Cornwall LivingIssue #95

Live the dream

We take a look at the year ahead in the exciting world of real estate, gaining an insight from some of Cornwall’s top property experts.

As with almost everything else in the Duchy, it’s fair to say that Cornish property is in a league of its own. Every month at Cornwall Living we’re introduced to stunning homes that have found their way to market, from ultra-modern apartments overlooking the Atlantic, to charming character cottages nestled in their very own pocket of Cornish countryside. This issue, to gain an insight into the current market and the kind of properties that are currently available, we catch up with some of the Duchy’s top property agents, who give us the latest lowdown on all things ‘property’ in Cornwall.

The state of the market

Now that we’ve put to bed what proved to be a tumultuous and politically uncertain 2019, we thought this would be a good time to check in and see what the market forecast is for the year ahead.

Considering all of the Brexit and political uncertainty that we experienced in 2019, award-winning property agents, Rohrs and Rowe, tell us: “The demand for quality properties in the county proved to be much stronger than some may have expected, with record-breaking prices achieved in some coastal areas.”

Into 2020 and that trend looks set to continue. “With the general election now over and Brexit looking as though it will finally happen,” reveals Matthew Rowe, “we are already experiencing a busy start to 2020. Buyers seem to have the attitude that they just want to get on with life, so it seems likely that 2020 will follow a similar pattern to 2019, albeit with a slightly more optimistic outlook.

Josephine Ashby, from north Cornwall estate agency John Bray and Partners, tells us: “Buyers remain focused on their dream to own a holiday home or, in some cases, relocate to the north Cornwall coast. As our lives become increasingly busy, buyers are keen to secure somewhere that allows them to spend quality time with their loved ones, sometimes with a view to letting it out when they’re not using it.” Sales on the north coast have bucked the national trend and the John Bray and Partners team continue to receive instructions all year round – testament to the area’s enduring appeal.

Already seeing increased activity from buyers and sellers, Miranda from Clive Pearce sums it all up, telling us that “there hasn’t been a better time to move home!”

Top selling tips

For those of you thinking about selling your Cornish home, whether you’re hoping to upsize, down-size, or are simply in the market for a change, to help improve your chances of a successful sale, we ask our agents for their top selling tips. First and foremost, Laura at Philip Martin tells us that it’s key you spend some time finding an agent with extensive knowledge of the area. Miranda at Clive Pearce agrees, and rightly points out that “local knowledge and experience are crucial,” also highlighting the importance of having an agent accompany prospective buyers on viewing. “Not only do buyers feel more comfortable with this, it also means that the agent is able to work comfortably with both buyer and seller, ensuring the best outcome for the seller.”

On the matter of presentation, Martyn Rohrs tells us: “It’s very hard to change people’s first impressions, so it’s imperative to create the right experience first time round.” He suggests investing in presentation “both internally and externally, as buyers will see and feel that it’s a home you have really enjoyed living in.”

Often, confirms Chris at Savills, “a little investment in preparation at the outset will generate significant reward when it comes to a sale.”

Josephine Ashby advises professional photography, drone aerials and videos as the best way in which to present a property to its strongest advantage, but she takes it one step further, explaining that pricing and presentation are both key! “While sales remain strong, strategic pricing has been the key to success over the last year.” In fact, she informs us, “competitive pricing has attracted multiple bids and delivered the best result for serious sellers,” with some properties achieving in excess of 10% over their guide price!

When preparing your home for market, Richard at My Place in Cornwall stresses the importance of de-cluttering. “A prospective buyer will want to envisage themselves living in the property when they come to view it,” he explains, “so simply placing it on the market,” without any consideration of presentation, “doesn’t guarantee the result you are hoping for.”

One thing that Rohrs and Rowe continue to experience is a high demand for properties with established income streams, or those with the potential for it. Buyers moving to Cornwall are often looking to supplement their income, explains Martyn, as they are usually taking some kind of pay cut or reduction in income in order to move here. “Last year,” he tells us, “we sold several properties with income or income potential,” a great example being Jersey Cottage at Constantine Bay near Padstow, for which, he explains, “we were inundated with interest and viewings.”

Finding your dream home

One of the most exciting aspects of moving house has to be searching for your next home; as you browse through the online listings and sign up to local agents’ mailing lists, you never know when ‘the one’ is going to appear in your feed. Having recently bought my first home, I know full well how exciting that is! There is, however, a downside, and during our search, we viewed a number of properties that simply didn’t tick any of our boxes. That being the case, I thought it would be useful to ask our agents what advice they have to offer those of you searching for your dream Cornish home.

Chris at Savills starts us off, pointing out that Cornwall is a large county with an extremely diverse property market. With that in mind, he advises: “Don’t pigeonhole yourself to one specific area as often we find that buyers choose a property that’s well outside of their original search criteria.”

