In Brief

Which are the UK’s most expensive villages?

House prices hit an all-time high as buyers seek countryside living

The UK’s post-lockdown property boom continues with house prices hitting an all-time high in August, according to mortgage lender Nationwide. 

Prices increased by 2% from July, the biggest month-on-month rise since 2004, Reuters reports. Nationwide’s data reveals prices were 3.7% higher than a year earlier.

“UK house prices rose by 2% in August, after taking account of seasonal effects, following a 1.8% rise in July,” said Robert Gardner, Nationwide’s chief economist. “This is the highest monthly rise since February 2004 (2.7%). As a result, annual house price growth accelerated to 3.7%, from 1.5% last month. 

“House prices have now reversed the losses recorded in May and June and are at a new all-time high. The bounce back in prices reflects the unexpectedly rapid recovery in housing market activity since the easing of lockdown restrictions.

“This rebound reflects a number of factors. Pent-up demand is coming through, where decisions taken to move before lockdown are progressing. 

“Behavioural shifts may also be boosting activity, as people reassess their housing needs and preferences as a result of life in lockdown.” 

Buyers keen on village life 

The search for more outdoor space has seen demand soar for countryside housing.

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 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 UK’s most expensive villages 

Rightmove says demand for village life has “absolutely sky-rocketed this year” with UK estate agents witnessing a “rural renaissance”. With country living in such demand the property website picks out the most expensive villages in the UK.

St. George’s Hill, Surrey

Average property price: £2,132,924 What Rightmove says: “This effortlessly charming corner of Surrey is flanked by beautiful woodland and, once upon a time, is said to have counted John Lennon as one of its residents. The sense of exclusivity associated with St. George’s Hill is reinforced by the fact that there are only about 500 homes nestled on this private estate. It’s also home to its very own elite-level golf and tennis clubs, which both go a long way to making this village so popular with celebrities.”

Sandbanks, Dorset 

Average property price: £1,272,083 “Known as ‘Britain’s Palm Beach’, this exclusive peninsula at the mouth of Poole Harbour offers some of the best sea views in the UK and is home to chef Rick Stein’s restaurant. You’ll be hard pushed to find a greater variety of luxurious homes than on this south coast paradise.”

Hale Barns, Greater Manchester

Average property price: £1,080,365 “A beautiful rural enclave and a real gem of the North West. Its population at the 2011 sensus was fewer than 10,000 and it’s said to be a very popular location among Premier League footballers looking to settle down with their families. It’s one of the most desirable villages in the north west.”

Scarcroft, west Yorkshire

Average property price: £820,416 “For the people of Yorkshire this rural community is cited as one of the most sought-after places to live. The village has previously been home to some of the most expensive streets in Leeds, and with some absolutely stunning countryside on its doorstep, you can see why this village is so popular.”

Little Aston, Staffordshire

Average property price: £820,415 “Another firm favourite with A-listers, this characterful village in south Staffordshire has previously been home to none other than iconic James Bond actor Roger Moore. This picturesque village is nestled less than 10 miles north of Birmingham, but is also just a stone’s throw from Sutton Park, a 2,400-acre park filled with forests, lakes and even wild ponies. At the last UK census there were fewer than 1,000 homes in the village.”

Main image: Knight Frank/Rightmove 

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