elements. We always think primarily about the end consumer and how they will live in and enjoy the property.”
This is reflected in Legacy’s portfolio to date, which offers buyers the chance to obtain a brand new, state-of-the-art home right by the sea. A luxury home at Woodlands (pictured), their flagship development which overlooks The Gannel Estuary in Newquay, provides all of these qualities – plus the chance to choose fittings and interiors, making it 100% bespoke to the consumer.
Speaking with Nicola at bespoke property developers, Acorn Blue, we ask what is most important to them when building new homes. “The opportunity has to meet our criteria. The location and view are paramount, and then we will look at factors such as transport links, parking and broadband speed. Ultimately, the aim is to always create high-quality homes we are proud of.”
Throughout this feature and on the pages towards the back of the magazine, we showcase some of the county’s finest available property and agents. To find out more, visit the following websites:
Rohrs & Rowe
Harding & Wakefield
The Mather Partnership
John Bray and Partners
Clive Pearce Property
My Place in Cornwall
Churchhill Retirement Living
Blue Cedar Homes
Make your house a home
As Joanna Eldridge, founder of Jo & Co Home, says:
“Your home is a place to rest and relax, so it’s important that you feel comfortable.”
On updating your interior, Jo continues: “Once you feel confident with your chosen style and colours, remind yourself to keep it simple. It’s very easy to add too much to your home, so try avoiding this trap.”
So what about furnishing your new home? Jo explains: “I advise investing for the long term with a handmade item, rather than something mass produced. It will last you for years to come!” Elaine Skinner at Camellia Interiors has built a reputation as an interior design specialist for luxury holiday homes, regularly supporting her clients with home improvements for all house types. Elaine has developed three stylish furniture packs ready for the new holiday home investors or property developers. These are itemised by room and enable buyers or sellers to get a complete inventory done in one simple order. “You can go for the whole house or just install packs for key rooms – the end result is a cohesive look that instantly adds value to your property.”
In new homes where a neutral colour scheme has been adopted, Elaine suggests a splash of colour to add warmth to an empty room, whether with paintwork or a carpet. And if you are looking to recarpet a room, or for a statement rug to help bring a room to life, a trip to Wadebridge-based Cornwall Rug Company comes highly recommended, with a collection that offers originality in design and utilises the latest trends and colours. Click here to read more about this fabulous Cornish business.
Perhaps you’re looking to replace the windows in your new home? If so, turn to page 17 and find out what the experts at Longrock Windows can do to help. Or maybe you’ve decided that with your new dream home, now’s the time to replace your old bed. Here we introduce Cornwall’s oldest family-run business, Alfred Smith & Son, with their stunning showroom in Penzance showcasing a whole spectrum of quality furniture. Here we catch up with The Cotton Mills in Truro, who offer professional advice on introducing a new palette to your home and here, you can find out all about the exemplary service on offer at fabric and hardware specialists, Merchants and Makers.
For even more interior inspiration click here and read this month’s special feature, Interior showcase.
So what are you waiting for?
If you’re in the market for a new property in Cornwall, be it your dream forever home or an investment for later in life, we hope our guide has given you something to think about. Whether you’re buying or building, or planning a combination of the two, a home in Cornwall will put you in the best possible position to enjoy the ultimate lifestyle by the sea.
Embarking on your own home improvement project? Be sure to check out these exemplary Cornish businesses.
Building with Frames
Studio One South West
"the timeless coastline, miles and miles of unspoilt landscape, stunning views and natural habitats, to name just a few things that make Cornwall so incredible!"