[...] The Church of England, with all the financial acumen for which it is famous, has long followed a policy of downsizing. The result has been a boon for affluent new buyers.
According to a recent survey by Mouseprice.com, The Old Rectory is the most popular name for property above £800,000. And estate agents believe they are worth every penny. "It's rather like owning the manor house," says Nicholas Ash, of Property Vision. "It declares that you've probably got the nicest house in the village." He puts the premium at between 5 and 10 per cent. Peter Wright, of Humberts, goes for 10 per cent, for which the real reason is that "the name gets people in to view. It has very, very powerful connotations of an Edwardian tea party existence".
Robert Godfrey, of Bidwells in Northampton, who has been instructed to sell five old rectories this year, demurs. "They may attract a slight premium because they're the original article." But James Lawrie, of Strutt & Parker, fires off both barrels with 25 per cent. "The reality is that old rectories always keep their value. The old rectory is a more manageable version of the Englishman's dream country house," he says. "There's a finite number of them, too." Read more