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The Independent Online
The Norfolk Mead, Coltishall

Messing about in boats is quintessentially English and a pastime much practised in the Norfolk Broads. A rare opportunity to combine business with pleasure is offered by The Norfolk Mead, an 18th-century house with a 235ft frontage on the River Bure in the Broads. The rambling house is currently run as a country house hotel, but could easily convert back into a private residence, according to Savills, which is quoting pounds 375,000 for the house and three acres. For a further pounds 35,000 you can buy the adjoining fishing lake and another slice of the river bank.

For what it's worth

In complete contrast to the residential market, agricultural land prices continued to climb in the first six months of 1995. In the past two years, average prices for arable and prime pasture land have risen by about 48 per cent as farmers plough increased profits back into larger landholdings. East Anglia and the North are seeing the biggest increases this year, while for farmland in the South a modest 8 per cent rise in value has been recorded so far.

The high prices have encouraged more landowners to sell surplus land, and the active market has led to a greater number of newcomers buying farms and land than ever before. Strutt & Parker estimates that the number of first-time buyers under the age of 35 shows a 7 per cent increase on 1992.

However, with reform to the Common Agricultural Policy looming in 1996, the market bears alarming similarities to the scramble for houses in the run-up to the abolition of dual mortgage interest relief in 1988. Savills believes that there is room for further growth, however, and is predicting total increases of 25 per cent for 1995.

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