AFTER a sluggish period, the market in larger country properties is starting to move again, estate agent Andrew Grant told guests at his annual Christmas reception.

More than 200 leading figures from the business, commercial and retail worlds attended the event at Worcestershire County Cricket Club’s headquarters in New Road, Worcester.

They heard Mr Grant say: “During the start of the recession it was the lower priced houses below £500,000 that kept us in business, but now the larger country houses are coming back.

“ A recent sale was St Mary’s Convent in Battenhall, Worcester, which is going to be a retirement village with planning consent for 100 units in very much an upmarket development scheme. The selling price of the school was around £4.5m.

“A further interesting property will be coming for sale in the spring, Ribbesford House in Bewdley, which is Grade II listed. It has twelve flats and outbuildings and considerable historical interest, as it was occupied by the Free French during the Second World War. General Charles de Gaulle, who later became French president, spent a considerable time there.

“The property market has a future we look forward to. It is a time of constant revolution as the technology changes so very quickly and we are moving with this revolution.

“To that end, I attended the Estate Agents Masters Property Academy in London earlier in the year. It was a serious opportunity to learn further about modern day estate agency and a reminder that things change so quickly. It was most informative and emphasised not to forget the personal touch, which is essential to any business.”

Mr Grant added that over the past year his firm - which has 14 branches across five counties - has sold 1,200 properties with a total value of nearly £400m. The sale prices achieving an average of 97 per cent of the asking price.

The reception ended with guests singing carols led by the choir of King’s Hawford school.