More British buyers in top end of UK country house market

Taylor Scott International News

British buyers are active again in the top end of the UK’s country house market, making up two thirds of buyers in the five million pounds plus sector since the start of the year. This compares to less than half of this market in the same timescale last year, according to research by leading international real estate firm Knight Frank. The figures show that British buyers have become a more regular feature in the super prime country house market this year, accounting for 71% of all sales since the start of 2014. In 2013 they accounted for just 46% of the market. The improving UK economy and growing confidence in the property market outside of London over the course of the year have contributed to the rise in British buyers at this level of the market, according to Rupert Sweeting, head of Knight Frank Country. ‘The increase in mergers and acquisitions and the stock market has also encouraged UK national buyers to buy having been waiting in the wings for a while. Some company owners now feel they can invest their dividends in a home rather than keep them in reserve for their business,’ he said. ‘However, they have often had to outbid international buyers who whilst wanting to move to the UK for education, political and work reasons have found their currency a little weaker against the pound,’ he pointed out. Since the market low in 2009, super prime country homes have risen in value by around 12%, in prime central London price growth over the same period has been in excess of 70% making the country seem good value in comparison. The firm is starting to see an increase in the number of London buyers active at the top end of the country market, with some London dwellers choosing to take advantage of record prices in the Capital and spend their budgets on large country properties. As well as rising demand from domestic buyers, demand from Asia has increased. Chinese buyers have accounted for 6% of the market since the start of 2014, up from 0% last year and 2% in 2012. While economic conditions in the UK are favourable, the political backdrop has become more unpredictable, the firm also pointed out. Taxation, for example, is likely to become more of an issue in the run-up to the general election and could have a direct impact on the demand for luxury property and on price performance. Taylor Scott International

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