Monday, April 19 2004

The temperature of the country house property market has been taken during a canvass of 2000 estate agents revealing a split in opinion on whether 2004 would represent a boom or bust year for the market.

In an effort to gain the most accurate and realistic state of the country house property market, agents were allowed to fill in the self-completion survey anonymously.

Respondents failed to agree on whether the year ahead would be strong or weak in terms of sales: responses varied from ‘Firm demand anticipated for 2004’ to 2004 will be ‘volatile to say the least.

Agents were, however, unanimous in their choice of Britain’s most sought after area: given £1 million to spend on a country house in the UK, the majority of agents said they would buy in Devon or Cornwall. This supports the finding’s of COUNTRY LIFE’s ‘Cream of the Counties’ survey, carried out in 2002. Furthermore, three of the top four counties which agents singled out as the potential property hotspots for 2004 are in the South West, with Yorkshire being the anomaly.

Cottages are the easiest type of property to sell, followed by an old rectory or vicarage. 59% of agents canvassed felt that a property located in a village was more popular to buyers than one located outside.

Surrey, which consistently attracts the majority of responses to properties advertised on Countrylife.co.uk, was felt to be the most over-priced county by 49% of the respondents, with 32% saying that Lincolnshire represented the best value to house-hunters.

The full results will be printed in a special gatefold in association with Big Property Marketing in April 22, 2004 issue of COUNTRY LIFE.