Words by Hannah Tapping
One estate agent continues to navigate the ever-changing north Cornwall property market with unrivalled experience and quiet confidence.
In the evolving landscape of property sales, one independent Cornish agency has not just stood the test of time but stands sentinel as north Cornwall’s property expert. JB Estates has 50 years of experience, bringing a wealth of knowledge and insights to the table. As we delve into the agency’s success, it’s clear that this venerable history acts as a crucial underpinning. While such credentials might make for a resting on laurels, this is not the case with JB Estates. As an agency it is nimble, forward thinking and always strives to look after its clients with the utmost care and attention.
Over the years, JB Estates has witnessed the market evolve, adapt, and change in response to various trends, priorities and challenges. The agency has successfully navigated through less favourable periods, never losing its nerve when faced with market difficulties. Such resilience and experience has become even more important in recent times, as the property market has become increasingly scrutinised and buyers have adopted a more cautious approach than we saw in the post-Covid boom.
We hear from Managing Partner, Josephine Ashby: “Buyers and sellers alike are seeking assurance that they are getting the best value for their investments. Amidst conflicting messages from the media, it falls upon agencies like JB Estates to educate and guide their clients. Operating in a premium market on the north Cornish coast, we strive to provide clarity and transparency, debunking misconceptions and showcasing the true state of affairs. Good advice is not always agreeing with what a vendor wants to hear, and while that might be hard to stomach in the short term, it inevitably pays dividends.”
It might seem an obvious statement to make, but an estate agency does not simply market a property, it is also concerned with achieving a sale. JB Estates actively pieces together buyers and sellers, finding creative solutions for problems and using their expert knowledge and experience when it comes to negotiations between buyers and sellers in order to keep deals on the table. This approach has allowed JB Estates to quietly hold the market share for distinctive properties of all shapes and sizes across the Cornish property market.
Take Mesmear, located just minutes from Polzeath beach. This iconic four-bedroom Cornish farmhouse (Guide price £1.75M) has been immaculately restored and is a prime example of a unique property that offers rural tranquillity, yet is still close to the surf mecca that is Polzeath. With use of a shared swimming pool, outdoor gym and sensitively landscaped gardens through which a leat gently meanders – as well as a triple garage which has the potential to create further holiday accommodation – this property is as versatile as it is beautiful.
Moving from the traditional to a more contemporary property, Waterhouse (Guide price £3.5M) combines award-winning architecture with futuristic sustainability, thanks to ARCO2’s ground-breaking design. This four-bedroom grand design boasts unobstructed and panoramic views across the Camel Estuary and is the epitome of modern luxury living in Cornwall. It won Best New Build in Cornwall in 2020, and three years on is no less spectacular; ingeniously designed to blur the lines between inside and out, much of the living space is south facing.
Finally, we turn to Skylark (Guide price £1.5M) which holds an elevated position above Port Isaac. While this four-bedroom property bucks the trend in terms of what one might expect from the design of a Cornish property, it is no less beautiful. Minimalist in design and with a variety of natural materials the high ceilings, wood floors and abundance of natural light make for a unique and desirable property. Combined with far-reaching countryside and sea views overlooking Hayle Bay and the north Cornwall coast, this property currently operates as a holiday let but would be equally suited as an uber chic family home set in a large plot.
It is this diversity of portfolio that makes JB Estates stand out. The properties, however, are not chosen on a whim; a considered approach is always adopted, as Josephine explains: “It is about finding the right product in the right market, and the agency is adept at communicating and connecting with the right buyers. In what has become a more saturated market in recent times, where multiple agencies compete for instructions, we feel that JB Estates stands out in terms of its resources. The agency has a substantial team, ensuring every property receives meticulous attention and management. We believe it is this commitment to quality and customer service that sets us apart. It is essential to emphasise the importance of having a well-crafted plan in this market. Like riding a wave, we encourage our clients to embrace challenges, and to adapt and navigate through the complexities. Flexibility, nimbleness, and maximising assets are the keys to success in a discerning and cautious market such as we have at present.”
One noticeable trend is the increase in properties coming to the market. This surge can be attributed to the traditional market cycle, where the spring through early summer period is the prime window for property launches. However, it is essential to note that the market is case by case, and factors such as pricing, location, and ambition play significant roles in individual outcomes. Josephine adds: “While the market has transitioned from a seller’s market to a more balanced one, there are still rare instances of intense competition. However, these instances are not as frequent or extreme as they used to be. Generally, the market has shifted in the favour of buyers, giving them more time and choice to make informed decisions. Rising interest rates and limited new mortgage offerings will undoubtedly influence buyer behaviour. Although not a dirty word, mortgages do impact market sentiment and confidence across the board. However, one intriguing factor that has gained significant attention recently is the Energy Performance Certificate (EPC). With soaring energy costs, we are finding that buyers are now paying more attention to EPC ratings, making them a crucial aspect of property marketing.”
With more stock on the market now than in previous years, sales can be slower. With this in mind, if you are looking to buy or sell your property, JB Estates advises that now is the time to be discerning when it comes to choosing an agent. Beware of offers of low fees and high values. Ask the question, is speed of sale more important than the level of sale? Serious sellers are urged to price sensibly, unless they are happy to be patient and prepared to chance the market.
A large market share and high number of successful sales demonstrates JB Estates’ success; not least of which is in the area of private sales. These continue to hold strong at the higher end of the market, due to a discreet and confidential approach, which is not evident until it appears on land registry. To provide a glimpse into the agency’s achievements, JB Estates has witnessed ground-breaking sales and achieved impressive values for clients in the first half of 2023, despite the challenging economic climate, and the agency’s track record speaks for itself. Whether seeking a contemporary coastal gem, a quintessential farmhouse, or a grand-design dream property, JB Estates’ commitment to excellence ensures a positive and informed experience.