A buying agent says a higher proportion of Britain’s rarified country estates market is now being sold off-market.
Jess Simpson, an ex-Savills and ex-Strutt & Parker sales agent who now runs her own property search business, says in some circumstances country estates have been selling in recent months for between 10 and 20 per cent above asking price.
However, in many cases the reverse has been the case - this, she says, has prompted an uptick in the volume of estates being sold without coming on to the open market.
“There are more properties than ever changing hands off market due to low confidence amongst sellers who have seen overpriced or flawed country houses sitting on the web with price reduction after reduction. In fact, historically about 50 per cent of what I buy is off market, and this has increased to around 65 per cent in recent months” she says.
“Properties are sold off-market for many reasons, but the main driver is discretion for both sellers and purchasers alike. Savvy sellers want to avoid the digital footprint and many buyers like the exclusivity that an off-market transaction offers” Simpson adds.
“Country estates were often handed down from generation to generation, but with on-going restoration costs for those who are asset rich but cash poor, it means that they are unable to afford the upkeep” according to Simpson, who notes that in more recent times those estates have been divided up to operate as separate businesses.
But now she says this trend is in decline, and concludes: “Many of my clients are using country estates as aids to improve their lifestyles, for some they are second homes offering an escape to pursue a quieter pace of life, and for others they facilitate rural enterprises.”