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Buying equestrian property in East Anglia

Once, East Anglia was a property buyer’s paradise. But as the market picks up speed across Britain, the region is keeping up with the Home Counties. Prices throughout the area are now just a hair under the national average.

Lifestyle buyers in search of fresher pastures have mostly driven this growth, but East Anglia also appeals to a large number of riders who are as attracted by the region’s peaceful pace of life as by its property prices.

“We have a good mixture of buyers from amateur riders to competitors, and those wishing to run equestrian businesses such as livery yards or studs,” says Emily Cooper-Read of Smiths Country & Equestrian in Suffolk. “Due to a shortage of supply, however, there is a trend for the more substantial properties not to reach the open market.”

Newmarket is East Anglia’s most obvious hotspot — with prices to match. Big yards here rarely come to the open market and, if they do, have several zeros in their price tag.

“Newmarket is an elite market,” says Zoe Napier of Fenn Wright. “If you don’t need the gallops, it is not the best value place to buy for the average equestrian enthusiast.”

Other equestrian professionals and serious amateurs prefer Essex, which has easy access to the motorway network and the added attraction of the Unex Towerlands complex.

“Essex is reported to have the most horse owners in Britain, so it’s hardly surprising that lots of people are buying land and farms to create their own equestrian properties here,” says Ms Napier. “It’s also good for those competing internationally because most horse transporters travel through Harwich to get to Holland and Germany.”

As the county’s public perception changes and more people become aware that Essex has beautiful stretches of Constable country, equestrian buyers here face competition from commuters in search of a better way of life. However, prices remain decent.

Essex is one of the cheapest Home Counties and further afield, the region still has some eminently affordable pockets. Too far from London to whet commuters’ appetites, north Suffolk and Norfolk are a paradise for amateur riders who enjoy beautiful outriding and good value for money.

The Cambridgeshire and Lincolnshire Fens are also interesting options, and those who look stand to pick up some bargains. Around £250,000 gets you a two- to three-bedroom bungalow or a small cottage with one or two acres of land. Larger homes with four-plus acres cost anything from £400,000 and £900,000 — knockdown prices when compared with the head spinning figures further south.

This regional property focus was first published in Horse & Hound

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