Diary of an estate agent: Newbury

Commuters are flooding in following the regeneration of the centre of Newbury and they’re not just interested in new-build. So wellies at the ready, I’m off to view farm cottages.
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The team sits down to discuss what is likely to be another busy week for us. I’ve worked in this industry for many years and have had my fair share of memorable vendors and demanding buyers.
In the past week we have received several enquiries from potential buyers for homes in the heart of Newbury and its surrounding villages — Burghclere, Highclere and Woolton Hill being the most popular. We think these areas will continue to have strengthening prices because of low stock.
As it’s around a 70-minute commute into London, buyers see Newbury — and Berkshire in general — as a more affordable option than commuter destinations in Kent and Surrey.
Interest in the area has increased since Newbury’s new shopping centre opened, with attractive names such as John Lewis, Côte Brasserie, Jack Wills and a PAUL patisserie moving in. This regeneration has attracted commuters, who would have previously considered only Oxford and Winchester, where prices are higher.
I meet up with a client who specialises in building large, impressive, neo-Georgian-style country houses. His projects are extremely popular with London buyers who prefer an energy-efficient, light-filled home with all the mod cons of a townhouse, over a draughty country property with slow-running hot water.
We decide to launch his latest property, Ambley Manor, near the village of Tangley between Newbury and Andover, at a guide price somewhere north of £5 million in a couple of weeks’ time. As is usually the case with some of our most impressive instructions, we are arranging for drone photography to capture Ambley Manor.

We are preparing to launch two new schemes in villages outside of Newbury — Arlington Grange in Burghclere and Stonebridge Close in Curridge.
These are small developments of new homes that we are confident will sell quickly, due to the speed at which a recent new development we were marketing in Newbury — Hillview Place — sold off-plan.
Buyers at Hillview Place were downsizers looking to enjoy all the benefits of the market town on foot. There is a growing appetite for new-build homes in Newbury at the moment and, since there is a shortage of them, competition is strong.
A welly boot day. I head out to advise on the sale of a pair of former farm workers’ cottages. These homes are situated in a rural spot just west of Newbury and, although fairly rustic, do have lovely large gardens. Cottages like these are popular with buyers who love a renovation project. There is a strong contingent of city dwellers seeking such opportunities, particularly weekenders who are after a rural retreat.
We receive a good deal of interest in Exmoor House, a property we have just launched in Burghclere, which has an amazing one-and-a-half-acre garden. We delayed marketing the house to take full advantage of the improving weather. At this time of year, a beautiful garden really makes a difference to viewings. Exmoor House’s outside space is full of rhododendrons and azaleas, which are now in full bloom. Sure enough, we quickly receive a number of offers for the property.
With clients wanting to fix up property viewings for the weekend, it’s a typically busy Friday as we perform our usual juggling act of arranging and then re-arranging our diary. I cast my mind back to a recent weekend that was more challenging than usual due to the fact that our main artery of the junction with the A34 and M4 was closed.
Appointments sorted out, we finish the day with a welcome glass of wine to wind down.
  •  Rupert Reeves is a partner and head of residential at Carter Jonas in Newbury (01635 263001)

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