The firm has sold the first property on the Summerhouse development – a conversion and renovation of Grade II listed country cottages and barns comprising of 14 residential dwellings located between Darlington and Barnard Castle.
The hamlet, on the B6279 and next to the Michelin starred restaurant The Raby Hunt Inn, is also complemented by sympathetically designed, vernacular new build cottages which will be completed by the end of the year.
The first sale on the site and growing interest in other properties at Summerhouse comes as market indicators suggest the UK housing industry is now in recovery mode.
House prices rose at their fastest rate in three years in July, according to data from Halifax, with the Government’s “Help to Buy” scheme playing an influential role in boosting sales.
Smiths Gore associate Patrick Moseley said that, despite some Help to Buy critics claiming the scheme will inflate prices, its positive impact is certainly being felt in the North East.
He also believes the outlook for the UK housing market remains buoyant, as indicated by increasing enquiries about Summerhouse and other properties in Smiths Gore’s portfolio – although he admits that the challenging climate will continue to linger for some time yet.
“From a development perspective, the signs are very positive, although viability is a key driver when considering the merits of pursuing a planning permission for residential development,” he said.
“There are signs that the housing market is picking up but values are not yet at a level which guarantees a positive return without careful consideration.
“For owners of potential development land it is positive, however, as the still-depressed prices, coupled with a region-wide shortage of new homes, means there are potentially lucrative planning opportunities available.”
In terms of the Summerhouse development, Smiths Gore expects to complete further sales before the year is out and will open a show home at the site next month.
Iain Welsh, Head of Residential and Farm Agency at the Darlington Office, said: “We’ve had a lot of interest in the project, particularly in the barn conversions. But I expect greater interest and commitment from these interested parties once the show home is finished and people can get a genuine feel for the quality of workmanship and finish that they can expect from a Summerhouse home.”
Smiths Gore is a rural property consultancy of chartered surveyors which opened in Darlington in 1863 and now employs 25 people in the town, turning over £1.4m annually from the Darlington office.
Since its inception as a purely land management practice, the firm has diversified, offering many areas of specialism including architecture and building surveying, planning and development, rural commercial property and private property consultancy.
For more information visit: www.smithsgore.co.uk