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.”
The Hermitage, some 100 miles west of London, has five bedrooms and two bathrooms, and comes with a coach house and 0.7 acre back yard.
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.
 
The Manor House is a landmark country house dating from the Queen Anne era (1702 to 1707), and features large reception rooms, high ceilings, fireplaces and wall paneling. The property has eight bedrooms and five bathrooms, is 6,386 square feet, and is set in 23 acres of grounds which include a tennis court and swimming pool, and a series of outbuildings. In the county of Wiltshire, the house is 80 miles west of London. Agent: Savills
 
These price rises mark a reversal in fortune for the prime market. In 2019, the sales prices of country houses in the $4.1 million to $6.8 million bracket fell by around 1%, according to Knight Frank, while those priced at $6.8 million and over were down by just over 5%. The long-term trend was even worse: The average sales price of prime country homes worth $2.7 million or more was down 18.7% between the peak of the market in 2007 and 2019, 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. 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.
 

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Howard Rudzki HOWARD RUDZKI Howard Rudzki has turned his passion for bike riding, dogs and education into vehicles to help for good. He started out bike riding when he was 20 for the pleasure and enjoyment that a good ride provides and has been a committed cyclist ever since. Rudzki rides every week either by himself or as part of group and annually participates in fundraising rides. For the last three years, he has ridden in America’s Most Beautiful Bike Ride, raising money for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, whose mission is to find a cure for leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin’s disease and myeloma and improve the quality of lives for their patients and families.When he is not riding, Rudzki spends his time going to animal shelters across the L.A. Basin rescuing older dogs. He is committed to saving displaced, unwanted canines and rehabilitating them with proper medical and nutritional care so they can thrive in safe and caring homes where they will be a loved family member.In addition to helping animals, Rudzki believes he has an obligation to give back to underprivileged communities so that all children are able to receive a good education. Over the years, he has donated computers, printers and software to schools to help develop the future leaders of our city.