The Government recently announced its intention to create more Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and National Parks, as part of its ‘green industrial revolution’, protecting the countryside and attracting tourism, whilst building more housing.
As many homebuyers are planning to escape towns and cities in a bid for more outside space and rural charm, these plans could be a bonus for investors. In recent years, there has been a fivefold increase in the number of new housing developments in AONBs. They also offer greater flexibility than National Parks when it comes to making improvements or extending properties, with local authorities controlling planning decisions, subject to detailed proposals, which usually include identifying materials and their sensitivity to visual impact in protected areas, especially if Listed.
Existing AONBs already carry a premium for buyers; however, purchasing in a location either bordering, or likely to be designated, offer even greater opportunities to enhance future value.
There is increasing pressure to create developments to enhance community culture, with local shops and restaurants, as well as schools, creating jobs and reducing the need to drive everywhere when living in rural areas. Walking is good for health, as well as building relationships with neighbours and combating loneliness; cycle routes and sports facilities, and quality landscaping, with trees linking schemes to the established environment, are all essential to desirability.
Developers are belatedly responding to consumers by designing new homes to suit their individual locations, with a mix of sizes and styles, including bungalows, instead of lifting from their ‘pattern books’! This enables residents to upsize and downsize without leaving friends and family.
So, now is a good time to search out the best examples, using your imagination to assess how schemes will adapt over the coming years; it’s surprising how fast trees grow and wildlife establishes itself. Alternatively, grab a structurally sound but dated cottage in a rural village or hamlet and bring it back to life, with a modest budget and a good team of professionals, recommended by local people, who are known for quality in delivering value for money.
Don’t always expect to find the ideal property, you can transform the ugliest house into the ideal with carefully thought out improvements: it’s often the simplest things which have the biggest impact, such as a lick of paint, adding a porch, or replacing a concreted front garden with attractive flowering bushes and bulbs.
Ugly properties can be for sale in probate cases, where beneficiaries want a quick outcome, so often represent excellent value because potential buyers without that all-important imagination dismiss them! Give them a chance, arrange a viewing and be surprised.
For advice on the most appropriate mortgages to suit different properties, new or old, as well as your personal financial circumstances, just give is a call at The Mortgage Centres.