Agent Insight: Katherine Watters of The Buying Solution in Surrey and West Sussex
For our latest Agent Insight column, we speak to Katherine Watters of The Buying Solution in Surrey and West Sussex
Does Guildford remain one of the most attractive towns to buy and invest in property?
Guildford remains a firm favourite for all types of buyers. With direct links to Waterloo, it suits buyers who commute to work but prefer to live outside of London. Guildford high street boasts enviable shopping opportunities and there are excellent leisure facilities at the Spectrum and Surrey Sports Park, together with theatres and a multi-screen cinema.
Schooling also remains a significant draw here, from the excellent grammar schools to the University of Surrey, and there has been a sharp rise in investors seizing opportunities to purchase good quality student accommodation and enjoy high rental yields year on year.
What property types are particularly popular in Guildford?
In the centre of town, property ranges from purpose built flats and penthouses around Trinity Gate to older Victorian properties within walking distance of the high street. On the outskirts, the areas around Pewley Hill, White Lane and the Chantries attract a premium, and boast large detached properties that offer a semi-rural feel. Most of these homes now attract offers in excess of £2 million, and it is easy to see why.
Which other areas are particularly popular at the moment?
The villages of Bramley and Shamley Green remain the most requested commuter hotspots. St Catherine’s Girl’s School in Bramley and Longacre in Shamley Green are major attractions, and these villages particularly appeal to those with young families moving out of London for the first time.
Haslemere has also grown into a commuter haven in recent years, following the opening of the Hindhead tunnel. In addition to its commuter links, Haslemere is a vibrant and atmospheric town with a variety of national and independent shops and excellent housing, both in the town centre and surrounding villages.
What are the current property trends in Surrey?
We are seeing a surge in enquiries from people interested in renovating or extending their homes. Whereas traditionally buyers moving out of London required a turnkey property, many are now are seeking an opportunity to redevelop and really put their stamp on a home.
However, because of the beauty of the surrounding areas and countryside, many homes are in Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and properties may be listed, so it is important to investigate the planning application procedures when considering any redevelopment.
What do you expect to see happen in the local market over the next 12 months?
There will be some great opportunities for buyers towards the end of the year, as with the upcoming General Election there will be a little trepidation in early spring with many buyers waiting to see how things will pan out. Traditionally in election years, the spring market tends not to gather pace until after the Election.
Pricing is paramount - aim the price too high and vendors may find that they have viewings but that there is reticence in coming forward with an offer. Competitively priced properties garner interest, and in many cases attract several bidders.