A number of significant trends are revealed by the performance of the elite property market in the UK over the past 10 years, as reflected in the volume of property advertising carried by COUNTRY LIFE between 1992 and 2001.

The first, and most obvious, is that not only are the rich getting richer, but that there are now a lot more of them. The volume of transactions at the upper end of the property market doubled between 1992 (the depths of the last recession) and 2001 (which heralded the start of the present one, if that is indeed what we are in), and data from the COUNTRY LIFE Elite Property Index – which tracks the price of every property advertised – shows that prime country-house prices have more than trebled in many cases, especially in popular counties such as Hampshire and Surrey.

In 1992, the million-pound house was a rare beast anywhere in the country; today one in seven houses advertised in COUNTRY LIFE are priced at œ1 million or more. The average price of a property in COUNTRY LIFE is now about œ600,000. To put that figure into perspective, the latest reports from leading mortgage lenders put the average value of a home in Britain as a whole at less than £100,000.

Major findings from the COUNTRY LIFE Elite Property Index

  • The average price of prime country houses has more than trebled since 1992.
  • The average price of houses advertised in COUNTRY LIFE is œ600,000.
  • The number of houses advertised in COUNTRY LIFE rose by 15% in 2001.
  • Devon has taken over from Oxfordshire with the most houses advertised in

In the Home Counties, Hampshire is the most popular county for country-house buyers, replacing the 2000 favourite, Surrey.

In 2001 Spain and the Balearics replaced France as the main focus of overseas property investment.

Top counties for buyers 2000

2 Surrey

4 Sussex

2001

2 Oxfordshire

4 Sussex

Top countries for property investment 2000

2 Spain

4 Portugal

2001

1 Spain

3 Caribbean/Barbados

4= Portugal

This article appeared in COUNTRY LIFE magazine. Penny Churchill will analyse the trends revealed in the COUNTRY LIFE Elite Property Index at regular intervals. Her next report will appear in July. To subscribe to click here.