The team at buying agents The Buying Solution report a number of high profile country house sales in recent weeks showing that lack of supply and pent up demand has seen a return of gazumping.

Ran Morgan of the central region comments: ‘For example, Bourton House, Bourton-on-the-Hill, which was on the market for a guide price of £5m, went under offer for circa £4.75m, then was subsequently gazumped at £4.9m.  The property is blighted by road noise, however, the lack of supply means that some buyers are prepared to compromise.’

Mr Morgan cites another sale, that of Blaisdon Hall near the Forest of Dean which has gone under offer just below its £4.75m guide price. ‘Interestingly, it was purchased by a Russian buyer – fairly unusual for this part of the country, however the house is very private, has good views, and you can land a helicopter there, all of which are of  utmost importance to Russian buyers.’

Meanwhile in the southern region, Micheldever House, near Winchester, was introduced to the market earlier in the year with a guide price of £4m.  Having attracted no offers, the price was dropped to £3.5m in the autumn. It then went under offer for just over the reduced guide. Similarly, Steventon House, Nr Basingstoke, was introduced quietly in the summer with a guide of £5.5m. The property attracted no offers, but was then introduced to the market with greater advertising and a guide price of £4.5m; subsequently the property went under offer close to the guide.  Both properties had blights, but attracted competition and achieved close to guide once priced according to market conditions.

‘For 2010, I believe that we will see more supply coming to the open market in spring throughout West Berkshire, Wiltshire, North Hampshire and Dorset, and that we are likely to see city bonus buying in the second quarter and onwards in the open market, prior to the election,’ explains Bobby Hall. ‘In the meantime, a number of houses are being privately offered at the upper end between now and early next year. For example, I have been quietly offered a £5m house in Hampshire that will not hit the open market until April but is expected to sell off market before Christmas.’  

In the Home Counties, Andrew Giller reports that he has had had had a number of enquiries from those anticipating bonuses who want to move out of South West London down the traditionally popular A3/M3 and M40 corridors. ‘We also anticipate continued demand from international clients, particularly Russian and Middle Eastern buyers, who are very much back in the market place.’

High value country houses, estates and land Mark Lawson, who handles very top end sales of country houses and estate says that his share of the market has seen ‘a very healthy end to the year, for example, the sale of Malverleys, near Newbury, which achieved in excess of its £12m guide price with four people bidding – a figure that reflects peak market prices.’

A noteworthy land deal in recent weeks is Manor Farm, Turkdean, Gloucestershire (466 acres) which is under offer for significantly above its £5.5m guide price, with two UK buyers bidding.  

‘International buyers continue to dominate the market over £5m, and we are beginning to see Russians moving further out of London. There are also rumours of the first active Chinese buyer in the Home Counties with more than £10 million to spend.’

‘The supply of farm land will continue to dwindle, pushing prices ever higher, again driven by shortage of supply (because farmers are not having to sell as they can afford to fund their borrowings, and with the weakness of the pound, their Single Farm Payment cheque from the Euro Zone has increased in value by as much as 25%).  Demand will be stronger than ever because it is now firmly believed that, with the growing population and the continued likely shortage of food, the Landowner will once again become king.’