How are buyers and sellers of country houses reacting to the result of the EU referendum? Arabella Youens canvases the agents
Our property editor Arabella talks to the country house market experts to test the water after the result of the referendum came in at the end of last month, as agents prepare for Brexit
Lindsay Cuthill, Savills
‘For now, the message is very much to keep calm and carry on. We’re well placed to do that and that’s what our clients want us to do. As someone correctly said in a meeting this morning, although some are pretty devastated by the results of the referendum, many other clients will have voted to leave the EU and will feel pretty good about the result and positive about the future. We’ve already had offers coming through— on the day after the result, we had an offer for a house at £2.5 million, which is what we’d consider to be in the eye of the storm of the market.
‘On top of that, this morning, a new buyer has registered who is in the market for a country house with a budget above £8 million. Of course, there are political and financial uncertainties ahead, but overall— and I’d say this for any period of uncertainty—the fundamentals of the market remain the same.’
James Mackenzie, Strutt & Parker
‘It’s been a really interesting few days. We lost one deal on the day of the result from a client who was upsizing from one house in Ascot to another—he pulled out because his job is sales related and he didn’t have a clue what his earnings would be over the next three to four years.
‘On the following Monday morning, I was expecting more calls of that nature, but the first one that came in was from clients gazumping a house in Cheshire and, since then, we’ve agreed two other deals on or near their £3 million guide prices in the Cotswolds—both of which are nice houses that we’ve launched recently. Then, just yesterday, we had another gazump of £500,000 resulting in a sale at more than £4.5 million. Some viewings have been cancelled and others booked, so we’re no quieter on that front. But there will be clients who put their plans on hold until September or next spring because they don’t need to sell.’
Jonathan Bramwell, The Buying Solution
‘From our point of view, a fair amount of clients are motivated buyers and have got good reasons to move.
‘I did a deal on the Friday that the result was announced. It was a good north-Cotswold house and my client took the view that they were unlikely to find anything like this again and to get on with it. Equally, I know of another house in the Daylesford triangle that has four or five interested parties. These buyers aren’t in the market for the short term to make money. Many understand that, in the sought-after areas, there isn’t much around. We’re reasonably confident, but the most worrying things are the supply and whether we’re going to have an autumn market.’
Dawn Carritt, Jackson-Stops & Staff
‘It would be a great time to have a crystal ball, but I think there will be fallout from those who have a knee-jerk reaction, because they were relying on big bonuses or taking money out of shares or just job security Although it’s likely that those stories will hit the headlines, the reasons for buying a country house are largely personal and unlikely to be affected.
‘However, people might choose to move laterally within the market rather then gearing up to buy something larger. The country-house market has been like a flat white rather than a cappuccino of late— growth has been on a solid base rather than with a lot of froth on the top. So, after the knee jerks, I think people will just get on and move.’
Rupert Sweeting, Knight Frank
‘It is business as usual at the moment and we have seen exchanges continue to go through since the result was announced.’
‘Although it’s too soon to comment on how individual markets will fare, one possible outcome of the result is that the devalued pound could mean that foreign investment, especially into London, will increase and ripple out to the country market.’