Has Covid-19 boosted Essex property prices? Local estate agents offer their insight

St Osyth Priory (photo: Paul Eccleston, Arthouse Ltd)

St Osyth Priory (photo: Paul Eccleston, Arthouse Ltd) - Credit: Archant

The environment in which we live become a real focus for us all during lockdown, and the experience is likely to have a significant impact on the preferences of house buyers for some time to come. So what does that mean for your home?

St Osyth Priory (photo: Paul Eccleston, Arthouse Ltd)

St Osyth Priory (photo: Paul Eccleston, Arthouse Ltd) - Credit: Archant

The global pandemic has seen a huge shift in people’s attitudes towards their everyday lives. As people’s lifestyles and priorities change, so does what they want from their home.

When it comes to property, open recreational space is now much higher up on the wish list. The convenience of urban living is slipping down the list of priorities while the benefits of the great outdoors have been rediscovered, now becoming something that many people feel they cannot compromise on.

The chance to escape into open fields, along bridle paths and into the Essex countryside has been highly prized during lockdown and it’s something that people want to hold on to as our lives get back to normality. Rural living has helped many families and individuals find a much-needed extension from their own four walls, and for many families within the London bubble, the chance to work from home more and explore the Essex countryside regularly is likely to start to add a premium to rural properties in Essex, and could boost your house price too.

Nicki Treffers, marketing director at Beresfords, comments: ‘While the Covid-19 pandemic has meant an incredibly challenging time for us all, we have sensed a real positivity in the property market as people look to take on changes they enjoyed during lockdown and get on with life as things start to return to some sense of normality. Rural areas of Essex have always been in high demand, but the early indications are that more and more people will look to our county as a place to call home.’

Ballingdon Hall (photo: Chris Rawlings)

Ballingdon Hall (photo: Chris Rawlings) - Credit: Archant

Zoe Napier, founder and director of Zoe Napier Group, believes that sellers should make hay while the sun shines: ‘In the property market there is a great deal for sellers to be happy about at the moment, but how long this will last is anyone’s guess,’ says Zoe Napier, founder and director of Zoe Napier Group.

‘There is an exodus from urban areas to rural locations. More buyers want open space and extra room at home than they did before the lockdown. Larger houses have suddenly become more popular as buyers look for extra working and leisure space, not just for one person but for two or more people. ‘Multi­generational homes are also receiving more attention. The countryside, coastal spots and Essex in general has become a magnet of attraction for these numerous reasons.

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‘Properties that are two or even three hours travelling time from major cities such as London are increasingly in vogue. Buyers are swapping property in the commuter belts for more expansive homes farther out, now that working from home is more prevalent. Why live within the Metropolitan areas when you can live in serenity just outside the capital, and particularly in the Essex countryside?

‘But sellers should beware of several points. First, urban living has wonderful advantages and this outward movement may not last. Second, we don’t yet know the full impact of increased unemployment and this could affect buyer numbers later in the year.

Coastal retreat in St Osyth (photo: courtesy Zoe Napier Group)

Coastal retreat in St Osyth (photo: courtesy Zoe Napier Group) - Credit: Archant

‘So make hay while the sun shines. Through a flexible approach, help a deal to go through sooner rather than later. We really don’t know what tomorrow brings and while the appetite is there for buyers to purchase, don’t become too confident that there could be a better offer out there. Strike while the iron is hot. Now is the time to secure not just the perfect investment, but a home of longevity which ticks all the right boxes that you seriously lacked in lockdown.’

Hot property: 5 Essex homes with plenty of space

Willow Meade (photo: Zoe Napier Group)

Willow Meade (photo: Zoe Napier Group) - Credit: Archant

St Osyth Priory

If you are looking for a modern home with the space to enjoy the surrounding countryside, why not consider the stunning collection of new houses and apartments for sale at St Osyth Priory? Set within the historic grounds of the former priory, the development of just 73 private and exclusive new homes ranges from pretty cottages to stylish apartments. The buildings alone comprise 16 separate Grade I, Grade II* and Grade II listed buildings and numerous Scheduled Ancient Monuments together with the registered park and garden. The parkland is set adjacent to the River Colne Estuary Site of Special Scientific Interest, an extensive wetland habitat of national and international importance for a wide range of wildfowl, invertebrates and salt marsh plant communities. It is also a County Wildlife Site, with its mosaic of historic ponds and avenues, woodland, reed bed and veteran trees making perfect habitats for birds and other wildlife.

For more information, visit cityandcountry.co.uk and search for St Osyth Priory or call Beresfords on 01206 764444

High Trees (photo: courtesy Zoe Napier Group)

High Trees (photo: courtesy Zoe Napier Group) - Credit: Archant

Ballingdon Hall, Sudbury

Ballingdon Hall is a Grade II listed Elizabethan mansion nestling on the hillside just south of the market town of Sudbury. The grounds extend to circa 20 acres, enjoying spectacular views over the Stour Valley. Some 48 years ago, the beautiful mansion was cruelly sandwiched between new developments and the owners decided to move the house half a mile away. Many months later, the timber-framed, three-storey mansion dating from 1590 was moved all in one piece, and was lowered on to new foundations, with its chimneys then rebuilt. The original house was built by Sir Thomas Eden, a former High Sheriff. The manor house was very large and shaped in the letter H. Now the only original part which is still standing is the half cross of the letter H. In its day, it was considered the ‘chief baronial residence’ in the neighbourhood. Safely installed in its new location, the owners carried out an extensive programme of refurbishment, using only authentic Elizabethan oak and bricks over a period of five years. The owners have lived in the house for over 60 years, but have decided that it is time to move on for another family to enjoy this historic property.

For further details, see nicholaspercival.co.uk or call Nicholas Percival on 01206 563222

Coastal retreat in St Osyth

How about this superb holiday or permanent home located in St Osyth with immediate beach frontage. The Beaches has three bedrooms and a separate detached annexe. The furniture and boats come with it by goodwill. The price tag is £385,000 but the owners say what fun they have had with the children growing up and weekending here. At times they have had up to 10 in the house and six in the annexe stay for overnight family gatherings.

See zoenapier.com

Willow Meade, Colne Valley

Remarkable rural retreats, some with outside office space, are available here in Essex. The part-thatched Willow Meade offers a rural lifestyle in the Colne Valley (guide price £849,995). Similarly, Little Orchards on the county border overlooks the Stour Valley with a guide price of £750,000. All set in 1.25 acres.

See zoenapier.com

High Trees, Maldon

Many homes of £2,000,000 and more can bring a lifestyle beyond measure. High Trees in Maldon with its seven acres is an absolute modern dream with an internal lift, a sublime indoor pool complex and family living beyond compare. Guide price £3,950,000.

See zoenapier.com

Read more: New survey suggests homebuyers could head back to the Essex countryside following coronavirus

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