In Brief

Pastures new: city dwellers seek out countryside properties

UK estate agents see a rise in interest for village moves

The UK’s coronavirus lockdown sparked a huge increase in countryside property searches from people living in cities.

According to a Rightmove study, estate agents saw a 126% rise in enquiries for village properties during June and July, compared to the same period in 2019.

The property website said that city dwellers with flexibility to work from home are keen on moving to rural areas and to have more outdoor space, BBC News reports.

“The lure of a new lifestyle, one that is quieter and has an abundance of beautiful countryside and more outdoor space, has led to more city dwellers choosing to become rural residents,” said Miles Shipside of Rightmove. 

“The most popular village moves are still within the same region the home hunters are currently in, as it’s likely they’ll keep their current job but may have the flexibility to commute less often and set up their working space at home.”

At the end of June The Daily Telegraph reported that lockdown had created a wave of “panic movers”. Aneisha Beveridge, Hamptons International’s head of research, said: “Lockdown measures have definitely made people reassess the location and type of home they want to live in.”

The BBC adds that money does not appear to be the main reason for people wanting to swap the city for village life.

Mark Rimell, director in Strutt & Parker’s country house department, said: “A slower pace of life, outdoor space and tight knit communities come hand in hand with village living - something many have come to appreciate in recent months and have enduring appeal.”

Rightmove says that in cities such as Liverpool and Edinburgh, searches for countryside properties had more than doubled. 

Its study found that the number of enquiries from Liverpool residents looking for a village lifestyle has almost tripled (+275%) compared to last year, versus a 63% increase in enquiries to towns. In Edinburgh village enquiries are up 205%, and Birmingham was up 186%.

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