Dorset property market 2015 - what’s in store

Tudor Lodge

Tudor Lodge - Credit: Archant

Hot on the heels of the recent stamp duty change and with a general election coming up, we asked some of the county’s leading estate agents to tell us about their year and give us their predictions for Dorset’s property market in 2015

Chris McCaughey

Chris McCaughey - Credit: Archant

Chris McCaughey, Stags, Bridport

Chris is an Associate Partner in Stags and runs the Bridport office. He is also head of Waterside Department in Dorset, and has over 20 years of experience including ten in central London.

“I cover West Dorset from Lyme Regis to Dorchester (and occasionally beyond). We specialise in coastal, country and equestrian homes as well as farms.”

Of the company’s progress last year, Chris says “2014 has been an excellent year for our business in West Dorset with some record prices achieved and over a 75 per cent increase in our business.” He goes on to say, “Coastal homes have been very much in demand, particularly in and around Lyme Regis. A major reason for this is that with the new hourly train service to London from Axminster there has been an influx of buyers from London who can have their main home on the coast and still keep work and business links open in London.”

When asked his highlight of 2014, he is quick to name a house in Lyme Regis. “I am particularly proud of Sundial House, which sold for 17 per cent above the guide price, having come on at ‘offers in excess of £1 million’.”

With regard to next year’s prospects, he is optimistic. “I am looking forward to 2015 which I feel will be an interesting year. I strongly believe that there are a large number of people in London and the South East who are approaching early retirement and looking to cash in on the disparity in values between the South West and South East, and this will continue to drive the West Dorset market.

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“These buyers have good budgets for their dream home and so picturesque cottages and coastal homes are always in demand. Areas particularly on the move are Lyme Regis and Charmouth, the Bride Valley and heading inland towards Beaminster.”

Stags, Bridport; 01308 428000;

William Wallis

William Wallis - Credit: Archant


William Wallis, Greenslade Taylor Hunt, Dorchester

As an Agricultural and Rural Surveyor, William covers Dorset and the surrounding areas. “Work includes a range of matters including professional valuations and the purchase and sales of land and farms and residential estate agency,” he says.

“The general consensus within the firm and other agents is that the market in 2014 has been very good if the property has been priced correctly and well presented.”

His high point of this year was the sale of Manor Farm, near Dorchester. “The property comprised a well-positioned productive traditional arable and livestock farm which extended in total to 422.15 acres (170.86 ha) or thereabouts. The sale offered an exciting and rare opportunity to acquire a Dorset estate complete with principal residence, cottage, farmland and woodland with sporting potential. Guide price £3,750,000.”

And for the year ahead William has similarly high hopes. “We predict that the market will be similar again and that the correct marketing method and pricing is vital.”

Greenslade Taylor Hunt, Dorchester, 01305 268786;

Adrian Dunsford

Adrian Dunsford - Credit: Archant


Adrian Dunford, Tailor Made, Poole

Adrian is the principal and owner of Tailor Made Estate Agents, which he describes as “an independent family owned business selling a range of properties from £250,000 apartments through to £9 million luxury homes.” Tailor Made has an unrivalled insight, knowledge and experience of the properties in the Sandbanks, and surrounding areas. “We are located at the entrance to the Sandbanks Peninsula with the harbour’s edge just 50 feet behind us and the beach 400 yards in front, so naturally we specialise in waterside homes.”

2014 was an excellent year for Tailor Made in terms of sales achieved and new applicants registering. “We saw the return of second home purchases and investment buyers leading to a seller’s market with more buyers than sellers,” says Adrian. “The most rewarding deal of the year was seeing the successful completion and planning being granted for 36 apartments spread over four developments replacing four 1970’s bungalows by Parkstone Golf Course.”

So what does he think about the new rules on stamp duty? “The impact of a one off charge at purchase is a much fairer tax on high end properties than the proposed mansion tax, because by being charged at purchase you are choosing to move and can plan for fees. The proposed mansion tax was grossly unfair on people who had lived in their properties for decades and seen prices rise, not of their own doing.”

Adrian says he expects higher priced properties above £1.5M to be affected but this change will only be temporary. “The election in 2015 will be the main focus for the first half of the year and I would expect the market to improve in the second half. Strong growth is expected in 2016. Properties with good sea views or direct beach and water access will always be in demand.”

