The price of an average manor house grew by £300,000 in 2006, according to research by Knight Frank. Figures showed a growth rate of 11.2% across the whole prime country house market over the last 12 months, with the most prestigious properties growing in price by £866 per day. Britain’s healthy service sector, booming financial industries and dramatic supply shortage account for the strong performance, says Knight Frank.

Manor houses (properties standing on their own with extensive grounds and private drive) proved to be the top performers of all, seeing minimum growth of 11.9% over the year, with the average example increasing in price to £2,940,000. Knight Frank believes London’s booming economy accounts for this rise. ‘With the City economy performing well and the prime Central London housing market going from strength to strength, London buyers have taken advantage of continued high price growth and have taken their money out to the country,’ explained Liam Bailey, head of Knight Frank Research.

But other country properties have also been enjoying price gains. Country cottages (average price £530,000) were up by 1.9%, farmhouses (average price £1,240,000) up 1.7% and manor houses (average price £2,940,000) have increased by 0.5%. ‘This growth is equivalent to the average price of country cottages, farmhouses and manor houses growing respectively by £3,591, £9,580 and £26,358 each month in the year to December’ Mr Bailey said.

Knight Frank is already forecasting a similar story for 2007. ‘This strong performance emerged in October 2005, fuelled by then record-breaking city bonuses, and has continued to the present day,’ Mr Bailey explained. ‘The same phenomenon is expected this year as we move into the 2007 bonus round, with both bonuses and demand expected to be higher than last year. These expectations, coupled with current stock levels being at a lower level than the previous year, means we can only expect strong performance in the market in the first half of 2007.’