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Cream of the Coast

20.08.21

With the coronavirus pandemic fuelling a surge of interest in relocating to more rural locations, Cornwall has replaced London as one of the most searched-for places to live.

The West Country has long been known as a bolt hole for the wealthy, but the events of the last 12 months have led to more investors and homebuyers heading to the South West looking to snap up top of the range properties.

A recent review of the property market in the South West by JLL, highlights the move towards rural quality housing. The company is predicting a significant uplift in demand particularly for quality family housing as a result of home working and demand for outside space. This trend is further reflected in a boost in output from housebuilders and developers, especially in popular coastal areas such as North Cornwall and South Devon.

JLL's lead director Tim Western explains: "The underlying fundamentals behind these residential trends are compelling. A significant amount of time and money has been spent on preparing new visions and placemaking strategies for the region and that’s starting to pay off."

Cornwall is also now top of the property investment leader board as ‘the most searched location’ on leading property platform Rightmove, with neighbouring Devon ranked third, while Dorset jumped from the 20th to the 10th most searched-for location, according to analysis by the property website of homebuyer searches in the spring of this year.

The property portal confirms that six of the top 10 locations that have experienced the biggest increases in searches by prospective buyers are in Cornwall and Devon, with the village of Stithians near Truro top of the list, up 224% compared with February 2020. There has also been a dramatic increase in homebuyer interest in other rural areas, including the Isle of Skye, Braemar in the Cairngorms National Park, and locations in Norfolk and East Sussex.

“The standout trends over the past year have been increased demand for get-away-from-it-all living, with the increased appeal of a garden or private land,” said Tim Bannister, the director of property data at Rightmove. “The evolution for many from balancing their laptop on the end of a bed last March to making an office a permanent addition to a home, has led to a requirement and a priority for even bigger homes than before.”

Gearing up for investor demand - Cornish developer Stephens + Stephens is building two luxury developments in Newquay. Cliff Edge on the old Cliffdene Hotel site and Breakwater on the Pentire peninsula, overlooking the world famous Fistral Beach.

And the company has just launched a stylish, new scheme called The Nest, a collection of 15 unique and boutique homes in the heart of the UNESCO-listed World Heritage Site in Charlestown. Accessed by a private road and surrounded by a beautiful, traditional stone wall on three sides, evergreen and deciduous trees form a dense, natural screen between neighbouring properties. Houses feature an architectural scheme utilising elemental materials including Cornish stone, fittingly bound with traditional pointing techniques. These attractive, historical flourishes are interspersed with huge sections of contemporary glass windows and glazed links, merging with dark steels and zinc cladding, providing sleek, seamless finishes. Prices start from £495,000.

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