The Strategist

A place in the Sun: English Cornwall Turned From Underrated Region in a Prestigious Location

09/03/2015 - 16:32

Cornwall County is located in the extreme south-west of England on the peninsula, which is washed by the waters of the English Channel and the Atlantic Ocean (to be exact - the Celtic Sea). The climate in Cornwall is the most pleasant and sunny in the UK due to the influence of the Gulf Stream. The sun shines more than 1500 hours per year. Winters are the softest in the country, and rarely the locals face harsh winter. However, the northern part of Cornwall is different from the south, the north is open to winds, so the climate is more severe.

Jeff Wells
Jeff Wells
Not only the climate differs from other regions of Cornwall UK. The region is rich in legends. There is Tintagel, where, according to legend, was born King Arthur, the main character in the mythology of the British. Cornish people, the indigenous people of Cornwall, are one of the six Celtic nationalities along with the Bretons, Irish, natives of Maine, the Scots and the Welsh. They also have their own language.

- Cornwall has a strong regional identity in the UK, - said John Prescott, Deputy Prime Minister of the country in 1997-2007. He was echoed by David Cameron, the current Prime Minister: "I think that the Cornish national identity is very powerful - people feel a strong affinity with the region." A couple of years ago, there has been actively spreading rumors about a possible separation of Cornwall from the UK, but eventually, it end up with nothing.

The influx of wealthy Londoners

There is few foreign property buyers in Cornwall. Most of those, who buy more expensive items above 2 million pounds, are residents of London and the South East of England. Many of these are business owners and professionals from various spheres, such as lawyers or accountants.

In the 1990s, Cornwall was popular mainly among pensioners, who decided to move out of the county, adjacent to London, to a more quiet place. Since the late 1990s, English gardeners began to dominate among property purchasers - buyers of second homes for vacation. Recently, there emerged a third type of buyers - families from London who move permanently to Cornwall because of too high prices for London real estate (it is half the price in Cornwall).

According to British standards, the way from London to Cornwall - a little less than 500 km - is not considered a short. The trip by car from Falmouth to Central London take 5 hours. Traveling by train lasts about the same. In addition, planes from the capital Gatwick to Cornwall Airport Newquay depart twice a day.

According to the Financial Times, in the past 20 years, the southern part of Cornwall turned from an underrated region in a prestigious place. In 1994 this part of the UK was notorious for poor transport links and unemployment at 11.5%. Houses, according to the Land Registry, were worth 55,200 pounds, while the average in the country - 68 032 pounds. Now property in the bustling university town of Falmouth, where superyachts are built, worth an average of 285,000 pounds, which is much higher than in England and Wales (172,069 pounds).

According to the Independent, Cornwall has the largest number of second homes in the UK (around 23 000). Indigenous Cornish people dislike newcomers, calling them grockles (slang, roughly translated as "come in large numbers"). Especially those who come from London, buys all the most expensive real estate, and thereby drives up housing prices, are disliked the most.

Londoners have captivated idyllic seaside resort of St. Ives with a permanent population of 11 000 people. It was even given the nickname "Kensington-on-Sea┬╗ because of the abundance of the capital's residents in summer, although many travelers come even in November. Second homes are about 25% of the total housing stock. Londoners are actively snapping up homes where fishermen or artists lived once. Most of all, local people fear that newcomers will live here in the summer, and for the rest of time the St. Ives will become a ghost town, schools will have to be closeed. Some worry that crafts (in particular fishing) went away from the town, as the entire city is flooded with the rental business. In November 2014, local authorities even proposed to prohibit visitors to buy second homes here. To start, a ban on new construction is planned to be imposed. However, the law has not yet entered into force.

In the spring of 2014, Lloyds Bank published a study on the UK city with the highest property prices in relation to the average wage. Truro, the administrative center of Cornwall, the southernmost city in the UK, which has the status of "city", was placed in third place. It was surpassed only by Oxford and Winchester. The vicinity of Truro has some rather good private schools (eg, Polwhele House and Truro High School), so it is often chosen by those who are going to move to Cornwall forever.

According to a study of the British National Housing Federation, buying a house in Cornwall is even more expensive than in London, if you compare the price with the average salary in the capital: 223,046 pounds, 12.6 times the size of the average wage in the region (17 633 pounds ). In London, prices exceed the salary 10 times. As a result, many indigenous Cornish people rent houses and apartments for decades without being able to become owners.

Prestigious and expensive

According to TripAdvisor, precisely Cornwall has been recognized the most expensive region for a holiday in the UK last year. He was ahead of such popular places as Dorset and Devon. Weekly rentals in Cornwall costs an average of 854 pounds sterling.

According to British website Zoopla, most expensive places of the county to purchase the property are Padstow, with an average price tag of 376,000 pounds, Fowey - an average price of 373,000 pounds, and Port Isaac, Wadebrige, St. Agnes, St. Ives, Truro, Falmouth, Marazion and Lostwithiel, where houses and apartments are sold on average for 282 000-376 000 pounds.
 The most prestigious is the south coast of Cornwall called Riviera. The strip along the length of the sea about 80 km between the borough Lizard in the west and Fowey in the east is famous for its attractive beaches and seaports. Life in southern Cornwall is inextricably linked with the sea. It is what attracts people. No coincidence that the best properties are located just next to the beaches, marinas and yacht clubs.

A house of more than 800 square meters with seven bedrooms for 4 million pounds was sold in one of the villages near the sea last year. The house had marina and boathouse attached. 750 000 pounds in Cornwall is not enough for a house near the sea, but sufficient for a building with a land plot and five bedrooms, a house with five bedrooms near Falmouth already goes for 1.5 million.

High-quality and expensive real estate offer in Cornwall is limited, which further warms the ardor of buyers, not deprived of funds. Despite interest from wealthy individuals, the price of local real estate, according to Knight Frank, still 5-10% below the peak of 2007.