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House price rise fuelled by ‘demand for homes with gardens because of Covid’

PUBLISHED: 07:15 11 September 2020

Jamie Minors, right, and Alex Brady, left of Minors & Brady. Pic: Minors & Brady/Archant library

Jamie Minors, right, and Alex Brady, left of Minors & Brady. Pic: Minors & Brady/Archant library

Archant

A desire to move to a house with open space is causing a ‘strong uplift’ in the market – particularly in rural areas like Norfolk.

This Georgian rectory in Smallburgh, sitated in extensive gardens and grounds, has just gone under offer. Pic: SavillsThis Georgian rectory in Smallburgh, sitated in extensive gardens and grounds, has just gone under offer. Pic: Savills

House prices nationally reached a four year high with agents putting it down to pandemic trends – particularly a demand for homes with gardens.

It comes as RICS, Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors, reported the sharpest rise in prices since 2016 with 79% of member agents predicting more demand for properties with green space.

This Georgian rectory in Smallburgh, sitated in extensive gardens and grounds, has just gone under offer. Pic: SavillsThis Georgian rectory in Smallburgh, sitated in extensive gardens and grounds, has just gone under offer. Pic: Savills

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Jamie Minors, who runs local estate agency Minors & Brady, with three offices across Norfolk, said they had sold almost twice as many homes compared to the same period last year, agreeing 201 sales in July and 180 in August – usually months when the market slows down because of school holidays.

“As the world changes, buyers demand changes. Reflection and outdoor space has been a huge factor. More people want gardens for family events, BBQs and their own freedom to roam, as opposed to an apartment. We are still selling apartments to first time buyers who are keen to exit Mum and Dad’s house, investors and of course downsizers who have sold a detached house to clear their mortgage as they’ve realised ‘life’s too short’.

This home in Town Road, Ingham, with a large garden has just gone on the market for £325,000. Pic: Minors & BradyThis home in Town Road, Ingham, with a large garden has just gone on the market for £325,000. Pic: Minors & Brady

“But properties with private plots and large gardens are selling for very high prices, because we have experienced the pain in lockdown of not enough space.

“Norwich has hit a tricky point where we have built vast amount of apartment blocks, therefore supply has risen but demand for a standard box apartment has declined.”

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Louis de Soissons, who leads the residential team at Savills Norwich, said: “Since the housing market reopened, and despite the uncertain economic backdrop, we have seen a surge in the number of sales being agreed. Those with the financial security to be able to move are acting on their changing priorities, their requirement for more space and, in many cases, a reassessment of their work-life balance.

Louis de Soissons, from Savills. Pic: SavillsLouis de Soissons, from Savills. Pic: Savills

“Determination to avoid compromise on lifestyle factors has certainly intensified over the summer. In a recent survey of our clients carried out in mid-August 62% said that the amount of garden or outside space had become more important, up from 49% in April. Home working also looks set to become a long term phenomenon, with 56% of respondents saying they are now more inclined to work from home more regularly.

“This desire for more space has boosted the appeal of a more rural lifestyle and we have certainly seen that reflected here in Norfolk.”

Simon Rubinsohn, RICS chief economist, said: “The latest RICS survey provides firm evidence of a strong uplift in activity in the housing market...more of a concern is the pick-up in prices which could intensify issues around affordability. Increased demand for properties with garden and near green spaces has, if anything, increased since we tested the water in May.”


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