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Supporting new homes in the fastest growing County of Essex

May 20

4 min read

The only way might not be Essex, but is it the best way? Well, it certainly looks that way. With Manuden, Stock and Ingatestone being named as some of the best commuter villages in the UK, it’s easy to see why so many Londoners are heading East for greener pastures.


New homes Completed in 2019-20

Londoners who moved to the County in 2019

Average house price (Rightmove)


































In fact, over 35,000 Londoners left the Capital to move to Essex in 2019, more than any other county in the UK, and with more homes built in Essex than any of the other Home Counties.

The reason for this exodus is clear; not only the pull of more affordable house prices – the average home in Essex will set you back £311,948 compared to £486,000 in London (see below for comparisons to other home counties), but also the wealth of  green spaces, the longest coastline in England, picturesque market towns, and some of the highest performing schools in the Country.

Since these 2019/20 figures were published, local agents have commented that the influx to Essex from  London has more than doubled since the pandemic.  The draw to live in London is not as strong as it once was, with the pandemic accelerating this trend, it has become more apparent that the need for outside space and the fresh air of the countryside is top of people’s agenda when it comes to buying a property.

How are Close Brothers supporting this growth?

At Close Brothers we have always supported development in Essex since we began lending, over 50 years ago.  Today our Property Division is currently funding 480 units across 115 schemes in the region (more than Surrey and Herts combined).

Daniel Joyce, Director at Close Brothers Property Finance said “I am Essex born and bred,  and still live in the area, so I am delighted to see how our support of SME developers in the region has   continued to grow as more people choose Essex as their home. There are some fantastic developments taking place and we are proud to be supporting so many SME housebuilders throughout the pandemic, and beyond.”

Who are we supporting?

An exciting new development in St Osyth near Clacton-on-Sea, which is being undertaken by the Sergeant family (owners of housebuilder City and County).  The development comprises 73 family homes which are a mix of new build and stunning period conversions, on the heritage site of St Osyth Priory Estate, with its own protected livestock and country walks.

Another project we are supporting is a scheme comprising 81 homes in the village of Great Bentley near Colchester, which is being developed by local housebuilder Hills Residential.  The development offers a range of 2, 3 and 4 bed houses traditionally designed with a number of charming character features occupying generous plots. Phase 1 has fully sold and, whilst Phase 2 works aren’t scheduled to complete until late Summer, the majority of units have been sold off plan – emphasising the demand for the location and the quality of the site.  Great Bentley has the second largest village green in the country so is an idyllic location for semi-rural living whilst remaining close to the hub and commuting pull of Colchester.

One of our longest-standing customers is Jason Moody of Charles James Developments, who we have supported for over 15 years. His latest development comprises nine luxury apartments in Hadleigh, with stunning views over the estuary in Leigh-on-Sea.

Jason said “We are passionate about bringing sustainable, financial and social value to the areas we build in and we hope the community in Hadleigh will be pleased with what we have delivered. These apartments are modern in design and have spacious balconies and a great communal roof terrace to allow buyers to enjoy the stunning views across the estuary.”  Jason Moody, Charles James Developments group.

Providing certainty in uncertain time

Given the challenging year we have all endured, we are encouraged to see such exciting developments happening across Essex (and the rest of the UK).

It is hard to know what is in store for the rest of 2021 and beyond, but we at Close Brothers Property Finance are committed to supporting SME housebuilders to ensure this wealth of development and growth continues, helping the local communities we work in and also helping to meet the national housing targets.

We have weathered numerous market downturns, the Financial Crisis and now three national lockdowns whilst continually giving our customers certainty during difficult times – helping our clients across the county to not only survive, but thrive.


Lucy Johnston, Close Brothers Property Finance


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