UK Country Homes: Viewings hit 20-year high

The number of viewings for properties outside of London in the first two weeks of 2020 was higher than during any equivalent period over the past two decades.

The figure was 14% higher than the same period in 2019, indicating that growing political stability has buoyed demand across UK residential markets.

Furthermore, the number of prospective buyers registering with Knight Frank in the fortnight was at its highest level in the last five years, rising 15.6% from the same two-week period in 2019 for regions outside of London.

“Without doubt the market is in a better place and we are having a lot of positive conversations,” said Ed Rook, Head of National Country Department at Knight Frank. “Buyers have got back in touch and are much more focused to buy, as well as keen new buyers.”

However, rising activity levels are unlikely to translate into house price inflation in the near-term, said David Peters, Head of Country Business and Valuations at Knight Frank.

“Prices are unlikely to climb as there remains wider uncertainty in the market. Though some sellers are holding out for higher prices, I do not believe values are going to move dramatically,” he said.

Average prices across a range of regional markets declined by between 1% and 6% in 2019.

The findings mirror improved sentiment within the London market where the number of prospective buyers registered with Knight Frank rose to its highest weekly total in more than 15 years in the second week of January.

Demand has improved following the election of a majority government in December, though there is some uncertainty around the possibility of a stamp duty hike for overseas buyers in March’s Budget.