It seems that townies who once thought they would never swap urban life for a place in the country are now dreaming of a rural pile. The young families who have pottered around Chelsea in a Range Rover and the Hampstead, Barbour wearing gliteratti are dreaming of chasing chickens around their own paddock and pulling up carrots from their own kitchen garden. But getting their hands on that idyllic estate is not easy.
There is a genuine shortage of country homes coming on to the market, which we suspect has been fuelled by stories of difficult sales and price reductions. However Spring brings not only blossom on the trees and the sight of flip-flops on pale coloured feet, it brings more homes to the market. Get ready for the Townies Retreat to the countryside.
It is mostly Londoners who are moving out of cities because of the enormous value gap between the capital and the country house market. If you are coming out of London, you have probably seen the best of your house value, yet values in the country have barely risen. The other day I went to look at a dream house in Warwickshire for £1.65 million. It was a beautiful farmhouse with seven bedrooms and three acres. Compare that to someone selling a place for the same price in Fulham probably with three bedrooms, no parking and no garden!
Relocation and upsizing were the main reasons for buying a country pile last year: 78 per cent of Savills’s clients investing more than £2 million were buying a main residence, and only 9 per cent of the market below £4 million were second-home buyers. The agency also notes that 60 per cent of its country house buyers in 2017 were aged between 30 and 49.
Families looking in the country tend to put lifestyle rather than investment first. Growing vegetables, owning chickens and perhaps having a few pigs has never been more popular.
Lucky for the owners of 4x4s who want to put them to good use then that we have several country piles available.