Are you dreaming of escaping to the coast? Last week it was reported that online searches for property in Cornwall have exceeded those for property in London. Data from Rightmove has revealed that Cornwall is now the most searched for location for buyers on the property website with over five million searches during the month of February 2021, as people seek out beautiful countryside and coastal towns and villages to move to. Dorset has also jumped up the ranks from position 20 to position 10, clearly demonstrating how house hunters’ priorities have changed since the start of the pandemic with more people realising that they can work from home and that they do not necessarily need to be in London any more. Why live in the big smoke when you can live somewhere beautiful on the coast instead?

Sales figures seem to back up the data – people aren’t just thinking of moving, they’re actually doing it too! During the second half of 2020, the amount of annual sales agreed in rural areas grew by 69%, compared to 49% in urban areas as more people decided to escape to the country.

Detached desire

In addition to this, detached homes have also moved up the popularity charts, as people on lockdown or working from home have begin to seek more spacious homes, with more rooms, a garage, a garden and space apart from any immediate neighbours. Rightmove report that five-bedroom detached homes have experienced the biggest surge in popularity with the number of sales agreed up by 38%, followed by four-bed properties, which are up by 26%. This might not be entirely down to a desire for space as many homeowners may also be taking advantage of the temporary stamp duty holiday which has provided a great opportunity for those wishing to invest in a more expensive home – although similar changes in renter behaviour suggest that more space is now desired across the board.

Escape from the City

According to Rightmove there has been a dramatic rise in the amount of people who currently live in a city enquiring about property for sale outside of their city. The biggest increase has been in London. This time last year 39% of Londoners were looking at properties outside of their city, this has now jumped to more than half (52%) and similar increases can be seen across all of the 10 biggest cities in the UK.

As we mentioned above, it’s not just homeowners seeking space – renters are also looking to stretch their legs – or swing a cat. One year ago the most sought after property type for tenants was a two-bed flat, now it is a two-bed semi-detached house. More renters are looking for extra space and a garden and rents have soared in some towns and suburbs whilst declining significantly in certain areas of London.

Talking about the figures, Rightmove’s Director of Property Data, Tim Bannister said:

“The stand-out trends over the past year have been increased demand for countryside and coastal living, more people making the dream of a detached home a reality, and the increased appeal for a garden.

“The huge population of London means that traditionally it’s the most searched for location on Rightmove, but the appeal of the coast and the countryside over the past year has seen Cornwall crowned the new capital this year.

“More space has always been the most common reason for people moving home, but the evolution for many from balancing their laptop on the end of a bed last March to making an office a permanent addition to a home, whether that’s by converting a bedroom, garage or garden shed, has led to a need for even bigger homes than before. This is evident with five-bed detached homes seeing the biggest growth in sales, and two-bed homes becoming the most sought after for people renting.”

Cornish estate agent Emma Ward, a Director at Goundrys Estate Agents added:

“It’s been an incredibly busy year as people rethink the types of homes they want to buy and where they want to live. Some are moving here to be closer to family while others are looking for a complete change in lifestyle. Detached homes, which are around the £500k-£700k mark here, have been flying off the shelves, we’ve none left! We need more sellers to come to market as there is such strong buyer demand for places with garages, gardens, office space and more.”

Planning on escaping to the coast?

Are you ready to make your escape to the coast? Situated close to the coast in Bridport, Dorset we are also close to the counties of Devon and Somerset and able to help make you move to the West Country as smooth as possible! Get in touch with us today for a free, no-obligation quote. If you’re thinking of downsizing we have secure, stone-built storage facilities right here in the centre of Bridport. We can help you to pack your things and put them straight into storage for you until you’re ready to deal with them, taking all the stress out of moving for you. Give us a call to find out more.