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Introducing the ‘Poldark Effect’

Poldark, a period drama recently on the BBC, has inspired a new trend dubbed the 'Poldark Effect'. 

Rather than an increase in shirtless scything, the Poldark Effect actually refers to the increasing interest in buying property in Cornwall – the dramatic location used as the backdrop for the show. 

It seems viewers have been inspired by the unspoilt coastlines and rural landscapes, leading to a surge in searches and enquiries into Cornish properties, particularly along the coastline. 

For example, searches into the coastal parishes such as Gunwalloe and Porthgwarra have more than doubled since Poldark was first aired in March, and it’s thought average house prices in Cornwall are set to rise to £207,420 by 2019.

In Gunwalloe, the location for many of the beach scenes, a five-bed detached coastal house, with a separate cottage, is on the market for £1.75 million, and a five-bed farmhouse would set you back £550,000. Over in Helston, the home of the Poldark Mine, the average price of a detached house is £226,324. These too are expected to rise in the coming years.

While there is no doubt that Cornwall is certainly growing in popularity, not only as a location for a holiday home but also as a permanent residency, the reasons for this lie beyond the high performing schools, low crime rates and natural beauty the area has to offer.

Indeed, while Cornwall can thank the popular BBC period drama for provoking a spike in its interest – I am afraid it is quite another ‘effect’ that is in fact responsible for this sudden surge in popularity. A rather less romantic concept, I know, but this phenomenon can quite simply be put down to something we can call the ‘economic recovery effect’ – no need to unbutton your shirt.

It is true – the economic recovery is well underway, confidence has returned and, inevitably, the housing market across the UK has benefitted as a result. I have lost count, I think, of the number of times I have made reference to the stellar year that was 2014 – and also the number of times I have alluded to the strong likelihood we will continue to see this strong upward trend over the coming years. Yet, the so-called ‘Poldark Effect’ is a product of exactly this. 
 
However, as suggested above – and this is an important point – this trend certainly isn’t exclusive to Cornwall, or even to Poldark himself. The recent popularity of crime drama Broadchurch caused an increase in searches into holidays in Somerset and Devon. Its famous blue chalet, the home of David Tennant’s DI Alec Hardy, recently went on the market for £275,000. It is estimated that the price was pushed up by up to £75,000 because of the show. 

While house prices in the locations used in Poldark, Broadchurch and their respective surrounding areas are on the up, a fact undoubtedly interesting in itself, it is important to look at what this means for the market more widely. The bottom line is that interest in these areas is being pursued precisely because people now have greater confidence and can afford to do so. 

So, BBC, where’s next?!

*Eddie Goldsmith is Chairman of the Conveyancing Association and Senior Partner at Goldsmith Williams

  • Rob  Davies

    Not sure the economic recovery is quite as resolute as you make out. Certainly, there is evidence to suggest otherwise. A low wage, low productivity economy is not going to work well in the long-term. Neither is one built on high house prices and the financial sector. I'd wait till Osborne's emergency budget - if we're in such rude health, why is an emergency budget being called at all? - to see just how well we're doing.

    Anyway, moving away from economic matters, I agree with you about the desirability of Cornwall and Devon. Both spectacularly beautiful places.

    But there is one small caveat you neglect to mention - the issue of empty second homes. A big problem, particularly in Cornwall, where locals are unhappy at wealthy people buying up holiday homes and leaving them empty, whilst at the same time pushing up house prices for those living their all year round. Also, Cornwall relies heavily on tourist trade. Outside of that, I don't believe their local economy is looking too healthy and their are issues with unemployment and poverty, etc. Not to rain on your parade or anything, but it's not quite as rosy as the picture you're painting.

    I agree with your general point, though. The Poldark/Broadchurch effect has focused more attention on areas of stunning natural beauty.

  • Kelly Evans

    God, Rob, it was a lighthearted article about the effects of a popular programme on a certain area. It wasn't the place for your diatribe against second homes!

  • Rob  Davies

    Also, turns out I don't know the difference between their/there. Back to school for me.

    And Kelly, do you disagree with my points or not?

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    Hopefully the BBC's next mega-budget period drama which effects the prop market is set up North!

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