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How to increase the value of your Norfolk development

From storage to tech, flooring to en-suites, Sowerbys reveals what's hot.



Norfolk’s property market is enjoying a bonanza in 2021 and the gold rush moment offers a windfall for a band of smart property developers building high quality, stylish homes which appeal to discerning buyers.
 
Experts are predicting a cooling of the super-hot market in Q3/Q4 and, while there is a never-ending stream of buyers arriving from the capital and home counties - along with a local audience looking for premium properties, ensuring your development generates maximum return on investment (ROI) will be increasingly important to prevent a ‘Californian Dream’ scenario.


From site to sale
 
“There has been a dramatic rise in the number of new-build developments in Norfolk,” says Sowerbys’ Land & New Homes manager Richard Cheal, “and the county has risen in its appeal to buyers which has made the county better value for developers.
 
“Construction and material costs are pretty much universal wherever you build in the UK, so ensuring you buy land at the best price is key to generating good ROI.
 
“We are seeing a growing number of developers from out of county wanting to build in Norfolk which is fuelling demand on land, but it is still reasonably priced and we are often the conduit to landowners looking to sell sites for construction.

“With a site secured, building the right type of property is just as important to generate good profit, and it may sound obvious but understanding what appeals to a Norfolk buyer is highly nuanced, so we work closely with developers to help them refine their plans.

“Sowerbys’ Land & New Homes department was established seven years ago, solely to work with developers to bring their properties to market. Unlike many estate agents, ours is a standalone team, rather than a tack-on to a valuation team’s role, and we have a well-established track record of building strong, long-term relationships with developers who work with us time and again.”



Experts in Norfolk property development

With nine branches across Norfolk and LonRes membership, Sowerbys is able to successfully cross-market developments, yet simultaneously understands the finer detail of what appeals to buyers in different areas across the county.

 Working closely with each office, Richard and his team are able to advise on what will sell in individual towns and villages and finesse plans to ensure every aspect is on point with buyers.

“There is a big audience for brick and flint cottages among current residents but we’re also seeing really high demand for contemporary style properties with large glazed areas to take in stunning rural views,” says Richard.
 
"In fact, I’ve never seen a contemporary house unsold and there is a strong audience for future-facing homes which incorporate sustainable design and eco-friendly features to improve running costs.
 
“Ground source heating and solar panels are a good investment that work particularly well with the design of contemporary properties and, providing it is thoughtful and sympathetic to the area, modern design can be really effective as people want stylish properties that stand out.
 
“Along the north Norfolk coast, ‘upside down houses’ with first-floor living areas that make the most of grand views are hugely popular at the higher end of the market.

“There has been a great focus on working from home since lockdown and the lure of the commuter belt is no longer the same with buyers relocating as Norfolk residents with an occasional commute to London.
 
“However some people appear to be tiring of working from home and the novelty may be wearing off. Flexibility is key and we advise developers to incorporate an extra room into their plans that has the potential for a working space or home office, but which could be used as additional living space or multi-generational accommodation.

“Getting it wrong on, even a small project, can make a huge difference in return on investment. Developers and their architects appreciate that we are selling Norfolk properties daily and they value that we can help them to grow their own knowledge of what the market wants, to avoid costly mistakes and work with them from securing a plot to marketing and attracting the right buyers.
 
“Not every idea we suggest may be adopted, but we come with great experience and knowledge that can give them a competitive edge.”



7 trends to max the value of your next Norfolk development

What’s hot in Norfolk new-builds? Richard shares his  Expert market insights.

1. Wash up

There has been a swing back to more bathrooms for properties at the upper end of the market and while this trend falls in and out of fashion, three doubles with well-designed en-suites will always have more appeal than a couple of extra single bedrooms in a property.



2. Dog’s life

Ground-floor accommodation offers complete flexibility for multi-generational living, but even if you can’t incorporate this into your plans, adding a shower to a downstairs cloakroom is a big hit with Norfolk buyers. Being able to shower kids and dogs after a muddy or sandy walk is a real bonus that appeals to our love of outdoor living and canine family members.

3. Storage, storage, storage

Along with location, storage is one of THE most important aspects of a property and it is amazing how many £500k+ properties fail to incorporate this into their design. Again, think about the dead of winter and where a family will deposit coats and shoes at the end of the day. Incorporate under stairs storage or a cloakroom cupboard. Stylish built-in wardrobes and storage cubes appeal to almost every buyer.

4. Changing spaces

The way we live has changed, but our love of a big kitchen at the heart of the home hasn’t and a space which can incorporate a dining area, sofa or comfy seating has huge appeal. By contrast, the lounge is becoming smaller and more intimate, preferably with a wood burner which is best positioned in a corner so the TV can be the focal point in the middle of the room.


 
5. Tech spec

Ten years ago, we were focused on integrated tech and wi-fi is a non-negotiable, but today everything is portable. Don’t underestimate the number and site of electric points, including USB chargers. Automated bathroom lights are a nice touch which offer a relatively inexpensive luxury touch.

6. Sleek and chic

Flush casement windows look fantastic and enhance many property designs, although PVCu is becoming a more sophisticated product with light grey and pale green, woodgrain styles working particularly well in rural and coastal setting. Windows are still a stipulation on planning in many conservation areas so ensure your plan is sensitive to these requirements.

7. Cut a rug

Opt for solid wood and tiles with underfloor heating on the ground floor which is warm and easy to clean, again appealing to Norfolk homeowners’ love of outdoor living. However, carpet is making a comeback with buyers looking for warmth and luxury in bedrooms. It’s these little touches which add the wow factor and ensure maximum ROI at the moment of sale.



To speak with Sowerbys’ Land & New Homes team, call 01603 281024 or visit The Old Rectory, 21 Oak Street, Fakenham, Norfolk NR21 9DX