Londoners Searching for More Space During Covid Are Buying Up English Country Manors

The pandemic is having an unexpected side effect. Suddenly, Britons are eager for the space and grandeur of a country manor house. They are breathing life into Britain’s prime country house real-estate market after a malaise in that sector that has lasted for more than a decade.

Sales volume of country homes priced between $4.1 million and $5.5 million was up 70% between May and November 2020 compared with the five-year average, while sales of homes between $5.5 million and $6.8 million were up 78% in the same period, according to Chris Druce, senior research analyst in Knight Frank’s residential research team.

“It has been a complete shift,” said Philip Harvey, a buying agent and senior partner at Property Vision. “We are incredibly busy. People are making decisions. They are bringing forward five-year plans and focusing on lifestyle. They want to be safe, and they want their families to be happy.”

Mr. Harvey’s optimism is echoed by the latest Knight Frank prime country house index, which monitors the performance of rural real estate. It found that homes priced between $4.1 million and $5.5 million have enjoyed the strongest bounceback, with sales price growth of 2.9% during the third quarter of 2020. The homes priced $5.5 million to $6.8 million rose by 2.4% in the same period, while property costing $6.8 million and up increased by 1.4%.

Country houses that are within commuting distance of London have done particularly well: In the $2.7 million and up sector for country homes in the south and southwest of England, approximately one to two hours commute to London, price growth hit 8.4% and 8% respectively in 2020, according to Savills.

As a result, buyers can get a lot of house for their money in the English countryside, including the 9,462-square-foot Tormarton House, listed with Strutt & Parker at a guide price of $8.88 million. This Georgian country mansion in South Gloucestershire is 106 miles west of London and just 12 miles from Highgrove, the country home of Prince Charles. The house, on 10.31 acres, has 11 bedrooms, five bathrooms, and its former stable block has been converted into an office.

Savills is currently listing Belvedere, a landmark, castellated Georgian home overlooking the estuary of the River Exe, in the county of Devon, 170 miles southwest of London. The eight-bedroom, four-bathroom property is set on 13 acres and it has a large wine cellar, indoor swimming pool, sauna, and gymnasium. Belvedere measures 7,743 square feet, and is listed for $6.83 million.

The change in mood is good news for Mark Venn, 51, whose country house has been for sale since November 2019. Triscombe House—which is in the county of Somerset and 174 miles southwest of London—has been a full-time home to him, his wife Deborah Venn, 46, and their son Andrew, 13, since 2010, although they bought the property as a fire-damaged wreck in 2003. After overseeing the landmark house’s restoration, it was used as a holiday home before the couple decided to leave London for good and move in full time.

Article Source: Mansion Global