Want to move to Rutland? Read this first!
Tempted to move to greener pastures in England's smallest county? Don't do anything until you've read these insider tips from a Rutland property pro.
Lockdown and the global pandemic has given the property market a ‘mini-boom.’ People are heading out of the bigger cities and looking at properties in the countryside including Rutland. England’s smallest county has luscious greenery, a rich historical heritage, excellent pubs, good schools and great community spirit. What’s not to love?
Thinking about making the move? Charlie Rearden of Stacks Property Finders is an expert when it comes to the Rutland market. He’s your man in-the-know and has been in the property business for the last 20 years.
Charlie also has unrivalled knowledge of Rutland and will help you house hunt like a pro. Over to you Charlie, tell us what you know!
1. Where’s the best place to start?
It is important for people to have a clear idea what they are looking for. While ideas can change, they should have a good understanding of where they want to be geographically, what their maximum spend is, and how much space they need, both inside and out. If you are keen golfers then perhaps you want to be close to Luffenham Heath. Cyclists may want to be in the villages around Rutland Water itself.
2. What impact has Covid had on the local Rutland house market?
Covid has had a big impact everywhere, so there has been a big impact on Rutland in terms of stock and pricing. After the first lockdown we saw a swift resurgence in the market with a lot of pent-up demand. This continued through 2020 until the beginning of 2021 and the next lockdown. Although we were not restricted as much in January and February and the housing market remained open, confidence took a real knock and we saw very little stock coming to market. This is typically a quiet time anyway, but the success of 2020 has led to a real shortage so far this year. Now that the lockdown is coming to an end, we are seeing vendor confidence return and more property coming to market but the sharks have never stopped circling.
3. What’s the best location for commuters?
The best location for commuters has to be where they are happy to create a successful work life balance. It is important to identify the length of commute, whether that includes the drive to the station, the level crossing that can suddenly create unnecessary stress on the way, or the single track roads that are impassable in winter. It is essential to identify what the key triggers are when moving and it isn’t as simple as having a short run to a mainline station with easy parking.
5. Where do you recommend for young families?
Having dealt with many families, one of the key elements has to be the school run and the local community and services. With a young family it can be much better being in the heart or edge of village rather than down a long track. Rutland and Leicestershire has so much to offer but everyone has their own particular preferences. It is important to identify those villages that do have the village shop. Barrowden is a great example with village shop and great pub – The Exeter Arms. There are some excellent schools throughout the county with highly regarded private schools at Oundle, Stamford, Oakham, and Uppingham. Equally there are some outstanding primary and secondary schools in the area with many outstanding rated primary schools in the villages and good and outstanding secondary schools such as Catmose in Oakham and Casterton College in Stamford.
6. Okay so much to be close to Rutland Water?
Rutland Water does command a premium and Hambleton peninsula particularly so. Many properties have sold recently in excess of £3 million with views of Rutland Water but you don’t have to pay such a premium. You can be walking or cycling distance away and pay considerably less. Oakham itself is very close with properties starting around £200,000 and up. However Rutland Water and the Hambleton Peninsula is very special. If the budget doesn’t stretch to living there or the commute is too much, don’t worry because you can visit the Finch’s Arms in Hambleton, or stay and dine at the Michelin-starred Hambleton Hall (pic below).
7. Best value for money?
It is very difficult to pinpoint value for money, but if push comes to shove I would say that north and east is better value than south and west. One has to consider Rutland is not a large county. With an area less than 20 x 20 miles you can’t really find a bad spot but the south of the county is better positioned for commuting to London with links to Corby and Market Harborough. South east can offer an easy run to Peterborough. The east of the A1 can provide great transport links but does not command the same premium. For example villages such as Castle Bytham and Clipsham offer better value for money than Exton and Empingham.
8. What about if someone wants to buy a holiday home – what needs to be considered and best location?
Buying a holiday home really depends on the personality of the buyer and so there is no straight answer. Some people are looking for beautiful views and tranquility. Others are happy with a fantastic local pub and a wealth of footpaths. There are some wonderful villages such as Seaton and Lyddington with great views of the Welland valley. As a buying agent we aim to identify the specific needs of the client and match these needs to the right property.
9. How welcoming are the locals?
Grockles, emmets, townies, Londoners…. It doesn’t matter if you are in Cornwall, Yorkshire, Norfolk, or Rutland. Locals will always be locals but Rutland is not besieged by tourists in the same way that Devon and Cornwall is. People moving to Rutland are doing so as a lifestyle choice and those who immerse themselves into the culture and community become part of it.
10. Should I visit the area a few times before making any decisions?
100%. There is no substitute for getting to know the area and we can help. Pre-covid we would take you out on an orientation guide. The last 12 months have been different but one lives in hope that life will return to what we once knew and we can meet face to face and discover why Rutland is such a great place to live.