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New beginning in The Square


Balfours Property Professionals celebrated the opening of their new offices in Shrewsbury’s Square – with a launch which coincided with carols in The Square, last week.

The event was attended by clients, professionals and stakeholders, who enjoyed the Christmas festivities, together with a sense of great anticipation in the property market for the year to come.

Says Tim Main, head of sales at Balfours: “Feedback from our guests was very positive with the consensus that we had picked the right site in the right location and that the new space really works. Our jumbo size maps of Shrewsbury and Shropshire added a fascination and wow factor too.”

The move more than doubles desk and reception space for the residential sales team, which has also grown significantly in the past twelve months – reflecting strong, sustainable growth in residential sales over the past two years.

“We are within the wonderful Grade II listed 19th century Old Music Hall, designed by Edward Haycock in 1835. Moving to The Square, not only gives us much needed additional space, but also a profile and presence in the heart of the town,” Tim adds.



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Georgian elegance and convenience


Built in the early part of the 1800s, 124 Abbey Foregate, Shrewsbury, is a grade II listed Georgian residence of fine proportions.

As the house is currently used there are six bedrooms and four reception rooms, plus a kitchen breakfast room. The property retains many original features, including wonderful sash windows which flood light into the main reception rooms. 

Agent, Alistair Hilton, of Balfours Property Professionals says: “The beauty of this Georgian property is that the rooms have a real flexibility. Laid out over four floors the kitchen is to be found on the lower ground floor, with service rooms including workshop, utility, wine cellar, coal cellar and main cellar, plus a court-yard. There is fantastic potential within these rooms to create an eclectic mix of 19th and 21st centuries.”

On the ground floor the wow factor is in place with rooms proffering wonderful fireplaces, high ceilings, coving, picture rails and deep, deep skirting.  The same merits can be found on the each of two more floors. Alistair adds: “This town house has been restored to an exacting standard, incorporating rewiring and re-plumbing.

The pleasing elegance of number 124 is also to be found with a façade built from Grinshill stone, cut from large ashlared blocks. Private gated parking, walled courtyard and private garden are all part of the package, which is just a half a mile walk from the town centre, where amenities of a thriving town are on hand including excellent options for education, shopping and business.

124 Abbey Foregate is marketed by Balfours with a guide price of £650,000. For more information call Alistair on 01743 353511.

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New build market driver in 2016


The increase in new build homes will be a significant factor in the residential market in the year ahead.

During the past nine months new build has been running close to 20% of the residential market in Shrewsbury and indeed across Shropshire. This measured role out of new homes is set to continue – as developers, who now have ample land “ready to go,” construct in phases primarily to the appetite of buyers, but also to match their cash flow.

The effect of this new build housing stock on Shropshire’s residential market place is that the volume of sales has roughly stayed the same throughout the year, excluding a little expected fluctuation between months. As a result supply is going to be, once again, constant and therefore likely to lead to relatively flat prices, rather than any increase in demand pushing prices up.

As always macro factors are likely to impinge, including bank interest base rate levels; the world economy and the UK economy. These, together with life’s other vagaries contribute to the “feel good factor,” this without doubt is something none of us should under-estimate – general confidence will be a key contributor to the 2016 residential market.

From both sides of the fence, vendor and purchaser, the ability to go when the time is right can make, or break, a sale or purchase. It is a fact that ten years ago conveyancing was averaging four weeks; currently it is taking nearer 12 weeks.  Preparation is key – having the right solicitor and finance with all relevant advance preparation in hand so that timelines can be shortened as much as possible.

Premiumsand growth

Even in the current steady market one off properties can attract one off buyers, where price is not the only influence. The right house, in the right location, for the right buyer can yield a very substantial premium to the guide price. This year, at Balfours, we saw several such examples – and very satisfying it is for all parties concerned. Experience tells me there will be more in 2016.

For the forthcoming year and well beyond, growth and optimism in Shropshire’s housing market has seen us, at Balfours Property Professionals, move into new premises. Our new home is The Square, Shrewsbury - do call in if you are passing. Best wishes to you for 2016 and may your residential aspirations flourish.

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We’ve moved!


