INSIGHTA particular take on property ISSUE ONEMartyn Haden, Partner, explainshow our Chester office brings awealth of experience to the city’srobust property marketphotography (cover and this page) Rob Whitrow‘Strutt & Parker has had an office in Cheshirefor more than 70 years and first came to thecity in 1983. We are the biggest land managersof rural estates in Cheshire.‘The four leading characters of the sales departmenthave well over 100 years of experience in the propertymarket between them. Having been in Chester for somany years, there are a number of houses that we havesold more than once.‘Chester is one of the best-preserved walled citiesin Britain with most of its Grade I Listed walls stillintact. The River Dee runs through the centre ofthe city, which is also famous for the Rows, a continuoushalf-timbered gallery of shops that is believed to beunique in the world.‘Historically, many affluent traders made their homein Chester, but today it is more family-orientated andhas a range of excellent schools including King’s, Queen’sand Abbey Gate College.‘Chester is a university city, and the family-friendlyQueens Park and Curzon Park are popular suburbs. Tothe west, in North Wales, there is the stunning scenery ofthe Vale of Clwyd and Snowdonia National Park, withsandy beaches on the coast. Add to that about 3,500square miles of countryside, and Cheshire and NorthWales can cater for just about every taste.‘Chester is also well located for commuters and forbusinesses looking to trade in the Midlands, the northwestof England and North Wales. Close by are the M53(for the Wirral and Liverpool), the M56 (for Manchester)and the M6 (for the Midlands and south), while the A55is the main route from Chester to North Wales and onto Holyhead for ferries to Ireland. Direct trains fromChester to London take approximately two hours.‘The property market has been challenging over thepast few years, but we may now be seeing the light at theend of tunnel. Realistic pricing has been the greatest test,but our clients are starting to see the benefits of going tothe market at the right level.‘We pride ourselves on providing honest advice anddelivering the best service. Presentation has never beenmore important and our national network of offices hasproved vital, with an ever-increasing number of buyersmoving in from different parts of the country.’struttandparker.com/chester 03
First &foremostruralidyllThe Spinney, Bruera, ChesterThe Spinney is situated betweenSaighton and Aldford villages – one ofthe foremost locations in the Chesterarea. The property has far-reachingrural views and lies next to the Dukeof Westminster’s Eaton Hall Estate.Dated 1927, The Spinney offers wellproportionedaccommodation withconsiderable character and elegance.It is surrounded by delightful maturegardens and has views over thesurrounding countryside includingthe Conservation Area surrounding theNorman Church of St Mary the Virgin.£640,000 FOR SALEContact 01244 354880dine in styleFor a gastronomic treat, try the Grosvenor Hotel. Fromthe Michelin-starred Simon Radley restaurant – in theSunday Times top 20 of the UK’s best 100 restaurants –to a sumptuous afternoon tea, there’s something forevery taste bud. The French-style La Brasserie, withits granite table tops and painted skylight, serves lightmeals, and even has a new indoor wood-fired barbecue.If it’s a tipple you’re after, go to the Arkle Bar fora pre-dinner cocktail or a post-dinner whisky.chestergrosvenor.comracing timesChester Racecourse is, according to official records,the oldest still in use in England, dating back to the early16th century. A stroll from the city’s shops, restaurantsand bars, it’s a hugely popular Chester pastime. Asidefrom the racing, it’s a great way to catch up with friends,and enjoy a drink and a bite. Food outlets servetraditional British fare, from pies to fish and chips, oryou can take your seat in the magnificent glass-frontedrestaurant, 1539 – named after the first year that horseracing took place in Chester. chester-races.co.uk04 &Chester
Lea Hall,Lea-By-Backford, ChesterThis magnificent countryhouse with 17th-centuryorigins is a real family home.Set in beautiful grounds witha lake as its central feature.£1,695,000 FOR SALETarvin Lock Cottage,ChesterThis pretty, former lockkeeper’s cottage dates fromthe late 18th century. It hasbeen extended and modernisedyet retains its period charmand splendid views.£455,000 FOR SALELittle Mollington Hall,Mollington, ChesterLittle Mollington Hall isa handsome Grade IIListed house. It was rebuiltin the late 17th centuryand is believed to occupythe site where OliverCromwell’s commandersand troops were stationed.£685,000 FOR SALECooloo Cottage,Tattenhall, ChesterA wonderful familyhouse with characterand far-reachingviews in all directions.£500,000 SOLDWoodrough,Sandiway, ChesterA small country estateset in magnificent maturelandscaped gardens with acottage, stables, paddocks,woodland and a lake.£1,350,000 FOR SALEFor further details of any of theseproperties, contact 01244 35488006 &Chester
