Cornwall LivingIssue #144

Luxury property in Cornwall

When it feels like the property market is forever shifting, an insight from some of the Duchy’s leading luxury property experts has never been more reassuring.

With its stretches of sparkling shoreline, endless miles of fresh green countryside and a unique culture all its own, it’s no wonder that Cornwall is at the top of many a list when it comes to dream places to live. But, along with the rest of the country, 2023 was a tumultuous year for the property market, leaving many feeling uncertain when it came to taking that exhilarating step towards property ownership in Cornwall.

However, 2024 holds the promise of a fresh new year and while there are likely still challenges up ahead, a conversation with some of Cornwall’s most prestigious estate agents is sure to help cast a little light on the best way to navigate the current Cornish property market, and how we might weather any storms on the horizon.

“During the pandemic, lots of people who had no previous connection with Cornwall were suddenly buying in the county, but that was unusual. Aside from the occasional spike, the days of Cornish property selling overnight, sight-unseen and over the asking price, are a long and distant memory,” says Josephine Ashby, Managing Partner at John Bray Estate Agents. “It’s become clear to sellers that prices have now adjusted, and the market has settled into a healthier and more manageable state. The impasse has passed!”

Josephine continues to explain that buyers today generally have some association with the area, either from holidaying, or due to long-term family ties. There are currently lots of buyers down-sizing or up-sizing within the area and there’s a big demand for properties with annexes or studios to satisfy multi-generational buyers, or as a means of generating an extra income. “Undoubtedly,” she says, “the rise in costs of living and high mortgage rates have had an impact, but that said, values of very prime coastal property have held firm and sold well, and sensible sellers who are realistic about guide prices are achieving positive results.”

As far as supply is concerned for those looking to buy in Cornwall, Josephine explains, this may well be the best time for buyers. Sellers tend to be reluctant to launch a property onto the market in the run up to an election. In 2024 prospective sellers will be waiting to get an idea of when the election is likely to take place before deciding to sell, so a huge increase in supply isn’t likely.

“There is still plenty to choose from,” we’re assured, “so buyers can take time to assess and think without feeling rushed into a decision; but they shouldn’t assume they can run away with a steal. Prices may not be going up, but on the whole properties are being marketed at a more realistic level. There may be a little room for negotiation in some cases, but buyers are active and seriously looking, and there is still healthy competition for the best properties.”

One particularly impressive property that was guided to a new owner by the expert hands at John Bray Estates in 2023 was Pieds Dans L’Eau, a striking six-bedroom state-of-the-art waterfront home that truly epitomises a dream Cornish dwelling, with the glittering water of the Fowey Estuary right on the doorstep.

“Buyers are, as ever, searching for the ‘Cornish dream’,” says Elowen Grey-Roberts at Philip Martin, “whether that is within walking distance of the beach, in a rural hamlet or the bustling city of Truro. Finding a forever family home is always important and this is at the forefront of most applicants’ minds. The current market remains incredibly buoyant and with interest rates set to fall, we hope it will continue to strengthen as the year progresses.”

Sometimes, all it takes is the right person at the right time to find a perfect match between a buyer and a forever home, with a constant demand for high-end housing in Cornwall. “There is plenty of stock available on the market,” Elowen continues, “and this will only increase coming into spring, with the summer months likely to boom as usual.”

Naturally, everyone’s idea of a heavenly home in Cornwall is different, and many of us will have different priorities when it comes to selecting properties to view. For instance, location is a key factor to consider – are you interested in having local amenities like a pub, shop and schools? Or do you prefer seclusion and privacy, with no neighbours nearby? Are you prepared to take on any work that might need to be done, and the costs that go with that? Perhaps a garage or a big garden is a must? These are all things to consider when it comes to your budget before beginning your search, not to mention the resale factors that come with all these ideals.

