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Covid race for space helps boost posh country house market

High-value properties were the top-performers in the country house market in 2021, according to an agency that majors in this sector. 

In the 12 months to November 2021 vs 12 months to November 2019 new prospective buyers in the £5m+ value band increased by 137 per cent according to Knight Frank. Offers accepted in this period were up by 107 per cent and exchanges by 84 per cent.

In the overall country house market, which has enjoyed its strongest performance since the global financial crisis, new prospective buyers increased by 48 per cent, offers accepted by 40 per cent and exchanges by 44 per cent in the same period.

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“I’ve never known a time like it in 30-plus years. Leading up to the pandemic the top-end was pretty flat, however Covid has seen a resurgence of interest in the country house market, with buyers attracted to the high quality of life on offer” says Rupert Sweeting, head of national country sales at Knight Frank.

Before the pandemic, price growth for higher-value properties was weaker than the mainstream market due to a series of tax changes and political uncertainty, leaving greater scope for rises.  While the average property price in England and Wales grew 23 per cent in the five years to March 2020, the average price of £5m-plus property fell eight per cent.

However, as of late 2021 the average price of a property valued at £5m-plus in the agency’s Prime Country House Index was 19.8 per cent higher than 12 months ago. Since June 2020, prices in the £5m+ value band have increased by 27.7 per cent.

“A combination of buyers with cash to spend and low interest rates has driven the market. However, due to the high demand the cupboard is emptying, and I’d urge any sellers looking to come to market next year to do so early” adds Sweeting.

Total supply in the £5m+ country house market in November was a third lower than in November 2019. 

Country house prices increased by 1.7 per cent in the final three months of 2021 on a quarterly basis, and the average country house now costs 10.6 per cent more than it did a year ago.

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    Don't forget the full SDLT is back and extremely painful. It must be reformed.

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