‘If you go anywhere in the world and say you live in the Cotswolds, people know where you mean,’ says William Leschallas, a director at Jackson-Stops & Staff.
The south west county of rolling countryside, tiny villages and market towns is quintessentially British.
Centrally located, within commutable distance from London (less than two hours by train), Birmingham (one hour) and Oxford (40 minutes), the area’s always been popular with home owners and second home owners – and it’s becoming even more in demand.
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‘There’s an increase in confidence generally, with mortgage rates at their lowest. When that happens the Cotswolds becomes more sought-after,’ says William.
Don’t expect to have to fight over your dream house though.
‘There are instances of competitive bidding, but there’s generally one buyer per property,’ he says.
With charming rural pubs and woodland walks, the region is filled with Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and Conservation Areas. Lots of the buildings on the market are period properties and even some of the new-builds are made from the area’s iconic natural yellow stone.
Giles Lawton, director residential at Savills in Oxford, says for the true ‘untouched village’ feel, buyers should look in the valleys that lie between Oxford and Cheltenham such as Frome Valley and Knot Grove.
‘You feel as though nothing’s changed for 200 years, except all the houses are beautifully manicured and you see the odd Range Rover,’ he says.
Although much of the Cotswolds is made of up of these quiet pristine hamlets – often without even a village shop – there’s a growing trend for living closer to the market towns.
‘Increasingly, people who are moving out of London don’t want to be isolated,’ says Giles.
‘The holy grail is a house at the edge of a village, giving buyers both amenity and privacy.’
Commuters who fancy sending their children to Kitebrook or Tudor Hall School flock to the villages that surround Kingham and its gastro pubs, trainline to Paddington (1hr30) and the famous Daylesford farm shop. Homes in Chipping Norton, Moreton-in-Marsh and Stow-on-the-Wold are all favoured.
Country homes, with five bedrooms or more, can cost anything from £2.5 million to ‘the sky’s-the-limit’ in popular areas says Giles. A quick property search will bring up small cottages available for £100,000 and three/four family houses ranging in price from £600,000 to more than £1 million.
Although still expensive, a few more affordable properties can be found in areas further than 20 minutes drive away from the train stations. In fact, buyers are starting to venture right to the county’s boundaries to get a foothold in or next to the Cotwolds.
‘We’ve been doing a lot of business in neighbouring South Warwickshire this year,’ says Giles.