“With global stock markets (which are often viewed as market barometers), fluctuating, and wide spread speculation in the press of a double dip recession, buyers who are actively in the market believe that the boot is firmly on their foot. However, the country property market is still dominated with over-enthusiastic prices which do not necessarily reflect the softening market, so there continues to be an imbalance between vendor and purchaser expectations.
“Our country teams are currently acting for an unusually high number of buyers (up approximately 20% on last year) but although there are plenty of buyers looking for good country houses, there is currently less urgency to purchase and the negotiations are more complex than usual. When markets are faring well, buyers are more prepared to compromise, so if 7/10 of their boxes are ticked, they are more than likely to proceed. Currently, however, buyers do not want to consider any risk whilst the markets are uncertain and would much prefer for all ten boxes to be ticked, which can sometimes prove to be an unachievable aspiration.
“The country house buyers’ mood at present is to attempt to negotiate sharply down from guide prices, especially when there is no obvious competition. The buyer is also hugely reluctant to bid, in effect, against themselves and in many cases, would prefer to wait until there is competition to confirm the level of market value. All of this slows the process whilst the battle of wills is played out.
“In contrast, the prime London market, which is dominated by international buyers, is moving much more quickly. There is a shortage of property coming onto the market so buyers know that they have to act quickly in order to compete.”
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