Savills celebrates 30 years in Suffolk
In July 1987 Savills first opened its doors in Princes Street, Ipswich with Mark Oliver and Peter Start leading a team of six selling country houses and advising farmers and landowners across the county.
Fast forward 30 years and Mark and Peter still lead the team, now more than 20 strong, offering a multidisciplinary service to clients. Mark comments: “Today our client base is more wide ranging reflecting the breadth of services we now offer including new homes sales, commercial property advice and development consultancy alongside our original residential and rural departments. It’s wonderful to see the success of the office and to be able to give clients continuity, experience and sound market knowledge across the sectors in which we operate.”
He continues: “Suffolk is undoubtedly an appealing place to live yet over the years it has managed to retain its understated charm and character.
“The county’s coastline has grown enormously in popularity as has the Stour Valley which combines the twin advantages of being both beautiful and commutable. Other sought-after areas include Lavenham, Woodbridge, Bury St Edmunds and Framlingham.
“The rise of the internet has had a significant impact on estate agency but fundamentally nothing has changed - someone wants to buy and someone wants to sell. Our job is to facilitate that and while technology definitely helps us, it’s a tool. Property is personal.”
Looking at the rural market, Peter adds: “Suffolk has arguably been at the heart of UK agricultural innovation with its fertile mixed soils, beneficial climate and proximity to export routes. 30 years ago pigs were mainly indoors and are now largely outdoors, dairy herds are now few, automated and much larger, vegetables are grown abundantly with irrigation on previously unproductive land, Suffolk Sheep are less evident and chickens are everywhere. Farmland values fluctuated between £3,000 and £1,000 an acre some 25 years ago before leaping to £11,000 plus per acre just three years ago. Currently we are seeing a wide range in values.
“Traditional farm buildings are being converted into houses; farmers markets, holiday lets, micro breweries and vineyards are cropping up all over the county; and country house wedding venues are very much in demand. Suffolk's rural scene has transformed during the past 30 years.”
In the 30 years of operating, the office has moved once. Mark explains: “When we opened, our address at 30 Princes Street was ideal. In 2009 the team moved 10 doors down the road to occupy new, modern space from 40-50 Princes Street. As with everything in property, location is key and a central position in Ipswich has always been important.”