Why Gloucester Docks is a hotspot for house hunters: Naylor Powell expert insight

With waterside apartments, a buzzing atmosphere and an enviable location, it’s not hard to see why Gloucester Docks is one of Naylor Powell’s most enquired about locations in Gloucestershire.

By Chloe Gorman  |  Published
Discover why Gloucester Docks is one of the most popular places to buy a property in Gloucestershire, according to independent estate agent Naylor Powell.
Discover why Gloucester Docks is one of the most popular places to buy a property in Gloucestershire, according to independent estate agent Naylor Powell.

On a sunny day with a drink in hand, you’d be forgiven for thinking you were on foreign shores down at Gloucester Docks – with its waterside location, plethora of restaurants and bars on the doorstep and ideal location on the edge of Gloucester city centre making it a popular place to visit.

With a dedicated Gloucester Docks branch and constant enquiries about properties for sale in the area, independent estate agent Naylor Powell explains why it’s such a popular place to buy a property, too.

About the expert – Laurie Duckworth, sales manager at Naylor Powell's Gloucester Docks branch

Laurie Duckworth sales manager at Naylor Powell Gloucester Docks branch

Independent estate agent, Naylor Powell, has six branches across Gloucestershire – including one at Gloucester Docks – offering expert sales, lettings and property management services to the county’s homeowners.

Laurie Duckworth leads the sales team at Naylor Powell’s Gloucester Docks branch.

Anyone who’s been to Gloucester Docks knows that it’s a lovely part of the county to visit – how popular is it with house hunters looking for somewhere to put down roots?

Since the first warehouse was converted in the year 2000, the popularity of living in Gloucester Docks has grown exponentially.

The enviable waterside location has drawn people from all over the country to relocate to the city. Being positioned in the heart of a vibrant location appeals to an array of house hunters including first-time buyers, investors and those looking to downsize. A docks apartment provides the perfect ‘lock up and leave home’ for retirees, too.

We get many tourists coming through our doors to enquire about properties for sale. We even had a gentleman who arrived by boat on holiday, decided he loved the area so much that he bought an apartment and has never left!

What makes Gloucester Docks such a desirable place to own a property?

The modern apartments are wonderful properties to live in, but residents particularly love the fantastic choice of cafés, bars, restaurants and entertainment facilities on their doorstep. The Gloucester Quays shopping outlet draws visitors from miles around and the new Food Dock, which is due to complete this autumn, will bring even more local, independent eateries to the area.

Tourists are drawn to the fantastic events hosted throughout the year such as the Tall Ships Festival, Food Festival, monthly food and craft markets and the Victorian Christmas Market and ice rink.

The central location means many residents can walk to work but for those who work out of the city, there are excellent commuter links on the roads, bus and trains which provide routes all around the country, including a direct line to London.

What sort of properties are available at Gloucester Docks – and which are the most popular with house hunters?

Residential properties within the docks are primarily one- and two-bedroom apartments. There are new builds, such as Provender, the Barge Arm and West Quay; and period conversions such as Albert Warehouse and Double Reynolds. It is personal preference as to which building suits your needs the best. You may desire a balcony or fall in love with the character features of the period buildings.

Many people are surprised to hear that there are also townhouses within the docks. Tucked away along High Orchard Street are four unique properties that were originally built in 1902 to home families who worked in the neighbouring warehouses. These beautifully renovated homes are arranged over three floors and each has a private courtyard garden.

While water views are the most common requirement, we find that once house hunters look inside the properties, their priorities may change. For example, the West Quay development offers stunning westerly views towards May Hill from the back of the building.

Many house hunters may be surprised that there are houses with gardens that date back to the early 1900s at Gloucester Docks. 

Gloucestershire is known for its heritage and period properties – and as many of the warehouses in and around Gloucester Docks date back to Victorian times, are these apartments brimming with quirky period features?

Yes, the Victorian warehouses are full of characterful features which is evident as soon as you step through the door. There is exposed brickwork, structural iron pillars and some properties even have the original factory machinery within the living accommodation.

The new build Provender building has a nod to its heritage with the recreation of the iconic blue elevator shaft which overhangs the water.

Currently, six of the Victorian warehouses are converted into apartment buildings but work is planned for Bakers Quay, which is the final section of the old Gloucester Docks, to be redeveloped and will provide more state-of-the-art properties.

Are any of the properties listed, and does that affect their price or popularity?

Yes, the Victorian warehouses are Grade II listed which means residents are not able to alter the façade of the building or any of the character features within the property.

According to availability of properties, prospective buyers can view both the new-build apartments and the converted, so they can make their own decision as to what suits them more.

The quality of properties in the docks alongside the excellent amenities will always demand high interest and in turn, a premium price.

Many of the apartments at Gloucester Docks boast original, period features. 

What are property prices like in and around Gloucester Docks? Are they on the rise?

Over the last few years prices have steadily increased in Gloucester Docks. Demand for apartments remains high and with more amenities coming to the area, this will only increase further. One-bedroom apartments currently start from £149,950 and two-bedroom apartments from £180,000.

Additional costs to bear in mind include the leasehold fee as well as a docks service charge, which covers security and maintenance of the area. These costs are available from our team and will be dependent on the size and location of the property.

What are potential rental incomes like in this area? Is it a popular place to buy an investment property or a buy-to-let?

Gloucester Docks has always been a popular area for buy-to-let investors. Void periods are very low and the rental returns remain high. It is a fantastic location for young professionals looking for a low maintenance property in a superb location.

The average one-bedroom apartment can achieve £695 to £800 per calendar month and a two-bedroom apartment can achieve £895 to £1,200. Rental values are dependent on the size and condition of the property and our lettings team are best placed to advise potential landlords on what they can expect when investing in Gloucester Docks.

How do house prices and rental incomes at Gloucester Docks compare with other areas of the county?

Gloucester Docks remains excellent value for money compared to similar properties in more expensive parts of the county such as Cheltenham. Another close comparable is Bristol Harbour where you will find similar properties for much higher asking prices.

Investors are now looking to Gloucester Docks for more attractive yields compared to these areas. The continued investment in the area is also encouraging for buyers. We have seen an increase in house hunters moving to the area and commuting to places like Cheltenham and Bristol, attracted to the lifestyle and affordable asking prices.

Properties at Gloucester Docks enjoy spectacular views either over the Docks or out towards the Gloucestershire countryside.

In a crowded market, what can sellers do to ensure their Gloucester Docks property stands out from the rest?

We always try to make the most of any unique features. It could be the character, water views, amazing sun sets or a state-of-the-art kitchen. As always, we advise our vendors to make sure the property is clean, presentable and ready for professional photos so the property can look its best.

If the property is unoccupied, we would advise the vendor to ‘stage’ the apartment for photos and viewings with furniture and accessories. The more attractive a property looks, the more likely that we will attract the right buyer – it can also help to maximise the price achieved.

How can buy-to-let investors maximise their chances of finding the best tenants in this competitive area?

The same advice is given to both sellers and landlords. Their property must be presented in the best possible light ready for photos and viewings. Our Property Management team manages hundreds of properties in the area and continually advises landlords on works required to keep their property in good order.

Finding the right tenant is key to a successful let and our lettings team will ensure all prospective tenants have the correct referencing and affordability checks to ensure the best tenant is found for every property.

Apartments with views over the water are particularly popular with house hunters. 

Is Gloucester Docks likely to become a hotspot for more short-term rentals like holiday lets? What impact could this have on the local property market?

As it stands within the lease agreements, short-term lets and holidays lets are not permitted within the buildings in the area.

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