Prime regional and country houses are now being affected by the property downturn in the same way as prime London has already been hit, says the latest report from Savills. Average prime regional values fell by 5.6% during the third quarter following a 4% fall in the second quarter, leaving values overall 10.2% lower than they were a year ago.

These quarterly falls have been similar across all regions, and Savills also found the Scottish market catching up, registering falls of 6% over the last quarter, bringing overall fall for the year to date to 6.9% for the region.

Lucian Cook, Director of Savills research said: ‘The figures confirm that this downturn does not discriminate by region, which reflects the fact that sentiment is being adversely affected across the country, particularly by the weakened outlook for the economy and the severe restrictions on mortgage finance.’

‘Buyers know where they are comfortable in bidding in current market conditions, and those vendors who price realistically are selling.  Rates of sale will stabilise once buyer and seller expectations are fully aligned which we expect to take another six months.

‘As might have been expected the proportion of buyers from the financial and business services sector has fallen, but surprisingly across all other purchaser categories numbers are similar and the reasons for buying and selling have not dramatically changed between 2007 and 2008,’ he continued.  

The super prime market is still showing signs of robust performance, however, as properties over £4m are still showing growth of 2.2%, despite a small fall in average values over the quarter. Crispin Holborow, Director of Savills country department added: ‘We are now seeing a real move towards quality property.  There will always be exceptional sales which will buck the market trend where buyers have either a major reason to buy or are taking a long term view.’