Covid causes a surge in demand for property in the Sevenoaks area to purchase and to rent
The experience of lockdown has caused many to seek an improved work-life balance, which is driving a dramatic increase in demand for property in Sevenoaks, according to Savills, which has an agency in Sevenoaks High High.
David Johnston, head of residential sales at Savills Sevenoaks, explains: “More buyers are seeking a lifestyle change following the experience of lockdown and are looking for additional space while retaining connectivity to London,
“Sevenoaks is well placed to meet this demand, with outstanding schools and a 25-minute commute into London Bridge continuing to be a major draw. We have seen a significant uptick in those looking to move out of the capital to get more space for their money, with gardens and home offices at the top of the wish list.
“The prospect of more flexible working and not having to commute every day has opened up their options too. While there has undoubtedly been an increase in London buyers, this surge of activity has also come from local people looking to upgrade, having decided their current home is not fit for this new lifestyle.”
The residential sales team has seen record levels of activity over the last few months, with buyer registrations 50% higher year on year, 34% more viewings and 40% more sales agreed.
David added: “One of the interesting trends is a renewed appetite for country properties. Being within walking distance of the train station and schools used to be a priority. Now, semi-rural locations with interior space and land are in demand.
“Family homes have been particularly sought after, however there has been high demand across the board, from first time flats to large country properties. The extremes of best-in-class or complete projects seem to be most popular.”
The average house price in Sevenoaks is £524,000, while neighbouring Tonbridge and Malling, with an average value of £393,000, offers slightly more value. The most expensive villages, with average transaction values of between £800,000 and £1m, include Otford, Plaxtol, Shipbourne and Ide Hill.
The average price of prime property – broadly the top 5% to 10% of the market by value – in Sevenoaks and the surrounding area has increased by 3.4% in the year to September 2020, despite the disruption ca
used by Covid-19. In the five years to 2024, prime property in the inner commute region, which includes Sevenoaks, is expected to see growth of around 17%.
Frances Clacy, a research analyst at Savills, said: “Activity levels across the prime housing markets of the UK have remained strong during the summer months, with the introduction of the stamp duty holiday adding to the pent-up demand seen after lockdown.
“Over the last five years, property prices in Sevenoaks town have outperformed surrounding villages, with growth of 10.9% compared to 5.7%. A renewed desire for accessible villages within easy reach of the capital means these markets are likely to see an increase in demand, at a time when they look good value.
“Looking ahead, buyers and sellers will need to remain pragmatic about pricing, chain lengths and the complexity of chains. The market remains price sensitive and in most cases, buyers aren’t willing to pay over the odds for their new property.”
The area’s rental market has been equally buoyant, with more space – particularly gardens and home offices – top of the list for tenants.
John Roberts, head of lettings at Savills Sevenoaks, said: “We’ve seen a sharp rise in those looking to ‘try before they buy’. Whether they’re renting to get a feel for a new area before committing to a purchase, or have sold elsewhere and are renting while looking for the right property to buy.
“Several properties have received multiple offers and bids over the asking price. As a result of the rise in demand for property in the area, we have limited stock on our books.”
Frances added: “Stronger demand, coupled with lower levels of supply has led to price rises for rental properties in the inner commute region. Prime rents across Sevenoaks have increased by 1.7% in the 3 months to 2020, 7.7% higher than they were a year ago. Demand remains strongest for best in class properties, so landlords will need to present properties to the best standard to attract interest.”
For more information on the Sevenoaks property market, contact Savills on 01732 789700.