As new build and post-war houses drop in value, period properties are more resilient in a slower market, according to new research.

The average selling price of a post-1945 house dropped 4.9% year-on-year (from £727,682 to £696,026), says estate agents Hamptons International, while selling prices of new build houses dropped 3.74% over the same period.

Period properties experienced a small rise in value, however. During the first half of 2007, the average selling price of a pre-1900 home was £926,842. In the first half of this year, it was £927,071 – up 0.02%.

The research manager for Hamptons International, Rob Brown, says, ‘Despite the lower number of buyers this year, period property continues to demand greater attention from a limited pool of buyers.

‘It is the housing type most likely to have retained more of its value through the market slowdown.’

Average prices in the first half of 2008 were within £300 of prices in the first half of last year, adds Mr Brown.

Liam Bailey, head of residential research at Knight Frank, agrees that quality period property tends to hold its value and falls more slowly as demand tends to outpace supply.

‘Even in a weak market like the one we are in today, so long as the period property is well-presented and well maintained, it will do better than an average 20th century property,’ says Mr Bailey.

Phillip Venning, the secretary for the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings (SPAB), believes old buildings have a special quality that people will always appreciate – ‘a sense of history, heritage. They are a good investment – they may go out of fashion, but people always come back to them.’