For What It's Worth

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Fortunes are changing for the west of London, one of the areas hardest hit during the recession. Savills Prime Country House indices show an 8 per cent increase in the Surrey area, with a knock-on effect further to the west.

In the last quarter the Bath and Avon areas have seen a 4 per cent rise in prices. However, along the M4 and M40 corridors, house prices have been slow to recover. Meanwhile the Guildford and Sevenoaks areas mirrored the 93/94 increases in prime central London.

Yolande Barnes of Savills Research says agents in the Guildford area have become used to a stream of potential buyers in Porsches looking to sink their substantial City bonuses into property. Ms Barnes sees the market continuing to be defined by region and sector rather than a rigid north-south divide. "A family who relocated from Sussex to Harrogate found themselves in exactly the same kind of house for their money, except it was in nicer stone. And in the west end of Glasgow prices are beginning to compare with those in the south of the country." She also sees within a given sector a big difference between prime and mainstream houses. "The pull effect from the top is going to be very important," she adds.