Top 10 rural spots if you’re thinking about leaving the city

As you may have already read, lots of people living in the UK’s biggest cities are looking to move to the country.

Motivated by the prospect of more outdoor space, the level of demand from city residents searching for a home in a village has risen dramatically compared to last summer.

But where are the best rural alternatives if you’re living in a city?

Well, we have conducted some exclusive new research to find the most popular villages that people living in the biggest cities are looking to move to.

Interestingly, most of the destinations that city residents are moving to are still within a commutable distance to their city, but with the appeal of a quieter way of life.

Their moves don’t appear to be driven by a desire to save money, as the average asking prices of the most popular villages people want to move to from each city are on the whole more expensive than the city asking price.

It may be that homeowners living in these cities have benefitted from strong house price growth over the years and are now able to trade up and out to the country.

Take a look at the data in more detail:

Since the housing market reopened there has been a rush of buyers, leading to a number of demand and traffic records on Rightmove.

Our data analysts recently revealed that there were 66% more active buyers this July than in July last year, as the delayed spring market has been pushed into summer.

The total number of buyers year-to-date is also up 6% compared to the same period in 2019, which shows that a new group of buyers have now entered the market.

What do the experts say?

Our resident property expert Miles Shipside explained that more buyers are coming to market now because lockdown has made them reassess what they want from their homes.

He said: “Our analysis on the number of active buyers in market, both now and across the year so far, shows it’s not just pent-up demand being released and buyers returning to the market after the pause.

“It looks like the market has not only recovered all of the buyers that were lost throughout lockdown, but there’s also a new group of buyers now in market, prompted to move by the priorities for their home changing during lockdown, with the additional catalyst of the temporary stamp duty holiday turning the heads of homeowners.

“It’s worth noting that some of these buyers may have been looking to move later this year anyway, so we won’t have a clear picture on how many sales will have been lost in 2020 until early next year.”

What do the estate agents say?

Mark Rimell, Director in Strutt & Parker’s Country House Department, said: “Like many I lived in London for 20 years and was full of trepidation about a move to the country, not least the thought of becoming a commuter.

“I needn’t have worried, the benefits far outweigh the disadvantages, not least a village school, a pub, a church and a local store. The sense of community is a matter for each individual and how involved in village life one wants to become. Many villages offer cricket, bowling teams, pilates and more for those that want to take part while the annual village fete is a great way to meet your fellow villagers. The anonymity of living in London gives way to a friendly, welcoming approach which is refreshing to say the least.

“Houses in or on the fringes of a village will by nature benefit from being surrounded by some of the most wonderful landscapes; from National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty to over 10,000 miles of coastline.

“Having this on your doorstep is invaluable and very much sought after. 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.”

Freddie Wright, Partner, Knight Frank Bristol, added: “Banwell is a pretty village in striking distance of Bristol and the rest of the South West. The historic village attracts a lot of buyers from Bristol because of the brilliant amenities and schooling options.

“Banwell’s proximity to Bristol and connectivity has been a huge factor for those looking to move out of the city. It’s under a 15 minute drive to Weston Super Mare station which has direct train links across the country including London Paddington.

“The city property market in Bristol is extremely busy at the moment – many of those selling are looking to move out into villages such as Banwell because people are looking for a slower pace of life post lockdown, and these villages offer the best of both worlds.”

Explore homes in some of the most popular villages:


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