With weather like this week’s, one might be tempted to quit the UK entirely. But when the sun shines, and even when it doesn’t, there’s no lovelier part of the country than Cornwall – and the market knows it. Cornwall is not cheap – you can easily spend a few million on a seaside sprawl. And, as Duncan Ley, associate at Chesterton Humberts Truro, says: “Some people come to me and say: ‘I’ve got £500,000 to spend and I want a five bedroom character home with views of the sea’ – well, it’s not going to happen. Actually, there’s an amazing amount of money in Cornwall.”
But after last year, which Ley describes as “miserable” due to a stalemate in which sellers were waiting for prices to go up and buyers for them to drop, the market is moving again. “Generally speaking, the market is far more buoyant this year than last year.”
However, while at the very top end property values have barely moved, further down the scale, prices are slightly down. And if they aren’t, sellers have become more willing to negotiate.
The second home market isn’t nearly as buoyant as it was, and this marks a change in the types of buyers moving to Cornwall. “Certainly these days, there is a mix of buyers – banker bonuses are less, and instead of city types looking for a summer home, now we’re seeing a lot of families moving here to offer their children a better standard of living.”
Selling up in London and moving to a seaside idyll five hours away doesn’t necessarily compromise people’s work nowadays, notes Ley. For a start, more and more people are working from home. And now this lifestyle is easier in Cornwall than it was, as infrastructure is now up to speed: literally, where broadband is concerned. And with Newquay airport, you can get on a plane at 7:30 and be in London for a meeting at 9:30. In short, you’re not so cut off.
Where’s good to buy? The headline places such as Rock, Padstow and St Ives are the safest investments – “whatever happens, they will retain their value”. But if you’re prepared for a bit more of a hike, consider the Lizard, a peninsula on the southwesterly point in the UK, which Ley says has been overlooked because of its extra distance. Here “you can get a lot more for your money and actually find hidden coves, and stumble on beautiful places. By contrast in St Ives, you’ll never discover something – every inch is known.” Penzance and Sennen are worth considering too – the A30 motorway has been expanded so it’s easier to get down there. Shrewd buyers can find bang for their buck in this beautiful region. If you don’t mind long car journeys down to rocky peninsulas, all the better. But for those after the gold standard in more well-trodden parts, there’s plenty for you too, but you’ll have to pay top dollar.
Barras Moor, Perranarworthal
A four bedroom, three bathroom cottage located between Truro and Falmouth, sitting on 26.5 acres of fields and woodland including two large ponds. Site includes a nursery, cafe, and retail units providing an excellent return on investment.
Through Chesterton Humberts.
Castle, Milltown, Lostwithiel, £2m
Just five miles from Fowey, the five-bedroom Castle is a grand residence set down a private drive in a peaceful, secluded, rural position. Through Savills.
Cury Cross Lanes, Helston, £1.9m
This 10 bedroom (five of which are panelled) mansion sports Art Deco, Art Nouveau and Gothic Revivial styles. At the far end of the first floor is a luxurious self-contained apartment, ideally suited for staff or guests. Through Chesterton Humberts
TyeRock, Porthleven, £2.25m
This six-bedroom, panoramic sea-view home offers access to some of the best surfing in Europe. Ten miles east of Penzance and 12 miles west of Falmouth, it’s located in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Through Knight Frank.