Thursday 6 September 2018

Should you buy in Chichester’s Somerstown?

Somerstown in Chichester has been at the forefront of my mind this week. I’ve taken on a three-bedroom house there to let, a landlord called me about their impending purchase of a two-bedroom flat on the estate and a recent buy-to-let deal of the week of mine was a one-bed flat in Somerstown.

Originally built in the early 1800’s it was a jumble of two-up two-down cottages alongside numerous businesses, which included a grocers, sweet shop, bakers, antique shop, nine pubs and even a scrap yard. Home to those mostly on low-incomes, many of the houses (still with no heating, bathroom or inside toilet) were in disrepair by the 1950’s. This led to the (controversial) compulsory purchase, demolition and re-development of the estate in the 1960’s.

Half a century later Somerstown is now made up of 152 properties; a mixture of one, two and three bedroom flats and two, three and four bedroom houses, along with a few blocks of garages. Some of the houses have been re-configured to house more bedrooms, mainly for the purpose of renting them to sharers and students.

In fact, 49% of the homes in Somerstown are rented, compared to an average of 32% throughout Chichester. Many of those who do own their home on the estate have done so for many, many years, which is evident in that 75% of owner-occupiers have no mortgage.

Currently there are a number of flats for sale in Somerstown, with one-bedroom flats available from £175,000, two-beds at £220,000 and a three-bedroom flat for sale at £275,000. There are also a variety of three-bedroom houses available between £325,000 - £350,000. So, which of these might be the best buy for buy-to-let?

As often happens with property, the more you spend the lower the rental yield becomes. With one-bed flats likely to rent for £725pcm, two-bed flats for £875pcm and three-bed flats for £995pcm, the rental returns become 5.0%, 4.8% and 4.3% respectively, based on the sale prices listed previously.

The three-bedroom houses are likely to rent for £1,150pcm, which would provide a 4.2% yield based on the lowest sale price (£325,000), with the larger ones (available for £350,000) renting for slightly more (£1,200pcm) but slipping further to a 4.1% rental return.

However, we must also remember that flats are typically leasehold and thus come with ground rent and service charges. In the case of Somerstown, many of the flats require their leases to be extended to maintain their value and remain mortgageable; although my sources tell me the cost of doing this is reasonable compared to many leases.

Whilst many have fond memories of the ‘old’ Somerstown and will maintain that the re-developed site doesn’t have the same hustle and bustle to it as it once did, it seems there is now a variety of housing that caters for different types of people. Whether you’re looking to buy or rent, Somerstown’s homes are at below-average prices compared to Chichester as a whole, whilst representing a good amount of ‘bricks for your buck’ and rental return to landlords.

For more tips about buying, selling, letting and renting in Chichester, please visit

(This article was featured in the Chichester Observer's property section on September 6, 2018)

Clive Janes, CRJ Lettings

If you are looking for an agent that is well establishedprofessional and communicative in Chichester, then contact us to find out how we can get the best out of your investment property.

E-mail me on or call 01243 624 599.

Don't forget to visit the links below to view my previous buy-to-let deals and Chichester Property News articles:

c/o CRJ Lettings, 30B Southgate, Chichester, West Sussex, PO19 1DP

Chichester rental valuation


  1. Surprised the 1 beds are only achieving £725 pcm & £875 pcm. My 1 beds are achieving £795 & £895 in similar area in Chichester.

  2. Thanks for your comment - this article was written in September 2018, so prices will have changed by now.

    Having said that, Somerstown is a very specific part of Chichester - the properties just outside the estate vary in price greatly.