PORTFOLIOTyn Y Celyn,Bodfari, DenbighshireAn outstanding detachedGeorgian farmhouse in amagnificent rural setting.£795,000 FOR SALEHampton Post,Malpas, CheshireA historic 17th-centuryhalf-timbered country houseand gardens with wonderfulpanoramic views.£795,000 FOR SALEFrogg Manor,Broxton, ChesterA Grade II Listed Georgiancountry house hotel andrestaurant offering tremendouspotential, set in over eight acres.£700,000 SOLDTilstone Bank Cottage,TarporleyAn attractive Grade II Listedhouse with beautiful viewstowards Beeston Castle.£735,000 FOR SALEHafod Ynys,Ruthin, DenbighshireA fine country house withoutbuildings and viewsover the Vale of Clwyd.£699,950 FOR SALEstruttandparker.com/chester 07
Trends & analysisStrutt & Parker experts reflect on thenationwide property pictureRegionalgrowthCost considerations, lifestylechoices, local economicfactors and governmentefforts to kick-start the housingmarket are creating a complexUK residential property picture,according to Michael Fiddes, Headof Agency at Strutt & Parker.‘There’s definitely been astimulus at the bottom of themarket because of what thegovernment’s sought to do forfirst-time buyers,’ says Fiddes.‘Secondly, while more peopleare selling up in London andbenefiting from fantastic valueoutside of the capital becauseof the large price differential,buyers are becoming much moreconscious of the costs such ascommuting, property maintenanceand heating, and education.’Lifestyle choices, too, areresulting in more people livingin an urban or suburbanenvironment beyond London.That’s been good for Oxford,Cambridge, St Albans andGuildford in particular. ‘These keyregional centres are seeing moregrowth in residential value thantheir rural counterparts, althoughthere are hotspots around the UKwhere different economic factorsaffect the marketplace,’ saysFiddes. ‘An example is aroundAberdeen, where the oil industrycreates a massive number of jobs.’A complex market then,but one in which Strutt & Parkerremains best placed to negotiate,with the interests of clientsalways paramount.‘When people are movinghouse, they’re usually dealingwith their most valuable asset,something that’s going to haveone of the greatest effects ontheir lives,’ says Fiddes. ‘Sellinga house is about getting the bestpossible deal for the client, butalso about helping them on ajourney. We always endeavour tolook after them and proactivelymake things happen, rather thanmerely hoping they’ll happen.’25%of Strutt & Parkervendors outsideLondon are lookingto move to smallerpropertiesup to 32%of London buyers areplanning to move tothe countryGettingstrongerThe country house markethas weathered the worstof the recession andalthough last year’s 2% rise instamp duty did have an impact,James Mackenzie, Head of theCountry Department at Strutt &Parker believes that this was ajust a blip. ‘People take thesethings on the chin and move on,particularly when you’re talkingabout buying a family home.’And while the hard winter of2012/13 did little to encouragebuyers out into the country,Mackenzie believes the marketis making up for lost time.‘It’s heading back to where itshould be, with the potentialto get stronger over the next12 months.’Little regional variation exists– it’s all about properties andprices – but the robust Londonmarket remains a key drivingfactor, with buyers recognisingthe potential that city budgetshave beyond the capital. Equally,international and expat interestremains steady and it’s here thatStrutt & Parker’s relationshipwith Christie’s International RealEstate comes into its own.‘Many more internationalbuyers are being pushed in ourdirection,’ explains Mackenzie.‘Our auction house colleaguesare also helping introducepotential sellers to Strutt &Parker. It’s simply a much biggerplaying field for us now.’words Dave Flanagan illustration Dennis Carrier / Synergy
OVERVIEWWHYSTRUTT& PARKER?A holisticviewThe new research team atthe company’s Londonhead office is making itspresence felt with vital insightsinto short- and long-term markettrends. While many industryresearchers have a narrow focus,this department takes a ‘holistic’approach, keeping abreast ofdevelopments across the full rangeof Strutt & Parker’s interests.‘Our work is aboutunderstanding the markets,knowing what the trends are,and identifying where the demandand stock is coming from,’ saysStephanie McMahon, Head ofResearch at Strutt & Parker.But examining statistics isjust part of the process. ‘We’reinterested in the behaviour ofbuyers and vendors,’ explainsMcMahon. ‘It’s important tounderstand what’s driving theirdecision-making.’Downsizing, or ‘right-sizing’as McMahon calls it, is one ofthe trends currently being trackedby the team. ‘Outside London,25% of our vendors are lookingto move to smaller properties,’she says. ‘And out in the country,over 80% of people are usingtheir homes for primary use.Even in London, that figureis almost at 55%.’McMahon is seeing evidence,finally, of movement in themortgage market: ‘It’s