COVID-19 sees surge in demand for countryside living

Until March this year, we were all busy worrying about getting a seat on the train during a busy commute, or long queues in Starbucks. Then, along comes a pandemic and suddenly, all of these things seem irrelevant - so much so that people are actually opting for a quieter life outside of the cities for the first time in decades.

According to an article on the BBC News website both Rightmove and estate agency chain Knight Frank have reported huge increases in enquiries relating to purchasing a property in a less hectic setting. Rightmove said those looking to buy a home in a village soared by 126% in June and July compared to the same period last year - a trend that was echoed by Knight Frank.

Rightmove said the number of inquiries from Liverpool residents looking for a village lifestyle had almost tripled (275%) compared with a year earlier. In Edinburgh, village inquiries are up 205% and in Birmingham they have increased by 186%.

Some say that it is a change in financial circumstances that have driven buyer motivation, however, according to research from Barclays mortgages, this is unlikely to be the case. If anything, it is the opposite - and that recent property value increases in urban areas in recent years have afforded people larger homes in the countryside.

In fact, Barclays Mortgages cited one of the most popular reasons for people wanting to relocate was having a bigger garden and living where they can exercise. After all, when you take away all the amenities that some city developments advertise - such as bars, shops and restaurants that all closed down during the pandemic - things quickly become lifeless and people quickly start to take pleasure in other commodities.

As the pandemic took hold, access to outside space and being nearer to relatives became more important than the daily commute. Plus, as more people work from home, buyers are looking for more space inside for people to turn extra bedrooms into studies, where before they may have had to work from a kitchen table.

This could be a sign of things to come as people ditch the daily commute in favour of working from home in more tranquil surroundings.

If you are considering a house purchase, either a new home or a buy to let, contact the property team at Downs Solicitors to see how we can help.