With the buzzing city of Bristol just crowned the best place to live in the UK in 2017, and arty Falmouth topping the list of favourite "perennials", the South West looks set to become even more popular amongst house buyers.
The Sunday Times "Best Places to Live Guide" assessed various data including crime rates, house prices and school performance to come up with its 2017 list of the best places to live.
The South West's capital emerged as the winner. Vibrant, tech-savvy, diverse and individual, Bristol is an exciting place to live and work. And another town in the region – Falmouth on the Cornish coast – topped the reader vote to rank the "top 20 perennials" in the same survey. This celebrates places that have appeared in virtually every list over the past five years. The harbour town's latest title comes just months after its win in the Great British High Street Awards, and is well-deserved thanks to its thriving university, its nurturing business environment, and its rich cultural calendar and arts scene.
This week our round-up highlights new developments, both in Bristol and close to Falmouth, as well as in other parts of the popular South West of England.
PL2 in Plymouth, Devon (Barratt Homes)
The one- and two-bedroom apartments at PL2 in the port city of Plymouth are proving popular with first time property investors looking for a long-term return on their money. One such buyer, Annie Dawes, is now enjoying watching her investment thrive as a buy-to-let, whilst continuing her own life in France. Keen to retain a base in the UK, her home town of Plymouth was her first choice in terms of location. “I was born and brought up in Plymouth and have family still in the area but key to my decision was knowing the city and the strong rental market meant it was easy to find a tenant quickly,” says Annie. “Maybe one day we will return to the UK so having a property in Britain means we still have a foothold in the market.”
PL2 is breathing new life into a formerly run-down area of the city as part of North Prospect, a 10-year regeneration plan involving a £129m investment in new homes and improved local facilities. Barratt predicts rental yields of more than 6% will make the remaining homes popular at PL2. Annie's home there was let in just five days, for example, demonstrating the strength of the local rental market.
“We are seeing demand from both new and experienced investors looking to capitalise on the strong rental market and good yields," says Barratt Homes sales director Sara Parker. "Those with funds are keen to invest for the long term and low interest rates currently available on buy-to-let mortgages are encouraging more people to look at property for their investment portfolio.”
Prices: From £127,995 to £139,995.
Find out more at barratthomes.co.uk.
Penn An Dre in Truro, Cornwall (Taylor Wimpey)
Less than 12 miles down the road from the award-winning town of Falmouth, this development in the Cornish city of Truro is ideal for those who want to enjoy city life combined with the chance to escape to beautiful local countryside and beaches.
With a range of three- to six-bedroom homes, and primary and secondary schools in the area, it's ideal for families with school-aged children. Beautiful coastline and beaches are within easy striking distance, and there is an excellent selection of shops, entertainment and leisure facilities within a short drive of Penn An Dre. Meanwhile, commuters will find direct rail services to both Penzance and Plymouth from the railway station, making regional travel very straightforward.
This is also one of several Taylor Wimpey developments in Cornwall that currently has a special offer available to qualifying key workers, enabling them to get a helping hand to get on or move up the property ladder. This includes £500 off every £25,000 spent on selected new homes; 1% stamp duty paid (where applicable); and valuation and legal fees paid up to £1,500.
Prices: From £238,000
Find out more about Penn An Dre from Taylor Wimpey
Sapphire Lodge in Nailsea (near Bristol), Somerset (Churchill Retirement Living)
Just two properties now remain at Sapphire Lodge in Nailsea, North Somerset, less than ten miles from the dynamic city of Bristol and about 11 miles from the popular seaside resort of Weston-super-Mare.
The apartments are designed to offer an easier and more enjoyable retirement lifestyle, with generously-sized rooms that combine great design with functionality. For example, the fully fitted, stylish kitchens include a built-in fridge and freezer, hob and an oven, which is located at an easy-reach height. Light switches are illuminated for easy location, and there is a fitted camera entry system to offer the highest level of security – plus a 24-hour emergency call system.
