Top end country property in UK sees 52% sales increase but prices are starting to fall, latest analysis indicates

Prices of high end properties experience highs and lows

Country property, land and estates in the UK have enjoyed an average 52% increase in sales with good quality properties attracting competitive bidding and selling above its price guide level, a new report shows.

The increase has come in a relatively short space of time, between the first and third quarters of the year, according to the report from The Buying Solution, the independent buying consultancy of Knight Frank.

Foreign buyers are driving the top end of the country market, particularly in the Home Counties, the report also indicates.

Although there has been an increase of property on the open market across the country there is still a limited supply of good quality property available to purchase so the best in class properties are attracting competition and in some cases, selling above guide, the report points out.

‘Our client base has increased significantly, so we are anticipating a busy autumn and winter market,’ said Philip Selway, managing partner of The Buying Solution. He warns though that prices are starting to fall with the latest Knight Frank index showing a 0.9% decline. ‘Our main concern will remain a shortage of new stock to the open market,’ he added.

In the Home Counties of Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Surrey, South Oxfordshire, West Sussex, there has been a 50% increase in the number of properties on the market and it is the finest houses that are attracting the best bids, according to Paul Frost, buying consultant for the area.

He says that an example was a house in Munstead that was on the open market for £7.5 million and recently sold for a figure in excess of £8 million under competition.  He also expects competition to be keen with the next round of City bonuses expected in the spring of 2011.

In Somerset, Wiltshire, West Berkshire, Hampshire, Dorset the £1 million to £2 million price bracket in particular has seen a lot of activity, with just over 60% of all transactions in the Southern region within this price range. ‘This is largely because the majority of people buying for schooling in this area are currently dominating the market, whilst those with more expensive assets, who may be buying for lifestyle reasons, are choosing to hold on,’ said Bobby Hall, Partner and head of the Southern region.

The central region of Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire, Warwickshire, Northants, Herefordshire, Worcestershire has seen a 60% increase in enquiries from potential clients.

‘It really is a tale of two halves. If priced correctly, un-blighted, trophy homes continue to sell well, particularly if they are offered with land of 10 acres and above. However, properties missing these key ingredients or those that are over priced are not attracting offers. Buyers purchasing at this level of the market are largely doing so as a luxury purchase so they aren’t prepared to pay inflated prices and are prepared to wait,’ said Mark Lawson, partner, top end country houses and estates.

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