Tailor Made, 01202 673454;

Giles Wreford-Brown

Giles Wreford-Brown - Credit: Archant


Giles Wreford-Brown, Symonds & Sampson, Sturminster Newton

“We can look back and conclude that it has been a good year,” says Giles Wreford-Brown, Residential Sales Manager at Symonds & Sampson. “We have seen activity in all price ranges this year, with some good sales in excess of £1m, and the £300,000 - £600,000 market remaining particularly buoyant, with many buyers downsizing from Sussex, Surrey and Hampshire.” He goes on to say that these buyers have been a powerful section of the buying market in 2014 and “unaffected by the vagaries of the mortgage market, which - despite interest rates being at an historic low - remains unpredictable.”

Two 2014 deals in particular stand out for Giles, “They represent the strengths of a multi-disciplined firm such as Symonds & Sampson and on-going client loyalty which is a vital part of our business.”

Madjeston Farmhouse was initially sold through their London Office in 2007 and then managed the rental of the property for a number of years finding several happy tenants. Some seven years later the owner decided to sell and they were “thrilled” to find a buyer for a second time.

The story is repeated at Paynes Place Barn in Shaftesbury, which Symonds & Sampson had managed since 2007 before selling in 2014. “There are many similar examples across all our departments – be they sales, lettings, agricultural and many more – of working together, often over generations, for successful outcomes for our clients.”

Giles says that realistic pricing and expectations will be key to a successful 2015, “Although we have a healthy pipeline of stock coming on in the spring, the relatively tight supply of fresh property at present, along with the impending general election and ongoing global economic uncertainty, means that we will need to be all the more vigilant when advising clients. There was no level playing field for values in 2014 and it would be reassuring for all to see consistency return in 2015; that said we anticipate a slight rise of up to 5 per cent during the year.”

Symonds & Sampson, Sturminster Newton, 01258 473766;

Julian Bunkall

Julian Bunkall - Credit: Archant


Julian Bunkall, Jackson-Stops and Staff, Dorchester

Julian is senior director of Jackson-Stops Dorchester. He is a Chartered Surveyor and has been an estate agent in Dorset for over 30 years. He also undertakes professional valuations for probate, matrimonial and family division and is a registered valuer with the RICS.

Julian’s area expands to and includes Sandbanks and Poole to the east, Lyme Regis to the west and stretches north to Wells and North Somerset. “2014 was a much improved year for sales particularly in the middle range of £350,000 to £850,000),” he says. “All our offices benefitted from increasing confidence and continued low interest rates, although price increases were steady and not on the scale of London and the south east.”

Looking at the property market for 2015 Julian says, “We are optimistic that the market will maintain the momentum of this year, although the General Election may cause some uncertainty. Dorchester town, especially with the recent popular Brewery Square development, is an area to watch.”

Jackson-Stops and Staff, Dorchester; 01305 262123;

Sally Gravener

Sally Gravener - Credit: Archant


Sally Gravener, Hearnes Estate Agents, Bournemouth

As Managing Director, Sally Gravener is well placed to judge the Bournemouth market as the firm covers 14 BH postcodes. “The properties we represent are extremely varied in both style and value,” says Sally. “They currently range from £50,000 to £2 million.”

When asked to summarise the year she says, “It has been varied for the local property market, punctuated by some intense periods of activity and an unexpected lull, where buyers and sellers expectations were some distance apart.”

In terms of key impacts, Sally is quick to cite the amount of time between a buyer submitting their mortgage application to a mortgage valuation being instructed.

Of later in the year she says, “The market really came back to life in October, where it arrived with a bang! Tudor Lodge, priced at £1,500,000, was one of 27 properties to go under offer during October in the Bournemouth office. There are not too many properties in Bournemouth that can be described as famous, but to those growing up in the Talbot Woods area, Tudor Lodge certainly fits into that category! It is a stunning Character residence, built in the early 1900s with most of its original features remaining, including staff quarters, open fire places and servant bells. Despite this, the property had been on the market for nearly two years with three buyers all coming to fruition in October 2014, the successful bidders being a local family.”

Sally says that the recent announcement of a change of stamp duty land tax will benefit the majority of buyers locally. “Based on our average sale price during 2014 purchasers would have saved an average of £3383 in stamp duty when purchasing. Anyone looking to purchase between £125,000 and £937,500 will now pay equal or, in the majority of cases, less stamp duty which is a welcome boost to all those looking to secure a purchase within this price range in 2015.”

Sally believes we are likely to see further peaks and troughs. “External factors such as the general election, the rugby World Cup and media speculation as to when The Bank of England will raise their base rate, could all have an impact on the market. However, in most cases mortgage repayments are still better value than paying rent and we are a society driven to own our own home.”

Hearnes Estate Agent, 01202 317317;



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