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Global super-rich snap up British country estates

A rush of overseas buyers are descending on Britain’s country estates, with a 1,900 per cent rise in offers worth at least £15million compared to last year. 

New data from Savills shows 19 estates have sold this year as the global super rich re-evaluate their urban lifestyles during the Covid lockdown

Just one estate over £15million sold last year, as concerns over Brexit dampened demand for homes in the UK, but 2020 has seen a surge of interest. 

Of the 19 estates sold this year, around half went to foreign buyers, according to Crispin Holborow, from Savills’s Private Office. 

The £35million Bowden Park in north Wiltshire is now on sale and expected to sell fast. 

The 18th century mansion sits amid 22 acres of landscaped gardens alongside 1,400 acres of farmland.  

Mr Holborow told Bloomberg: ‘We [hadn’t] been able to launch a property and say to the owner confidently, ‘We can sell this in three months’.

‘[Buyers] are coming in thick and fast.’

A rush of overseas buyers are descending on Britain's country estates, with a 1,900 per cent rise in offers worth at least £15million compared to last year. Pictured: Woodlawn in Surrey on sale for £22.5million

A rush of overseas buyers are descending on Britain’s country estates, with a 1,900 per cent rise in offers worth at least £15million compared to last year. Pictured: Woodlawn in Surrey on sale for £22.5million

New data from Savills shows 19 estates have sold this year as the global super rich re-evaluate their urban lifestyles during the Covid lockdown. Pictured: West Woodyates Manor in Salisbury on sale for £18.5million

New data from Savills shows 19 estates have sold this year as the global super rich re-evaluate their urban lifestyles during the Covid lockdown. Pictured: West Woodyates Manor in Salisbury on sale for £18.5million

Just one estate over £15million sold last year, as concerns over Brexit dampened demand for homes in the UK, but 2020 has seen a surge of interest.. Pictured: Woodshore House in Virginia Water, Surrey, on sale for £15million

Just one estate over £15million sold last year, as concerns over Brexit dampened demand for homes in the UK, but 2020 has seen a surge of interest.. Pictured: Woodshore House in Virginia Water, Surrey, on sale for £15million 

He added that nearly everyone who buys a large country house ‘has a base in London’ but believes that only half of buyers are UK nationals.  

Mr Holborow believes that rich London-based residents, many of whom come from Asia or the Middle East, most likely already own multiple homes.   

Country house prices grew at their strongest rate since the start of 2016 in recent months, thanks to a high demand for large properties with substantial gardens.  

In the three months to September values rose by 2 per cent taking annual growth over the year to September to 2.3 per cent, according to the Knight Frank Prime Country House Index.

Knight Frank currently has at least 14 countryside properties on the market with prices ranging from £4million to a whopping £22.5million. 

Their three most expensive properties, Woodlawn in Surrey, West Woodyates Manor in Salisbury, Dorset, and Woodshore House in Virginia Water, Surrey, are currently on the market for £22.5million, £18.5million and £15million respectively. 

Mr Holborow added that nearly everyone who buys a large country house 'has a base in London' but believes that only half of buyers are UK nationals. Pictured: Marley Manor, in Haslemere, which sold for £7million

Mr Holborow added that nearly everyone who buys a large country house ‘has a base in London’ but believes that only half of buyers are UK nationals. Pictured: Marley Manor, in Haslemere, which sold for £7million

Country house prices grew at their strongest rate since the start of 2016 in recent months, thanks to a high demand for large properties with substantial gardens. Pictured: The Bearehurst Estate in Dorking, sold for about £6million

Country house prices grew at their strongest rate since the start of 2016 in recent months, thanks to a high demand for large properties with substantial gardens. Pictured: The Bearehurst Estate in Dorking, sold for about £6million

Woodlawn boasts 21,546 square feet, comes with 3.7 acres of land and features its own golf course, swimming pool, seven bedrooms and six reception rooms. 

The ground floor alone includes a domed entrance hall, drawing room, dining room, library, study, ‘state of the art’ cinema, large kitchen room and semi-circular orangery which links with the swimming pool, sauna, spa, gym and leisure area. 

It even has two independent flats for staff.  

Grade II listed West Woodyates Manor comes with a whopping 970 acres of land and boasts 12 bedrooms and six reception rooms. 

The Knight Frank website includes ‘shoot/sporting’ as one of the amenities offered with the mansion.  

The estate agents’ most recent sales are homes which are slightly cheaper but still in the millions.  

Little Thakeham, in Thakeham, Pulborough, sold for roughly £5.5million, while Marley Manor, in Haslemere, went for £7million and The Bearehurst Estate in Dorking, was sold for about £6million.  

Country house prices grew at their strongest rate since the start of 2016 in recent months, according to Knight Frank's Country House Index

Country house prices grew at their strongest rate since the start of 2016 in recent months, according to Knight Frank’s Country House Index 

This was the strongest annual price performance since March 2016, when the impending 3 per cent surcharge on second home purchases saw a spike in activity as buyers rushed to complete ahead of its introduction.

Similarly, it comes after a record-breaking run of activity during the summer months due to pent-up demand, which saw an all-time record for the amount of offers accepted outside of London in September.

This, combined with the stamp duty holiday announced in July, has helped keep deal activity high.

Chris Druce, senior research analyst at Knight Frank, said: ‘A record-breaking run of activity driven by a race for space post-lockdown, has sealed the recovery in the country house market and translated into the strongest price growth seen in more than four years.

‘Despite a challenging economic outlook, people’s desire to get on with their lives after years of political uncertainty followed by lockdown has seen the property market continue to defy gravity, although there are signs that it is starting to normalise.’    

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