The increase in the
number of people working from home has unquestionably changed tenants’ search
requirements. Whilst property requirements have seen more a focus on space,
both indoors and outdoors (e.g. gardens, balconies etc), location requirements
are shifting from a town-centre focus. We are finding that village and
countryside properties are more appealing to tenants, particularly if they have
an easy route to work when they do need to commute in. It’s being described as
a “halo effect” in which flexible working means tenants are looking for homes
with more indoor and outdoor space around towns and cities.
In Quarter 1 (January, February and March), the levels of
applicant demand continued beyond the typical post-Christmas busy weeks while
supply has struggled to keep up. According to Rightmove, national rental demand
was 41% higher in February than in the same month last year. As people continue
to work from home, indoor and outdoor space continues to be a priority, and we
have let nearly 400 properties across our eight offices – many within a matter
of days, some receiving multiple offers and some before they even hit the
Charlbury has been named as one of the best places to live in 2021 by the Sunday Times. The small west Oxfordshire town was acknowledged as a great place to live for its beautiful surroundings, its easy access to larger neighbouring towns (Chipping Norton and Witney) and its active community. Indeed, over 100 residents have shares in the community-owned Charlbury Deli & Café!
The town has four pubs and there are also excellent
offerings in nearby Kingham and Woodstock. There are glorious walks through
Cornbury Park Estate and in the (outside-of-Covid) summer months there are
plenty of activities going on in the area, including a beer festival and music
festivals both small and large (Wilderness).
For such a small town, it’s very well connected. Charlbury
station offers trains to Oxford and London Paddington; Witney and Chipping
Norton can be reached by car in 20 minutes or less; Soho Farmhouse is a 15
minute drive away; and Jeremy Clarkson’s Diddly Squat farm shop, with its
locally produced goods is only a 10 minute drive away.
Want to live in West Oxfordshire? Charlbury is so popular that all of the properties that we let in the village are currently occupied, but our Witney office is currently marketing two fantastic properties in nearby locations:
Enstone A well-presented two bedroom, one bathroom cottage in the village of Enstone. This property has lovely living room with wood-burning stove which leads into the kitchen with appliances and door to garden.
Woodstock A good-sized one bedroom, one bathroom first floor apartment in Woodstock (home to Blenheim Palace). This property has a large sitting room with double aspect windows, separate kitchen and an attractive courtyard garden.
If you are looking to move to west Oxfordshire, or need a
great tenant for your property then call Stacey or Paul on 01993 700150.
Tenant demand in Banbury has been strong over the last 12 months. After an initial dip around the start of the pandemic, the number of tenant phone calls and emails we received surged. People were spending more time at home, which provided them with time to reassess whether their current property was sufficient for their lifestyle. They wanted more space (inside for home working and outside for private areas in fresh air) and some were moving out of London (more working from home meant less frequent commuting).
Inspired Sales & Acquisitions is the soul of Finders Keepers. We
started as a search service (it’s the “Finders” in our name) and over the years
we have bought hundreds of properties for investors of all sizes. Today, the
department deals with sales as well as helping investors to identify and acquire
investment properties, with a focus on bespoke service.
We believe that this last year has shown Oxfordshire’s strength as a county and while it has not been immune to the effects of the global pandemic, it has performed well: at 3.8% unemployment remains well below the national average of 6.4%; we have highly qualified workers in top positions; and the many growth sectors provide potential for job creation in the region.
The stamp duty holiday, introduced last year and currently due to end at the end of March, undoubtedly helped to fuel the sales market over the last seven months or so. However, as the deadline approaches and with the current time to completion sitting at 126 days, many buyers will not benefit from the stamp duty discount.
With the chance of completing a sale by the end of March declining, some sales are falling through as buyers and sellers are starting to realise they may miss the deadline. A survey by the Guild of Property Professionals showed that nearly a third of buyers would ditch their potential purchase if completion took them beyond the deadline, and recent Rightmove data shows that the proportion of property sales that fell through in January was 7% higher than the previous year.
“With the general election
concluded and Brexit on the horizon, 2020 is set to be an interesting year.
There will undoubtedly be changes which will impact landlords, and although
some of the detail remains cloudy at this point, our eight offices are set to
deal with the changing face of the private rental sector (PRS).”
That was our introductory paragraph to last year’s ‘2020 outlook’, and
we were not wrong when we said it was set to be an interesting year. At the
start of last year we, like many other agencies, were expecting a bounce in
activity due to renewed confidence following the General Election (and the
Government’s conviction to leave the UK bringing some form of certainty to the
future). What the market actually experienced was a solid start followed by a
seven week shutdown and enormous dip before rebounding when the market reopened
in May (Figure 1). A soothsayer, we are not! Nevertheless, we have taken a measured
view of the year ahead: