Top Ten Country Specialists
With more than two decades of experience in the prime country property market, the latter part of this time spent running her own firm, Jess Simpson is one of the most trusted names around. She operates nationally, although her main area of operation is within a 90-minute radius of London.
Like the rest of the industry, Simpson has felt the ripples of a turbulent 12 months, with the amount of land sold last year down about 50 per cent from the year before. And while the general election result has caused a bounce, she remains cautious: ‘We’re not out of the woods yet. There is a nervousness that the upcoming budget will look at stamp duty for country estates, and the 3 per cent surcharge is also a concern. In the past, when we have had a difficult market, values have been underpinned by international buyers.’
If early activity this year is anything to go by, however, then Simpson has reason to be optimistic. ‘I have spoken to nine potential clients in the space of ten days looking to start their search immediately, showing that there seems to be some confidence returning to the market,’ she says. And there’s more reason to buy in the country than ever before: ‘Clients are buying land for environmental reasons, to offset their own carbon by planting trees or rewilding.’