We are delighted to announce that due to continued expansion in the business the Balfours Estate Agents team have now relocated  to The Square in Shrewsbury!  The new address is Balfours LLP, The Square, Shrewsbury, Shropshire, SY1 1LG. We are now operating from the new premises.


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Woodcock under the moon – out of bounds


It is good to hear of the GWCT involvement at top level, last month, when Mike Short of the GWCT was among the All Party Parliamentary Group impressing on a Westminster audience the importance of continued availability of effective, lawful tools to manage predation pressure during the breeding season which will be critical to securing the recovery of some dwindling native species.

Better still, Liz Truss MP, Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, paid tribute to the scientific research of the GWCT and its contribution to developing practical solutions to reversing the decline of our native wildlife.

Mike Short who heads up the Predation Research team said: “The GWCT has invested a huge amount of time and effort in improving the selectivity and welfare impacts of predator control practices. For example, when fox snares designed to allow non-target species to self-release are used in accordance with ‘best practice’ guidelines, they have been shown to pass internationally recognised trap welfare standards, although it’s critical that operators are properly trained in their use.”

GWCT research has clearly shown that the provision of good habitat, in conjunction with legal predator control, can substantially boost species recovery. This is demonstrated by the Duke of Norfolk’s inspiring Peppering Partridge Project on the South Downs. Here, there has been a dramatic recovery of a whole suite of nationally declining farmland bird species, such as our native wild grey partridge, lapwing and skylark. Addressing the meeting the Duke emphasised that without effective predator control the project could not have worked.

Agricology, launched recently, is a new online resource that translates scientific research into practical advice to help farmers become more profitable, resiliant and more sustainable, while protecting the environment.
Founded by three independent charitable organisations – the Daylesford Foundation, the Organic Research Centre and the GWCT Allerton Project – Agricology aims to provide farmers with the best practical information on ecological techniques, regardless of labels via a website, on social media, and through on-farm events.

Under the Moon
Flighting woodcock set the adrenalin rushing and are fantastic sport, but did you know that woodcock “under the moon” as the Game Acts prohibit woodcock shooting between one hour after sunset and one hour before sunrise. On a dull evening the flight is usually over before this, but on a bright, full moon one the birds can flight late.


The Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust’s research has shown very strong winter site fidelity by woodcock, so those who might be tempted to shoot too many can expect less to come to their particular place next season.

Tim Main is  Chairman of the Shropshire Branch of the GWCT. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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Five bed - Shrewsbury in top ten


Shrewsbury is one of the UKs top ten choice county towns for family homes – with price rises averaging 27% for five plus bedroom homes in the past year.

Warwick takes the medal for the highest price growth for five bedroom homes, increasing from £519,000 to £799,000.

The figures revealed by premier global property service, Property Wire, have been welcomed by Alistair Hilton, residential sales town manager, with Balfours Property Professionals. This is good news and reflects the continuing growth we have seen in Shrewsbury.”

Significantly the top ten county towns are across the geographic spread of the UK, from York, to Exeter, Bristol and Northampton. Of 41 towns analysed, just 11 reported price deflation in the past 12 months, four of which were less than one percent.

Says Alistair: “County towns are a popular choice amongst residential buyers, especially those with children who are looking for larger family homes which represent seriously good value for money.”

He says this was illustrated earlier this autumn when a London buyer, pushed up by several under bidders, finally exchanged nearly £100,000 above guide price on a five bedroom house in Shrewsbury’s SY3 district.

“Like so many coming into Shropshire, this buyer appreciated that where Shrewsbury really scores is with its great infrastructure; private and state schools, services and amenities, with a fabulous choice of independent retailers, cafes and restaurants. People often tell me what a fantastic mix Shrewsbury provides and the bonus is a huge variety of rural landscapes close by too.

“I think parents also appreciate that Shrewsbury is a good environment as youngsters seek independence and want to socialise with their friends. County towns like Shrewsbury can provide a more self-sufficient environment for off-spring.”

He says that transport links, rail and buses are also easily accessed. For him personally being able to walk and cycle around the town is a major advantage. “We have so many picture perfect places within the centre which makes the whole experience of living and working in Shrewsbury very satisfying.

“Since 2008 the value of larger family homes has been squeezed – these figures illustrate very clearly that Shropshire’s county town market is coming back and strengthening very nicely,” Alistair concludes. 

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