For those seeking the cosy Cornish cottage idyll, one property currently on Philip Martin’s books is Ty Gwyn, a charming detached
three-bedroom period cottage in Mylor Bridge, complete with enchanting creek views in this sought-after village location – a rare opportunity indeed! Or, if a classic country retreat is more to your liking, The Fields might be more your style. The stunning three-bedroom home set within an acre of grounds provides a beautiful semi-rural location for anyone looking to get away from it all, whilst still in walking distance of village facilities.

If only the rarest of gems is likely to entice you, Cornwall is certainly a hotspot for ‘best-in-class’ properties, which the Rohrs & Rowe team are very well acquainted with. While the market has been a little bumpy over the past year, when an unmissable opportunity presents itself it’ll more than likely be snapped up, as Martyn Rohrs kindly explains: “These types of properties, across all price ranges, will still be highly sought after due to their rarity factor. The premium end of the housing market is much less reliant on mortgage finance and so interest and bank rate fluctuations don’t tend to dictate the market in the same way.”

“While the supply of high-quality property in Cornwall is always low,” Matthew Rowe adds, “we expect an increase in relation to the exceptionally low availability seen in recent years. The sellers who didn’t manage to sell in 2023 will be returning to the market and there will also be a range of new sellers as well. The market has switched from previous years, where it was a seller’s market to one where there are less buyers in the market, so overall, if a property is poorly marketed and incorrectly priced this will translate into it taking longer to sell.”

One property that sold in 2023 was Goenrounsen House (below), a period home that offered privacy and the rather unique opportunity for multigenerational living as well as potential for extra income. Finished to an exceptionally high standard, and with the vendor’s paperwork all in place, an easy sale was inevitable. Another example, Ansells, set in the stunning location of The Roseland, offered effortlessly efficient and stylish accommodation with incredible views and easy access to the beach. Seaways in Porthpean was another unmissable chance for a Cornish haven, snapped up for its great views and beautifully finished accommodation complete with a gentle stroll to the beach – another glimpse into the type of dream homes finding their new owners at the hands of Rohrs & Rowe.

With such a range of lifestyles and houses here in the Duchy, it can be difficult to know where to start if you’re not sure what you’re looking for, but Manager of Jackie Stanley Estate Agents, Simon Poole offers some words of advice to help get you started on your dream-home journey: “The first thing to do would be to narrow down your search criteria – ask yourself exactly what you are looking for before you even start looking. Cornwall has such an eclectic mix of properties and varied locations, so you want to have an idea of what will work best for you and your budget before you start viewing homes.”

With an optimistic outlook on 2024, and having already seen an increase in buyer activity and confidence in the market, there’s no reason this won’t continue to strengthen as we move into spring and beyond. When it comes to selling, Simon is happy to lend a little of his expertise to those preparing to enter the market: “Being ‘market ready’ has never been more important, from making sure your property is presented to its best, dealing with any repairs or small improvements and making sure all building regulations, certificates and guarantees are in order and in place.”

Another thing to think about is comparing your home with other properties that have sold in your area to get a good overview of price. One thing to be wary of is agents offering high values and low fees, but previous sales evidence is a good way to offer you reassurance. Taking advice from a trusted lawyer to go over your paperwork before going to the market will help you to avoid any expensive issues and time delays when the time comes, making for a quick and easy completion. Ultimately, preparation and presentation should be very high up on your list of priorities if you’re planning to sell your home, not forgetting the support you’ll receive from one of the Duchy’s leading estate agents.

Tips for selling your home in 2024

If you’re looking to sell your home in 2024, take a look at our list of top tips to get you well on your way:

• Make sure all your paperwork is on order before entering the market.

• Work with your estate agent to agree on a realistic price based on comparable evidence.

• Make sure your home is well presented, clean and tidy, with any small repair works completed.

• Ensure you are happy with the photographs your estate agent has prepared; these should show your home at its very best.

• Be flexible with time frames for the best chance of receiving an offer that works for you.