Camilla Dell

Q. I am thinking of buying a second home in the country. I’ve found something really lovely, but the house has been on the market for over a year. Should I be worried?

A. Don’t panic, the country house market is very different from central London. Prices are far more susceptible to falls, primarily due to less international demand, tight lending conditions, spending cuts and the overall health of the UK economy. We have seen many houses and country estates outside of London stay on the market for months and we have watched the price fall. We recently sourced a property for a client in Henley, which was initially marketed at £6m. We ended up securing it for just over £2m. The time is definitely right to buy a home outside London. There isn’t much competition from foreign buyers so owners keen to sell are more open to accepting offers. Of course, there will always be the “hot spots” that are recession proof. Rock in Cornwall, Sandbanks in Dorset and Salcombe in Devon, for example, are still tight markets to buy into and the prices haven’t fallen much.