Savills Private Finance says the prime country house market has started to power ahead following virtually no growth last year.
The brokerage has released research showing that prime country houses saw price rises of 5.2% over the last six months.
Most of the strongest growth was seen in the home counties, and particularly in the market for trophy mansions.
The research says for the first time in five years, prime country houses in the home counties have out-performed both the mainstream market and the prime markets of Scotland, North West, North East, Yorkshire & Humberside.
These northern markets had been enjoying high growth while the southern markets were slumped.
The annual growth rate for prime houses in the home counties in the year to June 2006 is now 10.8%.
Most of this growth has taken place in 2006 and follows closely the growth first seen in the prime London markets in late 2005.
Growth has continued to be strong in Scotland (10.5%) and in Northern England (9%) but this is expected to slow towards the lower rates currently seen in the prime country house markets in Western and Eastern England at 3.9% and 4.0% respectively.
Yolande Barnes, director, Savills Residential Research, says: Its interesting to see how the prime country house markets are now following the prime central London markets which have grown by 14.2% over the last 18 months.
There is no doubt about it, the prime London effect is spreading outwards from the capital to other prime markets.
City bonuses and demand from international buyers are driving up prices – all of which is entirely consistent with what we saw happening in the prime central London market late last year.
Savills research also looked at the type of country houses being bought and discovered that until the beginning of this year country cottages outperformed other property types, but over the last six months, stronger growth has been seen in the value of the largest country houses – the mansions.
The appetite for trophy properties seems to have returned among the big international players perhaps for the first time since 9/11.
Their preferences extend to both London and the Country.
Looking ahead, we believe that growth in values across all housing markets will slow down a bit in the second half of the year, but will still result in overall growth of 8% in 2006 as a whole.
Of all the prime country markets, we expect the Home Counties is most likely to experience the strongest growth – of around 13% – for 2006.