Slump in country houses market

15 August 2003
Prices of prime country houses continued to slow during the first half of the year, according to new figures.

The number of homes up for sale also fell across most regions of the UK, while many counties showed evidence of price falls.

According to research conducted by Country Life magazine, estate agents report problems selling properties for more than £3 million.

The magazine analysed all the properties advertised in its columns over the first six months of 2003 and noted a 22 per cent fall in the number of homes put on the market in Surrey compared with the same period of 2002

In Berkshire there was a 26 per cent drop and in Oxfordshire a 21 per cent fall.

However, Wiltshire saw a 17 per cent increase in the number of country house properties being placed on the market.

Northamptonshire, Lincolnshire and Derbyshire all reported increases in activity, with Derbyshire seeing a five-fold rise in the number of properties advertised.

"Stagnation in the London market is having a found effect on the rural housing scene", said Country Life's Penny Churchill.

"With people in London unable to sell their homes in the capital, the rural property market was being dominated by the very rich and local buyers."

This, she said, was particularly apparent in those regions where the economy was less influenced by what happened in the City.