Househunter Henley-on-Thames

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Anyone who loves a view of others messing about in boats will find Henley- on-Thames pretty well top of the list. A spacious townhouse, with about the best position in the small development of Boathouse Reach, is for sale for around pounds 325,000. The three-bedroom house on three floors has verandas and patios and overlooks the river both up and down stream. The development is set back from the towpath and adjoins the riverside gardens in Henley, within walking distance of the Henley town. There is an annual charge of about pounds 360 for the upkeep of communal areas. The agent is Hamptons (01491 572215).

For what it's worth

Amid wails from agents and would-be buyers about the shortage of country houses, a dissenting voice can be heard. The problem is not that there are fewer people selling, but that there are too many people wanting to buy, says James Laing, chairman of Strutt & Parker's rural division.

"The big difference now is that there is no longer a 'house mountain'. Most agents have cleared out their backlog of houses between pounds 250,000 and pounds 750,000."

Mr Laing believes we should not be so caught up with the woes of buyers given that until recently all discussion has been about the pall of gloom hanging over sellers. "Sellers have never had it so good, not even in the '80s."

But he adds a note of caution: "The approaching summer holidays, the start of the school year and then the chance of an election in the autumn mean there are only about 40 good selling days left before we see the London market begin to stagnate."

Meanwhile, Knight Frank's half yearly survey of house prices, based on the average price of a manor house, farmhouse and cottage in 28 key places throughout the UK, saw an average increase of just over five per cent. The largest overall increase was in Scotland at 11.8 per cent and the lowest increases in Cornwall and Wales at four per cent.

The greatest single increases were a manor house in Hampshire up 12 per cent; a Scottish farmhouse up 13 per cent and a Devon cottage up 12 per cent.