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Country house sales and prices are booming, but not on the portals

Shhh! Leading property search firm says half of all sales are off-market and that some houses are going for up to 20% more than their asking price.

Nigel Lewis

country house

The country homes market is booming and some houses selling for up to 20% above their asking price while half the houses are being bought and sold off-market, it has been claimed.

One leading property search company says the revival is in part due to many vendors going ‘off market’ to avoid their luxe homes languishing on the portals, and facing the prospect of public price reductions.

For example, one nine bedroom house for sale in the depths of commuter belt Surrey at £15.5 million has already been reduced by 6.5% since being listed eight weeks ago.

“The decision to leave the European Union, and changes to stamp duty have undoubtedly had an impact on the property market, and on the surface, it looks as though activity has slowed down entirely,” says Jess Simpson (pictured, left), who runs Jess Simpson Search. She claims half of the homes her company buys on behalf of clients are now ‘off-market’.

“But this isn’t the full picture, the country house market is strong.”

She says that increasing numbers of country house buyers and sellers now want to avoid the digital footprint of a property portal listing. Both Zoopla and Rightmove keep on publishing homes for sale for months and sometimes years after they have been listed as ‘sold’.

“Estates [are] often handed down from generation to generation, but with on-going restoration costs for those who are asset rich but cash poor, it means that they are unable to afford the upkeep,” says Jess.

“In the 1990s and early 2000s many country estates were either divided up or bought by corporate leisure operators and turned into hotels, with spas and wedding venues, but this trend is on the decline.

“Many of my clients are using country estates as aids to improve their lifestyles, for some they are second homes offering an escape to pursue a quieter pace of life, and for others they facilitate rural enterprises.”

March 16, 2018

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