As in every other part of England, the property market in Suffolk has taken a significant hit in recent months. But far from throwing in the towel, Suffolk estate agents have reacted swiftly to the downturn, encouraging buyers and vendors to renegotiate deals that show signs of stalling, and persuading shrinking vendors that there are genuine buyers out there for the right house at the right price.
As a result, Bedfords in Bury St Edmunds (01284 769999) reported a surge of sales in late October, with 10 deals being agreed in five days, mainly in the £400,000 to £800,000 price range. You get a lot of house for £800,000 in Suffolk these days, partner James Bedford points out. And, aware that actions speak louder than words, he has put his own house, the charming Georgian Old Parsonage at Fornham St Martin, near Bury St Edmunds, on the market at £795,000.
The house stands in three-quarters of an acre of garden in the heart of the village, and has three reception rooms, a cellar and playroom, a kitchen/breakfast room, five bedrooms and three bath/shower rooms. Fresh to the market through Strutt & Parker in Ipswich (01473 214841), at a reduced guide price of £850,000, is the enchanting Street Farm at Brent Eleigh, near Sudbury a meticulously restored medieval farmhouse, listed Grade II, which sits in 5.5 acres of grounds on the edge of this small Brett Valley village, surrounded by dreamy undulating countryside.
According to a historicalsurvey by the architect and historian Leigh Alston, ‘remarkably few alterations have taken place at Street Farm since the 17th century, except for the new façade of 1880 and the rebuilding of the chimney stacks at the turn of the millennium. Whatever the origin of the service wing, it remains an exceptional example of a complete medieval house, preserving a rare collection of individual features, including a finely moulded and intact 14th-century crown post’.
The 3,070sq ft, L-shaped gem has three main reception rooms, a farmhouse kitchen, five bedrooms and two bathrooms. Many vendors of good country houses on the market in Suffolk are ‘downsizers’, who have already found an alternative property to buy and are keen to sell at reasonable, but not ridiculous, prices, says David Clarke of Strutt & Parker. They include the owners of the immaculate, Georgian-style Old Rectory at Combs, near Stowmarket, for which Strutts quote a guide price of £2.25 million.
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Built in 1836 with earlier origins and later alterations, the impressive former rectory stands in some 20 acres of wooded gardens and parkland on the edge of the village, and has accommodation on three floors, including three elegant reception rooms, a kitchen/breakfast room, a snug, a playroom, a dog room, a garden room, four bedroom suites, two further bedrooms, a family bathroom and two attic rooms. Outbuildings include a barn, three stables and a former coach house. Also seeking to downsize are the owners of the delightful Wallers Farm at Tattingstone, five miles from Ipswich, which is on the market through Strutt & Parker at a guide price of £1.7m.
This impeccable, 21.5-acre mini estate sits in a glorious setting on the Suffolk-Essex border to the west of the Shotley peninsula, and includes a substantial, six-bedroom, Georgian farmhouse, a three-bedroom cottage, a large traditional barn and extensive stabling and garaging.