High-end property acquisition company Prime Purchase reports that since the spring property over £2 million in the Home Counties and South West has been selling well.
The best performing counties are Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire, Wiltshire and Surrey.
‘The £2 million plus country market has been improving steadily since mid-April with more serious buyers and a sense that prices are much firmer,’ says Jonathan Bramwell from Prime Purchase. ‘Activity is there with buyers competing for the best places.’
He also suggest the buyer profile includes British bankers and fund managers along with those who sold businesses over the last year.
International buyers, including some Russians, are purchasing in the Home Counties, where there has been a return of gazumping for the highest quality property, leading to sealed bids, a practice not seen since the recession.
Henry Holland-Hibbert from Strutt & Parker concurs that the £2 million plus market has been doing well mainly due to a lack of stock.
‘There is very little to choose from,’ he points out, ‘but buyers are taking the opportunity to get something now so they won’t be saying in a year or so, ‘Why didn’t we move then when prices were low?’’
Mr Holland-Hibbert adds that a sense of security from low interest rates has helped buoy up the market too.
He has not witnessed gazumping, however. ‘Potential buyers bid fair and square, but get out if it all gets too heated.’
The country market has returned to a more traditional market, says Justin Marking from Savills’ country department. ‘In the past, bonuses kicked off the market early, but not this year.’
Yet, the lack of bonuses has not stopped buyers looking. Viewing figures for the month of May are up 18% compared to the same time last year, explains Mr Marking.
‘Buyers perceive we are at the bottom, or close to the bottom of the market. There is some gazumping for quality property – if there is little wrong with a house it is attracting demand,’ Mr Marking reports.
Looking forward to the autumn, Mr Marking believes the country house market will remain stable, due to lack of stock. ‘And in October and November, the market will pick up again,’ he adds.