Page last updated at 10:14 GMT, Thursday, 20 August 2009 11:14 UK

Mansion house price drops by 3m

Mountpanther estate
Mountpanther estate lies in the heart of the County Down countryside

While housing across Northern Ireland has been affected by the property downturn, one country estate in County Down has been hit harder than most.

The asking price for Mountpanther estate has dropped by £3m in two years.

The listed mansion house and 170 acres of farm land overlooks the main Newcastle to Belfast road at Clough.

Its sale has been taken over by Ulster Property Sales which dropped the price from £8m to what they feel is a more realistic £5m.

"Prices have dropped from the bottom of the market to the top and just because Mountpanther's such a special place doesn't make it any different," UPS's Joanne McKee said.

"We feel we have put a realistic price on it."

The house, which dates from the late 1700s, has lain roofless and derelict for many years, but UPS believes it is perfect for development as a site for leisure and tourism.

Huge potential

Ms McKee said although the house was a listed building it had "huge potential".

She said it was being looked at for possible development as a hotel or golf course.

"We've had no offers yet, but we're working very closely with a couple of interested parties and we feel we're getting to the stage where a sale could be made soon," she said.

The UPS website says of the house that "commanding an impressive facade, even in its delapidated condition, the potential for restoration to its former magnificence is clear".

The house, in the heart of the County Down countryside, commands views of the Mourne Mountains, Dundrum Bay and the Irish Sea.

According to local legend, the estate got its name from the Great cat of Clough, said to have roamed the area hundreds of years ago.

However, a safari park is not thought to be one of the possible development schemes under consideration.

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