The pandemic has made many of us reassess how we live and one of the biggest trends has been the exodus from cities and towns to the countryside and coast.
Hamptons noticed a surge of London leavers last year when city exiles bought 73,950 homes outside the capital, the highest number for four years. The estate agency’s research found that Londoners are heading further out than ever before with most buyers averaging a purchase of 40 miles from their old home with favourite spots being; Cambridge to the north, Colchester
to the east, Brighton to the south and Didcot to the west.
Change in wish lists
Buyers now prioritise space over commutability say Hamptons who found that first-time buyers tended to retain more of their ties to the capital, moving shorter distances. Older homeowners tended to sever ties completely by moving further away and- the larger the purchase- the greater the distance. Sevenoaks in Kent showed the biggest increase in the share of homes bought by Londoners at 62%, 39% higher than in 2019. Head of research Aneisha Beveridge explains: “While leaving London has been a rite of passage for many, often families reaching life stage milestones, the effects of lockdown and the desire for space seems to have heightened this drift.”
The Great British outdoors
With more people working from home, space and views have never been so sought after. Rightmove’s Tim Bannister describes the huge jump in demand for rural areas and countryside living, as the trend for 2020, with the Cotswolds ticking pretty much every box for home-movers seeking a rural escape: “As a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, brimming with endless walking trails and tight-knit village communities, the Cotswolds represent much of what we hold dear about the great British outdoors. It’s easy to see why the area is a magnet for people looking for a quieter life, and with remote working seemingly here to stay, I expect the popularity of the Cotswolds will continue to grow this year.”
The Cornish coastline was another magnet for buyers says Josephine Ashby of John Bray & Partners: “The new year has been met with a flurry of calls from buyers with a strong single message: ‘We want to find our home in Cornwall in 2021.’ “ Outside space tops buyers’ wish lists says Ashby, which could be inland open country, cliff edge, or beach side: “The space doesn’t have to be exclusive to the property, but direct/easy access is key. New build, eco credentials, and turnkey are also big plus points.”
The most sought after Cornish hotspots include: Rock, Daymer Bay, Port Isaac, Padstow and Polzeath but less high profile villages such as Trebarwith, St Tudy, St Teath and St Mabyn are fast becoming sought after, explains Ashby: “These villages all have great facilities such as pub, shop and church, and a wonderful community, yet are still only five minutes from the coast. We are seeing buyers prepared to push the radius of search a little wider.”
Getting more space for your money is typically the house hunter’s dream but growing demand for countryside and coast is pushing up prices according to local agents. Rightmove’s data analysts found that searches for Cotswold homes more than doubled, +102%, in the second half of last year, compared to the same period in 2019. Wotton-under-Edge in Gloucestershire is the hottest spot where property prices increased the most. Average asking prices in the leafy market town were up 14.8% on 2019, an annual increase of £38,290.
Stacks Property Search’s Clare Coode has helped dozens of exiles from London
who want a Cornish home which is under 30 minutes from a beach and with an essential view. The north coast remains a hot spot, but demand is opening up lesser known areas such as south east Cornwall where she reports ‘there’s still a bargain or two to be found’. With multiple buyers chasing the same properties, price tags can be misleading warns Coode: “Elsewhere the bargains are few and far between - one run down farmhouse in south Cornwall was recently listed at in excess of £700k; it sold to a London buyer for over £1m.”
If the pandemic has made you reassess the way in which you are living and you’re contemplating making the big move do get in touch if there is anything we can do to help. We have 125 storage facilities nationwide and can help take the stress out of moving.