The U.K.’s prime country house market is set for a tough future as the real estate industry grapples with the coronavirus pandemic
The U.K.’s prime country house market is set for a rocky year as the real estate industry grapples with the ramifications from the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Though fresh from a prosperous first quarter, the market—comprising high-end cottages, farmhouses, manors and townhouses—is expected to see sales and prices slump through 2020, according to a report Thursday from Knight Frank.
During the first three months of the year, before Covid-19 was widespread in the U.K., country house prices experienced their strongest rate of quarterly growth since the second quarter of 2018.
The 0.2% growth rate was a result of growing confidence in the market following December’s general election and the finalization of Brexit in January. The number of viewings and demand from new prospective buyers ticked up too, “a further indicator of increasing momentum in the market,” the estate agency and property consultants said.
During the first quarter, properties valued between £2 million (US$2.5 million) and £3 million recorded the highest levels of price growth, increasing 0.9%. The price bracket includes a large portion of London-based, family buyers and the “combination of a recovery in prices in the capital, low interest rates and the general election result, encouraged them to act, fuelling growth,” according to Knight Frank.
But progress has paused amid the country’s coronavirus lockdown which came into effect on March 23.
In the U.K., 165,221 people have tested positive for coronavirus and 26,097 have died, according to the country’s Department of Health and Social Care.
The U.K. lockdown will result in a significant amount of lost sales this year in a market that was gaining momentum, with a 3% fall in prices predicted, Chris Druce, residential research associate at Knight Frank said in the report. However, sales and prices should rebound in 2021 with price growth of 5% forecast.
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