Househunter

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The Independent Online
Househunter

Old Harlow, Essex

Garden hunter might be a better title for this property, where the house is almost incidental. It was bought as the country retreat of Sir Frederick Gibberd, creator of Liverpool's Roman Catholic cathedral and the Central Mosque in Regent's Park, London. The garden at The House in Marsh Lane, as it is called, is a far more beautiful epitaph. There are Corinthian columns, a two-storey gazebo, an avenue of limes, terraces, a brook, a folly and water meadows - in all, more than 14 acres of horticultural landscape. The house itself is a five-bedroom bungalow with a separate staff bungalow. Savills in Colchester (01245 269311) is inviting offers.

For what it's worth

With all the pundits reporting that the market is dead, prospective buyers might expect to be treated like gold dust when they announce themselves in an estate agent's office. They might be - but only if they have sold their own property. In today's market, the only serious buyer is a cash buyer. The latest quarterly report from Hamptons shows that about 60 per cent of all the company's buyers either have nothing to sell or have agreed a sale on their home. In London, the figure rises to 70 per cent. John Brain, Hamptons' chairman, said the figure was the highest he could remember. To have any chance of buying one of the few good homes up for sale, buyers must be ready to move fast. A typical example is Manor Farmhouse, a pounds 230,000 period house in the Cotswolds, which Hamptons sold as soon as it came on to the market.

Who's moving

The new homes market makes a good living from the nation's footballers, who congregate in expensive estates outside their club's city. The latest signing is Andy Gray, the former Aston Villa player, who has part-exchanged his house in the smart Birmingham suburb of Sutton Coldfield for a new five-bedroom Crosby Homes house in the similarly smart area of Barnt Green.

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