Good news for homeowners in South Bucks.

Despite lockdown, despite economic doom and gloom, the house market isn’t doing badly.

Londoners escaping from the crowded capital for a healthy life in the shires aren’t short of a bob or two and they’re keen to strike a deal while the going’s good.

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Forty two per cent of viewings arranged in August and September at Savills office in Beaconsfield were with potential buyers bailing out of London, compared with 32 per cent in January and February.

Chris Moorhouse who heads up the sales department in Beaconsfield New Town admits the strength of demand since April has surprised industry experts.

He said: “Many expected the activity in May and June to be shortlived, a knee jerk reaction in response to coronavirus and lockdown.

“Instead there has been a clear long term commitment from buyers to change their lifestyle.”

Chris’ colleague, Nick Pounce, has had a similar experience in Amersham where 41 per cent of viewings in late summer were with buyers from London.

He believes Bucks is an obvious hunting ground for those who work in the capital even though they no longer want to live there.

He said: “For them it’s about lifestyle. They’re looking for an easy commute. South Bucks has proved incredibly popular.”

Main challenge now for house movers is to get a deal agreed by Christmas so the transaction is completed before the stamp duty holiday comes to an end on March 31.

Earlier this week the leading industry group representing estate agents urged Chancellor Rishi Sunak to extend the deadline.

NAEA Propertymark chief executive Mark Hayward who rose through the ranks to the dizzy heights of management on a national basis at the Wycombe-based agency Aitchison Raffety fears the backlog of paperwork in the system will cause many to miss out and chains to break down.

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He told the chancellor: “The boom, caused by the stamp duty holiday, has been hugely beneficial for the housing market.

“However the stamp duty cliff edge on 31 March could cause thousands of sales to fall at the final hurdle and have a knock on and drastic effect on the housing market which has recovered well from the Covid slump.”

Buyers with big budgets aren’t likely to be disappointed by the choice of country houses currently for sale within half an hour’s rail commute of Marylebone.

Pictured is the panoramic view over the Chilterns from High Point, a stunning 21st century house with separate annexe at Bledlow.

The environmentally friendly specification includes drinking water from a filtrated borehole in the two-acre garden; heat recovery ventilation, air source heat pumps, underfloor heating and Lutron lighting.

Savills is the agent. Price: £3.65 million.

Developer Paul Knapfield spent four years building it, originally intending to live there himself.

Also for sale is Alnwick Farm House at Long Marston, five and a half miles from Tring. Dates from the 1800s.

It was originally a dairy farm, then became a hunting lodge for the Duke of Leeds, later bought by the Rothschilds. Six beds, five bathrooms, six recs.

For sale through Knight Frank in Beaconsfield. Price: £2 million.

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Meanwhile, the urge which has gripped Londoners to head for the Chiltern Hills has caused rents in South Bucks to rise by 2.9 per cent in the last three months.

“It’s too early to know if this shift in mindset and behaviour is permanent,” observed Claire Pincott, lettings supremo for Savills in Amersham and Beaconsfield, “but we expect it to carry over into early 2021”.

She believes increased demand for rental properties on her patch is partly due to a ‘try-before-we-buy-in-the-country” strategy prevalent among townies wanting more space indoors and outside.