Country houses for sale

The house that (almost) trebled its value

Good news, your country house is worth far more than it was in 1997. Research by Savills shows that, despite the downturn, which has led to a price decline across the UK in the past five years, the overall value of prime property in the regions has grown by a remarkable 127.6% in the past 15 years. With a cumulative rate of inflation for the same period of 54%, this means that your house has appreciated by an average 73.6% in real terms.

However, notes Sophie Chick, an analyst at Savills, these numbers ‘mask a hugely volatile period’, in which some years-and, lately, some parts of the country-did significantly better than others. Prime regional property rose by a staggering 150.1% between 1997 and 2007, then fell by 9% over the past five years. The recession has also affected local markets in different ways, with prices holding best in equity-rich regions, usually within easy reach from the capital. As a result, property prosperity is now very firmly concentrated in affluent pockets of the South-East. 

The gap between regional winners and losers emerges forcefully when looking at the diverging fortunes of seven houses that had the same value-£550,000 in December 1997. They have all appreciated in the past 15 years, but the change in the geography of housing wealth caused by the downturn means that properties in the best-performing locations are now worth almost twice as much as those in the worst ones.

Surrey, now worth £1.53 million

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This modern, detached town house with five bedrooms, 3,650sq ft of accommodation and a half-acre plot in Weybridge-an area that’s popular with both London buyers and, increasingly, international ones-saw its value grow by 178%. The highest achiever of the seven, it even managed to record a small rise during the credit-crunch years and is now worth 1% more than at market peak. ‘This property performed well partly due to its proximity to London, but also because it’s on a private road, within walking distance of shops and close to good State and private schools,’ explains Miss Chick.

Dorset, now worth £1.17 million

This six-bedroom, 5,810sq ft period house in Dorset, with 19 acres, initially saw a 160% rise, but went down by 18% in the past five years. Today, its value is double what it was in 1997. Dorset properties ‘performed in line with other locations until 2007′, but, adds Miss Chick, have since ‘suffered from the lack of buyers coming from London’. 

Buckinghamshire, now worth £1.26 million

A modern, detached town house with four bedrooms in Amer-sham, Buckinghamshire, which stands in one acre and spans 2,230sq ft, recorded almost the same exact figures as the Oxford town house opposite. Despite losing 5% of its value in the past five years, it has seen an overall growth of 129% since 1997. ‘This is a classic family home in a location where supply is scarce, meaning it has held its value well,’ comments Miss Chick.

Norfolk, now worth £1.22 million

Situated in 11 acres at the edge of a village, this five-bedroom period rectory, which spans a massive 6,300sq ft, rose very sharply in value between 1997 and 2007. Worth £1.47 million at market peak, it was the second most expensive property of the seven after the Weybridge town house, reflecting the area’s growing popularity with London buyers. Their influx declined with the recession and, consequently, this rectory’s value dropped by 17% in the past five years-although it’s still worth more than twice as much as in 1997.

Oxfordshire, now worth £1.28 million

This modern, detached town house in Oxford, which has five bedrooms and 2,840sq ft of accommodation, saw a 4% dip in the past five years. None-theless, it has appreciated by a healthy 133% since 1997, and is now worth £1.28 million. The two Oxfordshire houses shown here are in second and third place on the value rankings and, according to Miss Chick, ‘this reflects the fact that Oxfordshire is a sought-after location, with demand for properties continuing despite the downturn. In particular, prime hotspots in Oxford have seen even higher levels of growth than this.’

Nottinghamshire, now worth £970,000

The downturn bit hardest in Nottinghamshire, where this period manor house with six bedrooms, 4,840sq ft of accommodation and 9.3 acres is located. It went up by a staggering 160% between 1997 and 2007, but later recorded a 32% price drop as markets farther away from London suffered from greater uncertainty. Nonetheless, it’s still worth more than 1½ times what it was in 1997.

Oxfordshire, now worth £1.36 million

In Oxfordshire, a period farmhouse with four bedrooms and 2,680sq ft of

accommodation in a rural location near Henley-on-Thames grew by a

considerable 147% to reach £1.36 million. It even managed to achieve a

robust 4% increase over the halcyon days of 2007-testament to the area’s

perennial appeal with British buyers.

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