UK Property Fourth Quarter 2006 Prime Country House Index

Country house market ends the year on a high, prices grow 300,000 in 12 months for an average manor house

Headlines this month

  • The London bonus fuelled country house market has risen strongly all year in this release we examine the reasons why and look forward to what the 2007 bonus round will bring
  • The Knight Frank Prime Country House Index reports growth of 11.2% in prime country house prices during the year to the end of December 2006 the highest rate of growth since June 2004
  • Owners of country cottages, farmhouses and manor houses respectively, saw price growth equivalent to 3,591, 9,580 and 26,358 each month in the year to December
  • Owners of the most prestigious houses have seen their value rise by 866 a day, every day for a year
  • Price growth has been led by the larger manor houses and properties priced at above 3 million, which have seen 17.0% growth in price in twelve months

Knight Franks Head of Residential Research, Liam Bailey, comments: -

2006 has proved to be a very good year for the country house market, with prices up by 11.2% across the UK. The strongest performing sector was the manor house category larger houses with land which saw upwards of 11.9% growth over the year.

With the City economy performing well and the prime Central London housing market going from strength to strength, London buyers have taken advantage of continued high price growth and have taken their money out to the country. The strength of demand over the past 12 months price growth in the country market rise to its highest level since mid 2004.

Prices for all property types rose over the final three months of 2006 country cottages (average price 530,000) were up by 1.9% farmhouses (average price 1,240,000) up 1.7% and manor houses (average price 2,940,000) have increased by 0.5%. This growth is equivalent to the average price of country cottages, farmhouses and manor houses growing respectively by 3,591, 9,580 and 26,358 each month in the year to December.

This strong performance of the prime country house market, especially in the South of England, is being driven by both the health of the service sector economy, and importantly the booming financial industries based in the City and Canary Wharf; as well as the shortage of supply that has become critical in many markets across the UK.

This strong performance emerged in October 2005, fuelled by then record-breaking city bonuses, and has continued to the present day. The same phenomenon is expected this year as we move into the 2007 bonus round, with both bonuses and demand expected to be higher than last year. These expectations, coupled with current stock levels being at a lower level than the previous year, means we can only expect strong performance in the market in the first half of 2007.

The country house market - Knight Frank tracks the performance of three country house property categories:

Manor house prices rose by 11.9% in the year to December, with the average example increasing in price to 2,940,000 over the 12 month period (an increase of 315,000). A typical manor house comprises a large property standing in its own, usually extensive, grounds with a private drive.

One such property currently on the market at a guide price of 2 million is Plas Boduan. A superb period country house set in magnificent listed gardens and refurbished to a high standard. In all about 25 acres.

Farmhouses rose by 11.2% in the year to December, with the average example increasing in price to 1,240,000 over the 12 month period (an increase of 115,000). A typical farmhouse has between 5 and 6 bedrooms, several acres of land including garden, paddock and barns.

An example would be Chelworth Farm House. A well laid out, light and spacious family farm house about 1mile from the village of Crudwell. With stables, outbuildings and paddocks leading to adjoining farm land. In all about 9.26 acres. Currently on the market at 1,500,000.

Country cottage prices were 10.4% higher in December compared to 12 months earlier, with the average example increasing in price to 530,000 over the 12 month period (an increase of 43,000) The typical cottage has up to one acre of land, is detached, and has three bedrooms.

Lilliput Cottage is one example currently on the market for 325,000. A beautiful period cottage dating from the seventeenth century in the heart of this very popular Hampshire village. The property has been totally refurbished inside and out and is now presented in immaculate condition.

Source: Knight Frank Residential Research

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