A drop of 1.5% is predicted for the country house market in the first quarter of 2008 by Hamptons International, after which prices should rise by 2% leaving growth at zero for the coming year, with no further falls. ‘With an acute shortage of property the market will continue to remain strong,’ says their latest report.

The agent says it has seen a continued flow of London buyers focusing on the country, with high net worth purchasers from overseas playing an important role, and continuing to pay premium figures for the right house or estate.

‘The market for country houses is traditionally more resilient to fluctuations in the mortgage market with buyers generally unconcerned by issues such as loan to value ratios and income multiples. Therefore, relatively cheap money is still available when required. The predicted future cut in interest rates can only help.’

Hotspots for the future continue to centre around the Home Counties: West Surrey is definitely one to watch according to this report. Good connections to London and a finite number of houses in the £1.5m+ bracket have resulted in a renewed interest in new builds in this area.

‘We predict 2008 will see a gradual return of confidence if recent market uncertainties ease, as the dust settles, and the likely future of the housing market in general becomes clearer,’ concludes the study. Indeed Hamptons expects prices in excess of £3m to be common in the coming year as prices grow for new country houses which are built to be low maintenance.