For many people, buying a luxury property represents the ultimate symbol of success – a trophy asset. Along with yachts, super cars or private jets, luxury property is something that many aspire to, yet only a relative few can really afford. Of course, there are differing degrees of luxury, depending on your budget.
One of the most desirable types of luxury property is the English country estate. Typically, this will include a significant, listed, period country house; established gardens; a large land holding around the house, giving the property privacy and providing income from farming and forestry activities; as well as a portfolio of cottages. Best in class estates are very rare beasts and can command significant premiums when they are sold. The market is small – typically there will only be one or two genuine country estates available at any time and, more often than not, they are sold privately, away from the glare of publicity.
The number of active buyers in the market is few and they are well known to those operating within it, so there is little point in advertising. Indeed, UHNW’s often actively shy away from property which is advertised, preferring instead to transact their business privately and in confidence.
Demand for country estates is typically driven by a combination of factors, the main one being lifestyle – buyers enjoy the lifestyle that goes with owning an estate. Ownership is a sign of success but equally, owning a property on which people live and work comes with its own responsibilities and traditions; the modern estate needs to contribute towards its own upkeep too. It is not desirable for an estate to be a bottomless pit into which the owner has to pour money to keep it afloat. Rents, farming income and diversification activities all contribute towards the income generated and a good mixed estate can deliver a return of 2 – 4 per cent per annum.
Add into this the current tax benefits of running a trading farming business and suddenly the asset becomes more than just an expensive luxury, but one which is a good investment, provides a place of employment to the local community and, invariably, is a source of great pride and enjoyment to the owner. How many other types of luxury property can compete with that?
About The Author
Charlie Evans is a Director of CKD Property Advisers and specialising in advising clients in the sale or purchase of country estates.