Estate agents Hamptons International has launched a new equestrian property division.

Plans to open a specific department have been in the pipeline for a while, and it was officially launched at Gatcombe Horse Trials at the start of this month (4 August), with event rider Harry Meade as the “face” of the division.

“The department was set up to provide a bespoke service for our many equestrian vendors, landlords, buyers and tenants,” said a spokesman for Hamptons. “There are 13 people within the equestrian division, based in their respective branches.”

According to new research by Hamptons International the equestrian property market has “remained resilient” over the past five years and last year properties sold almost twice as fast than in 2008.

“A large proportion of equestrian property purchasers who come to us are cash buyers unrestricted by the economic difficulties faced by the mass market,” said Nick Hole-Jones, country house director at Hamptons International.

“This combination of cash buyers and a niche market sector keeps sales fluid and prices strong, resulting in a buoyant and resilient equestrian property market.”

Surrey was found to be the most popular area for equestrian buyers, closely followed by West Sussex, then Hampshire, Gloucestershire and Buckinghamshire.

The research also suggested that the majority of buyers prefer to stay close to home when searching for an equestrian property, with 76 per cent of buyers looking for an equestrian property within the region in which they currently live.

And most buyers were aged 35 and over, with 58 per cent aged between 35 and 45.

The key priority was found to be acreage (35 per cent) followed by location (25 per cent) and hacking (11 per cent).

“Forget the old adage of putting the horse before the cart, the horse comes before absolutely everything when you enter the equestrian world,” added Mr Hole-Jones.

For more information visit: www.hamptons.co.uk