Falling house prices have cast a pall over the property market but there may be a safe haven for homeowners – in the Trollopian form of vicarages. Financial Times

As Country Life magazine yesterday launched a contest to find Britain’s finest parsonage, Crispin Holborow, head of the country house department at estate agents Savills said: “A rectory or parsonage is one of the safest properties to buy in today’s uncertain market.”

While the agent’s country house index had fallen by 1.5% in the first quarter of 2008, 'I would go so far as to say that parsonages and rectories have not fallen in with that index and are retaining their market values,' said Holborow.

Stuart Flint, who runs Knight Frank’s country residential department in Birmingham, said: 'Against a background of a dull market, parsonages are definitely bucking the trend.'