Wiltshire’s property prices have been given a shot in the arm during the pandemic. It’s one of those desirable rural locations that has suddenly became even more popular as we have veered from daily commuting towards flexible working.
Historic towns such as Salisbury, Marlborough and Warminster have been perennial favourites but are attracting buyers looking for more bedrooms (and larger gardens) for their buck, with the low-key villages of bucolic areas such as the Vale of Pewsey and Nadder Valley in demand.
'Buyers who previously might have been looking in Oxfordshire and Hampshire are now looking at Wiltshire where prices are typically 25-30 per cent less,' says Mark Lawson of the Buying Solution, a property search agent. He adds that North Wiltshire offers far better value for money than the next-door Cotswolds.
The fastest train links to London have been behind the recent popularity of other less chocolate-box towns in Wiltshire, now the targets of twice-weekly commuters. 'Practical town centres such as Westbury (1hr 25), and Chippenham (1hr18) southeast of Bath draw buyers for the train links –40-50 per cent of our buyers are from London,' says Chandra Devadason of Hamptons. Values are also far lower than in Bath itself, where the average price is £542,791.
It’s this tranche of Wiltshire on the fringes of the Cotswolds that offers the period-drama backdrop favourites of Bradford-on Avon, Castle Combe, Lacock and Corsham. 'With buyers much more concerned about being part of a community, having good pubs and farm shops and other practicalities like Corsham, are now even more in demand,' says Francesca Leighton-Scott of Knight Frank.
In Corsham, a market town where peacocks randomly strut around the historic high street – as featured in the BBC film Poldark – a six-bedroom detached Victorian parsonage is for sale at £875,000 through Knight Frank. You can see get your arts fix with the films, comedy gigs and theatre productions at the Pound Arts centre – and Bath is only 20 minutes away. Pretty villages nearby with good pubs are Biddestone (with its own annual village music festival, Biddstock), Allington, Yatton Keynell and Box.
You can buy a cute three-bedroom semi-detached house in the centre for £395,000 but some buyers prefer the greater space offered by a house on the outskirts. 'We recently had a Victorian home in five acres come to the market at £1.5m and we received multiple offers over this very quickly,' says Paul Cadge of Savills in Salisbury. In fact lack of stock is the estate agent’s biggest problem in the rural hot spots of Britain. Everyone’s keeping hold of their thatched cottage or Georgian rectory in a honeypot village.