A COUNTRY pile has proved a sure-fire way to make money this year.
Some of the most expensive homes in the land have generated almost £80,000 in price increases for their owners since December, a report from the estate agent Knight Frank has disclosed. Manor house owners have seen the value of their property rise at a rate of £26,238 each month from January to March. Farmhouse and country cottage owners have had increases of £14,000 and £5,000 per month respectively.
Price inflation in the prime country house market hit a 22-month high in the first three months this year and on average country houses rose in value by 3.3 per cent during this period.
Record City bonuses, a strengthening of the economy and an increase in interest from overseas were behind the huge rise in buyer numbers and country house sales. The number of overseas buyers rose by 46 per cent in the past two years. In Surrey and Berkshire there was noticeable growth in the number of buyers from Russia, Europe and the Middle East.
However, a shortage of top-notch country homes for sale has led to stiff competition among house hunters. Liam Bailey, of Knight Frank’s research wing, said: “The country house market was pretty weak last year; now best and final offers are being taken for the first time in nine to twelve months. You get buyers waiting for a property in a certain area, and if it ticks all the boxes it doesn’t matter what they pay for it as long as they get it.”
The surge in prices was led by the top of the country house market, with the strongest price rises being recorded in the most expensive price brackets. Country houses costing between £3 million and £4 million rose in price by 6 per cent in the past three months alone.
Recent big sales include Edgecote Estate, Northamptonshire, which sold for £27 million, Sarsden in Oxfordshire, which fetched £24 million, and Woodperry near Oxford, which went for £21.5 million.
Robust price rises were also reported in lower price ranges. Country cottages costing on average £500,000 have experienced price rises of 3.1 per cent so far this year. Farmhouses costing about £1.15 million rose by 3.8 per cent, and manor houses costing about £2.66 million rose by 3 per cent.
The country market’s upturn followed a surge in London’s prime property market. In London, homes in the £1 million to £2 million price bracket rose by almost 14 per cent in the first three months of the year.
Rupert Bradstock, of Property Vision, the buying agents, said: “In Kensington and Chelsea I can show you properties that have risen by 15 per cent in value from September to February – that is a warning sign for the country house market. What happens in London usually follows in the country. We have seen gazumping and houses going under offer in a day.”
Knight Frank forecasts that prime country property prices will grow by 4 per cent by the end of the year, with the very best properties rising in value by 7 per cent. Its overall forecast for property price rises nationwide is 2.5 per cent.
Source: Times Online