Shropshire Star

Shropshire no longer a hidden gem as house buyers rush to move into county

Shropshire is no longer a 'hidden gem' but one attracting interest from across the country, with more people choosing to move to and settle in the region.

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Savills Dealbook data from the past five years – 2018-2022 – has given fascinating insight into those buying prime, high-end properties and moving to the county.

According to their figures, buyers already living in Shropshire make up 33 per cent of house deals completed in the county by Savills, which shows 67 per cent of those buying property in the region are moving in from outside.

Of that number, nine per cent have moved to Shropshire from Greater London, six per cent from Cheshire and 37 per cent from the rest of the UK.

Some 15 per cent of those who have bought prime in the county over the past five years have hopped across the border from Staffordshire and the West Midlands.

The figures show the real pulling power of Shropshire from further afield in recent years.

The data is in contrast to Savills' figures for Staffordshire, for example, where more than 50 per cent of prime deals completed over the past five years are still made up of people who live in the county. Some six per cent of people who buy property in Staffordshire come from Greater Manchester, figures show.

Figures also show that the highest percentages of house buyers purchasing high end homes in Shropshire are aged 50-59 (33 percent) and 40-49 (31 per cent).

And insight shows that, from a job perspective, 32 per cent of buyers purchasing properties marketed by Savills are from manufacturing, utilities, transport and retail industries, with 16 per cent from media, information and science.

Peter Daborn, director and head of residential sales for Savills in Shropshire and Staffordshire, said: "People always used to refer to Shropshire as a hidden gem.

"But it has had a lot of national press in recent times, featuring with a lot of coverage like 'the loveliest villages to live in'.

"So it is no longer a hidden gem – it's just a gem.

"Shropshire is infectious. There's so much here and we are finding you do get buyers from further afield.

"You have a wonderful lifestyle in Shropshire, some of the most beautiful countryside in the UK, brilliant towns, vibrant ones with a good social life.

"There's fantastic farming community and we are blessed with our schools – some of the best in the country – which is such a big unique selling point and people move here for that alone.

"People really love the privacy, countryside and views but also keeping an element of access to services is still important and Shropshire offers that.

"I have friends who moved away who are now coming back to Shropshire and we have sold houses to people who have never been to the county before. They didn't know it, came to view a house and fell in love with the place.

"I sold one to a lovely American couple who were living in London. They stumbled on a beautiful house on our website, showed interest and ended up buying it.

"Over the last year, some 80 per cent of our buyers have been from outside the area, as was also the case in 2021.

"It summarises nicely the market plus our offering. Our strength is finding those people from further afield and bringing them here.

"We have an amazing reach around the country and we are finding people are looking for a change of life.

"They might have been looking at Devon, The Cotswolds and The Peak District. It's about finding those buyers and attracting them here.

"It's good having us on the ground – people who know the county so well – because when they come up here for viewings, we can really talk to them about it and sell the place."

As someone 'Shropshire born and bred' Peter says that idea of selling the county to others is something that he enjoys.

"I have never really been anywhere else," he adds. "I grew up in south Shropshire and went to Harper Adams.

"Shropshire really is in the blood. I think my path was always pre-laid. I'd like to think of myself as one of the county's great ambassadors because I am always out and about."

Peter, meanwhile, says there is plenty to be positive about in relation to the housing market, moving forward.

"It is a fascinating time," he said. "We came off a very buoyant summer and then had the mini-budget which did put a hole through the market.

"The main reason for that was just huge levels of uncertainty and mortgage products were pulled off the market.

"So everything ground to a bit of a standstill and that ran on into the Christmas market. We did see a bit of a slow down, albeit we were still doing deals but more at cash buyer level.

"But coming into this year, the market seems to have settled. There are more mortgage products available now, as many as pre-Covid.

"Forecasts are we might see a slight dip in the market but as mortgage rates come down towards the second half of the year, activity levels will start to pick up again.

"We need stability and, once we have that, the markets will readjust.

"From a Savills point of view, we are not going to be as impacted as the core market, which is reliant on borrowing. The prime market isn't and, so, is a much more resilient market."