“A SURGE of interest” in North Yorkshire’s country estates and stately homes is being reported as US buyers seek to capitalise on the weak pound and get a slice of the “Lord Grantham” lifestyle.

Croft Residential, a York-based property agent that specialises in selling country estates, stately homes and mansions has reported a surge in interest in UK properties from the US in the last six months.

As a result the firm has now set up Croft UK Real Estate to help US and other overseas buyers find elegant UK houses and apartments.

The new division has been launched by the business after dealing with overseas clients in the last few years, and seeing a growing stream of enquiries, many from what has been described as prospective US buyers looking specifically for traditional British country houses such as those featured in the television drama series Downton Abbey.

Toby Cockcroft, director of Croft UK Real Estate, said: “We’ve been quite surprised how much things have stepped up in recent months in terms of interest in luxury real estate in the UK from buyers in the US.

“It seems to be a combination of factors that have coincided to trigger the flurry of recent enquiries and things aren’t showing any prospect of quietening down in the near future.

“The weakness of the pound against the dollar is suddenly giving Americans a lot more for their money over here and this comes at a time when many people in the States are dismayed by the result of the election and thinking about either moving overseas or acquiring a bolt hole or investment property abroad.

“In addition, the popularity of that great British export, Downton Abbey, which is set in a fictional area of Yorkshire, has given some wealthy Americans an appetite for becoming Lord of the Manor, with their own authentic English country estate.”

Croft UK Real Estate‘s confidential service for its US clients includes carrying out country-wide property searches and providing private air travel, personal security and chauffeur driven trips to view shortlisted houses.

Mr Cockcroft said: “Super-rich US clients tend to have heavily pressured diaries, and so time is of the essence for them, and the smoother we can make their property buying trip over here the better.

“We have a huge amount of experience in finding homes and estates, many of which are sold ‘off market’. But the strength of the upswing in American interest has been a surprise even to us.”