Demand from London buyers has created country commuter ‘hotspots’, with prices of prime property in Oxford up by 2.5%, 0.5% in Henley and 0.2% in Guildford.
Currency movements have made prime country property more attractive for overseas buyers.
Grainne Gilmore, Head of UK Residential Research, comments: “The value of prime country property fell for the fifth consecutive quarter between April and June, taking the annual decline to 4.8%. Prices are just slightly higher than 2009 levels, in contrast to prices in prime central London, which have risen by 48% since the trough of the market in early 2009. But this disparity in pricing has led to more interest from London buyers looking for more ‘bang for their buck’.
“For example, a family with a home valued at £2.4 million in prime central London in early 2009, but who have held off moving to the country until now, will have an extra £1.12 million to spend on a bigger country home or more land, as their London property is now worth around £3.52 million.
"Alternatively, a couple who bought a home worth £1.5 million in prime central London in May 2010 can now look for a comparable property in the country worth £1.79 million thanks to the uplift in the value of their London home in the interim.
“The increase in interest from London buyers is reflected in country ‘hotspots’, many of which are close or within commuting distance of the Capital.
Prices of prime property in Oxford rose by 2.5% in the second quarter, while prices in Henley are up by 0.5% and prices in Guildford climbed by 0.2%. In contrast, prices in Harrogate fell by 1.3% on the quarter, and values in Sherborne declined by 3.7%.
“Bucking the trend however are the very top-end properties. Homes worth £5 million and more continued to rise in value over the quarter, climbing by 0.8% and taking the annual increase to 3.5%. The very best properties are attracting increasing attention from overseas buyers, with Russian buyers noticeably active in the market.
“Currency movements are helping to make prime country property even more attractive for overseas buyers. Singapore buyers who purchase a home now can benefit from a 40% discount compared to prices back in March 2008, thanks to house price and currency movements. Those buying in US dollars will get a 34% discount, while European buyers will get a discount of more than 20%.”
Rupert Sweeting, Head of Country Department, adds: “The prime country house market seems to be divided into three key areas of activity – properties ranging from £500,000 and £1.5m; hotspot areas such as Oxford, Haslemere and other towns or cities with good schooling and commutable to London and, finally, super-prime houses at over £5m.
“The pricing of property is increasingly vital to a successful sale. We have seen competitive bidding on properties, with one having as many as 28 parties bidding at the guide price. However, properties that seem expensive or over-priced are not getting any viewings. Whilst we expect the market to slow for the traditional summer period and the Olympics, there will be pent up demand for the autumn and there should be fresh stock from those people who wish to take advantage of the buyers who have not been satisfied over the first 6 months of the year.”
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