Country houses for sale

Buyers still looking to move

It is difficult to imagine many people wanting to move house in the current climate, with finance hard to obtain and fears of negative equity.

* Country houses for sale

A new study points out that there still is a core of “wanna-be” house movers, however, with 53% of those questioned saying they were looking to buy a property in the near future.

Thirty-seven per cent of respondents hope to move in the next six months, while 52% are keen to move during the next six to 12 months, according to research carried out by

For many, the decision to move is still voluntary, and not enforced, and is driven by a desire to get on the housing ladder, or set up home with a partner.

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The most popular reason to move was to make the leap from renting to buying.

A further 13% said that they wanted to move to be closer to work, but nearly the same number (11%) are aspirational movers, wanting to reside in a ritzier postcode area.

The main drawback to moving today, with 35% of the vote, was difficulty in getting a mortgage loan, while the fear of negative equity was expressed by 30% of those surveyed.

Vendors’ willingness to make a deal and the availability of potential bargains could make this a good time to move, said 65% of respondents.

Simon Pritchard-Smith from search agent Robert Bailey Property is not convinced people are clamouring to move right now.

The problem, he believes is to do with pricing. ‘We are seeing properties still coming onto the market at historical prices from six to nine months ago and the new reality has not sunk in yet.’

And even those sellers who do understand they need to reduce asking prices are not necessarily shifting their property.

‘A house in Kensington, west London, that was priced at over £2,000 a square foot has dropped to £1,500 a square foot, but it still is not selling,’ points out Mr Pritchard-Smith.
‘Some people are looking to move,’ he concedes, ‘but most have to sell their own homes in order to buy.’

Another problem currently is that mortgages can be agreed, but between exchange and completion, the bank can say we won’t offer that deal anymore. ‘And they can do that; it is in the small print,’ adds Mr Pritchard-Smith.

Richard Gayner from Savills’ country department says the country house market is a more deliberate market compared to other parts of the property sector. ‘People who go to buy their dream country home do not expect to find it today, tomorrow or even next week. One recent client has been looking for six years.’

The reason for this more measured approach is that you cannot choose the time when your dream home will turn up, according to Mr Gayner.
‘People keep looking and when the right house turns up, they make their move.’

A real issue in the current market is the shortage of ‘really good houses,’ says Mr Gayner. ‘If you want a fantastic house just five miles outside Bath, for instance, you could wait five years.’

* Country houses for sale