An 1820 limestone house in South West England
†2.1 MILLION (1,695 BRITISH POUND)
Built in 1820 around a 17th century core and extended in 1920, this Tudor Revival style house is on the outskirts of Calne, a medieval market town in Wiltshire County, South West England. Known as Castlefieldsthe six bedroom house was originally part of a 200 acre property used for grouse and partridge hunting, and is a listed historic property with a “grade two” on the National Heritage List for England†
The property occupies a third of an acre on “the edge of fields,” making it possible to “walk out the door into the countryside, which is heaven,” said Rebecca Hall, the owner along with her husband, Alex. The house is listed with Inigo, a real estate agency for historic homes.
The three-story 6,000-square-foot house, built of coarse limestone, has a slate gable roof and 15 octagonal chimneys with cornices at the ends. Parapet walls at the entrance porch have crenellated stone, pointed arch windows are mullioned and doorways are arched. Three- and four-leaf clover motifs abound.
Wooden gates open to a gravel driveway with space for several cars. A flagged porch and double front door lead to a vestibule and hallway with original polished sandstone floors and a cantilevered stone staircase. A vaulted ceiling has plaster details and a cornice.
The ground floor continues in a circular plan. A study with a built-in bookcase and a bay window of four arched windows is followed by a study and an orangery. Opposite the entrance hall is a powder room and a salon. The spacious kitchen has a forest green dresser with reclaimed oak countertops and display cases. Matching cabinets were built on either side. The kitchen and all but one bathrooms have a 12-inch wide elm plank floor.
Behind the central kitchen is a service kitchen with another refrigerator and oven. “It’s great when you entertain,” said Mrs. Hall. “You can have all the junk in there.” The adjacent orangery is used as a dining room and opens onto a stone terrace.
Upstairs are six large bedrooms with carpeted floors. The primary, with a vaulted ceiling and bay window, has a contemporary en-suite bathroom with travertine tiles. The adjoining dressing room is also a bedroom, and a third bedroom is used as a study. A back staircase leads to a utility room on the first floor with laundry room and workbench. Behind it is a shower room and mud room with access to the garden.
The attic has exposed beams, a sitting room, two small bedrooms, a bathroom and a long storage room that “would make a cool space for a nanny or au pair,” said Ms Hall.
The three-room basement, which approximates the footprint of the house, includes a large fireplace and wine cellar. The original source extends from the cellar to the neighboring River Marden, a tributary of the River Avon.
Grid, yew hedges and a canopy of Catalpa trees surround the property’s green lawn. In season, wisteria, roses and climbing hydrangeas bloom against the stone walls. A bamboo hedge separates a discreet cottage with two one-bedroom apartments.
The house is adjacent to Castlefields Park, named after a 12th century castle that no longer exists, and is also near a national cycle route from London to Bristol. The town of Calne, with about 18,000 inhabitants and various shops and restaurants, is about five minutes away by car. Bath, the Victorian spa town, is 40 minutes west. Stonehenge, the prehistoric stone circle monument, is 45 minutes to the south.
The train to London Paddington station takes approximately 68 minutes and is available twice an hour from Chippenham train station, a 15-minute drive away. Bristol International Airport is 50 minutes west.
Country markets in South West England “have seen a massive rebound in the past two years, but that’s because they’ve been static for a long time,” said George Nares, director of Savills’ country division.
Home prices in the Southwest rose 6.3 percent between the first quarter of 2021 and the first quarter of 2022, according to data from Tim Vooght, the national PR manager at Savills. Top performers include the cities of Truro, up 16.7 percent, and Exeter, up 12.1 percent. The most significant increase was home sales of over 500,000 British pounds ($652,000), which rose by 167 percent between 2019 and 2021.
Before the pandemic, buyers wanted to be “within commuting distance, an hour from central London,” said Hamish Humfrey, a partner in Knight Frank’s rural division. When the market reopened after the 2020 Covid-19 lockdown, the parameters broadened. “There is huge demand for people coming from London looking for a different lifestyle” in the countryside or along the coast, Mr Humfrey said.
Potential market dampers, including a struggling economy, threats of rate hikes and the war in Ukraine, “do not appear to affect demand, especially for the higher-end properties,” said Mr Nares, pointing out that some buyers are looking to move their property. main residence to the countryside and keep a pied-à-terre in London.
Before the pandemic, the Southwest was “a relatively good value — 15 to 25 percent less than other parts of the country,” Humfrey said. As prices have gone up, “it’s more on par, but it’s still seen as an area where you get more bang for your buck.”
Areas such as West Sussex, Cornwall, Devon, Somerset, Wiltshire and Gloucestershire are hot, says James Klonaris, the chief appraiser at Inigo, the estate agency. Modern and contemporary housing is in demand from Brighton to Chichester along the coast.
Bath is also “a big draw” for Londoners who moved to get more space or a rural feel, “yet wanted the benefits of a city,” said Mr Nares.
With a focus on design and aesthetics, Inigo sells most of its offerings in the 1 million to 7 million pounds ($1.2 to $8.6 million) range, with properties often spanning approximately four acres. “A lot of people use it as protection against development around them,” said Mr. Klonaris.
Demand is strongest for homes that are complete and don’t require much work, whether they’re 500 years old or modern, Humfrey said. He added that buyers are also clamoring for Georgian mansions with discreet additional accommodations and a “block of land,” perhaps 100 acres. These typically sell for between 2 million and 5 million pounds plus ($2.5 and $6 million plus). With a lack of supply in the past two years, “there have been a lot of bidding wars,” he said.
But with more homes “coming on the market,” Mr. Klonaris expects a hectic summer: “In a market with rising inflation, it’s a very viable asset class for you to enjoy.”
Who buys in South West England
“An exodus of young people” from London is buying country houses, Mr Klonaris said. Customers from the United States “ebb and flow”, while other international buyers come from Canada, Germany, France, Denmark, Sweden and Australia.
The reach of international buyers is greater closer to London, including many Europeans whose work takes them there, Mr Nares said.
Mr Humfrey said expats who have spent the past decade in Singapore, Hong Kong or Dubai come back and buy country houses.
There are no restrictions for foreign buyers in England.
Most UK lenders don’t lend to non-UK residents, “so a foreign buyer will have fewer mortgage options,” said Dominika Bullegas, a real estate attorney at Healys firm. However, specialized lenders and international banks can help.
A “full structural survey” of the internal and external parts of the property is recommended, Ms Bullegas said.
A lawyer can oversee the sale from contract to conclusion, including registering the transferred title with the HM Land Registry† At Healys, the legal costs are determined based on the purchase price and complexity.
An attorney specializing in properties of architectural or design interest is recommended for listed homes, Mr Klonaris said, estimating the legal costs at £2,500 to £15,000 ($3,100 to $18,400).
The seller pays the commission, usually 1 to 3 percent of the sale price plus value-added tax. Stamp duties are 2 percent higher for non-residents. If a buyer already owns a home, a 3% surcharge will be charged. The rights range from 5 to 12 percent, depending on the price.
Languages and currencies
English; pound sterling (1 pound = $1.25)
Taxes and Duties
The annual property tax on this home is £3,500 ($4,300).
James Klonaris, Inigo, 011-44-20-3687-3071; inigo.com†