Financial Times, 10.3.12

A kingdom for a house With its proximity to London and its Shakespearean legacy, Stratford upon Avon is a location in high demand.

“I have several buyers with £1m to £4m to spend but there’s so little stock for them to view,” says George Barkes, who works as the Stratford and Warwickshire buying agent for Stacks Property Search.

“Most of my clients want the indoor and outdoor space found in rural Warwickshire. They then use Stratford-upon-Avon as the nearest major spot for shopping and of course culture,” says Barkes. Country living is not difficult in this part of England, and local agents say professionals working some or all of their week from home have become a major force in the market recently.

Barkes’ clients fall into two categories: “The younger families moving from London want a few acres of land to ensure privacy, plus close access to the M40 motorway. Then there are British expats, returning to England after working overseas, who believe now is the time for good value. In principle they’re right, but there’s little stock around,” he says.

The first phase of HS2, scheduled to take 14 years to complete, will run from central London to Birmingham. Its likely route will be through an area of countryside about 30 miles to the east of Stratford-upon-Avon. The consequence, some agents predict, will be a surge in demand for undisturbed areas.

“There will be years of disruption and the countryside will be dug up east of the M40. So demand for homes will drop there and will rise to the west of the M40 where Stratford is located. The town has already seen a lot of new homes in recent years and it may have more still, thanks to HS2,” says Stacks Property Search’s George Barkes.

Read full article here… ( Link FT website)

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