becoming alittle bit more accessible for somebuyers, so that’s a positive sign.’OUR BRANDFor more than 125 years, Strutt &Parker has created a brand thatsignifies outstanding resultsdelivered through high-qualityand integrity-rich service.OUR MARKETING EXCELLENCEWe are committed to constantlyevolving our marketing approachto ensure that your property isseen ahead of the rest. Ourdedicated in-house marketingand PR team ensures that ourbrand and your property isconsistently and stronglyrepresented in every media outlet.OUR ONLINE PRESENCEStrutt & Parker has built anindustry-leading websitefor buyers of quality real estate,with more than 200,000 visitorsto struttandparker.comevery month. We also have amobile-friendly website and useQR codes and NFC technology togive access to properties on thego and from any mobile device.OUR NATIONAL NETWORKStrutt & Parker’s extensive andgrowing network of 50 officescovers the whole of the UK, fromExeter to Inverness. Our 400+sales professionals work as ateam to help achieve greatproperty results for you.OUR BUYERS DATABASEWith 2,000 buyers registeringwith us every month, we havemore than 26,000 active buyers –all of whom are shared acrossour network of UK offices,showcasing your home to moreprospective buyers nationally.OUR GLOBAL REACHAs the sole UK affiliate ofChristie’s International RealEstate, we have access to 920affiliate offices in 41 countriesworldwide, bringing globalbuyers to your door.OUR EXPERTSWe offer a total solution approach.Our specialist teams includeResidential Sales, Lettings,Building Surveying &Architecture, Farms & Estates,Land Management, Farming,Commercial, Planning,Development, Resources &Energy and Professional Services.BRINGING BUYERS AND SELLERS TOGETHERFiona Stewart, Head of Marketing & Communications at Strutt & Parker,explains why Open House Days are a mustQ What is Open House Day?A It’s a day when we throw open thedoors of all the houses we’re selling, so thatprospective buyers have the chance to viewas many properties as they wish, withoutthe need to make appointments. We runOpen House Days twice a year, in thespring and autumn.Q How does it help buyers and sellers?A Buyers like it because it gives them thefreedom to see lots of properties on oneday. They can plan their own route andit’s really time efficient. They also like theopportunity to meet vendors. From a seller’sperspective, you’ve got a lot of prospectivebuyers coming through the door to see yourhouse on a single day. We know that 90per cent of searches start online, but nothingreplaces the value of seeing a property for real.Q How effective is Open House Day?A We had 700 properties take part in ourlast event, with one in ten receiving offers onthe day, to a value of more than £85 million.The results speak for themselves.Q What do you have to do to get involved?A You can register to take part online atstruttandparker.com/openday or with yourlocal Strutt & Parker office. Once you’veprovided your details, you’ll receivea registration card. You can then viewas many houses on the day as you wish.
‘As well as havingrich heritage andarchitecture, Chesteris a fabulous place toshop. People comefrom all over Cheshire towander around the city’snarrow streets, so it’sperfect for independentshops like us.’Edward Lewis, Director,Ptarmigan ClothingWhy welove Chester‘Although Chester is famousfor its heritage, it’s still a living,breathing city with lots of greatbars and places to eat. Everythingis a short walk away, and on racedays there’s a great atmosphereas thousands of people visit.’Dave Roach, owner,Cheshire Sandwich CompanyWhat makes the city such a special place towork and live? We ask a few local residents‘The area aroundChester inspires us andthe produce from it issecond to none. Mix thatwith fabulous communityspirit and we could askfor nothing more.’Gary Usher, restaurateur,Sticky Walnut‘Showing people around Chesteris a daily reminder of just howhistorically significant and beautifulthis city is. Within a few streets,you will walk through 2,000 yearsof history. No wonder it’s known asthe jewel in the crown of Cheshire.’John Eastons, Roman Tours Ltd‘Chester Universityunderpins the city’sintellectual life. GrosvenorPark summer theatre, themedieval Mystery Playsand the Chester Rocksfestival offer a vibrantcultural life. Then there’sthe wooded Duke’s Drive,where small children learnto fall off bikes and dogswalk their owners. But it’speople who make a placefeel like home. We andour neighbours took downthe fence years ago; itjust got in the way!’Dr Ann Marie McMahon,local residentILLUSTRATION Maps Illustrated PHOTOGRAPHY Rob Whitrow10 &Chester
ChesterPark House37 Lower Bridge StreetChester CH1 1RSTel: 01244 354880ShrewsburyTheatre Royal, 14 ShoplatchShropshire SY1 1HRTel: 01743 284200Ludlow26 Bull RingLudlow SY8 1AATel: 01584 873711LondonTen offices in central LondonVisit struttandparker.comfor detailsstruttandparker.comTo visit the Chesteroffice homepage, simplyhover your phone overthe QR code (right).