Sales for essentially unavoidable reasons including death, debt, divorce and relocation account for 23% of all transactions but the motive to downsize, which is a strong driver in the country house market, accounts for some 30% of transactions.

In a report by Savills, the demand for prime country houses stabilised in the third quarter of 2007 as the market responded to an environment of rising interest rates and uncertainty in the City over the traditionally quiet summer months.

Growth has been much stronger during the first half of the year with an increase of just 1.4% recorded in the past three months, which was largely on the back of increased prices in particularly Scotland and East Anglia.

Lucian Cook Director Savills research comments, ‘Reduced market activity has reflected both a summer lull and a degree of caution amongst purchasers, similar to that witnessed in Prime Central London. This has led to relatively late start to the Autumn market.’


Savills downsizingsource: Savills research

However, according to Crispin Holborow director of country house sales, ‘There is still plenty of demand for properties in the £2 to £5million price bracket and a number of deals have been done in the past few weeks. Whilst price growth is unlikely to be startling in the coming months, the fundamentals which underpin the prime country house market remain sound.’

‘Looking ahead into next year we expect to see a continuation in the supply and demand imbalance, particularly given the prospect of a reduction in bank base rates in the short to medium term, which can only have a positive effect on values.’

Read about the Dos and Don’ts of downsizing