Hot Spot: Shrewsbury, Shropshire

A natural selection

If Shrewsbury's most famous son, Charles Darwin (1809-1882), had stalled his birth for 150 years, he would not have had to traipse to the Galapagos Islands for evidence of natural selection. Instead of finches and tortoises, he could have examined gazumping, or gazundering (reducing an offer just prior to contract-signing), mortgage small-print and shabby surveys, and other prime specimens in the dog-eat-dog world of property.

Much of Shrewsbury is still as it was in Darwin's day, although it has expanded and, in recent decades, seen an influx of modern developments. "Shrewsbury is a medieval city with Georgian and Victorian quarters, and in the last 15 years we have had many large developments by national volume builders and quality local builders," explains Russell Griffin of Samuel Wood estate agents.

"A considerable amount of buying and selling is occurring within these developments as people keep up with the Joneses and move from a starter-home to a semi and then to a detached." Outsiders, primarily from Birmingham, Wolverhampton and Telford, snap up homes in the £50,000 to £200,000 range.

"This is an aggressive, perverse market reminiscent of the late 1980s, with many sellers over-cooking the market by trying on prices which seem ridiculously high," says Mr Griffin. "Valuers tend to be well-trained, but traditional; so sellers are using what I call "vendor valuations". About half of these sellers are successful."

The higher end of the market is also sizzling: "We still have a shortage of good-sized family houses with five or more acres, and properties such as these are increasing in value well above the national average," says Mark Wiggin of Lane Fox estate agents. "Estates have also been in short supply. We have more than 75 buyers wanting properties in the £650,000 range."

Investors are enjoying rising rents as well as capital values, sometimes on the back of inadvertently captive tenants: "Many frustrated purchasers have cash in the bank from a property they have sold, and they are renting until they find the right house. They often stay in a rental property longer than intended because they cannot face two moves in rapid succession. They become more despairing as they see the market rise in an apparently endless cycle."

Mr Wiggin and Mr Griffin agree that many buyers at the higher end of the market are escapees from the overinflated south east, whether Surreyites cashing in their chips or stockbroker-belt wannabes who are priced out of their first-choice area.

"We anticipate an excellent year for sellers," says Mr Wiggin, "but buyers will have to remain alert, and as soon as they have found a suitable property, they must be in a position to exchange contracts immediately." Evolutionary bio-logists and property mavens alike will recognise this phenomenon as survival of the fastest.

Discover more property articles at Homes and Property
News
peopleHowards' Way actress, and former mistress of Jeffrey Archer, was 60
Sport
Romelu Lukaku puts pen to paper
sport
News
Robyn Lawley
people
Arts and Entertainment
Unhappy days: Resistance spy turned Nobel prize winner Samuel Beckett
books
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
people
Life and Style
Troy Baker and Ashley Johnson voice the show’s heroes
gamingOnce stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover
News
i100
Life and Style
Phones will be able to monitor your health, from blood pressure to heart rate, and even book a doctor’s appointment for you
techCould our smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases via Health Kit and Google Fit?
News
people
Extras
indybest
Travel
Ryan taming: the Celtic Tiger carrier has been trying to improve its image
travelRyanair has turned on the 'charm offensive' but can we learn to love the cut-price carrier again?
Sport
Usain Bolt confirms he will run in both the heats and the finals of the men's relay at the Commonwealth Games
commonwealth games
Life and Style
Slim pickings: Spanx premium denim collection
fashionBillionaire founder of Spanx launches range of jeans that offers 'thigh-trimming construction'
News
Sabina Altynbekova has said she wants to be famous for playing volleyball, not her looks
people
News
i100
Life and Style
tech'World's first man-made leaves' could use photosynthesis to help astronauts breathe
Property search
Property search
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SAP Project Manager

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: SAP PROJECT MANAGER - 3 MONTHS - BERKSHI...

SAP Project Manager

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: SAP PROJECT MANAGER - 3 MONTHS - BERKSHI...

Senior Investment Accounting Change Manager

£600 - £700 per day + competitive: Orgtel: Senior Investment Accounting Change...

Microsoft Dynamics AX Functional Consultant

£65000 - £75000 per annum + benefits: Progressive Recruitment: A rare opportun...

Day In a Page

Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices
Could our smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases via Health Kit and Google Fit?

Could smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases?

Health Kit and Google Fit have been described as "the beginning of a health revolution"
Ryanair has turned on the 'charm offensive' but can we learn to love the cut-price carrier again?

Can we learn to love Ryanair again?

Four recent travellers give their verdicts on the carrier's improved customer service
Billionaire founder of Spanx launches range of jeans that offers

Spanx launches range of jeans

The jeans come in two styles, multiple cuts and three washes and will go on sale in the UK in October
10 best over-ear headphones

Aural pleasure: 10 best over-ear headphones

Listen to your favourite tracks with this selection, offering everything from lambskin earmuffs to stainless steel
Commonwealth Games 2014: David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end

Commonwealth Games

David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end
UCI Mountain Bike World Cup 2014: Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings

UCI Mountain Bike World Cup

Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings
Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain
Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
Chris Pratt: From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

He was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star