Indeed, as Richard Yeo says, it’s easy to get caught up searching for homes in unaffordable areas, “when in reality, both the north and south coasts are accessible within just a short drive.”

The best place to start, says Matthew Rowe, is contacting a reputable agent to help you understand the market you’re buying into. “The Cornish market is different to most of the UK, as premium property values can often be dictated by intangible features such as water views and proximity to the many lifestyle benefits that Cornwall provides.”

Move slightly in land, however, and Richard reveals that “you can acquire some beautiful countryside property for better value, and you’ll end up with more bang for your buck in terms of indoor and outdoor space.” Surely that’s something we can all get on board with!

To start your search, Richard suggests listing the things that are most important to you, including the things you currently enjoy most about where you live, what you would miss and what you need. “Cornwall is a change of lifestyle that many people enjoy,” he continues, “but it is very different to fast paced city living!”

Before you book a viewing, Laura at Philip Martin suggests doing a ‘drive by’. “Location of the property is just as important as the property itself,” she explains. “An agent can only advise you so far on the area, and only you will know whether the proximity of the neighbours is too close, or if the amenities are too far away. By doing a drive by, you can save yourself and the vendors a lot of time.”

Ultimately, your search criteria should be at the forefront of the entire process, which is why Clive Pearce recommend taking the time to pop in and talk to estate agents. “By getting to know them and letting the agents get to know you, you can make sure that you’re top of the list to get a call when a property comes to market, often giving you a head start before it hits the internet.”

Josephine reveals that most agents run a ‘hot prospects list’, updating potential buyers of new instructions even before they come to market. She also highlights the importance of automating your search; try setting up alerts for your search areas and criteria, so you never miss a new instruction. “Register with the predominant agents in the geographical area that you’re looking to purchase in and keep in touch regularly to update them of
your situation.

“Remember to ask about their private sales too,” she continues, “as not all properties come to the open market.” In fact, John Bray sold £22M of property off-market last year, from classic Cornish cottages to luxury homes in prime waterfront locations, “so it is well worth opening a dialogue with your agent to let them know what you’re looking for.”

The ‘L’ factor

I am, of course, referring to ‘Location’ – something that’s extraordinarily difficult to narrow down in a county as large and as consistently desirable as Cornwall. So where should you be looking?

John Bray and Partners specialise in north Cornwall. Josephine tells us: “We’re lucky that Rock, Polzeath, Trebetherick and Port Isaac continue to hold strong appeal. ” She points us to the outlying hamlets and villages like Trelights, Chapel Amble, St Kew and Tregardock, which she tells us “are very close to these popular locations but offer a lower price per square foot.”

Perhaps you’re in the market for something in need of a little TLC, in which case Philip Martin have sold and agreed many renovation and refurbishment properties in the village of Chacewater and the surrounding area. Approximately five miles from Truro, Sean tells us that Chacewater nevertheless benefits from stunning countryside surroundings, so the draw of the village’s locale – not to mention its old cottages in need of refurbishment – really speaks for itself.

South east Cornwall is becoming increasingly popular too, according to Chris
at Savills. He points us to the stretch of coastline between Hayle and Perranporth, which “still offers good value and has some great opportunities.”

Just up the coast, Rohrs and Rowe highlight Newquay, not necessarily as ‘up and coming’, but greatly improved thanks to recent investment. Illustrating the point, Rohrs and Rowe sold two excellent properties at the end of last year, both enjoying competitive bidding situations that resulted in offers vastly in excess of their guide prices! Martyn elaborates: “Newquay has been renowned for its world class beaches and surfing waters for many years. It also now enjoys many fantastic restaurants and bars, and due to the recent investment in the town, there are now some superb properties too.” Combine this with easy access to the UK and Europe from its excellent airport, continues Matthew, “you can understand why so many people are now wanting to live in or buy a property near Newquay.”

Finally, Richard at My Place in Cornwall reveals growing demand for property in St Columb Major. First and foremost, the location “represents good value for money,” but it’s also “small enough to enjoy a quiet lifestyle whilst containing just about all the local amenities you might need.”

Located just a few miles from in-demand spots like Watergate Bay, Padstow and Wadebridge, Richard finishes: “We think St Columb could be one of the most popular areas for those relocating to Cornwall, or wanting to move closer to the coast.”

Well, there you have it! With such a diverse offering of homes to choose from, it’s reassuring to know that Cornwall is home to a wealth of industry experts to help you navigate the market. To see more of the kinds of properties that are currently available through some of the county’s top estate agents, be sure to click here; you never know, we may just have featured your dream home!


Discover More

Whether you’re buying or selling, be sure to check out the below Cornish property agents:

Rohrs and Rowe

Jackie Stanley

The Mather Partnership

John Bray and Partners

My Place in Cornwall

Savills Cornwall

Philip Martin

Clive Pearce Property