Prime property prices in the country are looking very healthy, although growth is spread out and local towns and cities are experiencing higher growth and demand, according to new data from Knight Frank.

Prime country houses prices increased by 1.9% in the first three months of 2014, the strongest quarterly growth in four years, according to the agent’s rural research department, while year-on-year prime country house prices rose by 4.5%. This seems to be an indication that the prime country market has begun to reap the rewards of the wider market recovery in the UK, the report claims.

However, analysis also shows that price growth is far from even and buyers are increasingly attracted to homes located in urban rather than rural settings, with local town and city markets outperforming more rural counterparts. Across the ‘prime urban’ market, property prices increased by an average of 8.2% over the year to March: recent price growth in Sevenoaks, Winchester, Bristol, Bath and Oxford, among others, has been reflective of this, Knight Frank has found.

Excellent schools on the doorstep, the convenience of having local amenities nearby, as well as good transport links back to the capital are all big drivers of the prime urban markets, especially for buyers relocating from London who are also able to take advantage of the not insignificant price gap that currently exists.

Rupert Sweeting, Head of Knight Frank Country, comments: ‘The continued growth of popularity in towns/cities follows the demands of London buyers looking for a quieter lifestyle with excellent education and good communications to London but coupled with cosmopolitan characteristics.’

Demand for prime country property remains strong, the report maintains, with the number of new applicants up by 10% year-on-year and viewings up by 16% over the same period, which led to increased sales in the first quarter of the year.

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