PRICES of prime country houses in England rose by 0.4 per cent between April and June, the second consecutive quarter
PRICES of prime country houses in England rose by 0.4 per cent between April and June, the second consecutive quarter of growth. However, prime property values remain down by 1.2 per cent on an annual basis and are 21 per cent below the market peak in the third quarter of 2007.
Despite the recent increases in house prices, the prevailing feeling in the market is still one of uncertainty, with transactions taking longer as buyers consider their options. While viewings increased by 7.9 per cent over the first six months of 2013 compared to the previous year, the number of new applicants rose by just 0.1 per cent over this time. The late spring also meant activity between the traditionally busy months of April and June was more subdued than usual.
Rupert Sweeting, head of Knight Frank’s country department, said: “Prices in the country house market remain stable. However, realistic pricing continues to be all-important. Spring’s late start has been clearly reflected in the country house market, which has been delayed by between four and six weeks across the country. In the last month we have been experiencing encouraging trading conditions and see now as an opportune time to take advantage of the gulf between the capital and the country.”
The increase in stamp duty announced by the Chancellor in the March 2012 budget for homes valued at more than £2m continues to have an impact. While average prices for sub-£2m homes increased by 0.8 per cent in the second quarter of the year, homes in the £2m to £5m price bracket saw prices decline by 0.4 per cent. Prices for homes above the £5m threshold have risen in the second quarter of 2013.
On a regional level, the average price for a prime country property in the South West increased by one per cent during the quarter. Prices for prime homes in Wales and the South East saw the next largest increase over this time, up by 0.6 per cent and 0.5 per cent respectively.
Agents report that some local markets have benefited from the emergence of new sellers who have set more realistic asking prices for their homes, combined with a release of pent-up demand from buyers. This localised performance is most noticeable in key commuter towns.
Rupert Sweeting added: “My advice to vendors would be to show patience, yet to not be frightened of taking a first offer. The fall-through rate has never been so high due to shifting confidence and, therefore, vendors should have their lawyer prepared to exchange within 10 working days to avoid this.”