We speak to Robert Leech, Director of one of Surrey's leading independent Estate Agents with over 30 years' experience and prominent locations in Oxted, Reigate and Lingfield.
1. How have you found the property market since the start of the year?
Throughout most of the year the housing market in Oxted has remained buoyant and strong. This year started positively with the most active January and February in years, but obviously that came to a rather an abrupt halt during the first lockdown. However, we were amazed at how quickly it recovered as soon as we re-opened as it appeared many buyers and sellers had used the time to reappraise their lives.
2. What trends are you seeing now in Oxted?
We had an influx of people moving into the area coupled with seller's upsizing or downsizing within the town. Many more buyers are now looking to move from London to the commuter belt, and in particular to towns like Oxted.
3. What are people's motivations for moving house this year?
The uncertainty that followed the Referendum has now largely dissipated and many of the moves this year have been motivated by changing requirements and lifestyles with a number of buyers influenced by a shift to working from home, or a new desire for more space following the lockdown.
4. What's your property market predictions for next year?
We believe that 2021 will see the local housing market continue to defy the wider economic outlook, we have many active buyers taking a longer term view of the housing market when making a decision.
5. What are the benefits of buying a new build like Courtyard Gardens?
As always, purchasing a new build, especially from a highly regarded builder like St William, offers many benefits, including secure, modern, luxury living with both a 2-year St William warranty and a 10-year Premier Guarantee for peace of mind. It also offers convenience, location here is excellent being just a short walk from the station and residents benefit from private, gated, landscaped gardens which are maintained as part of the service charge.
6. What attracts people to Oxted?
With the North Downs on its the doorstep and many areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, has always made this part of Surrey attractive to lovers of picturesque scenery and nature, this coupled with easy access to London, Gatwick and M25 together with an abundance of good schools has always made Oxted a particularly popular and sought after town. To add to its appeal are numerous recreational facilities a vibrant centre with a wide choice of restaurants, shops and a superb Everyman cinema which all combine to provide a friendly and inviting town with a strong community feel.
7. Over your 30 years of working in Oxted, what has changed the most about the area?
Throughout my time working in Oxted - over 33 years now - actually very little in the town itself has changed, although we now an excellent swimming pool and leisure centre and the revamped Everyman cinema is wonderful. Obviously, many of the shops have changed as owners have retired or moved on, but they have been replaced by more modern equivalents and the overall appeal of the town very much remains.
Probably the biggest single change has been the removal and redevelopment of the Gasholder where Courtyard Gardens now sits. It was always a complete blot on the landscape and something of oddity, it was erected during the mid-60's and was rendered redundant within a few years after the switch to North Sea natural gas in about 1970. Consequently for most of my working life if ever I went to value a property with views over Oxted, the most visible thing stuck right in the centre was the ugly rusting old gasometer! In fact, in the early 2000's a local magazine interviewed me and Philip Thomas, the then Chief Executive of Tandridge Council and we both commented on our ardent desire to see the removal of the gasometer, so on behalf of Philip Thomas (still a local resident) and myself a massive thanks to St William for making our wishes come true.