To smooth the move for prospective buyers, and celebrate being named Housebuilder of the Year at the latest WhatHouse? Awards, the retirement developer is currently offering a cash incentive of £10,000 on each of the remaining apartments. There are many amenities near Sapphire Lodge, including shops, restaurants, a supermarket, a doctor’s surgery, a dentist and a post office, plus the bustling town centre has many shops and a weekly market each Tuesday.
"Sapphire Lodge has appealed to a wide range of people, from those who have relocated to be near Bristol’s many attractions; to local retirees keen to take advantage of the benefits offered by retirement living and have made the move so they can relax and enjoy their retirement years," explains Jo Ridehalgh, regional marketing executive at Churchill Retirement Living. “The Lodge has a great community atmosphere; with quiz and games afternoons, weekly coffee mornings and film clubs amongst just some of the social events that take place, they offer the perfect choice for anyone looking for a safe, secure, low maintenance property to downsize to.”
Prices: One-bedroom from £278,950, or two-bedroom from £387,950 – with up to £10,000 cashback available.
To find out more visit www.churchillretirement.co.uk or call 01275 821 477.
Charlton Hayes near Bristol, South Gloucestershire (Barratt Homes)
A new phase will be released on 1st April at Barratt's popular Charlton Hayes development in South Gloucestershire, incorporating a selection of new house types at the development. The house builder expects the phase to have a wide appeal, and for demand to be high from those living locally as well as from buyers from further afield looking to move into the area.
“We know there is great demand for homes in Bristol as a whole,” explains sales director Andrea Pilgrim. “In fact, the city has been named in the top 10 fasted growing cities in the UK for 2017, according to The UK Powerhouse report.
“This is very evident here at Charlton Hayes. It’s been a hugely successful development so far, and our designers have worked very hard to come up with a brand new range of outstanding properties - each one displaying a mix of style and availability.”
Charlton Hayes offers a choice of one-, two-, three- and four-bedroom homes situated within walking distance of local amenities such as a doctor’s surgery, a post office, primary schools, local shops and a pub. Commuters will enjoy easy access to Bristol Parkway railway station and the M4 and M5 motorways, all of which are just a short distance away.
Prices: From £284,995 to £389,995.
Find out more about Charlton Hayes from Barratt Homes
Eastgate in Dorchester, Dorset (Metis Homes)
This gated riverside development of just 10 three- and four-bedroom town houses and one coach house is situated in the heart of Dorchester, just a few hundred metres from the town centre, offering private on-site parking for all properties.
Carefully designed to complement the local architecture and the site's interesting heritage, all of the homes have been built using natural local materials such as Portland stone. Once home to the 18th Century White Hart Inn, which stars in Thomas Hardy's "A Few Crusted Characters", Eastgate now has the pub's renovated stag monument in pride of place at the centre of the development. Inside, these immaculately-presented homes all have a high specification and incorporate modern designer touches, while some also offer private terraces or Juliette balconies with millstream views.
The historic county town of Dorchester is well-placed for those who want to combine town and country life. Peaceful countryside and the Duchess of Cornwall’s Poundbury are virtually on your doorstep, while the waterfronts at Bournemouth and Weymouth are both about 30 minutes' drive or an easy train ride away.
Prices: From £325,000.
Find out more about Eastgate from Metis Homes
The Penthouses at The Chocolate Box, Bournemouth (Acorn South)
Acorn South has now released phase two of The Chocolate Box, a striking regeneration project in the heart of Bournemouth. The Penthouses are five duplex units incorporating floor-to-ceiling triple glazed windows that let in plenty of natural light and capitalise on the sweeping views across the city, coast and sea. The Penthouses have secure parking, dedicated lift access, entry phone systems on both levels, and terraces. Externally, the chameleon cladding, which turns from red to gold to purple, is a bold and distinctive feature against the grey eternit weather board. All five units are now available to buy, with a completion date at the end of April.
Just moments from the beach and Bournemouth's main shops, restaurants and entertainment venues, these smart new homes are ideal for those who want to enjoy both city and beach life - particularly as Bournemouth boasts more sunshine per day than any other city in Britain!
Prices: On application.
Find out more at www.acornsouth.co.uk or call 023 8202 4940.