Now an international juggernaut, Knight Frank boasts more than a century’s history selling rural property — and Hopkins, a steadfast country hand, has seen over a quarter of it from the inside.
Hailed as ‘terrific’ and ‘seriously good’ by industry experts, he heads up the farms and estates sales division, a specialist team of nine within the firm’s 30-strong London office.
The land market was ‘absolutely baking hot’ when Spear’s previously caught up him in January 2015. But no more, thanks to the cooling measures brought in by George Osborne in April: ‘The top end of the market, across the board, whether it be London, country houses or estates, has flattened out significantly… It’s really taken the heat and momentum out of the market,’ he says.
The Autumn Statement stamp duty provisions aimed at second homes and investment property have only added to the chill — and introduced ‘massive nervousness into the market, as to where this will stop’. After all, the sums being exacted have a major impact on buyers — even HNWs — for whom home often remains the primary asset: ‘The stamp duty people pay is a one-off payment — it’s like writing a cheque and posting it into the abyss. You can never get it back.’