Inigo Insider: the home trends shaping the market in Spring 2022
With a full year under our belt, we reflect on the things our buyers and sellers like the most
We hope it hasn’t escaped your notice, but we recently celebrated Inigo’s first full year of business. Happy birthday to us! And, since we’re feeling a little nostalgic, we thought it might be an idea to look back and take stock of our spin around the sun – the market insights we’ve got up our sleeves, the interior trends we’ve noticed, and the hot places on people’s radars. Just remember: you heard it here first…
When we started out, we knew there was an appetite for older houses, but it’s been thrilling to see quite how much Britain loves historic homes, in all their plastered prettiness or handsome heft. As the world speeds up, there’s something to be said in feeling rooted in the past – the comfort of the known isn’t to be underestimated.
We’re very conscious, however, that while a Victorian villa or Georgian cottage appeals to the market’s aesthetic sensibilities, often there’s work to be done on the ecological front. It’s why we’ve seen such a burgeoning interest in the use of low-impact, traditional and more natural materials in domestic renovations – from the lime plaster used at Lawshall, in Suffolk, to the wooden window frames of Arodene Road in Brixton, hand-hewn in the seller’s out-of-town workshop.
The trend is wider than our sales too; our Almanac feature on Green Shop House, an ecologically minded and toxin-free Victorian restoration in south London was one of our most popular pieces to date. Perhaps it’s not so surprising when you learn that, across the country, buyers are recognising that green is the new black – and are increasingly interested in seeing eco fittings, such as heat pumps, in the homes they’re viewing.
That feature on Green Shop House is a reminder that a home with a history isn’t always frilled and fusty. With its moody palette and Japanese-inspired bathroom, it tapped into trends that transcend any traditional notions of, well, traditional decorating.
And while we’ve a soft spot for swags and chintz, we’ve been delighted to see in the last year the contrast in the homes that have come on the market. Yes, there’s been colour and pattern in profusion (sometimes stupendously so – Waxwing, we’re looking at you). But there’s also been a move towards minimalism, which people might not expect from a period home.
Padbury Court, a Huguenot silk weavers’ house in the East End, cast in cool and calming cream and finished to the highest spec – all overseen by Spitalfields specialist Dan Cruikshank – was one of our most offered on homes and was the subject of our top-viewed story on the Almanac in the last three months. It’s proof, as if you need it, that when it comes to restoration, authenticity – in the form of quality materials, time-honoured craftsmanship and traditional building methods – is what people want, much more than passing trends.
And, speaking of high spec, our Prime listings have – to a number – been finished to the highest designation. That being said, what’s been interesting – if perhaps unsurprising – to learn is how people’s taste for the sleek and shiny has faltered of late. These days, it’s all about understatement: unlacquered brass (and its promise of patina) over the gleaming gold of its polished counterpart, and bare boards in place of carpet – just look at Northampton Square, which we sold in March 2022. And, when it comes to kitchens, the vibe is positively pantry – more downstairs than up, in the Downton Abbey sense. Think simple – though exquisitely finished – panelling and open shelves over top-of-the-range fitted fancies, like that of Frognal, in north London, which went under offer in under two weeks.
It’s been fantastic to see the ways in which people are living in and using homes – and making them fit for modern life, all while nodding to the past. Flexibility seems a key part of this, and we’ve been intrigued to see how people – especially in a post-pandemic world – have been rethinking their homes. After sharing our spaces quite so intimately with our housemates, whoever they may be, for the past couple of years, open-plan living seems to have lost its sheen.
A more divided floorplan, with a few choice doors for privacy, seems to suit us all better now, not least since we’re all still Zooming our way through work. Take Redbanks, in Sydenham Hill, in which the sellers undid the previous owners’ opening up, reinstating a glazed wall between the dining and cooking areas.
One thing our team has particularly enjoyed, thanks to the storytelling we do in our Almanac, is being able to explore the ways people adapt older buildings to work for them. It might be a home office in the garden, as at Dunstans Road, or a sensitively imagined contemporary extension to a Georgian cottage, as in Hampton Row in Bath – either way, we’re learning about the fascinating and ever-evolving ways we live now in the architecture of the past.
TOWN AND COUNTRY
And while we don’t want to dwell too long on the events of the last few years, we couldn’t not mention the city/country divide. Despite those that fled to far-flung corners in their droves, we’re pleased to report that the appetite for London homes remains hale and hearty. One thing that hasn’t abated is everyone’s hankering after greenery in the more conventional sense too. Outdoor space of some sort is still highly sought after, especially in London – Sidney Square, Wickham Road and Brondesbury Road, all handsomely endowed with outdoor space, positively flew of four proverbial shelves, while St Paul’s Crescent and Temple Street proved that there’s still no beating a south-facing garden.
Perhaps a yearning for wider skies is behind the shift we’ve seen towards village life, too. The city still sparkles for many, but it seems the most highly prized spots are more rural: not the out-in-the-sticks stuff of all our lockdown fantasies, but places with a vibrant and more villagey feel – smaller towns with buzzy communities, like Deal, where we’ve had a bumper crop of appraisals of late, and Lewes, where we sold both Well House and the Pink House. Is it any coincidence, we wonder, that these places also have an abundance of antique shops? We’ll leave that one to you.
So, while we may only have been around for a year, it’s been – simply put – great. It turns out, that in spite – or perhaps because – of all the world’s uncertainties, the idea of a home is as important to us all as ever. We’re not just selling the homes we’re marketing, but we’re getting the prices too, achieving an average of 104 per cent of the asking price, with an average of one offer for every 3.5 viewings too (the national ratio is more like 1:10). We hope you’ll forgive us a bit of trumpet-blowing, but we’re pretty proud of those stats. And we’re quick too – faster than the national rate when it comes to both conveyancing and exchanging; in the Inigo world it takes an average of 70 days from accepted offer to exchange – just enough time for you to have picked out your new paint colours (and well under the national rate of 100 days). So, if you are considering a move this spring and have a home to sell, we are, as ever, at your service.
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