THE property market on Sandbanks, one of the most sought after postcodes in the world, has seen 'unprecedented' interest throughout the pandemic.

Changes to working practices in the post-Covid world have accelerated demand on the peninsular, to the point where there are hardly any properties left to market.

The earliest properties built at Sandbanks were simple wooden houses.

Bournemouth Echo: Fascinating aerial photograph of Sandbanks pictured here in 1934 showing just how development of the peninsula has changed this much sort after location

Today, of course, things have changed and the peninsular which even contains a neighbourhood dubbed 'Millionaires Row' boasts some of the most expensive homes in the country.

In 2018 a 13-house stretch of Panorama Road became the most expensive piece of coastal real estate in the world, with its combined property value of £93millon it even eclipsed Monte Carlo.

Sandbanks is renowned for attracting the rich and famous, with mansions enjoying stunning views across Poole Harbour.

Bournemouth Echo: Enjoying the Sandbanks sunset by Sara Ashford

But how did it become a millionaires' playground, and exactly what has been the Covid effect on the peninsular?

Brief history

According to records, the only building at Sandbanks in 1870 was a lifeboat station.

But in 1880 a hotel was built, The Haven Hotel, which still stands today opposite the chain ferry crossing to Studland - although its future remains uncertain.

Richard Carr reveals new plans for three Sandbanks hotels after thousands object to last scheme

There was no road to reach the hotel, and concerns mounted about coastal erosion and the fact there were no real sea defences. So Lord Wimborne, who owned the land at the time, offered it to Poole Harbour Commission for a small fee, dependent on them paying for coastal defences.

The way the commission could pay for those defences was by selling off 40 plots of land.

PICTURES: Book recalls every home in central Sandbanks

Early properties, according to the Sandbanks Beach website, were mainly wooden homes, mostly bungalows for holiday homes.

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But a road to the peninsular, built after the Great War, made the area more accessible.

However, it wasn't until the early 1960s when development kick-started in earnest. But up until the 1980s properties were well within price ranges of local people.

Then came the 1990s, and Sandbanks prices exploded - becoming known as one of the most expensive places to live in the world.

Why is Sandbanks so desirable?

"That is the million dollar question isn't it?" says Richard Dunford, branch manager of Tailor Made estate agents which deals with Sandbanks' properties.

Mr Dunford thinks the answer is much more involved than the typical response of, it is the beaches, the lifestyle, the harbour.

"It is more than that, there is a community here," he said. "There is a heartbeat to Sandbanks."

"Crime is relatively, low, we have no pollution."

And the fact it is in Dorset also helps, the estate agents says.

He explained: "Dorset as a county has to be number one or two for destinations to consider relocating or retiring.

"The majority of my clients look at Cotswolds, Cornwall or here.

"In the last 18 months there has been a shift in the wishes and desires of people to relocate here - and not just have a holiday home here."

What better way to declare your wealth than to buy two properties side-by-side on the iconic peninsula?

The slightly bewildering La Baie and La Plage have been described as the 'ideal his and hers purchase' perhaps for a multi-millionaire couple who are in desperate need of their own space.

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Designed by the award-winning architects Terence O'Rourke the properties provide the ultimate in luxurious living.

Once inside the property there is an impressive double height entrance lobby that show off the pool room through triple glass doors.

Inside the Sandbanks 'his and hers' homes up for £11.9million

The indoor heated pool has a relaxing chill out area ideal for all-year-round entertaining. There are also full height bi-fold doors which open on to the patio and garden alongside a sauna and changing room.

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A triple garage and home cinema complete the ground floor, while a sweeping staircase leads up to the first floor.

Each house is set over four floors and has the lavish necessity of lift access at each level.

We first reported on the incredible looking properties in 2015, when they went on the market for £13 million.

And earlier this year, RightMove revealed it was one of their most viewed properties of 2020.

But it isn't just mansions and beachfront properties available at Sandbanks.

The land is at such a premium, now and then buildings of a different kind come on the market.

Lloyds property group marketed a piece of land with just a detached garage - inviting bids on the plot.

Sandbanks garage for sale proves 'unique opportunity'

The average price of a property on Sandbanks is £1,239,904, up almost £60,000 during the past year, according to property website Zoopla.

Bournemouth Echo: Detached garage for sale in Banks Road, Sandbanks. Picture: Lloyds property group

Scott Taylor, of Lloyd property group, suggested a townhouse-styled property could be built, if planning permission was approved, similar to two houses built by Eddie Mitchell which were worth in the region of £900,000.

Inside the biggest home in Sandbanks (and it went on the market for £8.75m)

The Covid effect on Sandbanks property

"Sadly death and divorce are the only reasons for a potential sale now."

Read more here

Who is buying (or trying to buy) at Sandbanks

Best known former celebrity Sandbanks resident is without doubt, former football manager and 'King of the Jungle' Harry Redknapp.

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Harry called the peninsular home for years, as have other retired football players and managers such as Graeme Souness and Tony Pulis.

It is fair to say, those inhabiting the most sought after mansions have done well for themselves. But who has been snapping up Sandbanks properties during the frenzy of the past year - and why?

Harry Redknapp's former Sandbanks home for sale for £11m

According to Mr Still, there has been real cross section of buyers but it was the change in work ethic which fuelled the surge.

He said: "We first saw it 14 or 15 years ago, when technology changed.

"People were able to not have to be in London five days a week. So they would buy down here, and they would go up on a Tuesday and back on a Thursday.

"Now, since the first lockdown and the working from home ethic, that has just accelerated.

"We were half an hour too far to commute to London – that has now gone out of the window because people just don't have to be there."

Meanwhile, Mr Dunford said: "If you are looking to relocate here, and this will be your main home, life is good.

"You'd have done very well in the area of expertise you have chosen and you are in a fortunate position.

"If you are looking to buy a holiday home here for £2, £3, £4, £5million then chances are you have £20, £30, £40 million behind you. And these people will often have holiday homes, not just here, but abroad."

The uncertainty over travel in this post-Covid world means Sandbanks has seen an increase in people buying holiday homes.

They are purchasing them now so they can use them (hopefully) in the summer.

Mr Dunford told the Echo: "Last year we had an upsurge in people selling their holiday homes because they were relocating here, so all sectors of the market came alive.

"Whether you were buying a bolthole for £300/400,000, through to the multi-million pound property in Branksome Park and the multi-million property on the water here at Sandbanks.

"What has happened now - and this will be the biggest problem all agents are reporting, us included, is we are awash with buyers but no properties.

"We have the lowest level of properties available. I would have to go back to 2005 to the time I last saw this few number of properties available coming into the season.

"People are not buying, because people are not selling."

Prices on the peninsular today

Sandbanks was not immune from the crash in 2008/9,with a reported 20 per cent value drop at that time.

But the market slowly recovered and by about 2016, prices were roughly equivalent to pre-crash values.

But throughout 2017 until 2019, mainly due to the uncertainty of Brexit, prices stagnated.

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Since 2020 property prices on Sandbanks have risen at least 10 per cent.

"New wealth coming into the area, it drives the economy here," said a spokesman for Tailor Made estate agents. "People will upgrade their property, the solicitors, surveyors.

"There is a whole economy surrounding property."

"The most expensive property that we've had the pleasure of acting for was £11million, but they are few and far between.

"Our bread and butter is the £300,000 to £3million end of the market – that is where a lot of the transactions take place."

This piece was originally published in May 2021.