Top Ten Country
Money can buy you everything these days — except your ideal country abode, says Macpherson. ‘If you’re in the market to buy a £30-£40 million estate you actually don’t get much of a choice — there is a very limited number of opportunities over [the past] five years to buy.’
While there is ‘pent-up’ appetite for buying, the stamp duty rise is ‘still a tremendous disincentive’, says Macpherson, who questions George Osborne’s rationale. ‘If he was trying to reduce the value of houses, which I think is not necessarily a bad thing at all, he went about it the wrong way. If you want to decrease prices you want to increase supply.’
Despite the paucity of stock, Macpherson’s most significant transaction was a 1,200-acre estate in Northumberland for almost £12 million. However, the resulting £600,000 stamp duty was still difficult for the purchaser to ignore, he says.
Wading through a sluggish landscape hasn’t dampened Macpherson’s optimism, though, as he looks forward to ‘a more active’ market. Moreover, the firm he co-founded is expanding its purchasing ability with the recent hire of Frank Speir, whose dynamism and previous experience at Prime Purchase, Macpherson says, is a boon.