At the turn of the millennium, second home buyers seemed to arrive in Cornwall in ever increasing numbers. This was fuelled by a ‘bull’ stock market, and the City bonuses that soon found their way down in to the far south west prime-coastal property market. This second home boom continued largely for a decade, or until the effects of the financial crisis were felt in Cornwall between 2007 and 2010.
For those that needed to sell a premium property in Cornwall in 2011-2012, some quiet significant price adjustments were needed. Then from 2013 we saw the market and prices recover and re-adjust to life after a long second home boom. We really don’t see bankers with bonuses any more, and yet 15 years ago they represented quite a large percentage of the buyers of coastal property in Devon and Cornwall.
Looking back over the last five years, one can see a market that is finally returning to ‘normal’ – if there is such a thing! Second home buyers are much fewer and further between, and instead we sell many more main homes with buyers returning, relocating or retiring to Cornwall, as well as buyers who have sold a business, particularly at the upper end of the market. Perhaps more importantly there are also many more locally-based buyers upsizing, quite often around the Falmouth area where there is a healthy and entrepreneurial private sector as well as an ever expanding university.
Nationally, the first-time-buyer end of the UK property market seems buoyant and this activity and sentiment is gradually filtering upwards through the price ranges, which is of course how a property market always used to operate before the second home boom.
One thing I have learned over the course of my 25 years as an agent is that it is impossible to predict what’s ahead, but what we can say now is that the Cornish property scene seems to be less distorted than it was, and might just be trying to return to normal.