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The majority of the county is rural. It vies with Cornwall for the title of the county with the longest coastline, thanks to its many estuaries and it's also second only to Devon when it comes to the most roads officially designated as country lanes. Mix that with the fact it’s a commutable distance to London and that much of Essex is still affordable especially when compared to most of the South East, it is no wonder the county is making a name for itself.
Gerald Searle, probably one of Chelmsford’s most experienced estate agents, offers his views on the changing property market.
"In the last few years Essex has seen a burst of home buyers attracted to the easy commute, affordable homes and countryside views. However, there’s been a struggle with high levels of demand versus a lack of homes coming onto the market. We have seen the slice of the cake getting smaller! That’s why it is so important that developers, like Countryside, are building new communities that will breathe life into the county.
Essex house prices have risen strongly over the last year, that makes it good for investment but it has made it harder to move. The average property price in Chelmsford has risen by 7.9 per cent in a year, Brentwood by 11.5 per cent and Romford by a huge 22 per cent.
Today, when a property comes onto the market we are taking 10 to 12 home buyers around for viewings. One property, which came onto the market in Chelmsford recently attracted 30 viewings and of course, it was snapped up in no time.
Home buyers today are mostly young families moving into the area and those in retirement, who are trading down. The older generation don’t necessarily want to downsize but with little return on their savings and high investment figures it seems a more profitable option.
In the 1980’s Countryside shaped the advancement of Chelmsford with Chelmer Village, a housing, retail and industrial development in the east, and now they are doing it again with projects like Beaulieu which will include 3,600 contemporary homes, a community centre, two schools and even a proposed new train station!
We see Chelmsford as a City but those moving into the area from London see it as the countryside. We have superb schools, great hospital facilities and low crime rates – it is just a great place to live and the buy to let market is also insatiable making it profitable not just for home owners, but for investors too."
Main image - the recently launched Beaulieu Chase, Chelmsford
Here you’ll find property related blog articles from the team at Countryside as well as independent experts. Expect regular tips and advice on topics such as buying a new home, interior and landscape design, setting up home, mortgages and finance, plus articles on architecture, the property market, regeneration and more.